Would you rather have a brat or a baguette? A Kouign-amann or a Kringle? Paris with its Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo is 4,100 miles away from here, and who needs the Louvre Museum when you can experience fine art (and engage in much more) at the Louvre on Lake Michigan, better known as Spectrum School of the Arts and Gallery? Spectrum is located within the historic DeKoven Center campus in Racine, WI at 2050 Wisconsin Avenue and has served southeastern Wisconsin with culture, education, entertainment, and fellowship for over 40 years.
As much as I love the sound of Tom Waits – blues shouter, field hollerer, junkyard dog howler, carnival barker – I also am jazzed by the man’s countenance and love to draw pictures of him.
The ancient Greeks defined temenos as a sacred space, a sanctuary, governed by its own special rules. According to Anne Bogart at SITI, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung “imagined temenos not only as an object or place, but also as an experience – a virtual meditative space that can inhabited by the mind – signifying the inner space deep within us where soul-making takes place. In its modern usage, temenos refers to areas that are distinct from the hubbub of commerce and family, isolated from everyday living spaces. This term perfectly describes 16th Street Studios, located in the Racine Arts and Business Center, Racine, Wisconsin.
You’re probably familiar with the Muses, those Greek goddesses of the arts and science, whom many through the ages have called upon for inspiration, yet you may not know of the Muses of Mirth, birthed here in southeastern Wisconsin by the multi-talented Monne Haug of Kenosha to not only inspire clever souls but to feed them, too.
don’t get around much anymore. That’s not just a song title or a result of the pandemic, it’s a fact of my life. Long-distance travel doesn’t suit me. I’ve tried to stuff my 6’3 frame into an airline’s economy class seat and found Houdini couldn’t escape from a space that tight. When my family would travel to Yellowstone or other spots when I was young, I was left behind in the care of my aunt. They did not want to be on a car ride with me then, and you don’t want me as a passenger with you today. It’s a good thing I’ve learned to bloom where I was planted: Kenosha, Wisconsin, the fourth largest city in our state, nestled on the shore of the second largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan.
In parochial grade school, circa 1967, Sister Margaret in her flowing black habit and veil, escorted my classmates and I every weekday to St. Mary Catholic Church in Kenosha to hear from Scripture and to sing hymns of our faith.
Call Me DJ Jazzy Johnny. My younger self could make a pretty cool mixtape, first on cassette and later on CD. I never played them in clubs – I cannot stay up past ten o’clock, and I hate crowds, even in pre-COVID times. Nowadays, I prefer to mix things up on paper or canvas instead.
Where do you live? You might reside in the town where you were born or you may have moved around so much you’re not sure where you are anymore. You might have found a connection with a place in your travels that’s so strong it feels like home to you. If you’re a writer, artist, or a professional daydreamer, you probably live most of the time in your imagination.
My friend, composer Karel Suchy, calls it KeRacine, pronouncing the word, in his cool Czech accent, like you’d say, “ker-o-sene.” With this term, he’s referring to the Wisconsin cities of Kenosha and Racine, but it’s more than a mashup of names for him. He’s talking about a powerful energy, fueled by the the creative culture that burns bright here.