Boy Gets Girl


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SIU production showcases dating violence, stalking
Lea Williams
Video Comentary

Leah Williams

Carbondale Times

What started out as an innocent encounter with a stranger can turn into something entirely more sinister.

“Boy Gets Girl” opens Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theatre and continues through the weekend. Directed by Kelley Jordan, the play follows a woman as she attempts to back out of a dangerous dating situation that over time spirals into a nightmare.

“It’s a very issue-oriented play,” J. Thomas Kidd, associate professor and chair in the SIU Department of Theater said. “It’s also very taut and suspenseful.”

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. for Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances. A Sunday matinee show will begin at 2 p.m.

In “Boy Gets Girl,” Theresa Bedell is a journalist working in New York City who is set up on a blind date with a charming man named Tony. The evening is awkward but Theresa agrees to meet up again the following weekend. But several romantic gestures like continuous flowers and phone calls make Theresa suspicious and fearful that she is being stalked.

The SIU production cast includes Kristin Doty as Theresa Bedell, Chad Ferriell as Tony Ross, Seth Lerner as Howard Siegel, Andrew Lampley as Mercer Stevens, Bethaney Brown as Harriet, Mark Young as Les Kennkat and Taylor Marie Smith as Detective Madeleine Beck.

The artistic staff for “Boy Gets Girl” also consists of Christian Kurka for scenery design, Noah Murakami for lighting design, costume design Terry Baker, sound design Daniel Bennett, technical direction Tom Fagerholm and speech and dialects coach Susan Patrick Benson. The dramaturge is Brooke Oehme.

Originally written by Rebecca Gilman, “Boy Gets Girl” had its debut in 2000 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. It was hailed by many critics as “a provocative, unsettling play.” Gilman was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for her play “Glory of Living.”

“Boy Gets Girl” is an examination of oppression, dating pressure and feeling controlled by a romantic partner. As Tony’s actions continue to escalate, Theresa must make a decision to fight or flee.

Kidd said the subject matter is not only timely but it also serves a purpose. According to the CDC, an estimated 7.5 million people were stalked in one year in the U.S., 61 percent of those victims were women by a current or former intimate partner.

“Stalking occurs all over the country,” Kidd said. “It’s a problem that a very high number of women have faced.”

Because the play focuses on topical material that is at the heart of many protests that are occurring across the nation, there will be opportunities for public dialogue on the matter.

The opening night will also feature a talkback session following the performance where Jordan, Oehme and faculty of the Women and Sexuality Studies program.

Sunday, Oehme will also host a lecture on the do’s and don’ts of safety.

For more information, check out the SIU Department of Theater’s official website at cola.siu.edu.

Supreme drama


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Chadwick Boseman’s ‘Marshall’ takes on racism in fiery courtroom drama
Dann Gire
Video Comentary

“Marshall” avoids the conventional biopic approach of covering the complete life arc of its main character, Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Instead, this classically constructed, fact-based courtroom drama concentrates on a single court case, Connecticut v. Joseph Spell, in which a tough, young NAACP attorney defends a black chauffeur accused of the rape and attempted murder of the wife of his wealthy white employer.

Fleetly directed by Reginald Hudlin, this robustly unapologetic crowd-pleaser has been machined down to its narrative nubs. It’s scary, funny, surprising and so tightly edited that, once the film starts, concession counter visits will not be on the docket.

The shrewd screenplay by Michael Koskoff and Jacob Koskoff never tips us off that we’re dealing with a future Supreme Court justice.

Here, Marshall, played with fiery drive by charismatic “42” star Chadwick Boseman (he played Jackie Robinson), is just an idealistic trial lawyer dispatched by the NAACP to provide justice to people falsely accused of crimes because of their race.

That’s the key. Marshall will only take a case when his client is innocent of racially motivated charges.

He’s not sure about this Connecticut case in which suspect Joseph Spell (“This is Us” star Sterling K. Brown) insists he did not rape wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson) or throw her off a bridge to kill her.

Spell swears he’s innocent. Marshall takes the case with severe reservations, which turn out to be well-founded.

To defend Spell, Marshall, an out-of-state lawyer, must use a local attorney to head the defense. What local lawyer in a primarily white community of Bridgeport, Connecticut. in 1940 would take this case?

Marshall finds his man in local civil attorney Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a nervous Jewish lawyer with zero experience in criminal law.

The often comical mentor/protégé relationship between these men becomes as crucial to this movie as the trial itself.

Their working relationship becomes obvious the minute that the cocky, take-no-guff Marshall steps off the train and orders Friedman to grab his luggage. Marshall serves as the driving force for the defense, but he needs Friedman, who more than understands the evil of bigotry, to actually drive it.

In the courtroom, a stern, really white judge (the great James Cromwell, emanating tense authority) rules that as an assisting attorney, Marshall cannot speak during the trial.

Prosecutor Loren Willis (“Downton Abbey” star Dan Stevens, who has this weird knack for suggesting sleaze and tease) thinks he’ll win the case, especially with the testimony from Eleanor detailing her assault in shocking detail.

“Marshall” fits nicely into the same category as other memorable race-based courtroom dramas such as “Loving” and even “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although Marshall’s patient wife Buster (Keesha Sharp) and Eleanor’s quietly sinister husband John (Jeremy Bobb) feel underdeveloped, and numerous flashbacks of the crime scene diminish the film’s integrity.

Hudlin, the unremarkable director of lighter fare such as “House Party” and “Ladies Man,” proves to be smart and intuitive, allowing Boseman to be a fierce warrior of words in a battle that will predictably be accompanied by applause and cheers from audiences.

Marshall did not witness the verdict in the Connecticut case. He had already moved on to helping his next client.

Boseman has moved on as well. He’ll be playing a different kind of superhero in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” opening in 2018.

‘Star Wars’ trailer promises a dark, different movie in ‘Last Jedi’


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‘Star Wars’ trailer promises a dark, different movie in ‘Last Jedi’
Sean Stangland
Video Comentary

Two things are made abundantly clear by the new trailer for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the eighth episode in the Skywalker family saga that debuts in theaters Dec. 15:

• The heroic upstart Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the murderous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are still the main focus of the sequel trilogy, not classic characters Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Gen. Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, in her final screen performance).

