University Housing at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2011-2012 Guests-in-Residence

Unit One/Allen Hall


Guests-in-Residence 2011-2012


FALL 2011

September 11, 2011 – September 15, 2011

damali ayo is an artist, author, performer, and speaker who believes that "art should make you think and feel; it doesn't have to match your couch."  Her books, art, lectures, and workshops have tackled one of our culture's toughest topics – race - and have made it manageable and fun. Her first book How to Rent a Negro was acclaimed as "one of the most trenchant and amusing commentaries on contemporary race relations." It was granted a 2005 Honorable Mention in the Outstanding Book Awards from the Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. Her radio story "Living Flag: Panhandling for Reparations" won a Silver Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.


October 2, 2011 – October 6, 2011

Becky Stern is an artist and tutorial maker whose work combines traditional crafts like embroidery, knitting, and jewelry-making with electronics and physical computing technologies such as Arduino. She is Associate Editor/Video Producer for CRAFT, the online journal "transforming traditional crafts," and for MAKE, the journal that "brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life," where she also co-hosts the streaming show-and-tell Make: Live. Stern makes and sells a line of geeky accessories and shows off her artwork at She is a fellow with the online Free Art and Technology Lab (F.A.T.) and teaches graduate classes at Parsons the New School for Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. Stern has shown work at the San Francisco Museum of Craft & Folk Art, Bildmuseet, and Gizmodo Gallery. Her work has also been featured on G4TV, PBS, and CNN.


October 16, 2011 – October 20, 2011

Climbing PoeTree Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman—the tag-team, two-spirited, boundary-breaking artist duo, Climbing PoeTree—have advanced what it means to be renaissance women. Poets, performers, print-makers, dancers, educators, bookmakers, muralists, designers, and new media artists, these Janes-of-all-trades prove that you can be masterful in multiples. With roots in Haiti and Colombia, Alixa and Naima reside in Brooklyn and track footprints across the country and the globe on a mission to overcome destruction with creativity. Through compelling artistry, these multi-talented young women channel hope into vision, shatter assumptions that bind the status quo, and make a better future visible, immediate, and irresistible. 


October 30, 2011 – November 3, 2011

lucky dragons is a Los Angeles-based experimental music group and artist collective, comprised of Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck. lucky dragons  is dedicated to the birthing of new and temporary creatures: equal-power situations in which audience members cooperate amongst themselves, building up fragile networks held together by such light things as skin contact, unfamiliar language, temporary logic, the spirit of celebration, and things that work but you don't know why. Fischbeck and Rara have presented interactive performances and installations in a wide variety of contexts--including MOCA Los Angeles, The Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle, ICA London, ICA Philadelphia, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. lucky dragons' sister projects include sumi ink club, a weekly collaborative drawing society, and glaciers of nice , a small press and internet community.



January 22, 2012 – January 26, 2012
Tristan Taormino is an award-winning author, columnist, editor, sex educator, and adult filmmaker. She has lectured at over 60 colleges and universities on sex education, gender and sexuality, gay and lesbian issues, pornography, and feminism. She is the author of seven books and editor of twenty-three anthologies and for nearly ten years was a columnist for The Village Voice. Tristan and her work have been featured in hundreds of publications including O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Entertainment Weekly, Details, New York Magazine, Men's Health, and Playboy. She has appeared on CNN, HBO's Real Sex, The Howard Stern Show, Loveline, MTV, Oxygen, Fox News, The Discovery Channel, and on over six dozen radio shows.


February 5, 2012 – February 9, 2012 
Ian Cheney is an award-winning filmmaker and environmental advocate based in Brooklyn, NY. His Peabody award-winning documentary film King Corn (2007) was released theatrically in 60 cities and broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens. His film The Greening of Southie (2008) was broadcast on the Sundance Channel and featured on Good Morning America and in the New Yorker magazine. Most recently, his films include Truck Farm (2010), a 48-minute film about his garden-on-wheels, which inspired a fleet of 25 other “truck farms” around the country, and The City Dark, a feature documentary about light pollution. Cheney is an avid astro-photographer, a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post, and a video Op-Ed contributor for The New York Times. He travels frequently to show his films and give talks about the human relationship to the natural world. He still maintains a 1/1000th acre farm in the back of his Dodge pickup.


February 12, 2012 – February 16, 2012 
Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He has traveled frequently to the Middle East and other conflict regions, meeting with prominent government officials, scholars and dissidents. He has served as a political analyst for local, national, and international radio and television and as a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, Huffington Post, Truthout, Alternet and Common Dreams. He has published scores of articles and op-ed pieces on such topics as U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, Latin American politics, African politics, human rights, arms control, social movements and nonviolent action. He is the co-editor of Nonviolent Social Movements, the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism and the co-author (along with Jacoby Mundy) of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution.

February 26, 2012 – March 1, 2012
Mitch Altman is a San Francisco-based hacker and inventor, best known for inventing  the TV-B-Gone remote control, a keychain that turns off TVs in public places. He co-founded 3ware, a Silicon Valley RAID controller company, did pioneering work in Virtual Reality at VPL Research, and created the Brain Machine, one of MAKE Magazine's most popular DIY projects. Altman is a regular contributor to  MAKE Magazine. In recent years he has been on the road, from hackerspace to hacker-con, leading workshops that teach people to make things with microcontrollers and open source hardware kits. Altman is one of the co-founders of Noisebridge, a San Francisco hacker space, and President and CEO of Cornfield Electronics.

At home at Illinois

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