In this issue:
MESSAGE FROM HARVARDWOOD
- Harvardwood Membership Survey 2022 - Deadline May 15
- 2022-23 Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Winners
- Apply to participate in the 2022 Harvardwood Mentorship Program!
Get involved with Harvardwood!
- Seeking volunteer social event coordinators
- Looking to fill 2 work study positions
- Remembering Charles Howard Martin (1952-2022)
- Featured Job: Janet Yang Productions Assistant - CA
- Two by Two with Megan Goldstein, AB '05 (Film & TV music exec) and Robert Kraft, AB '76 (Former President of Fox Music)
- Industry News
- New Members' Welcome
- Alumni Profile: Romolo Del Deo AB '82 (Sculptor)
CALENDAR & NOTES
- May 3 - Harvardwood Lowdown (online)
- May 13 - Book Discussion & Signing Party for "RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now" (Los Angeles & online)
- May 25 - Rosa Antonelli performance (New York)
- June 4 - Harvardwood Reunion Mixer (Cambridge, MA)
Become a Harvardwood member as we further engage in socially active programming, discourse, and action to help change the entertainment industry.
Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here!
Dear Harvardwood Community,
This issue also includes new important developments at Harvardwood, including:
Our 2022 Membership Survey! Harvardwood is growing! We are making new investments in programs and member services and we want to know what matters to you! Plus, get a FREE online event when you complete the survey.
- We're thrilled to announce the recipients of the inaugural Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship. Scroll down for more info.
- The Harvardwood Mentorship Program (HMP) continues through the end of May. It's not too late to apply.
- We're seeking volunteers to help us coordinate Harvardwood social events, and we're also looking to hire 2 undergrads in work study positions to support our ongoing programming.
Please consider donating to Harvardwood. Your donations are tax deductible!
Thanks very much & best wishes,
What do you want most from Harvardwood? This 5-minute, anonymous survey will help direct our new investments in programming and member services. Help us help you.
Also, as a special “thank you,” when you finish the survey, you will receive a code for one free Harvardwood online event. Surveys are due SUNDAY, MAY 15 at 11:59PM PT.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MEMBERSHIP SURVEY!
2022-23 Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Winners
Harvardwood congratulates writer Youmna Chamieh ‘22 and musical theater composer/lyricist Julia Riew ‘22, who are the recipients of the inaugural Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship.
In addition to receiving a $24,000 grant to support her work, each Fellow will be paired with an alumni mentor to offer professional guidance and support during the term of the Fellowship (June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023).
Youmna Chamieh is a senior in Adams House studying Government and English. Originally from Lebanon, she grew up in Paris with her two sisters. During the fellowship year, she will work on original pieces, including a collection of short stories. Though these stories all gravitate towards Lebanon, at their core is the belief that, as Salman Rushdie puts it, “the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, whose loss is part of our common humanity.”
Youmna’s mentor will be Jennifer Joel ’98, who is a literary agent, partner, co-head of the Publications department and member of the board at ICM Partners, where she represents a diverse group of writers of both fiction and nonfiction: literary and commercial novelists for adults and young readers, historians, biographers, memoirists, journalists, strategists, adventurers and entertainers. Her clients include Senator Cory Booker, Chris Cleave, Nelson DeMille, AJ Finn, Stuart Gibbs, Graham Moore, Evan Osnos, Shonda Rhimes, Adam Rubin, Jennifer E. Smith, Lisa Taddeo and Leif Babin & Jocko Willink.
Julia Riew is a senior in Lowell House studying Theater, Dance, Media (TDM) and Music. In 2018, Julia co-founded the Asian Student Arts Project (ASAP) and co-wrote their first production, The East Side. Her recent works include Alice’s Wonderland; Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure which was commissioned for the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)’s 2020 Family Musical; and Thumbelina: A Little Musical (The A.R.T. 2019 Family Musical).
Julia will spend her Fellowship year creating new musical theater projects for stage and screen and further developing her senior thesis, an original musical called Shimcheong: A Folktale. Her mentor will be award-winning composer/lyricist/writer Laurence O’Keefe ‘98 (Legally Blonde: The Musical, Bat Boy: The Musical).
Due to the strong display of talent in the inaugural Fellowship applicant pool, Harvardwood and the sponsors doubled their initial commitment to support two Fellowship winners, and they also named five finalists who will each receive a $1000 grant to support their work. Those finalists are writer Juan Arenas ‘22, visual artist Kelsey Chen ‘22, writer-director Jasiel Lampkin ‘20, musician-composer Ria Modak ‘22, and comedian Freddie Shanel ‘21.
The Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship is open to graduating seniors or recent Harvard alumni working or seeking to work in the arts, media, and entertainment fields. It will be awarded annually to at least one artist, with the inaugural term running from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023, and subsequent terms also planned for a June-to-May cycle with applications open in October and due by early January.
Photo credit / Youmna Chamieh: Emilia Cabrera
Photo credit / Julia Riew: Ramona Park
The Harvardwood Mentorship Program fosters meaningful professional relationships by matching Harvard graduates with more established alums in their fields of interest, for a period of three months of one-on-one career mentoring.