• Like “The Empire Strikes Back,” the middle installment of George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Last Jedi” appears to divide our heroes and push them to the limits. This won’t have a happy ending.

The trailer debuted Monday night at halftime of the Bears’ game against the Minnesota Vikings and premiered online immediately after. Tickets for opening weekend are now on sale at all online outlets.

Director Rian Johnson (“Looper,” “Breaking Bad”) paints his frames in deep reds and blacks.

The enigmatic Snoke (Andy Serkis), the new trilogy’s Emperor-like figure, delivers prophetic dialogue that first appears to reference his apprentice, Kylo Ren, but a cut to Rey training with Luke suggests he has dark plans for our protagonist.

Luke looks and sounds like a defeated, fearful shell of a man, not the fresh-faced farmboy who won us over in 1977.

The trailer goes in for the kill in its final frames, wherein Kylo Ren extends a hand to Rey, inviting her to, perhaps, learn the ways of the Dark Side.

“The Last Jedi” looks like a game-changer for the franchise narratively, visually and perhaps philosophically. The humor that carried 2015’s “The Force Awakens” is all but absent — Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and his tiny, cuddly new friend (called a porg) give us a fleeting moment of levity — and the dominating image is Adam Driver’s beautifully brooding face. Could Kylo Ren end up being a more monstrous villain than his grandfather, Darth Vader?

We’ll find out in about two months.

Sean Stangland is a multiplatform editor who absolutely loves Bruce Broughton’s opening title theme for “The Orville.” Follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.

Songwriter Tim Crosby and friends take Varsity stage Friday

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Tim Crosby and the Lightning Strikes

Venues & Businesses
Varsity Center


Who: Tim Crosby
What: Varsity Center
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When: 2017-10-13
Songwriter Tim Crosby and friends take Varsity stage Friday
Dustin Duncan
Video Comentary

Tim Crosby has spent the past three years playing anytime and anywhere, averaging about 100 shows the past two years alone. Playing solo, with his trio or with his full band, the Lightning Strikes, Crosby can always be found performing his all-original Americana/country rock music somewhere in Southern Illinois, central Illinois, Kentucky or Missouri.

But it’s shows like the one at The Varsity Center this month that mean the most to the Southern Illinois-based songwriter and performer.

“The Varsity is a real gem, a true listening environment, which is something songwriters are dying to do,” Crosby said, referring to the Carbondale theater and art center. “I play a lot of shows, but at wineries and bars, people aren’t necessarily paying attention to you. Having the opportunity for my songs to be actually heard is a really exciting thing for me.”

Crosby will play the balcony stage at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13. His friend Doug “Ol’ Moose” Anderson, a Carbondale mainstay and songwriter who will be visiting the area from his more recent home in Texas, will open the show. Doors open with full bar available at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door.

Joining Crosby on stage throughout the night will be a few friends and collaborators who regularly make the rounds with him. They include James B. Ricks III on bass and vocals; Daniel Tejada on guitar; Tobias Merriman on fiddle and possibly Anderson doing some picking on lead guitar.

Crosby’s songs explore the trials and triumphs of everyday people. Not to be accused of being too serious, he also dabbles in the irreverent. His song “Tattoo,” for example, tells the story of someone making the mistake of having their lover’s name permanently inscribed on their posterior.

Having played covers for years, Crosby made the decision in 2014 to go all original. He is one of only a handful of artists in the area doing so.

“In writing songs, I feel like I’m carrying on a tradition here,” he said. “I have stories I want to tell and things I want to say.”

Crosby’s set list will include songs from “Resurrection Mule Farm,” the album recorded with the Lightning Strikes and release in April, as well as others from his catalog. Some numbers will see him performing solo, while others will feature various combinations of musicians.

 

ColorFest is headed to Blue Sky

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Marshall Anderson

Venues & Businesses
Blue Sky Vineyard


Who: Marshall Anderson / The Smokers / The Green-McDonough Band
What: ColorFest
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When: 2017-10-14
ColorFest is headed to Blue Sky
Dakota Holden
Video Comentary

Summer has come to an end, but to celebrate the success of the season, Blue Sky Vineyard will hold its annual Color Fest, Friday.

The event will include food, wine, helicopter rides, tarot card readings, face painting, henna tattoos, art, and as always, live music.

The musical acts this year are Marshall Anderson (Alternative Country), The Smokers Blues Band (Indie Blues, Soul, and Rock), and ending the day is The Green McDonough Band (St. Louis Blues).

Marshall Anderson will be the opening performer for the Color Fest at 11:15 a.m. Marshall has been apart of multiple bands in the region including the Tie Dye Family Band, Lone Howl, Ol’ Moose, and Mama Rocket. His solo shows contain a mix of country, folk and blues featuring original songs from his 2016 CD, “White Lines and Bright Lights”, as well as new twists on classic hits. Marshall Anderson is looking forward to playing the event and kicking off the festival.

“I think it’s going to be a fun show,” he said. “I think it will be fun to be apart of a large event like this.”

The next group from Peoria is the The Smokers Blues Band. The group is only four years old, but has already competed in International Blues Challenge in Memphis and has had the opportunity to play with Buddy Guy at Legends in Chicago.

Leader of the band, Dan Galletti (Vocals/Guitar) told Nightlife about the geographic influence on their indie blues sound.

“We are pushing Illinois blues,” he said. “You have soul sound of Detroit to the north, you have the old school, traditional style of blues from St. Louis and Chicago, and we are all sandwiched in the middle that’s what we’ve been doing.”

The Smokers Blues Band show will include music from their CD, “Road Less Traveled” and new songs from their record in the making.

The last group to perform is the The Green McDonough Band. Main members Rich McDonough and Laura Green will be bringing their St. Louis talents to the stage at 4:30 p.m. The band formed in 2016 after playing in each other’s blues bands in the area.

“We decided we were really dynamic force together,” Green said. “Rich is an extremely experienced guitarist in St. Louis. It just kind of clicked. Thing have been going really well since we have.”

