Category: Link

Join the CU community theatre diversity town hall on September 27th

Members of the CU community theatre scene will be holding an online town hall meeting about improving diversity and inclusion on and behind local stages. Moderated by poet and Urbana Arts and Culture Program coordinator Rachel Storm, the conversation will run from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 27th and will include an open discussion with attendees. 

Complete the pre-event survey here. Find out how to attend the town hall here.

Cover art designed by Diana Golmeeva.



C-U Folk & Roots Festival announces lineup for virtual fest October 23-24

Back in early August, C-U Folk & Roots Festival, like many other events, announced they would go all-virtual in 2020. Their virtual event is taking place October 23-24, and now they have revealed who will be a part of it. 

Last year's headline Dom Flemons, Hot Club of Cowtown, Kyshona Armstrong, Nikki "D" & the Browns aka Sisters of Thunder, Jake Blount and many more will hop in on the action. Check out the email blast here to read all about what they have planned, and how they plan to do it.

Top image by Eric Frahm.


Arts in the time of pandemic series starts September 23rd

If, like me, you've been pondering the short and long-term impacts of the pandemic on the visual and performing arts, you'll definitely want to check out this five-week series of dialogues featuring Illinois faculty and artists from a variety of disciplines. 

Organized by the Center for Advanced Study at Illinois, The Arts in the time of Pandemic will explore the most challenging questions facing artists right now. "How has the creative and performing arts community adapted to the strictures of social distancing and the apparent need to rely on digital platforms? How do practices that require physical presence and/or contact proceed?"

Illustrated schedule of The arts in the time of pandemic series. Image from Facebook

The series kicks of on Wednesday, September 23rd at 4 p.m. with Genesee Spridco, Aaron Muñoz, Sara Hook, Endalyn Taylor, and Catherine Prendergast examining the impact of COVID-19 on Psh*tter and November Dance.

Get more information about this online series including how to register here.

Images from Center for Advanced Study at Illinois Facebook page


Even Audubon Magazine thinks the kingfisher is a good mascot

The kingfisher is the best suggestion for a replacement mascot at the University of Illinois. 

Last week, Audubon Magazine agreed. Sure, Audubon loves birds, obviously, but in this article writer Nicholas Lund makes the case for why the kingfisher is the best.

Check out Facebook to learn more about and support The Kingfisher for UIUC.

Top image from The Kingfisher Facebook page.


Illinois Newsroom has an election resource page

We will be offering up plenty of election coverage here at Smile Politely, but Illinois Newsroom is another great resource for all things election 2020. 

You can learn about specific candidates, find information about voting in Illinois, and even submit questions related to the election.

This might be a good one to bookmark. 

Image from WILL Radio TV Online Facebook page.


Announcing the artists and locations of the 2020 Great ARTdoors

The Great ARTdoors,  a new collaboration between 40 North, the Spurlock Museum, the Urbana Park District, the Champaign Park District, and the Urbana Arts and Culture Program, has announced the ten artists and locations selected for the program's inauguration. 

Photo collage of the ten chosen artworks for the new Great ARTdoors project. Photo from Facebookl

Barry Abrahms | Tensegrity | MLK Trail | Champaign
EKAH | Points of View | Lierman Neighborhood Community Garden | Urbana
Greg Stallmeyer | Rainbow Connection | Kaufman Lake | Champaign
Ja' Nelle Davenport Pleasure | Seeds of Injustice | Randolph Street Community Gardens | Champaign
Keenan Dailey | Unchained | Douglass Park | Champaign
Kimsey Fitzgerald | Mother & Child | Chief Shemauger Park | Urbana
Lisa Kesler | Prairie Dance | Sunset Ridge Park | Champaign
Michael Darin | Catapult Earth | Anita Purves Nature Center | Urbana
Nathan Westerman | Transfiguration | Victory Park | Urbana
Sierra Murphy | Bread and Roses | South Ridge Park | Urbana

Find out more about this new collaboration here


Photos from Facebook


You can nominate the next City of Urbana Poet Laureate

The City of Urbana has announced an open call for nominations for its 2021 Poet Laureate position. 

The Poet Laureate "acts as an advocate for poetry, language, and the arts. They create a unique artistic legacy by conducting outreach activities, special programs, and presentations of individual works. The role of the Laureate is to build upon the City’s local poetry scene, foster appreciation of poetry in all its forms, and to support Urbana residents and visitors in deepening their appreciation of the art of creative writing."

Nominations are due by Thursday, October 1st at 5 p.m. 

