Shining A Spotlight On The Upstairs Lounge First

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Chicago’s Pride parade steps off next Sunday. Aurora and Bollingbrook have already hosted their celebrations of the LGBTQ community. The spread of Pride Parades to suburban communities and smaller cities points to a greater acceptance across the country; but a new book looks at a time when that definitely wasn’t the case. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with author Robert Fieseler

Author Robert Fieseler spoke with readers at Andersons Bookshops in his hometown of Naperville as part of a multi-city tour to launch the paperback version of Tinderbox

Author Robert Fieseler spoke with readers at Andersons Bookshops in his hometown of Naperville as part of a multi-city tour to launch the paperback version of Tinderbox

Jazz Institute Celebrates 50 Years

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of an organization that’s dedicated to the preservation of a truly American art form. The Jazz Institute of Chicago celebrates the musical genre every day with concerts in Chicago parks…educational program and by programming the Chicago Jazz Festival. JIC Executive Director Heather Ireland Robinson stopped by WDCB recently, she and First Light host Brian O’Keefe had a chance to reflect on the organization’s past and look to the next 50 years

Jazz Institute of Chicago Executive Director Heather Ireland Robinson (photo courtesy of JIC)

Jazz Institute of Chicago Executive Director Heather Ireland Robinson
(photo courtesy of JIC)

When Rock and Roll & Politics Collide

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For more than 15 years the Museum of Broadcast Communications has attracted visitors to its State Street location with a collection that celebrates media and special exhibits. A very successful Saturday Night Live exhibit wrapped up an extended stay at the museum earlier this year, now a new exhibit hopes to make the most the summer tourism season. First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited the ‘Louder Than Words’ exhibit.

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The jacket Dee Snider wore while testifying before Congress in opposition to the PMRC

The jacket Dee Snider wore while testifying before Congress in opposition to the PMRC

100 Years After Illinois Was First To Approve 19th Amendment

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we take a look at a moment in Illinois history. This month marks one hundred years since Illinois became the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment…the vote gave women the right to vote. In Springfield…Tara McClellan McAndrew looked into why Illinois led the way. Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford spoke with Tara about what she found

(Credit Library of Congress)

(Credit Library of Congress)

Illinois Adventures: The Illinois Railway Museum

Illinois Railway Museum Executive Director Nick Kallas works out of an office packed with railroad memorabilia and artifacts

Illinois Railway Museum Executive Director Nick Kallas works out of an office packed with railroad memorabilia and artifacts

Periodically this spring and summer First Light host Brian O’Keefe has been taking listeners to visit roadside attractions across the region. The vacation temptations were originally a staple of roadtrips on two lane highways. Some are still out there and waiting for you and your family to pull in the parking lot and enjoy. For this Illinois Adventure, Brian traveled up to Union, Illinois

Illinois Railway Museum volunteer Nick Espevik operates an antique Chicago L car taking visitors on a mile long stretch of track at the museum

Illinois Railway Museum volunteer Nick Espevik operates an antique Chicago L car taking visitors on a mile long stretch of track at the museum

Beside trains, trolleys, and buses the Illinois Railway Museum has a collection of railroad signal devices and countless other artifacts spread across the property

Beside trains, trolleys, and buses the Illinois Railway Museum has a collection of railroad signal devices and countless other artifacts spread across the property

Grilling With Dad For Father's Day

College of DuPage Culinary Arts professor Chris Thielman discussed grilling with First Light

College of DuPage Culinary Arts professor Chris Thielman discussed grilling with First Light

Dads get their day today, and when it comes to honoring them, the grill is to Father’s Day as a brunch is to Mother’s Day. With that in mind First Light host Brian O’Keefe sat down with College of DuPage Culinary Arts professor Chris Thielman to talk about grilling tips, tools, and techniques

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Unique Program For Central Illinois High School Students

Martha Sweeney works with Ayushi Shah, right, a Normal Community High School senior, and other students at the lab in LeRoy.  (Photo courtesy of Kristy McLemore/WGLT)

Martha Sweeney works with Ayushi Shah, right, a Normal Community High School senior, and other students at the lab in LeRoy. (Photo courtesy of Kristy McLemore/WGLT)

This week in our look at stories from around the state we have a story from central Illinois. Most schools are out for summer, but let's hear about one last educational experience students had before summer break. It involved doctors and dead bodies. Illinois Public Radio’s Breanna Grow reports on a unique high school curriculum...the cadaver lab in the small town of LeRoy...in McLean County

