Submit to the SPlog! +

Illini Gymnastic Meets are super fun

Honestly I don't know enough about the sport to be able to pontificate for long about the way the Illini performed, but just going to Huff Hall today was fun and engaging and something that the community should celebrate. The Men's team is currently #4 in the nation, and was leading 271.950 to 257.450 by the time my youngest son lost his mind. 

The level of sportsmanship, from both the Illini and their guests, the Arizona State Sun Devils was refreshing. Lots of high fives, lots of encouragement. The way it's supposed to be. Competitive, but respectful. 

Plus, these are athletes that are simply magnificent. Watching it live was no less than amazing. 

Check out the next home meet for the Men on February 24 versus Michigan. But the Women compete against Iowa on Friday February 2, at 7:00 p.m. They are currently ranked #21 but lost a nail biter to Michigan last night, so let's hope they bounce back real soon. 

Can confirm, this is totally worth your time. 


Pour Bros. Craft Tap Room opening in Downtown Champaign Summer 2018

Pour Bros. Tap Room is coming to Champaign, a pour-your-own-brew taproom originally based in Peoria. Their Champaign location will go in the building across from Seven Saints, located at University and Market — 40 E. University Avenue to be exact. From the press release, the owners are hoping to get open by this summer.

The photo above is from their website, situated next to the building they are taking over.

Here's the press release:

Pour Bros. Craft Taproom to open 2nd location in Downtown Champaign

Pour Bros. Craft Taproom was Illinois' first self-serve bar, opened in Peoria Heights, IL. At Pour Bros., the customer pours the beverage by the ounce and pays by the tenth of the ounce for whatever they pour. Using pour-your-own technology developed by the California based Ipourit inc., the nation's leader in self-serve technology.

The craft beer market continues to grow year after year, and pour-your-own technology has become a great tool for consumers to sample by the ounce before pouring a full pint. Upon arrival, a customer will check in with a Pourtender (a member of the staff), and the staff member will ask for an ID and a credit card to open a tab. An RFID radio frequency technology pouring card will be created for the customer. The customer will head to the pour wall where they will be greeted by another staff member.

The pour wall consists of a series of tablets that allows the customer to touch and read about the different beers, ciders, and wines. The customer then will scan the pour card, grab the tap handle, and begin to pour — shutting off the tap whenever they would like. You are in control of the entire process from start to finish.

The flow meters inside the cooler measure the volume that passes through the lines, then charges the credit card on file for the price per ounce of the beverage poured.  Each beverage holds a different price per ounce.

Pour Bros. curates a list of local, regional, and national beers, ciders, meads, and wine. Since everything is poured by the ounce, rare options are more readily available at Pour Bros. Customers are more willing to try something because there's only a small investment to do so.

One of the early criticisms attached to pour-your-own bars is the lack of human interaction with staff. We find that since the customer does the pouring the staff is free to engage in the experience. They can discuss beer, educate more, and get to know the people they are talking to. On a typical Friday or Saturday night, you will find a staff of 8-10 or more to help guide you through the process.

Pour Bros. is more than just a beer bar. We offer an assortment of hand crafted cocktails from our full service bar — a bar that feature fresh squeezed juices. The cocktail menu has a focus on simple Prohibition-era drinks that feature a twist by using an assortment of house-made bitters and other exclusive ingredients. The bar area is also where you will find your favorite domestic offerings. Although we are focused on craft beer, we can't turn our backs on domestic beer drinkers. Our hope is to offer the domestic drinkers a sample of a similar style that opens their minds to the options available. Also, we can't forget thousands of Americans work for the macro-breweries, so this is why we buy them.

Pour Bros. Craft Taproom will be occupying the vacant building at 40 E. University in Downtown Champaign. A complete restoration is needed, between the ownership's investment and Pour Bros. investment — over one million dollars will be spent to revitalize this beautiful building. The exterior of the building will enjoy new storefront glass and with artistic and eye-catching architectural additions. The interior of the taproom will features a rustic industrial motif that pays tribute to the hard working folks of year's past. Stained concrete floors, metal, wood, tile, and art will be blended together to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Large communal tables will be crafted creating a beer hall effect.

