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Bar M hosting ice cream social this Sunday

Bar M is hosting an ice cream social (featuring boozy floats and homemade ice cream) this Sunday, May 1st from 4 to 7 p.m. Non-alcoholic options will be available, too.

For more info, check out the event's Facebook page. Bar M is located inside of Cafeteria & Co., at 208 W Main Street, Urbana. 

Photo from Bar M's Facebook page. 


The Upper Bout named one of the top 100 U.S guitar dealers

The Upper Bout has recently been recognized as a Top 100 Dealer by the National Association of Music Merchants, a large accolade in the world of music retail.

Congrats, guys! We're always happy to see a C-U business on a national list.

From The Upper Bout's press release:

Champaign, IL – 4/27/2016 – The Upper Bout in Champaign, Illinois has been named a Top 100 Dealer by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the global association of music products and music retailers. The organization will recognize The Upper Bout on Friday, June 24 at the Top 100 Dealer Awards event held as part of the 2016 Summer NAMM Show in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The Upper Bout was selected by a discerning panel of judges as one of the very best among music retailers,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO. “This special recognition signifies The Upper Bout’s commitment to providing an excellent retail experience for their customers, helping people of all ages discover the joys and benefits of making music, and to fostering a positive musical experience for their community at large.”

Dubbed the ‘retail Oscars’ by Music Inc. magazine, NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer Awards spotlights the industry’s very best music product retailers.  To determine the list, an independent panel of judges reviewed hundreds of submissions that are rated across categories that include customer service, music advocacy, store design, and promotions and are scored in accordance to determine the Top 100 list.

“It is an honor to be recognized alongside so many great stores” said Ricky Bright, Owner, The Upper Bout.

In addition to its honor as a Top 100 Dealer, The Upper Bout will be in consideration to receive a “Best Of” Award recognizing stand-out achievement in the following categories: Store Turnaround, Customer Service, Store Design, Marketing and Sales Promotion, Online Engagement, Emerging Dealer/Rookie of the Year, and the Music Makes a Difference award. The coveted Dealer of the Year award will go to one of the recipients in the aforementioned categories.


What You Will…Cyrano?

The What You Will Shakespeare Company, known for its roundabout productions of the Bard, is at it again...with a different playwright! (Don't worry, the play is still written in verse)

Coming off its also-not-Willy production of Doctor Faustus, WYWSCo is taking on the reknowned poet in the shadows, Cyrano de Bergerac, but as always, at an oblique angle. 

The traditional play focuses on the famous triangle between Roxane, Cyrano and Christian, but the What You Will Take on things is much broader. Following several secondary characters, it offers the audience the chance to discover the outcome of smaller decisions these people made throughout their lives. 

Says director Emaline Johnson, "In this show Christian is not stupid (the way he is commonly portrayed).  He is intelligent but not eloquent and adding that element to his character makes him much more relatable and tragic — we all have so much we want to say and sometimes when the time comes the words fail us.  Cyrano loves her and has the words to woo her but doesn't have enough faith in himself.  In that way they both use each other when winning her over, and they both know it."

This weekend, Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, head to the Channing Murray Foundation on campus at 7 p.m. for a $7 ticket to a new spin on an old classic. Details can be found on the group's facebook page.


The Land Connection’s Farmers’ Market reopens May 3rd

The Land Connection Champaign Farmers' Market, is reopening next week Tuesday,  and will continue every Tuesday through October from 4 p.m to 7 p.m.

To kick off the new season, The Land Connection is hosting a gift basket giveaway. Simply find Eggwardo in at least 7 of the following businesses, and you'll be eligible for the May 17 market giveaway: 

10,000 Villages, Columbia Street Roastery, Pizzeria Antica, Aroma Cafe, Fleurish, Skins n' Tins Drum Shop, Big Grove Tavern, Jane Addams Book Shop, Watson's Shack & Rail, Cafe Kopi, Orpheum Children's Science Museum, Circles, and Pekara Bakery & Bistro.

From The Land Connection's press release:

CHAMPAIGN, IL (April 19, 2016): People will have another delicious reason to visit downtown Champaign on Tuesday nights starting on May 3. Returning for its second season, the Champaign Farmers’ Market will take place in the parking lot at 310-330 N. Neil, immediately adjacent to the plaza at 1 West Main, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every week from May through October.

