Smile Politely

Weekender: February 8-11

A circular cake with yellow, green, and purple frosting, and beads in the center.
Martinelli’s Market Bakery & Deli on Facebook

Thursday, February 8th

A ceramic sculpture with multiple light and pastel colored blocks of ceramic grouped and stuck to an ivory colored cylinder in the middle. The colorful pieces are adhered mostly to the bottom, with a slightly upward trajectory on the right side of the object, as pictured in this photo.
Giertz Gallery

Visit BOLD before it closes, Giertz Gallery at Parkland College, 10 a.m to 7 p.m., free

BOLD, Parkland’s ceramics biennial, closes on Saturday, February 10th. This is your last chance to check out the work on view, revel in the skill and subversion of expectation of functional art, and get inspired to do something creative. (JH)

Check out (or participate in) Speak Cafe, Krannert Art Museum, 6 to 7:30 p.m., free

Speak Cafe’s February event is inspired by KAM’s current exhibition, Jen Everett: Can You Dim the Lights?. According to the Facebook event page, “attendees will explore their own stories through a guided writing exercise followed by an open mic.” (JH)

Step into a world where classical vibes meet hip-hop beats, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m., $32 to $50 

Experience an electrifying night with The Black Violin Experience, blending classical and hip-hop music. Expect a fusion of Mozart and Marvin Gaye with Kendrick Lamar’s beats. Abraham Alexander opens, adding soulful rhythms to a boundary-transcending evening. (DP)

Friday, February 9th

Two slices of Manolo's pizza are in white individual pizza boxes on patio tables outside. The pizza slice on the left is plain cheese, and the one on the right is chicken bacon ranch pizza as part of the under $10 lunch list. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Get a pizza, many places, all day, prices vary

Friday is National Pizza Day, and it is required for all pizza-lovers to participate. Order pizza pie from any of the awesome places that serve it. I love pizza by the slice at Manolo’s, the Sicilian-style pepperoni pizza at Baldarotta’s, and Po’ Boys thin, cornmeal-bottomed crust is really good, too. For a fancier pizza, I love the pistacchio pizza at Pizzeria Antica in Downtown Champaign. The Neapolitan pizza has mozzarella, Italian mortadella, pistacchios, fresh arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano, and it’s great with a scoop of gelato. For more inspo for pizza to eat on National Pizza Day, check out our very competitive 2022 Pizza Tournament of 32 local pizza joints. (AB)

See cute animals for free, Miller Park Zoo, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free

Miller Park Zoo is offering Free Fridays in February, and this Friday it is going to be 62 AND SUNNY PEOPLE. Sorry for yelling but if you can get away, this seems like a lovely way to spend a morning or afternoon. Maybe you can check in on King Julian, the lemur that found himself in a garage in Bloomington last year. (JM)

A path curves through a grassy areas with trees framing it. A narrow wooden plank bridge lays over a narrow creek.
Maddie Rice

Go enjoy a park, locations vary, whenever, free

If you can’t make it all the way to Bloomington during the day on a Friday, there are thankfully so many park options right here in C-U. Take a walk, have a picnic at lunchtime, swing on a swing, sit on a bench and read…enjoy springlike weather on a February day. If you need some help deciding where to go, check out our Year of the Park Top 20. There are some real gems around here. There won’t be as much green right now, but that’s okay. (JM)

Taste some hot sauce, Art Mart, 4 p.m., free but you’ll probably need to buy some drinks (and maybe a loaf of bread)

Art Mart is hosting this hot sauce tasting. This is your chance to live out your Hot Ones fantasy! You can pretend someone is asking you well-researched questions about your past as you try to survive lord knows what Scoville level of heat. Maybe bring along some TUMS, too. (JH)

Saturday, February 10th

Spend some time exploring Urbana through Postmark, Downtown Urbana / Gallery Art Bar, noon to 4 p.m., free, but you can buy stuff

The Urbana Arts and Culture Program and 40 North will deliver this month’s Postmark on Saturday afternoon. Saturday is the Lunar New Year, and this month’s theme couples that celebration with poetry. Starting at Gallery Art Bar, you’ll encounter CU Poets and Poems on Tap, raffles, demos, and Hoopla at the Food Hall with nine different vendors. (JH)

a woman with short black braids and a purple sweater sits in a gold high backed chair in front of a podium. She is holding a microphone and looking down.
The Well Experience on Facebook

Celebrate Black Love Day, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, noon to 5 p.m., free, but registration is required

I wrote about this event in my February edition of Get your Culture here. Black Love Day is hosted by No More Bound and The Well Experience. The celebration “promotes wellness, brings us together in unity and offers an opportunity to express yourself.” The event will include self-care services like yoga, massage, gel nails and lash application. A lunch and dancing with DJ Silkee will be followed by a raffle and an open mic for participants to read poetry or share other spoken words (sign up here for an open mic spot). (LKG)

Head to story time, The Urbana Free Library, 2 to 3 p.m., free 

The Urbana Free Library and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois are getting together to host Latin American story time. There will be traditional songs and bilingual storytelling both in English and a Latin American language. (LKG)

A movie poster with images of two men in black and white, one with long dark hair and one with short, light hair. There are images of black and white spoons floating around them.
Normal Theater on Facebook

See a cult classic in a classic theater, Normal Theater, 7 p.m., $15-$20

The Normal Theater is celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Room. If you don’t know what that is, this Vox article gives a nice little overview of how it became legendary. Actor Greg Sestero, who has earned the title “Normal Theater’s Best Friend” will be there to introduce the film and share behind the scenes stories. Following The Room will be a showing of Sestero’s directorial debut Miracle Valley. Tickets are available online (JM)

Michelle Areyzaga, soprano Tetyana Vakhnovska, mezzo-soprano John Swedberg, tenor Ricardo Herrera, bass-baritone
John Swedberg, Michelle Areyzaga, Ricardo Herrera, Tetyana Vakhnovska

Experience classical splendor with the C-U Symphony’s Bruckner Birthday Celebration, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m., $10 to $40

Celebrate the 200th birthday of classical composer Anton Bruckner with the C-U Symphony orchestra. The performance will include works by Michael Abels, Mozart’s and Dvorák as well. The performance will also feature soloists Michelle Areyzaga, Tetyana Vakhnovska, John Swedberg, and Ricardo Herrera. (DP)

Sunday, February 11th

Get a head start on Mardi Gras, Martinelli’s Market Bakery & Deli, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., prices vary

Mardi Gras is February 13th, but just like the parties are already starting in New Orleans, you don’t need to wait ’til next week to enjoy those delicious foods from the Big Easy. Martinelli’s already has King Cakes and Paczki in the case for you to bring home, but from the 10th to the 13th you can swing by and order some muffaletta, jambalaya, and bread pudding with bourbon glaze. Maybe you can bring some home for a Mardi Gras/Super Bowl mashup celebration. (JM)

Swing into Sunday with the Rose Bowl Big Band, Rose Bowl Tavern, 7 p.m., no cover

The Rose Bowl Big Band brings a blast from the past to your Sunday evening at the Rose Bowl Tavern. Tap your feet to timeless big band and swing melodies starting at 7 p.m., where your appreciative tips keep the rhythm alive. (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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