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volume IV a day in the life

W A V E #S MAGAZINE grand cousin yatta zoker solomon billinkoff leo enverga nathan repasz cover designed by kaitlin chan


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Iman Bright co-director

Jay Sharma co-director

Sarah Burkett co-director

Reta Gasser

Aissa Gueye photo director

Kaitlin Chan

Alex Lee

Max Friedlich

Michael Lyn (abroad)

Korrine Davis

Ryan Moye

not pictured: Zach Scheinfeld 1

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Note from the Directors

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Sound Swap

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Fluxus and the Artisitic Exchange

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A Day in the Life: Comic

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A Day in the Life: Senior Edition

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Inspired by the thoughts, aspirations, and ambitious of driven artists on campus, this issue focuses on a few of the senior class members who represent multiple aspects of what we call art. From film to dance and music to performance art, art and creativity are the exchange and conversation of stories, experiences, and connections between all people. Although “A Day in the Life� only captures a snapshot into their lives, we hope this issue exposes you to their many talents and shows a little bit more about what goes on behind the curtain. As Iman and Sarah graduate, we want to thank our amazing staff and say how much we have appreciated both the challenges and the absolute ecstasy of being able to produce and continue this collaboration of visions and ideas. Enjoy! The Directors Iman Bright, Jay Sharma and Sarah Burkett

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SOUND SWAP

by: David Peck

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uture Islands sure aims for a certain visceral power, with gleaming electronic synths and samples, which among other acoustic instruments are key factors in shaping the sound. Obviously I had not heard of Future Islands before, though I might’ve had some really vague idea based on a few seconds of channel flipping in the car. Still, Future Islands seems like the kind of band that would want to strike you with a mood rather than their sound gimmicks. It’s the mood that is the main mark of In Evening Air, and the instrumentation and the arrangement that follows. There’s a swift, upbeat kick to the rhythm that powers through the album, and continues through the rest of the album. An ethereal flow and shimmering texture is layered on the throaty, belting lead vocals (sounds something like a Win Butler type possessed by Louis Armstrong). It’s not the characteristically scratchy, vintage sound of lo-fi, but somehow it conveys the same kind of feel. Makes for a real fitful, almost erratic kind of moodiness. “Long Flight” begins with an animated sample that sounds like it’s moving towards happygo-lucky territory, but as soon as the bass guitar arrives, it becomes a more sorrowful tune, which is repeated on a bunch of the other tracks too. The title track comes as a surprise, a beautiful interruption to the general sound. Just a little over a minute long, it is an incredible, dreamy mishmash of affected, melancholy piano passages and scratchy synths. “As I Fall” ends the album in an elevated state of emotional rawness—the pulse characterizes the rest of the album becomes a more muffled underlying sub-bass, which proves to actually be most effective in bringing out the mood. A little past halfway through the song, everything drops off to some otherworldly strings. It’s pretty awesome, and the best track on the album. It does a great job of hammering home the intent of In Evening Air, ultimately, by marrying an expressive, almost fitful moodiness to driving rhythms. For its audience, the album looks to draw on a sense of irony and wonder in a place haunted by rugged torment. And to that end, we get that highly relatable experience of achieving elegance and boundless energy—within a feeling of blues.

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and the Artistic Exchange By ALEX LEE

illustrations by kaitlin chan It all started with a urinal. To be more specific, this was a urinal found by the artist Marcel Duchamp and subsequently submitted to and rejected by an art exhibition. The piece, known as Fountain (1917), started a trend of creating-art-by-questioning-it, one that continues to thrive today. Duchamp’s “anti-art” concept was rejected because it lacked artistic value, at least in the minds of the traditionalists of the time. Such a response was exactly what Duchamp wanted to hear. He had already begun to produce his famous series of “ready-mades,” everyday objects that Duchamp found and presented as art. By being dismissed, Duchamp confirmed that there were strict rules in place for what was and wasn’t art. The next test would be to find out if these boundaries could be broken. To carry this out, Duchamp needed the support of other artists. Luckily, the concurrent Dada movement had already begun to gain traction and would become one of the most influential groups to ever challenge the perception of art. Dada embraced a series of artists and art pieces that rejected rational or logical aesthetic. Its presence, and more so its power and influence, created a new dimension of art that didn’t have to make sense. More importantly, it popularized the method of exploring limits and conventions of art, a practice that would pave the way for the Fluxus movement forty years later. Fluxus—a loosely organized, international collective of artists that came together in the early 1960s—further developed the principles of the Dadaists. An important facet of Fluxus was the concept of “intermedia,” the mixing of traditional artistic forms as a way to break down the rigid structures of art and create new expanded ones. “Fluxus,” taken from the Latin, “to flow,” was just that—a fluid connection between existing art forms that allowed for new exploration in-between them. In the 1950s, the experimental forms and teachings of composer John Cage (whose work would later be called “intermedium between music and philosophy”) brought together a number of such artists interested in exploring artistic boundaries (or lack thereof). George Maciunas, a writer, composer, and performance artist, created the name and organized the movement. In its early stages, Maciunas categorized Fluxus 5

