Smile Politely

Weekender: March 9–11


Naturally Illinois Expo at the U of I Natural Resources Building, Friday 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., Free

Basically, you are an idiot who knows nothing about how scientists harness the natural resources in our state to enhance your self-important existence every day, and while this weekend-long educational extravaganza won’t fix that, it won’t hurt either. And hey, if you’re a nerd like I am, you might actually have a little fun perusing exhibits like “Nab the Aquatic Invader,” “River Otters in Illinois,” or “Fun with Water Chemistry,” where my father will engage you in the intricate world of polymers, pH balance, scale, and slime just as he’s done me for most of my life. (CDC)


“Travels of the Ugly Duckling” ballet at the Virginia Theatre, 7:00 p.m. Fri & 2:00 p.m. Sat.

“The Travels of the Ugly Duckling” is an original ballet choreographed by the faculty of the Champaign Park District’s Dance Arts School and features dancers ages 7 to adult.  The performance will also include Irish Dance and Contemporary Ballet.

Tickets: $12 for adults, $9 for children

Hey, John Steinbacher! Something for you to do with your kids this weekend! That is if you love them like you say you do. (TN)

Yes my daughter would like this, because sometimes she’s not afraid to be a walking stereotype of a three-year-old girl. Meaning she loves all things ballet. Also, I am a walking stereotype of a 30-something dude, so I will see if her mother wants to take her. (JStein)

Becky Shaw, Friday–Sunday, 8:00 p.m.

The Station Theatre
Tickets: $10 (Sunday); $15 (Friday and Saturday)

Gina Gionfriddo’s dark comedy is directed by Kay Bohannon Holley. Make reservations online. Check out this preview and Smile Politely’s review of the play here. (TN)

Pina at the Art Theater. Trailer:


Stay in and order delivery Chinese while watching the Food Network:

After a long work week, sometimes it’s best to stop pretending that you want to go out and hang out with all of your asshole friends. Most times, I just want to do nothing, and think nothing, and regret having ever made any plans of any kind. Of course, this week for me, it’s different. I am getting together with new friends, who aren’t yet assholes to me. They are really intelligent and generous and kind, but that’s because we don’t know each other yet. Eventually, they will be assholes, just in the same way that they will see me as well.

So, here is some advice. Pick up the phone, dial (217) 398-2670. A person on the other end will answer with: “Rainbow Garden, how can I help you?” or something like that. You will tell them you want an order of pork dumplings, an order of shrimp lo mein, and a szechuan chicken with white rice. Turn on the food network. Stop thinking.

You won’t regret it. Until Saturday. (SF)

The House Special Spicy Sole Fillet is also excellent. (JStein)

Yeah, that’s true, but why fuck around, John? You want to eat fish in a spicy sauce when you can be slurping down greasy noodles at will? Not me, fella. Give me the chopsticks and a recliner. (SF)


Day of the Drum at Krannert Center, 11:00 a.m., mostly free

Rocky Maffit teams up with Krannert to offer a “multifaceted event” that highlights percussion and “performances by some of the world’s greatest instrumentalists.”

Day of the Drum lasts all day and all events except the 7:00 p.m. show are free. I’ll be at ScrapArtMusic that night, but I don’t have the confidence to try the drum circle I wish I did. (TN)

Schedule of Events:


That’s No Moon, The Soil & The Sun, The Palace Flophouse, 9:30 p.m.–1:30 a.m.

Cowboy Monkey
Cover: $7

As soon as I listened to the mp3 that Patrick posted in the Overture, I knew I had to make this concert. So, yes, that means leaving ScrapArtsMusic early to make it. Sigh, life in C-U. (TN)


Stand-up Comedy @ The Iron Post

This event claims to be “fueled by Salvia and Dr. Pepper,” which should entice you and, possibly, even Miley Cyrus. Comedians Rich Castle, Casey Hartenberger, Steve Katz, Jason Dockins, Saad Ahmed, and Andrew Voris will perform. (JS)



Buy some new art from local artists at prices that normal humans can afford:

Art. It’s such a terrible waste of time, mostly. But, we need it in order to separate ourselves from people who watch NASCAR and eat Chicken McNuggets with regularity. It calls out to the world: “I went to college! I am intelligent! Just look at all of this ART on my wall!”

So, to avoid being mis-labeled as a Republican or as an idiot, you should buy some too and put it on your walls. Fortunately for you, the I.D.E.A. Store in Champaign is hosting their first Picture Frame Blowout and Wall-Art Silent Auction this Saturday at their shop on Springfield Ave. in Champaign. (SF)



Scotch Tasting, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Buvons (at Corkscrew), Urbana

Buvons will pour a lineup of six Scotches for $10. The tastings range in age from a very young eight-year old Glenrothes to two 14-year old Scotches, a Blair Athol, and a Bruichladdich.

The $10 tasting fee is refundable if you buy a bottle of Scotch that day. You can think of it however you want to, but I’m going to think of it as $10 off my favorite bottle of Scotch just for trying six interesting whiskies. (SK)

NIT Selection Show, not televised

NCAA Selection Show, 5:30 p.m.

Bummer about that season, there Illini. But for those of us that were fortunate enough to be raised to cheer for teams that seem to be able to string together winning season after winning season, this is our Christmas Day. As a Purdue fan, it’s been hard to watch Bruce Weber crash and burn this year, as ultimately, this is another of the Keady Coaching Tree that has fallen victim to far too much pressure from a program and a fanbase to live up to unreasonable expectations. It happened to Steve Lavin at UCLA, and it’s likely to happen to Kevin Stalling at Vanderbilt eventually. Even Cuozo Martin at Tennessee and golden boy Matt Painter at Purdue aren’t safe. The culture of today’s NCAA programs are so demanding, and so tainted with the need for cash and high level recruits and WINS, it doesn’t seem like ADs have much interest in allowing for a program to ebb and flow and eventually find its groove. Oh well, let’s hope Shaka Smart or that dude from Akron find a way to cash in up there in Chicago. Literally. (SF)

Painter should have gone to Mizzou. (JStein)

I’m sure there have been moments this year where he has had that very same thought. But ultimately, watch: Purdue will thrive, and Mizzou will remain perennially mediocre. I predict a second round upset for the Tigers. Mark it on your Esquire pool now. (SF)

The Art Theater Co-op general member meeting, 1:00 p.m.

If you have already joined then you’ll want to be there to hear the board candidates make their presentations, hear an update on the co-op, and discuss the by-laws that will be voted upon. If you’d like to join, go here. Looks like C-U is well on its way to having another co-op. (JS)

Do you think they will be serving White Russians again any time soon? If so, can you get a photo for us? (SF)

Jarling’s Custard Cup, Opening for the season this weekend!!

Cold fudge is excellent for bunions. (JStein)

JStein’s worst nightmare: 2022, a 12-year old by the name of E. Steinbacher and her brother F. Steinbacher beg — and I mean BEG — an even more disenfranchised 40-something year old John Steinbacher for just one more dip of custard. Pleeeeeeeeze Daddy? Pleeeeeeeze!? If you’ve ever seen nostrils flare, times that by 1000.

FYI: John Steinbacher hates Custard Cup. (SF)

Already happens, which is too bad because the first taste of ice cream she ever had was this. Now she’s just as happy with Jarling’s or individually packaged drivel from Wal-Mart, as long as it has sprinkles. (JStein)

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