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.

Perseverance Through Poetry: Dan Scheidell


An award ceremony recognizing Guest of Honor Daniel Scheidell’s use of poetry to overcome an extraordinary ordeal and help others discover poetry’s power.

You are cordially invited to join us at 7pm on Friday, November 30th at the Rhode Theater in downtown Kenosha for cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres, and a moving evening of poetic fellowship. Semi-formal attire optional.

More about Dan:
Dan was wrongly convicted in Racine and incarcerated for two decades before being exonerated with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. During that time, he used poetry as a lifeline to keep his hope alive. Learn more here and chip in

This event is sponsored by the Kenosha-Racine Poets Laureate Program.

BONK! 117 @ The Eco-Justice Center


This month’s BONK! performance series will be held at the Eco-Justice Center, 7133 Michna Road, Racine, WI, on Saturday, August 11th, at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Featured performers will be modern jazz guitarist, Dave Miller; composer and saxophonist, Jonah Parzen Johnson; and spoken word musician, Discopoet Kari B.

Dave Miller is a truly unique musical product of both Brooklyn and Chicago. Dave Miller (Algernon, Cuneiform Records; Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls, Delmark Recordings; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Joe Policastro Trio, Jeru Jazz) finds his newest instrumental iteration in the psychedelic-roots songwriting of Old Door Phantoms. Lingering melodies and vintage tones juxtapose against guitar experimentalism and jangly, hypnotic rhythms. Grammy-winning music journalist, Neil Tesser, cites Miller “among my favorite modern guitarists” ( The broad-minded musician’s “impressive flexibility” can range “from carefully structured improvisations to complementary texture and color” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader) while still “making a listener feel inches from the guitar” (Mark Keresman, New York City Jazz Record). For his summer 2018 tour in support of the release, Miller will be performing these songs in a very special intimate solo setting.

Jonah Parzen Johnson is a Brooklyn NY based saxophonist & composer. His third solo album was released by Clean Feed Records in July 2017. His solo music combines baritone saxophone with analog synthesizers to make unedited, un-looped, solo experimental music. He recently completed a successful European tour, as well as a complete North American releases tour, last July. Jonah has been featured in many press outlets including the NY Times, LA Times, Downbeat Magazine, XL8R, Impose Magazine, and All About Jazz. Highlights of the tour include headlining shows at Cultergest (Lisbon, Portugal), Union Pool (NYC), The Hungry Brain (Chicago), and Bootleg Theater (LA), as well as appearances at Suoni Per il Popolo Festival (Montreal), The CMG Improvisors Summit (Portland OR), Le Zorba in (Paris, France), Bar Mirwaar (Ghent, Belgium).

Khari B., also known as Discopoet Khari B. is a spoken word musician, author and educator working internationally in the literary art. He is the founder of Discopoetry Arts & Edutainment Collective. He’s recorded two albums, appeared on several others, produced and directed numerous multidisciplinary productions and has taught the art and lectured in schools across the world in the last ten years. A recent Chair of the Association for the Advancement of the Creative Musicians (AACM), Khari led the organization into their 50th anniversary, being instrumental in producing some of their most exciting, celebratory programming in years. Presently he is the Artist-In-Residence at the prestigious Purdue University while continuing to teach, create, produce and perform wherever he is called with his philosophy “Make it happen.”