Learn more or submit your nomination here.


Photo from Facebook


Robert Carr Visiting Author Series presents Chris Glomski September 17th

The Robert J. Carr Visiting Author Series kicks off its fall schedule with a virtual event featuring poet Chris Glomski on Thursday, September 17th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Join the event here (passcode Carr2020). Learn more about Chris Glomski here.

The Robert J. Carr Visiting Author Series is presented by the University of Illinois Department of English. 


Photo from Facebook


Learn to make macaroni on Zoom with C-U chefs

As part of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank's Stay at Homecoming's Spirit Week, several chefs from Champaign-Urbana (and Tuscola) will be doing a virtual cooking demonstration.

Curtis McGhee of C&C Kitchen, Colleen Hatton of Dish Passionate Cuisine, Kenny Hogue of Cast Iron Pub & Irma Lou's Kitchen, and Bob Rowe, private chef formerly of Classic Events will all be preparing dishes featuring elbow macaroni. Macaroni was chosen for this event as it is a staple item for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. The event is sponsored by Central Illinois Produce

The event will take place on Zoom next Wednesday, September 23rd at 6 p.m.. Tickets are $15 per household. Buy your ticket here. After you register, you will receive an email with your own private access link to the event.

Check out the other days of Eastern Illinois Foodbank Stay at Homecoming Spirit Week here

Top image from the Eastern Illinois Foodbank website.


Red Herring has a rainbow Ethiopian bowl and rainbow falafel packs for Pride Month

Red Herring is offering a rainbow edition of their Ethiopian bowl and rainbow falafel packs in celebration of and solidarity with Pride Month. One dollar of each purchase of the rainbow Ethiopian bowl and falafel packs goes toward The UP Center of Champaign County.

The Ethiopian bowl (rainbow edition) includes tumeric rice, seared local greens, cabbage-purple potato-carrot stew, and roasted beet sauce. Red Herring also black bean burgers, nachos, and daily specials available on their menu. You can pick up food during their Grab and Go hours Wednesday through Friday, or you can place your weekly meal order before Monday at noon for Tuesday delivery. 

Follow them on Facebook for more updates. 

Red Herring
1209 W Oregon St
W-F 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Top image from Red Herring's Facebook post.


Join the Reading Black Literature online discussion September 20th

This month's READ (Racial Education, Activism, and Discussion) event focuses on Black authors, with particular attention to science-fiction, fantasy, and Afrofuturism. Leading the discussion will be Jamillah Gabriel, founder of Call Number, a subscription box for black literature; Damian Duffy, a Glyph Comics, Eisner Comics, and Bram Stoker Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novelist, and Stacey Robinson, a graphic design professor whose work discusses ideas of “Black Utopias.”

This free, online event will be held on Sunday, September 20th, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Register here

Image from Facebook.


Orpheum Children’s Science Museum is offering learning pods for your kiddos

The Orpheum Museum Children's Science Museum is offering learning pods for your school-aged kids currently learning remotely. Pods are limited to six children (in first through fifth grades), and each spot is $225 per week. From the museum:

As the school year begins for 2020 we know that many families may be struggling to balance virtual learning for their students with parent jobs and responsibilities. While the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum has closed our museum facilities at the Orpheum Theater, we still want to serve the community as an educational resource for families both now and into the future. It remains the organization's mission as we transition out of our current physical facility to be a resource for learning and fun. In order to continue this mission, we would like to establish an Orpheum Children's Learning Pod for six students where we will facilitate their participation in virtual education through their school at our museum facility. We will provide space and oversight during virtual school instruction as well as additional learning experiences and opportunities for social interaction for students. We are choosing to limit our pod to six students so our staff and students can best practice social distancing. Masks will be required and temperature checks will be conducted each day when students arrive as part of our effort to keep both students and staff safe. These measures will remain in effect until recommended changes are issued by the CDC.

All students within the pod should be enrolled in 1st through 5th grade as well as be in all virtual education or homeschooling at this time. We will adapt the time the pod is running based on the needs of each week when their scheduled classes occur and parents work schedules. It is our hope that an adaptive schedule will allow us to best meet the needs of both students and families during this unusual time. We will also provide supplemental activities for students to engage with during free times after they complete any assigned school work. The cost per week is $225. We are currently accepting registrations through the week of October 12th-16th.

If you would like to register you can fill our registration form found here:

Please email if you would like additional details or have any questions.

Top image screenshot from the Orpheum Children's Science Museum Instagram page.