BONK! 102 – 15 Minutes Of Fame @ Preservation Hall


A very special evening of art and inspiring discussion. Part of the “Famous” Portraits Art Project by artist Deb Marett. Patterned after the TED Talks series. Our amazing cast of speakers will be sharing thoughts on making a difference in our everyday lives with our work and interactions. Live a life of purpose, intent, and impact. Don’t miss it! For more information, visit:
*Please RSVP for groups of more than 5, so seats can be reserved.




 Naomi Shihab Nye is an internationally acclaimed poet and children’s author. She refers to herself as a “wandering poet” because she has traveled the world to hold writing workshops and inspire people of all ages for about 40 years. She is an author of many poetry and children’s fiction books. Her poems are based on heritage and peace, and are connected to her experience as an Arab-American. Among her many awards, Naomi won the 2014 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature.


 Paul Willis is a poet and literature professor. Paul is a former Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, CA, and has been included in The “Best American Poetry” series. Paul will be speaking on the evolving nature of one’s creative path or calling.


 Timothy Westbrook is a fashion designer and fiber artist with a focus on sustainability. Former Project Runway contestant. Timothy will be speaking about  transforming big ideas into reality simply by believing in them, and how one starfish can save the world.


is a non-violent communication facilitator and advocate for peace and justice. Olu will be discussing addressing the epidemic of violence in our communities.


 Thea Kovac is a Milwaukee artist and teacher. Thea will be talking about the cyclical nature of creativity, and the need for allowing oneself time to rejuvenate.


Aszya Summers is a conservation education manager at the Racine Zoo. Aszya will be talking about crane conservation and the work of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo.


Travis DuPriest taught Humanities and Creative Writing at Carthage College for 30 years. He published two scholarly editions of 17th-century writers and five creative Chapbooks of poems and essays. Travis will be talking about family, loss and reconciliation.


Nick Demske curates the BONK! performance series in Racine, and won the 2010 Fence Modern Poets Series Award. Nick will encourage everyone to think about how each of us is simultaneously the most important, and the least important, thing in the universe.

BONK! 101 @ Old Racine Arts Council Building


Poet         Kenzie Allan

Poet         Gint Aras

Music       Koku Gonza

Kenzie Allen is a descendant of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. She received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, and she is currently an Advanced Opportunity Program Fellow in the PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. Her work has been published in The Iowa Review, Indiana Review, Narrative, Drunken Boat, and other venues, and she is the recipient of fellowships from the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and Vermont Studio Center. She was born in West Texas, and spends time between her tribe’s reservation in Green Bay and her fiancé’s hometown in Norway.

Gint Aras is the author of two novels, Finding the Moon in Sugar (Infinity, 2009) and The Fugue (Tortoise Books, 2016), a finalist for the 2016 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award. His prose and translations have appeared in the St. Petersburg Review, Quarterly West, Curbside Splendor, STIR Journal, ReImagine and elsewhere. He’s a community college instructor and currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his family.

Koku Gonza thrives as an indie artist 24 hours a day. She shares her alternative soul sounds from the subways of New York to the modern day swanky socialites of Hong Kong. She has shared the stage with Dwele, Timothy Bloom and Isaiah Sharkey. Her song, Koku Gonza has completed two international tours in Europe ending 2016 with a artist residency in Hong Kong, receiving rave reviews from various media outlets like Rolling Out Magazine, Track Source, Soul Bag Magazine and the +D’Afrique. Koku Gonza’s music has been compared to the late legends Bob Marley and contemporary artists like Sade and Lianne La Havas. She has a new soul funk dance song to release in 2017 featuring grammy-award winning guitarist Isaiah Sharkey.

BONK! 100



Music         Mexico City Is Sinking
Music         The Barrow Band
Bonus         BONK! Family Showcase

Mexico City Is Sinking is the solo work of singer-songwriter Marco Jaimez. Born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, Marco is a solo artist, as well as lead singer in the band “Anchors of Empires”. Influenced by Michael Jackson and Jeff Buckley, he started playing bass guitar at age thirteen. After discovering a love for singing, he put the bass down and delved into playing acoustic guitar, singing and songwriting. It is here that he found a desire and passion to began his solo journey. He explains; “I have always loved music and believe that humans were given this desire to create. My creativity happens to be singing and songwriting.” Marco has paved the way to a strong foundation with his distinctive voice and emotional lyrics. He has full command of the craft of songwriting and his live performances showcase an ability to connect with his audience.