We want to see customers engaging with one another. We find in our current location the communal seating lends itself to conversations about the beer and life in general. We feel this adds to the overall experience. The backroom will feature it's own pour wall specializing in beers from Illinois Breweries with an Uber focus on Champaign breweries.

The rear of the property will feature a large landscaped outdoor courtyard that doubles as a beer garden and entertainment venue. Entertainment is a very big part of the Pour Bros. culture. We will bring in talented local and regional acts on a weekly basis outdoors in the courtyard. We will promote an array of musical genres along the way. Our goal is to change music and beer styles so often you will have a different experience every time you visit.  

We plan to offer a local small bites menu at some point, but food is not our specialty. With so many great restaurants within walking distance, we hope to partner with a couple of local restaurants to provide great food to our guests. We are local community-minded guys that believe in working with our neighbors. We see Champaign and Urbana being very like mined — and this is why we chose to expand here. 

Our goal is to open the doors sometime during the summer of 2018. You will be able to track our progress by visiting our website and social media pages.  

We cannot wait to “POUR THE EXPERIENCE” with Champaign-Urbana this summer.


Neutral Cycle’s Corn-Cross Race is happening January 27th

Netural Cycle is hosting a cyclocross event, the Corn Cross Race on January 27th, in Weaver Park in Urbana. 

There will be four different races, varying in time length. Spectators are welcome to attend, there will be food trucks and swag giveaways. 

Registration is open now here, and day-of-event registration will be available. Race Check-in begins at 8:30 AM at Brookens Gym.

Registration Fee:

Adults – $30 pre-reg
Adults – $35 day of
Juniors – free – register the day of (Rider between the age of 9 and 18 on December 31st of the current year.)
Second Race – $10

All races are limited to 75 people per race. 

Note, all racers must have a USA Cycling membership. Day-of-event 1 day passes will be available and are cash only. 

1-day membership fees:

Adults – $10 – 1 day pass
Adults – $70 – 1 year
Juniors – $10 – 1 day pass
Juniors – $35 – 1 year

For more information on the event, race times, permitted equipment, and more, check out the Facebook event. 


Illini basketball preview: Wisconsin

Illinois at Wisconsin
8 pm

The last time Illinois beat Wisconsin, Barack Obama’s hair was still dark. The last time Illinois beat Wisconsin in Madison, the BP oil spill, the largest natural disaster in US history, was still more than 2 months from occuring. It’s been a while; specifically, 11 games, including 6 in Madison, dating back to February 9, 2010.

But, despite Illinois’s 0-6 conference record, this year may represent the team’s best chance to beat the Badgers in a long time. At 9-10 with 2-4 conference record, Wisconsin is enduring its worst season in two decades according to Sports-Reference’s SRS (this year’s 8.22 is the lowest since 1997-98’s 7.18). The Badgers, always a stronger team on defense than offense, are allowing opponents 65.6 points per game, the highest total for the team since 2005-06; under coach Bo Ryan, Wisconsin only allowed 65 points twice in 15 seasons.

A big part of Wisconsin’s struggles is a lack of star power, as Ethan Happ is the only known quantity among this year’s players. He’s done well, with 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, but the young help around him, from Brad Davison, Brevin Pritzl, and Khalil Iverson, have not lived up to their ability.

Perhaps a little good fortune will come for Illinois this time around. The team’s bad luck has been well documented everywhere and doesn’t need recapping, but the fact that it is not deserved is worth discussion. For instance, consider Trent Frazier; in the last 9 games he’s averaged 16.8 points and 2.6 assists and connected on 45 percent from the field. That’s the offense Illinois needs, and with a bit of karma maybe it will be what gets Illinois off the schneid.

Photo by Mike Pauza


Watch this amazing short film about three Illinois “ICONS”

The B1G Network and University of Illinois developed this 30 minute mini-documentary about three of UIUC's most celebrated exports, architect Max Abramovitz, sculptor Lorado Taft, and football coach and painter, Robert Zuppke. 

