Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

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.

Jeff Dunn / Flickr via Creative Commons

A Grammy award-winning jazz superstar is making an appearance this weekend in central Illinois to give  the second-ever performance of a new work that combines jazz with classical music. The Ramsey Lewis Trio is appearing with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Saturday at 8 PM in the Peoria Civic Center Theater to perform Lewis' Concerto for Jazz Trio and Orchestra.

Willamor, Flickr

Is Christianity a fading religion? Can the faith be born anew?

These are some of the questions that will be explored this weekend at the annual Jim and Gwen Pruyne Lectureship in Progressive Christianity, sponsored by New Covenant Community Church in Normal.

This year’s speaker is theologian and author Brian McLaren, known primarily for his writings on what’s called the “emergent church.” McLaren comes from an evangelical tradition, but often takes issue with traditional teachings and practices.

Terry Presley / Flickr via Creative Commons

We all love a good laugh.  But can that laughter help us in our career? One local career counselor thinks so.  Humor is a great communication tool, said Becky Mentzer , and it creates a great work environment.

Daniel Scully / Flickr via Creative Commons

 On Sept. 8, 1966, a new television series debuted, telling a tale of exploration and adventure in a space saga that, while only lasting three seasons, has gone on at warp speed to inspire an entertainment empire.

Heartland Theater

The tragic tale of a young boxer and his impact on the women in his life takes center stage at Heartland Theater. Welsh boxer Johnny Owen died shortly after his attempt win the WBC World Bantamweight title in 1980.  The story inspired playwright Sunil Kuruvilla to tell the tale through the prism of three women from a mining town in Wales.

A 4-night film series at Illinois State University asks the question, “Who is a terrorist, and why?”  The series, "Terrorism on Screen," begins September 1 and will include the showing of five films over four nights.  Dr. Erin Ponnou-Delaffon is an Assistant Professor of French at ISU and the organizer of the series.  She said her interest in creating the series came from her personal and professional interest in contemporary France.

"I watch the news very closely and have friends over there" said Ponnou-Delaffon.  "And certainly France is a country that has been rocked by terrorist events as of late, and is still struggling to come to terms with what that means for them.  Particularly in the light of next year's Presidential election."

John Atherton / Flickr via Creative Commons

The new season at Community Players kicks off with a comedy that asks, 'Coffee, tea or me?'  It's Boeing, Boeing, a classic French farce from the swinging '60's.  The show has a preview Thursday, Sept. 1, with the opening on Friday the 2nd.  The show runs through Sept. 11.

courtesy of Stephanie Castillo

When saxophonist Thomas Chapin died of leukemia at age 40, his obit in the New York Times hailed him as "one of the few musicians to exist in both the worlds of the 'downtown' experimentalist scene, and mainstream jazz."  Chapin died in 1998 just as his musical talent was emerging in mainstream jazz circles. Independent filmmaker and producer Stephanie Castillo was Chapin's sister-in-law. Her new film "Night Bird Song" documents Chapin's prodigious talent, creativity, and vision. After a screening at Canne, the film shows at the Normal Theater August 27. Castillo said while Chapin was alive, even SHE wasn't aware of his musical abilities, or the revered status he held in the "downtown" New York jazz scene.

James Plath

Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike often groused about giving interviews. Yet he gave hundreds of them over his long literary career.

Illinois Wesleyan Professor James Plath said Updike was often at his most forthright and "playful" speaking with interviewers from the area where in grew up in Pennsylvania. 

Now Plath has mined that territory in a new book called, "John Updike's Pennsylvania Interviews."

DRs Kulturarvsprojekt / Flickr via Creative Commons

A piece of home entertainment technology has gone into the light after revolutionizing how we view our favorite movies and TV shows.  Let us bow our heads in remembrance of an old tech friend, summoned to the other side after a battle against pernicious obsolescence. 

Charlie Schlenker

Do you remember playing with little plastic blocks when you were a kid? Building Lego houses, Lego forts, gardens with little figures and animals, kits of Star Wars ships made from Lego?

What if you could do that now? Some people have all the luck.

Resolute Support Media DSC-7364 / Flickr via Creative Commons

Veterans and their families who have found a home at Illinois State University now have a new affinity group to connect and share a community.  The group is for faculty and staff and is set to debut this fall and is part of the University's diversity initiative.

