Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Black Santa Flies In 49 Years Later

Dec 10, 2015

Black Santa Flies Into Town 49 Years Later

Dec 10, 2015

Black Santa Flies In ... 49 Years Later

Dec 9, 2015
Judith Valente

It took 49 years, but Normal's holiday festivities this December will include the town's first official African American Santas. In 1966, NAACP activist Merlin Kennedy tried to ride a float in Bloomington's Christmas parade dressed as Santa. He was threatened with arrest. At age 89, Kennedy is getting a chance to rewrite that story's ending.

History and Christmas Meet at Ewing Manor

Dec 9, 2015

A Very Ewing Christmas

Dec 9, 2015
Toni Tucker / ISU Ewing Cultural Center

This weekend is your chance to experience what Christmas was like at Ewing Manor in Bloomington, including a chance to see the type of car Hazel Buck Ewing prefered. WGLT's Jim Browne talks with Toni Tucker about what's planned at the Ewing Cultural Center on Towanda at Emerson in Bloomington.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Midwest Institute of Opera  helps young people appreciate and perform music.  But as founders John and Tracy Koch have discovered, the kids have a lot to teach them, too.  

Vandalized Menorah Replaced

Dec 8, 2015

A large menorah knocked over earlier this year outside a University of Illinois Jewish center has been repaired and rededicated. The center candle of the menorah at the university's Chabad Center was lit Monday by center director Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel and interim university Chancellor Barbara Wilson. A group of students lit two other candles, and many in the crowd of 150 people sang songs as they marked the second night of Hanukkah. Tiechtel says his community's faith has grown stronger following the Aug. 19 vandalism.

Exit 167

A local band that's found success combining elements of Indian and American music is staging a concert in the Twin Cities this weekend.  With Exit 167, the musical accent is unique and hard won.

Afroprairie 12/10/15

Dec 6, 2015

Cecil Giscombe: Afroprairie, read by Cecil Giscombe. Music by Oran Etkin (It Don't Mean a Thing from Kelenia)

Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers 12/8/15

Dec 6, 2015

Emily Dickinson: Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers (1859 and 1861 versions), read by Robert Sutherland. Music by Lena Willemark and Ale Moller (Hornlat from Nordan)

Acousticity 12/6/15

Dec 6, 2015

John Firefly: Acousticity, read by John Firefly. Music by Mike Compton (Honky Tonk Swing from Climbing the Walls)

My Father's Cigarettes 12/3/15

Dec 3, 2015

Bill Morgan: My Father's Cigarettes, read by Bill Morgan. Music by Joe Myers (Sunrise from Troubled Notes from the Hotel Chelsea)

Hear 14 of Bruce Bergethon's favorite poems from Poetry Radio's 23 year history on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays during December, plus 9 bonus poems.

Poetry Radio favorites 1992-2015

Dec 3, 2015

During its 23 years on GLT, Poetry Radio has encompassed a wide variety of interpretations, from local poets and readers to internationally-acclaimed authors. In this last month of broadcasts, I've chosen some of my favorite episodes, including former Senator Paul Simon and songwriter Claudia Schmidt, plus works by each of the four ISU poets who co-hosted the program. But there's so much more in the archives, as the nine poems below display. As producer, Poetry Radio has always been a labor of love and learning for me, and I hope it's expanded your horizons, too.

A Fond Farewell to GLT's Poetry Radio

Dec 3, 2015

Curt White

Social critic Curt White has a new argument...and a new book. The retired ISU scholar talks with GLT's Charlie Schlenker about "We Robots: Staying Human In The Age Of Big Data." White usually falls into a topic because he has a strong reaction to someone else's work. This is no exception.

I Hear America Singing 12/1/15

Dec 1, 2015

Walt Whitman: I Hear America Singing, read by IL Senator Paul Simon (1928-2003). Music of Charles Ives, "Variations on America," performed by the US Coast Guard Band.

Redolence 11/29/15

Dec 1, 2015

Aaron Anstett: Redolence, read by Aaron Anstett. Music by Mike Marshall (Gator Strut from Gator Strut)

ISU Galleries Mark World Aids Day

Nov 30, 2015
Elizabeth Hess / ISU Galleries

It was during the early 1990's that Illinois State University found itself the focus of the nations culture wars. David Wojnarowicz had a display at the University Galleries that depicted the apathy he perceived as AIDS continued to spread. Barry Blinderman is the Director of the Galleries. He says he wasn't prepared for the outcry against the artist's work.

Obama Library Position Hired

Nov 23, 2015

The Obama Foundation has hired a native Chicagoan and former aide to President Barack Obama for a key role in the development of his presidential library and museum. It says Michael Strautmanis will become its vice president of civic engagement in January. He's currently vice president for corporate citizenship at the Walt Disney Co.  

Strautmanis will be in charge of developing and leading outreach efforts and civic engagement for the Obama Foundation. He served in a number of engagement positions with Obama during the president's first term.

Alison Brown Creates Beautiful "Song of the Banjo"

Nov 23, 2015
Compass Records

Alison Brown is the CEO of Compass Records. She's also a mom, an MBA and a musician. GLT's Bruce Bergethon spoke with the woman who's working to redefine her instrument of choice.

I Buy A Sausage At the Airport 11/26/15

Nov 22, 2015

Ewa Chrusciel: I Buy a Sausage At the Airport, read by Ewa Chrusciel. Music by Lac La Belle (Lions of the West from A Friend Too Long)

Li Po in Hancock County 11/24/15

Nov 22, 2015

Steve Fay: Li Po in Hancock County (for Bill Morgan), read by Steve Fay. Music by Sarah Lee Guthrie (Tarantula from Sarah Lee Guthrie)

The Wife Takes a Child 11/22/15

Nov 22, 2015

Paulette Roeske: The Wife Takes a Child, read by Paulette Roeske. Music by John Hartford (The Ten Chord Blues from You Can't Run From Love)

Illinois Symphony Orchestra

Christmas garlands and lights have already begun to creep into homes, onto bushes outside houses, and yes, into stores. Tomorrow evening the music starts with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops in the Heartland concert at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. Included in that concert is the Twin Cities Ballet Company and the Illinois State University Choirs. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with Karyl Carlson, the Director of ISU's Choirs about the the place of a pops concert in today's culture....what it affirms and what it helps people do.

McLean County Museum of History

The Director of the McLean County Museum of History is retiring. Greg Koos has spent 38 years at the museum and the historical society. Koos says he has lasted that long because he has been in a place where he sees people learn.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

IWU's Wakeley Gallery is currently showing an exhibition of self-portraits revealing the ravages of Alzheimer's disease on an artist who, despite the devastating diagnosis, never stopped creating.

Bloomington Public Library entrance
WGLT file photo / Bloomington Public Library

The director of the Bloomington Public Library has announced her retirement.  Georgia Bouda's last day in the office will be December 4. Her official retirement will be January 8, 2016.    She had previously served as Library Director in Pewaukee Wis.  Bouda was hired in 2006 during a $2.8 million expansion project at the library.

dynamasquito / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Normal Theater is screening a film about a legendary detective that was made almost 100 years ago and, until recently, was thought lost.  Now restored, it takes its place among the huge canon of Sherlock Holmes films that prove the enduring popularity of the fictional detective.  Laura Kennedy chats with ISU professor Jan Susina about the man in the deerstalker hat.