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Arts and Culture

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.

Summer is Shakespeare Season

Jun 2, 2016
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.

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.

Marilyn Monroe: An Icon Turns 90

May 31, 2016
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.

BCPA Announces New Season

May 26, 2016
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."  

New Lincoln Exhibit Highlights McLean County Years

May 26, 2016
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.

Paula Poundstone Mines The Laughs

May 11, 2016
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.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

As Illinois State University works to decommission the Hamilton-Whitten and Atkin-Colby dormintories on the south end of campus, the buildings have offered up  lovely parting gifts.

University archivist April Anderson is all atwitter because two time capsules have been unearthed under the almost 60 year old buildings.  The first, sadly, experienced water damage.  But the second capsule was fully intact and revealed some interesting elements of university life in 1961.  The students who filled the time capsule included a number of items, such as a '61 yearbook.  Well, most of it. 

Illinois State University

In Illinois, as in other parts of the country, parts of the African American Community have been resistant to LGBTQ issues. This is in spite of the traditionally Democratic party makeup  of that community driven by Chicago and Metro-East populations. In fact, as the Associated Press reported at the time, one of the reasons the Illinois gay marriage bill vote was closer than it could have been and took longer to pass was resistance by the Chicago Black legislative caucus.

Wu Tong

East meets west in the next  Illinois Symphony Orchestra Concert. It's the final concert of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra season, coming up Friday.

'Magicians' Author Conjures Career Magic

Apr 28, 2016
Jin / Flickr via Creative Commons

The end of the school year is approaching.  Millions of students will leave school, and some of them will fall flat on their faces.

Time magazine senior writer and New York Times best-selling author Lev Grossman knows this and knows it well. He didn't set out to become a professional journalist.  After college Grossman made some missteps along the way.  His struggles as a young man inspired the topic of a lecture at Bradley University this week:  "The Accidental Journalist:  The highly unprofessional education of a professional writer."

Prince Ruled The Music World

Apr 25, 2016
Nick J. Nixon / Flickr via Creative Commons

When the news broke that Prince had died, the world was stunned.

 Immediately, the media, both traditional and social, was flooded with tributes from shocked fans, who poured out their grief over losing the musical powerhouse.  Laura Kennedy talked with GLT culture maven, Shari Zeck about the impact of Prince and his music.

Hal Holbrook

Actor Hal Holbrook is 91. He has been playing Mark Twain on stage since 1948 and takes his famed rendition of the great American author and humorist to Bloomington's BCPA Tuesday night.

New Route Theater

New Route Theater is presenting a festival of LGBTQ plays Friday and this weekend. Theater Director Don Shandrow and program Curator Duane Boutte join Charlie Schlenker to talk about Voices of Pride.

Two State Parks Close

Apr 21, 2016
Illinois Dept. Natural Resources / IDNR

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area and Horseshoe Lake State Park are closing indefinitely.

'War Games' Gives A Glimpse Of Hackers To Come

Apr 20, 2016
Tnarik Innael / Flickr via Creative Commons

'Shall we play a game?'

That simple, but chilling, invitation from a not-so-benevolent computer triggers a race against time and technology in the 1983 techno-thriller, War Games.

Love Letters Delivers Emotional Punch

Apr 19, 2016
Peter Hellberg / Flickr via Creative Commons

Email mail may reign in real life, but on stage, old-fashioned letter writing makes a bigger impact.

Heartland Theatre Company is staging a unique and imaginative work that , while simple in its presentation, delves deep into the complexities of a long term relationship. A lifetime of letters between Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner reveal a touching, funny and evocative relationship between two very different people.  The characters are at the heart of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters, and are played by Dean and Cyndee Brown, who have been married for 42 years.

Dance Studio Helps Kids

Apr 15, 2016
Angelique Racki / BCAI

Dancing empowers, and the owner of "Breaking Chains, Advancing Increase," a contemporary dance and art studio operating out of the BCPA's Creativity Center, wants to share that with others.

After writing seven books comprising two separate best selling crime fiction series, author Steven Gore is stepping into the realm of criticism. Before writing, Gore spent decades investigating murder, fraud, organized crime, and the trafficking of drugs, sex, and arms throughout the world. Publishers Weekly calls Gore a “masterful” writer for his gritty Graham Gage and Harlan Donnally books.

Julienne Fagere / ATMA Classique

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra is getting ready to wind down its season with the next to last concert of the series. The ISO is bringing in a rising star Mezzo Soprano, Julie Boulianne.

A Mashup Of Art And Criticism

Apr 7, 2016
Kendra Paitz / University Galleries

The distance between creator and critic is done away with in a work of performance art that  demystifies  the art review process.

The Long Road To A Hollywood Dream Come True

Apr 5, 2016
David Congalton

  Illinois State University graduate David Congalton returns to campus this week to pass on the wit and wisdom of a Hollywood career that was years in the making.