Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Experimental fiction is emerging from the thickets of post modernism. ISU English Professor Chris Breu has a new book out addressing this shift, Insistence of the Material. In this conversation with GLT's Charlie Schlenker, Breu argues for the value of attending to the material world and how that physical world sets limits on social and individual life.

As the Normal Sesquicentennial celebration kicks off, GLT begins a series of interviews with the people who are offering lectures as part of Normal 150 events. Today, the topic is the early years of Normal. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with retired ISU Historian Paul Holsinger and asks why Normal was a good place for settlement in the first place. Holsinger says the answer was not obvious.

John Alltop / Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home was a fixture in Normal for 110 years. As the community celebrates its 150th anniversary, Ruthie Cobb chats with Charlie Schlenker about the orphanage. She's says the home had a singular statewide impact as well as a local one.

GLT aired Charlie's feature on a book put out by the ISSCS Historical Society in 2007.


William Wesen / Wikimedia Commons

In  the development of Normal, transportation has been a key theme. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker is interviewing all of the lecturers for the "Normal 150" celebration.  Terry Ryburn and Mike Matejka share their thoughts on why Normal developed the way it did.

Esther Bubley / Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

As the Town of Normal observes its sesquicentennial, there are things in its history that should be recognized but not celebrated. In our continuing series of "Normal 150" interviews, GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with a retired ISU historian about racial segregation. Mark Wyman says the division of whites and blacks in Normal was similar to other cities in Illinois.


Pulp Log 9/29/15

Sep 24, 2015

Barry McKinnon: Section #10 from Pulp Log, read by Barry McKinnon. Music by Bill Frisell (Is It Sweet? from This Land)

What is a Bone Spur? 9/24/15

Sep 24, 2015

written and read by Jim Plath; music by Tiempo Libre (Olas de Yemaya from Bach in Havana)

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a big gig on Saturday: He's performing at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia for an estimated audience of 1.5 million, including, perhaps, Pope Francis.

"I think I might be opening for the popemobile driving in," Gaffigan jokes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

"DO NOT LEAVE THE PREMISES WITH YOUR DRINK," says the woman behind the counter at the Taco Bell Cantina in Chicago. I can tell by the way she looks me in the eye that what she means is this: We finally have booze at Taco Bell. Don't be the guy who ruins it for everybody.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

For some, the body is a temple.  For other, it's a canvas...a way to express a unique point of view.  A new exhibit at Illinois State University's Milner Library explores the various ways people can express themselves with tattoos and piercings, and how body art has gone from the underground to mainstream.

Stevie Smith's famous poem "Not Waving but Drowning" has been interpreted in many ways since its publication in 1957, and one of those interpretations deals with our ability to see the same thing multiple ways and what that says about our view of reality. It's not entirely clear whether Greg Hrbek had that poem in mind when he called his new book Not on Fire, but Burning.

Movie Meals

Sep 23, 2015

Headed out for that date-night classic, dinner and a movie? How about dinner in a movie? For this round, contestants must guess films based on a verbose restaurant style description of a famous meal within it.

Heard in Sonia Manzano: These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

Turning Swords Into Words

Sep 23, 2015

There are two playful water mammals from the weasel family, which is the sexier one? The hotter otter! This is what puzzlers call beheadments, a type of wordplay in which removing the first letter of a word creates another word. Contestants must figure out two-word phrases featuring a word and its beheadment.

Heard in Sonia Manzano: These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

Sonia Manzano: I Met A Girl Named Maria

Sep 23, 2015

Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria on Sesame Street, is retiring after forty-four years on the show. One of the most pressing questions Ophira Eisenberg had for Manzano on the Ask Me Another stage was this: "Where is Sesame Street?"

"Sesame Street is everywhere," Manzano replied. This specific magic — the kind that only a show like Sesame Street can impart on children and adults, seemed to punctuate much of the interview.

It's All Relative

Sep 23, 2015

This final round quiz is a family affair! All of the answers feature a type of familial relation. Pretty easy, Papa Smurf!

Heard in Sonia Manzano: These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

Sep 23, 2015

VIP Sonia Manzano brings along special guest Emilio Delgado to play a game about the Muppets in their neighborhood. The onscreen couple must guess whether the descriptions of Sesame Street Muppets are real or made up.

