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Caribbean Grill Food Truck is back

Caribbean Grill's food truck has been off the streets since last May, when Caribbean Grill's restaurant space opened on South Neil in Champaign. All of that changes today, July 31st — you can find the CG food truck at Urbana's lunchtime Food Truck Rally (Urbana Civic Center, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m). Moving forward, there are plans for the truck to be parked regularly in Downtown Urbana and for the jerk chicken burrito to be on the truck menu daily. 

Here's the press release:

Top photo from Facebook

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Drink beer to help kid literacy programs

On Thursday, August 16th, you can drink some booze to benefit the Champaign Public Library’s Mother Goose on the Loose early literacy program. Emerging Community Leaders of the United Way is hosting Books & Brews at Bentley's from 5 to 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $10, with $1 from all drafts and slushies going to the literacy program. There will also be raffle opportunities. The Mother Goose on the Loose early literacy program serves children from birth to six; kids get free books and visits from Mother Goose at local childcare centers. 

Additional information is available on Facebook

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Tickets are on sale for the 6th Annual Pens to Lens Gala

It's almost time for this year's Pens to Lens Gala, an annual celebration of films created by local K-12 students. From the press release: "Pens to Lens is a screenwriting competition that invites K-12 students in East Central Illinois to submit original short screenplays. If their screenplay is chosen, a member of the local filmmaking group Champaign Movie Makers (CMM) produces that script into a short film. Additional scripts are adapted as movie posters by designers from the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO)."

The event will be on August 11th at the Virginia Theatre, and will feature 19 films. Tickets can be purchased at Virginia's website, and children under 18 are free.

There will be a red carpet event at 1 p.m., followed by two screening blocks. The first will feature films by K-8 students and are appropriate for all ages. The second will feature films by high school students, and the films may not be appropriate for kids under 13.

Good Night, Little Knight

-- 2:00PM Show --

Student Screenwriting Competition Selections

ADVENTURE AROUND THE WORLD by Rose Bailey, Noah Hettinger, and James Graham,
directed by John Isberg
DUSTY RUSTY by Caroline Paluska, directed by Emily Polk
GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE KNIGHT by Ozella Green, directed by Thomas Nicol
I’M NOT EVIL by Quinn Fisher, directed by Andrew Nygard
THE CONTEST by Rayane Marzouqi, directed by Andrew Stengele
THE DISCOVERY OF THE JACKABOW by Kallie Lancaster, Lia Sheets, and Kadince Wells,
directed by Andrew Stengele
THE MONSTER WHO ATE THE BOY by Audrey Moser, Jaydin Anderson, Lilly Jurkowski and Garrett Fulfer, directed by Brian Hagy
TOMATOES by Fallon McFarland, directed by Jarrod Finn and Issac Musgrave
WATER YOU SAD ABOUT? by Jayton Reynolds, directed by AJ Christensen
WHY COWS CAN’T HAVE BIRTHDAYS by Brynlee Vigil and Sadie Polonus, directed by Michael Bach

Student Filmmaking Competition Selections
OBVIOUSLY OBLIVIOUS, directed by Iona Hopping
TRUE LOVE, directed by Tara Armas
GHOST ON THE RUN, directed by Sofie Skottene
ENGAGING JASON, directed by Madeline DeCoste (Honorable Mention)

The Red Scarf

-- 6:00PM Show --

Student Screenwriting Competition Selections

A NORMAL DAY by Sariah Rose Deal, directed by Danil Formenov
A STAR by Max Libman, directed by Jon Lecouris
CORNERED by John Nicol, directed by Charlie Kessler
FOURTH WALL by Estephany Arroyo, directed by Hugh Sullivan
NEO-SCUM by Parker Evans, directed by Thomas Polk
STUCK by Gwen Kaiser, directed by Andrew Gleason and Thomas Nicol
THE DEFENSE by Dema Evans, directed by Jon Lecouris
THE ONE by Sydney Hoel, directed by Rebecca Nicol
THE RED SCARF by Ariana Mizan, directed by Jennifer Heaton

-- Writing Awards --

In addition, the following students will be receiving writing awards for their submitted screenplays (Awards for K-8th graders to be presented in the 2:00 pm show, 9-12th in the 6:00 pm show)

Elena Reifsteck and Andie Strauss, ONE UPPER
D.J. Wang, THE TIME MACHINE
Jacob Epstein, HEAVEN WORLD
Josie Evans, FIRST TIME BABYSITTER
Maher Adoni, RIDE OF YOUR LIFE
Makenna Boyd, PURGATORY
Max Libman, SLIME STRIKE
Mayameen Mizan, THE SECRET PET
Quinn Fisher, FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Rachel Manselle, GIRL ON A MISSION

To learn more about the Pens to Lens Student Screenwriting Competition, visit their website. You should also take a look at their Facebook page for some sneak peeks at the films that will be featured. 

