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Krannert Center and Rocky Maffit keep the beat going with day of the drum

Krannert Center is bringing back Day of the Drum. It's a nearly free, all day event with performances starting at 10 a.m. and rolling until the final performance at 7:30 p.m. Check out the details:

From the release:

Saturday, March 14, 2015, Urbana, IL——In 2007 while attending the Sundance Film Festival, noted percussionist, former member of the band Champaign, author of Rhythm and Beauty: The Art of Percussion, and C-U local Rocky Maffit had a marvelous idea—to create a multifaceted event that would celebrate the many global legacies of percussion while engaging the public in high-energy performances by some of the world’s greatest instrumentalists. Maffit proposed the idea to Krannert 
Center director Mike Ross and in 2009, Day of the Drum was born. That February and again in March 2012, patrons immersed themselves in drumming traditions from around the globe, participated in a joyful community drumming, and relished the power of performances both intimately and grandly scaled. 
Krannert Center now once again presents Day of the Drum, an almost entirely FREE Saturday-long encounter with percussion featuring wonderfully engaging performances, crafts for kids, an appearance by Maffit himself, and a little Illini in the afternoon, all of which will culminate in an evening performance by the taiko drummers of Kodo. 
Beginning at 10am and throughout the entire day, Intermezzo cafe and Promenade—Krannert Center’s exceptionally eclectic, artfully affordable store—will be open for service. 
Schedule of Events
10 a.m. Crafting Project with The I.D.E.A. Store
Percussion instruments are the focus of a crafting project with staff members from The I.D.E.A. Store.
Lobby, Free
11 a.m. The Billy Jonas Band 
Anyone can be a member of The Billy Jonas Band—all you need to do to join is start singing along! Percussion mixmaster Billy Jonas makes each rollicking tune an invitation to have fun, make friends, and see where the music takes you. 
Stage 6, Free
12 p.m. Ayodele Drum and Dance
Named for a Yoruba word meaning “joy in the home,” Ayodele Drum and Dance is committed to empowering women and forging a joyful future for people everywhere.
Lobby, Free
1 p.m. Abbos Kosimov, doira
Used in both ritual settings and dance performances, the doira is an ancient instrument of Uzbek culture. Today Abbos Kosimov is its most famous ambassador, taking its rhythms to festivals around the world and performances with artists including Zakir Hussain, the Kronos Quartet, and Stevie Wonder.
Stage 5, Free
2:15 p.m. UI Percussion Ensemble
This notable group was one of the first on university campuses to embrace the many percussion traditions of the world. Its students are versatile musicians who can play with the subtle movements needed for delicate works as well as the power that drives large-scale pieces.
Stage 6, Free
2:50 p.m. UI Steel Band
Calypso, soca, jazz, and traditional music from a broad range of cultures will be featured during this concert.
In front of the Tryon Festival Theatre, Free
3:30 p.m. Crosspulse Duo
The effervescent Keith Terry and Evie Ladin literally need nothing other than their bodies to create outrageously entertaining performances. This pair of adventurous experimenters will get you moving at their wildly energetic show.
Stage 6, Free
4:30 p.m. Marching Illini Drumline
The Best Band in the Land has a stellar drumline. Hear the cadences and enjoy the choreography of this acclaimed group of students.
Lobby, Free
4:45 p.m. Rocky Maffit and Friends Finale
Day of the Drum curator and emcee Rocky Maffit has performed with artists such as Paul Winter and Dizzy Gillespie, has written songs for the film About Last Night, has played with the chart-topping group Champaign, and has been studying world percussion traditions for decades.
Stage 5, Free
7:30 p.m. Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Mystery
Through over 3,700 performances on five continents, Kodo has recast the Japanese taiko drumming tradition as, at once, a tool of exquisite cultural preservation and a vehicle for contemporary composition and collaboration.
Tryon Festival Theatre, Tickets: 45 / SC 40 / Stu 15 / UI & Yth 10

ILL Rock Block Party announces 2015 lineup

We're happy to announce the 2015 ILL Rock Block Party, presented by Jay Goldberg Events and Prime Social Group, happening May 2nd in Urbana. Check out the full list of artists below, plus the press release with information regarding tickets and all that good stuff.

