Smile Politely

The Weekender: July 24 – 26


Demolish your weekend: If there is one thing at the annual County Fair that is definitely head and shoulders above the rest of it, it’s the Demolition Derby — the annual slugfest that pits beat up cars against beat up cars, barely running but with just enough juice to still wreck the shit out of each other. In recent years, the event’s popularity has risen, and as such, they have increased the amount of Derby’s you can attend. This year, both opening Friday and Saturday will feature a Derby, with Friday being the first ever “Compact Car” derby, whereas Saturday will feature traditional hoopties and shitmobiles. Next Friday is a an amalgamation of all of it, and a Championship Invitational to boot. It costs just $5 to get in, but get there early, as seats fill up fast. Trust us, it’s a hell of a good time. Fires break out usually.

Show us your tongue, fake Gene Simmons: Any time a band who goes tribute, one must question the validity of their approach. Performing a tribute to a band is a very very difficult act, especially when said act is not only iconic, but also known for dramatic theatrics and stage antics. So, it is with great trepidation that we recommend to you Dressed To Kill: A Tribute to KISS, playing lives at Canopy tonight, July 24. Attempting to recreate a KISS show is about as difficult as performing 2001: A Space Odyssey at The Station Theatre, so we’ll be curious to see how it goes.

Have a beer and a dog: In 1977, Joe Mantegna co-wrote a play with the other members of Chicago’s Organic Theater Company called Bleacher Bums, detailing a day in the life of some miserably lovable Cubs fans. And after 30 years, it’s still running in different theaters across the country. In Champaign, Mike N’ Molly’s is bringing it back after a long hiatus. In Mike N Molly’s beer garden, you will notice that there are, in fact, a small set of bleachers in the corner. This is the reason why they are there. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.


The most fun you can have in an old post office: It’s a big day at the Independent Media Center, as the IMC hosts an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will “encourage mingling of IMC working groups and to welcome the community to see what we’re all about.”

See what Safe Haven’s all about: At 3 p.m., Safe Haven and the St. Jude Catholic Worker House hosts a  cookout/”get to know your neighbor” affair in the backyard at 317 S. Randolph St. Members of the City Council are expected to attend, as well as neighbors of the site. There’s been a lot of dialogue on both sides of this issue, but not much contact between the sides. Hopefully this event will help bridge the gap and hasten some solutions.

Sprouting up: Remember, this week is the second time that Sprouts at the Market will be taking place. It goes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and is designed to help youngsters and their parents learn more about good nutrition and health. It’s hard to argue that.

Christmas in July: Local comedy troupe Fishing With Dynamite have decided to throw a holiday party in July, and that’s exactly what they are going to do. Featuring sketch comedy from DeBono and Spicy Clamato, stand up comedy, as well as new act Everyone Smokws, the troupe will host what is being billed as a comedy festival for just $5. That, more than anything, seems worth it to us.


Mmmm…. barbecue: The Champaign Park District’s Jazz and Rib Festival is in Douglass Park from 4 to 8 p.m. Good food, good music on what will hopefully be a pleasant Sunday evening.

Focus on Folk: Head over to the Champaign Public Library at 7 p.m. for a special presentation from Rich Warren (left), host of WFMT’s Midnight Special. He “will share a lifetime of experience with folk music, with a particular focus on Celtic and Anglo-American influence.”

He’ll be answering the tough questions, like “Was Bob Dylan a folk singer?” and “Are folk songs inherently political?”

Related Articles