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The Fights announce new album, Bramble Patch Blues, and a tour

Country-folk outfit The Fights have announced a new album. Bramble Patch Blues is their second full-length effort and first release since 2014’s Off Your Horse. The new album drops in advance of the group kicking off their next tour of mostly southern states, so get some gas money to the guys by purchasing the album at the Undertow store.

You might also be able to catch a new tune mixed in with The Fights’ classics at tonight’s Hogchute Opry Harvest, where Cole and Clayton will be playing an acoustic set. They’re scheduled to start in just a few short hours, so you’d best hit the road for Monticello ASAP.

Listen to “Everything Is Something (A Love Song)” from Bramble Patch Blues below.


One musician’s ode to Champaign

Chattanooga musician Jade Alger is a huge fan of Champaign-Urbana. In fact, he likes it enough to sing about it.

Folk singer-songwriter Alger spent part of his adolescence here, exploring U of I as a college option and visiting friends. He is so fond of the memories made during that time that he decided to write a song to capture the feeling. “Lakes of Champaign” paints a pastoral picture of the nature in our area, with emphasis on the prairie and plains of Illinois. The track fits in well on his album Unfolding the Muse, the latest in his catalog of thoughtful melodies carefully arranged around whimsical, imagery-rich songwriting. Stream the track below, and visit Alger’s bandcamp for more information.



Aaron Ammons not running for Mayor of Urbana

Towards the end of September, it was reported by The News-Gazette that Urbana alderman Aaron Ammons was weighing a run for Mayor. Today, however, Ammons has clarified in an official press release that he will no longer seek the office of Mayor. 

Read the full statement below: 





************FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***************

Alderman Aaron Ammons Makes Mayoral Candidacy Decision


Alderman Aaron Ammons, Ward 3, has decided to focus his efforts on his current elected position with the City of Urbana and will not be running for mayor in the 2017 spring elections.

“I would like to thank the many, many people that expressed their support for me and encouraged me to run for mayor. After extensive conversations with my family and trusted friends, and personal reflection I have decided right now my time and energy is best utilized by serving the people of my ward. I am committed to continuing the work of supporting the city
departments, protecting Urbana’s working families, and diversifying the city economy. I plan to be an active and engaged Urbana resident for many years to come and look forward to the many possibilities in the future”, said Aaron Ammons.



The Station Theatre’s “dark night” tradition gets scary-real

The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre has a semi-regular tradition of putting on a "Dark Night" performance in October. While "Dark Night" does seem to imply horror, it really just means that it's an evening where no rehearsal or performance is regularly scheduled, and some folks have gotten together for a quick fun read of something unusual. 

In the past, they've read through original scripts and short fiction centered around spooky stories, gothic fiction, monstrous legends, and more, close to Halloween. 

This year, the event is going to be a little earlier, a little fancier, and (to me) a lot scarier. The first set of two short plays in the Gun Plays series will be staged this coming Monday, October 17th.

While not actually part of the previous "dark night" tradition, it seems fititng that a set of works about something as horrific as gun violence in our country would kick off in October. If you want truly frightening chills and thrills, the two productions for this month fit under the heading "Guns at Home". 

Costly by Stephen Cooper, and Dad's Guns by Neil Blackadder were chosen from over 200 scripts submitted to Nicole Anderson-Cobb, PhD, and are just two of the ten that will be staged this year. The cast is as follows: 

COSTLY by Stephen Cooper

Emma Higgins - Melissa Croft
Ronald Higgins - John Tilford
Dr. Harold Grimsby - David Barkley
Lieutenant Langley - Kvn Tajzea

DAD’S GUNS by Neil Blackadder

Ellen - Deb Richardson
Robert - David Barkley

The Station Theatre is located at 223 N. Broadway Ave., Urbana, and the performance begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $7, and the website doesn't appear to be taking reservations, so show up early with actual cash. Credit Cards are not accepted.


Watson’s now offering delivery and take-out

Our lives will never be the same. 

You may now order delivery and take-out from Watson's during normal business hours, which includes late night delivery on Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m. Call the restaurant at 217-607-0168. 

Watson's is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m.

Image from Facebook. 


Common Ground offering caramel apples until Halloween

If a Pumpkin Spice Latte isn't your thing, perhaps you prefer a more traditional autumnal food item, the caramel apple, with its careful combination of both tart and sweet flavors.

Good news, people of C-U. These fall favorites are back at Common Ground Co-Op until Halloween, available at just $2.99 a pop. Just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards.

For more info, keep your eyes posted to Common Ground's Facebook Page.


Smile Politely seeking Culture writers

Smile Politely is always welcoming new writers into the fold, and that, of course, includes our Culture section. Being a university town, this comes fairly naturally to Champaign-Urbana, and as such, there is much to cover.

We're looking for some writers for this particular section, and in order for this to really work, you must have at least a mild grasp on the world outside of Champaign-Urbana, yet also be able to keep up with what's happening locally, and preferably be able to tie the two together. Don't worry, you don't have to be a perfect writer — we'll help with that part.

Perks of being a Culture writer include, but are not limited to:

  • Being involved in a wide variety of community happenings.
  • A little extra spending money.
  • Valuable writing experience.
  • Sometimes people recognize you at the bar.

If this sounds like something you're interested in, fire an email off to


Bacaro hosting nose to tail dinner

Bacaro is hosting a nose to tail dinner, featuring a hog from Triple S Farms. Dinner is Monday, October 17th at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are required, and $90 per person. Make your reservation by calling 217-359-5922 or emailing Chef Drew Starkey at 

Check out the seven-course tasting menu:


Free 5-minute photo shoot going on in downtown Champaign

Twobrainz photography is pairing with the local social organization CITISPACE to provide a free 5-minute photo shoot in downtown Champaign today (going on right now) and tomorrow.

The events will take place in the evening and offer free five-minute sessions to each group. Donations are suggested and will go to benefit future events put on by the two organizations.

Here is more information, copied from the Facebook post:

Twobrainz is partnering with CITISPACE to bring the first Free Photo Shoot to Champaign.

The purpose of this event is to provide free photographic services to the entire Champaign/Urbana community. Each person or group is limited to a single 5-minute session.

Come and get professional headshots, modeling photos, group shots, social media profile pics, etc. all for free.

We will be open Tuesday (10/11) and Wednesday (10/12) from 4pm-10pm at Gallery 110.

We are taking donations to fund future installations and events.

If you have any questions please email


Weiskamp Screen Printing hosting poster printing workshop on October 22nd

For those of you who attended last week's screen printing intro session at Weiskamp Screen Printing, they'll be back on October 22nd with a follow-up studio session.
Here, you can learn some poster printing tips and tricks. Prior screen printing skills are a prerequisite, but other than that, this event is open to all.
From Weiskamp:
This is the second part of our October Poster Printing Workshop, an open studio session for all folks who want to submit their designs ahead of time and screen print their designs in our space! If you've screen printed with us or elsewhere before, there is no need to sign up for the intro session.


Please send all art files to

Things to consider while setting up your file / choosing paper:
  • Max size : 12" x 16" (free Weiskamp supplied paper is sized 11" x 17")
  • Max Number of Screens: 2
  • Your Photoshop or Illustrator file should be layered by color ( i.e. one layer per screen)
  • All live text should be outlined
  • Raster files should be at 300 dpi
  • Questions? Please email AND
Check out this video from last year's workshop: