Valentine’s Week Events

Valentine’s Day can be a bummer for some and a lovely day for others and we’re here to help you with however you plan on feeling this coming Sunday and all week. There are a ton of things for those of you lovebirds who haven’t made plans yet and for you lone wolves looking to spend this week like it was any other week, one of which is happening all week right here in the UGL!

Blind Date with a Book Display

Use our dating service Sparks to swipe right and fall in love with a book!

Stop by the Upper Level to find your match made in heaven (or someplace else) this Valentine’s week. We have books and movies ready for those of you that love a good love and for those of you that hate a good love. Our dating service “sparks” is sure to find some sort of match to you, so be sure to swipe your new companion right to the Circulation Desk and enjoy!

And for those of you that don’t plan on making it into the library, check out this nifty infographic to find an appropriate piece of media to indulge in.

Valentine's Day Movie Flowchart

What movie should you watch next? Check the flowchart to find out!

Now, onto the non-UGL events.

Coconut Macaroons

Photo from Flickr Media Commons, courtesy of Stacy.

Coconut Macaroons at Mirabelle, Pekara, Rick’s Bakery, and/or Strawberry Fields – When they’re available

Smile Politely did the seriously difficult and life-threatening (joking) work that was tasting these little bundles of coconutty joy and reviewing the bakeries that baked them for you. No one stood above the other according to the article, so we suggest hitting up every single bakery listed and grabbing some of these macaroon’s to snack on with or without a partner. While you’re at Pekara, we also highly suggest getting a frozen hot chocolate despite the cold because it’s one of the most delicious things you can have.

Casablanca Movie Poster

Photo from Flickr Media Commons, courtesy of Breve Storia del Cinema.

Casablanca at the Art Theater – February 14 at 11:30am and 7:30pm

If you’ve never seen this masterpiece of American cinema, now is the time. Casablanca is a seriously amazing movie that has stood the test of time and stayed in the public consciousness like no other movie; it’s just one of those movies. Humphrey Bogart is the epitome of cool and his performance is worthy of a full text-book alone; it’s not exactly surprising, therefore, that there literally are books dedicated to this movie alone. The Art Theater is one of the crown jewels of downtown Champaign and if you need a date idea for the night, there’s probably nothing more romantic than catching this black-and-white masterpiece and hearing Ingrid Bergman’s world famous “kiss me” line (among the million other amazing quotes from this).

Bullnettle

Bullnettle. Photo taken from The Accord website.

FREE show at The Accord featuring Bullnettle, Tongue Party, and Orator – February 14 at 7pm

Unofficially dubbed the “Valentines Shmalentines” show, this free night at The Accord in downtown Champaign is the perfect getaway for those of you that literally want to shut all the love and good feelings out of your ears on Valentine’s Day. Bullnettle and Orator are two heavier/louder local acts that often make noise around town and they are joined by the heavy/loud from Minneapolis, so if heavy/loud music is your thing, it’s probably the safest way to avoid all the googly eyes and kissy faces.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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January Welcome Back Events

Welcome to new students and welcome back for returning students! Break is over and it’s time to start the spring semester, so let us help you plan your first two weeks with some fun events to get you back into the swing of classes, campus, and Champaign-Urbana life. The beginning of the semester will be packed with all sorts of fun events, including a heaping handful from the Illini Union, so we tried to find some of the best events happening so you can just relax and get ready for a great spring.

Photo courtesy of The Canopy Club

Photo courtesy of Sriram Bala

Hot Chocolate and Chill at Anniversary Plaza – January 21 from 11am to 2pm

The Union’s Winter Week of Welcome offers students a bunch of fun things to do in the first week of the spring semester, but this event stood out as one of the most obvious for a peaceful and delicious time. Head over the Anniversary Plaza between classes and relax in a human snow-globe with a nice cup of hot cocoa. Hopefully it won’t be too cold in the globe or on campus that day!

http://union.illinois.edu/see-and-do/events/winter-week-of-welcome

Illini Ice Hockey vs. Rochester College at Illini Ice Arena – January 22 & 23 at 7:30pm

