Category Archives: creativity expert

Poem: Stretch

by Angie Mack Reilly

Stretch.
Stretching a rubber band.
Stretching a muscle.
Stretching the truth.
Stretch a note.
Stretch a line.
Stretch a piece of gum.
Stretch your imagination.

Psalms and the Blues

Psalms and the Blues

by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 2019

For some of us, you see,
music is the only friend
that we have.
Or at least the only friend
that we can trust.

Others of us?
Couple that with faith.
Without that, we are doomed
to die from the sorrow
that consumes our lives.

But the blues, you see.
The blues is emotion.
And sometimes our instrument
is the only one who will listen.
We can’t flaunt our money.
We can’t boast of piety.
Our homes are broken.
Our relationships once soared
and then crashed.
We are disadvantaged.
In some way.
Disadvantaged.
Opportunities have not been
equal for us.

Perhaps we are laden
with grief and sickness
so great that getting ahead
requires more energy
than we have.

People who have the blues
have somehow lost respect
with society.
But are we worthy of respect?
Absolutely.

Yet there seems to be an oppressor.
Or multiple oppressors
in the blues musician’s life.
Evil and oppressive controllers
who want nothing more than
to see the musician tied down.

Yes.
We are tired.
We know that fighting probably
won’t make a difference.

And so we retreat to song.
The song is where we are free.
Free to express whatever feeling
it is that we might have.

King David had feelings.

Son House had feelings.
Both had many feelings.
Authentic feelings.
Sometimes wrong feelings.
But feelings.
To be human is to have feelings.
The similarity between the Blues
and the Psalms is quite astounding.

DISCLAIMER:  Remember that the purpose of the true artist is, sometimes, to get others to think.  Writing is an art form that can be just as minimalistic or abstract as any painting or dance can be.  Most of my work is to get others to think.   Poetry is an artform.  So as you read my work, imagine sitting in a museum and listening.  Not everything needs to be literal in life.  

The Artist Cries by Angie Mack Reilly

The Artist Cries

by Angie Mack Reilly* 2019

Where empathy lacks
And judgement abounds
Is where the artist lies
The artist cries
And they keep walking by
Greed is thick
So charity is sick
Money given upward
To impress CEOs with bribes
That feed their vanity and ego
I know
The money needs to flow down
Down down down like rain
Down down
Down on the people

*Feature photo also by Angie Mack Reilly

Poem: I Love Contradictions

I Love Contradictions

by Angela K. Mack © 1/6/09

Feature photo by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 2015

I have always preached,
“The best art forms contain the greatest contradictions.”

I love contradiction. It is the drama of our existence.

Right now, I am humored by the earth being blanketed by cool virgin snow.
Meanwhile, my burning heart is inflamed with the passion of my prime.

The earth is being cooled and my soul is flaming hot.

Contradictions.

My nerdy and shy highschool friend is now a diva.
Another boy has pleasantly matured.
Popular friends have vanished
and unknown ones have become beacons of light.

Life has a way of leveling
and bringing the obscure to the spotlight
and the stars to the pit.

Life is full of drama and…
the best drama is full of contradictions.
Who would have known
we would all end up here?

Angie’s Early Pioneering Activism for Obscure Local Blues History (2004-07)

Contact:  angie@ozaukeetalent.com for speaking engagments and interviews

December 2004
Angela got in touch with Alex van der Tuuk and began corresponding with him on a regular basis and reading his book

January 2005
ParamountsHome goes online, collects data, and begins networking locally and worldwide

April 2005
Kris of the Grafton Jaycees begins to tackle the project of putting on a blues festival in Grafton after Angie proposed the idea to the group.

May 2005
Angela gets in touch with Michael “Hawkeye” Herman and he begins encouraging her and mentoring her toward her goals.

September 2005
Joe Krupski approaches the Grafton Planning Commission to open a Paramount Restaurant

September 2005
Michael “Hawkeye” Herman does Blues in the Schools for all 3 Grafton Elementary Schools (Thanks to principal Scott Oftedahl, area music teachers and Kennedy P.A.C.E.)