The time commitment is approximately 3 hours. Mentors will connect with their mentees in 3 or more meetings over the course of three months, around June - August. Whether matches meet virtually or in-person is up to each mentor/mentee pair. Matches will be made based on fit.
Apply to be a mentor or a mentee. Application deadline: May 31st, 8:59 pm PT / 11:59 pm ET.
Get involved with Harvardwood!
Want to work with us? We are currently looking to fill a couple different positions:
1. Social event coordinators.
Now that we're resuming more in-person events, we are looking for volunteers to help pitch, plan and coordinate monthly or quarterly social events that can help bring the Harvardwood community together. We are primarily looking for someone in Los Angeles, but if you live elsewhere and want to help coordinate social events with your local chapter, let us know, and we can get you in touch with them. Interested? Email [email protected] with "Social event coordinator" in the subject line.
2. Two (2) work study positions.
We are looking for 2 undergraduate students who are eligible for the Federal Work Study Program to assist us with weekly administrative duties and other projects as needed, starting in mid-May. All work can be done online, and the hours (6-10 per week) are very flexible. This is a great way to learn more about Harvardwood, especially for students interested in exploring the arts, media, and entertainment after graduation. This position is coordinated through the Jobs Database at Harvard's Student Employment Office (SEO), and you can apply for it through that office. If you don't know how to apply for this position through the SEO, please email [email protected] with "Work Study Position" in the subject line.
Remembering Charles Howard Martin (1952-2022)
Charles Howard Martin, J.D., M.B.A., of Washington, DC was born on November 13, 1952, and passed away on April 3, 2022 of metastatic prostate cancer in Washington, DC. Youngest child of Washingtonians Col. John T. Martin, Jr. and Hestlene B. Martin, Charles was named after the patriarch of the family. He graduated from The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) and Cum Laude from Harvard University with a degree in Economics. He went on to receive his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall) and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Charles had a long, distinguished career practicing law for private, government, and corporate clients, and taught as a full-time professor of contracts, sales law, and international law at law schools in the U.S. and abroad. He was a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Florida Bar and the author of two books: Lawyerball: The Courtroom Battle of the Orioles Against the Nationals and MLB For the Future of Baseball (2016), and Every1’s Guide to Electronic Contracts (2014). A brilliant thinker, a gifted writer, an avid traveler, and a skilled skier, he was happiest spending time in Brazil, listening to jazz, and spending time with family.
Charles was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Capt. John T. Martin III, and Alan G. Martin, M.D., and his beloved sister and “best bud,” Theresa M. Roberson. He is survived by his sister Joan M. Teaiwa of Suva, Fiji, his beloved nieces Katerina Teaiwa, PhD of Canberra, Australia and Maria Teaiwa-Rutherford, M.D. of Westchester, New York, and his first cousin Patricia Talbert Smith of Rockville, MD, and their families.
Charles was buried on April 13 at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring, MD. Read more here.
Job Description: Manage office schedule, coordinate development of projects, heavy email correspondence with talent and key partners, maintain submissions/project grids and related computer filing, and manage the intern program. Provide thoughtful creative input on new drafts of active projects and script submissions. Assist with events involving organizations such as Academy of Motion Pictures, Asia Society, the Gold House Foundation, etc. Click here for more info!
Harvardwood is pleased to launch Two by Two, an occasional Q&A from two alumni who interview each other. Our participants are longtime Harvardwood volunteer Megan Goldstein (Vice President, Film & Television Music at BMG) and Harvardwood Advisory Board member Robert Kraft (musician, producer and former President of Fox Music) who discuss music, creativity, and the gift of no and the curse of yes.
These are highlights from that interview.
Megan Goldstein: The first thing I want to bring up is that I remember you speaking in one of my classes at Harvard. The class was Broadway-focused on writing and creative and the music industry through Broadway. I don't know if this is ringing any bells for you.
Robert Kraft: Totally ringing bells! I also remember telling the story at the beginning of class, which is kind of appropriate for us to kick off this conversation. It was ironic for me to be the guest speaker at a class at the Harvard music department. As a Harvard freshman, I had wanted to be a music major because I was a musician, full stop. I had thought about going to different schools but got into Harvard. My brothers said, “If you get into Harvard, you go,” but it didn't change what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in music and in the music department. And to get into the music department, you had to audition for Elliot Forbes, who was the chairman at the time, may he rest in peace.
I went to my audition, and though I had written songs and been in a band since I was in fifth grade, I was asked to read a Bach Prelude. I was a terrible sight reader. I started to read and fumble through, and Mr. Forbes said, “You know, let's just stop.” I told him that I was there to focus on my interests, which are Black American artists. I loved Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Muddy Waters, and I loved the Rolling Stones who played Willie Dixon songs. When I started to tell him how much I wanted to study that, he said, “You're in the wrong place. The music department's not for you.”