Basketball and football are obviously premier sports here at the University, but the Illini also field a hockey team and you’d be hard pressed to get a more intimate setting to watch Illini sports than in the stands at Illini Ice Arena. With $5 tickets, it’s almost a no-brainer to go and check out the team as they face off against Rochester College on both Friday and Saturday night. It may seem silly to spend a potentially cold winter night in an ice rink, but the Illini spirit that buzzes through the stadium on game night will keep you warm and pumped throughout the game.

http://illinihockey.pointstreaksites.com/view/illinihockey/illini-schedule-2

Photo courtesy of The Canopy Club

University of Illinois Main Library

New Students Tours of the Main Library – January 25, 26, and 29 at varying times

In case you didn’t know, the U of I has one of the biggest library collections in the nation. That’s good news because you can find almost anything you’d need using our libraries, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Librarians are here for tours on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday during the second week of the semester at both the Main and Undergraduate Library, showing you all the major service points and some other areas of interest. Whether you want to learn the best place to study or where to find all the best video games (on the Lower Level of the UGL in the Media Collection), these tours are sure to be a fine introduction to the library here at the U of I. Check the link below for specific times.

http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/4092?cal=20141104&skinId=1977

RSO Involvement Fair at Illini Union – January 27 from 11am to 3pm

Registered Student Organizations (RSO) are one of the glorious things about this campus; if you have an interest, there’s probably an RSO where you can find kindred spirits or you can form one to fill the void. Though Quad Day is only in the Fall and is the biggest collection of RSO’s on campus, the Involvement Fair gives those of you looking for a new group the chance to connect with people you may have missed in the Fall.

http://union.illinois.edu/see-and-do/events/winter-week-of-welcome

Photo courtesy of The Canopy Club

Photo taken from The Accord

The Great Cover Up 25 at The Accord – January 21, 22, 23, 28, and 29 at 7pm

By the end of the second week of the semester on campus, you’ll probably feel like an old pro and may want to venture off into the downtown areas surrounding campus. Champaign-Urbana has a thriving music scene and the venue formerly known as the Highdive just reopened this January and is hosting the 25th Annual Great Cover Up, an event that gets popular local acts to perform cover sets of just about any band you could think of. Every night is packed with high quality local acts, but we think the final night of the event is perfect for those of you with wide-ranging musical tastes with locals such as Church Booty (R&B/soul/funk), T.R.U.T.H. (hip-hop), 90’s Daughter (buzz magazine’s three time best cover band in CU winner), and a bunch of other terrific acts sending off this years celebrations.

https://www.facebook.com/events/449746211885311/

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Therapy Pets at the Library!

The end of fall semester is almost here! Take a break from stressing out about finals and deadlines to play with therapy pets! This year’s group of therapy pets is cute, cuddly, and ready to play. Therapy pets will be waiting for you to pet them at Grainger, ACES, and the UGL on the following dates:

Thursday, December 10th at Grainger from 2-4 PM: Magnum, Raven, and Beowoof will be ready for all your cuddling needs.

Monday, December 14th at ACES from 2-4 PM: Atlas, Maisey, Jeannie, and Wyatt the cat can’t wait to have their tummies rubbed.

Tuesday, December 15th at the UGL from 2-4 PM: Sam, Maisey, and Beowoof are excited to see everyone!

Magnum

Rub Magnum's tummy!

Magnum is a three-year-old yellow lab who has only been a therapy dog for a few months, but he loves everybody! Every time Magnum goes to the hospital for visits, he is quickly surrounded by people wanting to pet him. He is a fun, happy dog who loves interacting with people.

Raven

Come see Raven!
Raven is a Standard Poodle.She does most of her therapy work at libraries and loves people from all ages. In her down time, Raven likes to play fetch with Frisbees and tennis balls.

Beowoof

Come see Beowoof!

Beowoof is a fashionable Saint Bernard. Beowoof loves to make people happy. The only thing bigger than his paws is his heart! He has a contagious smile and a way of making even your worst day better by simply being in the room. His favorite trick is to give high-fives and his favorite leisure activity is sleeping (or maybe eating homemade peanut butter dog cookies).

