Welcome to Smile Politely’s rundown of weekend events in our fair cities. As always, if you have a suggestion for this weekend, add it to the comments thread below. And don’t forget to send us your recommendations for future weekends.
“What’s So Funny About Children’s Literature?”: That’s the name of the free talk that Dr. Karen Coats will be giving at 6:30 p.m. in the LIS Building auditorium (room 126). The Illinois State University professor will “describe and discuss the linguistic and psychoanalytic conditions necessary for children to acquire a sense of humor and understand jokes, and the ways in which children’s books facilitate this achievement.” Okay, so it’s not a traditional “happy hour.”
Two DJs for the price of none: Catch DJ Mertz and DJ Leg Two (aka Larry Gates) at Radio Maria post 10 p.m. There’s no cover, and no Rick Astley!
Green beer and police everywhere: How old are you? If you are under 22, then feel no shame. Get blitzed; just don’t go to class. If you’ve graduated, sit this one out. Yep. It’s that day again: Unofficial. For those of you who don’t know what it is, just go take a walk around Green and Sixth on Friday morning. It’s worth seeing, actually.
The most prolific of playwrights: Mark Roberts has done it again. Urbana’s own favorite Hollywood producer returns to the Station Theatre with his fifth play in as many years: Whitey. This one even stars a certain someone someone who used to write for a certain online magazine. The play is officially open, and will likely sell out every night. His shows always do.
Allah Made Me Funny: This is a free movie that follows the lives of three Muslim stand-up comedians who use humor to dispel stereotypes about Muslims. It’s sponsored by the Muslim Students Association and the Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center, with interfaith dialogue afterward. 6:30 p.m. in Room 100 Gregory Hall.
Wanna avoid the crowds flocking to Watchmen?: Take in The Class at the Art Theatre, winner of the Palm d’Or at Cannes. Alan Moore would probably prefer it if you avoided Watchmen completely, in fact.
Rolling for a good cause: Head to the Western Bowl on Francis in Champaign for Bowl For Kids’ Sake, to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County. It’s going on each day of the weekend, and it’s happening from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Good advice for tough times: Directed by Robert G. Anderson and choreographed by Sara Hook, Frank Loesser’s musical, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, follows window washer J. Pierrepont Finch as he climbs the corporate ladder. Krannert Center, 7:30 p.m., $9–$15.
Read Across America: As long as no one in your family has a phobia about big red dogs named Clifford (or people dressed up like one), check out Read Across America at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. There will be nearly two dozen games, hands-on activities, and something called a “Rock and Read,” which we hope doesn’t involve biblical stoning. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Everyone’s favorite band with a cellist: Bloomington, Indiana’s Murder By Death returns to C-U for an early show from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Canopy. Tickets are $10 in advance.
For those classically inclined: Sinfonia da Camera performs Rossini’s Overture: The Barber of Seville, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K.453 with Menahem Pressler as piano soloist, Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D.759, “Unfinished,” and the world premiere of Stephen Taylor’s The Machine Awakes (based on the novel Galatea 2.2 by the U of I’s Richard Powers; world premiere). Krannert Center, 7:30 p.m.
For those who like a late rock show: Neoga Blacksmith is currently making a case to be known as the “it” band of 2009 in downtown. Definitely more twangy country than snobby indie, but appealing to everyone in between, the group is riding a crest of word of mouth praise, so check them out now before they have a ticket price on their show as opposed to a cover charge. They play at Mike N’ Molly’s starting at 10 p.m., so you’ll likely only pay around three chips.
Keeping those balls in the air: The Illini Juggling and Unicycle Club is hosting its annual festival this weekend, and Sunday is the last day to check it out. It’s at the Armory, it’s free, and it’s going on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Check the link for the full schedule.
But Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills: The Champaign-Urbana Comic Book Convention is going on at the Eastland Suites Urbana (1907 N. Cunningham) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and there will be dealers from around Illinois and neighboring states.
“I gotta have more vocoder!”: T.I. makes good on his promise to play the Assembly Hall after having to cancel a year and a half ago when he was arrested on gun charges. This one should pack the place, if record sales of his most recent album, Paper Trail, are any indication.