Make some resolutions…

It’s 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 “I’ve never been to an art opening, maybe I should see what that’s all about.” With so many events featured by Charlotte’s Web, the Coronado Theatre, Kryptonite, The Irish Rose, Club 505, Big Cities, Leisure Tymes, CJ’s and others, the common phrase “there’s 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, what’s stopping you from seeing what our local artists are producing this year?

Locals may feel that they’re overworked or maybe even can’t afford a night out on the town, but if one puts it into perspective, it’s 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 what’s happening around you, because if someone doesn’t show a little support, all these aspects of Rockford that make us proud to be local won’t 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 doesn’t 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. It’s all happening around you, Rockford, and some of you may be too jaded to find these happenings. This past year held an ocean’s 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. There’s 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 I’ve chipped in to book bands for Mike Leifheit, which will be going on until he makes me stop. Also, Mary’s Place has open stage every Tuesday and Thursday night for no cover, and is host to some of the area’s 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 aren’t. Make your New Year’s resolutions to get out of your house, and the community will thank you. Happy New Year’s, Rockford!

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