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Bunny’s Tavern hosting Italian pop-up dinner tonight

According to the Bunny's Tavern Facebook page, there will be an Italian pop up dinner tonight (starting at 5:30 p.m.). 

Thursday night starting at 5:30 Bunnys is hosting a pop up Italian dinner featuring Frank Fonte's family recipes! Your choice of spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna, both served with salad and bread. If you haven't tried it you're missing out! It sells out quick so get there early. See you there!

So if you're into spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna, this is your thing. Go. And eat your spaghetti with a spoon

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Boozey, coffee, and flavor country: Tomorrow night at Crane Alley

Randall: A cool contraption used to add extra aromatic flavors to draft beer. 

Grappa: A fragrant brandy made with grapes. 

Papua New Guinnea coffee: Delicious. 

Crane Alley Machine Espresso Porter: Also delicious. 

Crane Alley and Flying Machine Coffee would like to invite you to a Randall this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Crane Alley. We have some Papua New Guinea coffee (the same we put in the beer) that has been barrell-aged in a grappa barel by Colombia Street Roastery. We are running the last of the Crane Machine Porter through the Randall with the barrel-aged coffee. It's going to be delicious.

More coffee flavor? Check.

More boozey flavor? Check. 

Booze? Check. 

See you tomorrow night!

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Nominations sought for Social Justice Awards

From a press release:

The McKinley Foundation is accepting nominations of Champaign County residents and groups for its Sixth Annual Social Justice Awards. Awards will be presented in spring to a student, a student group, a community individual, and a community organization whose justice work makes a difference locally, nationally, or internationally. Students and student groups may be high school, community college, or university affiliated. The deadline for nominations is February 13, 2015.

Each of the four awards carries a $500.00 gift to benefit the two selected organizations and two additional organizations chosen by the student and community member award winners.

Application forms for the awards may be requested from socialjusticeawards@gmail.com. 

Nominees should be exceptional in their social justice work, bringing about both awareness of injustice and real change to lives affected by it. Nominees must live or be based in Champaign County. An application may be filled out by anyone with a significant knowledge of the work. Groups and individuals may nominate themselves. The application includes a form and requires a one-page essay, both of which should be returned to the McKinley Foundation’s Social Justice Awards Committee via email, socialjusticeawards@gmail.com, or regular mail: Social Justice Awards Committee, McKinley Foundation, 809 S. Fifth St., Champaign, IL, 61820. Award recipients will be notified a week after the February 13th deadline for nominations and will be honored at an April gala.

McKinley Foundation, a Presbyterian organization, has been a significant force for justice during its almost one hundred years of service at the University of Illinois, supporting resettlement of Laotian refugee families and sanctuary for Central Americans, offering housing through the Men’s Emergency Shelter (now the TIMES Center), and daycare (through what later became the Marilyn Queller Child Care Center). McKinley continues to offer Scot Free, its long-running clothing exchange for students and community members, and currently hosts the Tap In Leadership Academy and the GOALS Project for teen parents. The foundation is fully inclusive of people who are LGBTQQ and recently rebuilt Presby Hall, now an environmentally state-of-the art residence hall.

To find out more about the Social Justice Awards or McKinley Foundation, please contact David Griffiths at (217) 722-2408 or socialjusticeawards@gmail.com.
 

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Red Herring’s last vegan dinner tonight

Red Herring is ending their Fall 2014 Wednesday night vegan dinner series this evening with a holiday-themed meal, and the menu looks pretty awesome:

Tempeh Sausage and Apple Cornbread Stuffing
Marinated, organic tempeh, organic apples, our house made cornbread, baked with onions, garlic, green peppers, herbs and spices

Vegetable Lentil Soup
organic green lentils, mushrooms, celery, carrots, eggplant, spinach, onions, garlic, red wine, fresh herbs and spices

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
slow cooked with apples, ginger, brown sugar, and walnuts

All for $8/plate. Desserts and hot drinks will also be available.

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Illini basketball preview: Villanova

The Miami game got a lot of talk about being a “test” for Illinois. While that language wasn’t unnecessary, tonight’s game is the real test of the nonconference schedule: Villanova.

Villanova (8-0) is #7 in both polls, and deservedly so. They’re really, really good. According to KenPom.com, the Wildcats are even better than their national ranking, with an offense that is just outside the top 10 but a defense that is #8 and truly stifling. This year Nova is allowing a paltry 55.8 points per game and nabbing 9.8 steals. And they’re not doing it against scrubs, either; their wins have come against the likes of VCU (KenPom rank: 36) and Michigan (37) and decent mid-major teams like La Salle (117) and Saint Joseph’s (137).

The Wildcats have looked like they’re in midseason form already because of their depth and balance. So far Nova has 8 players averaging better than 5 points per game, one more than the Illini. But points are more spread out for Villanova, whereas Illinois has many of its points per game concentrated among Rayvonte Rice and Malcolm Hill.

The battle against Nova might be won by three point shooting. The Wildcats like the three as much as Illinois, but are shooting just 33% this year; however, they are holding opponents to 26%. If Illinois can get its shooters hot and sustain their impact on the game, it could go a long way towards an upset. Likewise, if Nnanna Egwu can sustain some possessions with a good offensive rebounding game, it could keep Nova’s offense from ratcheting up the score. Keeping forward JayVaughn Pinkston in check will also be critical for those around Egwu, otherwise possessions will end abruptly for Illinois.

That said, just staying competitive with Jay Wright’s team would be a win everywhere but the win column. Likewise, if Illinois’s bench continues to be productive while spelling the starters, that would bode extremely well for the upcoming conference season and Illinois’s chances at a Tourney berth.

