Smile Politely

Weekender: January 18–20


Happy Hour, anywhere, and nowhere, 4:00–7:00 p.m.

With the weather fluctuating as often as an undecided prom date, the forecast for today — Friday — seems to be a decent one: 45 degrees and sunny. Is it enough to break out the tables and chairs outdoors? Of course not, but it won’t be ass cold out there either.

So, end of the day, head out to any fine establishment in C-U and grab a cocktail with friends or co-workers. It’s a great way to start the weekend.

Of all the places in town, it’s hard to resist an Old Fashioned at Big Grove Tavern, or a dirty Martini at Boltini. A glass of Yellow Snow Ale at Mike ‘N Molly’s is a good one as well. Or, if you are feeling fancy, just buy a bottle of bubbles at Silvercreek and take in Appy Hour, where they serve up some of the best appetizers around.

But, alas, truthfully, you can haz no Happy Hour around these parts. Fact is, we’re treated like children here in Downstate Illinois, and the law dictates that a bar cannot have any special on alcoholic beverage service at particular hours. Bars can, however, implement a special on drinks whenever they want, provided that the special is in place for the entirety of the day. But 4–7 p.m.? Out of the question.

And why? Because we’re not responsible enough to manage a drink special. Evidently. (SF)

Odyssey, Staerkel Planetarium, 8:00 p.m.

“Odyssey” takes viewers on a voyage of discovery through the cosmos, from the legends and monuments of early sky watchers to an imaginary flight through the Solar System and our home galaxy, and into the very depths of space and time. See the digital remaster of the very first show to ever appear on the Staerkel Planetarium dome, now updated and improved for this academic session. Check out all the sights for five bucks or less at William M. Staerkel Planeterium, Parkland College. (MG)

The Fights, Jet W. Lee, Paper Thick Walls, Coed Pageant, Mike ‘N Molly’s, 9 p.m., $5

The Fights are one of my favorite new acts in town, probably because they don’t really sound like anyone else. Supergroup isn’t the right word to put on these guys (formed from members of Anna Karenina/Anna Karina and ex-Elsinore drummer Dave Pride), but they do a fine job at what they’re setting out to do. Hopefully, they have some more material they’re going to release, but for now seeing their shows should tide you over. Solid bill from top to bottom here.

Check out our feature article on them here. (PS)

Rust & Bone, Art Theater Co-op, Friday, 5:00 & 7:30 p.m. | Saturday, 2:30, 5:00, & 7:30 p.m. | Sunday, 2:30 & 5:00 p.m.

This film, a romance starring Marion Cotillard is one of this year’s “most daring films,” and has been getting fantastic reviews. It will be shown from a 35mm print.

And look for our review of this film next week! (TN)

Motivated Portables, indi go Artist Co-Op, 6:00–8:00 p.m.

This exhibit comes to us from a group of university architecture students, and is made up of “constructed prototypes” that demonstrate that “creativity, functionality, and delight can happen at any scale, and can be incorporated into our most intimate spaces.”

I love it when architects remind us that they’re artists as much as any painter or photographer. (TN)


TWO BEERS with Dylan Heath, Mike ‘N Molly’s, 6:00–8:00 p.m., $5

After you’ve had your no-way-in-hell-is-this-a-happy-hour-drink, head on over to Mike ‘N Molly’s (if you’re not already there), and enjoy what’s become one of the funnest Friday events of the month.

Two Beers’ featured guest this Friday is the UP Center’s Kevin Bowersox-Johnson. Comedian Janelle James also returns to entertain us, and the musical guest will be The Fights. (TN)

Frosty Fridays, SoDo Theatre, 8:00–10:00 p.m., $3

Zoo Improv has been hosting Frosty Fridays since Dec. 14, and will continue to do so every Friday until Jan. 25. This week’s performer is Duplicity, a company of which I am not at all familiar. But I am familiar with Zoo Improv, and they’re awesome, so let’s all go check it out. (TN)


Friday Night Stand-up Comedy Showcase, The Iron Post, 10:00–11:30 p.m., $5

Friday Night’s Showcase will feature local and traveling comics: Ross Kelly, Kyle Scanlan, Jeff Bailey, Rich Castle, and Andrew Voris. There’s no telling what to expect, but I’ve heard mention of chocolate, strippers, and harps, to name a few. And that’s probably just Voris’ performance.

And, if you just can’t wait until 10 p.m. to start laughing, you can catch Andrew Voris on Smile Politely Radio, this evening at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM. (JS)


Middle Market, Lincoln Square Village, 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Remember that time that you and I got up on a Saturday morning, bright and early? It was warm outside and the breeze was just right? Dew was on the ground, and we decided to bike on over to the Market at the Square in Downtown Urbana? Remember when we got there, we had our pick of hundreds of different vegetables and fruit and baked goods, and there were good people all around us, and different kinds of mostly awful-but-sometimes-awesome music in the background?

Remember that?

Yeah, me neither. It just feels like it’s been so damned long. So, it’s a good thing that the UBA is putting on their Middle Market, which is what they are calling every third Saturday in the non-growing season of January–April. You can expect to find a lot of the same sort of things that they do during the pre-Christmas season with their holiday market, so if you are into bagels that taste like bagels, and the leftover haul from our local farms, get yourself down there early when the pickin’s are fresh. (SF)

Psychic & Health Fair, Beads N Botanicals, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., $20 per 15 minute reading

This event will offer Channeled, Clairvoyant, Energy Art, Palm, Stone, Psychic, and Tarot readings. That’s a hell of a lot of different readings! Who knew there were so many? You’ll also be able to enjoy massage, Reiki, and Hand Reflexology.

If you’d like to have a longer reading, those will be available at additional cost. (TN)

Sing the Truth!, Krannert Tryon Festival Theatre, 7:30, p.m., $15–$41, depending on demographic

Program of show

This concert, featuring Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, and Lizz Wright, will include “odes to Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln, and Odetta before climbing newer branches with the likes of Lauryn Hill, Tracy Chapman, Toshi Reagon, and Sade.” It sounds magnificent.

See the university’s full schedule of events associated with the 2013 Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.

This isn’t all that’s happening at the Krannert Center this weekend. Check out their entire schedule here. (TN)

The 22nd Annual Great Cover Up, The Highdive, 9 p.m., $7

The Great Cover Up is back again, for an amazing 22nd year. It’s honestly incredible that this event has been going that long and keeps picking up steam. If you have been before, you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Honestly, every year I’ve gone it seems like I get a new surprise walking into the Highdive. I’ve never really cared for cover bands whatsoever, but hearing a band play a handful of songs from one artist really well finds a way to hit a chord with me. I’m sure I’m not the only one. You could go up and down the list of bands played in the past, and just when you think “they have to be running out of great bands to cover,” you get surprised once again. This event could honestly go on forever. Check the Facebook event for the full list of bands playing this weekend. (PS)

Drag King Show, Emerald City Lounge, 10:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m., $5

Amy Myers is your Emcee for the evening. VIP tables are all sold out, but it’s only $5 cover, and there will be drink specials all night.


Performances (this is only a partial list) by:


MLK Commemoration: A Service of Celebration Event, Krannert Center Foellinger Great Hall, 5:00–7:00 p.m., free

“The Beloved Community Begins Here: From Emancipation to Unity” is the theme for the 2013 commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Join in this celebration of his life and work at Foellinger Great Hall. The event lasts approximately two hours, with no intermission. (MG)

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