If you're still reeling from the post-Halloween sugar crash into time change double whammy, take heart.  The November arts scene is chock full of delicious treats, especially early in the month. So ditch the jammies and the plans for an early night, and head out to explore the best in dance, theatre, and visual art. 
 

2019 Illinois Art+Design Faculty Exhibition

Life in a college town means we are continually surrounded by inspiring, brilliant faculty in a wide variety of fields.  And sometimes we take this for granted. For visual arts fans, the annual Illinois Art+Design Faculty Exhibition is a rare opportunity to get to see these extraordinary teachers as talented artists they are.  This is a change to experience the full range of faculty work in studio arts, art education, craft, new media, and design disciplines. Don't miss it. 

This year's exhibition features a special collab, a live performance, the last of three, of Deke Weaver's TIGER, which you can enjoy on Thursday, November 7th at 7 p.m. ICYMI, check out our recent preview of TIGER here, and stay tuned for upcoming preview interview with fashion faculty member and TIGER collaborator, Susan Becker. We've also be covering the performance and the entire faculty show, so stay tuned for more here. 

Learn more about the members of the Illinois Art+Design Faculty who are exhibiting in this year's show.

2019 Illinois Art+Design Faculty Exhibition
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody, Champaign
October 31st through December 7th, free
Performance of TIGER on November 7th at 7 p.m. 
Get KAM hours here

Photo of art by Melissa Pokorny, Steven Cartwright, and Ryan Griffis from the 2018 Illinois Art+Design Faculty Exhibition, from KAM website

November Dance

After last month's effervescent Studiodance performance, I am so ready for November Dance 2019. And in honor of KCPA and Dance at Illinois' 50th anniversary season, November Dance's program both looks back and reaches forward. Featuring reconstructions of José Limón’s "Psalm," segments of "Deca Dance" by Ohad Naharin, as well as new work from  Jennifer Monson's, based on her explorations of choreographies of disaster, plus Denzel Thompson-Stout's "Manifesting Our Movement; Manifesting Our Dance."

This program promises a range of style and historic references that will show you the exciting and innovative dance performances being brewed up at Dance Illinois. It will guide you back into modern dance history and forward into new reimaginings and directions.  Contemporary dance is narrative, it is compelling, it is relevant, and it is worth the trip to KCPA. 

November Dance
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin, Urbana
November 7th through 9th, 7:30 p.m.

Photo from Facebook event page

 

40 North ACE Awards Celebration

The 40 North ACE Awards Celebration is the closest thing we have to the esteemed Kennedy Center Awards. It is a recognition of creativity, talent, generousity of time and spirit, and the power of art to transform us as a community and as individuals. Last year's event was one of my first as Smile Politely's arts editor.  It is one I won't ever forget. It cemented my decades-long commitment to this art scene in all its flavors. It reminded me how lucky I am to live in a community where art is not only made, but celebrated. To quote the 40 North slogan, art is work.  It is hard work, often done alone.  And behind each work of visual arts or music, is a tribe of teachers, volunteers, and friends who were instrumental in its birth. The ACE Awards celebrates them too. 

Come out to support the winners, learn more about the work they're doing and be inspired by the range of talent, commitment, and love. You're cold early winter will grow three sizes. I promise .

40 North ACE Awards Celebration
The City Center
503 S Chestnut St, Champaign
November 8th, 5:30 p.m. $10 

 

Theatre Re's The Nature of Forgetting

As its name suggestions, this work tackles the nature of memory, its creation, and its loss. Follow "the story of Tom, a middle-aged father who is struggling in the early stages of dementia. A life-affirming journey into a weakened mind as well as a shining celebration of memory and a life well lived." Created out of powerful collaboration between neuroscience and performance, The Nature of Forgetting promises a uniquely multi-disciplinary experience featuring mime, theatre, and live music. 

This is the kind of production that is well-suited to a community like ours where science research and the performing arts live and often work together to take on those timeless questions of memory and self. 

Theatre Re's The Nature of Forgetting
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin, Urbana
November 12th, 7:30 p.m.

Photo from Facebook event page

 

Peter and the Starcatcher

You might be surprised to see a musical here on my list.  Lately I've been sending myself and you, dear readers, to experience a number of challenging and important works.  And while I will never regret that, I do believe in balance. Peter and the Starcatcher is coming to the Parkland College Theatre, and here's why I think we should all see it. Written by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson, and adapted by Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher imagines the life of its hero pre-Peter Pan. And who doesn't love a good origin story. Especially one that offers us the backstory of a complex character like Pan. 

Under the expert direction of Mathew Green, who I'll be interviewing later this month, this production promises a well-blended mix of music, pirate battles, and adventures that will, as they say, offer something for everyone.  So as we begin to enter the winter holiday season of gathering with family for good cheer, I'd say this will definitely fit the bill. 

Peter and the Starcatcher
Parkland College's Harold and Jean Miner Theatre
2400 S Bradley Ave, Champaign
November 14th through 24th
Tickets: Adults: $20 for adults, $18 fo students/seniors/youth/veterans/, $16 for groups of 10+
Reserve tickets online here

Image from Facebook event page