The Scene

Thursdays at 12:40 PM, rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:40 PM

The Scene is our Illinois arts & culture podcast hosted by Rachel Otwell and the Illinois Times Scott Faingold.

Rachel Otwell curates this blog which provides full-length stories and follow-ups, links to other reports, and conversations with you.

This blog will contain a range of stories from the world of arts & culture, from visual art to Springfield's DIY music scene, to profiles of interesting local characters. This blog is about what makes artists tick, and the diverse culture that exists within our community. 

We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of arts and culture, and to email Rachel with tips on stories.

Dave Shaw

This week, we bring you an audio post card from a Godspell rehearsal, it opens this weekend at the Hoogland in Springfield. 

This week Scott and Rachel are joined by Our Lady, one of the most well known and active bands out of Springfield. They are part of the Black Sheep scene and it brought them together. On Friday their new full-length comes out, a release show will go down at Black Sheep.

The Scene Meets The Absurdist People's Theatre

Aug 12, 2016
Rachel Otwell

This week we head to Black Sheep venue to meet two of the cast members of a play opening Friday and running thru the weekend. We speak with Julia Mitchell & Keegan Otwell (who yea, full disclaimer, is Rachel's brother) and director Alex Martin of Edward Albee's 1962 play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.' 

The Scene Speaks With DEMO Artists

Aug 4, 2016

This week Scott and Rachel speak with two artists who will have their work on display at the DEMO Project Gallery this Friday from 5:30 - 8:30. Tune in to hear Bloomington artist Erin Furimsky and Pennsylvania-based Ron Lambert discuss their unique works:

This week Scott and Rachel are joined by the co-stars (John Love & Jim Yale) and the writer (Ken Bradbury) of a new musical called 'The Boys From Nantucket' - which you can see this weekend.

This week Scott and Rachel talk with Sean Burns. He's been booking roots and Americana music in the area for nearly 20 years and founded the Bedrock 66 Live! concert series which has been sponsored by NPR Illinois. He tells us about the very first Bedrock music festival happening this weekend in conjunction with DSI's Downtown Bacon Throwdown in downtown Springfield.

This week Scott and Rachel talk with Betsy Dollar of the Springfield Art Association about the recent change the organization went through when they merged with the former Prairie Art Alliance (now considered the Springfield Art Association Collective.)

Hoogland Center for the Arts

On today's episode we are visited by two big names in Springfield's theater world. 

c/o Fill in the Blank

This week on The Scene Rachel and Scott are joined by two members of the band Fill in the Blank - they have a show coming up at the Black Sheep on Saturday and will release a new album there.

This week, Scott and Rachel speak with Brandon Cummings. He's a singer/songwriter from northern Illinois. We also hear about events like the Blues, Brews & BBQ fest in Champaign this weekend, some jazz music sung by Katie Flynn on Lake Huron on Sunday, and a collaborative art show in Springfield, called Natural Forms. Tune in!

This week we hear an update from George Sinclair. The godfather of Southtown gave the area new life in the eighties when he built a skate ramp - now one of the premiere indoor mini-ramp complexes in the country. A year ago he got the nonprofit Project Southtown up and running. Its purpose is a mix of archiving history unique to the area, and keeping it vibrant with efforts like art classes, community gardening and more.

Rachel Otwell

On Friday I headed over with a friend to the small white house on the campus of the Springfield Art Association. The Edwards Place is just across the parking lot - a huge pale pink house with green shutters, it's the oldest in Springfield and has much historical significance - Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were married there. 

c/o Troy Freeman & The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

This week Scott and Rachel speak with Springfield artist, Troy Freeman. He plans to put a mural downtown based on a design seen at the Dana-Thomas House, which Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect for. Tune in!

The Studio Show via

The Studio Show kicked off its YouTube series late last year, since then it's featured several Springfield-area artists and created its own brand of comedy. /

This week Rachel and Scott preview events like the "Spirited Stroll" in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield on Saturday afternoon and Champaign's Cinema Under the Stars screenings that last all summer. They also hear from Ben Bedford, a Springfield singer/songwriter who will be playing music from his new album at The Dana Thomas House on Friday. Tune in!

Rachel Otwell

Often times kids need a place to go after school lets out, especially in places like the east side of Springfield - where Feithsans Elementary School is located. About 90% of the kids who attend come from low-income families, though many parents work long hours to make ends meet. That's where the 21st Century program comes into play - it's a joint effort of District 186 and the Springfield Urban League - and relies heavily on the time and talents of volunteers.

Rachel Otwell

Scott and Rachel talk about two big festivals taking place in Springfield this weekend: Pride Fest & the Old State Capitol Art Fair

Allison Lacher in the UIS Visual Arts Gallery
Shannon O'Brien / UIS Campus Relations

This week we're joined by Allison Lacher who helps run the UIS Visual Arts Gallery and the Demo Project gallery - both highlight contemporary and alternative art from the state and around the nation.

The Scene With Photographer David Brodsky

Apr 28, 2016

This week The Scene is joined by guest host David Brodsky, who often takes pictures of unwitting subjects. You can find a profile piece about him here. A collaborative show will include his work, it's called Translations and opens on Friday night. Take a listen to learn more:

This week we chat about upcoming arts shows and music shows, and we talk vinyl and the magic of listening to albums in their entirety because Saturday the 16th is Record Store Day! Tune in:

Events discussed this week include:

The Scene: Vachel Lindsay & Contemporary Poetry

Mar 30, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

This week we talk about a "SlutWalk" planned for this weekend, and Nikki Overcash joins us to discuss one of Springfield's literary heroes and ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in town (click here for a list of those events.) Tune in!

The Black Sheep Cafe

It's a bit of a slow week as families gear up for spring break, but we still have plenty to talk about. We discuss an art show, a unique chance for women to make a vision board, a feminist spoken word duo and two books dealing with very different artists. Tune in!

Wikimedia Commons

It's that time of the week to get our your planners and decide what do this weekend. Indie film preview sound nice? Perhaps some symphony? Listen in, and stick around for Culture Corner and our Song of the Week - we've got two vastly different tunes for you, plus we talk about the only instrument played without being touched...

Rachel Otwell

This week Scott and Rachel take a visit to the Springfield Art Association campus and get to know two artists who have a reception planned for Friday at DEMO. We also talk with area native, Andrew Woolbright, who now lives in New York. His work is on display at the UIS Visual Arts gallery. Tune in:

Felicia Olin

This week we couldn't even get to all the events we're interested in this weekend (and beyond) - but we did our best. We also got to know more about the artist Felicia Olin, she joined us to chat about the Rebirth art show at The Pharmacy over the weekend. Chances are you've seen her work at a local establishment or seen her profiled in local media (like here.) Time to tune in!

It's that time of the week. Rachel and Scott have plenty to tell you about events in the area, including a micro-brewery's beer fest, adult coloring and a comic book convention. Plus they dish on cultural picks including musical artists Kendrick Lamar & Freakwater - and a new doc about the Black Panther Party. Tune in!

Events discussed this week include:

The Scene Wants You To Be Ours <3

Feb 10, 2016

It's the time of season - for punk shows, murder mystery dinners, and general romance. Scott and Rachel are here to tell you what you can do this weekend in to soak up all the culture, art and music our area has to offer:

Events discussed this week include:

Tony Colantino

This week we are joined by a young Springfield woman and artist who has her hand in dozens of projects concerning everything from community gardening through feminist-rock.

The Scene With The Studio Boys

Jan 27, 2016

This week we are joined by the hosts of Springfield's entertainment/art program on YouTube called The Studio Show. Arlin Peebles and Keil Isham have been conducting their own interviews with local artists and featuring bands. You can see their show here and tune in now to hear more about it:

The Scene: Drag Queens & The Symphony

Jan 21, 2016

It's that time, take a listen:

Events discussed this week include: