Smile Politely

Five things in arts you won’t want to miss this March

The outlook for March arts events is so fab that you’ll want to stick around for spring break.  Here on the arts beat, our dance cards are filling up fast with exciting offerings in dance, theatre, local art, and (my personal favorite) interdisciplinary mash-ups. This is the kind of March Madness we live for. So here are five fantastic reasons to break out of your winter cocoon, experience something new, and get inspired. 

Art Remastered 2019

Full disclosure: this writer loves a good multi-art mash up. IMHO deep conversations between art forms should always be encouraged. Kudos to event organizer Kamila Glowacki for creating a space for creative alchemy. 

The process behind Arts Remastered began with six musicians each choosing a work of art that spoke to them, then continuing that conversation by writing a piece of music inspired by their response to the chosen work. And thanks to the folks at Krannert Art Museum, you can see them perform their original works in front of their chosen works of art. You can hear and see the winding threads of intepretation and match them with your own readings of the art.

This is how we keep art fresh, relevant, and alive to new generations. 

Art Remastered 2019
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody, Champaign
March 8th, 7 to 9 p.m.
Admission free

Photo from Krannert Art Museum Facebook page

Mark Morris Dance Group and MMDG Music Ensemble: Pepperland

Fun fact: The Mark Morris Dance Group has been partnering with Krannert and Dance at Illinois for two decades. Do you realize how lucky this makes us? Morris is one of the most musical and groundbreaking choreographers of our time. I don’t have room to detail his dazzling credits here, but I will say this: MMDG considers Chambana a second home and we are better for their contributions to our arts scene. Each year their weeklong residence brings us dynamic new performances, master classes with Dance at Illinois students, and a free family fun dance event

Pepperland features an original score, inspired by and interspersed with themes from The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and performed by a live chamber music ensemble. Don’t miss this chance to see these engaging dancers move and respond to the power of live music. 

Mark Morris Dance Group and MMDG Music Ensemble: Pepperland
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana
March 8th + 9th, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10-$43

Photo from KCPA Facebook Page


Our Town

Yes, you may have seen or read Our Town before. But you haven’t seen this production and you need to. CUTC’s production fills the stage with a diverse cast of high school students, Parkland students, and CUTC regulars, once again sparking the creative alchemy that comes from a multi-generational experience of a classic play. The talented Mathew Green employs a modern staging and direction to explore the play’s relevance for our times. 

Our Town
A Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company Production
Parkland College Theatre
2400 W Bradley Ave., Champaign
March 14th to March 16th, 7 to 9 p.m.
March 17th, 2 to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $10-$14

Photo from CUTC Facebook Page


Because I am Your Queen

Imagine your favorite queens of history and stage together on girls trip to a feminist spa. This delicous premise promises a smart and hilarious exploration of power, sex, and sisterhood.

The production team notes that Because I am Your Queen was “created using Moment Work with Tectonic Theater Company master teachers Barbara Pitts McAdams and playwright Mina Samuels, and further developed with [University of Illinois Theatre] students.” The Tectonic Theater Company descibes itself as “developmental company that creates and produces works for the stage that rigorously explore theatrical language and form.” Their productions are known for risk-taking, innovation, and socio-political engagement.  So don’t let the pink poster and tiara fool you, these queens mean business.

Because I am Your Queen (A Feminist Fantasia)
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin, Urbana
March 28th to April 6th, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
April 7thm, 3 to 5 p.m.
Tickets: $10-$25
Contains adult content

Photo from the KCPA Facebook Page


8 to Create 2019

If you caught my review of the 8 to Create 5th anniversary “alumni” show, you know how much I love this concept and how excited I am about this year’s show. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding how artists do what they do. As a result many viewers feel that “art just isn’t for them.”  Well this is your chance to see how art is made. Get up close and personal with this year’s artists, smell the paint, watch the wheels turn. And if you’re lucky, they may invite you into the process. The 8 to Create organizers understand the power of public art and they know that community art-making is a first step toward collaboration and conversation.  Follow the link below to learn more about this year’s participants. 

8 to Create: 5th Annual live art show
Link Gallery | Art + Design Building
408 E Peabody, Champaign
March 30th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free and open to the public


Arts Editor

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