Jim Zeleznik taught biology and coached football at LeRoy High School before he retired, and now teaches a zero-hour anatomy course at the high school in addition to proctoring at the lab. (Photo courtesy of Kristy McLemore/WGLT)

Jim Zeleznik taught biology and coached football at LeRoy High School before he retired, and now teaches a zero-hour anatomy course at the high school in addition to proctoring at the lab. (Photo courtesy of Kristy McLemore/WGLT)

Get A Taste of Camping Close To Home

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Every now and then, First Light host Brian O’Keefe goes ‘Into The Woods’ at the DuPage Forest Preserve District. This time around Brian visited Jennifer Rydzewski at Fullersburg Woods to talk about an event coming up next weekend. The Great American Campout encourages families to pitch a tent…get outside and get a taste of adventure

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Gardening During The Peak Growing Season

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe for the ‘Farm to Table’ segment

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe for the ‘Farm to Table’ segment

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel joins Brian O’Keefe periodically at First Light for this ‘Farm to Table’ segment. They discuss everything from agriculture and agri-business to your backyard garden and home landscaping. For this ‘Farm to Table’ Richard and Brian sat down to review some tips and advice for garden care as the region moves into the summer months and the peak growing season

DOC Removes Books From Prison Library

Holly Clingan, a volunteer librarian for the Education Justice Project, picks up one of the books removed from the college in prison program's library inside the Danville Correctional Center. (photo courtesy of Lee Gaines)

Holly Clingan, a volunteer librarian for the Education Justice Project, picks up one of the books removed from the college in prison program's library inside the Danville Correctional Center. (photo courtesy of Lee Gaines)

This week in our look at stories from around the state, we have a story from Lee Gaines. Earlier this year, prison staff at the Danville Correctional Center in east-central Illinois removed about 200 books from a prison program’s library. Illinois Public Radio’s Lee Gaines found a lot of the books are about race and some were children’s books.

One of several boxes of books removed from the Education Justice Project's library inside the Danville Correctional Center. Staff at the prison removed the books from the library earlier this year (ohoto courtesy of Lee Gaines)

One of several boxes of books removed from the Education Justice Project's library inside the Danville Correctional Center. Staff at the prison removed the books from the library earlier this year (ohoto courtesy of Lee Gaines)

Biography Hopes To Restore Robert Johnson's Identity

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Music fans will descend on Millennium Park next weekend for Chicago’s annual celebration of the blues. The three day event attracts thousands of people to hear some of the top performers at stages throughout the park. Just days before this year’s festival, a new biography of a blues legend hits the shelves. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with ‘Up Jumped the Devil’ co-author Bruce Conforth

‘Up Jumped the Devil’ co-author Bruce Conforth thinks his new biography of Robert Johnson is the definitive look at the legendary southern blues artist’s life

‘Up Jumped the Devil’ co-author Bruce Conforth thinks his new biography of Robert Johnson is the definitive look at the legendary southern blues artist’s life

Dr. Brian Caputo To Become COD's 7th President

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Earlier this year, Dr. Ann Rondeau stepped down as president at College of DuPage. Upon her departure, Vice President of Administrative Affairs Dr. Brian Caputo became interim president. The Aurora resident was among three finalists to become the seventh COD president; and 10 days ago the College Board of Trustees selected Caputo to take the lead position at the Glen Ellyn based community college. Earlier this week…First Light host Brian O’Keefe continued a tradition of sitting down with COD presidents. Dr Caputo joined Brian in the WDCB Studios for a conversation about his priorities and the future of the college

College of DuPage interim president Dr. Brian Caputo joined First Light host Brian O’Keefe in the studio for a discussion of his priorities. The COD Board will formally high Caputo as the college’s 7th president later this month

College of DuPage interim president Dr. Brian Caputo joined First Light host Brian O’Keefe in the studio for a discussion of his priorities. The COD Board will formally high Caputo as the college’s 7th president later this month

Accelerating Plans To Go Back To The Moon

COD Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light listeners each month for the Night Sky segment

COD Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light listeners each month for the Night Sky segment

Each month on the First Sunday on First Light, College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe for a discussion of astronomy, space news, and what back yard astronomers can expect to see in the night sky in the coming weeks. With the 50th anniversary of  Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, Joe and Brian started their conversation this month with a discussion of stepped up plans to send people back to the lunar surface

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Rock River Valley Gallery Tour

