Smile Politely

Weekender: February 1-4

Four dancers on a stage, wearing all black and performing a dance. They each have a knee and a fist in the air.
Natalie Fiol

Thursday, February 1st

Check out Jen Everett: Could you dim the lights?, Krannert Art Museum 5:30 p.m., free

KAM presents Jen Everett’s first solo museum show, a collection of photographs and found materials. According to KAM’s website, “Everett has developed an aesthetic attuned to Black people modeling an ethic of care and intimacy.” At 5:30 p.m. Everett will be in conversation with Amy Powell and Blair Ebony Smith, co-curators of the exhibition. At 6 p.m. Siobhan McKissic will lead a collage workshop, and at 6:30 p.m. Smith will take to the turntables for a DJ set. (JH)

Celebrate Illinois Soul, Stage 5 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 5 to 7 p.m., free (drinks and snacks available for purchase)

This week’s installment of Uncorked will be an opportunity to celebrate the launch of Illinois Public Media’s new media service focused on C-U’s Black community, Illinois Soul. Staff will be on hand to talk to and ask questions while you enjoy drinks and snacks and music from Afro D and the Soundwaves. (JM)

The image is divided into three distinct sections, each depicting different people and settings. In the first section, it appears to be a live music performance. One person is seen in a checkered shirt playing an electric guitar. Another person, dressed in all white, is also playing an electric guitar. A third person, also in all white, stands nearby, though their role or activity isn’t clear. Stage lights create glares and shadows around them. The middle section shows an individual sitting outside during daylight. They are dressed in a bright red outfit with long sleeves, complemented by a matching red hat. The last section features an individual standing outdoors with bare trees visible in the background, suggesting it might be the fall or winter season. They are dressed in a dark coat that contrasts with their light surroundings.
Garden Girl, Sunshine Scott, Taurus Hate Club

Fill your ears with an Urbana Sandwich, Gallery Art Bar, 7 p.m., $10 to $15

Experience the inaugural show of the Urbana Sandwich Concert Series in the jet-set cool ambiance of the Gallery Art Bar. The series features two local artists with a touring artist squeezed in between. This month features Garden Girl, Sunshine Scott, and Taurus Hate Club. (DP)

Attend February Dance, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m., $10-$60

Come for Uncorked, and stay for Dance at Illinois’ annual February Dance performance. This year’s program features five choreographers, with works from faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Read my interview with concert co-director Jacob Henss to learn more. Can’t make it Thursday? There are also performances on Friday and Saturday. (JH) 

Friday, February 2nd

Two Restaurant Week pizzas at Po' Boys restaurant in Urbana, Illinois.
Alyssa Buckley

Eat Restaurant Week specials, 48 restaurants, all day, prices vary

The final days of Restaurant Week are Friday and Saturday. This weekend, celebrate the end of Restaurant Week with a bang: go for one of the multi-course dinners, pickle pizza, or short ribs from a chicken shack.  Whatever you do, definitely get out of the house, support our local restaurants, and enjoy some specials. (AB)

The entrance to the Ricker Library. There is a black metal bust of a man with a mustache and behind him are shelves of books and three big windows.
Louise Knight-Gibson

Make a vision board, Ricker Library of Art and Architecture, 5 p.m., free

The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students and Ricker Library are putting on a Visioning Workshop to manifest all the good things for the new year. Participants can use materials to create their own vision board for the new year. (LKG) 

Attend the opening of Black Joy, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, 4 to 6 p.m., free

Spurlock is launching a new project, curated by Dr. Ruby Mendenhall and Florence Abidu, that “celebrates the beauty, joy, and resilience of Black women and girls and their lived experiences during COVID-19 and the social unrest after the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.” Throughout the year there will be performances, workshops, and other programming that center this theme. The public is invited to the opening reception, which will have food, performances, and activities (JM).

See the Dark Side of the Moon light show, Staerkel Planetarium, 9 p.m. (but arrive early), $12

You don’t even have to really like Pink Floyd all that much to appreciate this event. It’s relaxing, especially if you go shopping for the right treats ahead of time. Get there early to get your ticket(s) and a seat. (JH)

Saturday, February 3rd

Cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cone inside the Main Scoop in Monticello. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Eat ice cream for breakfast, Main Scoop, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., prices vary

Eat ice cream for breakfast at Main Scoop ice cream parlor in Urbana, Monticello, or Mahomet this weekend. On Saturday, all three locations will have Industrial Donut and Reg Cakes Bakery doughnuts to go with their many flavors of ice cream. Pajama attire is encouraged. (AB)

Welcome in the Lunar New Year, Phillips Recreation Center, 2 to 3:30 p.m., free

Lunar New Year, and the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Dragon, begins February 10th, but you can start celebrating now with Urbana Park District. They are hosting a gathering for all ages that will include food, games, music, and more. (JM)

Celebrate Tết, Champaign Public Library, 3 to 4 p.m., free

In Vietnam, ​​Tết marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, and the beginning of spring in the North of Vietnam. To celebrate, the Champaign LIbrary, the Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies, and the Vietnamese Family & Student Group at the University of Illinois will be hosting a traditional Vietnamese Festival. There will be traditional calligraphy (Xin chû may mán), Tug of war (Kéo co), Cheraw folk dance (Múa sap), and Lion dance (Múa lâ). Parents and kids are also encouraged to wear ​​áo dài for the show. (LKG)

A young woman with shoulder length black hair wearing a black dress sits with the side of her face resting against her hand. The background is a dark tan wall.
Esther Lee

See and hear the newest classical piano compositions, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 7 p.m., $4 to $10

Pianist Esther Lee showcases her exceptional talent at the 21st Century Piano Composition Competition Concert, presenting a captivating array of new piano music, including the world premiere of a piece by acclaimed composer Jung Hyun Lee. This classical music event, held at Foellinger Great Hall, promises to be a memorable experience, culminating in a public reception post-performance. (DP)

Revel in the tight harmonies and heartbreaking lyrics of Ryan Necci and the Buffalo Gospel, The Upper Bout Music Store, 7 p.m., $10 

Join Ryan Necci and the Buffalo Gospel at the Upper Bout music store for an intimate evening of heartfelt Americana and Country music. Experience the authentic storytelling and soulful melodies that define Necci’s journey from a Wisconsin farm to where he is today. (DP)

Sunday, February 4th

Looking through a forested area The sun is rising, the sky is blue, and there is snow just visible on the ground.
Louise Knight-Gibson

Get outside, a variety of locations, during the daylight, free

We are about to experience some glorious February weather. The temperature is going to be hanging out close to 50 degrees, and we may actually get more than a few moments of that bright ball of fire that we know exists yet has been so elusive as of late. So let’s soak it all in! Stroll the Japan House grounds, find a favorite or new to you forest preserve trail, see if you can spot some deer in Busey Woods, maybe even try a trail that’s a little further away. Soon enough we will be back to snow, ice, rain, whatever. (JM)

A black metal wire shelf holding three rows of vintage comic books in clear plastic sleeves. The first row is a collection of Batman books; the second row is varied, and the third row shows Disney comics.
Quad Con Comic & Toy Show / Cool Stuff on Facebook

Shop for toys and comics, Market Place Shopping Center, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free, but bring money to buy stuff

There is a toy and comic expo happening across the mall. A bunch of vendors will be selling toys and comics and “cool stuff.” Who doesn’t love cool stuff? Based on what organizers Quad Con have posted on socials, you’ll be able to dig through boxes of a lot of comics and find something for yourself or someone you know loves comics. Feel free to dress up, too! (JH) 

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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