Smile Politely

Non-music things to do at PYGMALION 2023

A close up shot of boxes of film on a table. The boxes are various colors of purple, yellow, white. There is a camera lens visible in the upper right corner.
Urbana Museum of Photography Instagram

As a Millennial, nothing gives me more nostalgia than a great burned CD. It immediately takes me back to sitting in class where there would always be a few people who could make exceptional mixes. These people would pick only the best songs — some you had never even heard of — the titles written in brightly colored sharpie markers on the shiny round surface. I was not this person. Thankfully I had a sister who was. She would spend all her hard earned summer break money buying $0.99 songs on iTunes and making mixes with only the best Fall Out Boy, Rascal Flatts, and Nelly songs. I tell you this very long story to illustrate to you that I am not the person you want recommending music for PYGMALION (we’ll leave that to Derrick). However, Arts Editor Serenity Stanton Orengo and I have rounded up some very non-music things to do in case you aren’t into the music scene or just need a break in between shows.

— Louise Knight-Gibson, Culture Editor

a picture of two drag queens. on the left is Alaska 5000 against a pink background, she wears a red dress, necklace, and lipstick and holds a red phone to her ear. She is white with very long blonde hair. On the left is Monet X Change set against a red backdrop wearing a gold dress and staring into the camera, her hair is braided and pulled back, she wears a silver cross on her neck.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

See a drag show

On Thursday, Alaska 5000 and Monet X Change will be taking over Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in back to back performances. If their names sound familiar it’s because they were both previous winners on RuPaul’s Drag Race. You can read more about Alaska 5000 in our recent interview. (LKG)

Alaska 5000 and Monet X Change
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin
Th September 21st
9:45 p.m. 
$35/$100 meet and greet

A black man wearing a black t-shirt with white print that says "comedy is therapy". He has his arms raised in a shrug position. He has close cropped hair and a full beard and mustache.
United Talent Agency

See some comedians

There are some new and familiar comedians this year. You can see some videos of them in the PYGMALION preview. On Friday, watch Ali Macofsky and Champaign native Rachel Lindemann. Macofsky was named a New Face of Comedy at the Just for Laughs Comedy festival in Montreal. She also just completed a tour opening for rock musician, St. Vincent. Lindemann is a stand-up comedian, writer, improver and dancer. On Saturday Isiah J. Kelly and Gretchen Conlin will take the stage, Conlin’s comedy flavor profile has strong notes of silliness, undertones of chaos, personal struggles and a lingering finish. Kelly has performed all over the country and he’s currently on the road with comedian Lavell Crawford. (LKG)

Comedy Shows
Rose Bowl Tavern
106 N Race Street
Sept 22nd and 23rd
F 6 p.m. + Sa 7:30

three white men sitting in a triangle talking to each other and laughing and smiling. The man in the middle wears a black vest and hot and has many piercings while the other two white men wear t-shirt.
Human Libary

Meet someone new

The concept of the human library started in Denmark and the idea is to check out a “human book” that can be “read” by attendees. Through this, you get a chance to talk to someone in our community who wants to talk about their experience that may be different than your own. Examples of previous books are childhood cancer, female martial artist, and autism. (LKG)

Human Library
Analog Wine Library
129 N Race St
Sa Sept 23
1 to 5 p.m.

three round stained-glass pieces hang from the tent bar.
Glass by Allie Janae; photo by Serenity Stanton Orengo

Check out the Made Fest

Made Fest is an open-air art market featuring local and regional artists that takes place each year as part of PYGMALION. You can browse what the artists have for sale, chat with the artists themselves, and leave with some cool stuff. There are lots of familiar names in the line up and tons of interesting art to be seen. I was personally super excited to see Jose Vazquez in the line-up; he painted the amazing new mural at CUPHD, so make sure you check out his stuff. Also present will be High in Fiber Rugs, Art by Allie Janae, Glassology, Isabel Skidmore Tattoos, Dirt Ceramics, Critically Enraged, and so many more. You can check out the full lineup on the PYGMALION website. (SSO)

Made Fest
Rose Bowl Tavern
106 N Race St
Sept 22 + 23
F 5 to 9 p.m.
Sa 1 to 8 p.m.
Free, but you can buy things

Elizabeth Acevedo stands behind a podium with a microphone. She has curly brown hair and is wearing a black t shirt and maroon jacket
Scott Wells

Hear some lit readings

I featured the literature events at PYGMALION in Five things in arts this month. There are several events happening with so much talent represented that I cannot mention everything here, so I’ll stick to a few highlights. The University of Illinois’ MFA program is doing a reading at Analog Wine Library on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. At that reading, you can find both Deon Robinson and Nina King Sannes. If my recent interviews with them piqued your interest, now is your chance to hear some of their writing. Other events will feature such writers as Lauren Michele Jackson, author of essay collection White Negroes; and Francesca T. Royster, author of Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions and Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance; plus many others.

The best thing about the Lit events is that they are all free. You can see the full listing of events and schedule on the website. (SSO)

Lit events at PYGMALION
Locations + Times vary
Sept 21­–23

Louise Knight-Gibson and Serenity Stanton Orengo contributed to this article.

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