As I tried to find a seat among the sea of clocks scattered about the living room of his house, Jacob Musinsky ’15 began to tell me about what he describes as his “multifaceted” life. At first he could barely break away from his Tuesday crossword puzzle, but once we started talking about Terp, he was unstoppable. A former would-be celebrity drummer, he spilled the details about his theatrical past, the upcoming Terp dance, and Halloweekend costumes. By the way, does anyone have a soul patch that he can borrow?
The Argus (A): Why do you think you’re a WesCeleb?
Jacob Musinsky (JM): I don’t know. I feel like I really put myself everywhere around campus, force my way into everything.
A: Like what?
JM: I’m a science major, so that’s one thing. And that’s a serious way to meet people here because I feel like there are so many people here that don’t know any science majors. And so that’s a way that I’ve met a larger group of people that I might not meet based on my extracurriculars.
A: You major in all science?
JM: Yeah. Well, I’m a molecular biology and biochemistry major, and so I work in a lab and do that stuff. As far as my other stuff…I am really into dance on campus, and so I’ve done Terp. And I feel like Terp has put me onstage in front of a lot of people, and it’s the best show on campus. And then I take a lot of performance classes, like dance classes and music classes, and I was on the WSA in front of a lot of people for a really long time, sent some emails out under my name by accident a couple times.
A: What was your first Terp dance?
JM: The first Terp dance I ever did was choreographed by Nora Thompson [’15] and Liza Sankar-Gorton [’15], and it was beach-themed. It was so great. It was a combination of songs. It was like, “Vamos a la Playa,” [“Sex On The Beach”]—I think it’s by the Vengaboys—and “Surfin’ U.S.A” by the Beach Boys. And we all wore beach clothing and at the 10 p.m. performance we all took off our shirts halfway through the dance. It was huge and fun.
A: When was that?
JM: It was sophomore fall. So that was the first dance I did. And then I choreographed in the spring with Sky McGilligan [’14]. And that was a bar mitzvah-themed dance.
A: What does that mean?
JM: It was so great. We danced to…“Yeah” by Usher, “My Humps,” “Beautiful” by James Blunt. Do you know, “You’re beautiful—”
JM: “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada, “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. And we had the girls wear dresses with T-shirts over them with spray paint on them. Did you go to bar mitzvahs ever?
A: Oh yeah.
JM: Okay, yeah. So you know how you come in your formalwear and they give out T-shirts that have your name spray painted across them? So we had people wear that, and people had light-up things on their hands. And the boys, we all greased our hair up awkwardly and then wore button downs with ties and khakis, and it was so funny. And we did slow dancing and there was a grind line, and just, like, weird crap. Oh, and “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”
A: So you’re choreographing a Terp dance this semester?
JM: I am. I don’t want to give too much away to your readers. This year we’re just doing, as you know, a very raunchy, disturbingly—maybe sexy, it’s unclear—dance to, um, some songs.
A: Why so secretive?
JM: I don’t want to give away Vivaldi. Should I give away Vivaldi?
A: I think you should give it away.
JM: To some Vivaldi. And to some, like, house music. It’s [to] “Pressure” by Chase and Status and “Delirious” by Steve Aoki. And we think we know the last song. We think the last one is going to be “Jump Up” by Major Lazer.
A: Are you going to dance in it?
A: What else do you do in your life? Crosswords?
JM: Crosswords. I try, I really try.
A: Why do you like crosswords?
JM: Well I started doing the crossword last year during physics. It got me through my physics class—maybe I shouldn’t share that.
A: Are you a pro?
JM: No. Now I can do the Monday, maybe I’ll get Tuesday done, and Wednesday is where I get a little lost. I can do maybe fifty percent of Wednesday, if I’m lucky.
A: Is Sunday the hardest?
JM: Saturday’s the hardest. Thursday is harder, and then Friday is really, really hard. Saturday is, like, impossible, and then Sunday is different. It’s also hard, but they’re bigger puzzles, so they’re just a little different.
A: This is The New York Times, right?
JM: Yes. So that’s how I picked it up. But they’re so cool because you learn how to do crosswords. Like, when you first look at one, you have no fucking clue what you’re doing, but then you learn the tricks of how to do crosswords and then you become better at them, and it’s fun. It makes me feel like I’m smart and keeping my brain in shape because I’m, like, in college. I do other things, though. I’m multifaceted.