Jay Goldberg Events & Prime Social Group present
Big Sean, Gramatik,
and many more to be announced
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
Goodwin & Oregon in Urbana
All Ages
Tickets go on sale Monday, March 9th at 10am CST, online at canopyclub.com, or in person at Manolo's Pizza & Empanadas, Exile on Main Street or the Canopy Club. A limited number of tickets will be available at $35. Price may go up to $40 dependent on sales.
An item of note is that Big Sean's third studio album, Dark Sky Paradise, was released last week and currently sits at #2 on iTunes album chart and features appearances by Drake, Kanye West, Chris Brown, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Ariana Grande and more. The first single from this album, "I Don't Fuck With You" has sold over a million copies to date.
Gramatik's last appearance in town was at the Canopy Club in April 2013, and sold out in advance. In 2014, Gramatik played a crushing main stage closing set at the Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL.

Champaign Center Partnership announces Conscious Cuisine; Eating with a Purpose

Champaign Center Partnership has announced a new food-themed program called Conscious Cuisine; Eating with a Purpose. Tuesdays March 10th, 17th, and 24th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. a local restaurant will offer a free, one hour class or demonstration. Registration is required. For more information, check out the press release, or visit the Champaign Center Partnership website

Here's the schedule: 

March 10th: Cocktail class at Big Grove.

March 17th: Cooking demo and wine pairing at Escobar's.

March 24th: Bread and jam tasting at Pekara. 

Per the press release: 



Ever wonder what goes on behind the kitchen doors of your favorite restaurant?  Or wanted to learn how to recreate your favorite dish at home to impress your guests? Join the Champaign Center Partnership as we travel through the kitchens of your favorite restaurants in Center City during Conscious Cuisine; Eating with a Purpose. Meet our local chefs, tour their kitchens, and learn something new when you register for a FREE class or demonstration!

Starting March 10th, a different Center City restaurant will be hosting a free class or demonstration every Tuesday from 5:30pm-6:30pm! Learn how to mix a sophisticated cocktail, attend a cooking demo and learn to pair wines or hear all about clean label baking while you taste delicious handmade breads and jams. Class sizes are limited and pre-registration is required. It’s Conscious Cuisine every Tuesday in March from the Champaign Center Partnership. Visit champaigncenter.com for more information and to sign up.

When you visit champaigncenter.com you can also view Chef Stories; video interviews of our local chefs where they tell you how they got started and what inspires them. Do you ever wonder who expertly created your dish? How the kitchen staff works together to successfully serve hundreds of guests each night? Or even where they get the produce used in that artful salad or side? Chef Stories tells it all and it’s all part of Conscious Cuisine; Eating with a Purpose.

Starting March 10th, visit champaigncenter.com to view a new video each week. Get entered for a chance to win a gift card to the restaurant of the week when you share these videos on Facebook or Twitter! Don’t forget our hashtag #consciouscuisine.

For more information call the Champaign Center Partnership office at 352-2400 or visit the website champaigncenter.com. Can’t attend a class but want to see behind the scenes footage of the demonstration? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for live updates during the classes!



Market at the Square and ISA bringing Chef-Farmer Mixer to Civic Center

This is a really cool idea coming from the ISA and Urbana's Market at the Square. They've decided to set up workshops to help local farmers and local chefs come together and foster business relationships to promote the use of locally grown food. The mixer takes place Monday, March 9 at 3 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center.

From the release:

Chef-Farmer Mixers Help Grow Farm Businesses
For restaurants it can be easier to purchase produce grown half way around the world than to buy something from a local farmer in town.  Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) and Urbana’s Market at the Square want to change that. To help bring local farmers and chefs together, the ISA and Urbana’s Market at the Square will host a Chef-Farmer Mixer on Monday, March 9 from 3-6 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center, 108 E. Water Street, Urbana, IL 61081.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend one of two specially designed workshops.

  • The MarketReady Training for Farmers, presented by University of Illinois Extension Small Farms and Local Food System Educators (LFSSF), will address the market development risks and relationships small farmers must manage as they seek to develop supplier relationships with restaurants, retailers, and wholesale buyers.
  • The Socially Responsible Chef with the Fiscally Responsible Bottom Line, presented by chef and national consultant Greg Christian of Beyond Green Partners, aims to educate food service providers on how to implement sustainable practices in order to maximize profits, including waste monitoring, cost-effective local sourcing, and menu creation strategies.

Additionally, a one-hour networking session will provide farmers and chefs with ample time to explore new partnerships and create one-on-one relationships.

Since most distribution companies don’t deliver locally grown produce, one-on-one relationships are a key factor in enabling local farmers to sell their products to area restaurants.   The Chef-Farmer Mixers are designed to bring local chefs and local farmers together for the purpose of creating new partnerships that will promote the use of locally grown food.

