September Events

September is in full swing, and with the beginning of the school year also comes the beginning of fall events! Check out our roundup of events happening on campus and around Champaign-Urbana this month.

Greatest Midwest Food Town Celebration

MidwestLiving Greatest Midwest Food Town Celebration Logo

Greatest Midwest Food Town Celebration

Where: Urbana’s Market at the Square, The Blind Pig Brewery, and Grange Grove

When: September 9th, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Celebrate Champaign-Urbana being named the best Midwest Food Town by MidwestLiving Magazine with food samples, games, giveaways and music. The day begins at Urbana’s Market at the Square, moving to Blind Pig at 12:45 pm and ending the day at Grange Grove at 4:00 pm. Free admission.

Krannert Center Opening Night Party

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Krannert Center Opening Night Party

Where: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

When: September 14th, 6:00 pm

The Krannert Center’s Opening Night Party this year is also celebrating ELLNORA Guitar Festival and the University of Illinois Sesquicentennial with blues and folk music, food, crafts, and a showcase of mini-performances. Try your hand at screen-printing and guitar pick jewelry-making, and marvel at the community guitar gallery hung throughout the Lobby along with food and music. Admission is $5.

CU Pride Fest 2017

CU Pride Rainbow Logo

CU Pridefest 2017

Where: Downtown Champaign

When: Events September 15-17

Sponsored by Uniting Pride, celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride with events September 15-17 in Downtown Champaign! Pride Fest kicks off at 6:00 pm on Friday, September 15th with live music, drag shows, and comedy at 51 Main. Pride Fest continues on Saturday with the CU Pride Parade at 4 pm, and an afterparty at 51 Main. The weekend wraps up on Sunday at 11:00 am with a Drag Brunch at City View. Admission prices vary.

The Pygmalion Festival

Pygmalion Festival Logo

Pygmalion Festival Logo

Where: Downtown Champaign

When: September 20-24

The 13th year of the Pygmalion Festival brings food, drink, music, technology, and literature to an intimate event. Pygmalion highlights local bands, authors, restaurants and innovators, and focuses on creating a festival experience that is meaningful, impactful, and sustainable. Tickets are available as single day passes or full weekend passes.

Stargazing at Meadowbrook Park

MeadowBrook Park at Night

Stargazing at Meadowbrook Park

Where: Meadowbrook Park, 2808 S. Race Street

When: Thursday, September 21, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Celebrate the last days of summer with outdoor stargazing at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. Join expert astronomers from the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society and William M. Staerkel Planetarium to learn about stargazing and observe through high powered professional telescopes. Bring a blanket and a telescope of your own if you have one! Free admission.

Urbana Food Truck Rally

Urbana Food Truck Rally Logo

Urbana Food Truck Rally

Where: Urbana Civic Center, 108 E. Walter Street

When: Tuesday, September 26th, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come one, come all to the lunchtime food truck rally series in Downtown Urbana! The last Tuesday of every month features a convergence of local food trucks in Downtown Urbana for a lunch time break. Food trucks for September include Dragon Fire Pizza, Chester’s BBQ, The Empanadas House, and more. Indulge your tastebuds for a lunch time treat. Free admission, cost for food.

Hopefully we’ve covered most of the major events happening around Champaign-Urbana for the month of September, but if we missed anything, reach out to us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages, and stay tuned for an events post every month!

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December Events

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! December is a very busy month, which means lots of fun activities around campus and Champaign-Urbana. Take a break from studying and enjoy the holiday season around town as fall semester comes to a close.

Urbana First Fridays

ff

https://www.facebook.com/UrbanaFirstFridays/?fref=ts

Kick off the month with the Urbana December First Friday. From 4:30 to 11pm on December 2nd, stop by participating businesses in downtown Urbana for a night of delicious food and various cultures with over 30 events.  Mistletoe Market will also be taking place during this time. With 25 local artisans selling handmade items, this is a good chance to shop for holiday gifts (or #treatyoself) and support the local community.

The Nutcracker

nutcracker

https://krannertcenter.com/events/nutcracker

Starting Thursday, December 1st and running through Sunday, December 4th, watch the Champaign-Urbana Ballet perform the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, accompanied by the Champaign-Urbana Orchestra. The ballet will be performed at the Tyron Festival Theatre. Tickets range in price from $21 to $45, and they are going quickly!

Annual Krannert Carol Concert

krannert

https://krannertcenter.com/events/annual-carol-concert-2016

Come to the Foellinger Great Hall this Sunday, December 4th, at 3pm to join in with the choruses, instrumentalists, and fellow audience members to “celebrate the winter season!” With tickets starting at $4, this would be a fun and inexpensive way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Season of Light

planetarium

http://www.chambanamoms.com/events/season-of-light-3-2016-12-02/

On December 17th, head to the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College to learn about the history of many of the world’s holiday customs which all involve lighting up the winter season. Find out more information about historical religious and cultural rituals that take place during the winter solstice.  Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the door.

