Smile Politely

Weekender: April 7-9

A playground made of dark brown wood with orange pointed roofs. There is an area of wildflowers in front of it.
Urbana Park District on Facebook

Friday, April 7th

A side of sweet potato tots are drizzled with white marshmallow sauce beside a burger with American cheese and ranch and slices of bacon. The author's order is from Smith Burger Co food truck and is inside a styrofoam container lined with green-and-white parchment paper. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Eat a bourbon burger, Smith Burger Co at Collective Pour, 5 to 8 p.m., $13

This Friday night, catch the Bourbon, Beer, and Burger night at Collective Pour where Smith Burger Co will be parked outside the bar for dinner service with a special bourbon burger. The burger will have double beef patties, bacon, aged cheddar, caramelized onions, fried pickle chips, and a barbecue sauce made with Starlight 4.5 year single barrel bourbon. Eat the bourbon burger or something else from the green truck’s regular menu of sandwiches, sharables, and the ranch bacon burger pictured above) will be available, too. (AB)

Learn about brain chemistry (literally, not, like, with drug use), Staerkel Planetarium, 7 p.m., $2

University of Illinois Assistant Professor Mei Shen is giving the next installment of the Kaler Science Lecture series, and her talk is called, “Analytical Chemistry for Understanding Brain Function and Diseases.” Dr. Shen’s research group studies cancer and neurodegeneration, as with Alzheimer’s disease. It should be a fascinating trip through the brain. (JH)

The entire cast of Sweeney Todd stands still in red lighting, somber faces, staring at the audience. Matt Hester and Nicole Morgan who play Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett are standing front and center with the rest of the cast behind.
Bryan Heaton

See Sweeney Todd, Parkland College, 7:30 p.m., $20-25

Parkland Theatre is presenting its last show of the season, the musical Sweeney Todd, from April 6-23. Based on the book by the same name, Sweeney Todd tells the story of the revenge-seeking murderous barber and his meat-shop-owner-accomplice, Mrs. Lovett. The musical is suitable for mature audiences. Tickets are available on Parkland’s website. (SO)

Listen to some old school country, Rose Bowl Tavern, 8:30 p.m., $10 suggested cover

Dallas Ugly is back at Rose Bowl Tavern, and are essentially Rose Bowl legacies. Bassist Eli Broxham’s grandfather was a regular here back in the day, and guitarist Owen Burton’s father spent considerable time there in college as a U of I music major. For those reasons as well as their old-school country-sounding music, you just know they were raised right. (DP)

Saturday, April 8th

Shop for a good cause, Independent Media Center, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., prices vary

UC Books for Prisoners is hosting their biannual book sale. This non-profit organization provides books to incarcerated people at no cost. They also staff the Champaign County jail’s library, answer hundreds of letters from prisoners each month, and are currently the largest source of books for the state and federal prison in Illinois. This year’s fundraiser has thousands of gently used books to shop from. The books range in genre from fiction to young adult to coffee table books and prices start at 50 cents. All proceeds will go directly to the organization. (LKG)

A square game that is blue with white, black, and yellow square buttons along the top and an image of a ninja below. Along the bottom are three red eye images with the word "detected" over them. There is a card with two black stick figures sitting next to the game.
CUDO Plays on Facebook

Play a bunch of newly designed games, Broadway Food Hall, 12 to 7 p.m., free (but there will be food and drink to purchase)

It’s time for CUDO Plays Grand Exhibition, where a host of board game designers have the opportunity to show off their finished products to the masses. No matter your age or skill level, there will be games for you. Show up and try something new! If you check out the CUDO Plays Facebook page, you’ll get a sneak peek of what will be there. (JM)

Amanda Garion stands against a red wall, wearing a black bra, and black pants with red fabric hanging down, as well as an elaborate metal crown. Her arms are bent and extended toward the ceiling as she looks up and to the right.
Amanda Garion on Facebook

Learn Runic Dance, New Orpheum Theatre, 2 p.m., $30

Stygian Dance is hosting a “Strength through Runic Dance Workshop” as part of the Beltane Bash at the New Orpheum Theatre. While dance experience is helpful, it is not required for those wishing to learn three runes’ associations and fusion dance combinations. There will also be a performance by the Stygian Collective from 4-5 p.m. This event will be held in person, and registration on their website is encouraged. (SO)

Drink wine and hunt for eggs, Alto Vineyards, 2 to 3:30 p.m., $10

Who says Christians and children get to have all the fun? Alto Vineyards is hosting an adult egg hunt, and the eggs are filled with things adults might want, like Alto items and candy. For $10? Not a bad way to kill a couple hours on a nice Saturday. (JH)

A white woman with short brown hair is standing behind a small table with a white tablecloth. She is pouring a of wine for another white woman with short brown hair. They are in a retail store.
Champaign Center Partnership website

Sample wines while you get your steps in, Downtown Champaign, 4 to 7 p.m., $30 (sold out)

The Downtown Champaign Wine Walk will feature 15 different wines from around the world. One ounce pours of each wine will be available from 13 Champaign locations. Wine will also be available for purchase by the bottle or glass at Ladro Enoteca, The Literary, and Big Grove Tavern. Guests must be over 21 years old to attend. Tickets are sold out, but if more become available they can be purchased at their event site. (LKG)

The four members of Backyard Tire Fire sitting on a couch in front of a wall with much graffiti on it.
Edward David Anderson

Check out Backyard Tire Fire and Matthew Curry, The Castle Theatre, 8 p.m., Tickets $20

Bloomington alt-country legends Backyard Tire Fire and their brand of “black dirt Americana” play to a hometown crowd along with Bloomington native and favorite son Matthew Curry Saturday night at The Castle Theatre in Bloomington. Come see this band re-energized and enjoy their flavor of “midwestern guitar rock” while getting some dirty, bluesy rock from Mr. Curry before first. Make sure you stick around for the main course, as the night will end with a collaboration jamming 20 minutes of the best Allman Brothers tunes. (DP)

Sunday, April 9th

Make marshmallow chick coffee, Columbia Street Roastery, anytime, $7.95

This Easter blend will pair well with whatever chocolates the Easter Bunny brought you this year. The coffee has notes of graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate. Buy a half pound bag of it online here.(AB)

A meadow with tall grasses. There are four stone statues with faces that jut out of the meadow. In the background there is a line of green leafy trees.
Sam Logan

Spend some time at C-U’s best park, Meadowbrook Park, anytime from dawn ’til dusk, free

According to Smile Politely readers, (and publisher Seth Fein), Meadowbrook Park is the best. I can’t argue with that! This weekend will be peak spring weather (not the dark and stormy kind, the mild and sunny kind) so it’s the perfect opportunity to experience this primo park. Walk the trail, look for wildflowers beginning to bloom, pause at some sculptures, fly a kite in the meadow, embrace your inner child and hop on a swing or go down a slide on the playground that will soon be gone. It’s a lovely place, really. (JM)

Listen to some Sunday soul, The Rosebowl Tavern, 7 p.m., $10 suggested cover

Keyboardist Kurt Reeder assembles an all-star lineup of the best keys players in the area for his newest endeavor, The Kurt Reeder ORGANization. Come check out this new organ collective playing “classic, hard-hitting, hard-bop organ soul jazz” and everything in between. (DP)

All event information is accurate to the best of our abilities, but sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes event information, times, prices, etc., change after we look them up. Whenever possible, we’ve provided a link to the original event page; you should always double-check the source before you make any firm plans. Thanks for your understanding.

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