Barbara Fenig ’11 reviews “Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu”

Barbara Fenig ’11 reviews the exhibit “Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu.”

Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu makes the Davison Art Center exhibition gallery radiate with swirls, dashes, dots and splashes of pastel colors. The exhibit is a compilation of twenty prints and is the first comprehensive exhibition from the artist. In the pieces, Mehretu addresses the momentum of civilizations—their inherent creation and inevitable demise.

The works read like fossils, which showcase the creature that once was and its disintegrating present, a diminished shadow of its former self. But unlike fossils, Mehretu’s prints are alive with animated, colorful details. These layered portraits showcase glimpses of city-grids, skyscrapers, rivers, mountains, maps, and weather charts. The images take on voluminous shapes, curling lines, dashes, and vibrant colors to accentuate Mehretu’s study of “the interconnectedness and entropy of modern civilization.” The artist is at once showcasing the evolution of cities, and therefore civilization, while also dismantling the premises of human society. As she adds to the prints, Mehretu’s initial base for the piece—the city grids or weather charts or skyscraper architectural renderings—become enveloped, and often even erased, by cloudlike markings. This layered collage requires the reader to examine each piece countless times before absorbing the artist’s full intention.

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mehretu grew up in East Lansing, Michigan; she has lived around the world in Michigan, Rhode Island, Senegal and New York City. She began printmaking while in a graduate program at the Rhode Island School of Design. Mehretu has delved into various printmaking techniques, including lithography, screen-printing, and chine collé, and uses various types of paper, such as gampi paper, in the exhibit. While viewing Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu, it is evident that Mehretu has thought about each aspect of the piece. From her choice for each piece’s materials to the viewer’s final glance at the piece from across the room, the artist has carefully tried to predict the audience’s reaction to her work. And it is this careful consideration that makes each piece so alluring.

Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu is deeply routed in earthly imagery, from mountains to river streams, skyscrapers to clouds. In Landscape Allegories (2004), the viewer first notices what appears to be a volcano—dashes of lava showcase the trauma within the piece. Yet, upon further examination, the viewer sees the world moving past the volcano and watches the landscape heal. The piece at once emphasizes the catastrophe and the reconciliation. Mehretu is ultimately showing the passage of time, crystallized in each portrait.

Many of Mehretu’s pieces in the exhibit do not use color. When the artist does incorporate color, Mehretu asks her audience to uncover this special meaning within each dot, line, or swirl of color. The viewer ponders whether that orange circle is in fact representative of the sun, or an orange, or some other shape entirely unimaginable before viewing the piece.

When visiting the exhibit, it is important to examine each piece from different distances. Just as Mehretu layers details, sometimes illuminating them and sometimes hiding them, the viewer must inspect each piece in various ways. Rogue Ascension (2002) is the ideal example of this. The piece has an undertone of peach clouded strokes. From afar, the viewer might think that this has been painted on top or within the print; however, the peach layer is actual buried beneath the print, an under-layer—like a fossil—, and viewable through a blurred sheet. Up close, the peach is barely visible, yet from across the room it beams forth demanding attention.

Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu runs through December 11, 2011. The Davison Art Center is open from noon to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

Jack Chelgren ’15 reflects on “Alvin Lucier: A Celebration”

Jack Chelgren ’15 considers the performances of “Alvin Lucier: A Celebration.” “Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends)” is on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through December 11. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4pm; noon to 8pm on Fridays. Admission is free.

Sitting in Crowell Concert Hall on November 5, listening to the Wesleyan Orchestra performing Alvin Lucier’s Exploration of the House (2005), I found myself wracking my brain for ways to describe what I was hearing.  A number of adjectives came to mind—“cavernous,” “meditative,” even “primordial”—as well as other, more evolved images: The sound of singing wine glasses, a flickering of light on the surface of water.  Yet while these depictions evoked different aspects of the music, none of them truly struck its essence, which was a little ironic, given that Lucier’s pieces draw their strange, otherworldly qualities from everyday spaces and phenomena.  Like his most famous work,  I Am Sitting in a Room (1969), Exploration of the House is created by recording and rerecording sound until nothing but feedback and the resonant frequencies of the space remain.  But unlike Room, which takes the composer’s own speech as its medium, the latter directs an orchestra to perform passages from Beethoven’s Consecration of the House (1822), which are then put through the same distorting process, transforming stately Sturm und Drang into glowing sonic soup.  And while the traditionalist might cringe at the dismantling of a respected masterwork into uncontrolled, alien noise, sitting in Crowell with those waves of turbulent sound shimmering all around me, I could not help wondering if I had ever heard anything like it.  I was astounded by the simple clarity of Lucier’s artistic vision: he had taken a classic, a fixture of Western art music, and made it utterly his own, fashioning the original and organic out of the familiar.  This, indeed, is why Lucier’s music is so challenging to describe, and why, on a certain level, it seems so natural: he shows us what we already know, but in a different light.