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under the heading, “Neo-Dada.” However, Dick Higgins, another Fluxus artist, would later clarify the distinction between Fluxus and Dada: Fluxus is more an outgrowth from happenings and from the intermedial arts [that] were already beginning to be done at the time. Dada started with its program and then produced the work. Fluxus started with the work, then came together, applying the name Fluxus to work which already existed. It was as if it started in the middle of the situation, rather than at the beginning. The conception of Fluxus thus lacked a certain sense of time or space; its artists emphasized this sense of universality in their work. They felt art should be ubiquitous and unceasing, absent of any proper place, time, or quantity that might hold it back. One aspect of art’s ubiquity was that of the audience’s role in shaping it. Fluxus held concerts (“Fluxconcerts”) that displayed combinations of music, physical movement, and other forms of performance art— each of these components would use the audience as a piece of the performance in order to disrupt the preexisting notion that the audience was only there to watch. Moreover, the artists produced and sold Flux-Kits and Flux Boxes that exhibited Fluxus art but also required the consumer to interact with it. Short films with accompanying hand-held projectors, unsolvable puzzles—such artistic works had the consumer controlling the art using individual skill and subjective interpretation. Fluxus performances were much the same. Take Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece as an example: the artist sat motionless on a blank floor while viewers all around her took up scissors and cut off strips of her clothing. The piece was one thing when it began, another when it ended. The movement was not only a fluid transition between media—it was a fluid birth and rebirth of art that couldn’t exist without the audience there to see it through. In the rapid, insatiable times we live in today, the most obvious legacy of the Fluxus movement is the use (or misuse) of technology. Since we have become so accustomed to the endless crossover of musical and artistic genres, the next logical step was to throw technology into the mix. These are just a few of the examples I have seen myself: an artist using his body movements to create sounds with an Xbox Kinect; a band projecting abstract videos to complement its music; and DJs placing contact microphones around the venue, permitting the audience to add its own tactile interpretation of the music. There are tons of art collectives dedicated to the discovery of intermedial art forms, and more and more universities are creating intermedial art programs. One of my favorite intermedial groups is Harmonic Laboratory, who describes itself as “a collective of artists, thinkers, educators and innovators that investigate the human experience through the integration of media and common theme.” Even more salient, it idenVolume IV


that displayed combinations of music, physical movement, and other forms of performance art—each of these components would use the audience as a piece of the performance in order to disrupt the preexisting notion that the audience was only there to watch. Moreover, the artists produced and sold Flux-Kits and Flux Boxes that exhibited Fluxus art but also required the consumer to interact with it. Short films with accompanying hand-held projectors, unsolvable puzzles—such artistic works had the consumer controlling the art using individual skill and subjective interpretation. Fluxus performances were much the same. Take Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece as an example: the artist sat motionless on a blank floor while viewers all around her took up scissors and cut off strips of her clothing. The piece was one thing when it began, another when it ended. The movement was not only a fluid transition between media—it was a fluid birth and rebirth of art that couldn’t exist without the audience there to see it through. In the rapid, insatiable times we live in today, the most obvious legacy of the Fluxus movement is the use (or misuse) of technology. Since we have become so accustomed to the endless crossover of musical and artistic genres, the next logical step was to throw technology into the mix. These are just a few of the examples I have seen myself: an artist using his body movements to create sounds with an Xbox Kinect; a band projecting abstract videos to complement its music; and DJs placing contact microphones around the venue, permitting the audience to add its own tactile interpretation of the music. There are tons of art collectives dedicated to the discovery of intermedial art forms, and more and more universities are creating intermedial art programs. One of my favorite intermedial groups is Harmonic Laboratory, who describes itself as “a collective of artists, thinkers, educators and innovators that investigate the human experience through the integration of media and common theme.” Even more salient, it identifies as “a collaborative in flux...challenging each other and their audiences.” This is exactly how the Fluxus artists would have classified themselves fifty years ago. The Fluxus movement has been inherited by a new generation of artists using technology to break down the new set of artistic conventions. The possibilities are endless, yet still ever expanding as technology becomes more and more complex. As a way to push the boundaries of art, the intermedial use of already-accepted art forms and innovative technology opens up space for much reinvention and exploration.

new formal one of learning to use them, but the new and more social one of what to use them for? I believe the “social” usage Higgins refers to is the most enduring piece of Fluxus. Artists must ask themselves, “For what reason am I performing this piece?” Each form of art obviously uses different channels to express emotion, meaning, or communication, and so an intermedial artist must take all of these into account to preserve the integrity of the artistic message. On the receiving end, the viewer must also consider what is at stake for the artist and for the piece being performed. This effort, exerted on both sides of the art piece, is what makes a live performance meaningful. It’s about having the ability to shape the performance yourself—not retroactively, not by watching on YouTube—but in that singular, unrepeatable moment. The unique setting of the performance allows the viewers to have a hand in crafting the art by influencing how the performer provides it and by how the art is received. The audience actually takes control of one side of the art, becoming a back-and-forth process of creation. I see this exchange as the most significant lesson that the Fluxus movement can teach us. The live performance creates a distinct piece of art, separate from that of the original, rehearsed, or recorded form that already existed. The intermedial art piece becomes a combination of that which existed before and that which can only exist in the irreplaceable setting of the live performance. It’s much more of a human experience, and that’s exactly why performance art is so necessary for preserving this exchange of meaning. Without the live setting, there remains a separation between the art and the viewer, a barrier that makes it harder to transmit a sense of emotion. For the art to be as meaningful as possible, there must be a direct exchange between the artist and the audience.