“The ultimate goal of the Chef-Farmer Mixers is to bring more local food to central Illinois” said Lindsay Record, Program Director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “We hope to create new markets for farmers, provide fresher produce for chefs, and increase access to local food for consumers.  We think this situation is a win-win-win.”

The event is free to attend for chefs, farmers and food service directors but registration is required. Participants can register online at http://www.ilstewards.org/chef-farmer-mixer-registration-now-open/ or by calling (217) 528-1563.


The Pygmalion Festival announces HUM performance at SXSW Interactive

From The Pygmalion Festival:

The Pygmalion Festival is excited to announce that HUM will be performing at Licha's Cantina on March 14, 2015 in Austin, TX during SXSW Interactive. They will be joined by Common Loon, The Dirty Feathers, Wicked Walls, and DJ Belly. 

Many thanks to Krannert Center, Research Park, Polyvinyl Records, Barham Benefit Group, and Singleton Law Firm for sponsoring the event with us. 
You're Welcome. RSVP for free at Eventbrite.

The Pygmalion Festival presents HUM during SXSW Interactive

2015 Festival Dates Announced! Tech Conference Added To Festival!

The Pygmalion Festival, in partnership with ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Research Park at UIUC, and others will be taking their show to Austin, TX and staging a party with one of Champaign-Urbana’s most popular and influential exports: HUM.

HUM, who have remained culturally relevant and loved almost 25 years into their existence, will be headlining the showcase featuring a lineup comprised of current bands residing in and touring from Champaign-Urbana, IL. They include Common Loon, The Dirty Feathers, Wicked Walls, and DJ Belly.

The partners to the event include The Pygmalion Festival, ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival presented by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Research Park at UIUC, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Polyvinyl Records, Barham Benefit Group, and Singleton Law Firm. 

The performances will take place on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at Licha’s Cantina, located at 1306 E. 6th Street, Austin, TX 78702. It will be RSVP only, and completely free to attend. Those interested can RSVP at www.thepygmalionfestival.com.

The party officially kicks off the “You’re Welcome” campaign which has been created to reveal to the world what residents and alumni of the small Midwestern cities already know: Champaign-Urbana and the University of Illinois hold a truly unique influence on the world, and is an inspiring place to call home. 

Reflecting the growth of the Research Park and the burgeoning innovation in the community that surrounds it, The Pygmalion Festival is excited to add a Tech Conference into the mix of the already firmly established and well regarded event. The University of Illinois, flanked by Champaign-Urbana, is the birthplace of some of the most progressive developments in the technological revolution. 

Home to the western hemisphere’s fastest Super Computer, and one of the most revered Engineering campuses in the world, the community serves as the backdrop for such groundbreaking innovations such as the first functional web browser, the LED, the MRI and other assorted odds and ends such as the development whipped cream in a can and residential air conditioning. 

This year, The Pygmalion Festival is taking place September 23-27, while ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival will be held on the weekend of September 10-12.  

Now over a decade in, The Pygmalion Festival has consistently featured some of the most cutting edge and relevant artists and authors. Just the same, ELLNORA is known the world over as being one of the more progressive spaces for guitarists to showcase and perform. 

Announcements on performing artists, author readings, guest speakers and panelists, along with vendors for the Made Fest will be forthcoming in April.

For any questions regarding the festival or press coverage at the SXSW HUM performance, please direct those to lisa@grandstandpr.com.

The Pygmalion Festival director is Seth Fein, and he can be reached at seth@nicodemusagency.com.


Illinois basketball preview: Northwestern

Illinois's 68-60 loss at Iowa on Wednesday was pretty bad. The Illini knew going in they needed to win three of their last four to essentially secure an NCAA Tournament selection — yet they still laid an egg. The team's seniors (Nnanna Egwu, Rayvonte Rice, and Ahmad Starks) accounted for a remarkable 45 points in the loss, with everyone else pretty much sleeping on offense.

Now, Illinois faces the prospect of needing a win in each of its final regular season games to keep hopes of meaningful postseason play alive. Of course, two of those three games are against the hottest teams in the conference: Northwestern (4 straight wins) and Purdue (winners in 8 of their last 9 games).

The first challenge for the Illini is Northwestern, who beat Indiana 72-65 in Bloomington on Wednesday to extend its winning streak to four games. Since starting Big Ten play 1-11, the Wildcats are relishing their spoiler role and averaging 67.5 points per game. Tre Demps has been a wrecking ball in that span, averaging 16.5 points per game, and Alex Olah has been literally and figuratively big, averaging 12.25 points and notching a pair of double-doubles.

