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Cracked on Green St. opening tomorrow

Rejoice, breakfast-eaters of Champaign-Urbana - as we have long-known, Cracked will no longer be confined to a food truck. What we now know, however, is that their brick-and-mortar shop on Green Street opens up for the very first time tomorrow (March 26th) at 10 AM.

For more info, check out this tweet from Cracked below, featuring a picture of the new spot:


Allerton Park has released their 2017 concert schedule

It's beautiful outside today. In fact, it kind of reminds you of what it's like when it isn't bone-chillingly cold in central Illinois, and you can do fun things outside, like go to a concert at one of the most unique places in the State of Illinois: Allerton Park.

Today, they've announced their concert schedule for 2017, presented by the University of Illinois Community Credit Union. For the full slate of events, check out what Allerton had to say below:

Allerton announces 2017 concert schedule

Monticello – Allerton Park and Retreat Center has announced the schedule for their Concert Series, presented by the University of Illinois Community Credit Union. Music and nature lovers will be able to enjoy some old favorites, along with new talent, in the unique setting at Allerton, 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello.

Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, who performed two sell-out shows at Allerton in 2014, will return for the Kids’ Concert on May 13. The Summer Kick Off Concert on June 2 will feature “raw and soul-rich” music from Birds of Chicago and the popular Champaign-based Americana duo, The Bashful Youngens.

Reds, Whites, and the Blues on June 30 welcomes local favorite The Blues Deacons, opening for the three-time Blues Music Award nominee The Cash Box Kings. Skipper’s Alley, the seven-piece ensemble out of Dublin, will headline Irish Fest on August 4, along with returning crowd-favorite The Shanties.

The inaugural Prairie Sky Music Festival, a two-day event held August 18-19, will feature nationally-known talent that will be announced at a later date. Other shows scheduled with performers TBA include the Campfire Jamboree on September 22, a new addition to the popular Family Campout in Allerton’s Meadow, and the collaboration with the University of Illinois’ School of Music, the Allerton Music Barn Festival on September 29-30.

While organizer Derek Peterson, Allerton’s Associate Director, focuses on booking quality, original entertainment, he notes that the Park is working to provide a cultural experience that is based not only on sounds, but also on surroundings.

“Friends and family who gather often face inward, choosing to converse and engage with each other rather than just watching the stage. You will see generations gather under a star-filled sky to listen to the sounds of the performer, but also to the sounds of children’s laughter and grandparents hurrying after those children,” Peterson said. “The experience becomes as important as the music.”

Peterson also notes that food and drink options will continue to expand this year, as well as amenities for families with young children.

The University of Illinois Community Credit Union has once again signed-on as the presenting sponsor.Additional sponsors include: The Ayers Family, Illinois Public Media, Country Arbors, The Friends of Allerton, Kirby Medical Center, Orange & Blue Distributing Company, AHW LLC, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD), The Herbold Family Trust, and Kennedy Hutson Associates.

Food and drink will be available for purchase at all shows; guests should bring blankets or chairs for outdoor concerts. For more information about the schedule, tickets, and overnight accommodations visit or call 217-333-3287.

2017 Allerton Park Concert Series presented by the U of I Credit Union:

Kids’ Concert: May 13
Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players |11am
Gate House Lawn
$5/kid + $8/adult, at the gate

Summer Kick Off: June 2
6-7pm The Bashful Youngens|7:30-9pm Birds of Chicago
Gate House Lawn
$5/person + $10/family, at the gate

Reds, Whites, and the Blues: June 30
6-7pm Billy Galt & the Blues Deacons | 7:30-9pm Cash Box Kings
Gate House Lawn
$5/person + $10/family, at the gate

Irish Fest: August 4
6-7pm The Shanties| 7:30-9pm Skipper’s Alley
Gate House Lawn
$5/person + $10/family, at the gate

Prairie Sky Music Festival: August 18-19
Advanced purchase recommended

Campfire Jamboree: September 22
Advanced purchase recommended

Music Barn Festival: September 29-30
Music Barn
Advanced purchase recommended

​Photo by Steve Hoffman


Champaign County electronic recycling event taking place on May 20th

The City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission and the Village of Savoy are teaming up for another electronic recycling program for selected Champaign County residents.