Fall 2005
“Embrace the Legacy” concert series designed to educate adults about Paramount at the Timothy Wooden Building/North Shore Academy of the Arts (Thanks to Barbara Krause and Grafton Area Live Arts)

October 2005
Angie pitches the “Paramount Blues Festival” to the Cedarburg Cultural Center.  Angie helped plan the event featuring Ann Rabson, Fruitland Jackson, and a Paramount panel discussion

October 2005
Ad Hoc Committee forms to discuss the possibilities of incorporating the Paramount theme into the downtown redevelopment and Grafton’s identity. Ad Hoc Committee Members Present: Jim Brunnquell, Jim Grant, Angela Mack, Tom Sweet, Melissa Schmitz, Darrell Hofland, and Michael Rambousek. Discussion begins about creating a Paramount music society of sorts

December 2005
Paramount GIG (Grooves in Grafton) begins to form and later brings “the mobile museum” to area banks, businesses, and the library to educate the community. (Thanks to Missy Schmitz)

January 2006
Grafton Blues Association begins to form out of members from the Grafton Jaycees

July 2006
Paramount GIG presents “A Dance With Early Jazz” to raise funds for the etching of artists into the Walk of Fame

July 2006 ParamountsHome wins the annual Wisconsin Historical Society website award

July 2006
PBS History Detectives films in Grafton upon Angie’s written request and story pitch

August 2006
“Lost Musical Treasure” by PBS History Detectives airs nationwide

August 2006
The Grafton Hotel is purchased by Rob Ruvin

September 2006
Angie presents “Passionate about Paramount and the Blues” at the Grafton children’s library

September 2006
First annual Paramount Blues Festival presented by the Grafton Blues Association and attended by first lady Jessica Doyle

September 2006
Representative Mark Gottlieb issues a legislative citation to the Village of Grafton acknowledging the importance of the history and praising the Village, individuals, and groups who have embraced the history

September 2006
The Village of Grafton holds the first annual Walk of Fame ceremony to honor Henry Towsend as the first inductee into the new Walk of Fame.  Angie provides a team of youth singers to accompany the event.

September 2006
North Shore Academy of the Arts (Angie) presents a second annual “Embrace the Legacy” concert featuring the Paul Curtis Band

October 2006
ParamountsHome (Angie) lectures at the Wisconsin State Historical Museum

October 2006
Henry Townsend Memorial Benefit Concert presented by the GBA- American Legion, Grafton

November 2006 Grafton Blues Association becomes organization of the year – Grafton Chamber of Commerce

November 2006 Paramount Plaza tree lighting ceremony – Grafton Chamber of Commerce

December 2006 Paramount Restaurant opens and begins to provide a venue for musicians to play (Thanks to Joe Krupski)

December 2006 North Shore Academy of the Arts (Angie) finishes its recording studio and does some makeshift recording projects with Scout Groups, classes and birthday parties

December 2006 Paramount GIG begins to merge into the Village of Grafton Historical Preservation Commission

The News Graphic lists Angie as one of the most influential leaders in Ozaukee County. (2006)

June 2007 Playwrite Kevin Ramsey announces his new musical, “Grafton City Blues” to be performed at the Milwaukee Rep Theatre Jan-March 2008.  Angie’s interview of Kevin is published in the playbills.

June 2007 Paramount Walking Tour is completed

Summer 2007 Many of the components of the Paramount Plaza are completed

September 2007 2nd annual Paramount Blues Festival

September 22, 2007 Walk of Fame ceremony inducting Louis Armstrong and Son House. Dick Waterman came for the ceremony and gave the Grafton Historic Preservation Commission a photo of Son House and Skip James that hasn’t ever been published before.

October 18, 2007 Village of Grafton and Grafton State Bank formally dedicate the sculpture by Norm Christensen

world music foundation

Listen to Podcast Paramount Records:  the Rise, Fall and Resurrection featuring Alex van der Tuuk and Angie Mack Reilly presented by The World Music Foundation

Similiar Journey!

“I write because I love to write…. Long years ago when the world was new for me, I dreamed of being a composer–wrote songs, many of them. The words took fire and the music smouldered and so, following the lead of friends and critics, I turned my face toward poetry and put my songs away for a while. Then came drama. I was persuaded to try it and found it a living avenue–and yet–the thing left most unfinished, less exploited, first relinquished, is still nearest my heart and most dear.” –Georgia Douglas Johnson

Angela’s Jig Written by Monica Radzin and Interpreted, Played by Angie Mack Reilly on Piano