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EIU’s Lions in Winter this January 30-31

The annual Lions in Winter literary event is just around the corner at EIU. For more, see the EIU English Department press release below:

A diverse group of emerging writers and editors will share their knowledge of the literary world at Lions in Winter 2015, Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan. 31, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Now in its third year, the two-day festival includes a faculty colloquium, evening readings and craft talks with award-winning writers, a panel discussion with literary magazine editors, children’s story hour and a book fair.

“The Lions in Winter committee hopes this year’s festival will appeal to a wide range of writers and readers – from high school and college students to community members of all ages,” said Lania Knight, Lions in Winter co-organizer.

Horror and experimental fiction writer Stephen Graham Jones will be in the spotlight for the evening events on Friday, Jan. 30. The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. with a faculty colloquium on Jones in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall. Melissa Ames, Robin Murray, and Ruben Quesada professors in the EIU Department of English, along with writer and editor Brian Kornell of Champaign, will discuss Jones’s work, which includes 15 novels, six story collections, and more than 200 stories. His latest story collection, “After the People Lights Have Gone Off,” was published in the fall of 2014.

Jones has been a Shirley Jackson Award finalist three times, a Bram Stoker Award finalist, a Black Quill Award finalist, an International Horror Guild finalist, a Colorado Book Award Finalist, a Texas Monthly Book Selection, and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction and the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction. He has also been a Texas Writers League Fellow and an NEA fellow in fiction. He is a professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Jones will take to the stage in the Doudna Lecture Hall to give the keynote reading at 7 p.m. The colloquium and reading are free and open to the public.

The morning and afternoon events on Saturday, Jan. 31 will allow those yearning to further their knowledge of writing and publishing the opportunity for a more intimate experience with the festival’s writers and editors.

Jones, David Tomas Martinez, fiction writer Edward Kelsey Moore, non-fiction writer Julija Šukys and children’s author Jessica Young will give for craft talks on their respective genres from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center classrooms. Each writer will present a 50-minute talk on how to improve one’s craft.

“We want Lions in Winter to appeal to as many people as we can,” said Charlotte Pence, Lions in Winter co-organizer. “We have different genres so we can really meet everyone’s interest.”

Martinez’s debut collection of poetry, “Hustle,” released in 2014, won honorable mention in the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral prize. His poetry has also been published in numerous literary magazines. He is the Reviews and Interviews editor for Gulf Coast and is a Breadloaf and CantoMundo Fellow. Martinez received his MFA from San Diego State University. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Houston’s creative writing program.

Moore is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Supreme’s at Earls All-You-Can Eat,” published in 2013. “The Supremes” was awarded the 2014 First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library
Association and was chosen as a 2013 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. It was also named a 2014 Illinois Reads book by the Illinois Reading Council.

Šukys is the author of two books of nonfiction, “Silence is Death: The Life and Work of Tahar Djaout,” published in 2007, and “Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Šimaitė,” 2012. “Epistolophilia” was shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction, long-listed for the Charles Taylor Award in Literary Nonfiction and won the 2013 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Literature. She is currently working on a personal story that starts in Lithuania, continues in Siberia, and ends in Canada. Šukys is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Young’s award-winning debut picture book, “My Blue is Happy, published in 2013, was included on the 2014 Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults, the Texas Library Association’s 2014 2×2 Reading List, the Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets 2013, the Library of Congress/Center for the Book’s 52 Great Reads list and many other lists. A second picture book and two chapter book series are forthcoming in 2015 and 2016.

Young will also host a children’s story hour at 10 a.m. in the Ballenger Teachers Center at Booth Library. All children ages 3 to 7 accompanied by an adult are welcome to attend the free story hour.

A panel of literary magazine editors will offer their perspective on how to improves one’s work at 2 p.m. in the Doudna Concourse. Two EIU English professors will be on the panel to represent their respective publications: Lania Knight for Bluestem and Ruben Quesada for Luna Luna and The Cossack Review. Caleb Curtiss will represent Hobart and Jim Warner will represent Quiddity.

The book fair will be open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Doudna Concourse. Books by the featured writers, editors and EIU faculty will be available for perusal and purchase.

Lions in Winter will conclude with a reading by Martinez, Moore and Šukys at 7 p.m. in the Doudna Lecture Hall. The reading is free and open to the public.

Registration is required to attend the craft talks and editors’ panel on Jan. 31, and can be completed at www.lionsinwinter.org/registration/. The cost is $40 for general admission and includes continental breakfast, lunch, craft talks and the editors’ panel. All high school and college students and EIU faculty may register and attend these events for free, or pay $10 to add the lunch. Coles County Arts Council members can receive a discounted rate by calling the Doudna Box Office at 217-581-3110.

All other festival events are free to attend.