The band for the past two years have been crafting their smooth mix of St. Louis blues, jazz, and soul. They are planning on releasing their second album before the new year, featuring all original blues music.

“It’s for celebrating the harvest and after we do the bottling,” Blue Sky event coordinator Fern Palmer said about the festival. “It’s just a nice way to relax, watch the music and the changing of the leaves.”

This weekend is also SIU Homecoming, so Blue Sky is hoping to see students and families so they can enjoy a day of art and music before their big night. Entry fee is $7 with wineglass included and children 15 and under are free.

Jon Langford and The Four Lost Souls to play PK’s

Venues & Businesses
PK's


Who: Jon Langford and the Four Lost Souls
What: Country / Folk
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When: 2017-10-17
Jon Langford and The Four Lost Souls to play PK’s
Dakota Holden
Video Comentary

Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls will be performing at PK’s on The Strip this Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The Chicago group will feature new country and folk music recorded at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Jon Langford has been apart of many musical groups in his career like The Mekons and the Waco Brothers, but his newest endeavor is his four-piece country band, Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls.

The band is composed of Tawny Newsome (background vocals), Bethany Thomas (background vocals), John Szymanski (guitar), and Jon Langford (vocals and guitar).

Nightlife caught up with Jon and talked about recording in the historic Fame Studio.

“I was invited by Norbert Putnam, an original member of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section,” Langford said. “We met through the Country Music Hall of Fame. He told me I sung like a pirate and should come to Muscle Shoals to make an album.”

The writing process for this record was made differently than most. Knowing how powerful and inspiring the studio and recording process would be, Jon wrote all the songs for the week long session.

“There was a particular thing at Muscle Shoals. At least something about my relation with American music, politics, and history. It’s very different,” Langford said.

The band’s album “Four Lost Souls” features traditional country sounds with contemporary lyrical and melodical themes. As soon as you hear the drums or the Wurlitzer keyboard on the record, it’s clear that the Four Lost Souls are recording in the legendary studio.

Not only is Jon Langford musician, but an artist as well.

“After fifteen years of playing with The Mekons and being on major labels and touring all the time, things kind of bubbled up,” He said. “It (painting) was something I could do to express myself.”

Jon’s paintings often depict famous American music artists such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Louis Armstrong.

When not on tour with the Four Lost Souls, Langford is recording and preparing for the next Mekons’ album in L.A.

“I’m just looking forward to coming to Carbondale,” he said. “I played their once a while ago and it was great. I have some good friends down there.”

Touch of Nature events

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Touch of Nature


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Touch of Nature events
Tara Janowick
Video Comentary

SIU’s Touch of Nature is a hidden gem in Southern Illinois with several events throughout the year designed to get people out of their homes and into nature to enjoy its natural beauty.

Below are several events listed throughout the year.

Trail Stewardship Days

Groups and individuals are invited and encouraged to volunteer to help restore and expand Touch of Nature’s expansive trail system through Trail Stewardship Days. No experience in necessary.

Touch of Nature staff will provide the necessary tools, and how to use them properly and safely. The upcoming dates are Sundays, Oct. 15, 22 and 29, and Nov. 5, 13, and 19.

The times are 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., and 1 to 4 p.m. Volunteers can register for one or both sessions, but must preregister at least 48 hours before an event begins.

Community Service, Saluki Volunteer Corps and Environmental Ambassador Award hours are available for SIU students.

Kaleidoscope of Outdoor Living Skills

Kaleidoscope of Outdoor Living Skills is a series of courses designed to teach and aid participants in safe, successful and professional techniques to live, function and recreate in the outdoors.

“Land Navigation” covers compass and topographical map usage such as terrain features and association, the legend, key, bearings, protractors and Universal Transverse Mercator points. A basic course is offered 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11 for $15, with an advanced course 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12 for $30.

“Rock Climbing” covers the essentials for safe top-rope rock climbing and basic sport climbing techniques. A basic course is offered 2-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18 for $20, with an advanced course 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19 costing $35.

“Leave No Trace” will engage participants in an active learning scenario for all seven Leave No Trace principles, including proper disposal of waste and minimizing campfire impacts. Leave No Trace’s vision is to sustain healthy, vibrant natural lands for all people to enjoy now and into the future. One basic course is offered 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 for $15.

“Camp Crafts” is Oct. 27-28. The course covers how to effectively set up a campsite, including campfires, water purification, backcountry cooking and more. This class will consist of a one night overnight campout at the beautiful Rocky Ledges Trail at Touch of Nature. Check in is 5 p.m. Friday. The cost is $60.

All seminars are open to ages 15 and older.

Registration is available for all Kaleidoscope courses at ton.siu.edu.

Camp BETA

Camp BETA is an overnight camp for youth ages 8-14 with diabetes. Opportunities are also available for counselors-in-training for youth ages 15-17 with diabetes. Activities for campers include hiking, fishing, arts and crafts, ziplining, team building exercises and more. Other activities for both parents and campers include a reception, a closing ceremony and information on how to manage diabetes and increase self-confidence. Registration available at ton.siu.edu.

Volunteer Vacation

For the second year in a row, Touch of Nature partners with the American Hiking Society to offer its Volunteer Vacation, Oct. 15-21. Volunteers ages 15 and older will stay at Touch of Nature’s rustic cabins and enjoy Mother Nature as they help clear pathways and create new trails at the facility. The cost for this weeklong adventure varies from $195 to $330. For more information and to register, visit https://volunteervacations.americanhiking.org.

Seventh Annual Buffalo Tro

Touch of Nature’s signature fundraiser takes place Friday, Oct. 20 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. This annual event raises funds to enhance the facilities and services at Touch of Nature. Attendees will enjoy appetizers and refreshments from Southern Illinois businesses, live music, and have an opportunity to bid on silent and live auction items. Not to mention a sumptuous steak dinner. More details at ton.siu.edu.