Thankfully, I was taking a freshman seminar in visual and environmental studies, and I was really happy to be admitted to that department. Fortunately, things have changed. White Eurocentric teaching is dead and buried, and now there's a Quincy Jones Chair of African-American Music at Harvard.
MG: That’s a pretty upsetting story. I do think it has changed, or at least started to change. That said I also found it was a bit of a struggle to find the right place to study what I was hoping to study. I was a double concentrator, anthropology and music, not because I had any interest in anthro, but because I was very interested in film. I went to film school afterwards for grad school at USC, but at Harvard, all the film-related classes were in anthropology. So I ended up in this concentration, which I had no interest in, because all the classes that I wanted to take were housed there. But to speak to diversity of perspectives in the music department, I definitely think I had a better experience than you did. One of my favorite classes in the music department was on Middle Eastern instruments like the actual technical writing and playing of these instruments. It was one of the best classes I took while I was there. We had to learn to play them a little bit. It was awesome. Looking back, I feel there was a lot of interesting classes that were pretty great.
RK: That’s really the exact opposite of my experience. In this way, you were exposed to non-European music. There's a recent academic debate – of which I couldn't possibly quote all the pros and cons – that music theory is racist. It's kind of been flaming online for a couple years that there's a professor who is very much in favor of the idea that if you're going to be in a music department, you need to understand Eurocentric music. Then there's this kind of counterpoint to that, which is exactly what you did, which includes micro tones and Middle Eastern music and whole other traditions.
I really loved my time at Harvard. I played exactly the music I wanted to play. And hearing what you did, you solved the problem. In my junior year in visual and environmental studies, I wrote a paper on Leonard Bernstein’s score for On the Waterfront – that's about as close as I came to film music – and how it was kind of the antecedent to West Side Story, which Bernstein wrote it in 1956. But I didn't have any clue that film music is where I'd end up. I thought it was just a cool thing to write about. I then went on to start a band in New York and just do what I wanted to do, which was trying to be Led Zeppelin. Which didn't work out.
MG: Well, in your defense. it worked out okay!
RK: You went from music and anthropology; you could have ended up following in the steps of Margaret Mead.
MG: I didn't want to at all. In fact, I remember as I went through the anthropology department really hating anthropology! Like you and I think so many people, when I got into Harvard, I didn't expect it to happen. I, too, was going to go to NYU, to New York, and do music and film. That's where I wanted to be. And then this thing happened to me. So I thought, I’m going to go there, because I guess that's what you do when this happens to you. When I got there, I thought I needed to be a history major and “get serious.” Everybody does that when they arrive, they forget about what they want to do and who they are because they're in this place that's scary and serious and smart or something. I had always been a musician. I always played in bands. I also studied classically, but jazz was what I really liked in high school.
After I arrived at Harvard, I thought, “My extra credits will be music and theater and dance and film. but I will study straight.” I was unhappy, and I hated it. I also came from a high school where I had to take some remedial classes, like writing, because I didn't come to Harvard ready the way I should have, and I was miserable. I thought, “What am I doing?” And I just switched to music. And I just loved old film, the history of film. It was just my whole thing. And Harvard had nothing. Now they have a film major ...
RK: Sort of, I think it’s part of the visual environmental studies.
MG: Yes, but I think they have something more focused that they didn't have when I was there, more film centered, because they didn't have anything at all, really. Once I decided what I was going to do, it was like no one could stop me. I just found the classes and made the major be what it was going to be. I took the classes that I loved in anthropology, the film classes, I took this Brazilian documentary film related to literature class, just incredible classes that were really small. They were the best part of my whole academic experience.
I appreciated the music theory classes and all the piano, too, because I had always been a musician. But my theory background was somewhat limited. The piano was really good for me. I came out being able to conduct, write and arrange music in a much more sophisticated way. It allowed me to have church gigs, write music and be a band member in a more supportive and integral way than I had been going in. So it all kind of worked out. But it was a long process of figuring out that you just kind of have to do what you want to do. Which is, for some reason, really hard. Sometimes.
RK: It's interesting that you figured it out. I stumbled along and, as they say in Hollywood, “shit happened.” I knew one thing I wanted was to write songs and be in a band. But in the film music thing – which has become me on both sides of the coin – making music for film and making films about music, which has become my main thing – was accidental. I'm envious of you having that focus. You know, as my favorite tattoo says, “No Regerts.”
I mean, it was hard enough. 1976 was an interesting moment. I had a couple firsts; one of them was, I was the first person told to go to the Harvard Office of Career Services, which had just opened.
MG: Wait, so that office only existed since the 70s?
RK: Yeah. There was a Harvard Office of the Arts that started giving out stipends to study a topic. I wanted to study piano in my own way, and I was given $250 to pay a piano teacher for a year. I took really weird piano lessons in Cambridge with a kind of conceptual John Cage-like dude. I went into the Harvard Office of Career Services and said, “I want to be a songwriter. What do I do next?” And the guy who ran it, who I loved – we became great friends – said “I have no idea”. He said “I know a guy, he's editor of Time magazine in New York, you should go see him.” I went and saw him, and he said, “I don't know why you were sent to me, but I know a guy who writes music for Hawaii Five O, he lives near Lincoln Center….” I could trace the breadcrumbs of my entire career from that. He said, “You should go talk to a friend of mine who's at BMI.” And then somebody at BMI said “You need a music publisher,” and so forth.
