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Category: Photo
Photo

Evidently, there are suicidal deer in Paxton

Personally, I think it's presumptuous to placate the mental health of these beautiful animals, but evidently, the Ford County Highway Department sees it differently

Whether or not they are suicidal, it's hard to say. Perhaps they are just, you know, not as intelligent as humans, and are prone to being scared of machines speeding down the road, shining big bright white lights into the eyes of their predators. 

I think it would be more appropriate to place a sign that says: SCARED ASS DEER? 

If you want to see an animal with suicidal tendencies, check out lemurs: 

And if you want to hear a band called Suicidal Tendencies, check this out: 

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51 E. Main was an adult cinema; here is a photo from 1962

I've had theaters on my mind a lot lately, partially because our company (which publishes Smile Politely and produces The Pygmalion Festival) has a firm hand in the re-opening of The Highdive as The Accord this Friday. The renovation is pretty sweet, all told, given the quick turn around, and the limited budget. And the building is old, and has a lot of history. 

I knew that it was an adult cinema called the Illini Theatre at one point, and as such, I went to the internet to find a picture, and sure enough, I got this one from Cinema Treasures, which is an amazing resource for cinephiles: 

This was 1962 I believe. 

The title of that "film" lead me to this. As it happens, it wasn't porn actually. Just a weird sci-fi film about some big ass spider that terrorizes some dancers on an island. It was still considered "seedy" or whatever — but it wasn't straight smut yet. 

The facade is totally different now. The brick has been exposed, but it's currently painted black. 

While there are not current plans to re-open the ticketing booth as a functional place to earn admission (nor will there be smut films — tough market, what with the internet and all), it feels like there's got to be some way to utilize that tremendous space at some point, eh? 

I'll think on it. 

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The whale and the bear in Lincoln Square

Situated inside of Lincoln Square in Downtown Urbana, most townies remember these local icons. The whale was moved to Crystal Lake pool in the 1980s, and it eventually disintegrated, from what I've heard. 

Rumor has it: the bear is in Interlochen, MI currently. 

My experience with the whale was such that it would get so damned hot outside at Crystal Lake, that you could literally burn yourself. The goal was to get to the breaking point, and then jump back in the pool to cool off as fast as possible. 

The photo was recently posted to the Facebook group Champaign-Urbana History, which is one of the best ways to spend an hour or two while avoiding your work, or on a bad weather day. Seriously, it's a blast to go through all of the posts over the past few years. 

This photo from 1977 is courtesy of the Urbana Free Library Archives.

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Eisner Park used to be absolutely magnificent as West End Park

A long time ago, when the people didn't have the google or livejournals, parks were the thing, evidently. And rightfully so, as this was a time when we actually had to use our bodies to engage in any sort of meaningful way.

Just, you know, even walking somewhere, to get on a train, perhaps, and go have more fun in one day than you can possibly imagine in 2016. 

Eisner Park sits between University and Church, just a couple of blocks east of Mattis. Initially, it was a privately owned and managed space until it was taken over by Champaign Park District. The 4.1 acres at what was then known as West End Park was a veritable playground for kids and adults back when it was created around the turn of the 19th century. 

Check it: 

According to explorecu.org, the park "contained carnival rides, a roller coaster, a casino, refreshment booths, a shooting gallery, and a 600-person theater."

In addition, it was served by a railway that extended through Downtown Champaign, all the way to Crystal Lake Park in Urbana. 

Basically, it was the park we'd all be at every goddamned day if it still stood the way it once was. 

I actually love Eisner Park, and parks are something about which I am highly critical. The faux-grass tennis court, the old trees, and the playground make it one of my favorites in town. 

But man oh man, what a world this would be if we could meet up at the casino for some table games after we'd spent the afternoon watching a matinee, and taking our children for rides on the coaster, or shooting some targets in the gallery. 

Note to Park Districts: adults like to gamble and shoot guns. Let's do it! 

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Single Player announces Winter tour

One of the best things about Champaign-Urbana's music scene is that so many bands around town are not complacent with just being "local." Sure, these bands play all of the local venues, have local fans, and most importantly, adore the local scene themselves, but they also think outside of Champaign-Urbana, and spread our town's scene all across the country. It's so encouraging to see so many ambitious bands in one place, and is part of the reason why the local scene thrives so well.

Today, Single Player is a perfect example of that, as they have just announced their two-week long Winter tour which includes stops all over the Midwest. If you find yourself outside of C-U over the holiday, I would strongly suggest checking the schedule above to see if your paths will intersect with Single Player's, one of my personal favorites in C-U. Find the full tour listing in the picture above.

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Big Grove Tavern hosting holiday music + NYE menu

The Matt Endres Trio was played last night at BGT and they were a classy group. They played Christmas tunes while guests sipped specialty cocktails like the new Bees Knees which was delicious and smooth. The group will be playing again NYE from 6-9 p.m., and the dinner service will be 5-11 p.m.

Listen to the sweet tunes:

 

Also, check out the NYE menu at BGT:

 

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Leonhard Recreation Center is perfect for staying active in the Winter

I know, it's starting to get to be cold outside (though this week was a shining exception), you know, not just like "this is chilly"-cold, but more like "wow, why does it hurt my face to be outside"-cold, and sucks. Personally, I always get the urge to play basketball during this time, but I never had a gym, and there's no way I'm walking to Eisner Park to play in a damp slushy mess, you know?

Luckily for me, Champaign Park District has a new facility in Leonhard Recreation Center that I can use for cheap — a sweet combination for everyone who wants to stay active during the Winter but doesn't know how. Only two years old, Leonhard boasts an indoor track, volleyball/basketball courts, weights, and even playgrounds for kids, all for $72 a year. 

Get more info on Leonhard Recreation Center at CPD's website here, and check out some pictures of it in action below:

Leonhard Recreation Center is located at 2307 West Sangamon Dr. in Champaign, and is open Monday-Friday: 6 a.m.–10 p.m., Saturday: 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Sunday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

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Weiskamp, outside looking in

Last week I was walking down Neil St. and noticed that Weiskamp did not have a display up in their window. Instead, I was able to see inside of the business and got a glimpse of the equipment used in the shop. Kind of cool!

 

Weiskamp is a local screen printing business.