Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicago Again

This is getting to be a habit, but an enjoyable one. Amtraked in on Thursday and spend a pleasant afternoon at the Art Institute. Dinner with friends and then off to see a production of Dylan Thomas' UNDER MILKWOOD. When you take a joy in language there is no better place to be than in Thomas country. The Caffeine Theatre's production held me tightly for an hour and a half. The people of Llareggub (who are not so good and not so bad) float in and out on the voices of nine actors, each of whom undertakes several roles and most of whom are quite talented.

On Friday it was off to a day at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. We had a full tour of the building in the morning, a nice lunch with some of the staff, and in the afternoon a Shakespearian Verse Seminar with actor Larry Yando. A special treat for the late afternoon was a chance to watch part of the tech rehearsal for Richard III with director Barbara Gaines at the helm. Friday night saw us at a preview of Richard III.
They still have a week to go before the formal opening, but the show is already looking solid.

Saturday was convention day for the Illinois Theatre Association and an energizing address by the managing director of the Court Theatre, Charles Newell, got us off to a rousing start. After that it was some power networking and lunch. Programs in the afternoon. I was lucky enough to host a theatre advocacy session with Ra Joy and Scarlett Swertlow of the Arts Alliance Illinois.

By 4:30 I met the Frau at the Art Institute and we walked back to Union Station for our date with the Illinois Zephyr back to Galesburg. Sorry no pictures, but I left the camera at home.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Goodbye to "Doc" Kieft

Sometimes there is just nothing to do but grieve. A colleague, golfing buddy, traveling companion, and friend (Dick "Doc" Kieft) has just passed away. He is third from the left in the rear in this photo that was taken as we waited for the airport bus to O'Hare and our flight to London in 1999.
Dick never married and Monmouth College, its teachers, its administrators, and especially its students became his family. They turned out in force for his funeral service last Saturday and many of us gathered later at Cerars' Barnstormer, a restaurant here in town that Dick frequented regularly, to talk about the good times we all spent with him. It was a propitious place to gather as Dick loved a good meal. His eulogist had brought some smiles to several faces when he noted during the service that "Doc" never met a menu he didn't like.
Goodbye old friend and thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Prime Beef Festival Parade

When you live on Broadway in Monmouth, you never miss the Prime Beef Festival Parade. All you need to do is get out your chairs, sweep the porch, and pop a cold one. The parade will come to you in due time. For us the Monmouth College Pipe Band and the new marching band are highlights, but each and every entry from the organizational floats to the tiny firefighter and antique tractors seem to embody the essence of small town mid-west life.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

64 Arts Exhibition Reviewed at OFTA

OFTA (Old Friends Talk Arts) will hold its next meeting at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, September 9th at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in downtown Monmouth. The program will be a review of the 64 Arts Exhibition. A panel of local artists will participate with Monmouth College Emeritus Professor of Art Harlow Blum serving as discussion leader. Others who will be commenting are John Vellenga, Jane Youngquist, Linda Sickmon, Susan Twomey, and John Van Kirk.

In picture above Harlow and Lila Blum listen as Judge Preston Jackson comments during the opening. To see a photo display of the prize winners for 64 Arts go to

There is no question about the public success of the Arts 64 show with over 200 people attending its gala opening on August 21st. The OFTA panel will go more deeply into the content of the exhibition and some of the pieces that were selected as prize winners by Preston Jackson. the nationally known artist and teacher at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute. The panel will also talk about how a juried exhibition is organized, how it differs from an open entry show, and how it represents a step up in terms of the reputation of an art gallery. The 64 Arts show runs through September 19th.

OFTA holds regular programs on the second Wednesday of each month and all members of the public are welcome. There is no admission charge and complimentary refreshments are always available. Further information about the Buchanan Center can be found at If you would like to do a program or would like to suggest a program topic for the 2010 OFTA year, please contact Jim De Young at

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wallace Challenge Ends in Defeat for Team Monmouth

Team Monmouth (Bill Wallace and Jim De Young) traveled to St. Louis last weekend to engage in the internationally renown Wallace Challenge. Their opponents were Mike Flood and John Holtschlag of Team St. Louis.

Team Mommouth arrived at the Flood Motel (pictured below) on Friday afternoon.

The pool was a bit shy of Olympic dimensions, but the dip was refreshing after a long hot drive.

Dinner was headlined by grilled rib eyes and corn on the cob cooked to perfection by Mr. Flood. The boys from Monmouth then retired early to train for Saturday's opening round.

The morning dawned sunny and cool. The challengers were made to feel right at home in the breakfast room..

Out at the course Team St. Louis looked confident. (And with good reason.)

Team Monmouth also looked confident, but unfortunately Wallace's thumb was a bit too optimistic.

The Monmouthians started out strong and even took a point on Saturday, but fell behind in the individual score matches on Sunday. And thus the treasured WC (Wallace Challenge) cup remained in the hands of the dynamic Missouri duo until next spring's re-match.

That contest will be played on the challenger's home turf in Monmouth and De Young predicted a stunning re-capture of the coveted WC cup at that time. As he said when interviewed on the Golf Channel last night, "We can take it because we can cheat better at Gibson Woods where the trees offer more cover."

To turn serious for a moment. It was a glorious weekend. Mr. Mike Flood was the host with the most. We were put up in style and fed like kings. Mike is also a treasure chest of St. Louis history. He loves his home town and is a remarkable salesmen for it.