You see them wandering campus in packs, lanyards a swingin'. Ever wondered who they are? What they do? Where they go? Get up close and personal with these fresh faces on campus with project #findnewfriends. This week, meet Jack Warren.
TEXT BY LUCIE PLASSE ('20)
IMAGES BY SOLENNE SPITALIER (‘20) AND LUCIE PLASSE (‘20)
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? I am from upstate New York, in a town of 309 people called Phoenicia. We're 20 minutes from Woodstock, which is vaguely famous but otherwise we live in the middle of nowhere.
WHY THE HAT? For a long time, I was just "Oh, because it looks cool" and realized I needed to come up with a better answer. So I psychoanalyzed myself a little bit. I started wearing the hat in earnest around late middle school, early high school; around the time when I was realizing that my life was not going to be a fictional novelistic adventure. So I decided to dress like a character, as if my life was fictional. It sort of stuck, so I guess nowadays it's what people associate me with; although lowkey, it's also still because I wish my life was a high fantasy adventure novel.
I WISH YOU HAD BROUGHT YOUR OTHER HAT TOO, THE ONE WITH THE GOGGLES. WHY THOSE? I think the goggles are particularly otherworldly and also kind of idealistic in how they look. They've got those Hermes-style wings on the side so I feel like a person that is about to go on a quest to save the kingdom. but then they also work effectively as goggles! I was in a storm once and there was hail coming like horizontally at my face. I though "Oh my god, now is the time!" So I took the goggles off the hat and put them on my face and they worked! Although, I've tried to use them underwater and they do not work at all...
FAVORITE PERSON AT WES SO FAR? I was walking in Middletown and there was a guy - well he's technically not part of Wes - but this guy was sitting in front of this cafe, very sort of nonchalantly and I walk past him and he's like "Excuse me?" So I replied "Yeah?" And he looks at me and he's like "Are those ears real?" And I just answered back "Yes, I guess...? Bye." Then I walked away. I think HE's my favorite guy. Just who can ask that? What kind of a human being does it take to be able to look at someone straight in the eyes and ask them if their ears are real?
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS? I found some paths behind Long Lane Farm that like go into the forest and they're really nice, well-kept paths. I've only gone down once that far but it led me to this giant mountain of rocks. It was completely unexplained so I definitely want to go back there and learn more about that mysterious part of campus that I have heard about from nobody. Because you hear about Indian Hill obviously; that's like the cool spot to chill but you never hear about the secret forest behind Long Lane. I haven't explored the whole thing but it feels like there are a bunch of secrets hiding in the woods.
WHAT CAN WE FIND YOU DOING ON A FRIDAY? Perhaps watching a movie. Or exploring the party scene, which is definitely not something I was a part of in high school. I was in my first mosh pit a couple of Fridays ago. It was a very Wesleyan mosh pit though; people were like apologizing for stepping on your feet and giving you high fives at the end [pause]. It was adorable.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE 2 CELEBRITIES TO BE YOUR PARENTS, WHO WOULD YOU PICK? I would have said Johnny Depp for a while until the recent allegations so now that's being thrown into question. Leonardo DiCaprio seems like a nice guy.
I’VE GOTTA SAY, I KIND OF SEE THE RESEMBLANCE WITH A YOUNG LEONARDO DICAPRIO AND JOHNNY DEPP. Well thank you! But who would be my celeb mom? Maybe Patti Smith. Patti Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio.
WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN STUDYING? Film for sure. When I was touring colleges, I sort of fell into the kind of liberal arts haze where every school seems the same. But Wesleyan's Film Department really stood out and still does so that's quite exciting but I'm also interested in a million other things all at once.
WHAT ARE THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE FILMS? "Her" by Spike Jonze, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" by Michel Gondry and "Amelie" by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING/COOLEST THING ABOUT YOU THAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT? The girl from "Moonrise Kingdom" wore my hat once.
