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Illinois Men’s Wheelchair Basketball head coach will lead the USA Developmental Team

More evidence that Illinois' wheelchair athletics program is badass: Matt Buchi, the Head Coach of the Illinois Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team, has been selected to lead the USA Developmental Team competing in The Kitakyushu Champions' Cup in Japan on November 13th - 15th, 2015. The Kitakyushu Champions' Cup is an event that will bring together the best young talent in Men's Wheelchair Basketball from Japan, Australia, Great Britain and the United States with hopes of representing their countries in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.


Win tickets to see Morrissey perform in Bloomington on July 11th

Legendary singer and notable curmudgeon Morrissey is performing at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts on July 11th. The former Smiths frontman has been all over the place in 2015, including a performance last week on The Tonight Show before playing a sold out set at Madison Square Garden:

There are a limited number of tickets left to see the British legend in Bloomington and we just happen to be giving away two pairs of them. Follow us on Twitter on July 1st and RT our message for a shot to win. On July 8th we’ll be giving away the second pair on our Facebook page.

You’re not going to want to miss the performer Pitchfork has called “one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture.” Follow us on social media and we'll help you get there.


Rithmio scores $3 million in seed funding

Here's some exciting news for Rithmio, a company which started at the University of Illinois and is still partially based in C-U: News was just released that the gesture recognition platform raised $3 million in seed funding. Rithmio won the annual Cozad competition in 2014, and was recognized in the Entrepreneurial Excellence: Student Startup Award category at this year's Innovation Celebration.

From the Chicago Business article:

Rithmio, a University of Illinois spinout that's betting that wearable devices can benefit from technology developed for missile tracking, has raised $3 million from an impressive lineup of investors.

Intel Capital, along with Chicago-based KGC Capital, led the investment. Other backers include Chicago-based OCA Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Hyde Park Venture Partners and New Coast Ventures, along with Champaign-based Serra Ventures, Boston-based Foley Ventures, MKRC Ventures in Silicon Valley, and MAS Capital of Sri Lanka

From the press release:

CHICAGO, Ill. – June 29, 2015 - Rithmio, the gesture recognition platform for wearables, today announced that it has closed a $3 million seed round of financing co-led by KGC Capital and Intel Capital. Participants included MAS Capital Pvt Ltd., OCA Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures Partners, Hyde Park Angels, Foley Ventures, MKRC Ventures, Serra Ventures, and New Coast Ventures. With this investment, Rithmio will expand its product, R&D, and sales teams to fulfill its vision as the world’s leading gesture recognition platform.

“We have the team, technology, and now strategic partnerships to take the motion- sensing market to the next level,” said Adam Tilton, CEO and co-founder of Rithmio. “Over the next year, we’ll work closely with the developer community on the next generation of wearables and other products built on Rithmio’s gesture recognition software.”

“Real-time analytics for user-specific physical activities represents a potential game changing technology for fitness, physical therapy, and rehabilitation applications,” said Steven Holmes, vice president of the New Devices Group and general manager of the Smart Device Innovation team at Intel. “Intel is exploring a wide range of potential applications for wearable tech and gesture recognition, and we look forward to working with Rithmio as they push the boundaries of their solution.”

In September of 2014, Rithmio raised $650,000 that was used to grow the team. Key hires included Kamil Chmielewski, Director of Software, Jen Quinlan, VP of Marketing, and Christian Nam, Designer. The seven-person team focuses on developing Rithmio’s core algorithms and SDK. Rithmio also opened a Chicago office in November 2014 at Catapult Chicago. This is in addition to its office in Champaign, IL at EnterpriseWorks Incubator, Research Park.

Rithmio was founded in 2013 through the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. “Great tech innovations and startups have come out of the University of Illinois. Rithmio is no exception,” said Chris Capps, CEO of KGC Capital. “We believe in Adam and Prashant’s vision.”


Cafe Zojo to close its doors July 12th

It's not fun reporting when someone is closing their local business, but Cafe Zojo posted on their Facebook page this morning that their last day of business will be July 12th.

From their page:

After much considerations, we've decided it is best to close Cafe Zojo and move on to our next adventure. Over the past...

Posted by Cafe Zojo on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Check out a couple of reviews we've done in the past: one by Pamela Saunders and one by Paul and Bonnie Dudley.

h/t to Laura Bleill.

Photo by Patrick Singer.


