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Category: Word

Tonight on SP Radio: Katherine Scott Nelson + Janice Harrington

This evening's SP Radio episode spotlights some of the beautiful words coming from The Reading Room, which takes place monthly at The Accord. We'll hear fiction by Katherine Scott Nelson and poetry by Janice Harrington.

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes.


Kessler Optical nabs exclusive eyewear collection, Blake Kuwahara

Downtown Champaign's Kessler Optical has been selected as one of the few retailers in America to offer extremely limited supplies of frames designed by Blake Kuwahara, a designer certainly on the cutting edge of glasses design. Once these frames sell out, they're gone forever.

From the press release: 

West Coast eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara has teamed up with l.a. Eyeworks to create a beautiful, limited edition eyewear collection. Kessler Optical is happy to announce that we are one of the few retailers hand selected to acquire this collection!

The line consists of two frame designs—named "Two Noons" and “Two Rays." Each model is handcrafted in Japan, in four distinct acetate combinations. The frame designs feature an iconic l.a. Eyeworks silhouette set within the contours of a complimentary outer form. As a result, according to Kuwahara, the frames “exhibit harmony and tension between opposing shapes and ideas.”

These exclusive, 8-piece frame sets have only been made available to select retailers, and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. Stop by our office to check them out, or contact us for more information!


Smile Politely seeking Opinion writers

Do you have opinions about Champaign-Urbana? Do you want to articulate them via the written word? If so, insert your Uncle Sam pun of choice here, because we want YOU! 

Applicants must have a grasp on local culture, as all articles must pertain to Champaign-Urbana. Don't worry, you don't have to be a perfect writer - we'll help with that part.

Perks of being an Opinion writer include, but are not limited to:

  • The therapeutic feeling of putting your feelings into writing.
  • A little extra spending money.
  • Valuable writing experience.
  • Sometimes people recognize you at the bar.

If this sounds like something you're interested in (as you damn well should be), fire an email off to


Designers & artists: your art can help a kid!

The annual Pens to Lens gala is one month from today, and CUDO is looking for any local artists or designers to help make movie posters for the over 200 submissions

Pens to Lens uses local filmmakers to make professional-quality films from scripts submitted by schoolchildren... and every movie needs a poster. As a festival attendee, I can say that walking around the Virginia and browsing these posters is a big draw: it makes me excited to see the film, it reminds me how awesome the artists in town are, and the kids loose their...stuff...when they get to take home a copy. 

It's also a great opportunity for artists to work on some of the most creative and imaginative material ever: the inside of the brains of kids 5-18. Past films have featured: baseball teams filled with farm animals, robots who exist solely to get their feelings hurt, and creepy stuffed animal serial-killers. When you register to create a poster (or three), you can choose which film you want to take on (first-come, first-serve), and no matter what you turn in, the client will be the most appreciative and expressive in your life. 

If this sounds like a dream opportunity, read this CUDO blog post and follow the instructions. The deadline is August 1st, and it is open to anyone, not just CUDO members. 


The Land Connection hosting Bastille Day market today

I know, I know, France just lost a heartbreaker of a game in the Euro 2016 finals against Portugal on Sunday. The good news for Francophiles is that July 14th is historically Bastille Day, the day that French citizens stormed the Bastille in 1789, cementing revolution.

With that in mind, The Land Connection's farmers' market in Downtown Champaign will transform today into a French-themed festival, full of awesome bread, activities and performances.

The market runs from 4-7 PM, and will be held in the City of Champaign parking lot just west of the Orpheum Children's Museum.

From the Facebook Event
Our favorite Downtown Champaign Local Food French Fest is back: it's time for Bastille Day Part Deux!

Join us this Tuesday afternoon for entertainment, kids' activities, and of course beaucoup de local food fabuleux!

We'll be joined by Defy Gravity Pole Fitnes and Aerial Arts Studio with performances on the great classes they offer. Defy Gravity is a wonderful local resource for fitness and body positivity, and we can wait to see them in action!

St. John Lutheran School will be back with face painting and other great kids' activities. We'll also have some gorgeous French embroidery for show, from renowned quilter (and our own market manager's mother), Cathy Grafton.

Don't forget to stop by the TLC Sampling Tent to get a taste of what the market has to offer! This week we're featuring ratatouille, a fantastic summer dish that really highlights the produce that's coming in season, as well as a fantastic zucchini recipe.

Illini basketball lands national top 30 prospect Jeremiah Tilmon

It's about damn time we get some good news on the basketball front. Just today, ESPN reports that Jeremiah Tilmon, a top 30 ranked prospect in the country for the 2017 graduating class of basketball players, has committed to play for the University of Illinois.

Yes, this is a long way off, and yes, John Groce's future still remains unclear at the U of I, but it would appear as though things may, in fact, get better. Of course with high school recruits, especially those who aren't even Seniors yet, these types of things are hard to predict, but it's certainly movement in the right direction.

Tilmon chose Illinois over Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State, Texas and Missouri - some schools that Illinois typically loses out to big recruits on.

Here's to hoping this signals a more positive change in the direction of the Illini basketball team. Groce has been chasing high-profile recruits (remember the Cliff Alexander hat switch incident) for his entire career, and always seemingly hangs on until the last minute only to have the recruit commit elsewhere. Tilmon will surely make an immediate impact on a team that is sorely in need of some excitement, even if we have to wait until the 2017-18 season for him to suit up for the first time.

Things are looking up, guys, and as an Illini athletics die-hard, I suppose that's all we can ask for right now.

Photo by Gregory Payan, AP Photo