Atlas

Atlas Therapy Dog

Atlas is a 7 year old Rottweiler that was adopted from South Suburban Humane Society when he was a year old. He especially loves hanging out with kids at libraries and schools, helping them read. His favorite toy is his Kong and his favorite spot to be scratched is his “bow tie” on his chest.

Maisey

Come see Maisey!

Maisey is a 6 yr old Australian Shepherd-Retriever Mix that was adopted back in 2011 from a local shelter in Muncie, Indiana. Maisey participates in various therapy dog events, including visits to the Carle Foundation Hospital, kids read to dogs programs at local libraries and a number of school groups. When not doing therapy dog work, Maisey enjoys taking long walks, chasing squirrels, and squeaking her plush hedgehog toy.

Jeannie

Rub Jeannie's tummy!

Jeannie is a 4-year-old Bichon Frise. Bichons do not shed and are considered to be a “hypoallergenic” breed. Their soft, thick, cottony hair is great for petting. They are bred to be companion dogs and Jeannie excels at this. She loves people, is tremendously cute, and brightens everyone’s day. Jeannie visits nursing homes, libraries, and hospital patients.

Wyatt

Come see Wyatt!

Wyatt is six years old and loves to be pet and complimented. Wyatt is a very social cat and is a mix of Siamese, Maine Coon, and Persian. When Wyatt is not “on the job,” he spends his time as a typical cat – napping, playing and eating.

Sam

Come see Sam!
Sam is an adorable and fuzzy Alaskan Malamute. He is great company and enjoys when people pet him. Like everyone, he is not a fan of finals but is very happy to be at UIUC to relieve peoples stress. Come on by and take a picture with him!

Have any questions about therapy pets? Want to express how excited you are to meet these animals? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)!

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Homecoming Week Events

This week marks University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s 105th Homecoming Celebration, and with that comes a slew of events on campus this week! Kick it off this Wednesday, October 21 with Spirit Day, when we will all wear orange to show our Illini pride and get free stuff. Stop by the Quad to earn discounts at local businesses and receive free stuff just for wearing orange! Did we mention free stuff? Here are a few other events to add to your plans this week:

Photo courtesy of Mike Pettigano via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Mike Pettigano via Flickr

Art Exhibit at the Illini Union Art Gallery – All Week Starting Monday, October 19
Celebrate the diversity of Illini talents with University of Illinois professor Bryan Warsaw’s poetry and photography will be exhibited this week in the Illini Union Art Gallery. His work exemplifies dusk, or the time between day and night. If you’ve been looking for somewhere to take that special someone you met in the UGL last week, this could be the place!

Block Party at the Henry Administration Building Sidewalk – Friday, October 23 at 5pm

This event for students, alumni, and other community members celebrates Homecoming before the parade. There will be games, activities, prizes, and food. Afterward, head to the Homecoming Parade at 6pm. The parade will begin at Sixth and Taft in Champaign, travel through Campustown, and end at the Quad after turning south on Mathews Avenue in Urbana. When the parade ends at 7pm, check out the Pep Rally in Foellinger Hall with performances from Marching Illini and guest speakers. There will be blue and orange fireworks set off in front of Foellinger afterward and the Observatory will host an open house from 8-10pm.

Annual Homecoming Party at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center – Saturday, October 24 9am-1pm

If you aren’t too tired from celebrating all evening Friday, head to the Annual Homecoming Party at the Alumni Center on Saturday morning. This Homecoming party will host musical entertainment, a cash bar, giveaways, spirit beads, and offer discounted park-and-ride passes!

Photo courtesy of Mike Pettigano via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Mike Pettigano via Flickr

Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts – Saturday October 24 at 7:30pm
CUSO will be opening its season with Haydn’s oratorio in collaboration with the UI Oratorio Society. After the Homecoming games, go to Krannert to support the arts! Krannert will also be providing 45-minute tours of the Center all week. If you would rather listen to the orchestra than tailgate, this event might be for you!

African-American Homecoming Party at Campus Rec Center East (CRCE) – Saturday, October 24 at 11pm

For the night owls and dancers, this Homecoming dance party for African-American students will host DJ Matrix playing hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues music. Purchase your tickets at the Quad Shop now to dance the night away for $10 for students or $15 for non-students with a UIUC sponsor!

