This year's annual Parade of Lights was virtual, and featured shoebox "floats" created by businesses and organizations. If you missed it, don't worry, it's available for viewing on Champaign Center Partnership's YouTube channel. The whole thing is really kind of adorable, and such a creative pivot in this year where all the things are different. Watch the video, then vote for your favorite float by December 4th.
If you've been to Allerton in the past week, escaping the hot political mess and enjoying some unseasonably warm November temperatures, things were probably a little hazier than usual. They are currently doing a series of prescribed burns. From their website:
Most of our native plants are adapted to fire or depend on it for seed germination, nutrient recycling, reduction of competition, or maintenance of open tree canopies. Fire also stimulates flower and seed production in many native plant species, and more flowers and seeds are produced following a burn. Many tree, shrub, herb, and wildlife species cannot survive without the complex effects of occasional fire. Returning the natural process of periodic fire to our Natural Areas helps to restore and maintain hundreds of native species that would otherwise be lost from these sites.
The day I visited, I kind of appreciated the added ambience of the sun shining through the smoky haze and pleasing smell of burning leaves as we crunched along the trail.
You can learn more about the burns from this week's Peaceful Monday Hike video.
Carrie Chandler and Kayla Brown's indie folk outfit Dearie have released a new video for their debut single "Break My Bones", which you can stream below on YouTube. The track was mixed, mastered, and recorded (including the video) by James Triechler at Wave Upon Wave. The song is also available to stream over at Dearie's Bandcamp page.
Top image from the video.
Krannert Art Museum Curator Maureen Warren recently gave a Zoom lecture titled "Fake News: Dutch Broadsides as Attack Ads, Propaganda, and Lying Pictures in the Seventeenth Century" as part of Print Study Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Print Study Day is an annual program organized by the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Met, in association with the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA).
You can watch her lecture (7:11), as well as all of the other particpants' lectures, through the YouTube video below.
Top image screenshot from Warren's lecture.
Kenna Mae Reiss' project Sweetmelk has released a new video for their track "Spit It Out", which debuted this morning. You can watch the video below, which also features Andrew Kling of Dirty Feathers. While you're at it, check out our interview with Reiss from back in July.
Top image from the video.
The News-Gazette recently went behind the scenes in the Champaign County Clerk's office to give community members a look into what happens once their vote by mail ballots arrive. It's worth a few minutes of your time, to get an idea of how your votes are safeguarded along the way. You can check out the video here.
It's important to watch all the way to the end. In the last few minutes, County Clerk Aaron Ammons points out a wall full of returned vote by mail applications, where members of our community have written offensive, aggressive, and obscene message to Ammons and his staff. All because they received a piece of mail.
We are living in a scary time, folks.
If you have not returned your vote by mail ballot, please do so as soon as possible. With the election just a week away, putting in one of the secure drop boxes or bringing it with you to vote early in person are your best bets. You can find more information here.
Photo from Champaign County Clerk's Facebook page.
With their commitment to "resisting [queer and trans] erasure through print culture," it's no surprise Meanwhile... Letterpress has been working hard to get out the vote. Watch the magic happen as 450, two-color postcards come to life.
Video from Instagram
Follow Meanwhile...Letterpress on Instagram
Top image from Instagram
Last night Illinois Public Media, WCIA, and League of Women Voters of Champaign County hosted a debate between IL-13 Congressional candidates Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and Rodney Davis. If this flew under your radar, you can still watch it through Facebook Live.
Congressman Rodney Davis was recently asked:
"How is it possible that I pay more in federal income taxes than the President? How is that fair?"
I imagine many of us asked ourselves this question upon learning about Trump's massive tax avoidance. If you're a well-adjusted human adult with a functioning moral compass you probably landed on "it's not fair and it shouldn't be possible" which is cool because it's the objectively correct answer.
If however you're a petulant hack like Rodney Davis, then you probably said something dumb like "well, it's legal, you'd do it too if you could" and pretended like you just knocked it out of the park even though a.) that answer makes you sound like a sociopath, and b.) you're literally a lawmaker and the only reason it's possible for Trump (and others like him) to manipulate our tax code in this way is because you made it possible.
It's possible because Rodney Davis rewarded those who took advantage of the laws they wrote in this way and for this purpose by giving them even more money via the GOP Tax Cuts.
It's possible because, like many of his Republican colleagues, Rodney Davis has mistaken his near total self-interest for an actual set of values, projecting his selfishness onto others in the mistaken assumption that if any of us were in Trump's situation we'd do the same thing.
It's possible because too many people that think like Rodney Davis believe that responding to the question "is this fair" with "well, it's legal" is an actual coherent answer instead of an admission that they have no concept of what fair/unfair even means.
Fair/unfair is not a question of legality, it's one of morality. It may be legal for Trump to abuse the system in this way, but that doesn't make it fair. It certainly doesn't make it good, and it certainly doesn't absolve Rep. Davis of the responsibility he has as a lawmaker for creating and protecting the system by which people like Trump loot our public resources for their private gain with virtually zero repercussions.
Top image is a screenshot from the video.
Looking for a new pet to bring home, but not necessarily a cat or a dog? The Champaign County Humane Society has baby rats available for adoption right now. I'm not much of a rodent person, but I have to admit, these little guys are kind of cute. Just look at these little paws holding the sides of the water bottle:
Each weekday, you can tune into the Illini Union's Facebook livestream and catch performances from talented University of Illinois musicians. They sing, they play a variety of instruments, and they can offer a little entertainment while you're enjoying your lunch.
Here's a performance from last week:
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