Heard in Sonia Manzano: These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

TV On The Radio

Sep 23, 2015

J.D. from Scrubs is hanging out the passenger side of Turk's ride, much like the scenario described in TLC's song "Scrubs." For this game, Jonathan Coulton plays songs whose song titles include the title of a TV program, with the lyrics rewritten to be about the show.

Heard in Sonia Manzano: These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

Use The Force

Sep 23, 2015

"Do or do not. There is no try," is arguably one of 900-year old puppet Yoda's most quotable lines. In this game, we ask our contestants whether we should "do or do not" certain words that rhyme with try, all in their best Yoda-speak.

Heard in Sonia Manzano: These Are The Muppets In Your Neighborhood

Nearly 50 years ago, in 1966, a group of six black men in Oakland, Calif., came together in an effort to curb police brutality against African-Americans in the city. Because of a quirk in California law, the men were able to carry loaded weapons openly. The Black Panthers, as they became known, would follow the police around, jumping out of their cars with guns drawn if the police made a stop.


One man's trash is another man's treasure.

A teenage girl is working on a factory line, assembling stereos in Seoul during the industrial boom of the 1970s. She's lied about her age to get the job; she's being pressured to leave the workers' union so management will keep paying for her to attend high school at night, since her family can't afford it, and her wages wouldn't support it. Her cousin and brother depend on her help in the cramped room they share.

The hip-hop drama chronicling the ups and downs of record mogul Lucious Lyon and his family became the breakout hit of last year, and the breakout hit of the show was Taraji P. Henson's character, Cookie Lyon.

Cookie is the ex-wife of drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (portrayed by Terrence Howard), and the character is famous for speaking without a filter.

Today Is Her Turn: Rhiannon Giddens Talks Trad

Sep 23, 2015
The Guardian

Rhiannon Giddens performed at Bloomington's Castle Theatre on September 18th. She's touring behind her new CD, "Tomorrow is My Turn," produced by T Bone Burnett. Giddens is the co-founder of The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Her first solo CD is a convincing collection of diverse American styles, from country to gospel to blues. From her home in southern Ireland, Giddens spoke with GLT's Bruce Bergethon.

No more sitcom characters standing around a cake, singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." No more Applebee's servers clapping along to "Happy happy birthday, from Applebee's to you!"

Well, they can if they want, but not because they'd have to pay the copyright holders of the popular "Happy Birthday To You" song. A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Warner/Chappell Music's claim to the rights, which earned them an estimated $2 million a year, is not valid.

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And now it's time to play the music.


It's time to light the lights.

SHAPIRO: It's time to meet the Muppets...

MCEVERS: ...On "The Muppet Show" tonight.

Six African-American women leap and run across scuffed wooden floors in a drab Broadway dance studio. They're creating complicated patterns, reshaping the air under harsh fluorescent lights. These are the women of Camille A. Brown and Dancers.

Brown, the company's 35-year-old founder, wears bright red athletic shorts and swings Raggedy Ann-colored braids. She spends more than two hours running through the same single minute of the show, over and over, until the dancers nail it.

Kevin Henkes was just a teenager when he decided he wanted to write picture books. He landed his first book contract when he was still in college.

Maybe Love 9/22/2015

Sep 22, 2015

written and read by Carol Schranz; music by Bill Frisell and Lee Konitz (Kind of Gentle from Selected Recordings)

The Jan Brandt Gallery in Bloomington celebrates National Hispanic Heritage month by displaying works by Mexican-American artists.  During the installation of some of those works, Laura Kennedy spoke with an artist whose prints and sculptures have been inspired by recent tragic events in Mexico...

We're welcoming an unseen guest to our Jewish holiday celebrations this fall: My mother-in-law, Jan Dale, who died in 2005.

Since her passing, I've tried to keep Jan a presence at our festive meals with my attempts to bake some of her favorite recipes. For instance, to mark the start of Yom Kippur Tuesday night, I've made a batch of Jan's crumbly, cinnamon-scented mandelbread — that's Yiddish for "almond bread," a twice-baked cookie that's the Jewish version of biscotti.

But getting here has taken a bit of detective work.