Lions in Winter 2015 is sponsored by the Doudna Fine Arts Center New and Emerging Artists Series, The College of Arts and Humanities, EIU Department of English, The Mary Coon Cottingham Visiting Writers Series and the Coles County Arts Council.

Visit the Lions in Winter website at www.lionsinwinter.org to register or for more information about the literary festival. Questions can be directed to information@lionsinwinter.org or the EIU Department of English at 217-581-2428.


Need a repair? Recommended: FYXIT on Green Street

We recently visited FYXIT — an electronics repair shop on Green Street — for the first time last week. We were in need of some repairs for a computer at SP HQ, so we took it by there to get a quote and talk to the Head Technician, Brendan Hsu, who we hope to feature (and his shop) soon in our new SP Tech section. In due time, certainly.

Super friendly service, reasonably priced, and insanely quick. Our repair was finished and ready to go just a few hours after we dropped it off there. Obviously, this is one trip and one repair, so perhaps others have had different experiences. With that said — our trip was a good one.

So, check them out if you're in need. It's located at 202 E. Green St. in Champaign.


Parkland's The Drowsy Chaperone has been cast

Casting for Parkland’s season-ending musical The Drowsy Chaperone has been announced. Under the direction of J.W. Morrissette, the show will boast several local favorites.

The cast is as follows:

Man in Chair - Dallas Street

Janet Van De Graaff - Michelle Ogden

Robert - Warren Garver

Drowsy Chaperone - Alexis Dawtyne

Aldolpho - Jace Jamison

George - Evan Seggebruch

Feldzieg - Nick Schneider

Gangsters - Matthew Henry, Ray Essick

Kitty - Marah Sotelo

Tottendale - Chelsea Zych

Underling - Lincoln Machula

Trix - Tracy Harpster

Superintendent - Trevor Ramsey

Tottendale's Staff: Malia Andrus, Tafadzwa Diener, Abigail Gailey, Jenny Gleason, Tracy Harpster, Ryan Jenkins, Jessica Miller, Katie Odom, Tina Radi, Trevor Ramsey, Jessica Shryock, Andrew Smith.

[Editor's note: as a personal aside, I can’t wait to see the sublime Lincoln Machula as Underling.]

The Drowsy Chaperone will run April 16th through May 2nd at Parkland College Theatre.

In the meantime, Parkland’s upcoming production of The Sparrow opens February 19th and runs through March 1st.


American Football’s Mike Kinsella’s guitars stolen

This is never a good thing to report, but I thought I'd help share the word. Mike Kinsella of American Football had a few guitars stolen from him over the weekend, and you can check out the post on AF's Facebook page at the bottom. You might recognize one of the main guitars — which he played at last year's Pygmalion Festival, pictured above and below.

Not exactly a local story, but seeing as they have ties to C-U, it makes sense to me to post here.

So, perhaps you can help spread the word as well.


Summer Camp Wednesdays starting February 4th at Canopy Club

For all of you fans of the Canopy Club and Summer Camp Music Festival, the Club will be doing a promotional series where you can win some cool stuff (and free tickets) for SCAMP 2015.

From the press release:

Summer Camp Music Festival presents


Starting February 4th at the Canopy Club in Urbana, IL 

Earning a FREE ticket to Summer Camp has never been so easy!

On Memorial Day Weekend of this year the Summer Camp Music Festival will celebrate it’s 15th year at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL. With over 75 bands on 7 stages over the course of 3 days, the Summer Camp Music Festival is one of the premiere camping music festivals in the Midwest. Starting on February 4th, The Canopy Club in Urbana will host Summer Camp Wednesdays that will, among other things, give fans the chance to go to Summer Camp 2015 for FREE!

Summer Camp Wednesdays will feature a rotation of central Illinois-based bands each week that you’ll be able to see at this year’s festival, alongside the Canopy Club’s infamous $3 Real Long Island Iced Teas, Summer Camp promotional giveaways each week and free pizza from 9p-11p provided by one of Summer Camp’s favorite food vendors – Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas. The best part of all is that festival fans who come out each week will have the opportunity to gain credits towards winning some amazing prizes from the Summer Camp Music Festival including a FREE ticket. Here’s how it will work:

Fans will come to the club each week to enjoy the music, drinks and food. While there they will need to check in at the Summer Camp booth inside the Canopy Club and then complete the social media photo task assigned each week.  On the final date of the promotion (May 6th), fans will be able to redeem their attendance credits for the rewards listed below. Fans must be present on May 6th to collect their rewards.