In all, the Alvin Lucier Celebration was a spectacular tribute to the life and work of a man who for more than half a century has done as much as anyone in shaping the progress of experimental music.  It was also a testament to the ongoing vitality of this tradition, both in the world at large and at Wesleyan in particular.  “It’s impossible to overstate his influence,” said Dr. Paula Matthusen, when I spoke with her several weeks ago about the Celebration and its significance to the arts at Wesleyan.  Matthusen, who this year took over for Lucier teaching the famous Introduction to Experimental Music, cites Lucier as a major influence on her own work.  “It’s about these very simple processes revealing something magical,”  she told me, reflecting on his music.  “There’s something very poetic about it.”  In 2006 and again in 2008, Matthusen put on a sound installation called Filling Vessels inspired by Lucier’s 1997 piece Empty Vessels, which, like much of his oeuvre, is based on the exploration of spatial acoustics.  Subsequently, just a few days after my conversation with Dr. Matthusen, I had the opportunity to speak with Andrea Miller-Keller, guest curator of the exhibition Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends) in the Zilkha Gallery (on display through December 11), who called the Celebration a “major event in contemporary music at Wesleyan.”  Both she and Dr. Matthusen noted that while the Celebration was first and foremost a retrospective on Lucier’s life and achievements, it was also promising as a springboard for the ideas of younger musicians, students and alumni both.  “I’m hoping it’ll be a big shot in the arm, like an intensive learning experience [for everyone involved],” Miller-Keller enthused.  Ultimately, it wound up being just that.  A considerable amount of new music dedicated to Lucier was débuted throughout the weekend, ranging from tributes by genre luminaries Robert Ashley, Gordon Mumma, Christian Wolff, Neely Bruce, and Pauline Oliveros (all of whom were present for the performances) to a flash mob rendition of Lucier’s 1968 piece Chambers by the students of this year’s MUSC 109.

The Celebration’s greatest moments, naturally, came during its four main concerts.  Each of these abounded with fantastic performances, but a handful stood out as particularly memorable.  The gloriously simple Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra (1988), which opened the Solos concert, was such a piece.  Scored for solo amplified triangle, it was performed by Brian Johnson, for whom it was originally written—and it was spellbinding.  Johnson’s incessant, carefully-amplified beating grew into a thick collage of sound, filling the hall with layer after layer of overtones running from the unpitched, metallic low end to the delicate melody of resonant tones that emerged as the music progressed.  Another highlight was the opener of the Ensembles concert, Music for Gamelan Instruments, Microphones, Amplifiers and Loudspeakers (1994).  A number of works performed last weekend were written to explore what Lucier called in the program notes his “fascination with the idea that pitch can create rhythm,” which occurs through the interaction of sound waves tuned at close intervals.  In these pieces, Lucier reinvents harmonic dissonance as a metrical device, harnessing it to open up previously ignored realms of sonic possibility.  Performed by the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble, this was the most compelling of any of these explorations, a juxtaposition of the feedback created by holding bonang gongs over microphones with the normal intonations of gendér metallophones.  “Since it is virtually impossible that a strand of feedback will match exactly on any fixed-pitch instrument,” Lucier explains in the program, “audible beats [will] occur.”  The combination of the impressively regulated feedback and the soft chords emanating from the gendérs gave rise to a splendidly pulsating soundscape, hollow yet solid, lustrous yet nocturnal.  Finally, while the entire third concert, a recreation of Lucier’s first performance at Wesleyan, was superb—at numerous points during the show, people literally got out of their seats and walked around to get a better look at the performance—I was most affected by John David Fullerman, John Pemberton, and Douglas Simon’s collaborative tape work Cariddwen (1968).  Like the forgotten evil twin of Steve Reich’s classic Come Out (1966), Cariddwen takes a short, sibilant passage from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and chops it up, stretching, jumbling, and overlaying the words into a mesmerizing cascade of speech and noise.