Houlihan’s dessert advocacy is charming

Houlihan's promotion of their newer items in 2015 have been pretty charming to say the least. Back in the early Spring they garnished their hurricane with a pair of gigantic glasses — which was absolutely hilarious.

One of their latest promos on Facebook was for their caramel nut crunch pie, and it strikes a chord with those of us who are out to dinner and are usually a bit too full to eat dessert.

We've all been on that dinner where our server runs down the dessert specials and your guest or guests jump at the opportunity to order them. "Oh that sounds great!" they usually will chime in and, secretly, you think the same — but you're full. You'll split it.

And inevitably, you're not hungry enough to finish your portion. Your guests demolish what's left of the sweet treats that were supposed to be destined for your midsection — just as they had planned.

Cheers to Houlihan's for recognizing this wonderful ritual:


Virginia Theatre announces 2015-2016 performing arts schedule

There's a number of big performances coming to the Virginia Theatre over the course of the next year including Paula Poundstone, Bill Maher, Million Dollar Quartet, and of course, Ebert Fest.

See the full lineup below and get all of the details here


August 2015
Each Wednesday, all year long, 10am Tour the Virginia Theatre (Free)
8/1, 2pm  |  Flight of The Butterflies (2014) $4
8/8, 1pm & 7pm  |  Nashville (1975) News-Gazette Film $6
8/11 & 8/13, 7pm  |  The Towering Inferno (1974) Best of the Summer Blockbusters: Disaster Edition $4
8/15, 2pm & 6pm  |  PENS TO LENS Student Screenwriting Competition $12 pass/$8 ticket
8/18 & 8/20, 7pm  |  Airport (1970) Best of the Summer Blockbusters: Disaster Edition $4
8/25 & 8/27, 7pm  |  Earthquake (1974) Best of the Summer Blockbusters: Disaster Edition $4

September 2015
9/1 & 9/3, 7pm  |  Being There (1979) Salute to Peter Sellers $4
9/5, 1pm & 7pm  |  Rebel Without A Cause (1955) News-Gazette Film Series $6
9/7-12, 7pm  |  End of The Tour (2015) Mon-Sat! $4
9/15 & 9/17, 7pm  |  The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) Salute to Peter Sellers $4
9/18-19, 7:30pm, 10:30pm (Fri), 1pm, 4pm, 8pm (Sat) |  REWIND 92.5 Film Festival $19.85 pass/$5 ticket
9/24-26, 7pm (with a 2pm matinee Saturday )  |  Champaign Park District Youth Theatre presents ALADDIN KIDS $10/$8

October 2015
10/1, 7pm  |  10th Avenue North with Sidewalk Prophets $40/$25/$20
10/4, 3pm  |  Celtic Woman   $99/$59/$39
10/5, 7:30pm  |  Last Comic Standing $39
10/17-18, 7pm  |  That’s What She Said  $60/$40
10/21, 7pm  |  Back to the Future Day (Reel Deal) $4
10/22, 7pm  |  The Witches of Eastwick (1987) Classic Chills $4
10/23, 7pm  |  Halloween (1978) Classic Chills $4
10/24, 7pm  |  The Shining (1980) Classic Chills $4
10/26, 7pm & 10pm  |  Suspicion (1941) News-Gazette Film Series $6
10/27, 7pm & 10pm  |  Sabotage (1936) News-Gazette Film Series $6
10/28, 7pm & 10pm  |  The Lady Vanishes (1938) News-Gazette Film Series $6
10/29, 7pm & 10pm  |  Spellbound (1945) News-Gazette Film Series $6
10/30, 7pm & 10pm  |  Frenzy (1972) News-Gazette Film Series $6

November 2015
11/7, 8pm  |  Paula Poundstone  $47.50/ 39.50/ 29.50
11/8, 7pm  |  Bill Maher  $79.50/ 64.50
11/9, 7pm  |  And Now For Something Completely Different (1971) And Now For Something Completely Different… $4
11/10-11, 7pm  |  Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) And Now For Something Completely Different… $4
11/12-13, 7pm  |  Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975) And Now For Something Completely Different… $4
11/14, 1pm & 7pm  |  Double Indemnity (1944) News-Gazette Film Series $6
11/19-21, 7pm (with a 2pm matinee Saturday )  |  Champaign Park District Youth Theatre presents THE SNOW QUEEN, a new musical $12/$10
11/23, 5-8pm  |  Holiday Card Photo Op (Free)
11/30, 5-8pm  |  Holiday Card Photo Op (Free)