All three are wonderfully produced, and highly entertaining. I have always been partial to Max Abramovitz, personally. As the designer of local landmarks, Hillel Center, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and State Farm Center (previously Assembly Hall), his works also include Tour Gan, in Paris, France and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center plus the UN Complex in New York City. 

It's a marvelous thirty minutes, and a reminder of just how many amazing people have passed through and left their mark on Champaign-Urbana:

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Poster Children announce new album Grand Bargain!; hear the title track now

Poster Children have announced their new record, their first since 2004's No More Songs About Sleep and Fire. They're calling it Grand Bargain!, and it's out May 18th — you can hear the title track now:

Produced by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, this is action from a band that had a quick stint in 2016 for the 25th anniversary of Daisychain Reaction, including a performance at PYGMALION in Champaign that same year.

Check out the album art below, and some more information about the release.


Lyrics from "Grand Bargain!":

Grand Bargain!

America held hostage day one
A lot of folks woke up without power this morning
It’s every man for himself
And every woman at 70% of the going rate

In the land of the free market
And the home of the wage slave
It's not the robots you need to worry about
It's the corporate human

I am a paid enemy of the state
Guilty in an attempt to educate
To teach is to leach to sell divine
The business of America is business

This is a company town
A 21st Century Pullman
16 tons or 64bits it's all the same

Rule by thieves
To use the mechanism of government
To enrich oneself
At the expense of the greater good

The 6 billion dollar man will be our savior
Greed is God
Starve the Beast
Let’s see if that puts food on your plate


Here's the press release:

America held hostage day one

A lot of folks woke up without power this morning

It’s every man for himself

And every woman at 70% of the going rate

- Poster Children, Grand Bargain!

Poster Children are back with a scathing new political album, their first new release in 14 years. Grand Bargain! is a return to their formative years, engineered by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, with a raw and intense fury matching their heralded live performances.

Leading to their return, in 2016, Poster Children released the 25th anniversary edition of their renowned album, “Daisy Chain Reaction” (Twin/Tone / Sire / Lotuspool Records). The limited edition vinyl included a hand-made zine with forward by indie rock guitarist/journalist, Jon Fine. Both the album and subsequent tour garnered rave reviews in celebration of PC’s return and in anticipation of their upcoming new release. That release, “Grand Bargain!” is here and it happily greets those expectations with an aggressive view of our current state of affairs. 

In the land of the free market

And the home of the wage slave

It’s not the robots you need to worry about

It’s the corporate human

Poster Children was formed in Champaign, Illinois in 1987 by Rick Valentin (guitar, vocals) and Rose Marshack (bass, vocals). Jim Valentin joined on guitar in 1991 and Matt Friscia (drummer #7) joined in 2001. The band are known for their DIY attitude and for pioneering digital communication with fans.

They began coding their own websites and Enhanced CDs in 1994, started blogging online in 1995 via tour reports and have one of the longest running podcasts, Radio Zero, which started in 1998 before the word podcast was even coined.

I am a paid enemy of the state

Guilty in attempt to educate

To teach is to leech, to sell divine

The business of America is business

Poster Children Grand Bargain! out on May 18th 2018 on Lotuspool Records, in LP, CD, and cassette. Single release on January 19th 2018.


Pop up art show coming to Champaign February 2nd

A two day pop-up art show entitled “Juxtaposition” is coming to Champaign in early February. Local artists Laura Anne Well, Cindy Blair Sampson, Marc-Anthony Macon, and Phil Strang will be hosting an evening celebrating individual and collaborative art. They event will also host local musicians Jim Bean, who will play Friday night, and JAM, playing on Saturday night.

The show will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday Feb. 2nd and 1 to 9 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 3rd. It'll be at 124 N Neil St Apt. 206 in Champaign. Click here for the Facebook event.

Photo from Facebook.


