Smile Politely

The Weekender: June 26–28

Wow, is it hot. No two ways about it.


The not-so-secret life of bees: Take the kids to the Douglass Branch Library this afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. for Pollination Station, part of National Pollinator Week. Bees make the plants grow, ya know?

Caution, baby: That’s the English translation of the seminal 1991 U2 album Achtung Baby!, but it’s also a warning to everyone out there: it’s the name of the newest tribute band in town, as well. These four “lads” seem to be the real deal, kind of actually really looking like the members, with a light show planned, and two and a half hours of music in the can. Will they deliver? Only one way to find out. They hit the stage at Canopy Club around 9:30 p.m.

Don’t stop ’til you get enough: In light of the passing of Michael Jackson yesterday, we recommend C-Street as the best place to go out and get down to what will no doubt be a weekend filled with DJs spinning tunes by the “King of Pop.” No other way to look at it but a really sad ending to a life so filled with oddities and larger-than-life talents. RIP, Jacko.

Do it, and drink, and don’t think (of the calories): It’s finally here! The 2nd Annual Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival hits downtown Urbana tonight starting at 5:30 p.m. Check out our article here about it, but remember, this year, it’s totally FREE! Unreal. Last year it was $20 with just a few decent acts, and this year it’s FREE, with the likes of Sonny Landreth, and Pinetop Perkins (in what is rumored to be his final appearance) performing. We’ll see you there, so stop by our booth and say hello!


Today’s the day for gourmet: Smile Politely is teaming up with Art Mart gourmet foods to bring you a very special presentation in their “hallway dining area” tomorrow during the Market. Chef Matt Zagorski, a national winner in pie making, and a featured chef on the Food Network Challenge, will be teaching us a thing or two about handheld blenders, and how to use them to the best of their ability. You can read our interview with the chef here. It’s live cooking. It’s Art Mart. It’s Smile Politely. It’s fucking hot outside. Enough said. See you there!

It’s bound to be cool in the Urbana Free Library: From noon to 5 p.m., the UFL is hosting a Game Day, where families can bring their own board games or play some favorites that will be on hand. “The auditorium will be reserved especially for families with younger children.”

Laugh, you old horse: We’ve spoken about it ad nauseum, and we’ve even featured them on the cover of the magazine, but there is a good reason: The Horse’s Ha are no ordinary band from Chicago. Featuring Janet Bean, Jim Elkington, Nick Macri, Charles Rumback, and Liz Payne, this group promises to deliver some real art to downtown, in an otherwise artless bastion of bad food, expensive drinks, and loud people. Let’s hope they have enough respect to notch it down for their performance. Read our interview with Janet Bean here.


Last chance to get miserable: It’s the finale of the youth of CUTC‘s series of performances of Les Miserables, at the Virginia Theatre at 2:30 p.m. Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread, and hilarity ensues. Or not. Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors and students, and $6 for children.

The $7 Sunday: This is reserved for all of you that have children. Above we recommended Sholem pool at Centennial Park in Champaign to beat the heat, but what about kickin’ it old school? What do you do when you don’t want to drop $30 on a family outing to a pool? Keep it real.

Pitch in folksters!: The C-U Folk and Roots Festival is approaching faster than a fiddle player’s fingers, and what better way to help ensure its success than to support them while enjoying a terrific show? This Sunday night, head over to the Rose Bowl to check out three great area artists in The Ruthless Goats, the Backyard BBQ Band, and The Corn Desert Ramblers. Cover is just $5, but we suggest throwin’ in a sawbuck for kicks. Hey, it’s for the cause!

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