In addition to Dr. Matthusen and Ms. Miller-Keller, I had the privilege of doing a short interview with Lucier himself a week or so before the Celebration began.  I asked him some questions about his music, the event, and the arts at Wesleyan, and then turned to the perennial query that faces every creator of experimental art: How should we appreciate your work?  Lucier answered unhesitatingly.  “There’s something I used to tell my MUSC 109 [Intro to Experimental Music] class,” he told me.  “‘I’m not really interested in your opinions.  I’m interested in your perceptions.’”  He laughed, musing that that sounded a little harsher than he meant it.  “Just listen carefully,” he revised.  But appreciation did not seem to be an issue for the concertgoers I encountered last weekend; quite contrarily, the entire event was characterized by a tone of enormous regard for both the man and his music.  Exploration of the House was the final piece in the Ensembles concert on Saturday night, and after it had finished, Lucier made his way from the audience up to the stage.  As he mounted the steps, shook hands with the conductor and concertmaster, and waved to the crowd, the entire hall got to its feet, ending the night movingly with cheers and a standing ovation.  It was a fitting climax for the evening, and for the Celebration as a whole, for three days dedicated to honoring a man whose influence has changed music at Wesleyan forever and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Joshua Roman discusses upcoming concert with Jack Chelgren ’15 (Nov. 18)

Jack Chelgren ’15 interviews cellist Joshua Roman to discuss his upcoming performance at Crowell Concert Hall on Friday, November 18.

Joshua Roman (Photo by Jeremy Sawatzky)

This Friday night at Crowell, wunderkind cellist Joshua Roman will play his début concert at Wesleyan, performing works by Debussy, Brahms, Astor Piazzolla, and contemporary composer Dan Visconti.  Lauded by critics as “a musician of imagination and expressive breadth” and touted by Yo-Yo Ma as an “[exemplar] of the ideal 21st century musician,” Mr. Roman has quickly become one of the most important and celebrated young figures in classical music.  After winning a spot as principal cellist in the Seattle Symphony at the age of 22—the orchestra’s youngest principal in history—he went on to launch a successful career as a soloist while continuing to work in chamber and symphonic settings on the side.  In 2007, he became the artistic director of Town Hall Seattle’s chamber music series, TownMusic, and in 2009, he participated in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, where he was the only artist featured as a soloist during its premiere at Carnegie Hall.  Yet Roman isn’t one to keep music confined to the concert hall, but has been extremely active in working to make music accessible to an immense variety of people, from Chinese President Hu to victims of HIV/AIDS in Uganda.  Just this past year, he was named a TED Fellow in recognition of his unprecedented achievements and his contributions to the ongoing vitality of the art form.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Roman over the phone this week, and peppered him with questions about a multitude of topics, ranging from the experience of being the youngest performer in the Seattle Symphony to his views on making distinctions between musical genres.  I came away with an impression that corresponds exactly to Yo-Yo Ma’s assessment of Roman as a musician who is “deeply grounded in a classical tradition,” but also “a fearless explorer of our world.”  In Roman, I learned, there lies a singular balance between a progressivist and a purist; he’s the kind of artist who’s interested in new ideas and forms but still retains a deep regard for the foundations of his tradition.  Which isn’t so strange, for as he sees it, the two are not so different.  “It doesn’t feel like a stretch,” he told me, when I asked him about the challenges of working in both current and more archaic idioms.  Indeed, Roman isn’t so much concerned with genre—or anything, really—as with the unique character of a work itself.  “There has to be something I connect to,” he explained.  “It comes down to certain qualities: A balance of emotion, content, and message; interesting structure, and creativity in form,” all of which are features that piece from any era or background might have.  “We love to categorize,” he went on, but noted how most categorizations of music are based on rudimentary aspects like characteristic beats or instrumentations.  Instead of this, Roman suggests, we might try categorizing music based on its emotional message, which often speaks to the essence of a piece better than any particular musical element.  “There might be more differences between Bach and Stravinsky than between Debussy and Miles Davis,” he concluded.

It is this same ethos—one that favors grouping works by their emotional timbre instead of by accepted genre distinctions—that Roman adopted when designing the program for Friday night’s concert.  Taking Dan Visconti’s Americana as his starting point, he sought out works of a highly nationalistic character to accompany it, for Visconti’s piece, as its title suggests, is an exploration of American style and influence.  He chose these pieces for their similarities to Americana; by associating the piece with such familiar masterworks, Roman hopes to demonstrate Visconti’s deep comprehension of classical form, his talent for crafting musical narratives.  Accompanied by pianist Andrius Zlabys, Roman will perform cello sonatas by Debussy and Brahms, Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango, and the middle three movements of Americana.  This is not a night to miss.