Despite this obvious connection between Fluxus and contemporary art, I find another, more potent link to be that of the conventional live performance. In a statement on intermedia, Dick Higgins said, Does it not stand to reason, therefore, that having discovered the intermedia (which was, perhaps, only possible through approaching them by formal, even abstract means), the central problem is now not only the Waves Magazine

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of the performance allows the viewers to have a hand in crafting the art by influencing how the performer provides it and by how the art is received. The audience actually takes control of one side of the art, becoming a back-andforth process of creation. I see this exchange as the most significant lesson that the Fluxus movement can teach us. The live performance creates a distinct piece of art, separate from that of the original, rehearsed, or recorded form that already existed. The intermedial art piece becomes a combination of that which existed before and that which can only exist in the irreplaceable setting of the live performance. It’s much more of a human experience, and that’s exactly why

performance art is so necessary for preserving this exchange of meaning. Without the live setting, there remains a separation between the art and the viewer, a barrier that makes it harder to transmit a sense of emotion. For the art to be as meaningful as possible, there must be a direct exchange between the artist and the audience.

A DAY IN THE LIFE A COMIC BY KAITLIN CHAN

I was pretty inspired by the Beatles’ “Day in the Life” song when I painted this comic, I suppose it had a lot to do with the fact that I associate different songs with routines in my day.


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“You don’t start living until you’re at the edge of your comfort zone” says Leo Enverga ‘14 as a fitting end to our conversation. He started dancing freshman year on a whim and is now as involved as it gets in the Wesleyan dance community; he is a part of two dance groups and the dance workshop/collective “Milk and Choreo”. As a driven artist he has a hard time calling himself a dancer because he is “always growing and developing.” His humbleness and welcoming demeanor make for easy conversation on a rainy Friday in Albritton. By: Reta gasser Photos by: Aissa Gueye

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First question, how did you get the name Leo from Froilan? LE: It was right before I got into the country and started college, because I didn’t grow up here. I grew up in the Philippines. I went by a completely different name at home, my whole family knows me by a different name. I thought it was time to start something new and have a fresh start in a new country. So I decided, I’m going to be Leo. I had a list of options and I thought Leo sounds cool and I think I am cool so ... So you’re a dancer, how did you start dancing, where? LE: I didn’t start dancing until second semester freshman year. I randomly auditioned for this group called X-tacy without having any dance experience. It was a shitshow. It was basically me shaking and wobbling. I guess it helped that I pick up things fast in general. I guess they saw some sort of potential. I got into callbacks and then I got into the group and stayed with it. From there, things picked up. I realized how fun it was and so I started soaking as much as I could from the people around me. I started taking classes on campus and off campus the semester after and then it just blew up and I realized it was something I loved to do. What dance groups are you in? LE: I’m co-heading Fusion dance crew and X-tacy the collective. I’m also doing a Terp piece this semester and I started this organization/community called Milk and Choreo with Jillian Roberts ‘14 and Cole McNamee ‘14. That’s been propelling the dance community for about a year. Just talking about that is a whole thing. A lot has happened with that in the past year. Why don’t you tell us a little more about Milk and Choreo? LE: We started off just teaching a beginner workshop every Saturday last year starting January or February. We wanted to have a space where people without any experience—which was me when I got to college—could try it out without any pressure so they could learn and focus on themselves. We got amazing feedback. People kept coming back, they told their friends, more people came. It started growing and we noticed that more and more people were auditioning for things. We saw this huge self-confidence grow in so many people -and not just that, we also saw a huge increase in people’s dance skills. This past semester has been a whole new chapter because we started a whole bunch of new things, like the celebrity series, where we bring in professional dancers or choreographers from different cities to teach on campus. Last February we flew in Carlo Durang from San Diego who’s co-director of an award-winning dance group on the West coast. He taught two classes here at Wesleyan in February and it was amazing. His energy was great; it was perfect for the Milk and Choreo energy. Super positive, super supportive. He even told us how surprised he was. He told us that when he usually teaches at other places he has to ask people to cheer on their peers but here everyone is so supportive of each other. I’m happy that we’re able to create that vibe and community on campus. How is Milk and Choreo going to change after you and your co-creators graduate? LE: This past year I have been working on making sure people know what to do next year and that work is delegated to people. There isn’t really a leadership position; it’s more like a core team that makes everything happen. We started out with three of us last year but now we’re up to eight. I really believe in this team. Next year they’re going to bring this community to places that I couldn’t even imagine.

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How do you feel about choreographing versus preforming? Do you prefer one over the other? LE: That’s a good question. People ask that a lot, actually. I have to say that choreographing is significantly more work. For the first year that I started dancing I was definitely not ready to choreograph. I knew I needed to learn first. Initially I preferred dancing but now that I have started choreographing it is definitely more worth it. You get to express what you want to express. I didn’t think you could do so much with your body to express something with a song and with choreographing that is something you can do. Performance is always fun, though. As performers we always get our energy from the audience; every time there’s a show at Wesleyan, the crowd is on it. We know how to cheer and be a good audience.

Any shows coming up? LE: At the end of the semester we’re having a show produced by Milk and Choreo -- it will be the first one of its kind. What we noticed with how the dance community is portrayed on campus is that groups produce these late night shows on weekend nights where everyone is crunk and everyone is watching these dancers on stage shake their booty. But we as dancers know that what we do is a lot more than just shaking our asses. We work a lot for like 30 seconds on stage. It’s countless rehearsals all week. This show will not be late at night, and it will be in a better space to showcase our style of dancing and show that it should be perceived as an art and respected. If you could meet any choreographer, who would you meet? Who are your influences? LE: I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the people who have had a huge influence on me. Keone Madrid. During my second semester freshman year I had just gotten into callbacks for a group and I had no idea why I had gotten called back. I was on YouTube searching “hip-hop dance” and looking for things to help me out for callbacks because I had no idea what I was going to do. I came across this video choreographed by Keone on a stage with theatrical lights and it was labeled under hip-hop. I had no idea that that style of dance had that kind of potential. It blew my mind. It wasn’t to some ratchet twerk song; it was to an Adele song and it was telling a story and I didn’t think that style of dance could do that. I’ve taken his class once and I got to talk to him. It was not just his dance style and choreography that influenced me but also his work ethic that inspired me. He definitely stays humble even though he’s creating these huge things and becoming big in the professional world.