A wall of Beck Hundrieser's studio is filled with her paintings. All the artists' studios are filled with examples of their work.  (photo courtesy of Guy Stephens/WNIJ)

A wall of Beck Hundrieser's studio is filled with her paintings. All the artists' studios are filled with examples of their work. (photo courtesy of Guy Stephens/WNIJ)

This week in our look at stories from around the state, we have a story from Illinois Public Radio’s Guy Stephens. Artists throughout the Rock River Valley recently opened their studios to the public, and you may be surprised by the number of working artists that are creating work in north central Illinois. Guy Stephens visited some of the places where their inspiration becomes reality

Sally Jane Cooper of Chara Pottery Studio with a piece in one of several styles she works in. She and Tonya Hardy will demonstrate ceramic techniques and show their work at the studio for the tour.  (photo courtesy of Guy/Stephens/WNIJ)

Sally Jane Cooper of Chara Pottery Studio with a piece in one of several styles she works in. She and Tonya Hardy will demonstrate ceramic techniques and show their work at the studio for the tour. (photo courtesy of Guy/Stephens/WNIJ)

Connecting With Nature With Lego Sculptures

A hummingbird visits a giant trumpet flower in the Arboretum’s maze garden

A hummingbird visits a giant trumpet flower in the Arboretum’s maze garden

In each of the past three years, Morton Arboretum has brought an art exhibit onto the outdoor museum. Giant trolls started to attract big crowds last summer and the wooden sculptures still stand, sit, and hide at locations across the Lisle based property. This summer the arboretum brought in another group of sculptures. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with the artist behind the brightly colored nods to the real world.

A brightly colored Corn Spider appears to be descending from the roof of the Morton Arboretum Visitor’s Center

A brightly colored Corn Spider appears to be descending from the roof of the Morton Arboretum Visitor’s Center

A grand father and grand daughter plant a tomato plant just outside the Children’s Garden

A grand father and grand daughter plant a tomato plant just outside the Children’s Garden

Visitors check out a giant bee, or is the bee checking them out near the Morton Arboretum’s Ginkgo Cafe

Visitors check out a giant bee, or is the bee checking them out near the Morton Arboretum’s Ginkgo Cafe

When To Rescue and When To Leave Baby Animals Alone

DuPage Forest Preserve District naturalist Stephanie Touzalin with one of the long term residents of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center

DuPage Forest Preserve District naturalist Stephanie Touzalin with one of the long term residents of the Willowbrook Wildlife Center

It’s been a while since we’ve gone ‘into the woods’ here at First Light, but with spring comes an increasing number of people-animal interactions. In particular, baby animal interactions. That fact also means it’s a busier than normal time at the DuPage Forest Preserve’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center and its animal hospital. First Light host Brian O’Keefe stopped by the wildlife center this week to talk with naturalist Stephanie Touzalin.

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Honoring The Fallen At Rosehill

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This holiday weekend has its origins in a celebration that began three years after the end of the Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic conceived Decoration Day as a way to celebrate the lives of those lost in the country’s bloodiest war. It became Memorial Day in 1968 when Congress created the national holiday. To reflect on the history of the holiday…First Light Host Brian O’Keefe went to Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery last year and met with author and historian Larry Broutman.

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From Bloomington to Broadway

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we travel to broadway, via Bloomington. The edgy and irreverent ghoul, Beetlejuice has found new life…on Broadway. Helping the beloved…but nasty character dress for theatrical success is Savannah Wetzel. The central Illinois native…and Illinois State University alum landed a gig in New York City as a production assistant to William Ivey Long. Long is a costume designer for Beetlejuice. Illinois Public Radio’s Laura Kennedy talked with Wetzel about her work on the Tony nominated play

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Helping Businesses to Grow And Thrive

Partnerships with colleges and universities, businesses, and local governments helped to make the Innovation DuPage facility and its programs possible

Partnerships with colleges and universities, businesses, and local governments helped to make the Innovation DuPage facility and its programs possible

Start-up and tech incubators have become an important component of growing the economy in many cities. There are several in Chicago; but later this week a new center opens in Glen Ellyn. First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited the center that hopes to become a hub of economic growth and talked with Innovation DuPage Manager Travis Linderman

Innovation DuPage hopes to attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to come through the front of its new business incubator in downtown Glen Ellyn

Innovation DuPage hopes to attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to come through the front of its new business incubator in downtown Glen Ellyn