My prediction: Villanova 75-Illinois 69.

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Vote in our year-end local music polls

The year is rounding down, and it's time to start thinking about those local year-end lists for 2014. We're going to be putting together our list of Top 10 Albums, Best Live Shows, and Best Songs for 2014 soon. If you'd like, you can be a part of it, too. We'll take these votes into consideration, and ultimately factor in our own opinions as well.

Cast your vote by sending an email to music@smilepolitely.com with an organized list of your favorite albums, songs and live shows from this past year. Please make sure to send us your picks ASAP!

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Pilot Error screenings this week at Savoy 16

From the press release:

                              PILOT ERROR OPENS DECEMBER 8 AT SAVOY

CHAMPAIGN–  Pilot Error, the up to the minute feature film inspired by the true story of a French airliner missing in the Atlantic, is set for release here next week.  The film, starring award winning Kalamazoo, Michigan stage actress Kate Thomsen, expands to more than 200 locations in 2015. 

Pilot Error plays locally at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Savoy 16 on December 8, 9 and 11.   

Details on the screening are at pilot-errormovie.com/showings and the film’s trailer here.

This drama explores many of the same questions being asked following the loss of another jet, Malaysia Air 370 in March.

Thomsen, who is making her screen debut, plays the role of investigative reporter Nicola Wilson.  She is determined to find out why a jet headed from South America to Paris disappeared in the Atlantic, taking her close friend and 211 other passengers with it. How, Wilson wants to know, can a plane just disappear?

As Nicola digs deeper and deeper into this mystery she puts her job, friends and very livelihood on the line. Even though she knows nothing about aviation, refuses to fly and doesn't speak French, Nicola quickly uncovers astonishing details about the missing flight. Was it preventable? Has it happened before? Could it happen again? And was it PILOT ERROR?

The film was produced by Roger Rapoport and is based on his novel Pilot Error.  He cowrote the feature with director Joe Anderson.  The feature was shot on location in Michigan, Milwaukee and Paris.

Active and retired pilots, as well as flight instructors who show their id/license will be admitted free.

Costarring Hollywood actors Richard Riehle (“Office Space”)  Robert Cicchini (“Godfather III” and “Waterwalk”),  and Larry Herron (“Modern Family”) the movie features many prominent Midwestern actors, including Deborah Staples, Jennifer Jelsema, Julia Glander (Meadowbrook),  and Purple Rose actors Alex Leydenfrost and  Michael Brian Ogden.

Pilot Error was shot in the Muskegon area, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti Willow Run,  Montague, Whitehall, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Paris.  The producers filmed extensively at the Air Zoo in Portage, Muskegon Community College, Eastern Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.

Students and alumni from these colleges, as well as the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and Muskegon Community College, are featured.

Pilot Error follows up on the success of Rapoport’s first film Waterwalk (2012), which has played at over 200 theaters nationwide.                          

“Our goal is to encourage more hands-on training and simulator training at a time when the industry is increasingly focused on automation,” he explains.              

Thomsen has distinguished herself on stages at the Hope Summer Repertory Theater, the Muskegon Civic Theater and the Howmet Playhouses. She teaches in the theater departments at Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. A winner of a special Irene Ryan Award for her undergraduate work on the Kennedy Center stage, she earned her MFA at the University of California-Irvine. She currently lives in Kalamazoo with her husband Travis, a middle school principal, and their two young children.

The film is coproduced with Robert Goodrich, owner of the Goodrich Theater chain.

Pilot Error is edited by Gene Gamache, who has won many awards for his work on major studio film marketing campaigns and trailers ranging from  Forrest Gump to 12 Years A Slave.  He  also produced the documentary Houdini. The film’s score is composed by Emmy Award-winner Garth Neustadter. Grand Haven based Cinematographer David Darling worked with well-known Detroit director of photography Bruce Schermer, who shot most of Roger & Me and was cinematographer on Sundance grand prize winning Chameleon Street.

Pilot Error is based on five years of research and interviews with more than 200 pilots, airline executive, plane manufacturers, regulatory agencies and the team that found missing Air France 447 in the Atlantic.  The script and Rapoport’s forthcoming novel Pilot Error offer audiences an inside look at the fate of pilots unfortunately kept in the dark about failed automation.

“Top airline training pilots speaking at our preview events have been warmly received by audiences trying to understand how, in the most interconnected moment in human history, it’s never been easier to hide the truth,” says Rapoport.

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Champaign Public Library offers online learning

Per a press release:

The Champaign Public Library now offers access to lynda.com, an online source for video courses and tutorials that teach software, creative, and business skills.

Lynda.com offers more than 3,500 courses and 150,000 tutorials with new ones added every week.

Users can learn to make movies, design websites, record songs, create spreadsheets, give presentations, animate 3D graphics, retouch photos, and more. Software topics include Adobe Creative Suite, Excel, PowerPoint, iMovie, InDesign, Avid, Open Source, and many others.

Lynda.com is available through the library’s website, champaign.org (or here to access lynda.com directly). Champaign Public Library cardholders can access lynda.com 24/7 using a computer, tablet or mobile device. Visitors can use it from the library’s public computer stations at the main library and Douglass Branch.

“These videos will give some people the ability to train for the job they always wanted or learn that new skill to get them to the next level in their career,” said Kristina Hoerner, librarian. “It also offers people the ability to explore new hobbies and interests free of charge”.

For more information, contact the Info Desk at 217-403-2070 or email your question to librarian@champaign.org.

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