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So, as a dancer, music obviously plays a big part in what you do. What are your musical influences? What do you like to choreograph to most? What do you like to dance to most? LE: Music was my entire life before college. I played the alto saxophone for seven years. I played in a jazz band and in an orchestra and toured Asia as a classical saxophonist. That was a big part of my life and I didn’t realize until recently that that really helped me pick up things in dance. As a musician, you know all the nuances and all the syncopation of different things in music that most people can’t pick up. Just being able to count is really hard as a dancer so, as a former musician, it was really helpful that I knew all that stuff going into dancing. In terms of influences, I grew up listening to music from the ‘70s and ‘80s .It was always playing around my house. I love Motown. Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson are great and really fun to dance to. I love music with an intricate baseline so that was way back in the day when the bass line actually did something besides dum dum dum dum. I have been trying to choreograph to a bunch of different things. Though they don’t usually end up on shows, I like to play really different songs one after another. Sometimes they will be really groovy—like Stevie Wonder—and if I’m having a rough week I’ll play a slow song—like Sam Smith. More than anything I like being happy so I like bouncy and upbeat music. I don’t know if I could walk anywhere without earphones. I literally live with music.

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How do you feel about the hip-hop dance classes that Wesleyan offers? LE: Wesleyan offers one and it’s actually great. Moncell teaches it and he’s teaching us basically everything that set up hip-hop as it is today. We’re learning everything from the Charleston to dancing to jazz music. We’re up to locking right now and I guess we will keep going up to present day. So that’s been great. Do you feel like the Wesleyan dance department embraces hip-hop? LE: In terms of the style that my peers and I do and the groups on campus do, I think that the dance department needs a bit of education as to what the current style of dance is. At the moment their big focus is on offering students a class that is grounded in history, on what hip-hop has been. It has kinda evolved. In fact it is all under the umbrella name “Urban dance”. We are currently talking with them about how we can help them and they can help us. We’re trying to have more people dance on campus—That is something that we have in common with the dance department.

That leads well into my next question. Do you have any post-Wes plans? Do you plan on dancing after Wesleyan? LE: I was actually talking to a Wes alum last night who said he was going to stop dancing but is still dancing. I joked to him that I would stop dancing after graduating but I definitely hope and plan to keep dancing. Where I am will definitely affect how much access I have to studios or groups but it has become such a big part of my life I would hate to let it go. What’s your favorite song to dance to right now? LE: There are so many! I literally have a list. Most dancers have a list of things they want to choreograph to so I guess I’ll just pick one. It’s definitely something from the new Pharrell album -- either “Gust of Wind” or “Brand New”. Wait what’s your major? LE: Psychology. Not dance? LE: As an underclassman I didn’t hear the best things about the dance department. It’s still hard for me to call myself a dancer. Why is that? Do you not want to be defined by what you do?

RG: What does your average day look like? LE: It really depends on the day. Yesterday, I had class in the morning, and then I used lunch to catch up with friends. Then I have another class and a meeting for Milk and Choreo straight after. Then I scarfed down dinner. I had Terp rehearsal at 6:30pm , an X-tacy rehearsal at 7:45pm, and a Fusion rehearsal at 9:00pm. I do some work afterwards, go home and promptly crash. My classes aren’t too crazy this semester but I guess my time gets taken up by figuring out where I am going to be next year.

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LE: It’s not that. I always feel like a student. There is so much I can learn and I am still growing. Seeing professional dancers and what they can do, I always know that I can do more. I call them dancers and when I take their classes and talk to them after they’re like, “I’m still learning. I don’t know if I would define myself as a dancer.” I guess it just never ends. It’s a good way to see yourself as an artist. You’re always growing.

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s o l o m o n Solomon Billinkoff’s name precedes him. The New York City private high school network is pretty small and is rife with infamous characters who everybody knows. Solomon, for me, at least, was one of those people. We had some mutual friends from high school and I’d seen him floating around Facebook for years. When I arrived at school, I learned that Solomon was mostly known for the sheer quantity of stuff that he’s got his hands in. He is an actor, a writer, a filmmaker, a sketch comedy performer, a stand-up comedian, and a slam poet. He became a mentor to me both spiritually and in working on my own poetry. I sat down with Solomon (Jeremy Senie was also present) over some Weswings chicken parm to talk about his big plans. By: Max Friedlich Photos by: Aissa Gueye


