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Healthcare Training for U of I graduate employees

Getting information about the U of I's healthcare plans is notoriously difficult. Next Tuesday, university graduate employees can attend a session to learn about their health insurance, as well as local resources which are available to members to alleviate the costs of healthcare services not covered by their plans. Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) and Champaign County Healthcare Consumers (CHCC) representatives will be there to answer questions. 

The session takes place Tuesday, October 7th from 5-6:30 at the University YMCA (1001 S. Wright St., Champaign).


Weiskamp poster screen printing workshop on October 11th

Weiskamp is hosting a FREE poster printing workshop Saturday, October 11th at 10 a.m.

For first-timers there will be a 2-3 hour demonstration starting at 10 a.m. All materials are supplied.

If you are a returning printer, send layered Photoshop or Illustrator files to matthewharlan [at] gmail.com by noon on Friday the 10th.

The details:

If you're a newbie, show up at 10 a.m. for a 2-3 hour tutorial. we'll take you through the every step of the process so that you have the knowledge necessary to create your very own super legit screen-printable design in the future. No materials are required of the participants. Wear clothes you won't mind potentially getting inky.

For returning printmakers — just a quick reminder about materials and formatting:

Weiskamp's screens are 12" x 18" so size your print/file appropriately. Weiskamp's paper is 11" x 17" but you're always welcome to bring your own, and size your design to fit. If you would like to make a print of your own, please send your layered Photoshop or Illustrator file via email.

Send files to matthewharlan [at] gmail.com

Weiskamp supplies everything and even PIZZA at lunch! Returning printers are welcome to print at their own leisure as long as we wrap up by 5 p.m.

Bring your friends!


“What Does Black Masculinity Look Like?” October 9th at KAM

Krannert Art Museum will launch its second Global Africa Community Forum on Thurs., October 9th at 5:30 p.m. by asking "What Does Black Masculinity Look Like?" 

The event, that investigates Blackness, Gender & Contemporary African Dance, will be a dynamic and participatory public forum on the arts, cultures and communities of Africa and the African diaspora. This year’s forum explores experiences of blackness, gender and coming of age through dance, music and personal testimonials.

Directed by C. Kemal Nance, lecturer in Dance at Illinois, the evening will include performances by Nance; Stafford Berry, Jr., assistant professor of Dance and Black Studies at Denison University; Nyama McCarthy-Brown, assistant professor of Contemporary Dance in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University; and Djibril Camara, master Guinean dancer, choreographer and instructor.

KAM curator Allyson Purpura describes the project as “truly collaborative." The planning team includes Nance; Purpura; Rory James at the BNAAC; Anne Lutomia, PhD candidate in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership; Erik McDuffie, associate professor of African American Studies at the U of I; Anne Sautman, director of Education at KAM; Sam Smith of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Mabinty Tarawallie, MSW. 

The event is free and open to the public, and visitors are invited to come, listen and share experiences. After the forum, all are welcome to stay for SPEAK cafe, KAM's monthly open mic event starting at 7:30 p.m. 

For more information, including a full list of sponsors for the Global Africa Community Forum, visit the KAM blog.

(Image: Stafford Berry, Jr. and C. Kemal Nance, 2011. Photo by Sarah Davis.)


Krannert Center exterior refacing information

From the Krannert Center building engineer regarding Krannert Center repairs:

Otto Baum Company Inc. of Morton, Illinois was awarded the bid for phase 1 of the repairs to Krannert Center, which will correct a portion of our water infiltration issues. They will begin erecting a crane and 8 foot fences around the work area this month, and will start the actual repairs in early October. The project involves tearing down the exterior brick wall of the Studio, the Playhouse and the doghouses on either side of the amphitheater. During this process they will be re-flashing, installing new caps, adding insulation and re-pouring the concrete between the exterior brick wall and the interior walls. While the walls are down, they will retrofit the lights on the Studio and Playhouse to utilize LED bulbs.

Once the work on the north side of the building is complete, they will take a break before moving to the south side of the Playhouse and the amphitheater in the summer of 2015. This work will involve blocking one set of stairs as well as the sidewalk on the Goodwin side of the building.

From Krannert Center:

As you can see, it will be no small feat to complete this massive project. The crane has been erected and is seen in the photo below on the North side of the building where the project will commence.


Smile Politely now seeking Music Editor

Good afternoon, readers. Smile Politely is a magazine full of opinions written by our community writers and editors, and now we're looking to fill our Music Editor position. The ideal candidate will be a very engaged and interested community member with a penchant for the written word, a knack for managing a small team of community writers, a good sense of grammar, and a solid knowledge of the local music scene in Champaign-Urbana. In addition, the right candidate will be willing to write at least once or twice per week, and develop other authors from the community along the way.

There is an ample amount of topics in the C-U area to discuss in regards to Music, so we're looking for someone who is interested in helping us cover the bases in that section, while seeking out writers in the community to contribute to the section each week.

If you're interested, please get in touch with us at info@smilepolitely.com with qualifications and other necessary information that might be relevant to us.


Plant Mode soon to be open in Furniture Lounge’s loft space

Per Plant Mode's website:

Plant Mode had a very fun and successful time at The Made Fest last weekend, I mean really, it was a blast. So much energy and time went into the prep, the weekend was a blur. Now things are calm enough for me to think about the next move on the horizon for Plant Mode.

