Arts

Arts and culture

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Aurora’s poet laureate is making sure that poetry is in clear view in the city’s downtown.  

Karen-Fullett Christensen was at the starting line ready to take off after her appointment. But before she could get into a stride the pandemic swooped in like a whirlwind.  

“So, all the great plans that I had of things I wanted to do related to the poet laureate position really had to be put on hold with the exception of the Aurora Poet Laureate Facebook page,” she said, “and then everything that we're doing with A-Town Poetics.”  

Jennifer Rea.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. This segment showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's poem is by Jennifer Rea.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/18MRGuv8fzF3Fn5r54r07xkFlElTnCky_DlaqAtLwxHY/edit

Black History Month is coming to a close and WNIJ wants to recognize a Rockford jazz singer and educator who some say is creating a solid legacy in the city.  

 

Dorothy Paige-Turner can be described as sort of --well-- a renaissance woman.  

In addition to singing and being a retired teacher, she writes books, poetry and plays, leads a number of youth art initiatives, speaks French and has received many awards for her work throughout the years. She was also inducted into the Rockford Fine Arts Coalition 2020 Hall of Fame.

Sessions from Studio A - Mark Walters (Kram)

Feb 25, 2021
WNIJ

Paralysis by Analysis is the new album out now from DeKalb artist Mark Walters, also known as Kram. Join us for this week's show featuring music from that album and more, performed live in WNIJ's Studio A. We'll also talk with Mark Walters about his background, inspirations, and about writing and producing Paralysis by Analysis.   

https://www.poetryoutloud.org/

Two Jefferson High School students in Rockford have advanced in a virtual nationwide spoken word competition.

Raeanna Tremethick and Emma Carmona have moved on to the Poetry Out Loud virtual state competition. 

The contest showcases the talents of high school performance poets across the nation. The students present poems from established poets. 

Updated at 9:46 p.m. ET

A union representing 800 backstage workers at New York's Metropolitan Opera began a publicity campaign today urging donors and government entities to withdraw support for the company because of a labor dispute.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. This segment showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's poet is Bear Wolf. 

Wolf is a Shawnee Gypsy Jew social justice humanist who lost count of his tattoos somewhere around 20. This world makes no sense to him, so he makes music and poetry. His talks about a brighter tomorrow in his poem "Breath of Fresh Air, Sigh of Relief.'"

Listening to NPR today

Feels like once again

Finding my way

I have to say it's nearly miraculous

Hearing stories of inspiration and hope

Sessions from Studio A - Glory Days

Feb 18, 2021
WNIJ

Glory Days is a high-energy pop punk and alternative band from the Chicago suburb of Wauconda. Their debut record "The Roads We've Traveled" was released in 2016, shortly after the band's formation, and they've released a string of singles in the past few years.

https://joejencks.com/home/?page=home

Musicians across the world have had to accept performing without a live audience. One DeKalb folk musician has adapted to this and is still able to make a living doing what he loves.

Joe Jencks grew up in Rockford. He is the youngest of seven children. He said his family was always surrounded by music.  

Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste — two artists from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — met 25 years ago, in a high school orchestra class. Growing up, neither one had had much exposure to classical music; both said their parents were more likely to listen to reggae or calypso. Classical music felt like it was supposed to be for other people, which had the effect of drawing them even closer to it. Today, they play as a duo, with Marcus on violin and Baptiste on viola.

Connie Kuntz

National Poetry Month isn’t until April but some Rockford high school students are preparing now for an upcoming spoken word showdown. 

Poetry Out Loud is a competition that takes place for high school students across the country. This year young poets at Jefferson High School are participating.  

Photo by Northern Illinois University - Pick Museum of Anthropology.

George Floyd’s death ignited protests and conversations around race relations last year. But racial tensions have existed for many years in America. A traveling exhibition featuring racist imagery has landed at Northern Illinois University. The goal is to inspire more discussions.  

Aunt Jemima on a pancake box, board games, books and other racist items are some of the objects that can be seen in the “Hateful Things” exhibition at NIU’s Pick Museum of Anthropology.

Connie Kuntz

Welcome to this week's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's episode features Christopher D. Sims. 

Sims is from the West Side of Rockford and first shared his poetic gifts onstage at Haskell Elementary School thanks to Dorothy Paige-Turner. 

Provided by Marcos Lara.

The pandemic has hammered the art industry’s finances. The effect was felt across the field according to a report by Americans for the Arts. But one Rockford artist couple found ways to keep each other going after their main sources of income temporarily disappeared.  

Sessions from Studio A - the bellow & the whale

Feb 11, 2021

We are joined this week by the incredibly talented duo the bellow & the whale for their second appearance on our show! Join us for a talk with Julia Lee Norris and Bianca Goyette about their new pair of EPs, including The Noise Still Lingers and their brand new EP coming out tomorrow.

You can find those EPs available on their Bandcamp page, and be sure to check out more from the bellow & the whale on their website.