The Ninth Annual Haunted Hollow

The Haunted Hollow takes place Sunday, Nov. 5 from 1-4 p.m. and provides a perfect post-Halloween atmosphere. There will be interpretive nature walks, a haunted tram ride, a portable climbing wall, family games and more. Participants will also learn about and have the chance to hold snakes, lizards and other “creepy crawlers.” Everything is family friendly and suitable for all ages. Touch of Nature is wheelchair and stroller-accessible. A parent or guardian must accompany children to the event. The festivities will go on rain or shine so we encourage participants to dress accordingly for the day’s weather. For more information and to register, visit ton.siu.edu.

 

No Bones About It: A story of love and barbecue

Venues & Businesses
Varsity Center


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No Bones About It: A story of love and barbecue
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A local production is about to get saucy — with barbecue sauce that is.

The Jackson County Stage Company presents “No Bones About It,” a comedy about finding love in the highly competitive barbecue cooking competition. The musical opens on Friday, Oct. 13, and continues on Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15. A second chance to see the show will also occur next week with shows on Oct. 19, 20, 21 and 22.

The Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. while the Sunday matinee performances start at 2 p.m.

The premise of the play is what might happen when two star-crossed lovers try to negotiate their relationship around their feuding food-loving families.

“It’s a Romeo and Juliet type situation,” Director Brandyn McGhee said. “It is about two families who have been competing for years and what happens when they bring their two kids who end up falling in love.”

McGhee said the material in “No Bones” winks at its original material but at the same time brings its own

“There are subtle references throughout,” he said. “Like the last names, the Caps and the Montagues. There is also this scene when where he sings ‘A Light Through Yonder Window’ and he is standing under the trailer window.”

The cast includes Kaleb Triplett as Larry Friar, Lori Carpenter as Karen Montague, Bennet Speith as Ronny Montague, Brent Sherrard as Adam Capp, Aubrianna Rathunde as Julie Capp, James Allen as Ken Munson and Samantha Ridenour as Kelly Jansen.

The production team also has musical director Rebecca Newburn and stage manager Jodie Salazar.

McGhee said those involved in the production passed out fliers to the show during the recent barbecue competition weekend in Murphysboro for the Praise the Lard event last month.

He added that the musical is a family-friendly show and new with the Jackson County production being the third time that the show has been put on.

“It’s really cute, and it’s really funny,” he said. “I just about laugh out of my seat sometimes. It’s a good time.”

Tickets are $15 and students are $8. Discounted admission for the Thursday, Oct. 19, show is $7. Barbecue dinner plates by R.E. & Sandy’s Catering Company in Cobden will be available while supplies last for $8 a plate.

For more information about the play, check out the Jackson County Stage Company’s website at www.stagecompany.org.

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History of the 1869 Eclipse


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Last Solar Eclipse in Illinois
Joe McFarland
Video Comentary

1869: The last total solar eclipse in Illinois

by Joe McFarland

Here’s a surprising Illinois eclipse fact: Nobody alive has seen a total solar eclipse anywhere in Illinois. Nobody.

If you think you remember seeing a total solar eclipse in Illinois, you are mistaken. The fact is, the state of Illinois has witnessed just one total solar eclipse in its entire history. Illinois became a state in 1818. Five decades later, on August 7, 1869, the only total solar eclipse ever to cast its shadow over the Prairie State passed directly along a 156.7-mile-wide portion of central Illinois, including Springfield, and perfectly clear skies made it a phenomenal moment in state history.

There has not been another total solar eclipse in Illinois since that day.

People casually describe seeing a total solar eclipse as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it’s actually much more rare, on average, for anyone to witness a total solar eclipse wherever they live. Once every few hundred years is the worldwide average. For example, when the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse passes directly over Makanda, Illinois, it will have been 575 years since a total solar eclipse passed over this spot on Earth. If you had been standing in what would eventually become Makanda, Illinois on July 7, 1442 (nine years before Christopher Columbus was born), you would have seen it. And you would have wanted to mark the occasion, just as officials in Springfield wanted to mark the rare occasion in 1869.

In 1869, everybody in Springfield knew the August 7 eclipse was coming. Government scientists from the United States Coast Survey and leading universities arrived months in advance to take astronomical measurements and plot out the exact coordinates. Construction of the new Statehouse Capitol had just started, and officials decided to install marble shafts on Capitol grounds to forever commemorate the eclipse and the positions on Earth where scientists observed that monumental moment.

Marble shafts seven-feet long were inscribed to mark the longitude and latitude coordinates the government scientists had recently established to calculate the positions of their official eclipse-observation stations around Springfield.

The day of the eclipse arrived and, for whatever reasons, the marble shafts had not yet been erected. This was Springfield. Construction of the new Capitol was under way. Workers had other things to do. The fact was, nobody installed the pillars. And so, as the sunny afternoon sky of August 7, 1869, changed to purple, then black, spilling forth starlight upon the Land of Lincoln, the beacon of efficiency that is the Illinois State Capitol building had been established.

The eclipse truly was a phenomenal sight under perfectly clear skies. Crowds cheered from rooftops, others gasped in awe while all business of the city surrendered under the surreal darkness. The scientists with their instruments tried their best to focus as the moment of totality arrived. Photographic plates were exposed at quickly timed intervals. Falling temperatures were noted and tracked. Sketches were made. Anything of scientific importance—the color of the sun’s corona, the settling wind, the flash of white light that heralded the return of the sun—was to be timed, measured and documented as memorable detail for further study. But even a pure scientist’s quest for astronomical understanding falters when the moon passes directly in front of the sun. The astronomers were so overwhelmed by the realization that nothing they were doing could properly describe the experience. All voluntarily added non-scientific confessions and terms to their official reports.

“The spectacle was of an indescribable beauty, and one for which the mind was by no means prepared,” Harvard scientist James M. Pierce included in his Congressional report. “In casually glancing at the bystanders, I was struck by the pallor of their faces, but I have not noted at which [times] I observed this phenomenon.”

“The general effects of the eclipse were extremely grand and impressive,” J.B. Warner of the U.S. Coast Survey reported cautiously to his boss. “The shadows had the cold, unreal appearance of moon-shadows, and the whole effect on the mind was chilling.”

And then it passed. The summer of 1869 continued in Springfield. Construction of the Statehouse resumed, but nobody bothered to keep track among all of the construction debris of the marble shafts that were supposed to be posted deep into solid ground as permanent records of the astronomical wonder that was the only total solar eclipse Illinois has ever seen.

