22 – The Illinois Shakespeare Festival

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), we talk with John Stark and Deanne Jent from the Illinois Shakespeare Festival!  Now we all know that Danny is a theatre nerd, but this episode is really fun even if you aren’t!

Then, we talk to John Sabine from The Improvised Shakespeare Company about how it’s even possible to improvise Shakespeare.

Finally, Danny has a very big and very bittersweet announcement to make…

Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

21 – Special Needs Theatre

This month on Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), we take a closer look at Bloomington-Normal’s incredible special needs theatre scene.

First, host Danny Rice and occasional host Rhonda Massie visit Jackie Gunderson, Barb Wells, and several of the performers from the Penguin Projects musical Madagascar Jr., a Musical Adventure and learn all about the Penguin Project’s stellar first 10 years.

Then, we learn about some new programs and resources that the Bloomington Library has recently implemented to better serve our patrons with special needs.

Next, host Danny and Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob sit down with Donna Anhalt, director of Seedling Theatre (and Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob’s Mother-in-Law) to talk about how theatre can change the lives of those involved.

Lastly, Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob offers some read alike titles (because apparently we’re letting him talk now…) if you want to know more about this month’s topic.

The Penguin Project’s Website

The Penguin Project’s Facebook

Seedling Theatre’s Website

Seedling Theatre’s Facebook

20 – Local Breweries

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), our host Danny talks with two (out of four) microbreweries local to Bloomington-Normal: White Oak Brewing and Destihl.

First, Bryan Ballard, co-founder of White Oak and co-host of the Craft Beer Digest podcast (link below), talks with Danny about the process of starting a brewery, and then Katy Tilley from Destihl talks about Destihl’s expansion efforts and distribution on a national scale.

We also talk briefly with Rachel Park, Adult Services Librarian, about our monthly “Books on Tap” book club which meets the first Monday of each month at the upper level of Lucca Grill.

Be sure to checkout the links below for extra information, and always remember to enjoy White Oak and Destihl responsibly.


Destihl’s webiste

White Oak’s website

Destihl Brewery Facebook

White Oak Facebook

Craft Beer Digest Podcast

Drunken Lullabies Podcast

19 – RGW Candy Company

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can REALLY learn to understand yourshelf), Danny, Rhonda, and Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob go on a tour of a local gem: the small batch, family owned and operated RGW Candy Company.  We talk with Amy Wertheim while she makes a large batch of traditional toffee, teaches us that the art of candy making all boils down to chemistry and math, and introduces us to the snack bowl!



18 – The Challenger Learning Center

This month on Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), occasional host Rhonda Massie and unofficial sound engineer Rob (and NOT host Danny…) go on a mission to Mars via Heartland Community College’s Challenger Learning Center!  These simulated space missions are available for a variety of age groups, and the Challenger Learning Center also has many special events throughout the year.

Then, Rhonda and Rob talk with their mission’s flight director Libby Torbeck about the history and vision of the Challenger Learning Center, their stellar activities, and the future of space travel (plus Libby shares some funny stories about things children have said during missions!).

Challenger Learning Center Website

17 – Interview with author Jamie Ford

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), host Danny Rice discusses the New York Times bestselling book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet with author Jamie Ford!  Join us as we discuss details of the Seattle jazz scene, Japanese internment camps, and second chances, as well as Ford’s new book and the potential of a Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet movie.

This episode coincides with our annual Bloomington Reads programming series, which includes book clubs, jazz concerts, historical lectures, and a visit to Bloomington by Jamie Ford himself.  Information on these programs can be found here:


16 – Sharon ShareAlike

This month on Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), hosts Danny Rice and Marion Archer talk with Sharon ShareAlike, a nationally known drag queen, entrepreneur and emcee.  Join us as we talk about the upcoming local “Miss Gay Illinois USofA” drag pageant, Sharon’s businesses and their future, and how she and her work have been featured on shows like “Ellen” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.







15 – eSports

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), host Marion Archer (and even our Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob, for a bit!) sit down with Callum Fletcher and Andrew Reddington of Illinois Wesleyan University’s new eSports program!

Collegiate sports have always been a staple of the college experience, so it only makes sense to expand that to the world of competitive video gaming.  Callum and Andrew walk us through the ins and outs of how this program will work, as well as their vision for how eSports will continue to grow into the future.

Also, BONUS CONTENT!  The last 25 minutes or so of this episode is officially considered bonus content, as Unofficial Sound Engineer Rob gets into the mix and asks some very specific questions about the inner workings of the gaming itself.  If you’re a die-hard gamer, you won’t want to miss this extra content!


14 – The Art of Tattooing

On this month’s episode, host Marion Archer interviews local tattoo artist Ricky Sturdivant of 33 Tattoos and Art about the art of tattooing.  We’ll talk about the history of tattooing, how Ricky has used tattoos to help those stricken with cancer, and the future of tattoos, including the use of bioreactive ink!  Did you ever want to know how tattoo artists practice their craft before tattooing an actual person (hint: it’s kinda gross)?  Listen to find out!

Danny is off this month due to a brand new bambino in his household, but he’ll be back next month to resume his duties as co-host!

Find 33 Tattoos and Art on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/33tattoos/, or at http://33tattoos.com/

13 – Canoeing the Mississippi River (with The Current Situation)

On this month’s episode of Shelf Understanding (where you can really learn to understand yourshelf), co-hosts Danny Rice, Marion Archer, and Rhonda Massie interview Travis and Carrie Mack (also known as “The Current Situation”), who recently canoed the length of the Mississippi River.  Join us as Travis and Carrie answer the questions we all want to know: how many paddle strokes did you all have (almost literally 1 million EACH), how they bathed and used the restroom, and how many times they listened to the soundtrack to Hamilton.

Visit The Current Situation’s Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Current-Situation-232227373952149/?ref=br_rs