Public Ice Skating

ice

https://campusrec.illinois.edu/programs/ice-skating/public-skating/

Really embrace the winter season by going ice skating! University of Illinois students receive free admission and $2 skate rentals. Check out the website for a complete list of times when the arena is open to the public.

Free Yoga

yoga

http://kam.illinois.edu/events/experiences.html

Did this semester stress you out? Find some relaxation at a free yoga class, offered every Tuesday from noon-1pm, at the Krannert Art Museum.

We hope we’ve covered the major events happening in Champaign-Urbana for the next month…but if we missed anything, let us know! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

 

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September Events

It’s almost sweater weather, but there are still plenty of outdoors things to do before the winter descends upon us. Read on for the latest scoop on September events.

 

Parade in Downtown Champaign

Photo by Daniel Schwen

Urbana Labor Day Parade- September 5th, 10am — Free

Celebrate workers and historic labor movements in America at the annual Labor Day Parade! The parade starts at 10am at Lincoln Square, so get a good seat! After the parade there will be a picnic in Prairie Park, featuring food, games, and a local union softball game.

Champaign Urbana Pride Festival

Champaign-Urbana Pride

Champaign Urbana Pride Festival — Free

Yet another historic & “sick’ning” celebration is happening in CU this month. Pride Festivals began in 1969 after the Stonewall Riot, which served as a catalyst for LGBTQ movements in America. Join the CU Pride Festival for events including a parade, drag shows (featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumnus- Jade Sotomayor), comedy, dancing, and workshops. Check their website for updates and more events!

The Pygmalion Festival

The Pygmalion Festival

The Pygmalion Festival- Weekends, September 16-24 — Prices Vary

You can come for the music, Made Fest, or the literary and technology lectures, but whatever you do, don’t miss Pygmalion. Pygmalion is known for its line-up of music artists, but it also features many free events: a market of handmade items from local and regional artists and an impressive group of authors, scientists, and others who will present their work. Buy tickets for the music events, but Made Fest and lectures are free! And as always, there will be food.

Celebrating Labor History

Celebrating Labor History Event

Celebrating Labor History with Rep. Carol Ammons September 15th 5-7pm — Free

If you’re not a fan of the outdoors or loud parades, we do have one indoor event on the calendar for September: a lecture with Representative Carol Ammons on the history of local unions and labor in Champaign County and Illinois. Dinner is provided.

Flannel Fest

Flannel Fest

Flannel Fest — Free

It’s almost plaid season! Break out that flannel you haven’t worn in months and join the Flannel Fest. Flannel Fest features music, art demos, games, crafts, food trucks, a mustache contest, and a Lumberjack show. When was the last time you saw axe throwing? To round out this event, regional mattress company Bemco is sponsoring the Human Mattress Domino event, which allows community members to purchase mattresses to be donated to homeless shelters in central Illinois. Those who cannot afford to purchase a mattress may also donate in smaller increments.

Ghostbusters Outdoor Screening

Ghostbusters (2016) Outdoor Screening

Ghostbusters Outdoor Movie Sept. 22nd Starts at Dusk (Approx 8:15pm) – Free

If you’re bored on September 22nd, who you gonna call? The Women’s Resource Center is hosting a screening of the recent Ghostbusters remake later this month on the Quad. What’s better than a group of women kicking ghost butt? If you ain’t afraid of no ghost, you better come.

We hope we’ve covered the major events happening in Champaign-Urbana for the next month…but if we missed anything, let us know! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.

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May Events

May has finally graced us with its presence and it brings wonderful events along with flowers and sunshine just before (and some after, for those of you sticking around) graduation. We’re going to avoid having graduation itself on this list so those of you ignoring its ever-looming presence may be at ease and are instead going to focus on some of the lighter and less real-life-inducing things you can do around town this month. With events ranging from the swansong of a local music staple to the always pleasant opportunity to take in some nature, we hope we’ll find a little something for everyone this month.

For those of you graduating, we wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors and we thank you for sharing some of your time at the U of I with us here at the UGL. Congratulations to the class of 2016!

Photo taken from methodshop on Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo taken from ScypaxPictures on Flickr Creative Commons.

 

How to Be Single at the Illini Union – May 6 and 7 at 7pm

Sometimes it seems like the only way to make it through finals is to watch a laugh-out-loud movie with friends. Lucky for you, the good folks at the Illini Union are going to screen the new How to Be Single movie, starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson for those of you looking looking to take a break from all that cramming. This funny, smart, not-so-original rom-com may be all you need to get you through this coming week.