Photos from Facebook

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The newest iteration of the Illini Inn opens August 22nd

After the previous version of Illini Inn was demolished last year, the reimagined Illini Inn returns on August 22nd at 11 a.m.. They will have a grand reopening, which you can read all the details for here. Illini Inn is located at 901 S. 4th Street in Champaign.

Get your Mug Club card ready.

Editor's Note: 8:51 am, Tuesday: Prior to publishing this SPlog, I didn't realize the Chief emblem on the front of the Illini Inn above the entrance. I would've made a comment before publishing had I noticed. As a magazine, this isn't something we condone, the use of the Chief emblem, and regret not pointing this out previously.

Photo rendering from the Facebook event.

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Willard Airport is offering Global Entry Enrollment in September

If you frequently travel internationally, here's a great opportunity to ease that process. If you're interested, it's a good idea to apply now so you can get conditional approval before the enrollment. Here are the details:

WILLARD AIRPORT TO HOST GLOBAL ENTRY ENROLLMENT IN SEPTEMBER

Program expedites entry into the U.S. for low-risk international travelers

SAVOY, IL (July 26, 2018) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection will host Global Entry enrollment September 5-7 at Willard Airport from 8 AM to 4:45 PM each day.
Global Entry is a program developed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to expedite entry into the U.S. for low-risk, pre-screened international travelers at 40 major U.S. airports. Upon arriving in the U.S., members proceed directly to the automated Global Entry kiosk— bypassing passport control lines and paper customs declarations.

To begin the process, you will first need to apply for conditional approval online and pay the non-refundable application fee of $100. You should apply as soon as possible as they are currently taking about 30 days to process applications. Once approved you will be able to select an appointment time for your interview with an U.S. Customers and Border Protection officer which will take place at Willard Airport. The officer will make the final determination of your eligibility.

An added bonus to Global Entry: applicants that are approved and assigned a known traveler number will automatically be registered for TSA PreCheck.

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Local author Damian Duffy wins Eisner Award

Damian Duffy (writer, scholar, cartoonist, and U of I alum and iSchool lecturer) and John Jennings (artist and U of I alum and former professor) have won an Eisner Award in the category "Best Adaptation from Another Medium" for their graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler's Kindred

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are given annually during San Diego Comic Con International, and celebrate the best of the year in the comics and comics-adjacent industry. Other winners this year included Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates for their rendition of the Black Panther comic, which is to say: It's a pretty big deal. 

If you haven't picked up a copy of Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, you can do so here. There are also copies available at the local libraries. It's an incredible book. You can read a quick interview and review of the book on NPR here

U of I Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Stacey Robinson and his son Solomon Robinson (Central High School alum) worked as color assistants on the project. 

Congrats to Duffy and Jennings and their teams! 

Top image screenshot from Abrams Books; headshot by T-Stagg Photography and courtesy of Damian Duffy 

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Come see us at the Urbana Market

Planning to hit up the Market at the Square tomorrow? Come and visit Smile Politely over in community row. That's right, we are coming out from behind our computers and mingling amongst the people. 

Stop by our table, right across from the food trucks, which is really the most important place to be. Yes, get your local organic produce, but then come grab a doughnut/burrito/empanada and come talk us. We may even have some swag for ya.

Photo by Jess Hammie

Word

You can sign your kids up for the Friday Night Live Kids Sidewalk Chalk Contest

Have a kid who is skilled in the art of sidewalk chalking? Here's an opportunity for them to show it off and win some prizes. 40 North is hosting it's 6th annual contest next Friday, August 3rd. It's open to kids pre-K through 8th grade, and prizes will be given to winners in three different age catagories. Registration is free and strongly recommend, as there will be very limited space for walk ups that night. Also no parent help. Let the kids do their own creations for goodness sake.

You can pre-register here

Also you should go to Friday Night Live tonight because WOW is it a perfect day today.

Photo from Facebook

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Smile Politely seeking Music writers

We know you have thoughts about the Champaign-Urbana music community, so why not voice them here as an engaged community member? Here's how to do it.

Please send us an email at music@smilepolitely.com telling us about yourself, why you're interested in contributing, and all that good stuff. Since we're a hyper local magazine, applicants must have a grasp on local music scene — and you don't have to be the best writer in the world.