Homecoming Games: Did you really think we would forget about the football and soccer game? Finish off your Homecoming week by showing your school spirit and cheering on the Illini this Saturday!
Illinois Vs. Wisconsin Homecoming Game at Memorial Stadium – Saturday, October 24 2:30pm kickoff
Illinois Vs. Northwestern Women’s Soccer Game at Soccer & Track Stadium – Saturday October 24 6pm

Learn more about these events and others this Homecoming Week: http://homecoming.illinois.edu/schedule.html

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August Events

Photo Courtesy of Liz West via Flickr Media Commons

Photo Courtesy of Liz West via Flickr Media Commons

The summer is coming to an end, but there are still plenty of fun events to ring out the end of the season. August is the month for the gormandizers, the film buffs, and the music connoisseurs as CU hosts a variety of festivals, screenings, and concerts. Dive into our list of some of these events and share any others we may have missed that you’re looking forward to.

Photo Courtesy of Mike N Molly's

Photo Courtesy of Mike N Molly’s

Grateful Dead Tribute at Mike N Molly’s – August 8 at 6
The Grateful Dead played their final shows together last month as part of their Fare Thee Well concert series, but Deadheads of CU can rejoice as Sunshine Daydream will be gracing the outdoor stage at the Mike N Molly’s beergarden in Downtown Champaign. Also joining the dead-wannabes are local acts Mike and Olivia, The Wetsons, and Brian Hilderbrand.
https://www.facebook.com/events/505891186233934/

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Theater

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Theater

Pens to Lens Student Screenwriting Competition at the Virginia Theatre – August 15 at 2 and 4
There’s a lot of talented people around our area, and some of them haven’t even left high school yet. Pens to Lens gives K-12 students from the East Central Illinois area the opportunity to write and submit original screenplays and see them made into short films by local artists. Maybe we’ll find the next Tarantino over at Urbana High! Tickets are only $8 and youth 18 and under are admitted free.
http://thevirginia.org/event/pens-to-lens/

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District

Taste of CU – August 21 from 5-11 and August 22 from 11-11
Taste of CU is one of the best events in the area for its variety of activities. Whether you want to eat some of the most delicious food our area has to offer, hear some great music from local and national acts (Gin Blossoms is playing!), or if you just want to try and win a car, Taste of CU has everything you need. If the previous reasons weren’t enough to convince you, the proceeds to go to help local youth do a number of various activities, so you can feel good while you indulge and rock out. Did we mention Gin Blossoms is playing? They did that song “Hey Jealousy”! That song rules. Go to this.
http://champaignparks.com/taste-of-champaign-urbana/

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Public Library

Photo Courtesy of Champaign Public Library

In Concert at CPL: Emily Otnes– July 24 – August 1
The Champaign Public Library hosts monthly concerts and is bringing Tara Terra’s Emily Otnes to the stacks to play some of her own tunes. Otnes’ voice is sure to give you the feels and you can hear it on her band’s debut album “Daughter”, released in 2014. While you’re there, you may want to stop by the Friendshop Bookstore to pick up some inexpensive books to enjoy after the concert.
https://www.facebook.com/events/867821679958552/

Photo Courtesy of The Art Theater

Photo Courtesy of The Art Theater

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at the Art Theater – August 27 at 10
The Art Theater has amazing movies as part of their late-night series all the time, but you absolutely can’t miss Pee Wee Herman in his big screen debut. Tim Burton makes his directing debut with this zany film that’s truly an experience to behold; it’s been called his “strangest” film, which is a lot to say for the guy behind Ed Wood, Batman Returns, and Alice in Wonderland.
http://www.arttheater.coop/pee-wees-big-adventure/

Photo Courtesy of Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

Photo Courtesy of Urbana Sweetcorn Festival

Urbana Sweetcorn Festival – August 28 from 5-11 and August 29 from 11-11
Everybody loves a good ear of corn, and the best way to bring in the new semester is by going to the Sweetcorn Festival and having some there! If you’re not a fan of corn, there’s always lots of other food and fun available at the festival, with local vendors selling various goods and plenty of activities for people of all ages. One of the main draws for the festival is the music, and this year’s lineup surely won’t disappoint with acts like The Psychadelic Furs, The Church, and Berlin (the band that did “Take My Breath Away” in Top Gun. That’s right. Top Gun.).
http://urbanasweetcornfestival.com/

Did we miss any events that you’re excited about? Let us know in the comments!