Looking at what you ended up doing at Wesleyan, would you say it’s been consistent with your initial vision for your trajectory freshmen year? SB: I don’t know. I kind of feel like I didn’t really have a vision going in. I definitely didn’t really know a lot about slam poetry. Going into college I knew that I really wanted to act in shows and I wanted to do music. What ended up happening was ... I still do music although not as much and I still act in shows but those aren’t the most important things to me. So I think that ... my more ... collaborative things that I did were more what made my college experience for me. So like comedy stuff? SB: Yeah, I mean anything that I think I had control over or had at least an equal part in the conception process. Those were the things that really stuck out to me. Also the cross-pollination and seeing ... comedy people do theater and ... just sort of how everybody interacts and is in shows with each other. You know how Kevin Spacey will do a movie with Meryl Streep and then Meryl Streep will do a movie with George Clooney. It’s like the exact same thing at Wesleyan. Would you say that that’s a theme in terms of things you’ve drifted away from? Less collaborative things? I know you used to be on the slam team but don’t really do slam anymore. Do you feel you’ve drifted from less collaborative mediums? SB: The thing about slam poetry is that it’s very collaborative. You very much have a lot of say and control. In the process ... slam poetry feels like its best in small but intense doses. Being on a team was not for me personally. For me it’s about seeing poems and writing shit to make you improve as a poet. Whereas being on a team and drilling a poem over and over again like it’s a sports play ... that’s not as thrilling to me and felt less collaborative, which is because you’re clarifying the beats and doing it over and over again. What I say is, the worst slam poetry is terrible and the best slam poetry is amazing. But for a lot of poets doing a poem over and over again it can gain certain rigidity to it. It can lose its spontaneity over time and that’s what I found was happening with my poetry over time. Definitely. I think it can be hard to have to cut really personal stuff or things you care about for the sake of making a piece more slamable. SB: Well I don’t know. I feel like I would contest that because I feel like what artist collaboration is when you have written something and you submit it to a group of people to look over like ... they’re gonna tell you things to cut and what I always say is -especially with regard to Lunchbox – once you put something out there it belongs to the group. It’s the groups will ... they have to have other ideas. Like they can’t just say that it’s shit, they have to have other ideas and reasons why a line isn’t working. The more criticism I’ve gotten on shit and the more shit people have told me to cut have lent my work more urgency and I’ve become a better writer because I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to really struggle and confront criticism head-on.

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In terms of doing artistic work outside of class, do you create deadlines for yourself? How do you get work done without someone over your shoulder? SB: I often feel like it’ll be two big spurts. One, where I come up with the idea and start working on it. Then the next time ... which might be like three years later where I feel like I have the time to confront the idea and where I can work on it. It’s hard to write something all in one shot for me. Having a deadline really helps because then I have the ... Like what I was realizing with my thesis script in regards to deadlines {Solomon drops a sizeable amount of chicken parm on his pants. We break to retrieve napkins} Only when I spent three or four days working on it ... that’s when I could submit a solid draft. Because there’s this thing about like ... like at a certain point people in the arts, performance arts in particular, they realize that they’re talented. But it takes ... like nobody’s a prodigy. Nobody’s been a prodigy since like Mozart. You really have to work hard to create work that good. That’s a tough truth. There’s a lot of hard work involved. The short answer to your question is that I don’t have a set regiment. I think that more time is always good.

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With all these eclectic interests, what made you want to be a film major as opposed to creative writing or theater?

How do think music informs your work, if at all? SB: The thing about music, especially if you’re thinking about conventionally structured songwriting, it has to be tight. You can’t waste anytime and in that way music really informs. Often times the best movies will like ... there’s sense of rhythm and momentum that a good song has. My favorite song ever is ‘There, There’ by Radiohead cause it’s just like “boom tak tak.” It has the really ominous drum beat, but at the end of the song it sort of crashes into this big explosive thing which is how I kind of feel about dramatic work and that sort of thing.

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SB: I don’t really know. I regret that I’ve never taken an English class. Film is one of the most consumed media in the world and it’s ... to understand how these things work is very ... I don’t know. For me it was very eye-opening. I don’t know. Watching a movie, if you’re thinking in the most basic terms, does not require any work. Literally you just watch it and it affects you and you just deal with it. Literally of all the media it takes the most work to put together. The degree to which directors have to think about all these different ideas of time and space and they have to contend with all these issues and they also have to contend with narrative issues. It’s bringing this enormous skill set that you have to have into one medium. It’s like you’re dealing with so many different things. If you’re a writer-director, you have to have narrative concerns but you also have to have visual concerns. And that’s a real challenge because getting a movie together, as I learned, is very very hard because you have to ... especially for me I wanted to make a good movie. Sorry. That sounds pretentious but I wanted to make a good movie and I knew that with the drafts I was putting out that if I ... that with the drafts I was putting out ... Like if draft number three was the one I shot, the one I put into production, I’d be wasting everyone’s time. I don’t know. There’s something really cool about watching a movie and being able to articulate why it’s good. As a film major ... have you taken any film classes?


No not yet. SB: I recommend that you take Film Analysis. They teach you about all these narrative techniques. When you see a movie, you’re able to recognize these techniques and gain an understanding for why this movie works or doesn’t work. Every movie becomes an education for filmmakers and so it’s ... that to me ... I wish I could put it into a sentence but that to me is why I do this. The fact that you don’t have a sentence proabably sums it up. Jeremy: Unless you had like a really dope sentence. SB: I don’t have a dope sentence.

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So can you tell us what you’re about/ who are you/where are you from/ what do you do? YZ: My name is Yatta Zoker. I am Sierra Leonian, but I was originally born in Houston, TX. When I was eleven I moved to Saudi Arabia and stayed there through my freshman year [in high school]. Then I came to CT for boarding school and I stayed here till I graduated and now I’m at Wesleyan. By: Djibril Sall Photos by: Aissa Gueye

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How do the places you’ve lived influence the kind of art you make? YZ: Well, I’ll start off by saying I consciously started making art during junior year [at Wesleyan] because I took a photography class with Sasha Rudensky. I had to pause cause I was close to saying Sasha Fierce, but yea. I started out with photography and I had never done anything visual. In Saudi I was always doing performances like dancing and singing. They were kind of bizarre because you had to be conscious of the culture there which was largely influenced by Sharia law, which was...pretty oppressive. So I mostly did hip hop and jazz and that was safe, but I had never done any visual arts. Could you tell us what artistic process or medium you engage in? YZ: Whatever it takes...if I have an idea I will just do anything or learn whatever it takes to create it.

