Smile Politely

Weekender: May 11–13


Go celebrate President Obama kinda “coming out” about reality in Midtown Champaign, happy hour to 2 a.m.

Listen. We can debate the merits and importance of President Obama’s announcement all day. I’ve got my opinion. You have yours. And Mitt has his. All good. But here is something: the gays exist. Yeah. They do! Lots of ’em. And thank God! Right here in Champaign, we are incredibly blessed and have an amazing amount of people and organizations and restaurants and clubs that are all, as some would say, “LGBTQ-friendly.” I mean, every place in town is kinda like that, but there are a few that I can pick out without thinking twice that have been for years and years — long before they even enacted DADT, let alone repealed it.

So, my suggestion for this weekend: go out and celebrate another step in the right direction by doing a little Midtown Champaign bar/shop crawl. If you’ve lived here for long enough, you’ll know that this part of Champaign should have Rainbow flags hanging from light poles and an annual street fest dedicated to propping up the community and its supporters.

Here’s what you do:

1. Call Ippatsu immediately and try to get an appointment there. I mean, you should always do that anyway, but for the sake of continuity, go get your hair done up by Rebecca and friends over there. Wear something decent, for cryin’ out loud! 73 E. Chester St., Midtown.

2. Head on over to Fiesta Cafe for dinner. It’s good, decent Tex-Mex, and that chimichanga is as good as good gets. Plus, they have HUGE pours of Dos Equis on draft. Take a couple shots of tequila and get started in for the night. 216 S. First St., Midtown.

3. Cross University Ave. and take in what has to be one of the most well-designed and accommodating bars in Champaign-Urbana. Emerald City Lounge never disappoints. Their pours are big, the service is splendid, and the music is always just right. Plus, those couches? You’d think you were in Midtown Manhattan as opposed to Midtown Champaign. Bravo to them on that! 118 N. First St., Midtown.

4. Finally, dance your ass off at the original and most important place in town with regards to this movement: Chester St. Bar. And I have a confession to make. I’ve never even been inside. And don’t go off talkin’ about how I am a closet homophobe or that I secretly don’t like “the gays.” It’s just not true. I’ve just never been compelled to dance. Ever. It’s sad, I know. But this summer, I plan on changing that with a half bottle of Jager, and some good old fashioned persuasion by my wife, who can totally shake that ass. But you should do it. TONIGHT. C-Street has been a known commodity to the LGBTQ movement since before I was able to even understand the intricacies of how important it really is. It’s a gem of a location, and something about it just screams “come in, NOW.”

So there ya have it. Go on and celebrate. I know I will be doing it in some way, shape, or form. What Barack Obama did by coming out and affirming the need to make this wrong right was simply one more step in the right direction. And that should be good for a new haircut, a chimichanga, a cocktail, and a sweaty ass dance party. (SF)

I’m so proud to volunteer for this magazine that I can hardly stand it. (TN, token queer)


Screening of Bully, 12:00, 2:30, and 7:30 p.m. | Sunday, 4:00 p.m.

The Art Theater

This is the Art Theater’s final week for Bully, a documentary that exposes the impacts of bullying among teenagers.

From Facebook: This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in the U.S. experience. Directed by Sundance- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully follows five kids and families over the course of a school year, and confronts bullying’s most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who’ve lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14-year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus.

The Art has invited Tony and Lanae from The Talk Foundation to lead a discussion this weekend, after Sunday’s 4:30 showing.

I saw this film, and it is moving and frightening and infuriating. It shows the torment that bullied kids experience every single day, and it is also unflinching in highlighting caring but timid parents and apathetic, ignorant school officials. If you see this film, you won’t soon forget the faces of Alex, Laura Smalley, and David Long. (TN)

Official Trailer:


Amasong’s Family Concert, 4:00 p.m.

Location: Good Shepard Lutheran Church
Cost: Free for children under 12 and accompanying adults.

This is Amasong’s first ever kid show. They will perform songs from around the world, with drumming and plenty of room for dancing. (TN)

MCA Day: King of the Ave. at Exile on Main Street Records, 1:00–7:00 p.m., free

The music world lost a true legend last Friday, and to pay homage to that, Exile on Main is hosting this event that goes for a good portion of the afternoon on Saturday. They’ll be playing their favorite Beastie Boys tracks throughout that time and have a couple of DJs to help them out. Even if you didn’t care too much for them, there’s no denying what kind of influence they had on modern music, as well as the social implications of their merger into the world of hip hop. You’re not obligated to buy anything, but there’s a pretty good chance you’ll stumble upon something while you’re in there. (PS)

National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

Drop your canned goods by your mailbox, and your letter carrier will take care of the rest. (JG)

This is something that I always have every intention of doing, and then inevitably forget about. Maybe this year, I’ll get my shit together. It could happen. (TN)

David Mayfield Parade with Chicago Farmer at the Canopy Club, 7:00 p.m., $10 

If the debut of the Smile Politely Show Series featuring Saturday Looks Good To Me doesn’t look so good to you or is completely sold out (we’re hoping for the latter), then this show is a good bet. David Mayfield’s solo career has been picking up steam with his latest self-titled release partly due to collaborations with the Avett Bros and partly because he is a fantastic country folk act who plays a mean guitar. Those of you needing to scratch your bluegrass itch will be thoroughly satisfied. (CC) 

Smile Politely Show Series: Saturday Looks Good To Me, Wild Moccasins, Anna Karenina/Anna Karina at Mike ‘N Molly’s, 8:30 p.m., $5

Former (and as of recently, current) Polyvinyl act Saturday Looks Good To Me stop through C-U with touring partners Wild Moccasins as a part of SLGTM’s first tour in about four years. If you’ve been paying attention to the site for the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that this show is a big deal to us, but it should be a big deal to you as well. It’s the first installment of what we believe will be a great monthly event in the future, which is the Smile Politely Show Series. We’ll be hanging out and talking to people about the magazine, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk to us. We’ll be there for the great bands, music, and venue. Come out and join us in what should be an awesome show. (PS)

Latte Da! Cafe at the Champaign Public Library or the Urbana Free Library, all weekend

Every gin joint in all of C-U will overflow all weekend, thanks to graduation, so I recommend visiting one of the community’s lesser known non-gin establishments for a beverage and respite from the festivities. Go off campus, out of downtown, and a place few will think of going on graduation weekend: the library. Both the Champaign Public Library and the Urbana Free Library peddle coffee and basic pastries at their coffee shops, Latte Da. At Champaign, enjoy sun and the outdoor seating. You won’t regret that you missed the crowds. (SK)


Bacaro, 5:00–11:00 p.m., half-price

The hard work of some American or small European vineyard sits in a bottle on the shelf at Bacaro right now, just waiting for you to try it. And Sunday is the time to explore a fantastic glass of wine or two (or three or four, but think about a cab) that you’ve never heard of for half price. Sit at the bar or call ahead — it is graduation weekend, after all. (SK)

Survive Allergy Season, all day, free.

Stay inside. Duct tape your windows shut and wait for the spring pollen to settle with the next passing storm. Please, really, do not do anything else this weekend but sulk on your couch watching The Wonder Years and cursing the names of all your friends outside enjoying the beautiful weekend free of the debilitating sneezing and itchy watery eyes. Don’t forget to occasionally clean up your mountain of tissues. This too shall pass. (CC)

More Articles