December 2015
12/2, 5-7pm  |  Meet Santa Claus at the Virginia Theatre! (Free)
12/5, 7:30pm  |  Tons O’ Fun Band 10th Annual Christmas Show  $5-$25
12/7, 7:30pm  |  An Irish Christmas  $35/$45
12/9, 5-7pm  |  Meet Santa Claus at the Virginia Theatre! (Free)
12/10, 5-8pm  |  Holiday Card Photo Op (Free)
12/12, 1pm & 7pm  |  Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) News-Gazette Film Series $6
12/15, 7:30pm  |   Jim Brickman Comfort & Joy – The 2015 Holiday Tour $49.50/$39.50/$29.50
12/16, 5-7pm  |  Meet Santa Claus at the Virginia Theatre! (Free)
12/17, 7pm  |  The Polar Express (2004) Best Christmas Movies Ever $4
12/18, 7pm  |  White Christmas (1954) Best Christmas Movies Ever $4
12/19, 1pm & 7pm  |  It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) Best Christmas Movies Ever $4
12/31, 7pm  |  The Chorale presents C-U at the Virginia: Opening Night! $26/$24

January 2016
1/5 & 1/7, 7pm  |  9 to 5 (1980) Cubicle Blues $4
1/12 & 1/14, 7pm  |  Glengarry Glenn Ross (1992) Cubicle Blues $4
1/19 & 1/21, 7pm  |  Office Space (1999) Cubicle Blues $4
1/23, 1pm & 7pm  |  Shane (1953) News-Gazette Film Series $6
1/28, 7:30pm  |  Bottle Shock (2008) Fermented Flicks: 3 Nights + 3 Films + 3 Wines $4
1/29, 7:30pm  |  Big Night (1996) Fermented Flicks: 3 Nights + 3 Films + 3 Wines $4
1/30, 7:30pm  |  Sideways (2004) Fermented Flicks: 3 Nights + 3 Films + 3 Wines $4

February 2016
2/1-2, 7pm  |  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) Love Stinks $4
2/3-4, 7pm  |  500 Days of Summer (2009) Love Stinks $4
2/5, 7pm  |  My Bloody Valentine (1981) Love Stinks $4
2/6, 8:20pm  |  Pecha Kucha, Volume 20
2/10, 7:30pm  |  Million Dollar Quartet $75/$57.50/$51.50/$46.50
2/13, 1:30pm & 7pm  |  Charlotte’s Web
2/18-20, 10am & 7pm Thurs & Fri, 1pm & 7pm Sat  |  Champaign Central and Centennial High School Drama programs present The Little Mermaid, A Musical $7-$15
2/21, 7:30pm  |  Tommy Emmanuel $49.50/$39.50/$29.50
2/27, 1pm & 7pm  |  Forbidden Planet (1956) News-Gazette Film Series $6

March 2016
3/3-5, 7pm (with a 2pm matinee Saturday )  |  Champaign Park District Youth Theatre presents Legally Blonde JR $12/$10
3/8 & 3/10, 7pm  |  The Sting (1973) Salute to Newman & Redford $4
3/12, 7:30pm  |  Capitol Steps $39.50/ $29.50/ $19.50
3/15 & 3/17, 7pm  |  All The President’s Men (1976) Salute to Newman & Redford $4
3/18, 7:30pm  |  Mark Gifford, organist (with a screening of King of Kings) $TBA
3/19, 1pm & 7pm  |  42nd Street (1933) News-Gazette Film Series $6
3/22 & 3/24, 7pm  |  The Hustler (1961) Salute to Newman & Redford $4
3/27, 3pm  |  US ARMY FIELD BAND AND CHORUS (Free)
3/29 & 3/31, 7pm  |  Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969) Salute to Newman & Redford $4

April 2016
4/2, 1pm & 7pm  |  Sweet Smell of Success (1957) News-Gazette Film Series $6
4/4-5, 7pm  |  Silkwood (1983) Salute to Meryl Streep $4
4/6-7, 7pm  |  Sophie’s Choice (1982) Salute to Meryl Streep $4
4/8-9, 7pm  |  The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Salute to Meryl Streep $4
4/23-24, 7pm Saturday & 2pm Sunday  |  Champaign Park District Dance Arts presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream $13/$10

