Arts and Culture

Pete Guither / Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The 2017 season for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival marks the 40th anniversary for the summer theater event, and in order to celebrate the ISF is filling the season with magic.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Dick Folse ventures into imaginary worlds when he sets out to paint a landscape.  His latest works are currently on display in the show Abstracted Landscapes at the McLean County Arts Center in Bloomington. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal Arts Collective is facing recent turmoil on the political scene with a three-day  exhibition called Art for a Change. 

Selena N.B.H. / Flickr via Creative Commons

There's nothing like a movie that can make your mouth water. It's fun to savor movies involving food and cooking, luxuriating  in the morsels created, finding inspiration -- but never paying the price of too many calories.

Larry Kanfer / "A Prairie State Of Mind"

Photographer Larry Kanfer celebrates the Heartland in his new book, A Prairie State of Mind.  The serene beauty and remarkable contrasts of the prairie cycle through the season's in Kanfer's book. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Tom Ashbrook, an award-winning journalist who has covered stories all over the world, came home last week to central Illinois.   Based in Boston at WBUR, Ashbrook was the guest this past Friday for the 2016 GLT's Radio Faces.  He's currently the host of NPR's On Point, though his resume includes forays into  Alaskan oil fields as a surveyor, and a producer of international editions of vintage Chinese Kung Fu movies.  

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

On this Veterans Day, Americans  across the country are honoring those who served.  A visit to the Illinois State University Archives reveals  some of the various ways those associated with ISU served their country, including  how the first president of the university risked his life in battle, and how the university's first librarian helped document the activities of students turned soldiers.

Community Players

Before there was Broadway hit "The Book of Mormon" and the popular Disney film "Frozen," composer-lyricist Robert Lopez collaborated on an odd hybrid of a show  in a theater workshop that used both puppets and actors.

Geoff Hughes / Heartland Theater

Peel back the flesh of The Homecoming  and you'll find a dangerous family dynamic that plays out to a shocking conclusion. Heartland Theater in Normal is currently staging this masterpiece of contemporary drama by Harold Pinter, who carefully charts the tumultuous inner workings of a working class English family.

Kendra Paitz

The latest exhibition at the University Galleries in Normal allows contemporary women artists to explore the legacies of the writers who inspire them. It's Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy, currently on view. Very much in the vein of inspiration, the title of the show was written by one writer, underlined by another and used to inspire a work of art.

Gordon Vayo

A Twin Cities native is the runner-up in the World Series of Poker, which wrapped up play early this morning in Las Vegas. 

mcfarlandmo / Flickr via Creative Commons

Season seven of The Walking Dead just started, returning a terrifying vision of a zombie apocalypse to the small screen.  It's quite a departure from TV 40 years ago, when the supernatural was often depicted as funny and cute, like on the show, Bewitched.  At least that what it seemed on the surface. 

Kim McCord

Being a rock musician isn't just a young person's game.  An Illinois State University music professor wants to help people of all ages live the rock n' roll dream.

Flickr

A charismatic populist candidate for president promotes a platform to create prosperity and restore America to greatness. Sound like today's headlines?

It's the plot premise for Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel, It Can't Happen Here.

Things did not turn out well for the America that elected Lewis' fictional candidate, Buzz Windrip.  He quickly outlaws dissent, dilutes Congress' power by dividing the nation into administrative districts led by businessmen, and establishes a Gestapo-like police force called The Minute Men.

Renjishino / Wikipedia

Route 66 conjures up nostalgic memories for many white's of a certain age in the United States. Television, print, and other media often invoke the highway as a symbol of freedom in a simpler time.  For black Americans of that time, memories of traveling Route 66 are likely to evoke different symbols, as summed up by music legend Aretha Franklin's brother Cecil in the June 28, 1968 Time Magazine profile on Soul music.

"Driving eight or ten hours trying to make a gig, and becoming hungry and passing restaurants all along the road, and having to go off the highway into some little city to find a place to eat because you're black - that had its effect."