The event will take place May 20th at Parkland College, and online registration opens up on Monday, April 3rd. Registration can be done at

For more information in regards to what items will be accepted and registration details, check out a description and flyer below:

Champaign County will be utilizing an online registration system again for this event.  We did this for the Oct '16 event & it proved to be very successful!  Residents' wait times went from 3+ hours to only 1-3 minutes.  The details of the registration are on the flyer (the registration does not open until Mon, April 3rd).  Residents will be able to pick a 15-minute time slot (for the morning of Sat, May 20th) to drop off their unwanted electronics.  

After residents register, they will receive a postcard in the mail 5-7 days prior to the event, which they will need to bring with them as entry into the event.  This event is weather permitting; there is no rain make-up day.  Items will be accepted from residents only; items will not be accepted from commercial businesses, property managers/owners, school districts, or non-profits.  

There is a 2 TV limit per postcard & a 10-item total limit; see this list for accepted & non-accepted items:

In between electronic collection events, there are local recyclers that will accept old electronics (besides CRT tube TV's) for drop off throughout the year:


Big Grove hosting Caymus Wine Dinner on April 5th

For those of you who enjoy a nice glass of vino with a meal, Downtown Champaign's Big Grove Tavern will be hosting a dinner featuring pairings of Caymus Vineyards' wines. The dinner will be held on April 5th, and tickets can be bought online or in-person.

For more info and to buy tickets, check out Big Grove's Facebook post:


Champaign Parks Foundation hosting benefit concert on April 1st

Champaign Parks Foundation, which helps fund things like the Virginia Theatre's restoration project, natural areas development, playgrounds and scholarships, will be hosting a benefit concert with music and comedy at The City Center on Saturday, April 1st.

Tickets are $10, and will go towards CPF's continued efforts to provide excellent civic services.

For more info, here's what Champaign Park District had to say: 

A Benefit Concert for the Champaign Parks Foundation

Join us for a full night of laughter and live music to benefit Champaign’s parks, programs and facilities! This event will feature comedian Chris Schlichting and will be headlined by one of the nation’s most well renowned rock cover bands - Mike and Joe!

April 1, 8:00pm - 12:00am
@ The City Center
Tickets: $10 - $20
Purchase tickets online:

Comedian Chris Schlichting (7:30-8:30 pm)

Growing up on the mean streets of Iowa, Chris Schlichting knew that he either had to take up standup comedy or join the notorious Midwest gang known as “The Farmers.” He is quickly gaining a reputation as oneof the best comics on the planet, and by “planet” we mean “his street.” Described as “hilarious” by his mom, and “not good at sports” by his dad, Chris takes pride in his immature and lovable style.

His act covers hard hitting issues like squirrels, sandwiches, and his twin boys. Learn how to pronounce this comic’s last name, and then remember it forever. Chris Schlichting is sure to leave you laughing, andwanting more. Follow him here: The SchlickTEAM (comedian chris schlichting's fan page)

Mike and Joe (9-Midnight)

Mike and Joe is one of the nation’s most well renowned rock cover bands! The bulk of the set list includes rock hits from the ’90s through today, but occasionally they’ll throw in some tunes from the 70’s and 80’s as well!

Covers include: The Foo Fighters, Maroon 5, Fallout Boy, U2, Blink 182, Mumford and Sons, Justin Timberlake, Fleetwood Mac, Sublime, Dave Matthews Band, Florida Georgia Line, Third Eye Blind, The Eagles, , Weezer, Jimmy Eat World and many, many more!

$10 General Admission / $20 VIP Mezzanine
Get tickets now:


Ebertfest announces five new films; new special guests

Here you have it, folks - the 2017 iteration of EbertFest (or as it is formally known, Roger Ebert's Film Festival) has announced five new films and special guests. This comes on the heels of last week's announcement that Isabelle Huppert and Norman Lear will be appearing in Champaign for the festival.

The five films added include: 

Hair (1979), To Sleep With Anger (1990), Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (2015), Hysteria (2011), and Variete´ (1925).