MG: So it was the best advice you ever got.
RK: I think you've identified a life lesson. Which is that often, when we are getting advice, whether it's the best advice we've ever gotten, or the absolute worst thing we could do, we need our own antenna to suss it out. Consider the source who's giving you the advice. Is it an idiot? Is it a genius? Is it someone in between? Is it a person with a big, big heart, or a person who is basically saying, “This is what I would do,” which comes from their projection of who you are? I didn't know that then. But now it's very much a part of my life because I ask all the time, “What should I do next?” Because I never know what I should do next.
MG: Even now you feel that way? Even though you have a whole career to draw from and endless relationships?
RK: I do very much, particularly because I started a new career. I left Fox eight years ago, where I’d worked on film music for my whole time there. At Fox, I had fallen in love with making films and telling stories about music and through music – films like Walk the Line and Waiting to Exhale, and other films like Garden State were so much about the music. I realized that the record companies didn't understand the assets they had. So I decided this should be easy. I'm going to go make films about music – films that focus on music and use music in a certain way. What I didn't realize is that it's not easy at all. Big surprise, famous last words. I've had to learn and ask all the time, “How do you do this?” I think the hurdle of my new career was that no one took me seriously as a filmmaker. Because I was just the music guy. But I developed relationships with truly gifted filmmakers, where I could approach them and say, “I have an idea – would you like to work with me?” So I've ended up doing these projects with people who absolutely are my true heroes of filmmaking. I’ve learned so much from them.
MG: That’s such an exciting second career! I went to film school right after college, not wanting to be a filmmaker but just wanting to be in that headspace. To spend a couple of years in that headspace just for the joy of it and be able to get myself behind the camera and just do the whole thing even though I think I always knew I wanted to be more music focused. It’s like a dream to think you can have this successful career in music and then afterwards be, like, I'm going to produce – it’s like you’re living my dream.
RK: Well, first of all, success is very interesting and a non-fungible token. What really is a successful career? I am getting so much joy out of the struggle to get these films made. I’ve got to get there or die trying. With these big projects, it's one step forward and about 330 steps back. You're just about to go, and a pandemic hits, or you're just about to make a deal with an actor, and they get offered Indiana Jones. But as I was taught by one of my partners – a wonderful, brilliant producer named Stephanie Allain – pictures only die when you stop producing them.
That has given me the energy to push forward another day. It’s a lot different than making a record. You and I can make a record tonight.
RK: Yeah, boot up your laptop!
MG: At BMG, we have a department that's involved in film and TV. I have a lot more visibility on that than I did five years ago when we weren't doing as much. It takes so long to get anything accomplished in that space.
I was telling someone recently that I recently listened to an interview, and the interviewee was saying, “When I started no one wanted to give me a chance. All I kept hearing was ‘no, no, no, no, no.’ Finally someone said yes, and my project got made.” I remember being younger, and hearing similar stories from successful people. I remember thinking, “Wow, all those people at Netflix and Hulu and Fox, they all didn't recognize talent when they saw it.” I remember thinking that as a 15 or 21-year-old. Now when I'm listening to that story, I think “You probably needed to be told ‘no’ 25 times. You probably needed every single one of those ‘nos.’ because you weren't ready or it wasn't right.”
You went back and you went back. and you reworked it or you got another person's opinion, or you took more time with it, or you took something out. Today I feel totally different about that narrative.
RK: You are very wise.
MG: You’re so stupid when you're 21. You think. “That person is a genius, and no one could see it,” but you can’t see it’s really the whole point of the process! The struggle is hard. It’s about being told no. So that you end up at the best place and then this thing gets made, and when it's really good, it's because you were told no.
RK: There's a flip side to that, too, particularly for Harvard alumni, which I've inherited and have seen with other people, too. When you get a “yes” fast, you think you are golden. I remember I got signed to my first record deal. I mean, it wasn't fast. It was 1979, and I'd been humping it in New York City for three years making demos, trying to get a band signed and get my songs recorded. But I got a record deal, major label, all excited and thought I’d made it. I went home on the day before Thanksgiving from New York. The record was supposed to come out in the first week of January. A terrible time for records to come out, which I have subsequently learned.
I traveled home to Princeton, New Jersey, on the train, which I did all the time, but now I'm 24 and signed to a record label, and I'm more excited than I've ever been. The Princeton train stops at a little station near the campus, and I walk up to Palmer Square where my mother would pick me up. You had to walk past the Princeton University Store, it's like the Harvard Coop, I always went in there to look for records. I thought, now that I'm a recording artist, I'm going to go and see what the recent releases are. I looked through the miscellaneous records – and my record’s been released, I didn't realize it. It was in the Miscellaneous K section – Moodswing by Robert Kraft. I pulled it out. I showed the guy behind the counter and said, “Remember me? I've come in here and bought records since I was 13 years old. Look, I'm in your store!” And he was unbelievably blasé. “Oh … cool.” And I thought, “This is the biggest deal in the world, dude.”