Attend 4 weeks : 2014 Summer Camp Music Festival VIP Poster

Attend 6 weeks : Thursday Pre-Party Pass ticket for Summer Camp 2015

Attend 8 weeks : Red Barn Late Night Ticket of your choice for Summer Camp 2015

Attend 10 weeks : 3-day festival ticket for Summer Camp 2015

Attend 11 weeks : Each person who attends all 11 weeks will receive the 3-day festival ticket and be entered into a drawing for a VIP Upgrade to Summer Camp 2015

Bands scheduled to appear at Summer Camp Wednesdays will include: Bones Jugs N Harmony, Church Booty, Brainchild and Flaccid. For further details on the promotion and each individual week’s band performance schedule and more, please check out the Canopy Club on-line or via Facebook. www.canopyclub.com or www.facebook.com/thecanopyclub

The Summer Camp Music Festival started in 2001. Since its beginning Summer Camp has been known for its spacious, open fields for shows, trademark late-night events, pristine campgrounds and amazing lineup of eclectic artists and bands.  2015 will mark the 15th year of the festival which has hosted a wide array of talent over the years, including: Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, Zac Brown Band, the Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, STS9, Bassnectar, Jane’s Addiction, Wiz Khalifa, The Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, Skrillex, Primus, George Clinton, The Roots, Girl Talk and many, many more.

For more info on the Summer Camp Music Festival : www.summercampfestival.com

For more info on the Canopy Club : www.canopyclub.com

Produced by Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment.

More info at www.jaytv.com

UPDATE: Here's a nice poster for you.


Phases of the Moon Festival moving to Arkansas

According to a post on Phases of the Moon Festival's Facebook page, the crew has stated that they're packing up their things and moving the festival to Ozark, Arkansas in 2015. Check out the Facebook post below.


If you recall, there were some issues with the festival in year one, as to be expected. However, they were weather related — so it is interesting to see them taking their ball and moving it elsewhere after a seemingly warm response to launching the festival in Central Illinois.

Check out our coverage of 2014's festival here and here.

Illini stumble in Minnesota over the weekend

Illinois's hopes of making the NCAA Tournament took a major hit on Saturday as the team lost to Minnesota on the road, 79-71.

A string of poor defensive play and turnovers in the second half spelled doom for the Illini. After tying the game at 44 with 12:29 to play, the Gophers went on a 17-2 run, during which Illinois turned the ball over 3 times and missed 5 field goals.

The result was a product of the young Illini playing like the inexperienced players they are for a stretch and not having the depth (thanks to injuries) to overcome errors. Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill each had 18 points in the loss, but failed to really exert any dominance over the game. Jaylon Tate (11 points) was the only other Illini who managed to score in double figures.

Minnesota, on the other hand, moved the ball with great percision, causing the Illinois defense to break down multiple times and leave the Gophers with open shots. Overall the hosts executed their game plan to a tee, which led to Andre Hollins breaking out for 28 points.

This loss means Illinois (13-8, 3-5) will have to knock off some heavily favored teams in its final 10 regular season games to make a case for the Tourney. Any repeats of Saturday's performance, however, and Illinois may not even be considered for the NIT this year.

Photo courtesy of FightingIllini.com.


Daily Bread Soup Kitchen benefit trivia event happening January 31st

From the Facebook event:

This first annual fundraiser for Daily Bread Soup Kitchen will take place on Saturday, January 31st, 2015, from 5-8 p.m. at the HighDive in Champaign.

This team trivia event will be hosted by Mike Ingram and will feature questions contributed by local trivia hosts Quizmaster Chris (Mike and Molly's), Monty Joyce (Blind Pig Brewery), Kris Koester and Holly Herrera (Boltini), and Joe Funderburk (Memphis on Main), among others.

Individual admission is $20 (or $100 for teams of 6 registered at the door) and includes food catered by Hendrick House.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Trivia begins promptly at 5:30 p.m.

— Teams may consist of no more than 6 people.

— Smart phones or other electronic devices may not be used during the trivia competition. Violators will be immediately disqualified.


Theatre of the Hummingbird

The Community Center for the Arts will host THEATRE OF THE HUMMINGBIRD, a pilot project for a community-based, participant-driven theatre project culminating in a public performance. Led by local international performing artists Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman, Hummingbird is open to young adults ages 14-20 with a desire to contribute to the world through the arts. Participants will work together to develop their original ideas into a unique evening of live, local theatre.

MEETS: Fridays and Saturdays 6-9 p.m., February 6th–March 8th, at Community Center for the Arts, 103 North Race Street, Urbana

CONTACT: Robin Kearton: info@c-4a.org

This project is paid for in part by a City of Urbana Arts Grant.

Community Center for the Arts is supported in part by a grant from the  llinois Arts Council Agency.


Webpage for more info: http://c-4a.org/theatre-of-the-hummingbird/

More info on dates:
4 weekends: February (6-7) (13-14) (27-28) March (6-7-8)
Fridays and Saturdays 6-9 p.m.
Sunday (March 8) matinee and evening times TBA
No sessions on February 20-21