A decade passed. The Illinois State Register in Springfield took note of the eclipse anniversary by pointing out nobody had actually put those marble eclipse markers into the ground. In fact, the taxpayer-funded monuments were nowhere to be seen.

A search was made among the construction debris of the new Capitol, and within two weeks the ten-year-old shafts were discovered. How the markers were eventually placed on Statehouse grounds is unclear today. The government scientists who had temporarily marked the meridian lines a decade earlier weren’t around. But into the Statehouse grounds the markers went, by someone’s decision.

One-hundred-forty-eight years later, the exact spot where somebody in Springfield decided something endures today. Visitors to Springfield should look on the lawn between the Monroe Street sidewalk and the north side of the Capitol. A weathered marble monument, fifteen-inches square, presumably the top of a seven-foot shaft, is all that remains of the “grand and impressive” spectacle of 1869.

The scientists who gathered here to make their meridian calculations all those years ago might dispute the location of this North Meridian Station monument. Doubtless, they would say even words chiseled in stone cannot describe what they actually saw that August afternoon in 1869, the only time the moon has completely covered the sun in Illinois history.

Eclipse Edition

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Eclipse Edition

Women’s Center: Celebrating 45 years of advocacy


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A Carbondale institution is having a historic milestone this week marking its 45th anniversary Thurs
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

A Carbondale institution is having a historic milestone this week marking its 45th anniversary Thursday.

The Southern Illinois Women’s Political Caucus came up with an idea at a meeting in 1971, that Carbondale needed a women’s center.  They envisioned an emergency shelter to help women escape violent relationships, and also a place where women could come together to share ideas.

The eight founding members included Rita Moss, Clara McClure, Lillian Adams, Genevieve Houghton, Libby Moore, Judy Criswell, Candy Dean and Bobbi Majka. The committee worked for months securing donations and community support.

The notion to build a place to harbor those in need was a revolutionary concept, of which would become one of the first domestic violence shelters in the country. To see the need when many were told to keep private life matters private is not something that was commonly thought of back then.

“In 1972, women who were in violent situations were told by family and church members to deal with it,” Sandra Ursini, development specialist for the Women’s Center, told the Nightlife in 2012. “There was a sort of ‘This is your bed, you lay in it’ mentality, and people who were in trouble had nowhere to go and nowhere to turn to. They had to hid it from the public, as though it were something to be ashamed of. But our founders saw that someone had to stand up against this way of thinking, so they came together and put their resources and talents together to found this institution for our community.”

The first residence was a rental property house located on Walnut Street that opened in 1973. Monthly pledges from community members kept the rent and utilities paid for the center, and during its first year, the Women’s Center provided shelter for more than 100 women and children.

“The need for a shelter and services for women in southern Illinois was greater than anyone realized,” a video posted by the Women’s Center of Southern Illinois posted to YouTube said. The next goal was to figure out how to build a bigger space.

In 1974, the Women’s Center moved into a new building on Freeman Street. The Center also began rape counseling services at that time. Over the years, the center would continue to outgrow its space and would need to relocate offices and administration to nearby locations to maximize it use. In May 2008, renovations were completed and all of the Women’s Center services were able to be under the same roof for the first time since 1992.

The Women’s Center today has expanded to serve seven counties through a 40-bed shelter. It also has a counseling center in Marion and a 24-hour crisis hotline. It operates with a staff of professionals and trained volunteers who help people regain control of their lives. Those associated with the center are experts on domestic violence and sexual assault, and much of their work is also dedicated to bringing awareness.

Now a nonprofit agency operating under a board of directors, The Women’s Center, Inc. receives partial funding through various local, state and federal sources.  The services for a couple of the major programs — domestic violence and sexual assault — are provided through a combined effort with the professional staff, degree-seeking interns and trained volunteers, according to the center’s website.

The services provided are free and confidential. Among the types of assistance include education, transitional housing, medical and legal assistance, counseling and professional training for survivors and a 24-hour crisis intervention program.

The Women’s Center also continues to rely on community support for its operations.

To find out more about the Women’s Center, log on to www.thewomensctr.org.

Troy Walker: Serving up laughs for Homecoming


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Troy Walker will be featured at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Student Center Ballrooms.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

SIU’s upcoming Homecoming week once again brings the funny with a special show featuring a rising comedian from Denver.

Troy Walker will be featured at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Student Center Ballrooms.

Student Center Programs Assistant Director Carly James said the featured comedy show has been a part of the Homecoming week festivities for a number of years.

“We have comedy shows throughout the year, and it’s always the Homecoming show that is really well attended,” James said.

Walker is blowing up the Denver comedian scene, winning the Comedy Works “New Faces” twice. He has also opened for a number of prominent comedians, and he has performed at many national and local comedy festivals. Those festivals included The Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, The Great American Comedy Festival, The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Telluride Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs Montreal’s New Faces of Comedy.

Walker is also a licensed attorney who graduated with his law degree from The University of Denver. According to his bio on the High Plains Comedy Festival website, Walker moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and has filmed a long-form PetSmart commercial with Jane Lynch and director Christopher Guest. He has also performed his comedy set throughout the city.

In a set uploaded to YouTube, Walker discusses how he often reads classic literature and thinks the insult hurled in books like “Oliver Twist” are more cutting than the ones used today.

“If somebody ever called me a jerk, it’s like eh, whatever, forget the guy, right,” Walker said in the clip. “But if anybody ever called me a ragamuffin, we’re both going to jail. I don’t even know what a ragamuffin is, but I know you better be one if you are going to call me one.”

James said several other activities are planned for Homecoming week, including an outdoor concert on the Morris Library grounds. The performance will feature the reggae group Yard Squad.

For more Homecoming activities, visit to homecoming.siu.edu.

 

Frasier Crane would counsel you never to count out ‘Young Sheldon’


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Will CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” spinoff “Young Sheldon,” following the younger version of Jim Parson
Sean Stangland
Video Comentary

Will CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” spinoff “Young Sheldon,” following the younger version of Jim Parsons’ iconic sitcom character, be a “Frasier,” a “Joey” or an “Enos”?