Photo taken from Facebook event page.

Photo taken from Facebook event page.

The Final Show at Mike N Molly’s – May 13 at 7:30pm

Many of the events blogs we’ve posted in the past have featured glimpses into the deep musical soul of our twin cities and many of those past events have been hosted at one of CU’s finest local music venues: Mike N Molly’s. As the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end” and May 13 will be the final night for locals to bask in the glorious sounds that can be found emanating from the glorious green bar in Downtown Champaign. Local giants Withershins will play the final set ever and while we would advise seeing them anytime they’re playing around town, we think this performance will be even a bit more special. It’s a night that will be remembered for many years to come just like the ceremony happening the days following it.

University of Illinois Arboretum.

University of Illinois Arboretum.

Visit the UI Arboretum – Anytime

If you’ve never been to the Arboretum over near the intersection of Lincoln and South Florida Avenues, anytime in May would be the perfect time to visit. The Japan House is a serene spot where you can simply sit and watch an afternoon slip on by or if you head toward the back of the Arboretum you’ll find yourself lost in the flowers of the Selection Garden, sure to be in bloom by the end of finals and offering more colors than you can imagine in one place. The Idea Garden is another beautiful spot to spend some time in and overall, we think you’ll find some sense of inner peace when walking around on a sunny day. And after finals, that may be just what you need.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Sounds at Sunset Concert Series at Clark Park – May 22 from 6pm to 8pm

Champaign-Urbana is chock full of lovely parks that are a great place to spend a summer day and the Parks District is looking to bring even more people to them this summer with their Sounds at Sunset Concert Series. May 22 will feature the Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project, a group that is sure to play some lively and intricate tunes that could be the cap to a perfect weekend. The parks department encourages you to bring chairs and refreshments, so put on your weekend shorts and shades and listen to some great music as the sun goes down before another work week.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Photo taken from the Champaign Park District.

Sholem Aquatic Center Opening Day Celebration – May 28 from 11am to 7pm

Summer and all its sunshine and warmth will hopefully be in full swing by the end of the month and the best way to cool off is to hit the pool. Sholem Aquatic Center will be celebrating its opening day and for only $9 for admission, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to beat the heat.

 

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March Events

March is possibly the best month for events as winter finally starts to dwindle away and as the snow melts, the city shakes itself into a frenzy of activity. We can’t promise that the snow is going to stay away all month, but we can promise that CU is rife with events that are worthy of your time and we’ve done our best to come up with a list of some of the greatest you can find. We’ll assume you already have plans for spring break and will leave that week and weekend out.

Poster for Grapes of Wrath at Krannert

Photo taken from Krannert website.

The Grapes of Wrath at Krannert March 3-13
John Steinbeck is undeniably one of the greatest authors America has ever produced and many believe “The Grapes of Wrath” to be his finest work. Yeah, that book you read in high school about the Dust Bowl, you remember it. Well, Krannert is putting on the staged production of the novel for a few weeks and it’s definitely one you won’t want to miss. The working class struggles of the Tom Joad and his comrades are ones that resonate as deeply today as they ever have, so give yourself a nice night at the theater and check this one out for only $10 student tickets.

Poster for Urinetown

Photo taken from Illini Student Musicals website.

Urinetown at Gregory Hall Theatre – March 11 and 12 at 7:30pm and 13 at 2:30pm
Illini Student Musicals is an organization dedicated to putting on high quality musical productions here at the University and will be presenting “Urinetown”, the Tony-Award winning musical romp by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis. Musicals aren’t necessarily for everyone, but this is one that even the most discerning person will find themselves in stitches by intermission. Tickets are only 10 bucks for student and the three nights make it a flexible plan for even the busiest person.

Photo Noir Art Show at Gallery 217 – March 11 through April
While one could simply visit the new Student Art Gallery on the Upper Level of the UGL, one may also want to make a trip out of seeing new and exciting local art. Gallery 217 has a fantastic downtown location and has been putting on amazing art shows featuring local and regional talent. We suggest hitting Pekara just up the road for some bread then checking out the brooding and beautiful noir photography work this show will offer.

Watson’s Shack & Rail – Anytime
Normally we try to pick specific events for these posts, but since Spring Break falls right in the middle of March, we thought we’d give everyone something they could do that week if they’re around or another week if they feel like it. One of the hottest new restaurants causing mass salivation in downtown Champaign is Watson’s Shack & Rail, the new fried chicken place. If that alone doesn’t excite you, take a look at their website. How good does that look? And for those of you with dietary restrictions, the locally sourced salads and grilled cheese look like they surely won’t disappoint. Make a night of it!