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July Events

Summer. Photo Courtesy of Mikey A-Tucker via Flickr Media Commons

Summer. Photo Courtesy of Mikey A-Tucker via Flickr Media Commons

You may be beat from all the American fun of last weekend, but our area has a lot to offer for the rest of the month. If you need something more to do than a classic stroll through downtown Urbana, a nightcap over in downtown Champaign, or a leisurely picnic at one of the many parks in the area, this post will hopefully give you some ideas.

Champaign Music Festival. Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District

Champaign Music Festival. Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District

Champaign Music Festival– July 11 from 6-12

Downtown Champaign has seen its fair share of music this summer, be it from the beer garden shows at Mike N’ Molly’s or the smooth tunes featured during June’s Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival, and more nationally recognized acts are heading to the area for this year’s Champaign Music Festival. Late 90’s/early 00’s giants Smash Mouth will be strutting their stuff as well as 90’s alternative rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket. Admission is free, so there’s no reason to miss this offering of throwback hits.

https://champaignparks.com/champaign-music-festival/nggallery/page/1

The Fantasticks. Photo Courtesy of Bah Humbug Productions

The Fantasticks. Photo Courtesy of Bah Humbug Productions

The Fantasticks from Bah Humbug Productions – July 10-12 & 15-19

The Fantasticks is America’s longest running theater piece, remaining in production from 1960 onward. The performance is being put on by Bah Humbug Productions, a local community theater group that puts on various productions throughout the year. Parkland College’s New Second Stage will host the two weekend run of the show.

http://www.bahhumbug.biz/

Candy Foster and Shades of Blue. Photo Courtesy of Allerton Park and Retreat Center

Candy Foster and Shades of Blue. Photo Courtesy of Allerton Park and Retreat Center

Allerton Park Concert Series: Allerton Blues – July 10 from 6:30 – 9

Allerton Park is ridiculously beautiful. That’s a fact. Blues music can often be beautiful. Put the two together, and you’ve got a great night planned. Candy Foster and Shades of Blue provide the blues and with Candy’s smooth R&B stylings and Shades of Blue’s extensive resume (they’ve played with artists like The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin), this will be a fantastic night for all.

http://allerton.illinois.edu/event/allerton-blues/

The 92s. Photo Courtesy of The 92s

The 92s. Photo Courtesy of The 92s

The 92’s at Mike N Molly’s – July 4 at 11:05

There’s a lot of really great music being made in Champaign and acts regularly find themselves breaking out to larger audiences after cutting their teeth at local venues like Mike N Molly’s. One of the most promising bands to come out of CU in recent years is The 92’s, and the boys are coming back to town after their move to Chicago. Their infectious songs will truly move you, so head over to Mike N Molly’s for a fantastic Thursday night bill with locals Nick and the Nailed Its and Tried and True opening.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1655577277998698/

Champaign County Fair. Photo Courtesy of Champaign County Fair Association

Champaign County Fair. Photo Courtesy of Champaign County Fair Association

Champaign County Fair– July 24 – August 1

County fairs are a staple of the American Summer, so head to the County Fairgrounds to catch the Champaign County Fair. The Fair runs for 9 days and there’s a Demolition Derby, a rodeo, motorcycle race, and a Carnival every day, so there’s no reason to miss out on the fun.

http://www.champaigncountyfair.cc/index.html

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Independence Weekend Events

Independence Day is this weekend and, so long as aliens don’t invade the planet like in the ’96 classic film, CU and Champaign County is going to be the place to be for the holiday weekend. Whether you like to bright lights of fireworks or you want to indulge in some great local eats, we think we’ve found the perfect options for your July 4th weekend.

