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Arts and Culture

Pet Potties At O'Hare

Oct 23, 2015

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has opened an indoor space for pets and service animals to do their business complete with artificial grass and miniature fire hydrants. In particular, the addition will make it easier for travelers with disabilities who will no longer have to go back out through security for their service animals to use the existing outdoor pet facilities. The pet relief room is located past security checkpoints in the rotunda area of Terminal 3. There are pop-up sprinklers to wash away liquid waste into a drain and plastic bags for cleanup.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

A graphic novel produced by Illinois State University's Publications Unit brings to life the stories of children who have been trafficked along the Thailand-Myanmar border.  "Forget Me Not" was recently part of a presentation at a conference on child rights at the United Nations.  Laura Kennedy has the story.


Glen Carey / NPR

NPR's Kelly McEvers has been named as one of two new co-hosts of All Things Considered, joining veterans Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish. During Sound Ideas, she talked with GLT's Charlie Schlenker about her time in Syria, the reporting she'll have the freedom to do as one of four rotating All Things Considered hosts, and the future of radio story telling.

The Illinois State Museum is in danger of losing its accreditation after Gov. Bruce Rauner closed the museums due to the state budget impasse. The Accreditation Commission voted 7-to-0 to put the museum system on probation. The commission says the accreditation is a ``mark of distinction'' given 1,043 museums nationwide. It recognizes museums that meet certain criteria for collections, staff, financial stability and other areas.

Jazz Singer Solitaire Miles Goes Blue and Lonesome

Oct 19, 2015
album art by Solitaire Miles

You might associate "Western swing" with Texas dancehalls and Oklahoma honky-tonks. But a great new take on the classic American idiom comes from a Chicago jazz singer.

Mandee Johnson / Flickr via Creative Commons

Comedian Tig Notaro has a new HBO comedy special "Boyish Girl Interrupted" and the documentary "Tig" is streaming on Netflix. WGLT's Mike McCurdy spoke with the comedian before her appearance at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts in January of 2014.

Psalm (for Roberto) 10/22/15

Oct 17, 2015

Brenda Cardenas: Psalm (for Roberto), read by Brenda Cardenas. Music by Paul Moore (Laura from Mandolin Magic)

Heaven 10/18/15

Oct 17, 2015

Mike Theune: Heaven, read by Mike Theune. Music by Robbie Basho (Khatum from Bashovia)

McLean County Museum of History

The Central Illinois Regional Airport now has a piece of McLean County aviation history on display. The airport and County Museum of History have hung the Tilbury Flash racing airplane in a concourse. Museum Curator Susan Hartzold says engineer Owen Tilbury invented the Flash in the 1930s.

Brad Basham Photography/

Quiet unsexy policy priorities can shape a city. In GLT's final interview focusing on the Normal 1-5-0 celebration, we unravel some of the choices made in recent decades that are shaping the town's present and future. Charlie Schlenker talks with the town's Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich who says the 1-2% annual population growth the town experienced posed challenges and presented opportunities.

Heather Wilson

Reverend Osagyefo Sekou has been front and center in the ongoing protests in Ferguson since the shooting of Michael Brown and thinks the incident was the tipping point in the tense relationship between police and minorities.  Sekou gives the annual Hibbert R. Roberts Lecture at Illinois State University Thursday night. 

Actor Dick Van Dyke is taking steps to save his Danville childhood home, which was slated for demolition. News stories about the threat to the home reached the 89-year-old actor last summer. He announced over the weekend that the home will be restored as headquarters for a new foundation to provide scholarships to accomplished young performers. Organizers of the Dick Van Dyke Foundation hope to establish a museum in the home where Van Dyke and brother Jerry lived during high school after relocating from Missouri.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

  When "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest" debuted on Broadway in 1963 it shocked audiences and critics alike.  Based on a controversial novel by Ken Kesey, the play explores themes of individualism struggling against conformity.  Illinois State University Theater is staging the show, and  Laura Kennedy spoke with the director and lead actor.

Sharing The Air We "Breathe"

Oct 12, 2015
Chelsea Castillo Macek

A new photo exhibit strives to demonstrate the great diversity in Galesburg’s immigrant population.

“We have people from all over the world of all ages. We have individuals who have come alone (and) those who have come with their entire family,” said Project Director Chelsea Castillo Macek.

“I think something that is unknown to many is that we have an extremely educated professional immigrant community. We have members who are surgeons, engineers, marketing professionals, teachers, pastors, artists – the diversity on that level, professionally, is also really profound.”

Springfield Mural Gets 2nd Chance

Oct 9, 2015

A planned mural and crosswalk art project is underway in downtown Springfield after experiencing two years of delays. Artist Troy Freeman has begun work on a mural that will face the Old Capitol Farmers Market. It should be complete by month's end. The mural will depict a rural farm scene with sunflowers, corn and pumpkins and the capital city skyline as a backdrop. Two murals and five designed crosswalks are part of an initiative to dress up downtown and help visitors find their way.

