Smile Politely

The Weekender: May 22–25

It’s a long weekend, so stick with us and we’ll get through this together.


“Ramp” up your lunches: Start your weekend off a bit early, and head over to bacaro for lunch. “But, that’s so expensive!” you might say? Yes. it’s a touch on the pricey side, but for what you get, it’s cheap. Champaign Taste recently profiled lunches there in her “Quick Bites” series, and our own Anna Barnes broke the news on Thad’s newest venture recently as well. So, yes: a bit pricey, but totally worth it.

Get your mind blown: Mike N’ Molly’s is a small venue, so get your ass there early if you expect to catch BLÖWER on Friday night. It’s part of the “Play or Pose” Reunion taking place all weekend in downtown Champaign. Doug Evans, frontman for the band, used to perform with The Didjits, assisting Rick Sims at the helm and songwriting the hell out of some early indie tunes. Show is nutty-cheap at $5.

Free food at a real restaurant: Did you know that Radio Maria offers anyone and everyone absolutely free appetizers every Friday night from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.? It’s bloody true. Just buy a drink (which you are gonna do anyhow, right?) and help yourself to an array of really delicious starters. Hell, you may even like it enough to stay for a full-on meal of tapas.


Bring your human sprouts: The Market at the Square debuts the first in four Saturdays where they will be hosting “Sprouts at the Market,” a learning-based produce tasting event geared towards kids aged 4 – 10 years old. You can read all about it in this week’s Market Watch column, or, just do it the old school way: show up and find out what it’s all about.

Hit the links: If you aren’t headed to the Market you should probably be golfing this Saturday morning. Seriously, even if you don’t own golf clubs, you should go golfing. Why? Because it’s warm, and sunny, and when you break it down, there really isn’t much better than leisurely walking around a well-maintained park, drinking beer, smoking cigars, and trying to hit a little white ball into a little, tiny hole. Seriously, we’re being serious: golfing is awesome. Try the Orange & Blue courses out by Willard for some cheap game.

Get scuzzy in Urbana: For something a little more cutting edge, head over to the oft-forgotten east Urbana for a rock n’ roll throwdown with The Delta Kings. Known as the hardest working bar band in downstate Illinois, Boomerangs is the perfect setting to see them as they truly are. It’s not a trendy place, and thank god, because with the recommendations above, you might vomit from all the vanity. This place is for the every person, and that means you.


Bagels done right: OK. Everyone knows that Stewart’s Artisan Breads at the Market are the producers of the best bagels in town. Hands down, no question. Ask any Jewish person who knows. But, what about when you want a bagel on the go when you are already out and about? Try one of the fantastic steamed bagels at Howbowda Bagel on Green St. between 6th and Wright. It’s completely affordable, really delicious, and My God! Campustown is empty! So, you can traverse the course without stepping in vomit, and after all, this is a local business that needs the community to step it up when the kids from “Chicago” go back to “the city.” We fully endorse this place. It’s awesome.

Take a drive to see a legend: 29 years ago, a younger but still very stoned, Willie Nelson helped to put together one of the most memorable concert lineups in history at the first ever Farm-Aid concert at Memorial Stadium. This weekend, you can drive a couple hours to see where his music has gone. Summer Camp Music Festival will be wrapping up on Sunday, but the promoters have wisely placed Willie on the final day, and are selling one-day passes to see him and the rest of the performers for a seriously reduced fee. But, we’re only recommending Willie. At least, not without some serious fungi.

“Are you gonna Play or Pose?”: It was the old line screamed out by many fans of bands like The Bowery Boys and Titantic Love Affair when their line checks were taking too long, as they often did. Now, it’s being used to define a very awesome reunion show with a very awesome cause. In support of the Josh Gottheil Foundation, The Highdive will host a 20-year reunion of a few bands that haven’t performed in more than a few years, and one mainstay that has outlasted them all. What are we talking about? Listen to the veritable King and Queen of our music scene dish exclusively about what it’s all about.


Do the right thing: It’s Memorial Day, and for many, it simply means a day to relax, a day to grill out, or a day to catch up on yard work. But, in all truth, every last one of you should make an effort to acknowledge what it’s really all about. You all know a veteran. You all know an active serviceperson. All of you. Take the time to simply call one up and say thank you. If you are like most of the Editorial Board at Smile Politely, you are a pacifist, and think that war is blasphemous or morally wrong. Even still, we all agree, credit is given where credit is due, and for one day a year, we should be able to put aside our political beliefs and honor those who serve.


But, grill, as well: Have you ever been to Old Time Meat and Deli? If you haven’t you are a silly silly person. It’s really the only butcher in town that is truly a butcher. If it’s got legs and it’s edible, they can get it. Anything you want, you can have it. Their display is filled with the finest meats in the land, and no day is a better day to fulfill one’s need for protein than today. Start the grill, it’s time to fire up some flesh.


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