If you're interested in getting involved, send us an email at the address above with the subject "Music Writer" and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. 

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PRIME Music Fest announces 2018 lineup

Back in April, it was announced that Prime Social Group and Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment were planning a festival — PRIME Music Festival — that will take place at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in September. They've announced the lineup for this year's festival, which takes place on September 14th.

PRIME Music Fest will be headlined by Russ, Matoma, Lil Skies, and more. Check out the full press release and poster below. Tickets are on sale now at their website (linked above).

Jay Goldberg Events and Prime Social Group Announce the Highly Anticipated Lineup for PRIME Music Festival in Urbana, IL

PRIME Illinois brings World-Class Talent to the Champaign County Fairgrounds for Year One Including Festival Headliner Russ and More

(Urbana, IL) - Today, Jay Goldberg Events and Prime Social Group announce the highly anticipated lineup for the inaugural year of Prime Music Festival in Urbana, IL. The one-day festival is set to take place Sept. 14 at the Champaign County Fairgrounds.

PRIME Illinois carefully explores the intersection of hip-hop and electronic music resulting in a supremely curated lineup that includes some of the most impressive names in the industry with festival headliner Russ taking main stage. The lineup also features Matoma, Lil Skies, Smokepurpp, Elephante, SoDown, The Harley Boys, and more.

“We’re extremely excited to announce Russ and the rest of the lineup for year one of Prime in Urbana. We wanted to build on the culture of the college town, staying fresh with new, up-and-coming acts whose music extends across various genres,” Prime Social Group Booking Coordinator, Mike Avdey said.

Taking the mainstage this year is hip-hop kingpin Russ. Only half way into 2018 and he’s already gone  platinum with his first major-label debut There’s Really a Wolf, accumulated over 1.5 billion streams, and hit double platinum and gold with multiple singles including “Losin Control” and “What They Want”.

Headlining the EDM portion of the bill is the king of tropical house, Matoma, who is best known for his dance-oriented tracks like his remix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Old Thing Back” which hit over 222 million plays on Spotify, and his track “False Alarm” which hit over 150 million Spotify plays. Taking 2018 by storm, Matoma dropped his new track “Lonely” featuring MAX and announced the impending release of his follow-up LP, One in a Million.

Coming in 2018, Prime Music Festival will not only touch down in Urbana but will also touch down in East Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park Sept. 14-15 and just took place in Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater on April 14.

Tickets are on sale now at www.PrimeMusicFest.com. Tickets start at $40. Stay tuned for local acts and set times to be released. This event is all ages and outdoors, rain or shine.

For more information on topics including vending, local support and general festival inquiries, visit www.primemusicfest.com. You can find the event now on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #PrimeFestIllinois and by following @PrimeMusicFest.

For assets please click here.

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We Define Ourselves art installation is happening at Krannert Art Museum next week

Friday, August 3rd from 4 to 6:30 p.m. there will be a reception hosted by Native American House at the Link Gallery. Artist Ryan Young will be giving a talk about their solo exhibition We Define Ourselves at 4:15. From the KAM website:

"Ryan Young (They/Them/Their) is a multi-disciplinary Two Spirit Ojibwe artist completing their BFA in Studio Arts and a certificate in Performing Arts this fall at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM."

Young is also currently working at the Native American House at the University of Illinois as the Coordinator for Two Spirit and Indigenous Programming.

Here is the artist's statement:

“I’ve never called myself an Indian artist. Everyone else has.”

   - Fritz Scholder

Scholder’s art provoked questions that a lot of contemporary Indigenous artists ask themselves (e.g. “What is Indian art? Who is an Indian artist? To what extent must a person have lived an ‘Indian life’ to be an Indian artist? What of the non-Indian who employs traditional Indian styles or treats Indian subjects?“)

As artists, we are constantly in a tug of war between defining our work and having our work defined for us. This becomes especially difficult as artists with intersectional identities.

Norval Morrisseau has been long identified as an Indigenous artist, but was also openly bisexual. His artistic style identified him as a Native artist to his audience, which overshadowed his sexuality, despite its presence in some of his work. What makes his art more Indigenous than queer? Who identifies an artwork as either Indigenous or queer? Is it the artist, or the audience who interprets their work?

As a Two Spirit artist, I’m always having these discussions with my art. Is my queer art Indigenous? Is my Indigenous art queer? How is it defined? Is it the artist who makes the work? Is it the subject matter, or lack thereof? Even the context of the space the work is shown can play a role.

The pieces shown in this gallery reflects my empowerment as a Two Spirit person. This work that cannot be identified as solely one part of my identity or the other; it is equally queer and Indigenous.