Michael Bay ’86
Major: English and Film
Since you’re at- tending here, there is a 77.8 percent chance you have aspirations of becoming a pretentious film major and then using the prestigious Wes name to further your career among Hollywood big shots and indie film darlings to eventually become a renowned feature film director. In that case, there is probably little need for me to tell you much about Michael Bay, who directed movies like…well, lots of them, but mostly “Transformers”. Also, surprisingly, the music video for Divinyls 1991 hit “I Touch Myself.” Anyway. The only thing you really need to remember is that without Michael Bay, you probably wouldn’t know who Megan Fox is.
Carter Bays and Craig Thomas ’97
After a brief stint writing witty dialogue for other people’s television shows, Bays and Thomas began work on the show that would make them famous, “How I Met Your Mother”. The duo are not only the creators of HIMYM, but also the main writers and executive producers. If you’ve never tuned in before, I highly recommend it. Not only is HIMYM remarkably funny, but there are also loads of Wes references to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about your choice of collegiate institution (three of the main characters are Wes alumni).
MGMT (Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden) ’05
Do you like MGMT? I’ll bet you do, froshie.
Well, too bad. Wesleyan is probably the only liberal arts college in the country where it is actually kind of un-cool to be into these guys. I’m not really sure why. Are the rest of us jealous? Too snobby? Do we really hate hipsters all that much (a self loathing sort of deal)? Whatever the reason, all I know is that for as long as we’ve have been writing for the Argus there has been a sign hanging in our office stating “MGMT Is Dead To Us” in hastily written spiky black letters. All in all, most of you are probably aware of this group if not deeply obsessed with them (I’ll bet you stayed home on prom night and made out to ‘Kids’) but for you comp sci nerds I’ll do a brief over- view just so you don’t embarrass yourself. Goldwasser and VanWyngarden formed MGMT in their freshman year, fiddling about with melodies when they weren’t tripping on acid or going to class. After graduating they quickly rose to popularity, touring and performing alongside such groups as Of Montreal and Chairlift, and soon became beloved of Ginsberg touting-thick rimmed glasses wearing hipsters everywhere. Now go listen to Time To Pretend under your sheets while your roommate is sleeping.
Matthew Weiner ’87
Weiner is a highly respected producer in the television world, but is best known for being the creator of the highly popular show “Mad Men,” for which he is also the executive producer and head writer. The AMC show, set in the 1960s and centering on Don Draper, a suave advertising executive, began in 2007, almost immediately garnering praise from both critics and general audiences. To date it has won nine Emmys and four Golden Globes as well as receiving and being nominated for countless other awards. Weiner was also supervising producer on another popular show you’ve probably heard of, “The Sopranos.” Most recently, Weiner won the 2010 Best Drama Emmy award for “Mad Men”.
Miguel Arteta ’89
Another notable Wes alumnus of the film world, albeit much lesser known to the general public than Bay, is Miguel Arteta. His greatest accomplishments lie not in the world of summer blockbusters, but in independent films like “Star Maps” and “Chuck and Buck”, both of which were very well received at Sundance. Arteta also directed the 2010 film version of “Youth In Revolt,” and even came back to Wes last spring to screen the movie and speak to interested students.
Daniel Handler (AKA LEMONY SNICKETT) ’92
This guy wrote “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” So. Cool.
I suppose it is my editorial duty to write a little bit more than that. For those of you who some- how missed out on this phenomenon, “Events” is a series of 13 young adult novels following the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. After their parents die, these precocious tykes are subject to any number of truly horrible experiences, many of which would seem to blatantly fall into the category of child abuse. Too bad few of the adults around them seem to care. That may sound dire for novels aimed at an eight-to-thirteen demographic, but hey, it’s all in the title and, anyway, things turn out all right in “The End” (see what I did there?).
Amanda Palmer ’98
Amanda Palmer is a singer/songwriter/performer/prolific tweeter/engaged to Neil Gaiman. Generally she’s regarded as a pretty awesome musician (played Coachella 2009!) who is best known for being in the Dresden Dolls, and while she may not be a pop culture icon like Gaga, she does have an incredibly loyal fan base. Besides releasing various group and solo albums, Palmer has performed in numerous theatrical productions and is currently starring in “Cabaret” at the A.R.T. in Boston. When she attended Wes, she was in the Eclectic Society and reportedly did not enjoy her undergrad experience very much. So for those of you who come to regret choosing Wes (hopefully not very many), take comfort in the knowledge that you, too, can still achieve success.
Joss Whedon ’87
Major: Film and Gender Studies
Certainly one of Wesleyan’s best-known and most-loved alums, Joss Whedon is the creator of such television hits as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, its spin- off series “Angel”, cult hit “Firefly”, and most recently, “Dollhouse”. But he’s not only a television writer; he’s also made his mark on the world of cinema, producing and screenwriting for films like “Serenity”, the movie sequel to Firefly’s tragically short television run, and Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story”. Before you start to think that Whedon can’t get any more awesome, you should know that he also writes and produces comic books. The ultimate feminist-humanist-atheist-hipster-nerd, Whedon is in many ways emblematic of Wes’s spirit. We were all hoping he would show up for last year’s Second Stage production of his web/TV movie “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” but no dice.
Santigold (Santi White) ’97
Major: Music and African- American Studies
Santigold is a musician who defies categorization, though some have tried (new-wave pop is one that comes up a lot). Her debut album “Santogold” was released in 2008 and she was soon named an artist to watch by Spin, Rolling Stone, and the BBC. Her songs found their way into commercials, video games, top-singles lists, and the hearts of music critics everywhere. Since then she has toured with the likes of Jay-Z, Coldplay, M.I.A., Beastie Boys, Architecture in Helsinki, Björk, The Streets, and Kanye West. Santigold returned to Wes in the spring of 2010 to give a benefit concert for the Kibera School For Girls in honor of the life of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10.