What comes to mind when you hear the word “circus?” Probably not a college campus… During this hour on Focus, Lindsey Moon talks with Marcus Alouan of Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University about collegiate circus and circus summer camps.
Early in the 20th century, acrobats, specifically trapeze artists, would winter in Bloomington-Normal to practice in empty mills and empty buildings with high ceilings. This hour on Focus, Lindsey Moon talks with Marcus Alouan, director of the Gamma Phi Circus at Illinois State University, about how those performers sparked a circus movement in Bloomington-Normal. We’ll learn more about Gamma Phi Circus, one of the oldest and one of the only collegiate circuses in the country and will hear about the circus camps the university sponsors to keep the circus tradition alive.
Then during the second part of the hour, we’ll listen back to a conversation Lindsey had with Duncan Wall. With no prior circus, dance or tumbling experience, Wall spent a year studying circus in Paris, France on a Fullbright scholarship and wrote a book about the experience and circus history called “The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey Into the Wondrous World of the Circus Past and Present.”
Before she started writing her new book “Pretty Good for Girl: Women in Bluegrass” Murphy Henry thought she was one of only a few women trying to make bluegrass music. But as she found out, there are lots of women who have had successful careers, they just hadn’t gotten any attention for it. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass, why these musicians have slipped under the radar and why, before now, there’s been so little conversation about their contributions to the genre. We’ll also talk with Murphy about her own musical career, her love for playing the banjo and the “Murphy Method,”a technique she pioneered to teach banjo.
We also talk with her about Champaign-Urbana native Alison Krauss and her career and contributions to bluegrass music.
Read more for a video of Murphy playing the banjo and explaning why she wrote the book.
Superman’s character was created in the early 1930’s and has since has appeared or been referenced in pretty much every form of media – comics, books, movies and even in song. During this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Larry Tye, author of the book “The High-Flying History of American’s Most Enduring Super Hero.” He talks with Tye about the creators of the character, movie adaptations and of course, the iconic red cape.
We’ll also hear from Karla Ogle, co-chair of the Superman Festival in Metropolis, Illinois. The festival draws more than 30,000 people to Metropolis, population ~6,000 each year. Jim Hambrick, who founded and curates the Super Museum also joins us.
Do you have questions about the history of Superman? Maybe you’re a huge fan… We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!