You’ve certainly heard of the first one — “Frasier” took Kelsey Grammer’s psychiatrist out of that Boston bar called “Cheers” and put him in a Seattle radio studio, where he doled out advice to wacky callers when he wasn’t participating in farcical high jinks with his brother (David Hyde Pierce) and father (John Mahoney). “Frasier” premiered in 1993 just months after “Cheers” ended and won 37 Emmys in its 11 seasons. (“Cheers” won 28.)

You’ve probably heard of “Joey,” but don’t remember much about it except the name and the star. Matt LeBlanc reprised his lovable, dimwitted role from “Friends” in this mediocre half-hour that ran out of gas in 2006 after two seasons — despite a fun cast that included Drea de Matteo of “The Sopranos” and Jennifer Coolidge, aka Stifler’s Mom. (Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen the original “American Pie” lately, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how funny it still is.)

And then there’s “Enos.” Do you remember “Enos”? (I didn’t think so.) “Enos” followed the “Dukes of Hazzard” character from Georgia to Los Angeles, where star Sonny Shroyer fought crime for 18 episodes in 1980 and ’81 until CBS pulled the plug. Perhaps the most notable thing about this failed show is Shroyer’s co-star, Samuel E. Wright. You may not know his name, but you’ve heard his voice sing “Under the Sea” about a million times; he played Sebastian the crab in 1989’s “The Little Mermaid.”

Of course, it will be nearly impossible for “Young Sheldon” to reach the heights of “Frasier.” Few sitcoms have. It’s extremely difficult to create a spinoff that fully distinguishes itself from the source material unless you’re a TV genius like Vince Gilligan (“Better Call Saul”), Dick Wolf (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) or Garry Marshall (“Laverne and Shirley”).

But maybe, just maybe, “Sheldon” executive producer Chuck Lorre belongs in that pantheon. His shows’ many detractors would scoff at the notion, but his track record speaks for itself: “The Big Bang Theory” is on the cusp of its 11th season and will run for at least one more. “Two and a Half Men” survived Charlie Sheen’s replacement with Ashton Kutcher and ran for 12 seasons. “Mom” is about to begin its fifth season on CBS, and Allison Janney has two Emmys to show for it.

“Young Sheldon” has been a Twitter punchline since it was first announced, but don’t be shocked if it’s still on 10 years from now. That tends to happen with CBS shows, doesn’t it? (Did you know “Survivor” is still going?!?)

 

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• Sean Stangland is a multiplatform editor who, in the interest of full disclosure, says he can’t stand “The Big Bang Theory.” Email him at sstangland@localsouthernnews.com; follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.

Mother (1/2*)


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It’s not uncommon for a horror movie to recreate the sensation of a nightmare.
Bryan Miller
Video Comentary

Mother (1/2*)


It’s not uncommon for a horror movie to recreate the sensation of a nightmare.

In Mother!, which is as much a horror movie as it is anything easily categorical, writer-director Darren Aronofsky recreates the sensation of a very particular kind of nightmare: one of those dreams where it’s imperative that you perform some minor task, like washing the dishes, but a series of surreal and illogical encounters keeps holding you back. It seems like it takes hours, days. You wake up tense and frustrated.

Audience punishment is Aronovsky’s stock in trade. Even the best of his movies (Black Swan, The Wrestler) are arduous endurance tests. His most off-putting work (Noah, The Fountain) makes the classic arthouse miscalculation of equating misery with profundity.

Just because something’s anti-commercial doesn’t make it inherently deep.

Mother! is bluntly allegorical. The two lead characters are referred to only as Mother and Him, a little detail that should signal the kind of groan-and-forehead-slap festival that is about to commence.

Him (Javier Bardem) is a renowned poet with a single, massively influential piece of work. He’s riding out his writer’s block in a beautiful old country home, once burned but now being artfully rehabbed by his beautiful young wife. That would be Mother (Jennifer Lawrence).

The couple becomes embroiled in what is essentially a lengthy one-act play somewhere at the nexus of Beckett and Brecht and the kind of thing Roman Polanski would adapt for the screen. An ailing doctor (Ed Harris) blunders into the house and turns out to be a massive fan of our poet, who invites him to stay for a few days. The doctor is soon joined by his rude, predatory wife (a pretty fierce Michelle Pfiefer), and eventually their sons.

Mother!’s running motif is terrible houseguests. Everyone who comes into our heroine’s home treats it like a public bathroom at a music festival. She scrambles from one domestic injustice to the next, straining to maintain politeness, while her guests bafflingly refuse to acknowledge their transgressions. It’s basically a Midwesterner’s version of torture porn.

The maddening conflict carries on for an interminable hour or more before what might loosely be defined as a twist resets the film for a few blessedly peaceful seconds…and then it returns to that exact same conflict, ramped up to riotously lunatic proportions until it resembles some Boschian circus that plays like the apocalyptically lurid parties of JG Ballard and Robert Coover.

But there’s really only one book important in Mother!, and it’s The Book. The Biblical allusions practically come with flashing asterisks on the screen complete with close-captioned explanatory footnotes (look, kids, it’s Cain and Abel!). They’re part of some larger symbolic story about God and creation and the way people are ruining the planet.

The thing about Mother! is, it’s all symbolism. Movies certainly needn’t hew to conventional narrative structure, but what Aronofsky has achieved here is more like the aimless pondering of a college sophomore who just read his first Nietzsche, conveyed by artfully rendered but fatuous metaphors. On top of all the intended upleasantries, Mother! evokes a maddening, nauseating sensation of disorientation because whatever passes for a story is entirely and unevenly jerked along by the demands of the allegory. You could charitably describe the characters’ behavior as cryptic, but you could just as accurately say that everyone behaves inexplicably.

Aronofsky’s inevitable defenders can belabor the Biblical symbolism and environmentalist metaphors all they want, but all the pseudo-intellectual self-justification dodges the larger point: Is Aronofsky even actually saying anything (doubtful), and if so, was this even close to the best and most articulate way to say it (certainly not).

