Category: Word

Check out some artist talks this Tuesday at Giertz Gallery

One way to get to know the artists in your community is by going to their talks. Personally, for me, artist talks are always a gamble. Some artists are awful at describing their process and will sing perfect lullabies causing my body to sink into the iconic hard plastic stacking chair I am seated in (occasionally gallery floor). However, if you’re lucky, you might witness the artist breathe magic into work which you felt incapable of accessing. Sometimes the talk itself is the work. Interested? This week the Giertz Gallery is featuring three C-U area artist talks: Rosalyn Schwartz, Robb Springfield, and Bonnie Switzer. Tuesday, July 10th, at noon, these artists will discuss their practice. The talks are in conjunction with the Illinois 200 show currently on exhibit at the gallery — get there early and check out work from Illinois artists throughout the state. 

Photo from Giertz Gallery Facebook page


Betsy Dirksen Londrigan is opening her Champaign headquarters

It's just five short months until the midterms in November, and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Rodney Davis' challenger for IL-13, is ready to officially launch her campaign here in C-U. Her local campaign office is situated right in the heart of campus, at 502 E. John Street, which is a brilliant move. 

Her campaign is hosting an event there tomorrow; an office opening party followed by canvassing. Everything starts at 1 p.m. 

All hands on deck, people. 

Photo by Patrick Singer


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


Here’s a chance to drink wine at Prairie Fruits Farm

From 5 to 7 p.m. next Thursday, June 12th, Prairie Fruits Farm will host a wine tasting with local wine connoisseur Michael Darin. For $8, you'll get three generous tastes (additional glasses are $7; Italian wites are on the menu.) You should think about grabbing a friend or two and getting a PFF cheese board ($32-$45, depending on size) — pick your cheeses, then add salami/jam/pesto, and some crackers. 

Prairie Fruits Farm is a wonderful place to spend an evening. Additional info is available on Facebook, and it looks like this is a fairly casual, drop-in event, so no tickets are required ahead of time. 

Top photo by Jessica Hammie


You still have time to work on the Champaign Parks Bucket List Challenge

Last year, the Champaign Park District launched their Bucket List Challenge, encouraging area families to visit each of their 29 playgrounds throughout Champaign. The challenge lasts from April through September. Haven't started yet? There's still plenty of time! You can download their brochure here or pick one up at any Champaign Park District facility. Check them off as you go and turn it in (again, at any Champaign Park District facility) to be entered into a prize drawing.

First, I didn't even realize CPD had 29 playgrounds. Second, I've been to some pretty great ones. Davidson was a fave when my kids were tiny, Douglass has beautiful play structures as well as a splash pad (bonus, there's a library right there), Hessel obviously (which my kids always referred to as the "red park" — doesn't quite fit now with their new structures), and Clark has a few old school park elements such as a metal slide that can scorch your legs properly.

Get out and start experiencing. 

Photo from Champaign Park District website


Common Ground has important donut news

Really any donut news is important donut news. Common Ground is now featuring Ye Olde Donut Shoppe donuts in their bakery case every day of the week. Fun fact (according to the Co-op's FB post): Ye Olde has had the same baker for the past 35 years, and they have been in business since 1956.

For fans of Lucky Pierre, don't despair. They will still appear at the Co-op on weekends. 

I'm thinking it's been a while since I've sampled a Ye Olde donut. Time to remedy that.

Photo from Facebook


Parkland is looking for models for their ads

If you are a current or future Parkland student, or if you know one, this information is for you. The Marketing and Public Relations Department is looking for models to feature in their upcoming ad campaigns including billboards, digital content, and print materials. You or someone you know could be the face (or one of the faces) of Parkland College!

There will be a photo shoot on Monday, July 9th from 9 a.m. to noon at the Student Life Center (room U1111). Bonus perks include free lunch and Cobras gear, and possible fame and fortune (that last one is not guaranteed).

Email if you are interested in participating.


Here’s the brewery line-up for the Midwest Beer Fest

The 3rd Annual Midwest Beer Fest is Saturday, July 14th from 4 p.m. to midnight in Downtown Champaign. Hosting by Cowboy Monkey, the event features a bunch of craft brews, as well as food from Cowboy Monkey and Dave's Dogs. Entry is free, and beer tasting tickets are $1 each. Read up on last year's event here

Check out more details in the press release below. 


