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. 

BONK! 125 @ Vital Arts Project Exhibit Space

Derrick Austin is the author of Trouble the Water (BOA Editions). A Cave Canem fellow, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion, New England Review, The Nation, and Tin House. He was a finalist for the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. 

Alix Anne Shaw is the author of three poetry collections: Rough Ground (Etruscan 2018), Dido in Winter (Persea 2014), and Undertow (Persea 2007), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. Her work appears in Harvard Review, Fence, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, New American Writing, and online at She is also a sculptor.  

Ben Mulwana is a Ugandan born and raised singer-songwriter hailing from Kenosha Wisconsin. Telling stories with his original music inspired by his culture, past and faith. Ben also puts on a twist on covers from his favourite artists like Need to Breathe, Jacob Banks, Hozier and so many others.

BONK! 122 @ Racine Public Library

Radical, Not a Saint; Celebrating the REAL Dr. King

This month the BONK! performance series will be collaborating with Sentinel Mentors, Professional Women’s Network for Service, The Racine Branch NAACP, and the Racine Public Library to host “A Radical, Not a Saint; Celebrating the REAL Dr. King” held at the Racine Public Library, 75 Lake Ave, on Saturday, January 19th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured speakers will be Alderman John Tate II, Nick Demske, Auntavia Jackson, and Rev. Dr. Harvard Stephens. This event is free for all ages and open to the public.

Today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is praised universally as a champion of peace. But during his life, he was a highly contentious public figure challenging the status quo, and the comfort of every American–white, black and otherwise. The Chief of the FBI called Dr. King “The most notorious liar in the country.” In the last years of his life, Dr. King endured tremendous criticism and scorn from many different parts of American society. His harsh condemnation of the Vietnam War proved to be as politically risky as his fights for civil rights for black Americans.

This event will make the argument that Dr. King is universally praised today, in large part, because his legacy has been so watered down and sterilized, to the point that it is unrecognizable. Rather than remembering him as the social radical who caused mass disruption to bring attention to various American injustices, Dr. King is often treated as a figure who simply believed that if everyone was simply treated the same, the world’s problems would go away. This couldn’t be further from what Dr. King believed, though, and this event will feature multiple speakers who will help members of the audience understand who Dr. King really was. Presenters will reconnect those in attendance with Dr. King’s true heroism and legacy and will discuss practical ways for all of us to continue his legacy today.

6:00 PM – Introduction
6:15 PM – Alderman John Tate II: Radical Quotes from Dr. King and What They Should Mean for Us Today
6:30 PM – Nick Demske: No Black Dollars; Dr. King’s Activism Through Economic Withdrawal
6:45 PM – Auntavia Jackson: Coretta Scott King; The Radical Behind the Radical
7:00 PM – Rev. Dr. Harvard Stephens: What Would Jesus Do; Christianity as the foundation for Dr. King’s Radical activism
7:25 PM – Practical Steps for Carrying on King’s Legacy Today
7:35 PM – 8:00 PM – Food and Fellowship

BONK! 121 @ Hot Shop Glass

This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at Hot Shop Glass, 239 Wisconsin Ave, on Saturday, December 15th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be: contemporary singer-songwriter, Hope Arthur and the cello/percussion duo, NINETEEN THIRTEEN.
Cellist Janet Schiff and Percussionist Victor DeLorenzo (founding drummer of Violent Femmes) create the new and dynamic sound that is NINETEEN THIRTEEN.  Schiff plays a cello that was made in Romania in the year of 1913 while DeLorenzo plays a set of drums made in modern-day America. Together their music suggests mystery, romance and future thought.  Powered by cello layers and beat brush percussion, this award-winning duo defies expectations and rewards listeners with their unique expression of music.
Hope Arthur has had a long journey; beginning at age 8 when she began playing the piano, growing into vocal performance during high school, and beginning to compose her original songs during her time living in Thailand. Originally influenced by contemporary singer-songwriters like Regina Spektor, Hope Arthur’s musical points of reference have grown to include the Dirty Projectors, Bjork, Beirut, Noir Desire, and Joanna Newsom, while she is still inspired by her classical history with Revel, Debussy, Brahms, and Amy Beach.

BONK! 120 @ OBUUC with Vegetarian Potluck


This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, 625 College Avenue, Racine, WI, on Saturday, November 3rd, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:00pm for a vegetarian potluck. Our featured performer will be Sandee Jean.
Sandee Jean is a singer/songwriter from Southeastern Wisconsin. With influences including Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Nina Simone, and Lauryn Hill, Sandee’s sultry vocals and rhythmic piano compositions make for a beautiful and unique listening experience from an exceptional new musician. Visit her at
The OBUUC Vegetarian Group will be hosting a vegetarian potluck prior to the performance. The potluck starts at 5pm. Please bring a vegetarian or vegan dish to pass.

BONK! 119 – BONK’s 10 Year Birthday!

This month, BONK! is celebrating its 10 year anniversary with an all ages event. Held at the REC Center, 1301 W 6th street, Racine, WI; BONK! will be held from 6pm-8pm with doors opening at 5:30pm. Admission is free but donations to The REC Center are preferred.
BONK! will be having a bonfire hang out along with free kayaking and canoeing. Nick Demske will be hosting a campfire story time. Feel free to bring campfire snacks to pass as well as lawn chairs and blankets. Cups, plates, silverware, beverages, and supplies for S’Mores will be provided.
We would also love if everyone could bring their favorite BONK! memory to share. There will be a book to write down your memory at the event and we may read some of them aloud as well.

BONK! 118 – 100 Thousand Poets For Change


This month’s BONK! performance series will be held on Saturday, September 29th, Held at the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA, 924 Center Street in Racine, BONK! will be at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Instead of bringing in featured performers, we will have twenty local acts performing their own original work.


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. BONK!s contribution to this global event will be held at the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA, 924 Center Street. Originally the George Bray Neighborhood Center, it reopened its doors in late February of this year as a branch of the Racine Family YMCA.