You live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that's the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti.

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you'd like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Mondays.


WHAT: Teen book author Sharon Flake to visit library and schools

WHEN: Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10; see below for schedule

WHERE: Libraries and middle schools in Champaign; see below for schedule

From the event announcement:

"Sharon Flake says her books for teens are about 'hope in hard places.' The author of The Skin I'm In — and recipient of numerous author and book awards — will be in Champaign next week, a guest of the Champaign Public Library."

Monday, November 9

Franklin Middle School, 817 N. Harris St., 351-3819
The author will be in the school library 12 pm-1:25 pm; formal presentation 1:30-2:05 pm; in the library again 2:10-2:55 pm.

Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., 403-2086
Free, public presentation 7-8 pm, Robeson Pavilion Room A & B
Book signing 8-8:45 pm

Tuesday, November 10

Jefferson Middle School, 1115 S. Crescent Dr., 351-3790
Formal presentation: 9:30-10:30 am; student contest winners will meet the author in the school library from 10:30-11 am

Edison Middle School, 306 W. Green St., 351-3771
Formal presentation 1:08-1:50 pm
"Meet & Greet" in the school library 1:55-2:40 pm

Douglass Branch Library, 504 E. Grove St., 403-2090
Free, public "Meet & Greet" 4-4:45 pm


WHAT: "A Tale of Two Revolts: India 1857 and the American Civil War," by Rajmohan Gandhi, Res. Prof., CSAMES

WHEN: Tuesday, November 10 @ 12 noon

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, room 1080, Foreign Language Building

Professor Gandhi is a grandson of Mohatma Gandhi and has written a biography of his grandfather, The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi. He's a visiting professor at the U of I, but is a research professor at the Centre for Policy Studies in New Delhi.

His point of view on the parallels between the Indian independence movement and the U.S. Civil War should be interesting, to say the least.


WHAT: "Memories of War — Iraq & Afghanistan" Panel Discussion Presents Perspective of Local Veterans

WHEN: Tuesday, November 10 @ 7 p.m.

WHERE: Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St.

From the event announcement: "Ray Elliott, a Marine veteran and author of Iwo Blasted Again and Wild Hands Toward the Sky, will moderate. 'This won't be a political discussion,' Elliott said, 'but a chance for the public to better understand the experiences and sacrifices of those who have served in the present wars — what they saw and did, how they've internalized it, and how they adjust back to civilian life.' Panelists will include Sgt Bryan Abbott, GySgt Shawn Johnston, S/Sgt Katie Maglia, 2nd LT Shannon Potts, and SSG John Robinson."


WHAT: "What's Yours is Mine: Contemporary Art, Appropriation, and Traditional Copyright," by Dr. Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris, Director of the Center for Human Origin and Cultural Diversity at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

WHEN: Wednesday, November 11 @ 7 p.m.

WHERE:  The Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory, Urbana

Dr. Harris will be looking at the issue of copyright from an angle I wouldn't have expected: that of contemporary Papua New Guinea artists and their use of traditional forms in their works.


WHAT: "Choosing Change: a Symposium on the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall"

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 11 through Friday, Nov. 13; see schedule below

WHERE:  Various locations; see schedule below

Wednesday, November 11

Film Screening, 7-10 p.m., Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages
Building, 707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana. Lives of Others (2006). Professor Anke Pinkert, German, introduction; Professor Karl-Heinz Schoeps, German, Q&A.

Thursday, November 12:

Faculty Panel, 3-4:30 p.m., General Lounge, Room 210, Illini Union, 1401 W.
Green St., Urbana. "Personal Narratives on the Fall of the Berlin Wall." Moderator: Professor Anna Stenport, German.

Participants: Professor Yasemin Yildiz, German; Regine Kroh, German; Dr. Eva Grünstein-Neuman, Champaign-Urbana; Professor Anke Pinkert, German; and Professor Marcus Keller, French.

Keynote address, 5:15-6:45 p.m., General Lounge, Room 210, Illini Union. Gabriele Gysi, Berlin:"Der Flügelschlag eines Schmetterlings..., die DDR als Mikrokosmos der Weltpolitik" (lecture in German).

Friday, November 13:

"Post-1989 Literature and Culture: New Approaches" (graduate student
panel), 9-11 a.m., 2090B Foreign Languages Building: Moderator: Professor Stephanie Hilger, German.

Participants: Molly Markin, German; Regine Kroh, German; Daria Kabanova, Comparative and World Literature; Jessica Wienhold, Comparative and World Literature; Soeren Priebe, German.


WHAT: "The Spin Myth: What We Think We Know about Media Coverage of War and Why We're Wrong," by Scott Althaus, Associate Professor of Communication and Political Science, UIUC

WHEN: Friday, November 13 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE:  213 Gregory Hall

Perhaps they actually do report and we decide, then. It's so much simpler to just trust and not have to worry about any "agendas," anyway. Thank goodness.