With our help, you, too, can experience all that the Wes art community has to offer. Don’t feel bitter. We’re sure cool acts will be here this year, too…
Eclectic: One of the best venues on campus for live music, Eclectic brings in countless high-profile bands from around the indie (and not so indie) world.
’08-’09 Highlights: Up-and-coming alum bands Bear Hands and Boy Crisis rocked the house almost all night in October, while punk-rockers Ponytail did the same in May. The consistently high volume of both music and people generated noise complaints, which lead to a shutdown of Eclectic during the spring; the popular venue re-opened soon after a high-profile campaign.
Beta: Stereotypically, fraternities aren’t known for fostering the arts, Beta is the place for fantastic live performances a few nights a year.
Highlights: King George practically blew the roof off the house with their funkalicious beats.
Psi U: Psi U is the place to go for big dance parties, DJ showcases, the occasional live band, or even benefit concerts, like last year’s Friends of Africa benefit.
Highlights: Blue Scholars tear up the stage in front of a packed house, dropping bombs like it’s 1939.
Davison Art Center: Last year, the Alsop House, which houses the DAC, was named as a National Historic Landmark. After enjoying the architecture, check out the phenomenal art inside, much of which comes from the University’s print and photography collection.
Beckham Hall: Introduced as a sort of “activities fair” venue during Orientation, Beckham actually hosts diverse events year-round (last year, events included ballroom dancing, the Korean Cultural Show, and Queer Prom).
Highlights: The Minnesota-native albino rapper Brother Ali not only drops rhymes for us in Beckham, but also grants the Argus an exclusive interview. Hell yeah.
’92 Theater: Home to Second Stage, the ’92 is one of the best places to find theater on campus.
Highlights: The Wesleyan Theater Department presents an epic production of Threepenny Opera; continuing the trend of huge, unorthodox musicals, Sam Ottinger ‘09’s senior thesis show Black Friday blows audiences’ ears and expectations.
Memorial Chapel: Despite the high-falutin’surroundings, Memorial Chapel is a good place to look for slightly off-beat events (and religion).
Highlights: The Chapel hosted reading by two Pulitzer Prize winners, Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and Tony Kushner (Angels in America), as well as Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient). During WesFest, alum Tristan Taormino discussed her career as a feminist pornographer and her days living with the nickname “Anal Queen”
Zilkha: The best place to find large art installations, Zilkha is open year-round and welcomes new shows throughout both semester.
Highlights: Piles of rice arranged creatively by Stan’s Café, an art group from Britain, put global warming statistics in perspective. At years-end senior Art majors showed off their theses.
WestCo Café: It’s gritty, but this basement is possibly the most Wesleyan of all the venues on this list (Fun Fact: It was originally founded by future Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer during her days as a student here). You can find dark plays, comedy events, and, occasionally, a rave or two.
Events: The Second Stage production of Broadway musical Songs for a New World moved audiences to tears and applause, then a few months later WesBurlesque moved quite a different part of the audience…
Crowell Concert Hall: The place to go for high-profile musical acts, classical concerts, cultural festivals, and dance shows. You can find a show here every weekend, without fair
Highlights: Indian music and dance drew huge crowds during the annual Navaratri festival and folkie Dar Williams ‘89 came home to play (and autograph guitars).
World Music Hall: While it’s not as well-known or well-trafficked as Crowell, The World Music Hall boasts an eclectic slate and is the hub of Wesleyan’s renowned Ethnomusicology program.
Highlights: It was impossible to find a ticket to perennial favorite Terpsichore (a huge annual dance show choreographed and performed by amateurs), and post-modernist opera She Unnames Them mixed the story of Adam and Eve with singing whales.
CFA Theater: Although it only hosts a few shows per year, the CFA Theater’s shows are generally the largest and most technically impressive. Go to a show here, if only to see the invariably gorgeous sets.
Highlights: Two different productions of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, one by the groundbreaking modern dancers of Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and one presented by the Wesleyan Theater Department, bookend a season of epic dance and theater shows.
Freeman Center for East Asian Studies: While it’s not particularly well-known for arts, the Freeman Center (designed in the classical Japanese style) is home to the highly regarded East Asian Studies Department, which hosts art exhibits and lectures year-round.
Highlights: “China Balancing the Changes: Photographs by Sharon Crain” occupied Freeman; later, professors and writers present a series of lectures on U.S.-China relations.
Russell House, Downey House: If you want to expand your literary horizons, visit Russell House or Downey House and attend a lecture by an alum or visiting distinguished writer. The Albritton Center may take on some hosting duties this year, as well.
Highlights: The Distinguished Writers Series hosts weekly literary lectures, welcoming guests like Visiting Professor of English André Aciman and former Professor of English, African American Studies, and American Studies Gayle Pemberton.
If you keep an eye on Wesleying, AuralWes, and, perhaps most importantly, the ARGUS EVENTS CALENDAR, you’ll find the all sort of venues, from academic buildings to program houses, host cool, under-the-radar performances.