Photo courtesy of Alice via Flickr Media Commons

Photo courtesy of Alice via Flickr Media Commons

Local Flavors Dinner at Milo’s Restaurant– July 2
Presented by the Illinois Steward Alliance, the Local Flavors series gives you the chance to try some of Central Illinois’ finest restaurants as they serve seasonal items using strictly local ingredients from local farmers. Milo’s is a self-described “Nuevo American” restaurant that will prepare an amazing dinner to kick off your weekend.
http://www.ilstewards.org/local-flavors-2015/

Photo courtesy of Chloe via Flickr Media Commons

Photo courtesy of Chloe via Flickr Media Commons

Folk and Roots Friday Concert – July 3 from 12-1 pm
After having dinner at Milo’s, pack a healthy lunch and head over to the Lake House in Crystal Lake Park for a lunchtime concert, presented by Urbana Parks District. The concert is free and there’s a raffle as well as specials on boating if you have the day off and can bring the family!
http://www.urbanaparks.org/events/folk-and-roots-friday-concert-Jul/

Photo courtesy of USAG- Humphreys via Flickr Media Commons

Photo courtesy of USAG- Humphreys via Flickr Media Commons

Rantoul Freedom Celebration– July 3 from 5:30 – 11 pm
After you enjoy the music and lunch, the Rantoul National Aviation Center will be the place to be for an early celebration of our country’s independence. There’s a little bit of everything going on, including a 5K, a museum open house, paintball, and many other exciting events. A lot of fun to be had for only a half an hour drive north.
http://www.chambanamoms.com/events/rantoul-freedom-celebration/

Photo courtesy of Matthew via Flickr Media Commons

Photo courtesy of Matthew via Flickr Media Commons

Champaign County Freedom Celebration Parade – July 4 at 11:05 am
After sleeping in to celebrate your own independence and after a fun night in Rantoul, head down to Lincoln or Florida Ave to catch the most American of celebrations: the parade. Expect many of the traditional parade fare such as marching bands, performers of various kinds, and veterans and firemen. Slap on some sunblock and spend your 4th outside in the sun.
http://www.july4th.net/parade

Photo courtesy of bayasaa via Flickr Media Commons

Photo courtesy of bayasaa via Flickr Media Commons

Champaign County Freedom Celebration Evening Program – July 4 at 7 pm
After the parade, head over to Kirby Ave between First and Oak Streets for the entertainment and fireworks display. Bounce houses and inflatables will be set up for the kids, music for everyone, and the grand fireworks presentation from Melrose Pyrotechnics. The perfect end to a perfect weekend.
http://www.july4th.net/evening-program

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Summer Music Festivals

Knebworth_Fair_1976_-_The_Rolling_Stones_-_Geograph-3536179-by-Richard-Humphrey

The Rolling Stones at the 1976 Knebworth Festival. Photo by Richard Humphrey.

The music festival season is once again in full swing! Every summer brings seemingly more and more options for concert fans to choose from. Festivals can be a great way to experience a wide variety of musical acts from the superstar headliners to lesser-known local groups. Many music festivals have been expanding their offerings to include literature readings, art displays, and massive record and merchandise tents. Recent years have also seen festivals focus further on partnering with innovative local food and beverage companies. The UGL is here to highlight some of the festivals that will be going down in Illinois as well as a couple in locales a little further away.

MUSIC_SLEATER_KINNEY_ADV04_6A

Sleater-Kinney. Photo by SLEATER92.

Pitchfork, arguably the most prominent music website in recent years, puts on an excellent festival in Chicago in Union Park. This year’s festival takes place from July 17-19, and will feature Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and hometown hero Chance the Rapper as headliners. Other performers of interest include Future Islands, Run the Jewels, Courtney Barnett, and Vince Staples, among many others. I’ve been to the Pitchfork Music Festival a couple times, and it’s always a good time. Pitchfork does a good job splitting the difference between the super huge festivals (Coachella, Bonnaroo, etc.) and the smaller more niche festivals, while still offering a varied lineup.

Flickr_-_moses_namkung_-_Bon_Iver_3

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Photo by Moses.

