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2015 Murals On Glass artists revealed

The City of Urbana Public Arts Program recently announced the artists for the new cycle of Murals On Glass, where works of local artists are displayed as enormous vinyl decals taking up entire windows of downtown buildings for at least two years.  

Congratulations go to Phil Strang and Nathan Westerman for creating the pieces chosen to be displayed from 2015-2017. Strang's Arles Morning (pictured) and Westerman's works Slat Painting 001 and 003 will adorn downtown Urbana businesses beginning in August of 2015.

Don't worry, though -- nothing could replace our illustrious Lincoln's benevolent gaze, so all of the current murals will remain on display at the parking deck on Main Street.  It's a relief, truly, because sometimes seeing him watching over me is the only thing that keeps me out of trouble while I'm downtown.   


Help Klevah raise money to tour

Local emcee Klevah needs your help to fund her Gold Quarter Tour this summer. Donate to her Indiegogo campaign here, and listen to her album Golden to remind yourself why you did. As of now, there are 13 days left in this campaign to spread C-U hip-hop across the country. Below is the video from the Indiegogo page.


Reminder: Rodney Davis still doesn’t want women to have basic freedoms

On this Independence Day weekend, let us think about the simple freedoms that we have in this country. Most of us have things pretty great here, though of course, as a white man, I don't really have much to complain about on the whole. Others have it worse than me, no doubt about it.

Though, we should remember that a lot of the time men — white men, oftentimes — just get in the way of other basic rights humans should have. Things have been moving in a positive direction, of course, with the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Nice work, America. About time.

Congressman Rodney Davis, once again, is one of those people — yes, a white man — who mostly just wants to get in the way. In particular, in the way of things women want, need, and deserve — even though he's trying to appear as though he is doing just the opposite of that.

I received this lovely mailer in my mailbox this morning, which is of course attempting to combat all of the things he's voted against (and still is against). Please see Rebecah's piece that lays him to waste on these issues if you want to see where I'm coming from here.

OK, so there's round two that's happening, although its not in C-U, but in Decatur:

Congressman Davis, please hear me: Just get the hell out of the way, man. If you're really trying to support women, why don't you start by using your legislative power that's been granted to you, for starters.


Tonight on SP Radio: The Basement Gallery

SP's own Sam Logan, the mastermind behind The Basement Gallery and photographer extraordinaire, joins us tonight to discuss the gallery and how its first show fared this past month. 

PLUS Sam will announce the artist for July's show... a Smile Politely Radio exclusive.

Don't miss it.

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here.


Columbia Street Roastery + Triptych team up for new beer

Triptych Brewing has released a brand new collaboration with Columbia Street Roastery, called Golden Oatie, into the local C-U market. The beer came together after the sides had suggested working together over the course of a number of months.

"When I approached Anthony, he talked about not doing a standard, normal, everyday coffee stout that everybody does," said CSR's John Herriott. "We wanted to do something a little different."

CSR sent Triptych a number of pounds of their barrel aged Sumatran coffee and the folks at Triptych came up with what is essentially a summer-y, light beer with some hints of coffee and chocolate.

"When it's hot outside you don't want to drink a bunch of dark beer," said Triptych's Anthony Benjamin. "This is a nice, easy drinking kind of beer. The feedback from customers has been unreal."

You can currently grab a pint or a growler at Triptych, but Herriott and Benjamin have said to keep your eyes peeled around C-U as a number of kegs have gone out to various bars and restaurants in the area.


U of I students test radar gun in Downtown Champaign

I walked out of Aroma Cafe the other day and found the fellows working on what I thought was an R2D2-traffic-cone-robot. It wasn't. They were actually testing out a new way to radar cars using infrared. They tested it here because it simulates a 2 lane highwell. Plus they were drinking beer. 


CU Woodshop and Habitat Humanity partner to help community

From the press release:

CU Woodshop – Habitat for Humanity

Tool Donation, Sale and Swap

Saturday, August 1 from 9 am – 3 pm

CU Woodshop is partnering with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to host a woodworking tool donation, sale and swap. The event is Saturday, August 1 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at CU Woodshop Supply located on 1401 Parkland Court in Champaign. Rain date is Saturday, August 8 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Individuals or businesses looking to get rid of used tools may donate them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore booth at the CU Woodshop Tool Sale and Swap as a tax-deductible donation. All sales from tools donated to the Habitat Restore will go directly to building homes in Champaign County.

Those who prefer to sell or swap tools can set up a 10’x10’ booth at the event by purchasing a $50 gift certificate to the CU Woodshop. Many booths will be selling and swapping power tools, machinery (woodworking, metal working or mechanic tools), hand tools, accessories, and all types of hardware.

The Tool Sale and Swap provides an opportunity to help Habitat families in the area by donating tools to Restore, give new woodworkers access to affordable used tools and help existing woodworkers to trade up for better tools. 

The event is free to the public. For further details and FAQs, please visit www.cuwoodshop.com/pages/tool-sale-swap or call (217) 355-1244.

For more information, contact:

Bonnie Woolard
106 S. Neil Street
Champaign, IL 61820


Hey you there, who grows facial hair, and hates it — consider this

If you are a male human, there's a chance you grow facial hair. Discussions about transgenderism notwithstanding, there is something absolutely mindblowing about getting a shave with a straight razor, at a barber shop.

Preferably, they have one of those poles out front that denotes: THIS IS WHERE YOU GO TO GET YOUR HAIR CUT. 

Doesn't really matter when your branding is this good: 

Oh man, that straight razor. So appealing. So romantic. 

While there are a number of places in town to get this done, I recommend Andy's on South Neil St. in Champaign at the moment. While they may not have the pole out front, they have the staff and cred to get the job done right. 


Art Theater showing well-paired films

Today, the Art Theater begins showing the film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, while its late-night show remains Mad Max: Fury Road. These films prove to be quite thought-provoking, reflective pair. Me is a Sundance-sweeper filled with relatively unknown actors, with a clever tone and genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. It sounds like it has a girl protagonist although it is about a contemporary suburban boy who, out of fear, makes the choice to treat everyone close to him as acquaintances, even the dying girl, whose death is expected but barely registers. 

Mad is a big-budget all-star action movie, which deserves awards but is generally dismissed for being a genre film with explosions. It sounds like it has a male protagonist, although it is really about a woman’s search for freedom and redemption, where each death is expected but is pronounced and significant. Do yourself a favor and go to both, and contemplate the duality of the double-feature.