Drinking Water In Illinois; ‘No Blue Memories’ Gwendolyn Brooks Production; Day With(out) Art Film

November 29, 2018

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On The 21st: Who’s in charge of telling you when your tap water isn’t safe? We talk to experts about an incident in Champaign last week. Plus we discuss how one Chicago cinema troupe is using puppets, music and overhead projectors to tell the story of poet Gwendolyn Brooks’s life. Plus, as World AIDS day approaches, we learn about a new film that gets its Illinois premiere this weekend.

Clean tap water is supposed to be a given it’s regulated, it’s safe to drink and when it’s not, the water company or the health department is supposed to tell you, right?

Well, it turns out it’s not that simple. Just last week, some Champaign residents weren’t getting the right information. Certain residents, including Niala, turned on their tap and saw discolored water come out even though they weren't notified of a boil order.

Champaign of course isn’t the only community where there’s been confusion over boil orders and water quality. And advocates have long been concerned about the process for notifying the public. One National Resources Defense Council report released last year found that Americans have a nearly one-in-four chance of your tap water being either unsafe to drink or not being properly.


Walt Kelly is the head of the Illinois State Water Survey’s Center For Groundwater Science. He joined us from his Champaign office. Mae Wu also joined us on the line from Washington where she’s a senior attorney with the NRDC Health Program.

Plus- 

Of all the ways you could talk about poetry, do puppets come to mind? What about movement and music?

Well this is how the iconic poet Gwendolyn Brooks is brought to life in an inventive new stage project presented Thursday night at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. It’s called No Blue Memories - The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks.

The play was written and conceived of by Eve Ewing and Nate Marshall for the Poetry Foundation, and brought to life by the Chicago-based performance collective Manual Cinema. 

Two of Manual Cinema’s members joined us in our Urbana studio: puppeteer N. LaQuis Harkins and music director and composer Ayanna Woods.

And- 

A new film, Alternative Endings, Activist Risings premires in Illinois this weekend. It’s a part of the Day With(out) Art, a project organized by the New York-based nonprofit Visual AIDS, which seeks to fight AIDS through art.

As a part of A Day Without Art and World AIDS Day on December 1st, there will be screenings of the film, which is actually six short films back to back, starting tomorrow (11/30) at the Krannert Art Museum in Urbana. There will be other screenings of the film later in the month in Chicago. 

To tell us more about it is director and Illinois native Anand Kalra. He joined us on the line from Oakland, California.

Also joining us on the line we had Barb Cardell. Barb is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Positive Women’s Network, a nationwide advocacy group of women living with HIV. They’re featured in Anand’s film. She joined us from Boulder, Colorado.

Lastly, Mike Benner was in the studio with us in Urbana. He’s the Executive Director of the Greater Community AIDS Project in Champaign and will also be participating in Day With(out) Art.