Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Tom Marko

A popular local jazz musician and educator has just completed his first album -- and it's getting a release on a major label.  Drummer Tom Marko is ISU's jazz director and a busy area musician, working with a variety of jazz groups.  Now he's stepping into the spotlight with his first release as a leader: "Inner Light." 

Pete Guither / Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is shaking things up this season with a production of "Hamlet" that features a gender switch.  Casting a woman to play the melancholy Dane can help the audience and actors alike see an old favorite in a new way.

It is indeed "a tale as old as time," as the title song says, one that reminds us that the beauty hidden inside a person is what's truly worth discovering.

That's the message Brett Cottone hopes audiences will take away from the Community Players Theatre new production of the Broadway musical, "Beauty and the Beast." Cottone is the president of the theater board.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The 2016 Illinois Shakespeare Festival is just getting underway, and for one stalwart performer, this season marks an even dozen times he's trod the boards at the theater at Ewing.  Actor Tom Quinn has portrayed a wide variety of characters, from a king to a musketeer.  So in honor of his twelfth season, which includes a turn as Feste in "Twelfth Night," Tom has pulled back the curtain to share twelve secrets of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

McLean County Museum of History

There's a lot of talk this year about the anger of Americans who used to be middle class, those who feel insecure about their future and their society. Today we revive GLT's occasional series McHistory, with a look at a time in Bloomington Normal people were a lot more fearful and angry than they are now. It was the Great Depression and people who were accused of being socialists really were.

Illinois Chamber Music Festival

Starting this weekend, classical music lovers in central Illinois have their annual opportunity for three weeks of chamber music concerts at Illinois Wesleyan University.

This is the 14th annual Illinois Chamber Music Festival.

Creative Commons

Openings, closings, and changes are all part of the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene and are what Larry Carius writes about on Facebook. In this conversation with Charlie Schlenker, Carius starts by marking a couple anniversaries, the first one, on the west side of Bloomington.

University Galleries

Gigantic pneumatic sculptures splashed with DayGlo-colored paint fill two of the largest spaces at the University Galleries in Uptown Normal.  The installation creates a sensual landscape dominated by gigantic billowing forms.

On a trip to the west coast of Africa, Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, a music professor at Illinois State University, was haunted by her visits to dungeons built by slave traders to house captives before shipping them off to America.

Children's Discovery Museum

The Children's Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal has a new exhibit that combines the desire for faraway places with a staycation.  "Hello From Japan" opens Friday evening and gives visitors a chance to experience Japanese culture in an interactive exhibit that reveals the two sides of Japanese culture.

Eshan Singh

19-year-old Normal Community High grad Eshan Singh has been an active participant in community issues.  In 2015, he and more than 100 students walked out of class to protest the initial implementation of the PARCC exam in Unit-5 schools.   Singh has now turned his attention to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. This American of Indian descent said he recently spent a semester in Ghana during his "gap year" of college to discover the roots of what he characterizes as "Black Beauty" and "Black Power" in America.  That experience turned into a movie he titled "Blackness: A Beauty."

"I came to Africa with the idea that I could learn about the power of blackness in Africa.  But in the film I quickly discovered that wasn't true."

DSC04776 / Flickr via Creative Commons

The mass shooter in Orlando not only killed 49 people, he struck at the heart of a place that for many in the gay community means so much more than just a watering  hole or hang out.

Town of Normal

Van Leer's Broadview Mansion in Normal has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The property has been owned by the Immanuel Bible Foundation since 1949.

It's time once again for high school outdoor summer musicals.

This year's season at the Normal Parks and Recreation Department's Connie Link Amphitheatre is particularly family friendly. On the way next month is the stage version of "The Little Mermaid" and playing tonight through Sunday is a summer stock favorite based on Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" characters, "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown."

Wikimedia Commons

A work of gothic genius hits the 200th anniversary of its genesis this weekend.  "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley was a fantastic creation that occurred not in a vacuum, but as part of a cultural force that stormed through the Romantic Era.  

Neil Larimore Photograpy

Rico Wayne Johnson and Dove Benoit are a pair of Peorians bringing the sounds of Brazil, and other Latin American rhythms, to central Illinois. The Brazilionaires will kick off the GLT Summer Concert presented by CEFCU this Saturday June 11th in downtown Bloomington.

