Smile Politely

Weekender: December 20-22


Nebraska, The Art Theater Co-op

One of the year’s most buzzed-about films will make its C-U debut at The Art Theater Co-op this weekend. Directed by Alexander Payne and starring veteran character actor Bruce Dern as well as such disparate actors as Will Forte and Stacy Keach, the film will play over the winter break too many times to list here, so here’s the link. (MG)

CHESS, The Station Theatre, 8 p.m., $15

This is the final weekend for the 80s Cold War pop-rock musical extravaganza currently strutting across the tiny stage at our favorite train station turned black box theater. Director Mikel Matthews and his company (including Station vets David Barkley and Malia Andrus) take the audience on an emotional series of maneuvers not unlike an actual game of…chess, come to think of it. Hmm. Probably intentional symbolism. Tickets are $15, and Saturday is closing night. Call 217-384-4000 and make reservations soon. (MG)

Take us home for the holidays, Champaign County Humane Society, Friday and Saturday only

Another adoption event is happening at the Champaign County Humane Society this weekend. They’re hosting an event to help send some of their animals to their forever homes for the holiday season. Their adoption special is only running Friday and Saturday, and all small animals, cats and kittens are half price. Adopt one of those little ones and adopt the second for only $5. Pretty cheap if you ask me. Plus, it could make for a pretty adorable Christmas surprise for a loved one this year, so you could be the best present giver this year for a family member who loves kittens. (PS)


Final Holiday Market, Lincoln Square Mall, 8 a.m.–noon

This is last Holiday Market of 2013, and your last chance to pick up locally made Christmas gifts. There might even be a few pieces of local produce, so grab those up, too. Don’t forget your autumn berry jam so that you can make your autumn and cranberry sauce for your holiday meal. The Urbana Business Association’s Middle Market takes place in mid-January, so you have a few weeks to go without local treats. (JH)

Kilborn Alley, Clark Bar, 6:30-9:30 p.m., cover

Recently returned from their European tour, Kilborn Alley Blues Band is playing a few more local shows this month to round out 2013. Clark Bar is the perfect friendly, casual, down-to-earth bar to throw back a few while checking out their gritty sound. (RP)


The Curses, The Fights, Memphis on Main, 9 p.m., $5

This is an ideal show to be happening for a cold night here in C-U. Both bands have a sound that will warm your bones, with a good, tall drink in your hands at Memphis on Main, this is one for the weekend. The Curses and The Fights are worth shivering a bit to get to the bar, but when you’re there, you’ll feel alright about it. (PS)


Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, Radio Maria, free, 10 p.m.

Radio Maria is hosting it’s second annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on Sunday night, so dig out that hideous sweater and throw it on. DJ Belly will be spinning throughout the night, starting at 10 p.m., so good music is included in this party (as does any good party). Drink some drinks, and embrace the ugly sweater your grandmother wouldn’t even wear. (PS)


Hang out with Reindeer, Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, 1356 County Rd. 2900 N., Rantoul, hours vary (usually 10 a.m.–7 p.m., but check their website), $4 for Reindeer Tour

If you’re not in the holiday mood yet, getting cozy with reindeer in Rantoul might do the trick. The reindeer have apparently been flown in from Alaska for the winter season. A “Reindeer Tour” includes the chance to feed them a treat and get up close and personal, or you can take a look from afar for free. Hardy’s also has hand-cut and pre-cut live Christmas trees, tons of Christmas ornaments, and chipper employees in elf hats. (RP)


Take a Midnight Walk, Preferably on Christmas Eve, a quiet neighborhood, free

I’ve spent whole hours of my life complaining about how horrible Midwestern snow is. But if you’re not in a hurry to get anywhere, it’s actually awesome, especially at night, when it makes the streets bright and iridescent and reflects back the neighborhood Christmas lights. Over the holidays, I recommend that you find an hour or so late at night when not many other people are awake to take in the beauty our cold months has to offer. This is best accomplished on a few quiet streets, the unplowed ones you’ve been avoiding in your car. (RP)

Eat on campus, anywhere, now–January 17, cost varies depending on appetite
Students are on winter break until January 21, but chances are they’re moving back in the weekend prior. Take this opportunity to eat at some campustown restaurants, including the newest addition, Sakanaya. For more suggestions, check this out. (JH)

Sign up for a butchering class, The Urbana Butcher Shop, 119 West Main Street, Urbana, January 2, January 16, or January 23, 5-8 p.m., $100
The Urbana Butcher Shop is offering classes on how to break down a hog and turn it into something delicious. In addition to learning how to properly butcher the meat, you’ll learn the best way to cook each cut, how to make sausage, stocks, and terrines. Call (217) 607-2622, or stop by the shop to sign up. (JH)

NEIV, Wicked Walls, Motes, Error Records, January 4, 9 p.m., $5

Some very good post-punk/shoegaze music happening at Error Records during the holiday break. Right after you celebrate NYE, this show is where you’ll want to be if you’re not planning on skipping town for a bit in early January. NEIV hails from Switerland (yes, that’s very far away, and the’re not lost), and I’d recommend checking out their latest LP, Euphoria, which was released in September. Very good stuff. On top of that, a couple of really great local bands in Wicked Walls and Motes are joining in on the fun. Get it. (PS)

Get one of these, or something of the like at Flying Machine Coffee, any time of the day, $5-7

If you’re wanting to really get into the winter spirit, head over and treat yourself to some deliciousness in the form of your favorite coffee drink at Flying Machine Coffee. Better yet — try something different. Get adventurous. Ask Josh Lucas for his recommendation because he knows what he’s doing, and you might not always. That’s totally fine, as I’m not exactly a coffee-every-single-day kind of person. But when I want something I know is going to be delicious, I head over there. Literally any time of the day you can get coffee. Any time. (PS)



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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