For more info about each film, and to see who the special guests will be, check out the full press release below:


19th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival to take place April 19-23, 2017 in Champaign, IL

CHAMPAIGN, ILL – March 23, 2017 – The 19th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert, also known as ‘Ebertfest,’ announced today that the beloved 1979 musical HAIR will open the 2017 festival—screening on 35mm from a new print on loan from Michael Moore and the UCLA Film Archive. The festival announces today an additional four films—and special guests including director Charles Burnett, special guest Robert Townsend, director Rick Goldsmith, former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw, director Tanya Wexler and actor Hugh Dancy. The festival will additionally include a performance by the Alloy Orchestra as accompaniment to a rarely-screened silent film.

These films will accompany previously announced screenings of ELLE and NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU with special guests Oscar® nominee Isabelle Huppert (ELLE) and Emmy Award winner Norman Lear in attendance for Q&As following their screenings. The remaining selections of the carefully curated 12 film lineup and more festival guests will be announced at a later date.

“When Roger took his ‘leave of presence’ on April 4, 2013, he carefully chose the films for Ebertfest that year and uncharacteristically even dictated the order in which they were to be shown,” said Chaz Ebert. “I can tell you without reservation that he would be overjoyed at this lineup of films and talent, especially in this chaotic world in which we find ourselves. We will celebrate so many things at the festival, but especially the humanity that we will find on the screen and in each other.”

HAIR (1979) – Opening Night Film

Directed by Milos Forman, 121 mins, 35MM

Special Guest Michael Hausman, Assistant Director in attendance

Milos Forman’s critically acclaimed HAIR is the film adaption to the provocative Broadway musical of the same name that explores the hippie movement of the late 1960s. The film focuses on Claude, a Midwestern farm boy who travels to New York to join the army and fight in the Vietnam War. However, while in Central Park he meets a group of hippies and discovers the ideals of freedom, drugs and his first love Sheila. HAIR is an anti-war story full of hippie tenderness, psychedelic fantasies, and successful musical numbers.

Roger Ebert gave HAIR a four star review. In his review, he said “I walked into Hair with the gravest doubts that this artifact of 1960s social shock would transfer to our current, sleepier times. In the 1960s we went to angry musicals; now we line up for "La Cage aux Folles." My doubts disappeared with the surge and bold authority of the first musical statement: This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius! So maybe it isn't, really, and maybe the sun set on that particular age back around the time they pinched the Watergate burglars. But Milos Forman's "Hair" opens with such confidence and joy, moves so swiftly and sustains itself so well that I wonder why I had any doubts. "Hair" is, amazingly, not a period piece but a freshly conceived and staged memory of the tribulations of the mid-sixties.”


Directed by Charles Burnett, 102 mins, 4K DCP

Special Guests Charles Burnett, Director and Robert Townsend – to lead on-stage Q&A

TO SLEEP WITH ANGER, starring Danny Glover and Mary Alice, is the story of a middle-class black family in Los Angeles whose life is disturbed by the arrival of an old friend from the South. What starts out as a charming reminder of their past becomes quite threatening as the strained household heads towards an inevitable conflict.

In his 4 out of 4 star review, Chuck Bowen says that TO SLEEP WITH ANGER is “another neglected masterpiece of African-American cinema, along with NOTHING BUT A MAN, GANJA & HESS, LOSING GROUND, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST and others that have been restored and re-released in a limited handful of theaters over the last few years” and that “Burnett sketches the details of the lives of Gideon and his family, bridging theatrical dialogue, portentous omens, and presentational acting with a grace that's so masterful as to appear effortless, capturing enough life and subtext for several films.”


Directed by Rick Goldsmith, 56 mins, Blu-ray

Special Guests Rick Goldsmith, Director and Chamique Holdsclaw

This film is sponsored by the Alliance for Inclusion and Respect, an organization that embodies the four principles this year’s EbertFest is dedicated to - the principles of empathy, compassion, kindness and forgiveness—principles Roger believed cinema could generate.

Recruited from the rough-edged courts of New York City by Coach Pat Summitt for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols, Chamique Holdsclaw was hailed as the “female Michael Jordan,” impressing crowds with her artistry, athleticism and drive. A three-time NCAA champ and Number One draft pick in the WNBA, Holdsclaw seemed destined for a spectacular professional career—until her long-suppressed battle with mental disorders emerged to derail her career and threaten her life.