When Kayhan Kalhor first left Iran, at age 17, he walked — more than 2,500 miles, to Italy. He carried only two items with him: a small backpack and his main musical instrument, the kamancheh.

Will Liverman is a young baritone and a new, exciting voice in the opera world. He is also on something of a mission.

In school, the artist was rarely introduced to Black composers. It was a cumulative interest, patched together by YouTube clips and introductions from colleagues. Now, he wants to expose listeners to music that he feels doesn't get programmed enough in concert halls or receive enough airplay on classical radio stations.

Beloit International Film Festival.

An organization that celebrates filmmakers is kicking off its flagship event in a slightly different way this year.

The Beloit International Film Festival is celebrating its 16th season with an outside, drive-thru Reveal Party. 

This event normally takes place indoors, but the pandemic prevented that from happening. 

Greg Gerard is the executive director of the film festival. He explained what people can expect. 

Provided by Paige Monet.

Welcome to this week's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases works by northern Illinois poets. This week we share a poem by Paige Monet Wright of FourPoets, OneMic. 

Wright was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia but moved to Illinois at the age of 14. She and her older sister were raised mainly by their mother.

Wright is a sophomore at Northern Illinois University studying biological sciences. She says she wants to be a pediatrician so that she can help children stay healthy and safe. 

Sessions from Studio A - Krystee Wylder

Feb 4, 2021
WNIJ

Join us for original music by Krystee Wylder on this week's show. Krystee is a central Illinois native who has spent time living in Rockford and Chicago. Her sound is a unique mix of singer-songwriter folk and pop. Hear her live performance in Studio A and check out some behind the scenes videos below. We'll also talk with Krystee about her background, her music, and about how she almost lost the ability to sing forever... that's all on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A!

Joe Tallman

A Rockford resident is one of 25 finalists in a beer can design contest.

Illustrator and graphic designer Joe Tallman said he grew up looking at imagery for Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. 

“My grandpa, he had a little bar -- I want to say he had like some glassware and coasters and stuff like that,” Tallman said. “So even before I probably knew what exactly it was, I remember like seeing the logo.” 

Tallman said he normally doesn’t participate in design contests.

https://auroradowntown.org/

A recent gateway mural project in the city of Aurora sparked a lot of dialogue last year. The nonprofit organization that commissioned the mural used that experience to come up with the theme for another development.  

“Aurora Unity” is the title for an upcoming gateway mural that will be located on the near East Side of the city. The exact location will be shared at a later date. People will be able to view it as they approach downtown.    

Poetically Yours - Ep. 26 - Photo-inspired Poem

Jan 29, 2021
Provided by Cheryl Sheinman.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poets from northern Illinois. This week's poem is by Cheryl Sheinman. 

Sheinman is a teacher and dialogue facilitator. Being a graduate of Jungian and archetypal psychology, she writes about bringing consciousness to our social landscape via pieces on voice, justice, trauma, death and dying, gun violence and authentic dialogue.

Paramount Theatre

A northern Illinois performance theater gives marginalized voices a chance to be heard with its new project.

 

The “Inception Project” presents virtual readings hosted by Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. It’s made possible with the help of a Healing Illinois grant. 

Paul-Jordan Jansen, the artistic associate for the project, said the grant helps put a spotlight on work done by artists of color.

www.unsplash.com

Pandemic living has inspired the theme for an annual statewide art contest.

The student contest is sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  

Heather Nice is the library and museum's education director. She said the theme “Art Surrounds Us” encompasses how some people are using art as a relief during COVID-19.

David Artbook Johnson

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poets from northern Illinois but this week we are crossing the Wisconsin border. 

Charles Payne was born in Michigan but currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin. As a child, he loved hearing the sound of Paul Harvey’s voice. Payne said Harvey’s innate ability to describe every intricate detail truly inspired him.

Payne’s works explore personal narrative and social commentary from his experience as a working poor Black male dying to live and living to die. 

https://www.newgenresartspace.com/drawing-as-sound

Some Rockford high school students were pushed out of their usual creative territories in efforts to design something unique.  

Sessions from Studio A - Derek Luttrell

Jan 21, 2021
Corporate Panda Records

Derek Luttrell returns to Sessions from Studio A on this week's episode. We've heard Derek on the show before with his bands Name the Moon and more recently Sickhorse, but this time he's back with a new solo album, The Wolf Who Cried Boy. Join us as we listen through The Wolf Who Cried Boy and talk with Derek Luttrell about putting the album together.

Provided by Michael Lee Johnson.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This segment features Michael Lee Johnson.

Poetically Yours LIVE

Jan 15, 2021
Spencer Tritt

Join us for an evening with a few of our favorite poetry pros from across northern Illinois. WNIJ’s Poetically Yours host Yvonne Boose will lead a discussion with Karen Fullett-Christensen, Christopher D. Sims and Rhonda Parsons on writing poetry during a pandemic and tips they have if you are looking to turn your ideas into stanzas. Plus, our poets will share examples of their work live! 

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