MG: So you didn't feel any anger that you didn't know that your album was out?
RK: I thought as a Harvard grad, that I was done. I’d made it! I have a record in the store. I thought it was coming out in six weeks, but they had already shipped it. I didn't realize that was a peak moment, which lasted a year or two before things went downhill, which happens in every career – which is the record label folds. The guy who signed you leaves the company, so you're suddenly looking for a new deal. I thought, “Why me? I went to Harvard and Harvard people have it all worked out, we're special!” No, I was not special. A big lesson. So I think the flip side of hearing a “no” is that getting a “yes” can be a distortion of how, as they say, success and failure are flip sides of the same coin. I've known some Harvard folks who have come out and gotten lucky, gotten a deal, a song recorded, a publishing deal. And where are they now? There was probably a minute where they thought “I'm golden,” but it's never easy in this business.
MG: It's promised.
RK: Is music supervision a very challenging field?
MG: Yes and no. I've worked internally at larger companies so it’s a little bit different. In grad school, I played with a band – I don't know if you're familiar with the Milk Carton Kids.
RK: I have heard of them, they're like Americana.
MG: Yep. Anyway. Ken (one of the Milk Carton Kids), I played with his project before MCK, and it was so great. I was all about it. It was awesome. And then I was also working at Warner during that time and did both for a while and it just felt like everything was making sense and going the right way.
RK: We were at Warner together. I was a consultant for Warner Brothers Records from, like, 2012 to 16.
MG: Oh, for maybe six months to a year. I was there from 2007, right out of grad school, and then I moved to BMG in 2013.
RK: I think I started in 2013. Cameron Strang hired me when he was the president of the label. I tried to get record companies and publishing companies to open a film and TV division to take their assets and make movies and TV shows. This is my big fantasy, and you are actually living it.
MG: We are doing that at BMG. I have always expressed my love of film and my interest to be in that world. Anyone who knows me at BMG knows this. Now that we have this team, I want to be a part of that conversation.
RK: For something that is not definitive yet, the way I use the energy in the world, I say, “I am that person.” And let someone tell me that I'm not.
MG: Well, I don't sit in that department.
MG: I don't know the answer to that question, which probably just proves some point about what you're saying. But the truth is I love where I'm sitting at BMG right now.
RK: It's the future.
RK: I have a project with an artist that BMG publishes, and I am waiting for the right moment to come in to BMG to say, “I'm making a documentary about something that is a huge topic, and you're the publisher of one of the components. We could either do a sync deal where I have, you know, six tracks that are going to be in the film, and I'll give you a couple quid for that … or you can be more involved,” which is a conversation I’m having at Columbia with their premium Sony content. At some juncture, I want to come to you.
MG: This is that moment! It's happening right now.
RK: Thank you! Or another way is that you go into BMG and tell them that you’ve been told about a project ...
MG: That I would shepherd it.
RK: Right. I'm bringing this to you, and we'll take it over the finish line.
Megan Goldstein is a Los Angeles native who, after graduating Harvard '05, returned quickly to her home city to attend graduate school at USC in Cinema/Television. After finishing school she spent six years at Warner Music Group negotiating sync for film, television, and trailers on the record label side. She is now a Vice President at BMG heading up the U.S. synch licensing team. In addition to leading the team, she works with a variety of music supervisors and studios. Megan also stays active as a musician both as the Director of Handbells at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena where she writes and arranges music and conducts various groups, and by keeping her chops up performing around Los Angeles on sax and clarinet (and flute when she's forced to). She also sings with a small ensemble, The Dulcet Singers, and is active in the theater space, directing a community production of a Broadway musical each summer.
Robert Kraft is an award-winning songwriter, film composer, recording artist and record producer. As President of Fox Music from 1994 to 2012, Kraft was the Executive in Charge of Music for more than 300 Fox feature films, as well as dozens of TV shows. Highlights during his tenure at Fox include the record-breaking scores and soundtracks from Titanic, Moulin Rouge, Waiting To Exhale, Garden State, Walk The Line, Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, and Once. Kraft has earned Academy Award, Grammy Award, and two Golden Globes nominations for co-composing the song “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” from The Mambo Kings and “How Can I Not Love You” from Anna and the King. In 1989, Kraft co-produced all of the Oscar- and Grammy Award-winning songs from The Little Mermaid. Hudson Hawk (1991), starring Bruce Willis, was based on his song “Hudson Hawk.” In 2013, Kraft started Kraftbox Entertainment, with projects currently in production across several platforms, including the feature film Sugar Hill at Warner Bros Studios, the independent film SCORE! The Film Music Documentary, The Lion, an Off-Broadway musical, and the solo debut of trumpeter, singer and songwriter Spencer Ludwig on Warner Bros Records.
