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Tour Diaries: You & Yourn in the upper midwest

Monday, Nov. 16, was a drive day to get from Brooklyn to Grand Rapids. We left NYC early that morning, drove for about 12 hours, and eventually crashed at a motel around Toledo, OH. Tuesday we drove on to Grand Rapids, Mich., for our show at Cave Café — a popular restaurant/student hangout in the commons area at Calvin College.

The following night we were in Madison, Wisc., for an intimate Wednesday night show at an art space called The Project Lodge. In our conversations from stage, we discussed the opposition to a proposed commuter rail. An article we had seen in the Isthmus said that Vicki McKenna (a radio announcer in the Madison area) thinks the commuter rail is "about those damn liberals trying to micromanage everyone else's lives." A guest on McKenna's radio show (Republican Party spokesman Bill Richardson) even suggested that a commuter rail would turn the city into the Soviet Union or East Berlin. Damn liberals. Fittingly, we also learned that Stalin's daughter lives in Madison.

Next we traveled north to Menomonie. Sadie got sick while we were eating lunch, resulting in a mess throughout the van, a stop at Shopko to find carpet cleaner, and driving with the windows cracked despite rain and cold temps. Nonetheless, we made it. Opening for LOW at UW-Stout was certainly a highlight of this tour. It's a huge honor to open for a band you admire. We played for 35 or 40 minutes, and then LOW was on. One of our favorite parts of the show came during LOW's encore. It went something like this:

Alan Sparhawk of LOW: Are there any questions I can help answer?

Girl in Audience: What should I do with my life?

Alan: How much have you traveled? Where have you traveled to?

Girl: I've traveled quite a bit. I've been to the West Coast and to Colorado.

Alan: Oh, a Phish fan.

Girl (with a hint of defensiveness): No, not that at all. I lived out there and then moved back here.

Alan: Well, you should go to Holland, and then travel down to Barcelona. Be careful in Barcelona though or else you'll get mugged... Have you considered theology?

Girl: No.

Alan: What are you studying right now?

Girl (dodging the question): This is getting a little personal. How about I just go to Holland, then to Barcelona, and I'll figure it out from there.

Alan: Well, ok. And Tel Aviv. You should go to Tel Aviv. So start in Holland, then after you get mugged in Barcelona, go to Tel Aviv...

We drove to nearby Eau Claire after the show and stayed at our friend Pakou's apartment. Before leaving town on Friday, we accompanied Pakou to a lunchtime Chris Koza concert at UW-Eau Claire.

Our final stop on this tour was in Ames, Iowa, where we were able to connect with our friend Phil and play a fun house concert. (Some of you may remember Phil as the pedal steel/guitar player who sometimes sat in with Casados.) Phil recently scored a nice lap steel at an estate auction, and we gladly gave him a reason to try it out. Saturday night's house party was complete with food, drinks, and lots of music (us sandwiched between six local musicians). It turned out to be the rowdiest crowd we played for on this tour, but we were able to engage them and had a really great time. Honestly, we can't imagine a better way to wrap things up.

All in all, the tour was excellent. We're approaching some time off around the holidays, with a handful of Midwest shows throughout December. We'll keep you updated on our plans for 2010. Thanks for reading!

Word

Asamoah named All-Big Ten

From the U of I press report:

Asamoah Named All-Big Ten
Four Illini Earn Honorable Mention Accolades

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -— University of Illinois senior offensive guard Jon Asamoah was named second-team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and conference media tonight as announced on the Big Ten Network. In addition to Asamoah, four other Illini gridders earned honorable mention accolades — WR Arrelious Benn, RB Mikel Leshoure, DE Clay Nurse and QB Juice Williams.

Asamoah is a four-year starter at offensive guard, in which each of the previous three the Illini offense led the Big Ten in rushing (2006, 2007) and passing (2008). The Illini currently rank 24th in the nation in rushing and third in the Big Ten.

Benn and Williams entered the season as two of the most productive offensive players in the Big Ten. Benn surpassed the 2,000-yard receiving mark this year, while averaging 68.0 all-purpose yards a game. Williams is just 22 yards from becoming only the sixth conference player to pass the 10,000-yard total offense mark. He has rushed for over 2,400 yards and passed for over 7,500, while tossing 50 touchdown passes.

