Greetings and salutations from Washington, D.C.
It was great to check in with my old housemate Ralph Martin from Berlin. He is busy with his German wife, three German-American kids, and a German screenwriting gig writing shows created in Germany aimed at an international audience including Hackerville, which he created and is now on HBOMax. HBO is also the place to catch White Lotus, a six-episode soap-satire, written and directed by Mike White, that the New York Times recently called, “a captivating, sharp, and soulful series.” Meredith Tucker is the casting director for the series. So even more reason to watch.
Jonathan Soros just completed a trip across the country. On a bike. He and three teammates from Athletes Unlimited competed in Race Across America (RAAM), logging 3,000 miles from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, in about 6.5 days. The trip included a crazy day of 115-degree temperatures (described as “sitting in a sauna then blow-drying your face with a hair dryer”) in Arizona before climbing into the mountains of Colorado, crossing the flats of the Midwest then racing through the mountains of West Virginia. It was super exciting to see him and his team arrive at 3:00 a.m. in Annapolis. I’m also looking forward to Jonathan’s upcoming visit to the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area to launch Athletes Unlimited Women’s Pro Lacrosse league this weekend. Quite a summer, Jono.
During the pandemic, Jody Sperling continued creating dances with her company, Time Lapse Dance, shifting focus from the stage to producing street festivals, virtual programs, and dance films. Her work has continued to engage with climate and environmental issues—her short film Single Use, a response to plastic pollution, was recently screened in person at The Harlem International Film Festival. Jody lives with her partner and almost-10-year-old daughter in New York City.
Jody’s work is featured in E. Shura Pollatsek’s new, beautifully illustrated book, Costume in Motion: A Guide to Collaboration for Costume Design and Choreography (Routledge, 2021), with photos by Mitch Wilson. The book continues the studies on collaboration in costume design begun in her first book, Unbuttoned—The Art and Artists of Theatrical Costume Design. The book also includes an interview with Robin Shane ’94, assistant professor of Dance Iddrisu Saaka, about West African dance and about her work in sustainable costume design.
Kevin Prufer’s newest book, The Art of Fiction: Poems, has just been released by Four Way Books in New York City.
Joy Rhoden, senior vice president of the American Hospital Association, and her bichon frisé are about to be empty nesters. Her son Nolan (’25) is starting at Wes this fall. He was one of three recipients of the 2021 Hamilton Prize award for creativity and plans to major in neuroscience and Chinese, and minor in studio art, at Wes.
Danae Oratowski is enrolled in a program to become a nurse practitioner. She is currently working as a nurse at NYU Hospital in the acute GI surgery unit and looking forward to seeing everyone next May.
Speaking of our 30th Reunion, be on the lookout for events in your area. Chris Arndt and Oliver Ryan are leading the way with a special mini-reunion, concert and fundraiser planned for January in NYC to kickoff Reunion season. Details are still in the works—Bowery Ballroom, Joe’s Pub, Irving Plaza, and Madison Square Garden are all being discussed—but what we know is it will be a great party for Wes alums and feature the music stylings of Chris, his bass guitar, and his new band of Nashville-based musicians performing their upcoming album Lost Bags, a tribute, in part, to Baggage Claim and those days at Wes.
Looking forward to seeing you in New York City this January and at Wes next May!