Northwestern is also winners of its last two games in Champaign, but has never won three in a row. In the last meeting of Illinois and Northwestern, Kendrick Nunn stole the show, scoring a career-high 25 points. Nunn is in a major funk right now, though, as he has just 7 points in each of Illinois's last three games and is shooting 21% from field goals during that span.

If Illinois is to stop the Wildcats' hot streak, not only does Nunn need to improve, the whole team needs to improve. Playing as a team, the second half of John Groce's TNT (toughness and togetherness), was fairly absent at Iowa, as the Illini focused more on dribbling than finding an open pass. I don't see this being a long-term problem, however, as Groce seems to have little patience for it. Additionally, there's a good chance Jaylon Tate will be healthy again after suffering an illness, and his skills as a distributor will certainly help.

My prediction: Illinois 64 – Northwestern 59


Tickets on sale for the 32nd Annual International Dinner & Performance Night

For over three decades, families, students, and faculty have gathered at the University YMCA for the International Dinner & Performance Night. Each year, participants can expect to enjoy an evening of great food and live performances in celebration of the diverse cultures that make up Champaign-Urbana.

The University YMCA and the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) announce that tickets are on sale now for the 32nd Annual International Dinner & Performance Night.  All are welcome.
We are also pleased to announce that Columbia Street Roastery of Champaign, Illinois will be providing all of the coffee to be enjoyed at the event.

Tickets are only $15 for a sampling of food and performances from all over the world. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign (checks payable to the University YMCA). Tickets sell out early and seats are limited; plan to purchase tickets as soon as possible.

What: The 32nd Annual International Dinner & Performance Night

When: Sunday, March 8, 2015 from 6-8 p.m.

Where: Located at the University Y, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign (On the corner of Wright and Chalmers)

What is the International Dinner & Performance Night? 

Pictures here.

At this event, you should expect to enjoy cuisines from over 20 countries and performances from members of the campus and community. So far, confirmed dishes to be served include: Chotpoti, Sweet Yogurt, Passion Fruit Mousse, Brigadeiro, Fried tangyuan, xishi tofu, biryani, bunuelos, chicken siomai, and pierogi. A finalized menu and performance program is To Be Announced.

For more information and updates on the menu and performance schedule, visit: universityymca.org/international/dinner

Parking Nearby:

Parking lot on 6th between Daniel & Chalmers - Free after 5pm.
Parking garage on 6th & John - Free after 5pm.
Street parking on Wright, Chalmers, & 6th Streets for 75¢ per hour.
Municipal lot on Green & 5th Streets for $1 per hour.


Someone tell us the answer to Dandelion’s trivia question

Awesome vintage store Dandelion accidentally put up a post on Facebook early in the week mistakenly suggesting that a former employee was a cast member on Freaks and Geeks. I racked my brain trying to put pieces together there before they corrected their mistake. Either way, it was a great way to promote that they have a 50% off sale going on throughout the weekend. Half-priced stuff and a hearty discussion of Freaks and Geeks are things that should go together like peanut butter and jelly. 


Despite the mistake on the Freaks and Geeks post, they now have a post up about a former employee that was a cast member on another short-lived sitcom, Popular. This appears to be the real deal and I demand answers. Who was this C-U resident that was on television in the early 2000's? Has he or she been on any recent shows? What was Popular?

Anyway, if someone knows the answer, please share it.


C4A offers Spring Break Circus Camp

From a press release:

C4A is very pleased to offer a special session of our popular circus camp while schools are on spring break.

This is a perfect way for active kids, ages 8 to 13, to spend spring break week in a performing arts atmosphere!

Ringmaster Joe Reichlin will lead the troupe through a variety of circus arts including: tumbling, partner acrobatics, juggling, hooping, rola bola, and rolling globe, as well as physical conditioning.

We will accommodate a wide range of skills: this camp is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those with previous experience.

We anticipate a strong demand for this spring break option; registration is open on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Additional details about Spring Break Circus are here.


Lunch and Learn with Mannie Jackson at iHotel on March 4th

From the email invite:

Wednesday, March 4

Guest Speaker:

Mannie L. Jackson
Venture capitalist and philanthropist
NCAA's 2015 Theodore Roosevelt Award Honoree

Please join us for a complimentary networking luncheon.  Enjoy great food, interact with other area professionals, and tour our state of the art conference facility while you're here!

RSVP here, space is limited.