Jordi Nll / Flickr via Creative Commons

Interesting things happens in nature once the sun goes down.  The Illinois State University Horticulture Center in Normal reveals the beauty of the nighttime landscape at a brand new event later this week.

Savas Beatie Publsihing

 Illinois author Gary W. Moore is mainly known for his non-fiction writing. In "Playing with the Enemy," he wrote about his father's experience teaching German prisoners of war to play baseball.

 Another book, "Hey Buddy," chronicled the 1959 plane crash that killed performers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Moore now has written a novel that contain threads of a real life story. The Kankakee-born author will discuss his novel, "The Final Service," Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Bloomington.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The colorful and distinctive works of a much-admired central Illinois landscape painter are currently on view in an exhibition that highlights the various stages of his work, and reveals the stunningly different style in which he began his career.

Pilot Error

How can a plane just disappear? Investigators are still asking that question in the case of Malaysia Air 370.

But an earlier crash of Air France 447 has inspired an independent movie that is showing at the Normal Public Library this Saturday.

artsblooming.org

On September 16th, the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts marks a major milestone: the 10th anniversary of its first performance as the city's main venue for presenting national and international artists and shows.

In a far-ranging interview on GLT's Sound Ideas, executive director Tina Salamone looked forward to the season ahead and said the arts center enters its second decade in strong financial shape.

Images Money / Flickr via Creative Commons

Twin Cities native Gordon Vayo is headed to the final table of The World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.  A professional poker player, Vayo started playing in high school, first with friends, then going online to find greater challenges and an opportunity to up his game and hone his craft.

Anita Ritenour / Flickr via Creative Commons

As students head back to school later this month, they'll be studying the basics, like geometry and world history.  But increasingly, students are exposed to a relatively new field of study involving animals and humans.   Marion Willetts is a sociology professor at Illinois State University and teaches a class she designed called Animals in Society.  This class is a part of what Willetts calls an emerging subfield of social science.

David Gatewood-Cowart

Chicago has endured more than 2,000 shootings this year and a nearly 50 percent increase in homicides. Most of those shootings were gang-related. Some have taken the lives of children.

Springfield-born singer and actress Nattalyee Randall said she felt she couldn't just sit by. She picked up a pen and began writing a play. As someone who has worked in musical theater since childhood, Randall soon found herself writing songs to tell her story.

goldstar.com

The Twin Cities outdoor musical theater season comes to a close this weekend with a quintessential show about adolescent angst.

Tony-winning "Bye Bye Birdie" is on stage through Sunday at  Bloomington's Miller Park.

The show opened on Broadway in 1960, a time when teens didn't "hook up," they "went steady." They telephoned instead of texting.

Director Tricia Stiller says despite many changes in culture, some things don't disappear, including the longings and insecurities of adolescence, the struggle to fit in, and clashes between teens and their parents.

Elliot Brown / Flickr via Creative Commons

A supernatural film comedy classic lives again in a reboot that's thrilled some and annoyed others.  When the Ghostbusters reboot was announced with an all female cast, a cry of foul arose from the internet as fans of the original film felt a reboot with women was akin to movie heresy. But GLT's culture critic, Shari Zeck has some advice for the outraged:  Chill out and enjoy.

pixabay.com

On the east side of Bloomington the former Asia location has a new restaurant. Charlie Schlenker talks about Amavarati on Hershey Road with Larry Carius who writes about the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene on Facebook.

Alexandra Plattos / Midwest Institute of Opera

A classic children's fairy tale, nuns imperiled by the Reign of Terror and a jolly Shakespearean character with big appetites make up the 2016 season from the Midwest Institute of Opera. It kicks off on Monday, July 25 at the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts.

Pete Guither / Illinois Shakespeare Festival

We all know the story of Peter Pan.  Or do we?  The Illinois Shakespeare Festival peels back the legend to reveal an imaginative and funny origin story for the iconic character. Adapted from the popular 2006 novel, 'Peter and the Starcatcher' was a huge hit on Broadway .  Director Any Park describes it as the 'Wicked' of the Peter Pan story, letting audiences in on how an orphan boy became Peter Pan. 

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