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How do those two artistic mediums translate into your artistic process? YZ: So I was doing all of these different things and I like it when something in my life is working towards one thing because I like things to be interdisciplinary. I came up with one project where I sang one song with my jazz teacher for the whole semester over and over everyday. My jazz teacher always says to make sure you are telling a true story when you are singing. That really resonated with me and I wanted to incorporate that sentiment into my drawing. So I decided to play the same song I was learning in my jazz vocal class for the people that I was gonna be drawing. I chose two people who I thought reminded me of the musicians who had sung the song-the song is I Can’t Give You Anything But Love-- and the two people were Gerpha Gerlin ’16 and Ryan Moye ’16. Respectively, I had them each listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong and then I spoke to them about what the song evoked for them. Gerpha talked about love and a past relationship she had and Ryan talked about his grandma and listening to jazz with her off of a New York jazz station. I’m eating this up because that is what’s exciting to me, but having to put the interviews and the drawings together was a challenge because I don’t know if I did that successfully really but the process was fun. So now, I want to do interview-based visual art because that is what gives my art meaning to me.

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Walking into the kitchen of 88 Home on a Monday night, I encountered Henry Hall and his two housemates (Evan Williams and Robby Caplan) seated at the table watching angsty teen rock videos from the early 2000s. Whether it was graduation-induced nostalgia or pure desire that prompted the “Fall Out Boy” YouTube search, I couldn’t say. Henry and I separated ourselves from the middle-school reminiscence of the kitchen to settle in to his living room for the interview. Probably best known for his role as lead singer and guitarist in the Grand Cousin, Henry’s artistic endeavors are not limited to music. As a film student making a thesis film, Henry also is in the process of expressing himself through this visual medium. He spoke to me about film, music and how these two artistic elements in his life interact. By: Reta gasser Photos by: Aissa Gueye


As a senior, are you doing a thesis? Can you tell the readers a little bit about that? HH: Well, Reta, yes I am doing a thesis. My thesis is called “There’s Nothing Wrong With Me” and it’s about a guy who has a lot of things wrong with him. The opposite of what the title suggests. He basically invades his girlfriend’s apartment to play her a song, which is where the musical element of the film comes into play, and it turns into this music video. Pretty soon after, he is confronted with the reality that he shouldn’t be doing things like that and then wackiness ensues. Maybe you can speak to this as it relates to your thesis film or to your film experience in general but, any directors that influence you stylistically or narratively? HH: I don’t have much production experience. This is my first time making a movie so I couldn’t really say who my influences are at this point but I really love certain directors. I love Douglas Sirk a lot, Fassbinder, Hertzog, and Robert Altman. I love anyone who embraces some weirdness. You say you don’t have much film experience and is it fair for me to say that is attributable to the Wesleyan Film program and its approach? Can you speak about how you feel about this approach? HH: I think that the Wesleyan’s Film Department’s approach to educating their kids on film is really great, at least it’s been really great for me. I came into making my thesis with a lot of knowledge about film theory and I really found it to be applicable to what I was doing. I think that the way that the logistical parameters work with the thesis program are very realistic and not too difficult for the students to meet. I definitely speak very highly of the film department in that regard. I have had a really great time in the film department. I feel like they synthesize all different elements of the film medium really well and I feel like I have had a full experience as a person learning about film. I hate to ask this but what are some of your favorite movies? HH: Shit what do I like a lot? I love Melancholia. There are a few movies that I watch all of the time. I love The Searchers. This is sort of a strange one but I love Two Lovers with Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow. It was the movie that got lost in the ether because it came out when Joaquin had his whole fiasco on Letterman but I think that’s a really fantastic movie. I love Knight of the Hunter and a lot of film noir movies—of course because I’m a Wesleyan film student—but yeah I love Out of the Past, On Dangerous Ground. And then, Anchorman is my favorite movie. Could you speak a little bit to your musical experience. When did you start playing? Who are your musical influences? HH: I have been playing music for pretty much my whole life. I have been in bands since I was in 6th grade. Were you ever in pep band? HH: What is pep band? You know where you play at the sporting events and stuff? HH: My school wasn’t really into that whole thing. Very progressive. Teachers called by their first name. (But shout out to Crossroads, I love Crossroads. My boys, Adam Guther, Ezra, what’s up) HH: ANYWAYS. I played in bands my whole life. I’ve been writing music my whole life.


Your whole life as in 6th grade forwards? HH: Well yeah I mean I guess technically not my whole life. I mean I probably wrote my first song when I was in 5th or 6th grade. Songwriting, performing, recording, playing music with people, they have all always gone hand in hand for me. Grand Cousin has been together since the first week of freshman year so I have played a lot of band stuff in my life. What are some of your personal musical influences and musical influences of the band? HH: People who I have been really digging lately are your Mac Demarco’s of the world, a little Death Grips, definitely a little Toro y Moi, a little Twin Shadow. In terms of influences, people who have been in my brain forever, are Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke. I try to listen to a lot of different kinds of music. OH and my guilty pleasure, well not even guilty because I don’t feel bad about it but I love country music from the 50s and 60s and earlier even. Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and stuff like that. That stuff has a very special place in my heart. Shout out to all those people.

