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Ebertfest 2017: Photos from Day Two

The day kicked off with a panel discussion at the Hyatt in Downtown Champaign. The topic was empathy and many of the panel members were young people in film and media. The central question seemed to be, "Are we getting less empathetic? And how does our media and how we consume it affect that level of empathy?"

The topic of Netflix came up. The audience seemed to be positioned in that Netflix and other online viewing mediums were degrading our empathy due to the isolation and binge watching of only particular genres versus going out into the world to interact with others while taking in a film that may not be exactly your style. In opposition, the panel argued that online watching allows users to access millions of titles and genres whereas in "real life"  one would have to wait until a film is released in your area to view it. 

Hendrick House is a student housing group on campus that supports the Ebertfest. Here is their Cuban sandwich that looks mouth watering. I talked with Sarah and Teresa (pictured below) who bought the sandwich. "Our brother was a cook at Hendrick house. We love their food" they explained. 

Teresa (left) and Sarah (right) have been coming since 2003. Teresa is a long time fan of Ebert saying that she used to read his column and has always loved his commentary. They both appreciate that the festival celebrates films that are often overlooked. 

Ebertfest gave out gold thumbs this year to those who have been coming to the festival for 15 years or more. 

The movie was delayed so Chaz brought some stage crew up to dance and the whole crowd joined in. 

Hysteria was a movie about the vibrator. The director introduced the movie saying, "it is supposed to be funny, so laugh!" Laugh many did. 

After the movie, panel members discussed the comedy built into the movie but also how the term hysteria, although delegitimized in the 1950's, is still often used to describe behavior today. 

The night drew near and the sun set beautifully in the west. This is a photo from an Urbana street. Surely one that Ebert had walked perhaps viewing a similar sunset during his years in Urbana. 

The night ended with The Handmaiden. I personally had seen the film late last year and enjoyed it for it's beautiful sets, plot twists, and ghoulish characters. Others however referred to it as, "pure porn" which Chaz addressed saying, "our film scholar says that this is not pornography. It is as beautiful as Michael Angelos David sculpture of a nude man."

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Solon House tours offered on May 7th

I've driven by this house on the corner of State and Healey for years, never knowing exactly what it was all about. After seeing an event posting on Facebook, I looked up some info and found out a few things.

The house was originally built between 1865-1869, and was purchased by Francis Solon in 1907. The family maintained ownership into the 1980's. According to a News-Gazette article, once vacated it became a place where homeless residents took shelter, leading to a fire in the kitchen.

Now, it's owned by PACA- Preservation & Conservation Association of Champaign County, and they are opening it up to the public for tours on Saturday, May 7th from 11am-5pm. 

A fun tidbit: the PACA website has archived all of it's newsletters since 1981, which is where I found some of the history of the house. You can read more here.

Here's the poster for the event (found on the Champaign Urbana History Facebook page).

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Big Grove Tavern hosting “unofficial” Mothers’ Day brunch on May 7th

As the activity ramps up over these spring weekends, a scary realization will be hitting Champaign-Urbana's residents - the University of Illinois' graduation weekend falls on the same weekend as Mothers' Day.

As if C-U wouldn't be crowded enough on one brunch-filled holiday, if you factor in the thousands of graduates coming to town on the weekend of May 13th, brunch will pretty much be impossible in C-U.

That's where Big Grove Tavern comes in. On May 7th (the week before graduation and actual Mothers' Day), BGT will be hosting an "unofficial" Mothers' Day brunch, complete with their essential mimosas, typical brunch favorites, and a brand new eggs benedict menu, featuring salmon, crab cakes, fennel sausage and smoked ham.

For more information on how to enjoy a special, pre-emptive Mothers' Day brunch, check out the graphic below:

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Wicked Rascal Barbershop & Shave Parlor coming to Downtown Urbana

I was walking to Flying Machine Coffee in Downtown Urbana a few days ago, and noticed this signage on a door about a half block down (next to Siam Terrace). Snapped a photo, and looked it up — Wicked Rascal is a barber shop and shaving parlor, which has locations in St. Joe and Mahomet. It looks as though they will be opening up a new location in Downtown Urbana.

While there's no proper announce I can find, it looks like this is a sure bet if the decals are on the doors. I've reached out to them for details and will update when we get something.

Here's an update with a statement about the opening:

"I plan to open the Urbana location within a couple months. All services offered will be the same as the other two locations. You can check out the specifics at wickedrascal.com"

So there you have it.

Here's a bit more about them:

Wicked Rascal Barbershop & Shave Parlor is a vintage inspired 1920s era full service barbershop, specializing in short men's hairstyles.

