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.


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.


Poet                     KENYATTA “THE LYRICAL LIONESS”
Poet                     BRENT MITCHELL
Poet                     JESSIE LYNN MCMAINS
Musicians            FEATherWOLF  
Kenyatta “The Lyrical Lioness” is the current president of the WI chapter of P.O.E.T (People of Extraordinary Talent). She is frequented on the local and national circuit; inclusive of performing on the main stage at the Black Women’s Expo as well as being selected as a featured performer for the Last Poets. She is a published author having five (5) pieces published in the P.O.E.T anthology Volume 1 entitled “Closed Mics Don’t Get Fed”.She also opened for the legendary Strawberri Taylor and the Verbal Intercourse staff; performing at venues around country. Her most recent accomplishments are being named the 2015 POET/HOST of the year, 2016 National Poetry Award winner for Video of the year and the first poet to ever perform at the UniverSoul Circus.
Brent Mitchell grew up in Texas with his hedonistic father—a poet who could, and tended to recite almost anything imaginable from his encyclopedic catalogue of memorized classic poems as long as his mind was sufficiently lubricated with tequila. Brent has been a Texas rancher, a street person, worked every kind of job imaginable, and lived and worked around the U.S. as well as the UK. At 17, he dropped out of high school to wander the US on foot. In 2016 he obtained a Master’s degree in theology— or what he calls “the science of pretending to know a lot about things that can’t be known.” He has been writing poetry for close to forty years. He now resides in Kenosha Wisconsin where he is the Poet Laureate.
Jessie Lynn McMains (aka Rust Belt Jessie) is a writer and zine-maker, and the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. She has been self-publishing her work in zines and chapbooks since the mid-‘90s, and has been performing spoken word across the U.S. and Canada since 2001. Her words have recently appeared in The ChapessNew Pop LitRising Phoenix Review,Voicemail Poems, and Paper & Ink, amongst other places. When not writing or performing her own work, she teaches workshops on memoir, zines, and poetry.
FEATherWOLF is a duet project based out of Wisconsin, consisting of Sam Luna and Shaun Marie. Meeting in late 2015, both musicians decided to collaborate and began writing together as a duo. Both bring a unique sound to their shows by singing their own originals of different genres, while then coming together to perform original, old country-style duets. Both coming from different parts of the country, they have recently just finished their debut album, To: You, From: Me, a conceptual album that follows the universal story of a relationship between a man and a woman. In addition, they have made a personal commitment to raising money to provide underprivileged students the chance to rent or buy instruments, as well as receive music lessons, through their Making Noise program.