Smile Politely

The Weekender: March 13–15

Here’s a few tips for things to do this weekend, compliments of your friendly Smile Politely editors.


Power pop from Peoria: Tina Sparkle, a female-fronted trio from P-Town (pictured, right), should interest fans of The Pretenders and Liz Phair. Catch ’em at Mike ‘n Molly’s as headliner for this 10 p.m. show. Cover is $5.

Best beard meets best songs: Will Oldham. He’s an iconic figure in modern indie songwriting, and he’s performing in one of the most intimate spaces in town at the Independent Media Center. Considered to be a master of weaving tales into song, this is a show that is fully endorsed by Smile Politely. 7:30 p.m. start time, $18 at the door.

Ha ha. Verrrry funny: Sketch comedy group Fishing with Dynamite takes the stage at the Canopy at 7 p.m. $5.

Who you calling Whitey?: The Station Theatre’s current production, Whitey, continues this weekend with performances on Friday and Saturday ($15), plus Sunday ($6). The play, written by Mark Roberts, seems to keep people off the fence. 8 p.m.

Instead of going dancing, watch someone who actually can dance: Dance MFA candidates take to the stage at Krannert Center for Studiodance I, a performance that has already caused some controversy. From the Krannert’s own online warning: The first piece this evening includes adult language and the use of a strobe light. The third piece contains nudity and adult content. There are two showings on both Friday and Saturday night, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. $8–$14.


To SXSW, old friends: Headlights appear in town for the first time since last fall. They’ve been holed up recording the follow-up to their critically acclaimed record, Some Racing, Some Stopping, and if history is any indicator, this Void Room show will be sold out by the time they hit the stage. Cincinnati popsters Pomegranates open, alongside local indie-kids World’s First Flying Machine. This is a good one. 10 p.m., $7 in advance.

Candy + Embassy = a fitting tribute: You may have heard that the Embassy is closing at the end of March. Well, we can think of no better time to say goodbye to a fixture of downtown Urbana than this Saturday, as a fixture of the C-U music scene, R&B singer Candy Foster, performs. I wonder how many times Candy (pictured, left) has played the Embassy? Forty seems too low. Any guesses? 9 p.m., $5.

Run, run, run (or walk) for the roses: The Illinois State Geological Survey is sponsoring a 5K run and 2.5K walk as part of its Naturally Illinois Expo. The race will start at 9 a.m. at the Natural Resources Building (607 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign), and entry is $18, with a $3 discount for students.

Live poetry: Stop by La Gourmandise Bistro in Urbana from 6 to 8 p.m. to hear Michael LaDue read some of his poetry.

Cracker Jacks and hotdogs: Quit obsessing over who is going to end up your team’s fifth starter by the end of spring, and start enjoying some actual, live baseball. The Illini play a four-game home series against Akron beginning on Friday afternoon, then continuing on to Saturday (Game 1 at noon, Game 2 at 3 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). It’s supposed to be sunny and in the low 50s, which is about as close as it gets to baseball weather in Illinois this time of year.

Common Theatre: A new theater group, CoMMoN Theatre Project, presents its first production, Closer by Patrick Marber, in the loft space above Boltini. Call 217-649-2983 to see if tickets are still available for Saturday night’s performance. Check back next week for Smile Politely’s review.


A Neville, minus a mole: Ivan Neville is Aaron Neville’s nephew or cousin or uncle’s brother’s daughter, or whatever. All we know is that he doesn’t have a mole that acts as a second head. That’s enough to make us believe that going to see Dumpstaphunk at Canopy Club could be a good thing. If you like to get down, there will be no better place to be at 8 p.m. $10 cover.

They like to hear stories about squirrels: Check out “Reading to Dogs” at the Orpheum from 2 to 3 p.m. It’s free with admission to the museum ($2 for kids, $3 for adults), and it’s a great way for kids to build confidence by reading aloud around animals.

Shake it out: Djibril Camara hosts West African dance classes every Sunday at the Channing-Murray Foundation. Djibril is from Guinea and has more than 17 years experience as a performer with traveling groups like Ballet du Afrique Noir. 6 p.m., $10 students/$12 everyone else.

He’s named after Townes Van Zandt: Read our interview with Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle, then catch his performance in an intimate setting at the Rose Bowl this Sunday night. Show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15.

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