Studio Visit: Mikel Combs

Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Mikel Combs, 40, of Urbana, a professional bassist and doctoral of musical arts degree candidate at the University of Illinois, chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

I heard you grew up in Berlin.

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Nov. 23, 2014

By Ted Kooser/U.S. Poet laureate, 2004-06

I love poems with sudden surprises, and here's one by Jennifer Gray, a Nebraskan. Will you ever see depressions puddled with rain without thinking of the image at her conclusion?


The neighbor's horses idle

under the roof

of their three-sided shelter,

looking out at the rain.


A funny tale with a good dose of science

You know that commercial where the dad speeds along, risking life and limb, to deliver a goldfish to his daughter's fishbowl before she gets home from school? I identify with it. Perhaps most parents do. We want to spare our children the pain of loss.

Ellie's mother in Jennifer L. Holm's sneakily educational novel, "The Fourteenth Goldfish," must feel the same.

Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Moving war production

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

CUDO Pro Show

Ask 'Mimi' Nov. 23, 2014

Mimi, what is Champaign-based rapper Wakefield, whom you wrote about a few months ago, up to?

Wakefield, whose name is Brandon Lehman, took a year off from school to work on his rap, and that's what he's doing. He plans to release a new album, "Wake's World," in January. He told me he spent a nice sum on PR services from a Los Angeles agency to help promote it.

A super conductor: UI's Barry Houser

CHAMPAIGN — The first time Barry L. Houser worked with the Macy's Great American Marching Band for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, he thought the music would never come together.

After all, the huge ensemble is made up of nearly 250 high school students from all over the country.

Before meeting up in New York, they don't know each other and they haven't played together.

Richard J. Leskosky: Feast on some Thanksgiving movies

Tucked between Halloween and Christmas, two religious holidays that have become excessively commercialized, Thanksgiving is essentially a secular holiday everyone can celebrate, no matter what her or his religious affiliation or lack thereof. It's also a holiday that emphasizes consumption — a perfect fit, you'd think, for our consumer society

C-U Haiku, Nov. 23, 2014

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Pebbled path

Scattered leaves

Blow gently away

— Olivia Rogers, Urbana

Library events, Nov. 23-30, 2014

Each week, The News-Gazette offers a series of events offered by local libraries. 

Champaign Public Library

Main Library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.