NO WAY? I was an extra in this movie that Kara Hayward, who is Suzy Bishop, was called "The Sisterhood of the Night." It was filming around where I live and I was able to chat with the casting director and she liked me. There was briefly a chance that I was going to be a sort of ascended extra, like a guy who maybe has one line. Anyway, I was going to be the quarterback's best friend, a football player [pause] I know, hilarious. So there was a brief period of time where I was hanging out with the cast and there was this scene that was some fire drill where someone had pulled the fire alarm. When they shot, all we had to do was file into this little rim so me, Kara Hayward and a bunch of other people were huddled together. We were just bored waiting for them to do whatever, and she like reaches over, takes my hat and puts it on. I was just like "Oh my god, this is the greatest thing to have ever happened in my life." So, I talked to her and there were some other very cool people in the cast. There was this girl named Morgan Turner who was very cool, who played Mildred Pierce, some HBO special. I did not get the football player part for some unknown reason but they were really nice to me and we still talked. So right before the shooting wrapped, I gave them each a book, one to Morgan and one to Kara. And completely innocently, I put my home phone number inside in case they wanted to reach me. In retrospective I realize this sounds kind of sleazy, which I have come to accept, but I thought "what if they want to get in touch? So here's my home phone." Several months pass and one day, I'm waiting for a call from my friend. The phone starts to ring and the caller ID says "Kara Hayward" and I'm like "WHA-WHATT??" So I pick up, and she's like "Oh my goodness thank you for the book, Top Hat Jack!" And I was there whispering to myself "I'm dying..." and said "You're welcome!" Then the service cut out and then we never talked again but my mom was like "Write that phone number down!" So in our phone book back home, we still have Kara Hayward's phone number just in case. I don't know why I didn't call her back, I don't know what my thinking was there.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS AT THE MOMENT? I think "History of World Cinema" because despite the fact that it is at 8:50 AM, we get to watch so many great fucking movies. And also, movies that aren't great, which I kind of love too just because so much of it was just like people trying to figure shit out and failing [laughs].
IF YOU HAD TO TAKE US ON AN ESCAPE, WHERE WOULD WE GO AND WHAT WOULD WE DO? I work at a LARPing summer camp in which everyone puts on costumes and fights monsters with foam swords and I think everyone needs that in their lives so I would definitely take us there.
WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? AND WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST AT THE MOMENT? So many types! My one true love in the music world is a man named Sufjan Stevens. What is great about Sufjan is that he does all different sorts of music so he has this sort of indie-pop album called "Illinois" [pause] or at least I think it's indie-pop. He also has a Christian-folk album, which is amazing and a wordless electronica symphony based upon the Chinese Zodiac, which is great. So yeah, he does everything, which is great because I genuinely like any and everything. I was weary of it first because I don't usually listen to Christian music but then I was like "Oh my god! I can believe in God for like this hour and a half!"
IF YOU COULD SELECT ONE PERSON IN HISTORY AND HAVE THEM TRUTHFULLY ANSWER ONE QUESTION, WHO WOULD YOU SELECT AND WHAT WOULD BE THE QUESTION? William Shakespeare and "How the fuck did you do that? Just how? Were you just fucking around and like genious came out? Or like what went down there?" I don't know, I'm like a Shakespeare nerd in addition to all the other things I'm a nerd of, but if you look at some of the ways he plays with language, I just can't even wrap my head around how a guy could do that in a short amount of time. I don't know, I'm not a Shakespearean scholar but I don't think it took years and years and years to write his plays; he wasn't like "I will perfect this masterpiece!" But more like "I've gotta crank at this play so that I can get money."
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOURSELF TO SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW YOU AT ALL? I feel like I am a person who's very much raised on stories and who likes to live their life as much of a story as possible. What that means exactly, I'm still figuring out so I guess I'm trying to live my life like a really good movie or a really good book and figuring out how to do that. Also trying not to be a horrible human being, because it's very easy for you to think of yourself as the protagonist and have all the other people in your life be like, side characters. Then you run the risk of, you know, treating them like side characters instead of actual people.
THAT’S A REALLY COOL DESCRIPTION. [Laughs] Okay wait, here's a good sound bite. I'm trying to figure out how to live a good life and what I mean by that, is a good life worth talking about.