Ask 'Mimi,' May 28, 2017

Ask 'Mimi,' May 28, 2017

What do you think of Gale Renee Walden's new book of poems?

I really appreciate "Where the Time Goes," and I especially enjoyed the post-Beat upbeat reading she hosted Monday in the back room at Pizza M. As one person who was there later said on Facebook: "More fun than I've ever had at a poetry reading."

Walden, who had wanted it to be more like theater, would read a poem from her new book, published by GusGus Press, and then novelist Amy Hassinger would sing a song. The two also led the full house in sing-alongs of "If I Had a Hammer," "The Brady Bunch" theme song and "If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands."

Walden's accessible, lyrical and touching poems are full of vivid imagery, with quirky and surprising turns of phrases and endings that make you go "ah." She writes about ordinary things, making them extraordinary. I related deeply to her poem, "Grief," about having to euthanize a dog. She's a treasure.

Do local music legends Hum and American Football have any shows planned for the C-U area this summer?

American Football's agent said the band just played in Champaign-Urbana in December, at the UI's Foellinger Hall, and there are no plans for AF to return at this time. However, while touring Japan, the U.K. and Europe this summer, AF will come back to the States to play July 14 at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park in Chicago.

Hum's next concerts are in late October in Gainesville, Fla. Hum member Matt Talbott said the band is writing, rehearsing and recording new material, so it won't perform this summer. But, Talbott said, Hum is made up of improvisational guys who might decide to get up on stage after all. Last year, Hum performed at Cobrafest 2016 in Tolono, where Talbott owns Loose Cobra and Earth Analog Studios.

Are there changes coming up at the Promenade at Krannert Center?

Yes, a cross-departmental team at Krannert evaluated the gift shop, always a great place to find cool and affordable items. Krannert plans to take it in a new direction to include "an artful behind-the-scenes showcase, food and beverages, and a freshly curated selection of merchandise options."

Starting Thursday, all items will be available at a 40 percent discount; the sale will continue until the inventory is sold. Promenade will be open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays in June and closed most of July for floor refinishing, space planning and new merchandise delivery.

The new Promenade will be open by the Opening Night Party on Sept. 14, with displays that share Krannert Center's history and campus life.

Have a question for 'Mimi'? We'd love to hear from you. Please email your question to mmerli@news-gazette.com.

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