Click here to watch Roman collaborating with DJ Spooky on a cover of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place.”  The performance was realized as a part of the Voice Project, a benefit for women war victims in Northern Uganda.

Bebe Miller discusses “History” with Katherine Clifford ’14 (Nov. 18-19)

Katherine Clifford ’14 interviews Bebe Miller, Artistic Director of the Bebe Miller Company. The Bebe Miller Company will present “History” this weekend: Friday, November 18 at 8pm; and Saturday, November 19 at 2pm and 8pm.

Q: What is History about? What does the piece seek to accomplish and what do you hope the audience gains from it?

This piece is a way to look at the history of this particular group of collaborators. Most audiences see the piece that’s created as a record of the research process, ideas and the exchange between collaborators. On the inside, we know that what is lost for the audience is the continuing creative conversation that goes on between pieces. This piece is an attempt to bring our history forward and to show creative interplay, which is something we can all recognize of anyone who is trying to make something with other people. In sum, this piece is about how our dance company functions: the kinds of ideas, the exchange of physicality, and the interactions between our two company dancers, Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones. I hope that the audience walks away with the sense of the complexity of the process of two people trying to figure something out while moving through periods of history over a 10-year span. All in all, this piece is an exchange about a creative process and about friends over time.

Q: How does media play into the dance and the collaborative process?

You’ll see the dancers wearing headphones through a lot of the piece. They are listening to and then retelling conversations and stories that we’ve mined from our archives that give another kind of window into what it is we’re doing. Not only are we seeing them as these two people whose bodies hold the information of dance-making, but we get to share it in another way as well. I’m interested in these levels of interchange, the incoming of technology as a step towards and a step away from something. We’re also working with a video artist who is representing her sense of what we do.

Q: In dance, there seems to be a distinction between representation and meaning versus aesthetics for purely visual appeal. As a choreographer, what do you focus on, and how do you reconcile the two?

As a human condition, we pass in and out of meaning. As a choreographer, I’m not there to demonstrate a meaning, but I want to take it on and live through it and digest it that way. You carry the context with you and that’s the lens through which you start making something. Instead of showing the story of our history, we look at our history and figure out what it is saying to us, what it feels like, what is really happening physically between Darrell and Angie that is both abstract and completely human. We get to understand something about their familiarity as well as look at what their bodies are doing. I feel like the aesthetics of our piece reveal something about how our human condition.

Q: Can you talk about the choreographic process?

This is research. I’m asking questions that I don’t know, rather than trying to show you something that I already understand. On good days, it’s not so much the flow of answers, but some really good questions come up. It’s helpful to think that we’re figuring it out in front of you.

The Bebe Miller Company presents “History” on Friday, November 18 at 8pm, and on Saturday, November 19 at 2pm and 8pm in the Patricelli ’92 Theater as part of the Performing Arts Series at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts.

Nicholas Orvis ’13 discusses “The Great God Brown” (Nov. 16-19)

This weekend Wesleyan’s Theater Department presents “The Great God Brown” by Eugene O’Neill, directed by Associate Professor Yuriy Kordonskiy. The play follows the life and conflicts of two men, Dion Anthony and Billy Brown, who are friends and rivals throughout their lives. Originally written for four actors, Mr. Kordonskiy has cast ten actors to portray the complexity of the relationships. Earlier this week, Sarah Wolfe ’12 sat down with Nicholas Orvis ’13, who is the Stage Manager for the show, to talk about the experience so far and what to expect this weekend.

Q: What do you think about Eugene O’Neill’s original play?

I think it’s a brilliant show. It’s a good chance for people to come see some of Eugene O’Neill’s edgier work. I actually have not liked most of the Eugene O’Neill I’ve read because a lot of it, especially Long Day’s Journey Into Night, I found dull and dragging. This one is a fast two and half hours (and that was after we cut 40% of the text). But it’s really a show where he took a lot of risks and created a really exciting, controversial, not simple piece of theater. It’s definitely not classroom Eugene O’Neill.

Q: Can you talk about how you’re doing this four character play with a cast of ten?