Poster for Spotlight Film Series

Photo taken from Illini Union website.

Spotlight Film Series: Carol at the Illini Union – March 29 at 7pm
Though this blog was written before the Oscar’s and we therefore do not know the results, we can still say that “Carol” is one of the top movies that came out in 2015 and is one you surely don’t want to miss. So long as you have your i-Card, you can see this movie at the Union on March 29 for free (along with other great movies featuring stories highlighting the struggles women have faced throughout history the rest of the month). This one’s a no-brainer, really. Free. Award nominated (and possibly winning). Free. Done.

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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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November Music Events

In honor of American Music Month, this week’s blog is dedicated to musical events around campus. Who doesn’t love going to a concert and experiencing some new music? Champaign-Urbana consistently draws a wide variety of acts across many genres, so there’s probably something that you’d enjoy seeing. Grab a friend, get some food, and then go experience some new music. It’s the recipe for a perfect night.

Photo courtesy of The Canopy Club

Photo courtesy of The Canopy Club

GWAR at The Canopy Club – November 2 at 8:00pm

If you don’t know who/what GWAR is, you should probably go to this show. The self described “masters of Earth”, GWAR have been taking over our puny planet for around 30 years with their blend of heavy metal and insane stage antics; it’s nearly impossible to leave a GWAR show without being covered in fake blood and feeling AWESOME for it. American music has always been subversive and shocking and it pretty much does not get more subversive or shocking than GWAR.

http://canopyclub.com/events/gwar-3/

Photo Courtesy of Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Photo Courtesy of Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

“I was a bum once myself.” at Smith Memorial Hall – November 10 at 7:30pm

This unique performance is unlike any other on this list and is sure not to be missed by those of you interested in the vast scope of American music. Presented by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, this performance features Chris Rainier performing guitar pieces by the famous microtonal composer and instrument builder Harry Partch. Pieces arranged for voice and arranged guitar that detail the rough lives of 1930’s hobos will be the focus of the evening and Rainier will be performing these pieces on a guitar specially constructed for this event. Admission is free, so catch this one-of-a-kind performance for a deep look into American history.

http://archives.library.illinois.edu/sousa/upcoming-concerts-lectures/

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Illinois Modern Ensemble at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts – November 17 at 7:30pm

Rock music may not be for everyone, so this performance by UIUC’s Modern Ensemble will be a delight to those searching for something a bit different. The ensemble performs regularly and highlights pieces by famous American composers such as Steve Reich, the legendary American minimalist, and Augusta Read Thomas, the masterful American experimental composer, as well as original pieces by students and faculty. This performance is only $4 for students and will force you to reach beyond your expectations of what music truly can be and connect you with a the deep experimentation found in so much modern American music.

http://krannertcenter.com/performance.aspx?id=201572110381242012817410782

Photo courtesy of Mike 'N Molly's

Photo courtesy of Mike ‘N Molly’s

Solo Showcase at Mike ‘N Molly’s – November 19 at 8pm

The origins of the punk rock movement of the 1970s and beyond are as much of an argument as any, but it is safe to say that punk has been a huge movement in America since the first power chord was struck. Innovation runs rampant through the genre and this Solo Showcase at local watering hole and popular local music venue Mike ‘N Molly’s will certainly show off the flexibility and innovation that can be found in this ever-expanding genre. Headlining is local visual artist Kamila Glowacki whose band Kowabunga! Kid has toured across this country and play an exceptionally surfy brand of punk. Other performers include members of local favorites Roberta Sparrow and Street Justice, so head over to downtown Champaign for a unique night of passionate performance.

http://mikenmollys.com/shows/76/solo-showcase

Photo courtesy of Art Theater

Photo courtesy of Art Theater

Marathon Guitarkestra at The Art Theater Co-op – November 21 at 10pm

Living in such a creative and open-minded city has many benefits for all sorts of artists- Marathon is one of the best examples of a group of artists taking advantage of the openness of this area. Marathon creates drone music in the occasional form of a “guitarkestra”- an ensemble of 6 guitarists, 2 drummers, and a bassist all working to create a massive amount of pleasurable and quite solid feeling sound. This performance is a rare one and not to be missed for several reasons: The Art Theater typically does not have musical performers and is an incredible space for this occasion, this performance is in honor of the release of Marathon’s new LP “Sanctuary”, and the Media Commons’ own Jake Metz will be performing live video manipulation for the performance. American music takes so many forms and is constantly reinterpreting itself and this is probably the closest one could get to truly feeling that slow, intense, passionate change.

https://www.facebook.com/events/979024715474150/

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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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