Featuring local breweries

Champaign, IL, July 3, 2018– Downtown Champaign will host the Midwest Beer Fest showcasing craft beer from local and regional breweries on July 15 at 4:00 pm. The parking lot between Cowboy Monkey at PNC bank will host the breweries’ tents, which will each have beers available for sampling. Additionally, Seven Saints, Jupiter’s Downtown, and Barrelhouse 34 will be hosting special releases from regionally local breweries. The featured breweries include Triptych Brewing, Riggs Beer Company, Big Thorn Farm and Brewery, Blind Pig Brewery, Effing Brew Company, Heavy Riff, Lil Beaver Brewer, BrickStone Brewery, JT Walker’s Brewery, Revolution Brewing, The Old Bakery Beer Company, Main Street Brewing Company, Half Acre Beer Company, Maplewood Brewing, Bell’s Brewery. Representatives from each brewery will be present at each tent to answer questions and talk about the featured brews available. Cowboy Monkey will have their full menu and seating available for festival attendees. Additionally, festival attendees will be able to walk over to the Park District festival on Walnut Street with their beers from the fest.

Additional information is available on Facebook, linked above. 


The UIUC Library has some summer exhibits you should see

Campus is a pretty quiet place during the summer, and the library is no exception. I mean it's always a quiet place — it's the library after all — but the schedule of lectures, panels, and other events are on hiatus. 

You can, however, escape from the heat and check out a couple of summer exhibits that are happening.

"I Shall Never Be Able To Forget What I Saw": A Brief History of Illinois Disasters From the Great Chicago Fire to the Cherry Mine Disaster

Learn how these disasters affected the citizens of Illinois. It's on display at the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections at 1408 W. Gregory in Urbana. 

Art + Books Summer Exhibition

From the event description:

This exhibition highlights creations by selected book artists and presses from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library collections: Loujon Press, Bea Nettles, Flying Fish Press, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr, Rusell Maret, and Jana Sim.

The works on display range from the 1960s to the present, and feature many variations on alphabets, typeface and calligraphy, colors and photography, and structures, from seemingly simple business cards, tarot cards, posters and broadsides, to complex codex, accordions, Möbius strips and Jacob’s ladders.

Check the UIUC LIbrary website for hours.

Photos from Facebook


Check out this new Triptych release

Last weekend Triptych released a new can of goodness: Virgil, a bourbon barrel rye wine. It's described like this:

Robust and decadent, Virgil is a massive rye-wine styled ale that was aged in barrels from some of our favorite Bourbon makers. The resulting beer is full of toffee, oak, vanilla, and dark fruit. Best enjoyed slightly below room temperature and paired with German heavy metal music.11.1% abv

The brew is named for Virgil Grider, whose visage appears on the can. Pick up a four pack at the brewery ($21.99), or stay a bit and have it on tap. This week's (July 2nd through 7th) hours are as follows:

Triptych Brewing
1703 Woodfield Dr

Top photo by Anna Longworth. Bottom image from Facebook.


Smile Politely seeking Food & Drink writers

Smile Politely is always welcoming new writers into the fold, and that, of course, includes our Food & Drink section. Being a town with a plethora of dining and drinking options, there is much to cover.

We want to add your voice to the Food & Drink section.

What's required? You should have a mild grasp on food culture, and be curious enough to explore C-U's local culture. Don't worry, you don't have to be a perfect writer — we'll help with that part. Prospective writers must be able to take at least 6 high quality photos to accompany their features. Smartphones take great photos these days, so you don't need to have a fancy DSLR. 

Perks of being a Food & Drink writer include, but are not limited to:

  • Going to restaurants and providing a take on your experience for our readers.
  • Eating foods and drinking drinks, which isn't out of the ordinary, we hope.
  • Earning (a little) extra spending money.
  • Pick up some valuable writing experience along the way.

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


United Airlines discontinuing flights to and from CMI in September

Sadly, United Airlines will stop servicing flights to and from Willard Airport (CMI) on September 5th. The inaugural flights started last June, as United was added in addition to the continued American Airlines flights.

Willard did see a growth in air traffic in 2017, and you can read up on CMI from our recent interview with Executive Director Gene Cossey.

A few outlets have posted about it, which you can see below:

Top photo from