Special Programming

The Art Of The 1970s Lives On

Apr 17, 2015

It may feel like the art of the 70s is long gone -- as dead as its best known progenitor, Andy Warhol -- but, as far as public art is concerned, it’s never been more 1972 than now.

One of the most popular art attractions in Chicago is the sculpture officially called Cloud Gate, but known more widely by its street-cred name “The Bean.” If you wonder why The Bean has supplanted old art stalwarts like the Picasso or the Chagall mosaic as Chi-towns most beloved public art, all you need to do is see how tourists interact with it.

Art Transforms 'Sleepy, Stagnant, Rural' Town

Apr 16, 2015

It started about 16 years ago with the opening of an independent book store and cafe on a downtown street corner. That started Downtown Dixon's transformation into the worlds of art and culture.

Not only has sleepy, stagnant, rural small-town Dixon burst out with art venues and events for people to see, watch and hear, but businesses also are making the art scene one of engagement.

Even Poets Question Themselves

Apr 15, 2015
Carl Nelson

Am I a fraud?

It’s the question most every poet asks … a “look in the mirror under florescent lights” kind of thing, a scrutiny fueled by fear and courage.

If you’re a poet, and you haven’t pondered your own authenticity, don’t get cocky. You will. Self-interrogation is part of the art. But there’s hope.

When you’re under that blinding bulb, tied to a chair and sweating, remember why you wrote that first magical poem. The real one.

Susan Azar Porterfield

Apr 14, 2015
Carl Nelson

Susan Azar Porterfield is the author of the poetry collection Kibbe.

Recently two of her poems were accepted for publication in the prestigious Barrow Street literary journal. 

A professor of English at Rockford University, she also edited Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien Stryk collecting works of the former Northern Illinois University faculty member, Fulbright lecturer, poet and translator.

A Fresh View On Improving Your View

Apr 14, 2015

This week, as our lawn mower gets its checkup, I recall my first conversation with my next-door neighbor.

Don was mowing his lawn while I stood overwhelmed in our new overgrown backyard. After introductions, we discussed the finer points of yard work. Then he exclaimed, “I’m living the dream!” and shared his dream of owning a home with a nice yard. Each time he mows the lawn, he smiles because he’s fortunate enough to live out his dream.

Memories Of What Could Have Been

Apr 13, 2015

My parents have a large outbuilding on their property in La Salle County. It stands as a silent reminder of my dad, who passed in November. The building whispers to me to come inside and explore and discover. This is where he took his sketches and designs and ideas to build things ... and repair breaks and bumps in their daily lives. 

It stands as a monument to what he could do with his hands. And what I cannot do.

Looking Forward To The Promise Of Spring

Apr 10, 2015

When I was young Holy Week was like Holy Year – something to be dreaded and feared in the hearts of us children. “Christ suffered and so shall you!” my mother could be heard shouting to any child who dared smile or look happy.

Thankfully, I no longer view the world through this lens; rather I see life is waiting to emerge from the assumed death of winter. The days lengthen as the edges of darkness soften and we ready for Spring.

David Gunkel

Apr 9, 2015

David Gunkel is an award-winning educator, scholar and author, specializing in the study of information and communication technology with a focus on ethics.

He is professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University, and his teaching has been recognized with numerous awards -- including NIU's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the prestigious Presidential Teaching Professor.

It's Time To Talk About Drones

Apr 9, 2015

Drones are everywhere. Not necessarily in the skies above our heads but in the news, in discussions around the office, and front and center in the national consciousness.

Until recently, these conversations had largely been about the use of battlefield drones. But that conversation’s about to change because of the Department of Defense’s development of autonomous weapon systems — drones no longer tethered to a human operator but designed to make their own life-and-death decisions.

Kudos For A Visionary Resource

Apr 8, 2015

A few weeks ago my sister was bemoaning the demise of her website after the company hosting it went offline. I told her about the Wayback Machine where she could find an earlier version of her website to reference.

The Wayback Machine, also known as the Internet Archive, is just that: a collection of old websites. It employs a robot program which crawls the Internet saving websites, except for ones that specifically block crawlers. At last count there were 456 billion web pages saved.