Arts and Culture

Illinois Wesleyan University

There were few books in Cornelius Eady's household when he was growing up in Rochester, New York.

"We barely had a radio," he recalled on GLT's Sound Ideas.

The local library was his sanctuary, a "serene, welcoming place that let you wander around. It was clean, quiet. There was no chaos about it."

Eady said he scoured the library's set of encyclopedias Britannica, reading about everything from nuclear energy to the habits of squirrels. Then some lyrics he had written were published in his high school literary magazine, "and people started calling me a poet ... I didn't know what that meant."

Charles Osgood Photography

Renee Rosen's new historical novel "Windy City Blues" uses Chicago and its storied blues history as a backdrop to a story about perseverance and coming of age.

"I sort of see it as the story of three people who come to Chicago seeking a better life," said Rosen via Skype from her Chicago home.

California Cow / Flickr via Creative Commons

An Illinois State University professor's research has earned her an invitation to join a task force that is taking on the music industry.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History explores local agriculture history in their newest exhibition.

Gamma Phi Circus

Illinois State University is home to two unique and widely admired circus traditions -- Gamma Phi Circus, the 88-year strong circus arts program for students, and the Circus and Allied Arts Collection, part of the Special Collections at Milner Library. Both are keenly feeling the impending loss of The Greatest Show On Earth.

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

The man credited with helping to create rock 'n' roll will be remembered during a public memorial on Sunday, April 9, in St. Louis. Chuck Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90.

Luis Perez / Flickr via Creative Commons

The complex relationships between humans and their robot counterparts are at the heart of a film festival at the Normal Theater this week.

wikimedia.commons

She disguised herself as a male hoping to study at a university. Her personal collection of books is said to have numbered 4,000. She once said women "can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper. "

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was a 17th century Mexican nun who wrote poetry and plays and championed a woman's right to study, learn and think for herself.

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Humor is a potent professor when it comes to diversity.  That's according to an advocate and speaker, who says the hit animated TV comedies South Park and Family Guy have a lot to teach us about our culture.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

There's been a transformation at the University Galleries in Uptown Normal with a new installation that is slowing evolving through a series of artist collaborations.

Community Players

Perhaps the most familiar opening notes of any American show come from composer Leonard Bernstein’s classic score for the musical, West Side Story.

With lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show premiered on Broadway in  1957  and followed the rivalry between ethnic New York teens and young immigrant Puerto Ricans.

The show's opening lines, "Hey brown boy, this is our street ... swim back to where you came from," demonstrate perhaps just how little we’ve progressed as a nation since then.

Sangamon Auditorium

Before the People vrs O.J. Simpson became known as "the trial of the century," there were the trials of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, two fictional  characters based on real-life murderesses in the Broadway musical Chicago.

With a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the show evokes the boozy, sexy, smoke-filled jazz clubs of Chicago in the 1920s. It is on stage Monday and Tuesday this week at Springfield's Sangamon Auditorium.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Through the simplicity of an art installation, a Peoria-based artist has fostered relationships between the nature of found materials and the interpretive impulses of the mind of the viewer.  

ISU Center for the Performing Arts

 With the record-breaking popularity of the Broadway musical Hamilton, revivals of another show about the founding of America were sure to follow.

The musical 1776, on stage at Illinois State University's Center for the Performing Arts, tells the story of some of the other founding fathers -- those who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Director Lori Adams said the struggles to bridge division and reach compromise that the show depicts mirror many of the same challenges facing America today.

K. Gabrielle / Flickr via Creative Commons

From the Hatfields and the McCoys to the Montagues and the Capulets, there's no denying the appeal of a big, juicy feud, especially when it bears the glamorous luster of Hollywood.

Cliff / Flickr via Creative Commons

Of all the Academy Award predictions one could make this year, there's one sure bet:  that some winners will go political in their thank you speeches.  After all, it's a Hollywood tradition.

Of Marvel And Morals

Feb 22, 2017
Andy Roth / Flickr via Creative Commons

The battle between Marvel heroes in the recent blockbuster hit  Captain America: Civil War provides an opportunity for two Illinois State University professors to delve deep into the psychology of morality in the Marvel universe -- as well as our own. 

Paul Dennhardt

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of a classic of existential comedy.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead debuts tomorrow at Illinois State University's Westoff Theater.  The play gives a view of Shakespeare's Hamlet from the perspective of two minor -- and somewhat dimwitted -- characters.  

Gary Jones

One of Dorothy Day's favorite quotes comes from one of her best-loved authors, Dostoyevsky. "The world will be saved by beauty."

ParkLands Foundation

For 50 years, the ParkLands Foundation has been preserving and protecting historic natural lands in the Mackinaw Valley, helping to sustain biological diversity of native plants and wildlife while providing pristine areas for recreation.

Scott Rankin

Photographer Scott Rankin has for years been pursuing the mercurial beauty of the sky, snapping tens of thousands of still images.  A select group of those photos, plus video, are currently on display a the McLean County Arts Center in Bloomington.

Public Domain

Film director Alfred Hitchcock is thought of as "the master of suspense." Bill McBride argues Hitchcock's style is just as important. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Romances were often forbidden in the circus.  Harry Potter was a famous trapeze artist.  And circuses hated Texas.  These are some of the tidbits of circus history you'll find in a route book.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

For students enrolled in the MFA program in the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts, the MFA Biennial is a chance to show off their artistic chops.

Woodle Wonderworks / Flickr via Creative Commons

A classic Star Wars villain made a return appearance in the most recent offering of the film series, Rogue One. While some fans were delighted, others were troubled.

Judith Valente/GLT News

As a teenager, Robert McLaughlin would go to the public library in the small town in upstate New York where he grew up and check out the cast albums of Broadway musicals. 

One of those musicals was Stephen Sondheim's "Company" from 1970. 

"I knew his name from "West Side Story," but I didn't know this musical, "Company." It started with all these voices overlapping, calling out the name of the main character. I'd never heard anything like that. It was one of those moments when your heart goes whoo. And I was hooked from then on."

Now McLaughlin has a new book out that looks at the artist and the man, called "Stephen Sondheim and the Reinvention of the American Musical." 

vyla / Flickr via Creative Commons

Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire features an uneasy - and eventually explosive -- chemistry of class, gender politics and sex. Community Players is staging the iconic show beginning this weekend.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Children's Discovery Museum in Normal has a new head who wants to lead the organization onward, and, perhaps, upward.  

Illinois State University

Illinois State University creative writing professor Gabriel Gudding specializes is crossing literary genres.

His work often mixes poetry with essay, memoir, history and even scientific research. He wrote one collection of poems as a notebook chronicling his frequent road trips between Illinois and Rhode Island to visit his daughter.

Gudding also isn't afraid to take on complex subjects. His most recent book is Literature for Nonhumans, which explores the often regrettable relationship between humans and the animal and plant worlds.

Paint Impact / Flickr via Creative Commons

The House of the Mouse has done it again. After the success of The Force Awakens last year, Disney has released a new stand-alone Star Wars movie that's hitting home as it takes audiences to a galaxy far, far away.

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