“Our inaugural season in 2015 was a very encouraging success, and we were thrilled to see over 17,500 shoppers turn out to support the Champaign Farmers’ Market’s mission of Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy Communities through eating locally grown, in-season produce”, said Sarah Simeziane, farmers’ market manager at The Land Connection.

The market also operates a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) doubling program, and gave out over $1,000 in matching funds last year. Simeziane noted, “with the help of our generous sponsors, we are once again able to double SNAP purchases up to $20 every week in an effort to make healthy, local food more accessible and affordable to our whole community.”

“From the very start, we have envisioned the kind of market where you can do your grocery shopping for the week – not just vegetables, but eggs, meat, and bread too,” said Cara Cummings, executive director of The Land Connection. The 2016 market will feature 15-20 vendors per week selling locally grown, raised, or produced food and farm products, including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meat, fish, eggs, honey, flowers, baked goods, and desserts.

"Sola Gratia Farm is so happy to return for a second year at The Land Connection's Tuesday Farmer's Market” said local farmer Traci Barkley. “We were the first to sign up for the new season! It was wonderful to see how this became a weekly ritual for so many because of the happening location, fun activities, and most importantly the great selection of local food.”

The Champaign Farmers’ Market is a producer-only market, and in line with the mission of The Land Connection, a Champaign-based nonprofit dedicated to training farmers and preserving farmland, everything to be sold at the market will be grown, raised or produced locally. To support their larger organizational mission, the market favors farms with sustainable growing practices and a commitment towards improving the land through environmentally friendly methods. The Land Connection also works to support new farmers and help them gain a stronger foothold on the local food scene.

For more information about the market and our Farm Fresh Now recipe card series, including how to become a volunteer, sponsor, or a vendor, visit here.

About The Land Connection:

The Land Connection is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting farmland, training sustainable and organic farmers, and promoting a vibrant local food system.


The Virginia Theatre is hosting Wes Anderson Week May 23-28

Virginia Theatre aims to celebrate our favorite quirky hipster director Wes Anderson, and his cult classic films, with Wes Anderson Week from May 23rd to May 28th.

One movie will be played every night at 7 pm. If interested, one can purchase advance tickets here, and find the full schedule below.

From Virginia Theatre's Facebook:


With his first films Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, Wes Anderson immediately found an audience for his quirky, gentle humor. This month, the Virginia screens four of his best.


May 23-24 Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Rated PG (87 min)

May 25-26 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Rated R (110 min)

May 27 Rushmore (1998) Rated R (93 min)

May 28 Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Rated R (99 min)


City of Champaign to celebrate Public Service Recognition Week May 1-7

From the press release:

City of Champaign to Celebrate Public Service Recognition Week May 1-7

The City of Champaign will proudly celebrate Public Service Recognition Week May 1-7 in a number of exciting ways.  A national event, Public Service Recognition Week honors the men and women who serve our country at the local, county, state, and federal level. The City of Champaign will use this opportunity to engage with the public, to encourage residents to connect with their local government, and to promote the rewarding aspects of a career in public service.

“The City’s employees are the backbone of our community,” said Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen.  “They build and maintain our streets, ensure the public’s safety, promote healthy neighborhoods, and responsibly manage public resources in order to maintain and improve our vibrant and diverse city.  I hope the community will join me in thanking City staff for their hard work and dedication during Public Service Recognition Week.” 

On May 3, 2016, from 4-7 p.m., City staff will interact with the public and share information about City services at the Champaign Farmer’s Market (downtown parking lot near Neil and Main).  Residents and visitors are encouraged to bring their families by the City’s tent and plant seeds to take home for their own gardens or pose for a photo in a firefighter’s helmet or other City-related prop.


More activities are planned and will be announced during Public Service Recognition Week, including a volunteer opportunity for City staff to give back to their community.


Non-tenure-track faculty call for five-day strike

NTFC Local #6546, the union that represents roughly 500 non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Illinois, voted overwhelmingly last night to strike again, this time for five days.