May 2016
5/6-7, 7pm Fri, 11am & 4pm Sat  |  CU Ballet presents Coppelia
5/12-14, 7pm (with a 2pm matinee Saturday )  |  Champaign Park District Youth Theatre presents Music Man KIDS $10/$8
5/21, 1pm & 7pm  |  The Graduate (1967) News-Gazette Film Series $6
5/23-24, 7pm  |  Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Wes Anderson Week $4
5/25-26, 7pm  |  The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Wes Anderson Week $4
5/27, 7pm  |  Rushmore (1998) Wes Anderson Week $4
5/28, 7pm  |  Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Wes Anderson Week $4

June 2016
6/4, 11am & 6pm  |  Twist and Shout Annual Dance Recital
6/9-11, 6:30pm  |  Art in Motion 25th Annual Dance Recital
6/13-14, 7pm  |  Silver Streak (1976) RomCom16 $4
6/15-16, 7pm  |  Heaven Can Wait (1978) RomCom16 $4
6/17, 7pm  |  The Goodbye Girl (1977) RomCom16 $4
6/18, 1pm & 7pm  |  Princess Bride (1987) RomCom16 $4
6/25, 1pm & 7pm  |  Readers Choice* News-Gazette Film Series $6

July 2016
7/2, 7pm  |  2016 Ice Cream and Independence $TBA
7/12 & 7/14, 7pm  |  American Graffiti (1973) America (Heck Yeah!) $4
7/16, 1pm & 7pm  |  The Awful Truth (1937) News-Gazette Film Series $6
7/19 & 7/21, 7pm  |  American Beauty (1999) America (Heck Yeah!) $4
7/26 & 7/28, 7pm  |  Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) America (Heck Yeah!) $4

August 2016
8/6, 1pm & 7pm  |  Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory News-Gazette Film Series $6

Photo by Justine Bursoni


Watch video of Kenna Mae & The Fights at Blues, Brews, and BBQ

If you didn't venture out to Blues, Brews, and BBQ on Saturday night you missed out on one of the neatest collaborations of C-U musicians in 2015. Kenna Mae played a set on the smaller stage and for the first time it was with a backing band. The backing band was our pick for BEST band of 2015 — The Fights. Take a few minutes and watch some raw footage of the set as capture by Kristen Johns:


Ahnu Trunk Show & free yoga event

Get active with Champaign Surplus & Ahnu at this special event.

Come out to Champaign Surplus on Saturday, June 27th for our Ahnu Trunk Show & Event. Enjoy yoga on our outdoor deck! There will be a free 45 minute yoga class at 1 p.m. on the covered outside deck taught by Jodi Adams. Yoga mats will be provided for those that do not bring their own. Men and women of all ages are welcome.

Jodi Adams, RYT, has been practicing yoga since 1991.  Jodi believes in the restorative benefits of yoga.  No matter one’s age or flexibility, she offers a practice to awaken strength, balance and a mind/body connection.

Plus, take advantage of Ahnu Trunk Show specials happening all day. Speak with our Ahnu rep. Find special deals on Ahnu footwear. Receive a free yoga towel with any Ahnu purchase, while supplies last. And be entered to win a free pair of shoes just for trying on any pair of Ahnu footwear. Ahnu makes a wide variety of quality shoes for men and women including yoga sport, hiking boots, casual and everyday fashion. 


Champaign fifth most difficult city to spell in United States

This seems ridiculous, but according to the Huffington Post, Champaign is the fifth most difficult city to spell in the United States. The survey used to compile this list claims that Champaign was misspelled 63% of the time. Yikes.

Check the results:

Based on the results of a recent Ipsos survey, where participants were required to select from four spelling choices, the following 10 U.S. cities rose to the top of the list as the most difficult to spell. Below is the final list of U.S. cities ranked by the percentage misspelled:

Meeteetse, WY – Misspelled by 70% of respondents
Kaumalapau, HI – Misspelled by 69% of respondents
Saguache, CO – Misspelled by 68% of respondents
Skaneateles, NY – Misspelled by 67% of respondents
Champaign, IL – Misspelled by 63% of respondents
Pflugerville, TX – Misspelled by 63% of respondents
Worcester, MA – Misspelled by 62% of respondents
Ketchikan, AK – Misspelled by 61% of respondents
Winnemucca, NV – Misspelled by 60% of respondents
Aquebogue, NY – Misspelled by 56% of respondents