Peeter Rebane (AB '95) makes his theatrical feature directorial debut with the Cold War romantic drama Firebird. The feature film opened in theaters on April 29. Rebane also co-wrote the script with Tom Prior. Firebird is being released by Roadside Attractions, co-founded by Howard Cohen (AB ’81) and Eric d’Arbeloff (MBA ‘93). Click here for tickets and more info about the movie.
Harvardwood member and photographer Scott Mead (BA ’77) is a candidate for Harvard’s Board of Overseers, one of the University’s two governing boards. Voting is open until May 17 for both Overseers and HAA Elected Directors via paper ballot or online. More information about the candidates can be found here.
Check out this Forbes article from Natalie Wexler (AB '76), "Why High School ‘Rigor’ Is Often Just A Facade". (Forbes)
Larry Tanz (AB '92) comments on Netflix’s plan to open an office in Poland later this year that will serve as its hub for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). (Deadline)
Carlton Cuse (AB '81) is returning to Amazon Studios! The Emmy-winning writer-producer, who co-created and was showrunner for the first two seasons of the Prime Video Original Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, has signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios. (Deadline)
The Boston Globe published a piece on Harvard alum Jesseca Ferguson (AB ‘71)'s photography. (Boston Globe)
Reginald Hudlin (AB '83) is staying put at Universal Content Productions. The producer of the 2020 Primetime Emmys has renewed his first-look deal with the Universal Studio Group-backed division and tapped Ruby Mateo to head development! (Hollywood Reporter)
Harvard alum Sarah Darling (AB ‘02) today released "Hungover", the newest single from her forthcoming EP! The single is available worldwide on all streaming services here. The single will be accompanied by a music video featuring Darling. (BroadwayWorld)
Cree Cicchino and Felix Mallard have landed supporting lead roles in New Line’s film adaptation of John Green’s bestseller Turtles All the Way Down for HBO Max. Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen (AB '91), Wyck Godfrey and Isaac Klausner will produce! (Deadline)
HWP alum, HWC winner, and writer for The Simpsons Loni Sosthand (AB ‘97) is the writer behind the show’s April 10 installment, “The Sound of Bleeding Gums!" The episode is not only notable for featuring the first-ever use of ASL on The Simpsons, but it also includes the show’s first-ever deaf voice actors. (Variety)
The new single “Wound Too Tight” by Sara Melson (AB '90) is out now! (Linktree)
A two-term U.S. Poet Laureate who has used poetry to bridge differences and build community, Tracy K. Smith (‘94) will be the featured speaker for Harvard Alumni Day. (Harvard Gazette)
Author Weike Wang (AB '11) explores issues of family and identity in new novel Joan is Okay, which centers around a Chinese American intensive care unit doctor trying to chart her own course through family troubles and the pandemic. (WBUR)
Harvard profiled violinist Robin Batteau (AB '68). (Harvard Gazette)
Production and distribution giant Fremantle has signed a first-look deal with veteran producer Nicky Weinstock (AB '91) and his fledgling Invention Studios. (c21 Media)
FIT Honors Serena Williams, Producer Debra Martin Chase (JD '81) and Harlem Fashion Row’s Brandice Daniel at Awards Gala. (Ebony)
The Flash's Jesse L. Martin to Star in NBC's The Irrational. Arika Mittman penned the script for The Irrational and exec produces alongside Sam Baum (AB ’98) and Mark Goffman (KSG '94). (Hollywood Reporter)
Loot, the Maya Rudolph workplace comedy from Alan Yang (AB '02) and Matt Hubbard (AB ‘00), will debut globally on Friday, June 24, Apple announced on Tuesday. (The Wrap)
NATPE has revealed the winners of its 18th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, which will take place in Los Angeles for the first time, on June 2. This year's winners include producer and former network exec Jeff Sagansky (AB '74).(Variety)
The Morning Show: Nestor Carbonell (AB '91) Wants to "Get in a World of Trouble" in Season 3. (TV Insider)
Four contributors to The Lonely Stories — Maya Shanbhag Lang, Emily Raboteau, Lev Grossman (AB '91), and Amy Shearn — chat about how the pandemic shifted their way of thinking about being alone, their favorite places to be alone, and so much more. (Lithub)
Randi Zuckerberg (AB '03), Founder & CEO of Zuckerberg Media, discusses how the Metaverse is transforming our world. (Economic Times)
The 2022 Tribeca Film Festival lineup includes new film There There from Andrew Bujalski (AB '99). (Deadline)
STORAGE launches its funding campaign to support women behind the camera in the horror genre and broader film industry. The project received backing from Couper Samuelson (AB '02), President of Feature Films at iconic horror production company Blumhouse. (Dread Central)
Director Reginald Hudlin (AB '83) talks Phat Tuesdays. (Deadline)
New Arts and Lecture series Cue & A with Robert Kraft (AB ‘76) is now taking place at The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. (The Broad Stage)
New Members' Welcome
Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:
- Taylor Margis-Noguera, GSBA, NY
- Elijah Guo, ART, NY
- Greg Martin, HLS, LA
- Darcy Pollack, GSBA, LA
- Duncan O'Brien, College, BOS/Campus
- Maggie Buckley, College, BOS/Campus
- Janna Taylor, GSE, LA
- Abigail Ory, College, BOS/Campus
- Lewis McAllister, College, BOS/Campus
- Tia KwanBock, College, BOS/Campus
- Jennifer 8. Lee, College, LA
- Chris Brown, ART, NY
Alumni Profile: Romolo Del Deo ’82 (sculptor)
by Rachel Levy
“I think if you give things time, that they will help you. You’re only in trouble when you rush things and, nowadays, a lot of pressure is exerted on short-duration projects and on immediate resolutions, and it’s not good for creative people that need time to sort stuff out.”