The Barrow Band is an indie folk quintet whose sounds leaves the listener wanting more. Hailing from Grand Marais, MN, and formed in 2012, members Jackson Potter, Stephen Struwve, Christian Bane, Jeff Ruffato, and Andreas Palmer, produce a sound that produces such imagery that the listener is transported to what could be easily described as the Midwestern landscape. They have 2 albums currently available, Trailshack (2012) and Walker’s Point Session (2015). Haunting, beautiful, yet unsettling, this band captures what it is to be indie folk in the Midwestern United States of America. Folding in Gothic undertones and vivid imagery, this band is one to listen for.

BONK! 100 will be a pot luck event. Please bring your favorite dish to pass, especially vegan food. Vegan food doesn’t have to be fancy. To be considered vegan, a dish cannot have any meat, dairy, eggs, honey, or animal products (such as most gelatin). A few outlets will be available for hot food. We will also have a cake. Sadly, the security staff at the library vetoed lighting the cake with a hundred candles due to fire hazard.

Happy New Years from BONK!

Happy new year, BONK! Family. 2017 is going to be awesome and we are kicking it off right on January 21st at 6 pm. Join us at the Racine Public Library in the youth services department to celebrate our 100th BONK! with amazing poetry, music, and food.

BONK! 100 will be a pot luck event. Please bring your favorite dish to pass, especially vegan food. Vegan food doesn’t have to be fancy. To be considered vegan, a dish cannot have any meat, dairy, eggs, honey, or animal products (such as most gelatin). A few outlets will be available for hot food. We will also have a cake. Sadly, the security staff at the library vetoed lighting the cake with a hundred candles due to fire hazard.

We are also going to start 2017 by getting to know you a little bit better. We put together a survey that will help us make the next 100 BONK!s even better. Every answer matters. You can find the survey on our website, here. You can also copy and paste the following link into your browser.  The data we collect here will be used for several purposes, but none of them more important than helping us get grants!!! So thank you in advance for your time–we appreciate it so much and it will help us keep bringing the BONK!ness to you.

There are also some great things going on in the Racine Arts Community in 2017. Across the United States and abroad people getting together on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to share their commitment to the spirit of compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy as part of a movement called Writers Resist. On Sunday, January 15, at 4-6pm, Jessie Lynn McMains will be hosting “A Public Service Announcement (w/Words & Art!): a Writers Resist event”. Performers and speakers are invited to perform either their own original work, or a piece by someone else that speaks to the ideals of Democracy and free expression. Each performer will have approximately five minutes, depending on number of performers. There is also the possibility of an open mic to conclude the event, so that those who did not sign up ahead of time can still share their own (or their favorite) words or songs of resistance. The event will also be raising money for Voces De La Frontera, a grassroots organization commited to fighting for imigrant rights. The event is free and open to the public; money will be raised in a “pass the hat” style.
If you want to preform at this event or if you have more questions, email Jessie Lynn McMains at

Also, video homie, Peg Rousar-Thompson, has just been named the Racine Arts Council’s inaugral Writer In Residence. She will be holding down the fort at 316 6th street every Wednesday 12pm until 5pm from now until the beginning of May. Stop by and say hi.

If you made a new year’s resolution to get more words down on paper or screen this year, or if you are looking for a supportive writing community, join us for Wordshop, 6pm-8pm ish every Thursday at the Launch Box (Gateway Technical College, Racine Building, Room 109). We are a diverse group of writers who write everything from poetry, fiction, memoirs, blogs, comedy, and more. If you have any questions about Wordshop feel free to email Nick Demske at

Wishing you the best for 2017,
BONK! Loves You.

BONK! Rewind – BONK! 86 -88

Our awesome video homie, Peg, has been hard at work editing and uploading video from our previous shows. You can now see footage of BONK! 86 – 88 featuring:

Wattle & Daub
Philip B. Williams
Dan Nielsen
Fatimah Asghar
Jeff Ward
Kevin Brown
Amanda Ngoho Reavey
Rachel Olson
Downrange Telemetrics
Brittany Cavallaro
BJ Best

You can also see exclusive Q&A with the performers! Go check it out and drop us a comment, like, share and subscribe to our videos. Here is a video from BONK! 87 with Amanda Ngoho Reavey.