Smile Politely

Weekender: January 27-29

A plate of noodles with breaded chicken and three rows of different sauces by Watson's Shack and Rail in Champaign, Illinois. The dish is called Sauce Boss Chicken Parm as part of Restaurant Week 2023. Photo from Visit Champaign County website.
Visit Champaign County website

Friday, January 27th

Eat up, Restaurant Week restaurants, all weekend, prices vary

Cheers to Restaurant Week! The nine day celebration kicks off today, and the 40+ participating restaurants want to give diners a taste of their best dishes or special RW bites. Start your weekend with a Friday night out at Watson’s Shack & Rail for the Sauce Boss, breaded chicken covered in three sauces (alfredo, marinara, and vodka). There’s a menu for everyone, and if you want recommendations, check out my recommendations for Restaurant Week 2023. (AB)

Graphic that lists Ant Hattie, Snack’d Out, Midnight Leg, and the Auctions as bands playing at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, January 27th. The image is purple and blue.
Rose Bowl Facebook event page

Listen to Ant Hattie, Snack’d Out, Midnight Leg, and the Auctions, Rose Bowl Tavern, 8 to 11 p.m., free, but donations appreciated

Check out live, original music from bands you love and neighbors who are your friends. Or, if you don’t know these folks or these bands, go learn something new. (JH)

Saturday, January 28th

Visit In Blackest Shade, In Darkest Light, Giertz Gallery, 12 to 2 p.m., free

This exhibition curated by Patrick Earl Hammie and featuring work from Hammie, Kumasi J. Barnett, William Downs, Kenyetta Forbes, Robert Pruitt, Stacey Robinson, and Charles Edwards Williams is open through February 18th. The show’s title is inspired by the Green Lantern, and according to Hammie, “centers around drawing as a technology from which artists speculate, recover and collect communal histories, manifesting stories of desired futures from the margins of imagination into the realities of the everyday.” Read Debra’s review before you go. (JM)

The Allerton Mansion: Red brick with two rows of rectangular windows. In the background are snow covered trees. In the foreground is a pond where you can see the mansion and trees reflected.
Allerton Park and Retreat Center on Facebook

Have a staycation, Allerton Park and Retreat Center, 3 p.m., $110 plus tax

Allerton is a nice place to have a little getaway, while not having to travel that far. This weekend, they are hosting a “staycation” event. Stay overnight, enjoy games and cash bar, catch the Holiday GLOW before the lights are taken down for the year, and experience a guided hike. You can even add on a massage! Check out the Allerton website for more info. (JM)

Experience some Bollywood, Virginia Theatre, 6 p.m., free

UIUC Udaan is a student-run organization that hosts an annual Bollywood Fusion Dance competition. The event will bring in dance teams from all over the U.S. to compete and raise awareness about South Asian culture. And it’s free! (JM)

An orchestra is set up on a large stage with wood floors.
Sinfonia da Camera on Facebook

Listen to classical music, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m., $5-40

Sinfonia da Camera brings a little Beethoven and Dvořák to Foellinger Great Hall. They will be performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, “Pastoral,” Op. 68 and Dvořák’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104, B 191. The latter will feature renowned cellist Ko Iwasaki (JM).

Sunday, January 29th

Celebrate National Corn Chip Day, La Mixteca, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., free with meal

There are so many great Mexican restaurants in town, and most of them offer complementary chips with a meal. Why not celebrate National Corn Chip Day with restaurant chips? You could go to one of the Restaurant Week restaurants, or go for my favorite bottomless corn chips in town: La Mixteca‘s chips. They are freshly fried, crinkly, airy, and perfectly salty which makes them totally addicting. (AB)

A mid-game action shot of a NCAA women's basketball game. On the court, Illinois women's basketball player Makira Cook is dribbling the ball and moving toward the basket. She is wearing a white jersey (number three) and white headband. Her shoes are orange. The basketball is in her right hand.

Watch the Illini Women’s Basketball team take on Michigan State, State Farm Center, 5 p.m., $5, free for kids under 12

The Illini women are taking on Michigan State on National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Illinois is ranked 22 (which is higher than the Illinois men’s team, who are not top 25) and tickets are only $5. $5! That’s insulting, frankly. They are worth so, so much more than that. These women are playing top level basketball. Go watch them! Some will turn pro one day, and you can reminisce to your grandchildren how you saw so-and-so pull off a triple double. Also, parking is free. No excuses! (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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