Non-tenure track faculty, most of whom work on nine-month contracts, are asking for non-monetary improvements to their working conditions. These improvements include evaluations, the opportunity to participate in professional development, timely notices of re-appointment in advance of the school year, and two-year contracts for those who have worked for the University for at least five years. At UIC, non-tenure-track faculty already enjoy many of these provisions in their contract, but the UIUC administration continues to claim that our non-tenure-track faculty cannot be accorded the same.

The requests of non-tenure-track faculty would, of course, benefit students, who deserve to have instructors who will be around in future semesters to mentor them and provide them letters of recommendation. But these requests would also benefit C-U as a whole. Multiyear contracts for non-tenure-track faculty mean that a greater number of faculty members would put down roots in C-U: buying homes, joining community organizations, and becoming familiar with local businesses and services. NTFC is asking for job security, which is necessary to strengthen one's ties to a community. 

The University of Illinois administration's continued disregard for NTFC's very basic requests shows a complete lack of respect for these faculty members and the educations they provide to their students.


NCSA-enabled IMAX movie A Beautiful Planet premiering at Savoy 16 May 1st

From the NCSA website:

The National Center of Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is bringing the Hollywood red carpet experience to Champaign County! The Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at NCSA recently worked on "A Beautiful Planet," the latest 3D space documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Toni Myers and IMAX Entertainment, made in cooperation with NASA. NCSA will host a red carpet event at the Goodrich Savoy 16 IMAX Theater on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.

Members of the AVL team will introduce the film and discuss their role in its production. Guests will also have the chance to walk the red carpet and photography staging area. Guests who mention "A Beautiful Planet" at the concessions stand can receive a mini popcorn and soda for just $5.00.

"A Beautiful Planet" features two scenes—the movie's opening and closing sequences—that were produced by the AVL team. AVL Director Donna Cox served as visualization producer and designer on the NCSA scenes of the film. AVL previously worked with Myers and the IMAX team to create scientific visualizations for the award-winning IMAX® documentary, "Hubble 3D," from Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Entertainment (2010). Additionally, the film features stunning footage of our magnificent blue planet—and the effects humanity has had on it over time—captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition to the red carpet event, the film will show daily at at 11:30 a.m. from Friday, April 29 to Thursday, May 5. Tickets are on sale at now athttp://www.goodrichqualitytheaters.com/illinois/savoy16imax/.

For more information on NCSA's involvement with "A Beautiful Planet," please visit the NCSA website.

AVL has a long history of producing cinematic scientific visualizations for full-dome planetarium shows, television documentaries, feature film and IMAX documentary films. The AVL team that worked on the film includes: Robert Patterson (visualization designer/camera), Stuart Levy (visualization/astronomy), AJ Christensen (visualization design/effects), and Kalina Borkiewicz (visualization development).

"A Beautiful Planet" is a 46-minute film documentary that gives moviegoers a never-before-seen glimpse of Earth from space and provides an increased understanding of our planet and galaxy. In cooperation with NASA, the movie captures footage filmed by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

AVL team produced 6 minutes and 20 seconds of visualization, including two dramatic astrophysical voyages: the opening journey into the Milky Way galaxy to the location of our Sun and the closing scene, a flight from the International Space Station to the Earth-like exoplanet K-186f, nearly 500 light years away from Earth.

"A Beautiful Planet" has been rated G.

You can learn more about "A Beautiful Planet" by visiting its official site at www.imax.com/ABP.

The Goodrich Savoy 16 is located at 232 W. Burwash in Savoy, Illinois (61874). For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 217-355-9718 or 217-355-3456 or visit the website athttp://www.goodrichqualitytheaters.com/illinois/savoy16imax/.

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D Experience® and The IMAX Experience® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Kristin Williamson
Assistant Director, Public Affairs


Portillo’s actually considering opening in Champaign

I know we made a joke about this a while back, but then when the new CEO of Portillo's, Keith Kinsey (a U of I alum), was announced — it seemed more real than ever.

The absolutely loved restaurant announced they were opening up in Normal in 2017:

The company was founded in 1963 and currently has more than 40 restaurants, most of them in Illinois. Portillos also is reportedly looking at locating in Champaign.

Holy mother, this could be happening... soon. "Soon" like those memes you see on the interweb soon.