This is the philosophy of ROMOLO DEL DEO, a master sculptor and enthusiast for the more thoughtful, less-wasteful Long Art Movement.
If you were to run into Del Deo on an average day in his native Cape Cod, you’d likely find him walking down the coast enjoying one of his favorite past-times: beachcombing, a process that both puts him in touch with nature and offers new inspiration for his work.
“I grew up in Provincetown,” Del Deo shares, “which is an interesting place, but also a place where the environment was very present in a way that forces you to think about environmental factors.” His specific stretch of New England coast, however, goes beyond its scenery. Equally as important as its iconic seaboard is P-town’s history as an artist’s colony. In fact, it’s the oldest continuous artist’s colony in America, making it out to be quite an eclectic place to be raised.
“It was a wonderful place to grow up,” Del Deo shares, “and it was an unusual, distorting place to grow up because, essentially, when I was a child here, everyone was either a fisherman or they were an artist.” This upbringing led to a perspective that views art and environment as inextricably linked together. The son of acclaimed artist Salvatore Del Deo and conservationist-minded mother Josephine Couch Del Deo, the young Del Deo was introduced to the intersection of aesthetics and environment at a very early age.
He reminisces on his youth as a special time in his life that had a great influence on the work he creates now. “A lot of my education [growing up] was very unorthodox,” he says, referencing a period when he had to be pulled out of school for medical complications. “We had all this clay hanging around,” because of a project his father was commissioned for, “and I wasn’t in school, [...] so I just started sculpting. You know, we were artists, so we were very poor, and I didn’t have a lot of toys so my approach to sculpting at that point was to make everything I wished I had.”
From trucks to trains, he spent his time learning how to construct objects he was seeing all around him with the only tools he had: his two hands and a chunk of clay. “This became really like my first language,” he says. “Instead of learning to read and write, when most of my peers were doing so, I was learning how to look at an animal, or a picture of a boat, or whatever, and sculpt it. I got a very early start on that and it just sort of became my thing.”
Perhaps you’ll sense his humility in that last statement upon understanding how this thing of his has earned him exhibitions around the world and awards from major institutions like the New York Foundation for the Arts and The Henry Moore Foundation.
Part of his success can be attributed to his commitment to challenging himself. He says he doesn't want his art to become too easy, or “fácil” as he puts it. In Del Deo’s eyes, his training has provided him the skills needed to professionally sculpt whatever he sees in front of him. However, he’s looking to do more than simple recreations with his work. He describes wasted talent in an artist like a poet who just writes Hallmark Cards. “It would be like if you had a good vocabulary, a good way of stringing words together and you just wrote lots of flowery poetry about stuff without actually using that ability to say anything.”
The most recent achievement of Del Deo’s is the installation of his sculpture entitled “The Tree Of Life Which Is Ours” in the Marinaressa Gardens of Venice, Italy, for exhibition in the Venice Art Biennial 22. The inspiration behind this piece brings us back to his hometown coast, a stretch of land that is now feeling the ever-encroaching impacts of climate change.
Del Deo, an observer of the natural world, began to notice the prevalence of ghost forests along his stretch of Provincetown coastline. Ghost forests are stretches of formerly lush coastal estuary where saltwater encroached, killed the trees, and left behind a mass of slowly dying and dead trees.
During his beachcombing excursions, Del Deo began collecting and studying different pieces of driftwood from these ghost forests. “I have a way of working and it’s kind of like I’m a squirrel and I’m hoarding things for the winter,” he says of the process.
Eventually, he began making molds from these shapes to see what his work might reveal to him. “What really excites me is to take it through a process of transformation,” Del Deo says. “I want it to be a springboard and I really want it to take me somewhere else.”
After making molds and then twisting, cutting, shaping, recombining and eventually making new molds, he eventually came upon part of “The Tree Of Life Which Is Ours.” He compares the process to writing a script or a novel. “You get to a certain point in which you don't have the ending.” This is where he found himself after completing this initial design based on those pieces of driftwood he collected.
The ending for this sculpture finally took shape as a woman’s head that draws inspiration from the myth of Daphne.
“Daphne, you see, she turned into a tree,” Del Deo explains. “And I’ve been working with this idea about how I wanted to say something about how climate change is something we are all involved with, and how these ghost forests are a very obvious precursor, which is a global phenomenon.”
