Help from creative people is just a click away

Updated 5/30/2015 6:12 PM
  • Shea Villwock of Geneva and his partners at Artist View have created a line of T-shirts detailing people's artistic passions to draw attention to their website, a place to visit for people who need the services of an artist.

    Shea Villwock of Geneva and his partners at Artist View have created a line of T-shirts detailing people's artistic passions to draw attention to their website, a place to visit for people who need the services of an artist. COURTESY OF SHEA VILLWOCK

  • June DeWolf turns 100 June 7.

    June DeWolf turns 100 June 7. Courtesy of Brian DeWolf

One T-shirt says "I. am. a. WRITER." Another says "I. am. a. MUSICIAN." Or another might say "I. support. THEATER."

If Shea Villwock of Geneva had his way, we'd all be wearing a T-shirt to indicate our passion and also our support for his site.

It's a place where independent writers, actors, producers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers and others make their passions and skills known -- especially to those who may be looking for the services of some creative people for certain jobs or projects.

Villwock and partners John Gilmour Hildreband and Kiel Tredrea have initiated a Kickstarter campaign to launch the project. The first phase is an apparel line, with a pledge award being one of the aforementioned T-shirts describing the wearer's passion. is a niche entertainment social network for artists, somewhat meshing LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all into one for artists and businesses to use, Villwock said.

"I've been a drummer and artist since I was 6 years old and huge fan of all arts," the 28-year-old Villwock said. "I was in a band that started doing shows around the Chicago area, and I realized that I wanted to pursue recording as a profession."

He studied music and opened his own recording studio, and through the process of bringing creative people together for projects, Villwock realized the need for a website to do just that.

Artist View will showcase the work of many creative people, making it easier for them to connect with each other and with those who can use their services.

It's all June

Brian DeWolf's mom certainly has a flair for June.

Her name and her birthday month coincide, and the celebration coming up June 7 has special meaning. June DeWolf turns 100 on that day.

"She grew up in a time when modesty was the norm, and when a woman's age was supposed to remain a secret," said Brian, a Batavia resident and well-known area photographer, about his mom's reluctance to let her age be revealed in this column.

June was married to Delmar DeWolf, who passed away in 2005. They were married for 70 years.

"She was always a homemaker, is committed to family and thrilled with simple things like beautiful skies and songbirds," Brian said. "She also enjoys hearing of someone else's good fortune as much as if she would be the one having the good fortune."

If the secret to longevity is hidden in genes, Brian could be in for a long life. That would be a plus to those who feel the Tri-Cities region is full of beautiful scenes. His photos of the Fabyan Forest Preserve and downtown Geneva grace the walls of our home.

Spokes with a heart

Adults and youngsters who can't afford to purchase a bicycle can thank Matt Knowles, owner of All Spoked Up, for thinking about them.

As a member of the Batavia Bicycle Commission and owner of the downtown bike shop, Knowles understands not everyone has the luxury of owning a bike. The CHIP IN organization in Batavia provides Knowles with the names of individuals who would benefit greatly by having a bike. Residents donate bikes to the cause, and Knowles takes it from there.

"Some of the bikes get new tires, new chains, or whatever it is that they actually need at that point," Knowles said. "And that's pretty much how we do it, and it's just a great setup."

Leading the way in a project called Bikes for Batavia, with cooperation from the city, the Batavia Rotary and CHIP IN organization, Knowles has repaired and given out more than 100 bikes to students and adults who need them.

"This all came from these organizations in Batavia, and it helps us get the bikes to those who really need them," Knowles said.

Knowles has been operating All Spoked Up since 2011 and most recently opened a satellite office in Aurora.

"Whenever we can help with something, we are here to do that," Knowles said. "We certainly enjoy being a part of this community."

Too late for me

Where was this idea 50 years ago? Or maybe even about 25 years ago? I'd still play.

It caught my attention when Batavia High School graduate Andrew Martinez built his Wiffle ball field in Batavia a few years ago. Now he and Wifflot business partner Brad Speranza are taking the idea to various suburban park districts to pitch the idea for Wiffle ball leagues.

It's possible that Wiffle ball ranks as my all-time favorite participation sport, considering the number of hours we played as kids in the late 1950s and early '60s.

I still have fond recollections of current Kane County Judge Clint Hull and his friends building a terrific Wiffle ball stadium in Peter Grathoff's backyard in St. Charles more than 30 years ago.

Those bullies

We all remember the bully on the playground when growing up, but Steel Beam Theatre in downtown St. Charles gives an entertaining look at that dilemma with "God of Carnage," on stage through June 7.

It focuses on parents talking about how their kids interact, then acting like bullies themselves, of course.

It's hard to envision my parents participating in such banter some 50-plus years ago. After all, when a bully shoved me down and stole my 1963 Chicago Cubs team baseball card on the playground, I was devastated. Not every pack of Topps baseball cards carried the team card of my beloved favorites.

My parents' response when I told them?

"Why did you have baseball cards at school?" Looking back on it now, that's not a bad question.

Reader reminders

A few readers sent notes to say how much they enjoyed my column last week about the "best of" various things in the Tri-Cities area.

They reminded me that Fantastico's, mentioned as a favorite restaurant last week by a reader, actually closed in Batavia several months ago.

Still, it was a favorite of many, and these readers agreed that they hated to see it go.

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