A lot of what the play deals with, is the idea is that we have multiple personas that we put forth. The way you act with your family is different than the way you act with your friends, and so on and so forth. O’Neill originally did this with the use of masks, which we are also using. But one thing we talked about in developing the play is that we think the idea that we have only two of these personas, our public one and our private one, is kind of an old fashioned, limited idea. So we decided to have multiple actors playing the same part. We have three men who are playing Dion. We have two women who are playing Margaret [the love interest], two women who are playing the fourth character, Cybel, who is a prostitute/mother figure to both of the men. And Billy Brown is played by one performer in the first half of the show and in the second half – I won’t spoil anything substantial by saying he begins to deteriorate and as he deteriorates we add more and more performers, so that by the end he is actually being played by five people simultaneously.

Q: Talk about the use of masks, and how that’s been in the rehearsal process with people who have used masks very little or not at all?

It’s been really great to watch. We began working with neutral mask (developed by Jacques LeCoq) while we were still reading the text. For a while we had parallel work with just the mask theory work and the text and discussion of the characters. At a certain point we merged them and began working with sketches of the character masks.

Q: Talk about working with Professor Yuriy Kordonskiy as a director.

Yuriy’s phenomenal. Watching him work with a cast is very rewarding. He has the ability to see choices in the text that make perfect sense but aren’t necessarily highlighted, but as soon as he suggests them, we all go “Ohh!” So that’s very exciting.

It’s been a little hectic too. He is a very well known director in Romania and there was actually a week in our rehearsal process where he was in Romania, opening a play that he had directed there over the summer. It was a good experience for all of us in the production, because it pushed us to work ourselves and to develop the material ourselves. At the same time it was a little bit terrifying because we thought, “What if he comes back and everything we’ve done is wrong? And then we’ve just lost the whole week of rehearsals!”

Q: What’s your favorite part of the rehearsal process been, do you think?

There’s always a point where it starts to come together in a way that it hasn’t before. When we cast the show, we didn’t put any of them in roles. So we spent a couple weeks working as a group with the text. We’d be switching roles around, we’d be doing multiple scenes at the same time with different size groups of people. Several weeks into the rehearsal process, Yuriy solidified the casting. That was the point where things really kicked into high gear.

Q: Has there been a particularly challenging part of the process, either for you or for the cast?

It is hard, because we have no one [in the cast] who has intensively worked with mask before, and mask is a very demanding aesthetic style. It’s very physically demanding, and there are also a lot of technical challenges. Making yourself heard is much harder when you’re wearing a full-face mask. So that’s been a challenge but they’ve risen to it beautifully.

Come see “The Great God Brown”, this weekend in the CFA Theater. Tickets are on sale now and selling fast. This exciting show is not one you will want to miss.

In addition to Orvis, the ensemble includes Bennet Kirschner ’13 as Assistant Director, Mandy Goldstone-Dahlin ‘12, Emily Hunt ‘13, Jake Hunt ‘12, Zachary Libresco ‘13, Paulie Lowther ‘13, Cat Lum ‘12, Joey Mehling ‘14, Julian Silver ‘12, Anna Sproule ‘14, and Eli Timm ’13. Performances are 8pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; and 2pm and 8pm on Saturday.

Katherine Clifford ’14 reviews the Fall Faculty Dance Concert

Katherine Clifford ’14 reviews the Fall Faculty Dance Concert, “Probin’.”

“Probin’,” this years’ Fall Faculty Dance Concert, was an exhibition of dance as a story-telling form and probed into the concept of how environment shapes identity. Iddi Saaka, Artist in Resident and West African Dance instructor, and Clyde Evans, Visiting Instructor of Hip-Hop dance, were the two faculty members whose choreography was featured in the performance. Iddi Saaka performed on Friday and Saturday night along with Wesleyan student, Rachel Fifer ’12 and grad student Menherit Goodwyn. Clyde Evans performed in the Saturday night performance only, but fellow Hip-Hop dancers from his Chosen Dance Company of Philadelphia were featured both nights.

Iddi Saaka’s use of media, props, and costumes in his piece, “Out of Place, was particularly strategic. This led to a rounded piece that was grounded in reality, while layered with metaphor and myth. Saaka used film footage from his village in Ghana to introduce different aspects of his dance and their underlying meanings. His message was a political and economic one; through interviews of people of his village and the manifestation of their ideas through movement, Saaka explored the disparity in wealth between Ghana and the West.

