Its that time of year when people like to make promises to themselves that they never keep: lose weight, donate money to charity, read more than just the tabloids, etc. This year, make and keep a real resolution for you and the Rockford community: get involved and patronize the arts.
The listings in our events calendars might make a reader think maybe I should go see that band tonight, or Ive never been to an art opening, maybe I should see what thats all about. With so many events featured by Charlottes Web, the Coronado Theatre, Kryptonite, The Irish Rose, Club 505, Big Cities, Leisure Tymes, CJs and others, the common phrase theres nothing to do in Rockford loses meaning.
Considering all the galleries such as The Rockford Art Museum, RAW Art Studio, Studio 451, Underground Gallery & Studio, The Brick House Gallery and so many more, whats stopping you from seeing what our local artists are producing this year?
Locals may feel that theyre overworked or maybe even cant afford a night out on the town, but if one puts it into perspective, its really not all that expensive to be a part of the arts community here. With cover charges for music rarely more than $5, and art openings usually free, as well as the informative and entertaining lecture series from Rockford College at the Burpee Museum of Natural History, any night of cultural immersion will range from nothing to $10-$15. I urge everyone to take advantage of whats happening around you, because if someone doesnt show a little support, all these aspects of Rockford that make us proud to be local wont be around when we get off the couch and decide to finally do something.
Going out once a year to the On The Waterfront Festival doesnt count, either. Locals need to see at least one music venue every week, one art opening every month, and at least three poetry readings every season. Its all happening around you, Rockford, and some of you may be too jaded to find these happenings. This past year held an oceans worth of events; some of which had great turnouts, but from my observation, these crowds could have easily been doubled with only positive effects.
Some venues and shows the public might not be aware of are the every Friday night Talent Show at the Midway Theater, featuring live Hip Hop, poetry, and music from locals who really practice. Theres also the Bizarro Beat Circus at Kryptonite every Wednesday night hosted by local poet Cullen Balch, with live music to complement the beat poetry, Hip Hop and spoken word. Every Sunday at the Irish Rose Ive chipped in to book bands for Mike Leifheit, which will be going on until he makes me stop. Also, Marys Place has open stage every Tuesday and Thursday night for no cover, and is host to some of the areas up-and-coming performers.
Applause should go out to those members of the community who are seen out every weekend supporting the music, poetry and art in town, and a waggling index finger of reprimanding to those who arent. Make your New Years resolutions to get out of your house, and the community will thank you. Happy New Years, Rockford!