A: What else?
JM: I’m in steel band.
A: Tell me about that.
JM: WesleyPan, as we call it, is a class, actually, but it’s a class that I’ve now taken twice and I TA-ed it last semester, so I’ve been involved in it for the past three semesters. We basically play a mix of classical Trinidadian music and pop music and dancehall. It’s what you’d see in the Caribbean. It’s literally an oil drum that they cut and indent and then indent the indent from the other side. They push it back up from the bottom to create these bumps and they’re different notes. So yeah, you read music, and it’s really fun. You play really awesome music, and it’s just so cool to learn a new instrument at such a late point in my life.
A: Do you consider yourself a percussionist?
JM: Um, interesting question. I played drums before.
JM: A little bit. Like, not really. When I was younger.
A: Did you take lessons?
JM: This is going to seem like I’m bragging, but this is just a really funny story about me and the drums. So when I was, like, ten years old my parents bought me a drum set for Hanukkah, and they were like, “You’re going to be a drummer. Surprise!” And I was like, “Great, okay. I’m very happy.” And so I started playing drums in my house and they were like, “Okay, let’s get you lessons.” So I took lessons and then I was good, and the guy told my parents, “If he continues like this, he’ll be famous by the time he’s 16.” And then I was like, “Wow!” and then I quit. Like, immediately. Because I couldn’t commit.
A: Does success scare you?
JM: I don’t know. I think what intimidates me is—putting my creativity on the spot is really hard for me. But I’ve learned to overcome that with Terp. Terp is the best. It’s been a formative experience for me…. Oh, I know what I really want to talk about. I want to mention “Shrak” because it was the best thing ever.
A: What’s “Shrak”?
JM: “Shrak” was a musical that we did last spring that I was in. And I feel like I could be a WesCeleb because of this musical because it was the best musical that was ever put on at Wesleyan.
A: I’m so sad I missed it.
JM: It’s online; it’s on YouTube.
A: What did you play?
JM: So it was written by six of my friends that graduated last year. It was Sky [McGilligan ’14], Liza [Pine ’14], Nick [Petrillo ’14], Ben [Kafoglis ’14], Charlie [Kaplan ’14], Keegan [Dufty ’14]. So it was a musical and it was the real story of Shrek, that he was actually a man who was just, like, on a lot of drugs and living in a swamp. I played Daniel Day-Lewis. I do a really good impression of him.
A: What did you do on the WSA?
JM: Freshman spring and all sophomore year I was on CoCo, the Community Outreach Committee, now Community Committee. That was a lot of talking and planning things to bring the campus together, get student groups working together, talk about campus climate, and see what we can do to change things. A lot of working with student groups. All the work we wanted to do was through student groups. It’s getting other people to have dialogue and to work together. And then junior year I was coordinator and chair of OEAC [the Outreach and External Affairs Committee]. So OEAC is responsible for outreach and external affairs…. I sent all the emails to the whole campus, I sent all the emails inside the WSA, I organized all the elections… and I ran all the meetings. Honestly, it was a really cool year to do that job because we did so many really cool things. We had the USLAC resolution, we did the Wes, Divest! resolution, we had the coeducation resolution—I’m missing a lot of important things…. So we did a lot of really cool things. It was a really important year for my Wesleyan career but it was not always fun.
A: Anything else that’s cool about you?
JM: I’m trying to think. What else do I do? I know that I do a lot of things. Oh, I’m on Spring Fling committee.
A: Who are we going to have for Spring Fling?
JM: The Baha Men.
A: What are you going to be for Halloween?
JM: Jules [Lighter ’16] is going to be Cruella de Vil and she’s trying to get as many sexy dalmatians as possible, so I might be one of them. And then I’m going to be sexy Ash Ketchum…because I have a denim vest and his shirt kind of looks like it has denim in it, and I have his hat. And then my last one is sexy Guy Fieri because he’s my inspiration. So those are my three costumes. I’m really excited about it, especially Guy Fieri. I might just do that for all three nights.
A: I have one more question.
A: Why do you have so many clocks?
JM: Rizky Rahadianto.
This interview has been edited for length.