It’s awfully conspicuous that the best way Darren Aronofsky could indulge in his miserablist philosophizing is via a story about an aging poet married to a beautiful young girl played by Jennifer Lawrence—when Aronofsky is in fact an aging artist dating a beautiful young girl who actually is Jennifer Lawrence.

For all the movie’s would-be jokey attempts to cast the poet as a buffoonish ego-monster, let’s not forget that he is a poet, and there’s never any real question that his work is transcendently brilliant. That it’s so profound it makes the most beautiful woman alive weep and drives the masses into a frenzy, even if the indifferently cruel, anonymous rabble are too crude to know what to do with it. And Aronofsky chooses to convey all this with the same sensory-overload-sadism he leans into whenever someone else doesn’t write the script. For all his feints toward self-effacing humor, Aronofsky’s movie plays more like a feature-length humblebrag.

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Basically, Mother! is the Requiem for A Dream of being all the way up your own ass.

Roxie Randle: Road to Nashville


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Roxie Randle: Road to Nashville
Dakota Holden
Video Comentary


Roxie Randle comes from a small town of about 554 people, and now she’s living in Nashville, Tennessee playing music full-time.

Singer and songwriter Randle will take the stage at 2 p.m., on Saturday at Blue Sky. Nightlife had the chance to talk with Roxie about her road to Nashville and her new CD, Stripped and Covered.

“I started singing at age eight or nine in church,” Randle said. “Of course, I did choir in grade school and high school. Then, in college, I started to learn guitar and start writing my own songs.”

Though she started singing at a young age, it wasn’t until her final years in college when she realized playing music was going to be her profession.

“I think I was studying for a Spanish test and thinking how much I hated it,” she said. “I remember the moment. I did not want to do this for career.”

Randle moved to Nashville right after college. Years later, she opened for Teri Clark and Mel Tillis as well as making it the state finals of Colgate Country Showdown (Country Music Competition).

Randle plays a variety of genres including country, pop, and acoustic alternative that resonate from her early influences.

“I loved Trisha Yearwood,” she said. “As far as country music goes, she’s the best, even outside of country music. Her voice really speaks to me. I’ve always been a big fan of Amy Grant. I’ve listened to her since I was little. She was a songwriter and that gave me a different role model.”

Randle talked with Nightlife about working as an independent artist in the music business.

“Every task is on me,” she said. “I’m responsible for booking, marketing, to the actual performance. I have to wear a lot of different hats and switch hats quickly.”

Though a lot of groups and performers in Nashville are independent, Randle said the positive aspects of doing business this way are worth the effort.

“I don’t have to run my create ideas past anybody,” she said. “I am in total control of my artistic direction. The benefit is that I don’t have to share my profits with a record label.”

Roxie Randle’s new album Stripped and Covered was inspired by the energy of live acoustic shows.

“I decided to do a cover album,” she said. “I could do a cover song and put my own spin on it. I didn’t have to play it exactly like the record. People were wanting to buy a cd’s at my show, which meant they liked what they heard. I wanted people to take home what they heard at the live show, so the can re-experience it. I recorded a live album, just without the audience.”

Giving herself only three takes of each song, she chose the best out of the group and moved on to the next tune. Though it is a cover album, Roxie still managed to squeeze three originals onto the new record.

When not on her solo show tour, she is playing with her duo group As Girls Go with singer/songwriter Kimber Cleveland or acting in indie movies in Nashville.

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Readers of Nightlife are welcome to a 20 percent off coupon for her online store if they use the code NIGHTLIFE at www.roxierandle.com/store.

“Anything Goes” with The Great Affairs at John Brown’s


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Nightlife
Tara Janowick
Video Comentary

 

Americana band The Great Affairs are coming to the hidden music venue on the city square in Marion, just next to city hall, John Brown’s on the Square Friday.

Front man Denny Smith started the “The Great Affairs” in 2009, as an offshoot of the band he was in at the time, fORMER. Smith had amassed a wide base of material leaned more into the Americana genre than the harder Rock and Power Pop of fORMER. He and his then guitarist started Great Affairs as an outlet for those songs. The band consists of: Denny Smith, vocal, guitars, harmonica; Patrick Miller, lead guitar and vocals; Matt Andersen on bass and vocals, and Kenny Wright on vocals, drums, and percussion.

Although the band has experienced additional changes in the lineup, in its current inception, Great Affairs has been playing together for four years. When fORMER eventually disbanded for good, its catalog of tunes of tunes was absorbed into the new band’s lineup, and the two styles just melded to create what they do now, which is something of a cross between the sounds of Cheap Trick and the style of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Smith says the band is not a hard rock band or a pop band.

“It’s a sound that is weird to classify, but somewhere in the middle. It can be tricky at times, but it works,” he said.

Not only does The Great Affairs perform popular covers of the Americana style, but they also write a lot of their own music.

Wright, drummer and co-lead singer, and Smith write the bulk of the band’s originals, although everyone in the band pitches in. Developing the sound is a collaborate effort, but Kenny and Denny are the primary composers. Their songs have been featured in films and television. Songs from Denny’s recent solo record will be used in two Amazon/Roku productions that should be airing in the next few months.

The band released a covers EP a few months ago, which included Thin Lizzy and a classic Fleetwood Mack song. More covers that the audience can expect to hear at the upcoming performance at John Brown’s include mostly music from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including lots of Tom Petty, KISS, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, some AC/DC, and Credence Clearwater Revival.

They don’t stray too far from their roots, and don’t do all of the obvious stuff, avoiding the “no brainer” covers.

“We try to keep it interesting... ‘anything goes’ is a theme most nights,” he said.

Smith said John Brown’s on the Square in Marion is one of the band’s favorite places to play.

“It was one of these weird things where I was going through looking at venues where similar bands were playing. There were always cool bands playing at John Brown’s. I ended up contacting him, and he was a great guy from the get go,” he said. I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad show there. They treat everybody so well. I don’t think we’ve ever had that level of hospitality right out of the gate. He and his wife Missy are just really great people. And the sound is great; you just sound really good when you play there. They’ve really hit the nail on the head with that joint.”