If you’re looking to travel a little further afield for a festival experience, you should consider checking out the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Founded by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and The National’s Aaron Dessner, this festival seeks to “encourage music-genre-walls to melt away.” The lineup includes Bon Iver, The National, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, and Low. It also includes some artists that don’t fall under the indie rock umbrella, such as hip-hop collective Doomtree, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sturgill Simpson (for my money the best contemporary Country artist), and Japanese noise rock all-stars Melt Banana. First-year music festivals can sometimes be dicey propositions, but this one should be well worth visiting, especially if you are a fan of Bon Iver or The National.

Frank_Ocean_Lollapalooza_2012

Frank Ocean performing at Lollapalooza in 2012. Photo by Shane Hirschman

One of the monsters of the summer music festival circuit, Lollapalooza is taking place in Chicago’s Grant Park from July 31st to August 2nd this year. Lollapalooza always draws massive headliners, and this year is no exception with Paul McCartney, Metallica, and Florence + the Machine taking the top three slots on the bill. Lolla features a ton of acts, but here’s a brief sample of some of the non-headliners: Sam Smith, Tame Impala, A$AP Rocky, Bassnectar, and TV on the Radio. On the culinary side of things, the festival’s Chow Town food section is curated by Graham Elliot of MasterChef fame. If you can swing the high ticket prices and large crowds, Lollapalooza is a treasure trove of musical entertainment.

Sweetcorn_(3862388313)

Photo by Suzette.

If you’re looking for something a little more local, I’d recommend checking out the Urbana Sweet Corn Festival. Set in downtown Urbana, this year’s festival takes place on August 28th and 29th. British post-punk/new wave rockers The Psychedelic Furs will be headlining the festival this year. Eddie Money and Kansas were the last two headliners to give you an idea of the festival’s target demographic. Although the musical acts skew a little older than some of the other aforementioned festivals, it’s still a great time, particularly if you’re interested in eating delicious locally grown sweet corn.

Tune_Yards_2012

Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards

Although the Pygmalion Festival technically starts on the first day of Fall, I can’t avoid mentioning the biggest Champaign-Urbana festival. This year’s fest takes place from September 23rd to the 27th, and features musical acts Ride, Purity Ring, Tune-Yards, and Strand of Oaks among others. The festival takes place at various venues around Champaign-Urbana, and includes a number of tech speakers and literature readings, including Stephen Wolfram, Will Leitch, and Brandon Stosuy. One cool thing about this festival is you can buy individual tickets for shows or speakers if you don’t have the time or money to get the full festival pass. Pygmalion is going to be announcing more musical acts and speakers in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled for announcements.

Are there any summer music festivals in the area that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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June Events

The Illini may not be flying down the field or storming up the court, but CU is still a great place to be during the summer months. Here are just a few events happening in the area for the month of June that will keep you full, festive, and having fun.

Hot Rod Power TourJune 7
Sponsored by Hot Rod Magazine, the 21st Annual Hot Rod Power Tour is rolling into Parkland College on June 7 and will feature some of the nicest vehicles this country has to offer. If cruisin’ down the highway and putting the top down is your idea of a good time, this is the event for you.
www.visitchampaigncounty.org/hotrod

Photo Courtesy of Follow the Farmstead

Follow the FarmsteadJune 12-13 from 8am-2pm
Have you ever wondered how Champaign County farmers get it all done? Then you can join Visit Champaign County the Champaign County Farm Bureau on the first ever Follow the Farmstead to get an in-depth look into the agricultural industry in and around Champaign County. This event is family-oriented and will give participants the opportunity to do a range of things including learning about the newest farming technology or meeting farm animals!
www.visitchampaigncounty.org/followthefarmstead

Photo Courtesy of Uncork Urbana Wine Festival

Uncork Urbana Wine FestivalJune 13 from 1pm-9pm
For those of you of drinking age, Uncork Urbana Wine Festival looks to showcase some of the incredible wines the state of Illinois has to offer in the serenity of downtown Urbana. Admission is $10 for individuals 21 & over and includes a souvenir wine glass and five tasting tickets. There will also be live music from local favorites such as Emily Otnes (Tara Terra), Ryan Groff (Elsinore), and The Diva & The Dude as well as food trucks to balance out some of the delicious wine.

