Tag Archive for The Wall Street Journal

Krishna Winston Memorializes Gunter Grass

Krishna Winston

Krishna Winston

When the Nobel Prize-winning German writer Günter Grass died at age 87 this week, The Wall Street Journal turned to Krishna Winston, his translator, for perspective on his life.

According to the Journal’s obituary, Grass was Germany’s best-known contemporary writer “who explored the country’s postwar guilt and in 2006 admitted to serving in one of the Nazis’ most notorious Nazi military units.”

Winston remembered Grass as “a gregarious man who loved cooking and invited his children to sit in on meetings with translators that often lasted several days…”

‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ on Broadway

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a cult classic with music and lyrics by Stephen Trask ’89, opened on Broadway to rave reviews this month, 16 years after its original run off-Broadway in 1998. Trask, who also did orchestration for the show, tells The Wall Street Journal how much times have changed since then:

When Mitchell and composer Stephen Trask tried to court the mainstream theaters with the show in 1998, not a single theater wanted to house “Hedwig.”

“Only a few months before our 1998 off-Broadway debut at the Jane Street Theater, there was no theater,” Trask wrote in an email to Speakeasy. “Instead there was an abandoned, derelict ballroom at a flop-house SRO hotel. Peter Askin, our director and producer, built the stage, bought some old movie theater seats, and made that theater for us because no one would have us. The Public? No. New York Theater Workshop? No. The theater on 8th Ave that had been empty for two years: they turned US down. And forget about Broadway. Theaters recoiled at the rock music that actually sounded like rock. They weren’t so fond of the drag element, much less the trans element. The combination was deadly. And frankly, we were just too queer.”

But the Jane Street Theatre did finally stage “Hedwig,” and the show began to catch on.

“It was a very, very slow build,” Trask said. “We slowly built a coalition of the sliver of theatergoers who didn’t mind the drag and the punk rock, the rockers who didn’t mind the drag and the theater, the gay audiences who didn’t mind the rock music.”

Eventually, “Hedwig” would manage a solid run of 857 performances to ever-growing acclaim. So much acclaim that Mitchell was able to produce and star in the feature film. No small feat, at a time when gay characters, let alone transgender characters, were rarely portrayed on screen.

The show also was recently reviewed in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Guardian and The Chicago Tribune, among others.



Cardinals Have a Strong Supporter in Bill Belichick ’75

On Saturday, Wesleyan will try to become the first team in 12 years to beat Trinity College on their home field in Hartford, Conn.

That’s why Wesleyan football coach and school alumnus Mike Whalen started practice a little differently this past Monday. Instead of launching into the customary drills that typically follow stretching, according to the Wall Street Journal, Whalen gathered his squad and read them an email.

From Bill Belichick.

The Best Way to Reform Libor: Scrap It

“The British have learned nothing from the recent Libor scandal” involving the manipulation by banks of a vitally important interest-rate benchmark, writes Professor of Economics Richard Grossman in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. This is clear from a recent decision by a British government-appointed committee to hand over control of Libor to NYSE Euronext, a company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange, and a number of other stock, bond, and derivatives exchanges. “In other words, the company that will be responsible for making sure that Libor is set responsibly and fairly will be in a position to profit like no one else from even the slightest movements in Libor.”

The only solution, writes Grossman, is to scrap Libor and devise alternative market-determined benchmark rates, which cannot be manipulated. He concludes, “The incentive to game an benchmark rate such as Libor is just too high to risk putting it in the hands of a single private entity, however committed that entity may be to restoring its credibility. Replacing Libor with a transparent, fair, market-based alternative is the only sensible solution.”

The op-ed can be read on The Wall Street Journal website by those in the Wesleyan network, and WSJ subscribers.

Miranda on Co-Writing Acts for the Tony Awards

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 spoke to The Wall Street Journal about co-writing the opening and closing (with Tommy Kail ’99) acts for the Tony Awards this week. The team also co-wrote the closing wrap-up rap for Tony’s host Neil Patrick Harris two years ago.

This year, Miranda said, Harris wanted to up the ante. “Neil’s like, how about I do a magic trick? How about I jump through a hoop? Can that rhyme be more complicated? I mean he just embraces a degree of difficulty that I’ve never seen. It’s a joy to write for him,” Miranda said. “It’s crazy to write for someone who can do everything.”

Videos of the opening and closing acts are at the bottom of the article.

My Global Philosophy Course

President Michael S. Roth writes in The Wall Street Journal about his experience teaching a MOOC, “The Modern and the Post-Modern,” on Coursera. Though he was at first “awe-struck by the number and variety of students” enrolled in his online class, communication between students on message boards, Facebook and a “Google Hangout” video chat made the class seem less massive.

He concluded: “Teaching this MOOC has shown me that online courses will be increasingly viable and valuable learning options for those who can’t make their way to campuses. Taking a course online is clearly not the same thing as integrating study with residential experience, but it is a powerful mode of learning that is already enriching millions of lives across the globe.”

The Story Until Now

The Wall Street Journal published an enthusiastic review of “The Story Until Now,” Kit Reed’s new collection of stories. The collection “reminds us that although she has been writing award-winning fiction for some 50 years, she’s still accelerating. The scope of these 35 stories is immense, their variety unmatched,” the review states.

Reed is a resident writer in the English Department.

Basinger’s Book on Marriage in the Movies Reviewed

The Wall Street Journal review of I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies, by Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger, states: “Crammed with summaries and analysis of films from the past 100 years, I Do and I Don’t brilliantly demonstrates Hollywood’s abiding ambivalence about the institution of matrimony. Ever since the silent era publicity people have avoided using the word ‘marriage’ when they promote a film, convinced that audiences find romance exciting while judging married life a bore. Yet movies about married people proved enduringly popular…”

The book was also reviewed in Salon.

Jeanine Basinger Reviews “Hollywood Sketchbook”

Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger recently reviewed a new book, Hollywood Sketchbook, by Deborah Nadoolman Landis in The Wall Street JournalLandis, a costume designer herself, “defines the difference between the designer’s costuming goal and the role of the sketch artist. Costume sketches were never intended to be fashion drawings: Kinetic, emotional and drawn for a specific personality or character, they were about much more than clothes,” writes Basinger.

Basinger Reviews Biography of Actor Dana Andrews

The Wall Street Journal recently published a review by Jeanine Basinger, chair of film studies and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, of, “Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews,” a new biography of the actor. Basinger considers why Andrews, who had a long career as a leading man in film, has been relegated to a “second tier” of actors, seldom listed among the legendary male stars of the studio system.