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The Scene was our Illinois arts & culture podcast through 2017. Rachel Otwell curated the podcast which provided full-length stories and follow-ups, links to other reports, and conversations with you.This podcast contained 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. The podcast was about what makes artists tick, and the diverse culture that exists within our community.

The Scene With Poet Johari Osayi Idusuyi At Kingsway African Restuarant

Rachel Otwell
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week Rachel and Scott ventured out of studio, to Kingsway African & Caribbean Cuisine restaurant in Springfield. The menu offers many dishes unique for the area, including authentic jerk chicken created with a Nigerian recipe, goat curry and many vegan & vegetarian offerings. They sat down to lunch with local poet Johari Osayi Idusuyi who garnered national attention last year for her appearance at a Trump rally in Springfield.

Johari tells Scott and Rachel why she ended up taking out a book and very visibly reading it while seated directly behind our new president-elect. The book is called Citizen by Claudia Rankine, it's an award winning collection of poetry that explores the nuances of modern day racism. As you can see in this Rachel Maddow segment, Johari made national news with her action, which she says was a spontaneous protest after attending the rally for the sake of curiosity. (Her interview in this begins around 7:15):

Johari reads a poem from the novel, listen below:

Listen to the poem

Johari shared these upcoming poetry event dates. All take place at WM. Van's Coffee House in Springfield:

Thanksgiving Storytelling Night: November 22, 2016: 5-7:30pm.
   - we recommend attendees to get there at 5 for drinks. Event starts at 6:00 sharp.

Poetry Open Mic: December 11, 2016: 4-7:00pm
 - we recommend attendees to get there at 4 for drinks. Event starts at 5:00 sharp.

Christmas Storytelling Night: December 20, 2016: 5-7:30pm
   - we recommend attendees to get there at 5 for drinks. Event starts at 6:00 sharp.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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