Apply to present at Pechakucha Night Vol. 26

The Champaign Urbana Design Organization is now accepting applications for their 26th Pechakucha Night, which will be on March 24th at the Virginia Theatre. Here’s what they say about potential presenters:

PechaKucha presenters come from a wide range of fields — activists, architects, artists, chefs, coolhunters, critics, designers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, historians, makers, photographers, and scientists, to name a few.

The most important thing about your PK presentation is that you love your subject matter. Though you will have only 6 min. and 40 sec. to deliver your final presentation, an ideal topic is one you could talk about for hours.

Pechakuchas are pretty cool to watch as presenters have 20 images and 20 seconds per image to discuss their topic. So even if you don't present, you should still check it out, especially if it's something you've never seen before. 

For more information or to apply now, click here.

Photo from CUDO website. 


Flying Machine Coffee in Urbana is closing

There's a bit more information that we are not going to share out of respect for all of the people who work at the new yet beloved coffee shop, and for our friends who rent the space to them, but the news is real:

Flying Machine in Urbana will close up shop on March 28, 2018. 

We will definitely miss having this sort of community gathering space, this sort of local business, and these kinds of people doing good work in Downtown Urbana. 

BUT REMEMBER: Flying Machine now has its very own space, on First & Clark, in Midtown Champaign. Avionics shares a space with Page Roasting Co., which is the newest coffee roaster in Champaign, and by all measures, absolutely amazing. 

Best of luck to everyone involved here. Never fun to report this sort of thing... 


Chef Judson Todd Allen returning to UIUC for book signing and cooking demo

Chef Judson Todd Allen, a UIUC alum, will be back on campus for a book signing, hot sauce tasting, and cooking demo on January 30th and 31st. 

Allen, known to some as "The Architect of Flavor®," is promoting his cookbook called The Spice Diet and his proprietary hot sauce. Details for each event are indicated in the press release below. 

Jan. 17, 2018

Source: Matt Smith,

News writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183,

Celebrity chef and food science alum brings new book to campus

URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois alum and celebrity chef, Judson Todd Allen, also known as the Architect of Flavor®, will return to the Urbana campus for book signings, a hot sauce tasting, and cooking demonstration Jan. 30 and 31.

Allen, who has appeared on the Food Network, earned a degree in food science and human nutrition from the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. He is the CEO and Executive Chef of Healthy Infused Cuisine, LLC, a premier cuisine company. His passion for childhood obesity and other health-related causes has positioned him in roles of advisory and endorsements.

Allen’s mission is to design powerhouse flavors sourcing seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients that change the way people think and feel about healthier foods. Allen struggled with weight for a significant part of his life and now maintains a weight loss of over 160 lbs. His current book The Spice Diet shares his personal story of being addicted to food, encourages weight loss, and shows how to pair the perfect spices and ingredients—excluding salt, sugar and processed foods—to yield simple and flavorful meals that happen to be healthy.

Activities included in Allen’s campus visit are:

·         Tuesday, Jan 30, 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m. – Book signing and meet and greet, Bevier Café (The Spice Diet cookbooks will be available for purchase); Bevier Café menu will also feature a recipe from the book.

·         Wednesday, Jan. 31, noon  -1:30 p.m. – Cooking demonstration, Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) instructional kitchen

·         Wednesday, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. – Hot sauce tasting and book signing, Illini Union Bookstore

For the ARC cooking demonstration, approximately 40 samples will be available from each of the three recipes Allen prepares; an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. The auditorium can seat up to 150 people and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

In 2013, Allen introduced his signature All Purpose and All Natural CHEF BLEND Hot Sauce.  The low-sodium product offers a “Less Hot More Flavor” taste. With a mission to eradicate childhood obesity, Allen launched CHEF BLEND Weekend, an annual event designed to celebrate the inspiration of flavor through healthier, locally sourced foods and the chefs/purveyors behind the art.

With an MBA in Entrepreneurship from DePaul University’s Graduate School of Business, Allen is a current advisory board member of the DePaul University School of Hospitality. For more information on Allen, visit

Photo from Facebook.