This edition of the magazine is called “A Day in the Life” so could you run us through your average day or maybe a compilation of all the cool things you have done in one week? HH: What do I do in a day? Well it begins like most people’s days with me waking up. I get out of bed. I make sure all of the blood from the murders I have committed from the night before is off of me, get that out of the way. I come out to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee with my housemates and friends. All your friends come over? HH: Yeah all of my friends come over and we drink coffee. Then I maybe eat a little something and go to class. I go to film class, that’s a big part of the day. Then I go for a run or something, get the blood flowing and then I’ll come back home, maybe do a little homework. This is exciting, what an exciting day so far. I always end up playing a little guitar, working on a few songs. I don’t really have a regimented way of doing that but if I feel like playing guitar or piano I’ll do that for a while. Then hit up the Nest, every single night.

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Yeah I hear it’s pretty crazy on Mondays. HH: Oh yeah, it pops off on Mondays; everybody knows it. Shout out to the Nest by the way. Seriously. It always is there, whether or not you ever want to go. HH: Definitely shout out to the Nest. Make sure all of my shout outs make it in there. Yeah, 100%. HH: Good. Going forward, any post-Wesleyan plans to continue in your artistic endeavors? HH: Definitely. I have plans to be a musician after school and keep making my own music and playing with people and preforming and producing. So that’s the general plan as of now. Grand Cousin is going on tour right after school. Just a little tour from New York to Nashville area. You guys are headlining Bonnaroo right? HH: Yeah exactly. We’re headlining Bonnaroo with Kanye. No but actually it looks like we’re going to play Bonnaroo, seriously.

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Whoa, I wasn’t even fishing for that answer but that’s great! HH: We’re not taking Kanye’s spot though. We’re playing in some sweaty tent or something somewhere but totally awesome, big honor to do that. A big thing for me is finding projects and ways to synthesize my interests because I love film and I love making music. Making music has been a part of my life for so long that that comes first for me, I think. I have a lot of superstitions, weird stuff. When I write songs I have to be alone in my room. It’s an insular process for me. But making my thesis was so collaborative. I worked with a bunch of great awesome people and it was a totally new way of being creative. I want to be able to do both of those things and try to practice different things with both mediums. It would be really cool to work with a lot of people to write a song and it would be cool to do something more on my own with a movie and maybe make it more of an insular process. I want to try a bunch of different things. So yeah, hit me up everybody. Any last shout outs? HH: Yeah. Shout out Tibetan Kitchen. Shout out Schwab, 88 Home, 84 Home (gotta get the neighbors in there, Rachel Rosengard, what’s up Francesca). And shout out Brisk Lemon Tea, which I am drinking currently. Oh, and shout out Reta, obviously, big shout out Reta.

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Nate Repasz: Welcome to the interview. Rob is cutting conic sections of a grapefruit. Myoclonic Sections...Rob is having a myoclonic Jerk. A Myoclonic Jerk is something that Rob could explain. Rob Hallberg: Dude I don’t know much about it. NR: It’s a rare neurological phenomenon where you like, seize. It happened in House once, to a bus driver. The bus crashed, and House figured it out! But he didn’t save everybody from dying. By: Jay Sharma Photos by: Aissa Gueye

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What are some things your involved in? NR: Lets Party Hats! Hats! Hats! is my band, my trio, with Sean Winnik ‘14 and Adam Johnson ’14. They both play guitar and drums. It’s like a hardcore technical outfit. I also do a lot of 16th century liturgical vocal music with Rob here and former grad student, Bryan Parks. We do a weekly Compline service. It’s an old Christian tradition monks would perform at night, but we do it just for the cultural merit. Rob, myself, and some other people are singing some music like that for Isaac Silk’s (’14) thesis. That’s been a recent vein in my Wesleyan music experience. I’m also in two acapella groups—Slender James, a group I founded with Rob, Simon Riker ‘14, and a dude named Bryan Godell. It’s an awesomely fun group to be a part of. I’m also in Slavei, an eastern European acapella group, which Rob is in as well. Sean Winnik: Rob also lives here, was Nate’s sophomore roommate, and has known him since 4th grade! NR: Rob and I have had very parallel trajectories. Anyways, Slavei is great, we have these get togethers where we drink a bunch of wine and toast to everything. I also do some Solkattu—South Indian percussion, and Mridangam lessons. I’m in Noah Rush ‘14 and Tennessee Mowrey’s (’14) theses. I also did some work for this composer Downey Stanks. He writes these very old fashioned, sort of charming in some ways, pieces of music. Slender James has also done some recording for those. How did you originally get into music? NR: I started taking violin lessons when I was five. My parents took me to this instrument petting zoo thing after a symphony concert, so I picked up a violin and had an affinity for it. I was a pretty serious violinist up through high school, playing in an orchestra in my town and taking lessons. That was the foundation for a lot of my early musical experiences, string ensembles and things like that. I’ve always been into percussion but never fully explored it until I got a drum set in 8th grade. I started taking lessons half way through high school after teaching myself for a few years, and that really became my passion; it kind of overtook the violin. Recently I’ve actually had a resurgence of violin excitement. I didn’t even really study music theory until senior year of high school. I learned rhythmic stuff and violin technique, but not really theory. Anyways, that’s the encapsulation. SW: Nate’s also a very funny guy. He makes a lot of sounds. NR: Yes, I make a lot of noises. We have this call between our housemates. It’s this loud whisper that has a lot of resonance. Simon can do it—unfortunately Noah can’t. You shouldn’t publish that. Just say the whole house can do it. Do you do it individually when each of you wake up? NR: I do it when I wake up just to see who’s around. SW: I definitely do it in the morning. Usually when we get back home from something. Is it Call and Response? SW: Yeah, we also do it when we see each other in public.