Starting this coming Saturday October 4th, Plant Mode will begin a 3 month stint at Furniture Lounge. Things may go on past January, but we are starting with a 3 month partnership to get things off the ground. And as Amanda from Furniture Lounge said, "it's expected that Plant Mode will need to move into a larger space", once one opens up in our fair downtown. 

Here are the logistics of Plant Mode in Furniture Lounge. 

Every Saturday I will be posted up in the rear lofted area of Furniture Lounge, selling the hell out of plants. Basically like a permanent Pop Up Shop. Amanda and or Scott will be holding down the fort at Furniture Lounge as they always do. These Hours will be 12-5pm.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday I will be at Furniture Lounge (as a Furniture Lounge Employee) This means customers of Furniture Lounge will be my first priority, but of course if you come to look at plants up in the rear loft area, I will be there to talk to you about it, and will be able to sell you plants.  These hours will be 12-4pm.

It's like saying Plant Mode will be "open" Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays inside of Furniture Lounge. No plant sales on Thursday and Fridays. Sunday and Monday, you can purchase any plants that are in the loft space, but I will not be there to teach you about the plants. Really, I'd rather you come and buy plants when I"m there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays....

This is Scott and Amanda as drawn by Carly...

The furniture that Plant Mode sells will not be at these Furniture Lounge hours, but still available at the Loft Space on Main street. The 8 Main street loft space location will also be where I will have client meetings and any after hours sales and appointments. This is a fluid situation, and we will work things out as we go along.

I will start to bring in a few larger plants, and a few lines of planters and such. In a week or two, there will be a mobile potting station, so you can have things planted up on the spot, or even bring in things to be planted up.

Furniture Lounge is located at 11 E University Ave, in downtown Champaign. South side of the street, next door to The Brass Rail (my favorite bar!)


South Africa’s ISANGO Ensemble performing at Krannert

Thursday-Friday, October 2-3, 2014, at 7:30pm

Director Mark Dornford-May and Music Director Pauline Malefane formed what is now ISANGO Ensemble in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2000, drawing its performers from the previously disadvantaged townships surrounding the city. Since that time the theatre company has played to audiences of over 3 million on stages around the world. ISANGO’s productions reimagine classics from the Western theatre canon, finding a new context for the stories within a South African or township setting and thereby creating innovative work relevant to the heritage of the nation. ISANGO’s award-winning film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, a vivid version of Bizet’s opera Carmen, was featured at the 2006 Roger Ebert Film Festival. Of the film, Ebert wrote, “Does the transition to a township near Cape Town work? The opera seems almost to have been written for its new location.”

To Krannert Center, the brimming-with-life ISANGO Ensemble brings The Magic Flute (Impempe yomlingo), featuring Mozart’s score transposed by Mandisi Dyantyis for an orchestra of marimbas and performed in a melange of languages, including English. The production broke box office records when it played at the Young Vic in London, then went on to win an Olivier Award in the West End and the Globes de Cristal following a sold-out season at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Beyond the official kudos, and most important of all, ISANGO Ensemble’s production of The Magic Flute “leaves you with a rare sense of life-enhancing joy” (Sunday Times, United Kingdom).

Recommended for ages 9 and up. Event listing here.


2 seats coming open on Champaign Park Board

Per a Champaign Park District press release:

Nominating petitions for two seats on the Champaign Park Board may now be picked up at the Bresnan Meeting Center, located at 706 Kenwood Road, Champaign. The seats now held by Joseph Petry and Jane Solon-Wetmore will be decided at the consolidated election on April 7, 2015. Both are for six-year terms.

Nominating petitions can be circulated beginning September 23. To be eligible to serve as a park commissioner, candidates must be a qualified voter residing in the park district for at least a year before the election. Illinois law also specifies that anyone who is in arrears in the payment of a tax or other indebtedness to the park district or who has been convicted of a felony, cannot serve on a park board.

Anyone interested in becoming a park commissioner is encouraged to attend park board meetings and to schedule a meeting with Joe DeLuce, Executive Director of the Champaign Park District. Park Board meetings are held at 7pm on the second Wednesday of every month at the Bresnan Meeting Center, 706 Kenwood Road, Champaign.


Campus leaders call on gubernatorial candidates to engage with students

Campus leaders are hoping social media will accomplish what phone calls and emails could not. On Wednesday, Student Body President of UIUC Mitch Dickey and Student Trustee Lucas Frye launced a social media blitz inviting Governor Quinn and Mr. Rauner to hold a debate at Foellinger Auditorium. Foellinger Auditorium has already been booked for October 7th, and the students are hoping the candidates will show up. 

On Wednesday night, Quinn for Illinois tweeted "Governor Quinn was looking forward to the debate at UIUC — and he was disappointed that @BruceRauner backed out #LetsTalk"

It appears the debate is only hinging on the response of Rauner.

Want to get involved?

Join the Facebook event

Like and follow the Facebook page Engage Illinois

Or Follow @EngageIL

Also the students are asking anyone and everyone to tweet the following (or post it on Facebook)

Tweet: "@GovernorQuinn & @BruceRauner: If you have the answers TO the future of Illinois engage WITH the future of Illinois. #LetsTalk"


Tonight on SP Radio: The Station Theatre’s A Kid Like Jake

Join us tonight on Smile Politely Radio as we chat with the one and only Katie Baldwin Prosise, who is currently directing the Station Theatre's latest production, A Kid Like Jake, which runs October 2 - 18 at 8 p.m. 

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here.