MIND/GAME intimately chronicles Holdsclaw’s athletic accomplishments and personal setbacks, and her decision, despite public stigma, to become an outspoken mental health advocate. Still, she would face dramatic, unexpected challenges to her own recovery. The film, narrated by Glenn Close, tells a powerful story of courage, struggle, and redemption.

In his review, Matt Fagerholm called MIND/GAME “an inspiring portrait of an extraordinary female warrior” and said that “The open-ended quality of the film’s ending is entirely appropriate since Ms Holdsclaw’s story is far from over. I cannot wait for the sequel.”


Directed by Tanya Wexler, 100 mins, DCP

Special Guests Tanya Wexler, Director and Hugh Dancy, Actor

HYSTERIA, starring Academy Award® nominees Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, is a lighthearted romantic comedy that tells the surprising story of the birth of the electro-mechanical vibrator at the very peak of Victorian prudishness.

Roger gave HYSTERIA a 3 star review. In his review, Roger said, “Tanya Wexler's quietly saucy "Hysteria" takes place in London at a time when medical authorities didn't know the word for or the concept of "orgasm," and apparently many women never experienced them. His treatments consisted of modestly covering a patient's private regions with a little tent, reaching delicately beneath it and using digital stimulation to effect a cure. How he hit upon this method must be attributed to sheer genius.” And continued, “One of the pleasures of Wexler's third feature is how elegantly it sets its story in the period. The costumes, the sets, the locations and the behavior are all flawless, and the British characters in the screenplay by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer are all masters of never quite saying what they mean.”

VARIETÉ (1925)

Directed by Ewald Andre Dupont, 72 mins, DCP

Silent Film with musical accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra

Directed by Ewald Andre Dupont, VARIETÉ is a silent German film filled with jealousy, obsession and murder, set against the backdrop of the circus. The film is based on the novel Der Eid des Stephan Huller by Felix Hollaender.

Critic Richard Neupert said, “VARIETÉ remains Dupont’s most fascinating work… Ewald André Dupont offers a splendid example of both German and European film style of the mid-1920s.” Neupert further stated, “Dupont is now considered one of the great cinematic figures of the 1920s, helping usher in the era of the European auteur-director.”

Ebertfest is a special event held in collaboration with the College of Media at the University of Illinois and will take place April 19-23, 2017 in Champaign, IL at the Virginia Theatre. Major filmmakers, stars, historians, critics and film-lovers from all over the world come to experience this annual celebration that includes films from lists Roger drew up over the first 15 years of the festival, as well as others selected by Chaz Ebert and Festival Director Nate Kohn based on Roger’s established criteria for an Ebertfest film.

Festival passes are available for $150, plus processing, and for the first time, festival-goers will receive a discount when they purchase a four-pack priced at $510 instead of $600, or 15 percent off. Additionally, a small number of U. of I. student passes will be made available priced at $100 each.

Tickets for individual movies will be available April 1. Admission is $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. All passes can be purchased through, or at the Virginia Theater box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063.

For additional information, please visit


Dates for DoCha Chamber Music Festival 2017 announced

This year’s dates for the eighth iteration of Champaign’s DoCha chamber music festival have been solidified. DoCha will occur over the weekend of March 31 - April 2 at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum Theater.

The distinguished festival will feature a lineup of acclaimed local and visiting musicians from the chamber music field, including several faculty members from the University of Illinois. All events are free and open to the public.

See the full press release below for a breakdown of the daily itinerary and other information. Find out more about DoCha here.








March 31 - April 2, 2017

Champaign, IL—DoCha, downtown Champaign’s premiere free music festival, announces its eighth season, March 31 – April 2, 2017. The beautiful and historic Orpheum Theater will once again serve as DoCha’s venue for the 2017 festival. DoCha will transform this former vaudeville theatre into a cabaret-style, live music venue. Guests will be welcome to enjoy food and drinks at tables set up inside the theatre while listening to great live chamber music in an intimate and stylish setting. All events continue to be free and open to the public.

Committed to the idea that music can and should be enjoyed by all people, DoCha’s festival events will be fun-spirited, informal, engaging, collaborative, and educational. Tables and chairs will be set cabaret style around a centrally-placed stage allowing guests to experience the live music performances up close while enjoying food and beverages that will be sold at each evening event. The event is casual and we extend an open invitation to the entire  community to join us for a relaxing evening of world-class music.