www.urbanabusiness.com/uncork-urbana-wine-festival/

Photo Courtesy of urbanalove

urbanalove Summer Movie NightsJune 13 at sunset
urbanalove is a local group dedicated to showcasing the wonders of downtown Urbana. One of their premier events is a monthly film screening shown outside for free. The June movie is The Royal Tenenbaums, a modern classic by the extremely talented and focused Wes Anderson. The movies screen at sunset and give viewers the opportunity to see classic films while also connecting with their local community and neighbors.
www.urbanalove.org

Photo Courtesy of Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival

Blues, Brews, and BBQ FestivalJune 26 & 27
This festival brings together some essential summer staples: music, drink, and food. Though a $5 donation is suggested, the event is free and open to the public and will feature performances by blues players from across the country, BBQ from the finest local establishments, and various forms of drinks. Also happening during the festival is a motorcycle show so you can check out some fancy rides. All this is going down in downtown Champaign behind the News Gazette Office.
www.bluesbrewsandbbqfest.com/

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Reader’s Advisory: Graphic Novels

Rejoice dear UGLers – this blog post is sure to excite! Forget about all that humdrum required reading you had to do during the school year – it’s time for some positively pulsating tales from the house of wonder. Got summer blockbusters on the brain? All those heroes on the big screen got their start somewhere, and now’s your chance to catch up on the breathtaking back-stories behind your fabulous costumed favorites.

The following reader’s advisory is going to highlight some of the new graphic novels added to the UGL’s already impressive collection. Dive in and learn some of the scintillating secrets of this summer’s biggest stars!

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

If you have been paying attention to the commercials on television, you may have noticed that there is a tiny movie coming out later this summer. Marvel’s Ant-Man is being released in theaters on July 17th and what better way to prepare than read some of the character’s most iconic stories. Focusing on the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym, Essential Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1 contains the earliest adventures of the tiny scientist including his infamous origin story.

Marvel's Fear Itself

Marvel’s Fear Itself

Marvel’s Fear Itself

If ant-sized characters aren’t really your style, the UGL recently acquired Marvel’s Fear Itself series. The Fear Itself series is an example of Marvel’s recent history with sweeping, epic story-lines that include some of their most famous characters. This series depicts the likes of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Thor, among many others, dealing with an otherworldly threat called the Serpent. With numerous characters highlighted in various tie-ins, this series is a must read for the die-hard Marvel fan.

Hulk: Season One

Hulk: Season One

Hulk: Season One

Did you see how awesome the Hulk was in Marvel’s smash hit Avengers: Age of Ultron? Well if you can’t get enough of the green goliath you should check out Tom Fowler and Fred Van Lente’s retelling of the origin of “the other guy” in Hulk: Season One. This acclaimed story brings together classic characters and some surprising new ones, all while modernizing everyone’s favorite green rage-monster.

The New 52: Justice League

The New 52: Justice League

The New 52: Justice League
If you are getting burnt out on the Marvel extravaganza of the last few years, DC comics has a few characters that are sure to delight. The New 52 Justice League series contains some of the company’s most iconic heroes including the Flash, Cyborg, and everyone’s favorite: Batman. With Warner Bros. releasing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice next March, its a good time to read up on the slew of DC characters coming to the big screen.

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Sometimes heroes can be a little boring, so maybe reading a villain-centric graphic novel will entice you. Harley Quinn: Hot in the City is an outrageous story following Harley Quinn the infamous villain and anti-hero known to most Batman fans. While this graphic novel may lack in realism, it does not lack in hilarity or extravagance. And don’t forget, Harley will finally be making her big screen debut next fall in Warner Bros. Suicide Squad. So what better way to spend you summer than to mentally prepare for that villainous flick?

These selections are just a small portion of the new and exciting graphic novels added to our collection. If you aren’t familiar with our impressive assortment of graphic novels you should swing by the lower level of the UGL to see what we have to offer. Do you have any other suggestions for the comic book fan in us all? Send us your suggestions now! Excelsior!

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