Gangsters & Grifters / Chicago Tribune

Nostalgics, beware! If you're at all sentimental about the past, look away from the current exhibit up at Illinois State University's Milner Library. There's no way to romanticize an era full of guns, gore and gangsters. Laura Kennedy has more about the exhibit, and the book that inspired it.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The perfectly imperfect moments of family life are the focus of a new exhibition at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.  A popular website moves off the internet and into the gallery to provide a place for all of us to celebrate the Awkward Family Photo.  Laura Kennedy has more.

Justin Niguchi

Hot on the heels of their fourth album, "The Muscle Shoals Recordings," The Steeldrivers return to Bloomington's Castle Theatre on Thursday, October 15. The hard-driving bluegrass/Americana band is growing its audience through relentless touring and distinctive original music. GLT's Bruce Bergethon spoke with founding member, fiddler/singer/songwriter Tammy Rogers.

Arts Supporters Worried

Oct 5, 2015
Arts Alliance Illinois

Hundreds of Illinois residents met in Evanston last week to discuss the state of the arts. Budgets and diversity in arts groups were two of the leading topics. The state budget impasse, which has resulted in the state museum system being closed, was an often-heard lament. 

A Journey To See Pope Francis

Oct 1, 2015

Pope Francis' historic visit to Philadelphia this past weekend drew more than a million people. Among them was WGLT's Judy Valente, who accompanied a group of pilgrims from central Illinois. They drove through the night in a van to get there, hoping for a glimpse of the man in white. They got that and much more.

IL Stiffs State Fair Vendors

Oct 1, 2015
Il Dept. Agriculture

The Illinois State Fair ended in August. But many who worked there are still owed money. The event is a celebration of agriculture and more. But this year, the state warned vendors they might have to wait to get paid.

There was an unprecedented sustained level of growth in the Town of Normal between 1967 and 1993. As part of the Normal 1-5-0 celebration, GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with two of the leaders who oversaw that era, retired City Manager Dave Anderson and former Mayor Paul Harmon about the several causes of that boom.

The panel discussion about the boom years of Normal will be Sunday afternoon at Uptown Station (2p)

Photo: Mario Contreras

  A documentary filmmaker  reflects on his roots as an anchor baby and his father's dream that education brings opportunity in the film, "My Father's Knee," which is currently on view at the Jan Brandt Gallery in Bloomington.  Laura Kennedy talked with the filmmaker about his inspiration and goals for the film that takes the American Dream to heart.

Flickr user Gareth Simpson via Creative Commons

The NBC-TV affiliate in Peoria is being sold. Quincy Newspapers Incorporated has agreed to purchase WEEK-TV from Granite Broadcasting.

Federal Communications Commission approval of the deal requires ending a sales agreement between WEEK and ABC affiliate WHOI, and WAOE-My59. The stations will continue to share news staffs.

Quincy President and CEO Ralph Oakley says he looks forward to upgrading equipment and programming at the stations.

The sale is expected to close in about a month. The purchase price was not disclosed.

After nearly four decades entertaining people with dinner theater, the Barn II near Goodfield has closed. The facility had been open since Halloween of 1975. Owner Mary Simon says an insurance company has denied a storm damage claim after wind went through the facility in August. A structural engineer says the former cattle barn is not repairable. And without insurance money, Simon says the Barn productions cannot afford to relocate to Morton.

Alice In Wonderland Turns 150

Sep 30, 2015
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

This year marks the 150th anniversary of one of the most influential children's books of all time, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book has inspired numerous films, plays and songs, and gave rise to an industry of children's toys. Illinois State University English Professor Jan Susina recently returned from England's Cambridge University where he lectured on the enduring legacy of Alice and her memorable companions, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat.

Photo: Shandon Youngclaus

  A Pulitzer Prize winning drama set on the cusp of the civil rights movement opens Friday night at Illinois State University's Westoff Theatre.  The show examines the personal impact of racial injustice on a man, and how the echo of that bitter reality influences his relationships with his family.  Laura Kennedy has more on "Fences."

Illinois Symphony Orchestra

The new season of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra kicks off this weekend with a focus on Russians. And it will be the last one with Music Director Alastair Willis. Audiences and board members have said they are happy with the work. Willis, though, asked to be let out of the final year of his five year contract. Although no one expected the ISO to be Willis's last stop GLT's Charlie Schlenker asked him why he wanted to move on.

Navy Pier Getting New Ferris Wheel

Sep 28, 2015

The Ferris wheel at Chicago's Navy Pier has taken its last spin before getting replaced with one that's nearly 50 feet taller. The wheel installed in 1995 had its final go-around last evening, its dismantling began this morning. About 30,000 people lined up to ride the Ferris wheel this past weekend. Navy Pier Incorporated spokesman Nick Shields says the Ferris wheel is expected to be gone by the end of October, with the new 196-foot structure scheduled to be in place by mid-2016.

Excitement is still building as the visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. continues with a mass in Philadelphia tomorrow. GLT's Judy Valente is on the way to Philadelphia with a group of Catholics from Central Illinois. The trip began with the rising of the moon over Roanoke, Illinois. Valente tells us they are tired and excited after traveling all night. There are ten in a van for twelve and she says they saw the sun rise in Pennsylvania this morning.