The band had played at John Brown’s before a fire destroyed most of the building in January of 2016, and had an April fools show scheduled there coming up that year. They came to Marion to play a benefit concert at the VFW to help in the rebuilding efforts

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An Eve of Timeless Elegance Benefit Banquet: African American History Museum 20th anniversary


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An Eve of Timeless Elegance Benefit Banquet: African American History Museum 20th anniversary
Alexis Estes
Video Comentary

If you’re looking for some friendly family fun this weekend, join The African American History Museum of Southern Illinois in its 20thanniversary celebration on Saturday at the Carbondale Civic Center.

The event is titled “An Eve of Timeless Elegance Benefit Banquet.”

Not only is this a time to celebrate the museum’s success, but this event also serves to raise funds to continue operating.

Carolin Harvey, an original member since 1997, talks about this weekend’s agenda- guests can expect to enjoy dinner, and a night full of music and fun.

“There will be a spoken word performance [by poet Samuel Hawkins], dinner, music by The Phonics,” Harvey said. “And an opportunity to dance the night away.”

Founded in 1997, by the Southern Illinois Achievers, the African American Museum of Southern is a non-for-profit organization solely committed to educating the community about African American culture and history. The museum, run by volunteers and a selected few board members, is “dedicated to identifying, preserving and portraying the outstanding achievements of African American Citizens, and is the only African American History Museum between Chicago and Chattanooga” (African American History Museum of Southern Illinois)

The city of Carbondale has become an epicenter for all types of cultures and different walks of life and The African American museum gives a voice to a culture some think can only be defined in one way — a culture that can be tainted by a lack of understanding and openness to understand.

By having this banquet, the African American Museum hopes to celebrate a legacy that is stepping out of obscurity into the light.

Being around for 20 years is a milestone for any organization,” Harvey said. “This event will serve a twofold purpose. It will celebrate the Museum›s 20th anniversary and will serve as a fundraiser for the Museum.

“We will continue to provide awareness about the importance of African Americans to the history of our society and our country.”

For 20 years, the museum has been a staple for diversity and cultural education for the Carbondale community.

The reception will start at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m..

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For tickets, call 618-303-1973.

Raddle at the Bottoms set for September 24


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Raddle at the Bottoms set for September 24
Dakota Holden
Video Comentary

Bottoms: Prepare to be raddled.

On Sept. 24, the annual Raddle at the Bottoms Bluegrass Benefit will blast music into the eardrops of those at St. Ann’s Church. St. Ann’s is located about a mile and a half down Raddle Road, which is about 12 miles south of Chester on Illinois 3.

The festival will feature music, food, and an auction. All proceeds will be going to Sandra’s Comfort, a foundation that assists financially for cancer patients and their families.

Angela said Sandra’s Comfort is a not-for-profit organization that she started when her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“It was almost 11 years ago she passed away,” she said. “So, we started Sandra’s Comfort to help cancer patients with their financial burden. We gained moment and this year, we have helped forty-four cancer patients with more than $39,000.”

The organization is Southern Illinois based, but they have helped patients from Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, and New York.

Though Sandra’s Comfort has been able to help more people than the start, Angela is deeply concerned with being able to fund the organization.

“Two years ago, we had 33 patients — last year forty-four,” she said. “I don’t ever want to turn down a cancer patient and I’m begging everyone for their support.”

Angela is expecting more 1,200 people to raddle the bottoms, and is hoping for support from the community to keep Sandra’s Comfort afloat and continue to help those in need.

This year, the bands will include:

Beth Davis, Tim Crosby, Pint and a Half, Adam Lee, Ethan Stephenson, the new Raddle House Band, and the Howlin’ Brothers. Angela Dilday, the head organizer for the event, told Nightlife about the show and the charity.

This will be our eleventh Raddle at the Bottoms, so we have the Raddle House Band this year,” she said. “It includes people have been in various bands from the beginning, and plan on coming together. One out of this band and one out of that band. We thought it was a great idea.”

During the festival, there will be many different food options available including pulled pork, fried chicken, hot dogs, and egg rolls.

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There is a $5 admission charge for adults and children younger than 15 will be free to enter.

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read


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Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read
Craig Wilson
Video Comentary

SIU’s Library Affairs and the Special Collections Research Center will once again celebrate Banned Books Week this year from Sept. 24 through Sept. 30.

The Special Collections Research Center (a department within Morris Library) has been celebrating Banned Books Week since 1982.

According to Pam Hackbart-Dean, Director of the Special Collections Research Center, this year will feature “an exhibit highlighting banned books” through Oct. 2.

“The exhibit will be located in Morris Library by the Abraham Lincoln head.  On Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to noon, we will host a Banned Books Buffet,” she said.

At the buffet readers may explore books like Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, and Captain Underpants. There will be a selection of banned books, a selfie booth where visitors can take pictures with banned books, and snacks and refreshments. The event is free and open to students, staff and the general public.

Banned Books Week gets its impetus from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, but in its mission to raise awareness against censorship it has a global focus. Banned Books Week is a Non-Profit Organization which you can find on Facebook and elsewhere online.

“Since 1990, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has received reports of 9,500 attempts to remove books deemed by some as inappropriate,” Dean said.

In 2016 alone, 323 books were challenged.

A challenge is an attempt by a group or individual to restrict a book that’s already in circulation. If a ban is placed a book it will then be removed from schools and libraries in the city or region where the successful challenge was filed. The ALA calls such a restriction of access to reading materials a threat to freedom of speech and choice. Part of the OIF’s mission is supporting librarians who face book challenges which may keep a book from being banned.

Examples from 2016’s top ten most challenged books include Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan and This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. Many titles, some of which are graphic novels, were challenged because of adult language, sexual content including exploration of homosexual and transgender themes, and in some cases, their cover artwork.

It was certain items held by Special Collections that prompted the local celebration of Banned Books Week.

“The Special Collections Research Center has Ralph E. McCoy’s personal collection of materials related to First Amendment freedoms,” Dean said. “This collection traces the intellectual history of the concept of freedom of expression in the UK and the USA from 1600 to the present. It’s perhaps the most rich and diverse research collection of printed materials in SCRC.”

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For further information, check out the website ala.org/bbooks.

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