The festival will feature some of Champaign’s own world-class, internationally acclaimed musicians, scholars, and music educators as well gifted young musicians in unique artistic collaborations both within and outside the chamber music genre.

Highlights for 2017

• Young People’s Concert on Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum featuring Finding Forms, Composer-in-training Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry has been commissioned to write some music for the local Pickle Parade. But, before he marches off, he needs to learn how to combine different melodies in clever patterns to create musical forms such as ternary, rondo, and theme and variations. Featuring Rami Vamos & Natalie Monterastelli. This program is Family friendly and open to the public!

• Gourmet savory and sweet snack plates prepared by Pekara Bakery and Bistro and wines* and other beverages will be sold by art mart at the venue.

*Pending issuance of State and local permits


All events are free and open to the public. All events will take place at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum Theater in downtown Champaign: 346 North Neil, Champaign, IL 61820.

Friday, March 31st

7 p.m. Jazzissimo, featuring jazz greats Larry Gray and Jim Pugh, this duo will be joined by friends for an evening sure to entertain. Come enjoy original works and jazz standards by these world-class artists.

* Open to people of all ages.
Saturday, April 1st
1 p.m. Young People’s Concert: Finding Forms, a comical and educational musical. Family friendly and open to the public. Composer-in-training Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry has been commissioned to write some music for the local Pickle Parade. But, before he marches off, he needs to learn how to combine different melodies in clever patterns to create musical forms such as ternary, rondo, and theme and variations. Featuring Rami Vamos and Natalie Monterastelli.
7 p.m. La Grande Bellezza, String orchestra Camerata Illinois with guest soloists Stefan Milenkovich, Dmity Kouzov, Megan Freivogel, Daniel McDonough and Michael Cameron performing masterpieces by Vivaldi, Bottessini, Puccini, Wolf and more. Please join us for an evening abundant in string virtuosity!
* Open to people of all ages.
Sunday, April 2nd
5 p.m. Bohemian Rhapsodies, A celebration of works by bohemian composers Dvorak, Muczynski, and songs by Tchaikovsky performed by Yvonne Redman, Julia Fedoseeva, Dmitry Kouzov, Stefan Milenkovich and the Meliora Trio. * Open to people of all ages.
DoCha’s 2017 festival is made possible in part by the generosity of community partners and individuals including the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, Barham Benefit Group, Sullivan-Parkhill Imports, Koester & Bradley, LLP, BodyWork Associates, Dixon Graphics, Adams Outdoor Advertising, Pursuit Institute, Darrell Hoemann Photography, Class Act, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois School of Music and the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
About DoCha
DoCha creates chamber music-based experiences for all people that engage all of the senses. Committed to the idea that chamber music can and should be enjoyed by everyone, DoCha is fun, engaging, collaborative, educational, and its performances are free. DoCha began as a collective effort among University of Illinois faculty, students, community members, and friends to experiment with new and adventurous ways to present chamber music for the 21st century.
For more information about the festival, visit

Parkland College hosting 20th annual Cultures Fair on March 30th

From the press release:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Enjoy music, food, and cultures from around the globe during Parkland College's 20th annual Cultures Fair on Thursday, March 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union (U wing).

The event is free and open to the public.

This year's fair features musical performances by the Congolese band Bomoyi; Super Mazumzum, a brass and rhythm band playing classic and contemporary African music; a traditional Japanese tea ceremony from UIUC's Japan House; and Los Guapos, an instrumental quartet playing folk and popular music traditions of Latin America.

A jerk chicken lunch will be sold, with proceeds benefiting the International Student Scholarship at Parkland College. Parkland student clubs will also be on hand with fun activities such as henna tattoos. Lastly, there will be a lecture by Professor Hua Qin from China related to air quality in that country.

Cultures Fair 2017 is sponsored by the Center for Global Studies, through support of the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI NRC program; the Centers for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and African Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; as well as the Division of Arts and Sciences at Parkland College.

Come enjoy fantastic cultural activities and celebrate the rich diversity of global cultures that are part of our community here in Champaign-Urbana! Students from all cultures are welcome and appreciated at Parkland College. For more information, contact Parkland Humanities Professor Amber Landis at 217/353-2190 or