Get bEHIND the aRTS Studio Tour 2017


The 7th Annual get bEHIND the aRTS Studio Tour is an event celebrating the arts and artists of the Racine-Kenosha area.

The tour provides a rare, behind-the glimpse of the working artist. This year’s tour includes more than 45 visual and performing art studios where more than 85 artists are at work. The Racine area studio tour (includes 16th Street Studios, 1405 16th St. and the Racine Arts Council, 409 Sixth St.) is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The Kenosha area studio tour is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.  Suggested donation is $5 at any location – the button is good for admission to all locations both days.

Maps and details at

The 2017 sponsors are: Racine Community Foundation, Racine Art Museum, Real Racine, Kenosha Area Convention & Visitor Bureau, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, Andy Meyer & Chris Hefel, Rivals Sports Pub & Grill and Benjamin Beer Co.

  • Location: 1405 16th Street, 16th Street Studios, WI
  • Phone:(262) 880-4549
  • Time:11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Price:$5 Suggested donation, Kids free

BONK! 103 @ iMET Center


Poet         Esteban Colon

Poet         Kara Candito

Music       Benjamin Mubiru Mulwana

Esteban Colon is a Pushcart nominated writer and experiential educator from Kenosha. His work has found print in a variety of journals and anthologies. The writer of “Things I Learned the Hard Way,” he is also the author of chapbooks “This Frankenstein Union” (Crisis Chronicles Press), “Edgar Avenue” (Naked Mannequin Press) and “Between Blue Lines” (Exact Change Press). His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, chapbooks and anthologies. Co founder of the Waiting 4 the Bus poetry collective, he’s graced a wide variety of stages in the Chicago land area and southern Wisconsin.

Kara Candito is the author of Spectator (University of Utah Press, 2014), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, and Taste of Cherry (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Her work has been published in Blackbird, AGNI, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, Drunken Boat, Forklift Ohio, The Rumpus, Indiana Review, Best New Poets 2007, and elsewhere. Candito is the winner of a Pushcart Prize and the recipient of scholarships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Santa Fe Arts Institute. She is a co-curator of the Monsters of Poetry reading series and a creative writing professor at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.

Benjamin Mubiru Mulwana is a Uganda native that attended Carthage College and while there started to play music in the city of Kenosha. Benjamin has been playing music for about 8 years; he is the lead singer of a band that started at Carthage College called 21 Hours. As an aspiring singer songwriter and cover musician, he has a passion for music that shows whenever he takes the stage. Combining acoustic, contemporary rock and his own African influence, Benjamin puts a new spin on covers and original songs.

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.


As the nights grow longer and the wind grows colder, nothing is better than getting together with family and friends, indulging in simple pleasures, sharing in time-honored traditions, and curling up next to a roaring fire. Here at BONK!, we would like to take the opportunity to share with you some of the best things about this time of year. On December 3rd, join the BONK! family for our 99th performance, the last one of 2016. Feast your ears on wonderful poetry and music Enjoy the warm glow of the glass blowing furnaces. Celebrate community and friendship with us at Hot Shop Glass and have a warm and wonderful holiday.



POET: Tyehimba Jess
POET: John Murillo
MUSIC: Auralai

Tyehimba Jess is the author of Leadbelly and Olio. Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Olio, published in 2016, has been called “Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant…” by Publisher’s Weekly’s starred review, and a “daring collection, which blends forthright, musically acute language with portraiture” by Library Journal. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference. Jess is Poetry and Fiction Editor of African American Review and Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

John Murillo is the author of the poetry collection, Up Jump the Boogie, finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award. His honors include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He teaches at Hampshire College and New York University.

Auralai combines the best of classical beauty with pop-esque rhythm and melody with Stephanie Tschech providing a foundation of cello and voice, complemented by mulit-instrumentalist Nate Lehner. Stephanie’s abstract but vivid lyrics, and complex yet catchy rhythms and melodies are often described as “transporting”, sometimes haunting, sometimes hilarious, always fiercely engaging. No slave to both conventional songwriting and classical cello form, Auralai brings a much needed fresh breed of indie-pop music that is nothing short of captivating.


This BONK! blogger’s brain went on vacation so this post is really late. But for these amazing artists, it’s better late than never. Drum-roll please…


Poet                     MATT HART
Poet                     ROBERTA J. HILL
Musician             B-FREE
Matt Hart’s most recent books are Radiant Action (H_NGM_N Books, 2016) and Radiant Companion (Monster House Press, 2016). 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 is Associate Professor in Creative Writing and the Chair of Liberal Arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He plays guitar and shouts in the bands TRAVEL and THE LOUDEST SOUNDER.


Roberta J. Hill (Oneida) is a poet, fiction writer and scholar. Her most recent publications include Cicadas:  New and Selected Poetry (Holy Cow! Press, 2013) and “Reading the Streets,” a short story in the International Writing Program’s online journal, Narrative Witness #2, “Indigenous Peoples:  Australia-United States” online:  She edited the July 2014 issue of the Black Earth Institute’s journal, About Place, “Enlightened Visions,” available online: .  She is a Professor of English and American Indian Studies and is affiliated with The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


B~Free reemerges with her sophomore project, the “Ode 2 A Luv Affair LP.” With sound inspirations from Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, J-Dilla & Jill Scott., it is a conceptual album that traverses the ups and downs of romantic relationships. vulnerability, passion and compromise. Hailed by The Shepard Express as an “immaculately constructed R&B record,” with a style rooted in 90s R&B/Neo Soul & traces of present day influences, Ode not only represents the many trials & turmoils of love, but the personification of an artist’s loss & reclaiming of her gift.