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Tell me more about Lets Party Hats! Hats! Hats!. NR: At this point it’s the only band I’m a member of. I’m in it with Sean and Adam. My memory of the band’s roots are hazy... how exactly did it start? SW: It started during the hurricane junior year, in the fall of 2012. Nate and I went over to music house to hang out with Adam, it was a really spooky night, and we just started jamming. We just really liked what we were playing. It wasn’t that heavy initially.

NR: Right. But then we saw Bakshi play and we got really excited to play hardcore music. We had a rehearsal three days before our first show. It was all hardcore, sludge metal, underground Connecticut bands, and we opened the show; it was great. We have an EP that we made while living in Beta last summer. It turned into this weird artist’s colony over the summer. In the last days of summer we wrote and recorded an EP in Beta. We call it the Pain Hurts EP—available for download on our bandcamp. We gig occasionally. Our music is pretty technical I guess, we like to use different rhythmic structures that cycle through different time signatures. Our sound is still evolving; Sean was doing a lot of sax stuff before, but now he’s mainly on guitar. All the vocals are screamed. We still do noise stuff, a lot of feedback and samples. We all tend to expend a lot of energy at shows. SW: Nate threw up one time. NR: I did. What’s the average day in the life for you? NR: Lately it’s been a lot of other people’s rehearsals. I go to bed late. We usually jam, play chess—we play a lot of chess. Listen to a lot of Yellowman—he’s this dancehall reggae artist.


What are you plans after graduating? NR: I’m definitely going to make music after I graduate, the question is in what form. My goal for a year-ish from now is to start hiking the Appalachian Trail. I do a lot of hiking and backpacking—I’ve worked in trails departments and stuff. It’s a pretty big part of who I am. I do it over breaks; Sean and I went backpacking a few times this summer. It’s been a goal of mine to do the AT for a long time. I’ll probably live at my dad’s place in Connecticut, try and get a job as an SAT tutor. Other than that, I’ll just try and make music as much as possible. I’m going to be playing music with Sean too, I have a sort of hazy distant plan of going to grad school for music, but I gotta sock away some cash first.

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avemoney, Chicago’s favorite crew, has been on the come-up for a few years now. They provide a very important contrast to the likes of Chief Keef, who is usually the first reference people have to Chicago’s rap/hip-hop scene. I could write a book about all the moves they’ve made, another about the things they’ll do in the next three years. But I’ll let you see for yourself. By: Korinne Davis Savemoney is really just a group of young people, but together they are a mysterious entity—not quite a gang, but more powerful than just a crew. What started as some friends at Whitney Young in Chicago (a.k.a. Bo Squad) has grown into something bigger than you’d think. You’ve heard Chance the Rapper’s music. You may have even heard of Vic Mensa, who just dropped his mixtape INNANETAPE at the end of September. And if you’ve looked further into the crew you’ve seen Joey Purp, Kami de Chukwu, Caleb James and Tokyo Shawn, each of whom has a completely unconventional sound. Fakeshore Drive, one of Chicago’s hip-hop authorities has called them “a new-age Wu-Tang Clan.” It’s not your everyday rap. Chance wasn’t popular until almost a year after he released his mixtape #10day. Vic is just now coming up. Both of them just made it to XXL’s Freshman class. The others aren’t really on the radar yet, but Savemoney has already taken over Chicago. We’ll see who’s next in the game. It’s not just rap. Nico Segal plays the trumpet(he also plays in Kids These Days and in Chance’s band the Social Experiment). Thelonious Martin is a producer, K-Rock a studio artist. Austin Vesely is a professional-level filmmaker. He’s produced dozens of their videos and is well on his way into the industry. There are others who are more elusive, and I use the word “members” loosely. There’s not a clear distinction between people who are in it and people who are close affiliates, supporters, etc. And maybe that’s a part of the attraction. We’re all in it.

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Savemoney has been a sort of lingering entity since around 2008. I don't know any of them particularly well, but they are always around. They host events across the city; they have their own brand, Savemoney Worldwide, and they hold some serious cultural weight. Even writing this I may not be doing them their due justice. They aren’t just regular guys who are good at rapping. They are all smart, talented, and extremely well-networked people, but they also happen to deal, rob, and have baby mamas. There are Chance and others who dropped out of high school, and also Vic, who graduated with a 4.0 (so I hear). How do you group them all together? I don’t know. After Chance’s rise to fame, big-name publications like Complex, Vice, and XXL have tried to capture the essence of Savemoney, but they all seem to be missing something. What makes them different from any other group of young people trying to make it big? The idea is the same, but groups like Taylor Gang, Pro. Era and GBE aren't comparable. They’ve played a role in my social experience in Chicago, and I want to explain the influence that hypebeast blogs miss. What about the vocabulary that they seem to spontaneously disperse throughout the city, and their completely metaphorical language? Do you know what tweakin’ means yet? Or what a steamer is? What about their perspectives on Chicago politics and demographics, and their own very raw experiences as young men in an urban environment? And what's that weird combination of street and high-end fashion that they wear (you may have asked yourself, what's wrong with white socks and boat shoes)? What word do you give a group who is influential in so many different spheres? They are actively reversing the effects of mainstream hype. Savemoney is a genuine and refreshing movement within a pop culture that is often calculated and singular. It’s a group of extremely diverse and influential young people—a creativity collective. And it's the biggest and best thing coming out of Chicago right now. Don't sleep.

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Waves Magazine Volume IV  

Senior Edition

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