Smile Politely

Speakers in C-U: October 19–25

You live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that’s the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti.

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you’d like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Mondays.

WHAT: Stefan Brun and Jenny Magnus will be Unit One/Allen Hall Guests-in-Residence

WHEN: Each evening at 7 p.m. from Monday, Oct. 19 to Thursday, Oct. 22

WHERE: South Rec Room of Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory, Urbana

Monday — “Detextive Work” — an approach to reading that presumes that I do not immediately understand rather than that I do.

Tuesday — “Presenting Yourself” — a hands-on workshop about body awareness, voice, and stance, both physical and philosophical. Being able to bring confidence into interviews, presentations, and performances is a learnable skill.

Wednesday — “Authoring Your Own Life”— the challenges and rewards of being the creator of your own professional niche; how to use your strengths and weaknesses to not only carve out a niche but create one that fits you. In this economy, being able to design your own career and stay flexible is of great value.

Thursday — “Writing From the Body”— Writing is a physical activity. However, most writing uses limited amounts of body and mostly mind. Out of meditative bodies, out of sweaty bodies, out of self-conscious bodies, out of exultative bodies, participants will find new ways to open their writing minds. Participants should come in comfortable clothes, with writing materials, prepared to move and write.

WHAT: “Telling a Story: Walking the Streets of Lebanon,” Natasha Samreny, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

WHEN: Tuesday, October 20 @ 12 noon

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, room 1080, Foreign Language Building

From the event description: “Part of what Natasha learned in Lebanon has to do with the methodology for reporting and storytelling. While she went over there prepared to record the oral history of her family with her improved fluency in the language, she hit some obstacles along the way. And she didn’t get many of the oral histories she had intended or in the way she expected. However, Natasha also learned and relearned some basic principles at the heart of storytelling useful to remember as a journalist and researcher. With photos, some audio and video, this presentation will be a more personal reflection of these things Natasha learned in Lebanon in 2005 and this past summer and how they have informed her path in academics and professionally.”


WHAT:EWB Community Water Supply Project in Nigeria,” Engineers Without Borders

WHEN: Wednesday, October 21 @ 12 noon

WHERE: 210 International Studies Building

See what Engineers Without Borders has been up to in Nigeria at this free brownbag lunch session.


WHAT:Illusions and Illusionists: How to Fool the Brain with Magic and Other Tricks,” Stephen Macknik, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix

WHEN: Thursday, October 22 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: Beckman Auditorium

If you’ve ever wondered why magic tricks are so effective at confusing our perceptions, this presentation will give you some insights, from a neurological perspective. From the description: “Illusions are not errors of the brain. Far from it. Illusions arise from processes that are critical to our survival. Our brains have developed illusory processes so that we may experience the world in a ready-to-consume manner. Remove the machinery of illusion, and you unwind the entire tapestry of human awareness.” Yep, just like you thought. Magic.

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