Leshoure and Nurse have broken onto the scene in 2009. Leshoure is currently leading the team in rushing with 59.6 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the conference, and averages 6.1 yards per carry. The sophomore has posted to 100-yard rushing games with 122 yards vs. Purdue and 150 against Michigan. Nurse, a junior defensive end put on a clinic against Minnesota with his four-sack performance, which was the second-best in school history. He has 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss, both ranking in the top-10 in the conference.

 

Word

Safe Haven Community Art Show Dec. 4

From a press release:

The Four Elements: "Open your mind, expand your world."

A community art show sponsored by Safe Haven residents with assistance by students in FAA 391 and artist-activist group U&I Collab.

In an effort to reconsider the social constructions of both an art space and the terminology of "community", students from the University of Illinois and Safe Haven community members are working together to sponsor a "deconstructed" art show at the Independent Media Center on December 4th from 6-9 pm. The show will also encompass a community potluck.

Art is being sought to display. As a "community" art show, submission of any art form is encouraged. These forms include music, poetry, performance, new media, installation, and the more traditional media of painting and sculpture. Review of submitted art will be handled by Safe Haven. Art carrying an activist message or a reflection on personal ideals will be strongly considered.

Submissions must be made by November 20th at Noon.

For questions or to submit a 2D image and explanation email edenis2@illinois.edu or call 618.527.6514. In-person submissions can be made at the East St. Louis Action Research Project office: 326 Noble Hall, MC-549, 1209 South Fourth Street; Champaign, IL 61820. Also, if you are interested in volunteering your time as part of the community organizing this show, please be sure to contact us.

Word

Ferrocene3 meets Tree Thump at IMC Saturday

From a press release:

The UC-Independent Media Center is hosting the bands Ferrocene3 and Tree Thump. The performance will take place on Saturday, Nov. 21st; it starts at 8 p.m., admission $6.

Rooted in Urbana Champaign's improvised music community is Ferrocene3, an ambient, avant world ensemble featuring Jason Finkelman exploring his use of laptop electronics and percussion combined with Jay Eychaner's signature blend of textured electronic murmur and fastidious approach to tone. For this IMC performance, Johnny Ride, a sound shifting electric guitarist who applies extended techniques with preparations and a variety of pedals, will sit in for regular ensemble guitarist Nick Rudd.

Tree Thump is a Fithian, Ill.-based band performing didjeridu driven music with a penetrating, psychedelic vibe and funky drum and bass grooves, topped off with sweet and fiery explorations on the electric violin, accented with percussive mayhem.

Sources indicate that this performance is also BYOB for those 21+ with ID, so please take that into account.

Word

Safe Haven on the move again

For those of you concerned over how the Safe Haven Community plans to weather the winter, they have released following statement:

On Friday [11/20] Safe Haven Community relocates from the Oscar Romero Parish Center of St. Mary Catholic Church to facilities owned by Restoration Urban Ministries. This move brings Safe Haven to its sixth location since it formed in June as a tent community of homeless Champaign residents. It reflects the group's ongoing tenacity and determination to continue as a self-governing community.

Many Champaign-Urbana individuals, churches, and other organizations have collaborated to assure that Safe Haven has a home for the coming winter. St. Mary Catholic Church has shared its parish center with Safe Haven since mid-August, graciously extending its original thirty day invitation until the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday. As fall approached, empty tomb, inc. extended an offer to coordinate renovation of 14 rooms at Restoration Urban Ministries and bring them into building code compliance. In return, those rooms would be dedicated to Safe Haven use through the coming winter. Rev. Ervin Williams of Restoration Urban Ministries and Safe Haven representatives then reached an agreement for Safe Haven to reside at Restoration Urban Ministries as a separate organization until mid-spring.

Numerous community congregations responded to empty tomb, inc's offer with donations of funds, services, and materials. On Thursday, this process was completed with the installation of beds. Congregations and church-related groups providing support toward this effort include: .Apostolic Christian Church-Champaign, Faith United Methodist Church-Champaign, First Presbyterian Church-Champaign, First United Methodist Church-Champaign, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Grace Lutheran Church, Grace United Methodist Church-Urbana, Knights of Columbus, New Horizon UMC Small Group, New Horizon United Methodist Church, Quest United Methodist Church, Savoy United Methodist Church, St. Andrew's Lutheran Church - Campus Center, St. Mary Catholic Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Stone Creek Church, Stratford Park Bible Chapel, Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church, Twin City Bible Church. In addition, since late August, a coalition of congregations has been meeting bi-weekly at First Mennonite Church of Champaign-Urbana to address opportunities for Safe Haven support and assistance.

