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The next U.S. Poet Laureate was a University of Illinois professor

Joy Harjo is about to be named the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, and she will also be the first Native American to have that particular position. 

She's a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and she taught creative writing and English at U of I from 2013 to 2016. She was also connected to the American Indian Studies department. 

From an interview she did with NPR:

"It's such an honoring for Native people in this country, when we've been so disappeared and disregarded," Harjo says. "And yet we're the root cultures, over 500-something tribes and I don't know how many at first contact. But it's quite an honor ... I bear that honor on behalf of the people and my ancestors. So that's really exciting for me."

You can read more about her work here.

Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress via Illinois Public Media

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Graphic designers needed to create 2019 Pens to Lens posters

Calling all film-loving graphic designers and illustrators! Once again the Champaign-Urbana Design Corporation (CUDO) is partnering with Pens to Lens to create posters for the student-written films to be produced for this 2019 Pens to Lens Festival. 

This is a great opportunity to support our community's young screenwriters and the members of the CU Film Society who bring their scripts to the big screen. It's also a great chance for young designers or design students to build work for their portfolios; or for the pros to enjoy a passion project that gives back.

Find out more here

Check out the amazing posters from past years

Photo from the CUDO website. 

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Urbanalove summer movie nights starts tonight and runs through August

Urbanalove's Summer Movie Nights are back but with a twist. Each movie night will take you to different location around town. Tonight kicks off the series with a purrfect choice: A Cat in Paris, shown at Broadway Food Hall. 

And be sure to check out the listing of upcoming showings. 

Urbanalove's Summer Movie Nights: A Cat in Paris
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Broadway Food Hall
401 N Broadway, Urbana

Photo from Facebook event page

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Watch out Jane Austen, here comes Emma: A Pop Musical

This summer, Twin City Theatre Company’s "Stars of Tomorrow" will serve up a fresh take on Jane Austen's beloved novel, EmmaEmma: A Pop Musical locates its matchmaking heroine in a posh prep school. If you loved Clueless, you'll definitely want to check this out.  Plus, the score features songs by girl groups and female singers ranging from The Supremes to Katy Perry. 

TCTC's "Stars of Tomorrow" features middle, high school, and college students filling all creative and production roles, giving them rare hands-on theatrical experience.

Emma: A Pop Musical
Twin City Theatre Company
SoDo Theatre
June 28th through July 7th
111 S Walnut St, Champaign

Order tickets here

Photo from TCTC Facebook event page


 

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Urbana Park District calls for artists to display work at inaugural art fair

If you are an artist looking for venues to exhibit your work at, consider applying for the inaugural Crystal Lake Park Art Fair in Urbana. In partnership with 40 North and the Champaign County Arts Council, the Urbana Park District is inviting local artist to display and sell their handcrafted-pieces on a variety of mediums (see registration for details). The event will take place August 3rd from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the deadline to submit is midnight June 17th.  There is no cost for a jury review, but there is a $75 fee for a 10' x 10' booth space once selected. Visit the art fair’s website for registration and detailed rules.

Photo by Steven Pratten

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Bring lunch, make art this summer with Spurlock Museum

Thanks to the creative minds at the Spurlock Museum, there's one more reason to say TGIF this summer. Join the Lunch Bunch Craft Club for some crafting and conversation. You'll go back to work relaxed, refreshed and proud to show off your own creation.  

The Lunch Bunch Craft Club will kick off the fun on Friday, July 12th with origami.  

This 8-week free series is open to adults. Bring your own lunch. Each meeting runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; but feel free to drop in. 

Stayed tuned to Spurlock's Facebook page for details on the full-series. 

Lunch Bunch Craft Club
Starts Friday, July 12th
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
600 S Gregory, Urbana

Photo from Facebook event page

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Myco: An art exhibition in celebration of fungi

Local artists Drea Aarons, Patience Anders, Julie Sue Fiscella, Cris Hughes, Casey Lowry, and Skot Wiedmann have taken inspiration from a place few artists find it:  the world of fungi. Stop by Ivy House this Friday to see what has they've come up with. 

And in the meantime, stay tuned for their Facebook event page for teasers. 

Myco
Ivy House
June 7th, 6 to 9 p.m.
704 N State St, Champaign

Photos from Myco Facebook event page

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Audition for The Last Five Years a new production by the Celebration Company

Attention Chambana actors: The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre will be holding auditions on June 17th for The Last Five Years, written Jason Robert Brown, directed by Chelsea Collier, with musical direction by Chris Huffman.

Visit the Facebook event site for details about the production and audition preparations

Auditions for The Last Five Years
The Station Theatre

Monday, June 17th, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
23 N Broadway Ave, Urbana

Video auditions may be submitted if necessary, contact ChelseaJCollier@yahoo.com for details. 

Photo from Facebook event page

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Watch the Women’s World Cup at the Illini Union

Once again, the Illini Union will be screening World Cup games in the Courtyard Cafe, this time as the women captivate the world stage. Now a U.S team will actually be not just a factor, but a big one (sorry U.S. Men's team, but the women's team kicks ass). The U.S. Women's National team is looking to defend their title from four years ago. 

The first game, France vs. Korea Republic, will be live streamed at 2 p.m. The first U.S. match is Tuesday, June 11th at 2 p.m. against Thailand. 

You can find the full schedule here. They will have free food available for each game, and judging by the crowds that they pulled in last year, I would recommend getting there early, especially for the U.S. matches and later rounds. 

Photo from Illini Union Facebook page

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Illinois about to become 11th state to legalize marijuana

After today's vote in the Illinois House, we are one step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois. The only thing left in the way is Gov. J.B. Pritzker signing it into law, which is expected to happen, as he is backing the bill which passed by a vote of 66-47 today. Illinois would be the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Here's more from Chicago Tribune:

With a bipartisan vote of 66-47, the House approved a bill Friday that would allow residents age 21 and older to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents could possess 15 grams of cannabis.

Top photo by Jennifer Martin via Wikipedia Commons

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Danville Correctional Center removes “more than 200 books” from library

According to this in-depth article written by Lee V. Gaines at Illinois Public Media, Danville Correctional Facility has removed "more than 200 books" from their library. Here's a list of all the titles removed from the facility, many of which are relating to race and African-American history and culture.

Here's comment from Rep. Carol Ammons from the article:

“I said, ‘Are they removing all black books?’ I was totally taken aback by the list of books, and what their objection is to the books,” Ammons said. Reading about the history of slavery, post-emancipation and the black experience in the United States “is an important part of developing an African-American person that is whole in society. So, if you take that away from them, you have, in essence, denied their very nature, their humanity… you can’t tell them that they don’t deserve to know what happened to them,” she added.

...

“We've not learned, obviously, in any real concrete way, why this has happened,” Ammons said. “And until we get to the root cause, I can't propose the actual solution.”

We have reached out to Danville Correctional Facility for further comment.

Top photo from Education Justice Project's Facebook page