A few months ago, the group stopped by the GLT studios with a bunch of great local jazz musicians to play some tunes from their new CD, and talked with Bruce Bergethon about spreading sambas and boleros across the Heartland.

Landmarks Illinois

Fire officials in Peoria estimate flames at the abandoned historic downtown Madison Theater caused $500,000 in damage.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Rehearsals for the 39th season of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival at the Ewing Cultural Center in Bloomington have begun, and the artists are ready to blaze new trails with a romantic comedy, the melancholy Dane...and Peter Pan.

hamiltonbroadway.com

The 2016 Tony Awards take place June 12 in New York. Lin Manuel Miranda's acclaimed hip-hop-infused show "Hamilton" -- about America's first Treasury Secretary -- seems a sure bet to win for best musical. It received a record 16 nominations.

"Even if you think to yourself,'Hmm, hip hop, Alexander Hamilton, I don't know, you go in [to the theater] and you're blown away, just because it's so well done," said Broadway musical lover Sally Parry, associate dean at Illinois State University.

Wikimedia Commons

June 1 marks Marilyn Monroe's 90th birthday, and over 50 years after her death, the actress remains a powerful pop culture icon.

And it was that early death that Shari Zeck, Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University  and WGLT's culture maven, said helped cement Monroe's reputation as an icon. 

An Incident To Remember

May 28, 2016

On Memorial Day weekend in 1970 an estimated 60,000 mostly hippies and college-age students invaded the village of Heyworth, Illinois. They descended on this small McLean County town to attend a rock festival named "Incident at Kickapoo Creek." 

Summer Slevin

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip and for one Illinois State University alum, it's time to shine with her name. You might remember GLT covering Summer Slevin's road trip across the U.S. last year, but she leaves for her second trip this Sunday.

Her last journey covering 21 states and 10 national parks was focused on nature and meeting new people. This time, she is hitting the road for a completely different reason.

Staff / WGLT

The 10th season of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts features a mix of Broadway, vintage pop, and comedy.  

"Unelectable You" cashes in on election year fever with a comedy review that skews and skewers both left and right.  Comedian Louie Anderson, who stars in the FX series "Baskets", brings his stand-up show to the BCPA.  Broadway is represented with "Annie," "Elf" and "Bye-Bye Birdie."  

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History has raided Lincoln'-related collections and archives for a new exhibit that explores Lincoln's life in central Illinois.

"Abraham Lincoln in McLean County" reveals Lincoln's deep local connections and how they influenced the man who would one day guide the nation.  "We examine recollections and reminisces of Lincoln to provide  a more complete portrait of Lincoln as a man and as a leader," said Museum Librarian Bill Kemp. "We take time to really look at stories local folk told of Lincoln to paint a more three dimensional portrait of the man."

Aleteia Image Department / Creative Commons

Within the Catholic Church, ordained deacons provide assistance to bishops and priests. They can officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals and are allowed to preach at Sunday Mass. For decades, this role has been reserved for men only.

But that may soon change.

David Locke / Creative Commons

The Town of Normal is cancelling its annual Pooch Parade and Pet Fair because of disease.

Michael Schwartz

Veteran comedian Paula Poundstone loves her job as a panelist on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

She also loves to hear the audience laugh in response to a joke.  But when the comedian first started on "Wait, Wait" there was no audience at all.

Illinois State University Theater grad Nick Demeris is a whirling dervish.  His own Twitter account lists him as a writer, composer, actor, & street artist.  He teaches workshops on Hip Hop & Shakespeare, and is part of the vocal improvisational group Moving Star currently serving as an artist in residence at Carnegie Hall.  And that's just the beginning.

Aberdeen Proving Ground / Creative Commons

Six candles will be lit Thursday night at Bloomington's Moses Montefiore Temple, representing the six million people who perished in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust. Prayers will also be said honoring the dead.

The local event is timed to coincide with the annual Yom HaShoah remembrance service taking place in Israel.

The service will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is open to the public.

Mike Maehr / Creative Commons

The Miller Park Zoo has broken its attendance record. Annual attendance for Fiscal Year 2016 was 114,311 guests. Zoo Direcor Jay Tetzloff says they are happy to have so many people enjoying all the zoo has to offer.

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