During the upcoming winter, Safe Haven and its supporters will continue to work toward resolution of its long-term housing needs. This includes ongoing pursuit of its underlying vision to provide residents with mutual support and safety, while enhancing their sense of personal dignity, privacy, and self-sufficiency.

 

Word

10 years of MICRO-FILM discussed at CMM

The next meeting of the Champaign Movie Makers group will take place tonight, Tuesday, November 17, 7 p.m., on the 4th floor of M2 in downtown Champaign. Local self-publisher Jason Pankoke will present, "10 Years of MICRO-FILM (In 20 Minutes or Less!)," touching upon the many whos, whats, wheres, whens, and whys that have fueled the creation of his indie film 'zines, MICRO-FILM and C-U Confidential. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. Look for the CMM sign in the lobby facing Neil Street!

Word

Unit 4 schools prepare to go into “soft lockdown,” if necessary

I was forwarded the following email sent last Friday by an assistant principal of a west Champaign elementary school:

Staff,

In the next few weeks we may need to go into a soft lockdown due to events involving the ruling on the officer who shot Kiwane Carrington. Therefore here is a reminder of what a soft lockdown looks like:

1.       The office will make an announcement that we are going to a soft lockdown.

2.       We will make sure all of the outside school doors are locked.

3.       Every visitor will be questioned at the door via the door intercom before being allowed to enter. 

4.       Students and teachers continue with the day as scheduled But all outdoor activities are canceled.  No recess or leaving the building for any reason.

5.       Teachers are prepared to go to a full lockdown if necessary.

Let me know if you have questions, and please do not worry about this situation.  The school district is being proactive by taking these extra safety measures.

In response to an inquiry regarding this notice, Lisa Geren, principal of Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign, shared the following by email: "I want to share with you that the Champaign Unit 4 schools are consistently responsive to community events that might impact our students and staff. Soft lockdowns primarily increased security and awareness, and they occur at any time a need is perceived for close monitoring of events in the community or immediate area."

Word

N-G casually reveals name of juvenile defendant

Well, at least it wasn't in the headline, I guess. After a month of coverage of the Kiwane Carrington case in which the News-Gazette respected the anonymity of a juvenile defendant, he was suddenly identified yesterday in an online report, and today in print.

I suppose this could be justified by saying that press were allowed in the hearing yesterday, so technically the youth's name didn't have to be leaked, but it seems unnecessary and outside of good journalistic practice. And it was also especially jarring that the name appeared with no explanation of why it was being revealed now.

It follows the pattern of other information disclosed to the public in this case (attendance records, etc.) which one-sidedly favor the police. It was also difficult to tell from the article which statements were given as part of the hearing, and which resulted from conversations before and afterward, further clouding the situation.

Brian Dolinar of the UCIMC was at the hearing as well — as the other member of the press — and filed a much different report.

And this follows on the heels of the report yesterday that the Champaign County State's Attorney, Julia Rietz, has received the results of the investigation from the Illinois State Police, but hasn't placed a timetable on when that report will be released to the public. The report contains "hundreds of pages and numerous computer disks" according to Ms. Reitz. Computer disks?

Emails to Ms. Schenk and Ms. Rietz requesting comment about revealing the juvenile's name were not immediately returned.

Word

Red Star Liquors opened tonight…

... and I must say, it's a really really dope spot. It's located in the former Embassy space, and the design is really terrific: simple, clean, red (of course). The pattern next to you is the wallpaper, and it is lining the walls. The Art Deco-era bar remains, but for some reason, it looks about a million times better in the new space than it did before.

Cheers to those who made it happen. Perhaps Urbana will become the new spot to hang out in the next decade?

Word

HuffPo’s “15 Funniest Pet Videos” a prime example of bad best-of lists

As SP continues to dangle its judgment over the precipice of public opinion, I'm happy to tell you that there's no WAY we'll do as poor a job at "best of" as HuffPo did here.

Superlatives are way, way overboard here. These videos aren't even funny!

The orangutan is heartwarming, but that's different. (I am a Terry Pratchett fan.)

Where's Drunk Squirrel? Where's the barfing/fucking dog? Where's Cat on a Ceiling Fan?

These noobs are showing off their interweb illiteracy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/11/the-funniest-pet-videos-t_n_351569.html