For Del Deo, Daphne closed the loop between the ghost forests and their connection with humanity. “[Daphne] became a tree. So her existence and the tree’s existence were united and in that sense, we are all Daphne.”
For Del Deo, now as always, art is indistinguishable from the environment.
Rachel Levy ('22) is a published journalist, photographer, and filmmaker studying within the Environmental Science and Public Policy department. She creates work at the intersection of art, culture, and environment and produced her first film “Starving in Paradise” this year about food insecurity in Hawaii. In September of this year she’ll travel to Tanzania on a postgraduate fellowship to produce a documentary about the relationship between female empowerment, eco-tourism, and international development; find Rachel at rach-levy.com.
All of your entertainment industry questions answered!! Well, we'll try. This Lowdown call is open to ALL Harvardwood members. Confirmed panelists include Harvardwood Co-Founders Adam Fratto and Mia Riverton Alpert, as well as President Allison Kiessling.
The Harvardwood Lowdown is an open Q&A for members to pick our brains about anything on your minds -- career questions, creative questions, or questions and suggestions about Harvardwood's programming. We look forward to talking to you!
Book Discussion & Signing Party for "RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now" co-written by Jeff Yang AB '89. Presented by APA SoCal @NBCUniversal, Harvardwood and the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance (Los Angeles and online)
Friday, May 13, 2022, 5:30-8pm PT - click here
Asian Pacific Americans @ NBC Universal, Harvardwood and the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance (H4A) invite you to the RISE / APA Heritage Month Celebration featuring Jeff Yang AB '89, Phil Yu and Philip Wang, authors of the New York Times bestselling RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now
RISE is a love letter to and for Asian Americans — a vivid scrapbook of voices, emotions, and memories from an era in which our culture was forged and transformed, and a way to preserve both the headlines and the intimate conversations that have shaped our community into who we are today.
Join APAs @ NBC Universal, Harvardwood and the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance as the authors of RISE talk about the making of the book and raise a glass in celebration of our first in-person APA Heritage Month in three years. (Side note: It's also co-author Phil Yu's birthday! Cake will be provided.)
This event will be in-person in Los Angeles at Sorry Not Sorry, with an author talk streamed online.
Harvardwood Presents: Rosa Antonelli Plays Music of Spain and Latin America (New York)
Wed, May 25, 7:30pm ET - click here
In this special, intimate concert, the celebrated Argentine pianist Rosa Antonelli will perform piano music by Spanish and Latin American composers, including Ginastera and Piazzolla. Antonelli knew Piazzolla and others of these composers personally, and was entrusted with the world premiere performances of several of Piazzolla’s tangos for piano. She plays this repertory with deep love and a very special warmth and understanding.
When she gave the first of her two solo recitals in Carnegie Hall's main Stern Auditorium, Joe Franklin wrote, "On October 15 in Carnegie Hall, a star was born. Her name is Rosa Antonelli." And the legendary critic Harris Goldsmith wrote of her playing, "She is a dyed-in-the-wool Romantic Lyricist. Her always aurally beautiful and caressing pianism uses a lot of color via the sustaining pedal; she molds phrases with enormous flexibility, and there was never a hint of harsh, ugly or astringent glint to her lush singing tone . . . Antonelli's inward poetry forced me to rehear, and revalue, Piazzolla's Tangos, which she infused with an eloquence and inner communication." When her most recent CD, BRIDGES, was released, Jacqueline Kharouf wrote in her review in Fanfare, "I will listen to this album for many years, and always with a sense of deep gratitude and admiration."
This in-person event will be a rare opportunity to hear Rosa Antonelli perform in an intimate 45-seat setting. If NYC Covid numbers are low enough, a reception with wine will follow the performance. You must wear a mask and be fully vaccinated against Covid to attend. Advance registration is required. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Now that in-person reunion events have resumed, Harvardwood will be hosting a mixer during Harvard's Commencement/Reunion Weekend. On Saturday, June 4th from 3-5 pm, Harvardwood members and alumni returning to Cambridge for Reunions will gather on the front patio of Charlie’s Kitchen in the Square to meet and mingle.
Cash bar. This event is free to attend, and guests/family members are welcome.
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Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here!
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Become a Harvardwood member as we further engage in socially active programming, discourse, and action to help change the entertainment industry
In these unprecedented times, we are doubling down on providing impactful programming that not only helps our membership build and further entertainment careers, but create socially active habits and spheres of influence and knowledge. The entertainment industry is changing before our eyes, and our recent programming is just the tip of the iceberg. We'd love your help in furthering this mission. In various capacities, we work hard to create programming that you, the membership, would like to be engaged with. Please consider joining Harvardwood and becoming an active member of our arts, media, and entertainment community!
Harvardwood does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content or advertisements (collectively "Materials") contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained in this e-mail. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. The materials are provided by Harvardwood on an "AS IS" basis, and Harvardwood expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied.