BONK! 132 @ The Grind Cafe

This month’s BONK! performance series will be held on Saturday, November 2nd, at 7300 Washington Avenue in Mt. Pleasant, BONK! will be at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers include: Guggenheim poet, Carmen Giménez Smith; researcher and poet, MC Hyland; and eclectic jazz group, the Curtis Crump Trio.

Carmen Giménez Smith is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow and the author of a memoir and six poetry collections, including Be Recorder, which was recently longlisted for the National Book Award.She is the co-director for CantoMundo, the publisher of Noemi Press, and, alongside Stephanie Burt, poetry editor of The Nation.

MC Hyland is the author of two full-length books of poems: THE END (Sidebrow 2019) and Neveragainland (Lowbrow Press 2010). She has also published a dozen poetry chapbooks/artist books, most recently Plane Fly At Night from above/ground press and the self-published Five Essays on the Lyric/The Laundry Poem with Anna Gurton-Wachter. She is the founding editor of DoubleCross Press, a poetry micropress, and recently finished a PhD in English at NYU. From her research, she produces scholarly and poetic texts, artists’ books, and public art projects.

Curtis Crump Jr. is a Racine-native musician & composer that performs throughout & beyond the Milwaukee-Madison-Chicago area. Curtis is a graduate of UW-Parkside with a music major (jazz studies concentration). He plays regularly with bands such as the Eddie Butts Band, No SeatBelts, the Kal Bergendahl Project, Grooveline, & others. He‘s currently the music director at ACTS Church in Kenosha under the leadership of Pastor Lawrence Kirby II. With him today are 2 musicians from No Seatbelts, Quentin Farr (keys) & “Dee Cee”(drums). Curtis is releasing his debut album, “Transit”, & it’s expected to be on all streaming platforms on December 20th. There will also be a release/preview show at Kenosha Fusion starting at 7:30pm that night.

BONK! 131 @ OS Projects

This month’s BONK! performance series will be held on Saturday, October 12th, at 601 6th Street in Racine, BONK! will be at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers include: Dead Horses vocalist, Sarah Vos; Texas poet and rapper, Jonathan Moody; and French-American writer, Beatrice Szymkowiak.

What may qualify Sarah Vos as a musician and songwriter most is her deep and vivid life-long relationship with music. Born in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan- and singing herself to sleep before she knew how to talk- Sarah was raised in Wisconsin with her four siblings. Raised on Bible hymns and stories, Sarah has been expressing herself through music and song her entire life. In 2010, she helped form folk band, Dead Horses. Since then, Dead Horses have released three records and have performed with the likes of Trampled by Turtles, Mandolin Orange, and most recently, The Who. Tireless touring has proven to be a fulfilling muse for Sarah as she continues to travel, play music, and write new material reflective of herself and everything around her.

Jonathan Moody received his MFA degree from the University of Pittsburgh and has been published in numerous literary journals such as African American Review, The Common, Crab Orchard Review, and Harvard Review Online. He is the author of two poetry collections: The Doomy Poems and Olympic Butter Gold which won the 2014 Cave Canem/Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize.
For the past ten years, Moody has taught English at Pearland High School. Moody lives in Pearland, Texas, with his wife and three sons. He is also a rapper and a music video director who goes by the alias Fluke Ellington. His first single and video “Effervescence” featuring Houston underground rap legend K-Rino is available on YouTube.

Beatrice Szymkowiak is a French-American writer. She graduated with a MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017. She now teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing. She is poetry assistant editor at Cream City Review. Her work has appeared in several poetry magazines, including Birds Piled Loosely, the Berkeley Review, the Borderlands Texas Review, OmniVerse, Permafrost magazine, the Portland Review, and Ellipsis. She is also the winner of the 2017 Omnidawn Single Poem Broadside Contest. Exploratory and experimental, her poetry investigates the new environmental trajectory of the Anthropocene. Her first chapbook RED ZONE was released in Fall 2018. It constitutes the first chapter of her investigations.

The event will be held at OS Projects at 601 6th Street in Racine, WI. OS Projects is a contemporary art gallery in downtown Racine featuring visual artists in solo and small group exhibits. The gallery’s primary focus is on artists living and working in the Chicago-Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee urban corridor. While the range of media the gallery presents is broad—encompassing painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video/film and installation—the exhibited artists are unified in their engagement with topical issues, experimentation with materials and processes, and adherence to craft.

Currently, OS Projects is hosting an exhibit by artist Diane Levesque. Ms. Levesque will be present at the BONK! event and give an introduction to her exhibit at the start of the event. For more information on the artist and the exhibit, visit the OS Projects website.

BONK! 130 @ Punjabi Banquet Hall

Racine – This month’s BONK! performance series will be held on Saturday, September 28th, at 1504 Washington Avenue in Racine, BONK! will be at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. We will have twenty local acts performing their own original work as well as featured poet, Matt Hart.

This month’s event will be part of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, a grassroots organization that brings communities together to call for environmental, social, and political change within the framework of peace and sustainability. An event that began primarily with poet organizers, 100 Thousand Poets for Change has grown into an interdisciplinary coalition with year round events which includes musicians, dancers, mimes, painters and photographers from around the world.

Matt Hart is the author of nine books of poems, including most recently Everything Breaking/for Good (YesYes Books, 2019) and The Obliterations (Pickpocket Books, 2019). Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including The Academy of American Poets online, Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Harvard Review, jubilat, Kenyon Review online, Lungfull!, Mississippi Review, Ovenbird, POETRY, and Waxwing, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band NEVERNEW:

The event will be held at Punjabi Banquet Hall at 1504 Washington Avenue in Racine. Run by the owners of Kebab and Grill, Punjabi Banquet Hall will have food and beverages available for sale so come hungry!

BONK! 129 @ Eco-Justice Center

This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at he Eco-Justice Center, 7133 Michna Road, on Saturday, August 3rd, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be: Latinx award-winning poet, Jacob Saenz; Pushcart nominee Erica Hughs; and eclectic jazz/soul/R&B duo B~Free and Quinten Farr.

Jacob Saenz is the author of Throwing the Crown, winner of the 2018 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. His work has appeared in Memorious, PANK, Poetry, Tammy and other journals. A CantoMundo fellow, he’s been the recipient of a Letras Latinas Residency, a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and a 2019 Latinx Scholarship from the Frost Place. He serves as an associate editor for RHINO.

Erica Hughes is an MFA+MA candidate in poetry and University Fellow at Northwestern University. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Antigonish Review and BOAAT Journal, among others. And in 2018, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Hughes has been a participant at the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation workshop as well as the Tin House summer and winter workshops.

Multi-faceted husband and wife combo B~Free and Quinten Farr mark their debut at the Peck Pavilion for a lively duo performance! As fellow Milwaukee HS of the Arts alum, band leaders, educators and frequent fixtures of the local music scene, the pair will bring their modern technique and savvy musical experience to the venue by way of flute, voice, keyboard, synthesizer and loops. With a diverse repertoire steeped in jazz, soul and R&B, the act is sure to be a treat for music lovers of all ages.

BONK! 128 @ RAM

This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at The Racine Art Museum (RAM), 441 Main Street, on Saturday, July 13th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be: St. Louis poet, Alison C. Rollins; indie-pop duo, Seesaw; and anthemic pop group, newvices. 

Alison C. Rollins, born and raised in St. Louis city, currently works as a Librarian for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellow. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior ReviewCrazyhorseIndiana Review, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she is also a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. In 2018 she was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. Her debut poetry collection, Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press) is available now.  

The dynamic duo that is Seesaw, Meg Golz and Eve Wilczewski, started as co-workers, slowly courted each other into best friendship, and then magically into music-making conspirators – all along, guiding the ship that is their indie-pop duo Seasaw. Without every piece of this musical history together, it would have been impossible for them to create their latest release, Big Dogs.Harnessing their team dynamic, the creation of this album demanded Seasaw be brutally honest and experimental with each other. This process allowed them to create Big Dogs, a wildly imaginative departure from their previous work that features lush soundscapes and powerful lyrical choices. The album’s title Big Dogs is taken from the ridiculous and self-assigned name that some people in power give themselves, and the duo’s message is a sonically beautiful rejection of this outdated term, as well as a response the the world around them in 2018.
Seasaw has performed alongside Lucius, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, Har Mar Superstar, Shakey Graves and many others. Big Dogs is available now on CD, LP and digitally. 

In today’s increasingly polarizing climate, one principle stands above all else. It’s time for a new vice. •newvices• from Milwaukee, WI, plans to be just that, offering an escape from the monotony of daily life and shedding insight on the emotional struggles we all share but don’t always show. Truth is, we’re all addicted to something. Understanding what causes these addictions and complacencies is one of the many goals •newvices• has set out to conquer. By combining upbeat and energetic pop overtones with a raw and emotional core, •newvices•’ lyrical and instrumental intricacies find the balance between the joy in life and the crippling feelings that coincide. The band shares the universal human desire to build beautiful memories with their audience, built on lasting foundations, without for a second denying the ever-present reality of suffering in our lives. •newvices• strives to show people that together, through honest discussion and truth, we can overcome the hardships of life. Formed by Rodrick Wortham, •newvices• has undergone direction and member changes, but one thing has always remained constant. The band is here to stay and endlessly willing to adapt in order to continue spreading their message. Ultimately, they wish to offer every struggling person a new vice – one of love, music, dance and common unity. Over the years, •newvices• has done just that. With two EPs released – “The Truth of Self” and their self-titled EP, they show no signs of slowing down. So far, 2019 has seen them offer direct support for artists like LANY and Lovely the Band, and the release of two new singles: “Blame Me” and “Dressed.”  

BONK! 127 – The Family Reunion Music Festival

On the last Saturday in June for the past ten years, friends and families from all over have gathered at the Johnson Park Pavilion in Racine, WI to celebrate life, explore the beauty of live music and poetry, and help raise awareness, money, and food for local non-profits. This year’s event serves as a fundraiser for the Racine Literacy Council and a non-perishable food collection site for the Racine County Food Bank. This year’s event is scheduled for June 29th from 2:00pm-10:00pm. Admission to the festival is $10 or $8 with two non-perishable food donations. Guests will receive 4 food tickets and 1 drink ticket with the price of admission. Food options include a pig roast, hamburgers, hot dogs, vegan burgers, corn on the cob, watermelon, and baked goods. Drink options include water, juice, soda, and beer. Children six and under are free.Attendees will also enjoy a diverse array of entertainment, a drum circle, family and art activities, and the chance to win a 50/50 and an incredible assortment of raffle items. Raffles will be sorted into three drawings: 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm. Winners must be present to win.

2019 sponsors: Amanda Gaastra, Belle City Magazine, the BONK! Performance Series, Borzynski’s Farm & Floral Market, Brossman’s Meat Market, Butter Buds Inc., Carpetland USA Flooring Center, CBRE | ESI, C.J.W., Dovetail Woodworking Studio, Educators Credit Union, Family Power Music, Feiner Plumbing, George’s Tavern, Great Northern Company, Jessica Z. Photography, Joey’s West, Katie Skowronski, Larsen Bakery, Leeway Cleaning Company, Maresh-Merideth & Acklam Funeral Home, the McEldery Family, Minuteman Press, Nicole Sweet, Ocean Spray, the Osborne & Scekic Family Foundation, Racine Art Museum, Racine Brewing Company, Racine Unified School District, R&B Grinding, Smoke’d On The Water, The Old Book Corner, Timer’s Beverage Center, and Wiscon Products, Inc.

Entertainment Lineup:

  • 2:30-3:00: John Worrell (folk guitarist/singer)
  • 3:00-3:15: Kenyatta “The Lyrical Lioness” Turner (poetry/spoken word)
  • 3:15-3:45: Liamani and Anaya Segura (r&b/pop singer/guitarist)
  • 4:00-4:30: Jeremy Scott (jazz/neo-soul)
  • 4:45-5:15: Sandee Jean (r&b/jazz)
  • 5:15-5:45: Drum Circle
  • 5:45-6:15: Babygzus (hip-hop/spoken word)
  • 6:30-7:00: Frequency Hop (jam/fusion)
  • 7:00-7:30: J-Scribe (hip-hop/spoken word)
  • 7:30-8:00: Nick Ramsey & The Family (poetic funk)
  • 8:00-8:30: Illuminati Congo (hip-hop)
  • 8:30-10:00: DJs Annatomic and E-Holla (house/hip-hop)

BONK! 126 @ The Branch

This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at The Branch, 1501 Washington Ave, on Saturday, May 25th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be: Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga; acclaimed Florida poet, Dustin Pearson; and Chicago fusion band, Adam Gottlieb & OneLove.

Current Wisconsin Poet Laureate Margaret Rozga has published four books of poetry, including Pestiferous Questions: A Life in Poems (2017). This book, written with support from the American Antiquarian Society, looks at issues of women’s roles, western expansion, and race as they are woven through the life of politically active and well-connected Jessie Benton Frémont (1824-1902). Rozga served as editor of the poetry chapbook anthology Where I Want to Live: Poems for Fair & Affordable Housing, a project for the 50th anniversary of Milwaukee’s fair housing marches. She participated in those marches, wrote about them in her award-winning first book, 200 Nights and One Day. She is also the author of Justice Freedom Herbs and Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad, named by the Wisconsin Library Association as an outstanding achievement in poetry for 2012 and named as a Split This Rock Favorite Book of Poetry. 

Dustin Pearson is the author of MILLENNIAL ROOST (C&R Press, 2018) and A FAMILY IS A HOUSE (C&R Press, 2019). He is a McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Creative Writing at Florida State University. The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Pearson has served as the editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review and a Director of the Clemson Literary Festival. He won the Academy of American Poets Katharine C. Turner Prize and John Mackay Graduate Award and holds an MFA from Arizona State University. His work appears in Blackbird, Vinyl Poetry, Bennington Review, TriQuarterly[PANK]Fjords Review, and elsewhere. 

Adam Gottlieb & OneLove is a Folk/Rock/Reggae/Funk fusion band from Chicago. With dynamic songwriting, upbeat rhythms, tight harmonies, and razor-sharp lyricism inspired by struggles for social justice, OneLove offers songs to the revolution’s soundtrack.