Smile Politely

Listen Up: April 2015

April is the cruelest month, but its academic events are pretty nice. Here are a dozen events you can check out at U of I and Parkland. 

WHAT: VOICE Reading Series: New Poetry and Fiction from Creative Writing Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

WHEN: April 2nd at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Krannert Art Museum Rosann Gelvin Noel Gallery

ABOUT: The VOICE Reading Series showcases readings by fiction writers and poets from the Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Illinois. It is sponsored in part by the Creative Writing Program and Krannert Art Museum. On March 5 VOICE will feature readings by Daniel Porder, Katherine Kendig, and Jess Willard.


WHAT: Spurlock Museum WorldFest

WHEN: April 4th from 12:30 – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana

ABOUT: Multiple performances for the price of one! During WorldFest, the Museum celebrates the wonderful variety of performance arts practiced around the world and offers hands-on activities for everyone. A full schedule of the events is available on Spurlock’s website.


WHAT: European Movie Night: Gadjo Dilo (The Crazy Stranger)

WHEN: April 6th at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Language Building

ABOUT: In this comedy-drama, Stephane, a young man from France, travels to Romania on a mission; his father has recently passed away, and since the old man’s favorite singer was an unrecorded gypsy vocalist from Romania, he has come to track her down and put her music on tape. However, he’s not sure where she is, and as he wanders though a village in battered shoes on a cold night, an older gentleman of gypsy blood, Izidor allows him to spend the night in his home after regaling him with drunken rants about his dire fate. While gypsies take a dim view of strangers, Stephane goes out of his way to ingratiate himself into their community, and as the locals develop a grudging trust for him, Stephane meets Sabina, a beautiful gypsy dancer whose allure is matched by her fiery personality and blunt vocabulary. Izador is Sabina’s accompanying musician, and as Stephane is drawn into Sabina’s web by the passion of both her dancing and her lovemaking, he also becomes friends with the older man and struggles to better understand his way of life. Director Tony Gatlif, himself of gypsy heritage, previously directed a documentary about gypsy musicians, Latcho Drom.


WHAT: Reading and Book Signing: Richard Blanco (Fifth Inaugural Poet)

WHEN: April 7th at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Ballroom, Alice Campbell Alumni Center

ABOUT: Richard Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history — the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. He was born in Madrid to Cuban exiled parents and raised in Miami, and the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, and Looking for The Gulf Motel. His awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. A builder of cities as well as poems, Blanco holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.F.A in Creative Writing. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. He has taught at Central Connecticut State University, Georgetown University, and American University. Blanco currently lives in Bethel, Maine. A memoir of his childhood in Miami, The Prince of Los Cocuyos, was recently published by Ecco/Harper Collins.


WHAT: On Being Chinese in America: Inclusion and Exclusion

WHEN: April 11th from 2-4 p.m.

WHERE: The Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory, Urbana

ABOUT: In 1911, C.C. Wang became the first Chinese PhD recipient at the University of Illinois. After graduation he returned to Beijing and pursued a career as a government official in the new Chinese Republic. In 1928, Wang returned to America to administrate the Boxer Indemnity Educational Fund, which supported Chinese student exchange. Wang brought with him his wife and four children. Today, his grandchildren live throughout Canada and the United States. One grandson, Rocky Chin, Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, New York State Division of Human Rights, will share the family’s story from China to America and his personal reflections on what it means to be Chinese in America. Refreshments will be available in the Campbell Lobby after the talk.The talk is given in conjunction with special exhibit “East Meets Midwest: The Dawn of the China-Illinois Educational Exchange.”


WHAT: Art and Design Student Juried Exhibition

WHEN: Starts April 13th at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Giertz Gallery, Parkland College

ABOUT: Parkland College’s Art and Design Student Juried Exhibition 2015 will be held April 13 through May 2 in the Giertz Gallery. Audiences will enjoy an impressive body of student work in photography, painting, drawing, metals, sculpture, three-dimensional design, two-dimensional design, color theory, and ceramics.Parkland Art and Design faculty will select approximately 200 works from among 400+ entries for this year’s exhibit. Students taking art classes in the current academic year, beginning with summer 2014, were eligible to submit artwork.


WHAT: Experimental Music Studios Concert

WHEN: April 14th at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Music Building MB Auditorium

ABOUT: U of I is well known for electronic and experimental music. Here’s your chance to listen to something differeing by hearing what the Experimental Music Studio has been up to this semester.


WHAT: Less Commonly Taught Languages Film Series: “Sara”

WHEN: April 15th at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building

ABOUT: This film, shown with English subtitles, is sponsored by Persian Studies.


WHAT: CAS/MillerComm Lecture: “The Greek War of Independence in Global Perspective” by Mark Mazower

WHEN: April 16th at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana

ABOUT: The struggle for Greek independence in 1821 reverberated around the world and with effects continuing to be felt today – almost 200 years later. Mark Mazower examines what we can learn about our own attitudes to questions of state sovereignty, humanitarian intervention and politics itself from those long-ago events and the way they were understood at the time. The CAS/MillerComm public events series brings to campus people who offer unique cross-disciplinary contributions to the intellectual and cultural life of the university.


WHAT: School of Art + Design Lecture Series: “Circle Round” featuring Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, professor in Metals at the State University of New York, New Paltz

WHEN: April 17th at 5:30 

WHERE: Krannert Art Museum Auditorium, Lower Level, Room 62

ABOUT: Events in the School of Art + Design Lecture Series are designed to showcase notable national and international artists, designers, and scholars whose work or point of view is engaging and topical. This lecture will feature Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, professor in Metals at the State University of New York, New Paltz.


WHAT: Dinner Theater: The N-Town Plays

WHEN: April 25th at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Illini Union Rooms A,B,C

ABOUT: The Medieval Studies program will sponsor a Dinner Theatre performance of the Middle English N-Town Plays.


WHAT: Less Commonly Taught Languages Film Series: “Axechasti Poli (Do Not Forget Me Istanbul)”

WHEN: April 29th at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building

ABOUT: Several directors from countries of the region were invited to create stories taking place in and around the beautiful city of Istanbul, in the vein of “Paris, je t’aime” and “New York, I love you”. They come together to remind viewers that Istanbul’s history does not belong only to the people of Turkey.


We live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Here’s a sampling of the talks and events you can find in the not-so-ivy-covered buildings near you. These events are free and will fill your brain with yummy knowledge (and sometimes will fill your stomach with free eats).    

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