Harry Pherson / Flickr via Creative Commons

The mother of all roads is turning 90 this year.  To celebrate nine decades of travel across the wide open spaces of America, Route 66 lovers are converging on the Twin Cities later this week.  The 2nd Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference is Thursday through Sunday, featuring a variety of speakers, historic tours and more.  

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

A hometown musician has returned to the Twin Cities to share an extraordinary musical instrument that, despite a series of unfortunate events, he managed to bring back to life.  Last year, GLT's Laura Kennedy produced a story we called 'How Do You Mend A Broken Harp?' It detailed the long road that musician Ted Nichelson took to restore a rare 86-year old Lyon and Healey harp.

White Chapel Press

Today is World Mental Health Day.  It's also the birthday of Rhoda Derry, who was born in 1834 and is the subject of a new biography entitled 44 Years in Darkness:  A True Story of Madness, Tragedy and Shattered Love.   A local author relates the painful tale of the Illinois woman who suffered through decades of mental illness and disfiguring self-abuse while institutionalized.  

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

After forty years, and Illinois State University graduate and acclaimed artist Wonsook Kim has returned to campus to share her work in a new exhibition, and to lend a hand to the next generation.

Emma Shores / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History is offering a dramatic look at voices from the past in its cemetery walk over two weekends.

The walk attracts as many as 3,700 people annually. Most are school children attending weekday performances.

anax44 / Flickr via Creative Commons

The organizers of a traditional Indian dance festival in the Twin Cities are throwing the doors to the event open wide in order to make this an event for the whole community.  What's more, they're putting a Bollywood spin on the traditional Indian festival dance forms known as Dandiya and Garba.

Don Palma / Palace Events

Musicians and music fans will join together to support a local landmark with a new music series beginning October 1. The Duncan Manor Songwriter Series will support restoration of the Italianate-style mansion near Towanda. 

ISU School of Theatre and Dance

The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance has a diverse collection of plays to run this season, from old favorites to new and exciting works.  The  emphasis this season is on international playwrights.  

Vivien Evans, Flickr

The circular design known as the mandala is an ancient symbol that represents wholeness. Mandalas usually have a focal point in the center that can represent the divine presence within.

Paraclete Press

Adult coloring books have grown into a significant segment within the publishing market, and spirituality book publishers are picking up on the trend.

 Laura McKendree, national marketing representative of Paraclete Press, a spirituality book publisher in Orleans, MA, says doodling with crayons can be a pathway to prayer.

Judith Valente

Vesper services to mark the passing of day and the onset of evening are a tradition that derives from monastic life, and dates as far back as the 6th century.  Much Vesper music is based on the melodic lines of Medieval Gregorian chant.

Mike Mantin / Flickr via Creative Commons

The pages of children and young adult's literature are strewn with the corpses of many a mother.  A new collection of essays examines the role of the mother in books for young people and finds that moms can be so much more than what is currently portrayed in a lot of popular fiction.

Public Domain

Women are the pivotal characters in a film festival launching Wednesday at the Normal Theater, but that may not necessarily be a good thing. Femme fatales, or fatal females, usually set the plot into motion. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

More than 450 people celebrated Indian culture at Bloomington's Miller Park during the fifth annual Chariot Festival on Sunday, September 18. This festival is sometimes referred to as Ratha Yatra, literally meaning Chariot Festival. Ratha Yatra originated 5,000 years ago in India, on the East Coast state of Orrisa, in a city called Jagannatha Puri, according to festival ofchariots.com.

Ben Smith / Flickr via Creative Commons

The hugely popular Netflix documentary true crime series, Making a Murderer,  just nabbed four Emmy Awards in the nonfiction category.  The much-streamed show tapped into the on-going national fascination with true crime stories, and a local professor's research indicates some interesting reasons for our lust for true crime, especially women's thirst for the stories.

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