The barbershop offers a full range of shaving services from razor fades, line ups and neck shaves to full old school face shaves.  Haircut services include everything from Burrs/Buzz, Crews, Flat Tops, Classic/Traditional styles to Bald Fades, Hard Parts, Slick Backs, Undercuts and Pompadours.

Kick back, relax and enjoy the conversations and our vintage music selection, combining the best of Chicago, Mississippi Delta and Bayou Blues and many Big Band Swing and Jazz pieces from Decca recordings of the 20s and 30s.

Help yourself to a handful of roasted shelled peanuts while you wait or try a cup of our custom blended coffee provided by Geschenk Coffee & Tea Haus.

Wicked Rascal Barbershop opened its first location in downtown St. Joseph, IL and offers world-class cuts and shaves. We are known for our old-school barber shop vibe and classic shave and cut styling. Our staff went through extensive training and has mastered virtually every style. Whether you want a vintage, classic, or modern look, we're the barber shop for you!

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Ebertfest 2017: Photos from Day One

I am attending all of Ebertfest with my camera, and I am going to share my 10 favorite shots from each day with you. Here is day one:

The line started forming around 3 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. for the first showing Hair.

The man on the left, Dennis, is here for Ebertfest for the first time. He came and met his friend who is a retired education professor. "This movie [Hair] came out during my San Francisco days. Spelled d-a-y-z. Those were fun times."

This is Don. He's been working the festival ever since it started. When I asked him what he has seen change he said—"Relationships. I've seen many friendships formed here. Even marriages. I've traveled across the country and ran into some of the movie goers. A community has formed around this event."

Chaz Ebert welcomed the crowd after the organist played Take Me Out to the Ballgame. She said that this year they are dedicating the festival to a principal—empathy. She said that Roger said that films were the best way to give someone empathy. They compress someone's perspective into a few hours and engage viewers to see life from a character's point of view. 

It was a full house. 

There were snacks being sold upstairs and downstairs. No beer, wine or liquor though. 

The movies look beautiful on the screen. Chaz Ebert talked about how our theater is special because the projectionist is skilled and running all sorts of types of film. Unfortunately, during the movie, the film slowed down to a stop. Chaz came back on the mic and explained this was the first time this had ever happened and that the movie would be back on soon. It was good to stretch my legs during the 2hr 1m long Hair movie

Michael Hausman (on the right facing my camera), First Assistant Director on the set of Hair dropped in the Blind Pig for a drink and received a healthy round of applause. 

Stay tuned for more photo journals. 

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This is where Columba Street Roastery’s Colombian coffee comes from

Sure, you know Columbia Street Roastery. In my opinion, they've got the best coffee in town, especially their Colombian coffee. But did you know that all of that coffee is actually grown in Colombia (Central Colombia, Santa Barbara to be exact)? 

This week, CSR posted this sweet picture to their Facebook page, highlighting the breathtaking world that their coffee comes from, and showing yet another fascinating global connection to C-U.

Check out the Facebook post below:

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Papa Del’s donates 73 pizzas to Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

I came across this fun tidbit on Papa Del's Facebook page today. Apparently when they have a canceled order, they freeze the pizza until they collect enough for a donation. They also donate lunch special slices that have not been sold. This picture represents 73 pizzas donated, and just two weeks worth of cancelled orders. All of it is going to Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. I love to hear about stuff like this going on in our community. And for the record, I have never in my life cancelled a Papa Del's pizza order. 

Photo from Facebook.

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They are selling cowboy ribeyes at Harvest Market, and it’s glorious

It's been six months since Harvest Market opened its doors, and frankly, I've come around to it in a pretty big way.

Case in point, its butcher is now doing cowboy ribeyes and upon being shown it last night by my friend David, I am basically not going to sleep well until I get ahold of one myself and do it up, exactly as he's done below. 

Before, with his hand for perspective. He's 6'4" by the way: 

During: 

And after: 

It is apparent to me that David is an excellent grill chef. When I asked him for cross slice photos he replied, "It was tasty... too tasty... I was too eager to get to it and didn't get a cross slice."

I can relate, brother. It happens to all of us. 

Anyhow, this was a 3+ pound behemoth and the total was around $35.00. The marbling looks solid, and honestly, this is pretty much what I am going to be doing this week. Thinking about it, and then eventually executing it. 

David told me that butcher says they will be available all "grillin' season long". Sign me up. Sold. 

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Here’s a poster from when Eddie Murphy played Assembly Hall in 1987

Been thinking about Eddie this past week since we learned his brother Charlie Murphy passed into the Eternal Dream State. Found this tonight staring into the matrix, otherwise known as Facebook AKA where happiness goes to die. 

Actually, the CU History page is always a good read. It's not all bad.

My guess is that there were people there who are still around today. Was it as good as the feature film? I bet it was.