According to Ghanaian myth, at the beginning of civilization, Africans were distributed wealth by God in a hat, whereas Westerners received their allotment of wealth in a large burlap sack. Saaka portrays this myth through dance, demonstrating the large economic disparity, which results in feelings of resentment and competition. It ultimately leads to the exploitation of the Africans by the Westerners who insert themselves into and dominate African commerce and business. Rachel Fifer, who represents Western business, carries an abundance of metaphorical wealth in a huge burlap sack that is too heavy for her to carry. Fifer exploits Saaki and Menherit Goodwyn, who are desperate for money, to carry the bag for her. Fifer’s dance style is more lyrical than the others’; she moves freely in her prosperity while Saaki and Goodwyn move tightly and rhythmically, weighed down by the burden she has created for them until they finally collapse under the weight. This was a fun dance set to upbeat and rhythmic music, but it was similarly laden with heavy meaning. There were two major threads: the exploration of the connections between the West and Ghana economically and politically, and Saaka’s own struggle with identity as he moves from Ghana to America.

Clyde Evans’ pieces were interesting stylistically in conjunction with Saaka’s dance. Although from two different dance backgrounds, the two artists share a similar personal story of immigration to the U.S. (Evans is originally from Trinidad), which shapes their conceptualization of identity, and subsequently, their choreography. Evans’ “Egyptian Ballet” was a fun piece that merged cultures and styles of movements, inserting poses inspired by Egyptian Hieroglyphics into a Hip-Hop number. His work “Bros. Duet” exhibited two friends dancing together, representing the spontaneity, improvisation, and collaboration in Hip-Hop. “Don” ended the show with an explosion of pure, fun movement, showing the athleticism, creativity, and freedom of movement in freestyle dance.


Will Levitt ’12 and Damiano Marchetti ’12 Discuss Their Hobby: Sandwiches

Sarah Wolfe ’12 speaks with Will Levitt ’12 and Damiano Marchetti ’12 about their Wesleyan Farmer’s Market venture, DW Sandwiches.

I sat down earlier this week with the two seniors who make sandwiches at the bi-weekly Farmer’s Market. Their sandwiches, ranging from Beet Tzatziki and White Bean to Sweet Potato and Coleslaw to Roasted Cauliflower with Quick Pickled Carrots and Leek Mayonnaise, are both diverse and incredibly tasty, speaking as someone who has sampled every single one. Each time the ingredient list surprises me, and yet each time I walk away satisfied, satiated, and impressed.

Will Levitt ’12 and Damiano Marchetti ‘12 have both been cooking since they were young and have continued to make cooking a priority while at Wesleyan, from using the tiny, cramped Nicolson kitchen to finally having their own full kitchen as seniors.

Levitt, originally from Boston, MA, began cooking with his childhood friend. When their passion for food became apparent, Levitt’s mother invited them to cook a large dinner she was having. The middle schoolers cooked cod, salmon, mashed potatoes and a few other dishes to rave reviews. This dinner led to another catering request which led to Levitt’s first small time catering business – as a seventh grader. He’s been cooking ever since, as well as writing about food on his blog, called The Dorm Room Dinner.

Marchetti doesn’t necessarily plan to make food his career, but has inherited the values of home cooking from a life time of helping cook family dinners at his home in Napa, CA. He continues to enjoy home cooked meals and the excitement of cooking from scratch. Recently his specialties have branched out to desserts, making a variety of homemade ice creams (Caramel and Chamomile Raspberry to name a couple) and delicious cakes.

When they met freshman year, the two bonded over their mutual love of homemade pasta, fresh baked bread and essentially anything else they could craft in a kitchen. Living together in Hi-Rise last year, they started to cook dinner for themselves and friends almost every night of the week. Feeling cramped in the narrow, windowless kitchen, they decided to expand their cooking repertoires and invite the world to experience their home-cooked, inventive recipes.

For the sandwiches, they wanted to support local farms and businesses, as well as making sure their produce was fresh and largely organic. In that vein, for every sandwich they make, they travel to a number of local farms, picking produce that is in season to craft their next sandwich around. The sandwiches are often on baguettes made by a local baker, Howard of Chester, CT. With all the travel, including the time it takes to test recipes and actually prepare the sandwiches at the market, the venture is truly a labor of love and proof of their dedication to their kitchen-based craft.

Next time you wander through the Farmer’s Market, be sure to stop at the newly named DW Sandwiches. Levitt and Marchetti will be there, serving up delicious combinations of fresh, local veggies on fresh, local breads!