Smile Politely

Weekender: August 10–12


Eat a hot bowl of pho at Xinh Xinh Cafe; 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Listen. It’s going to be cold this weekend. Like VERY cold. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 70s, and that means it’s time to get ready for Autumn. Why not start early and warm up with a huge bowl of the best pho in town?

I will totally admit that it’s hard for me to get excited about soup in the Summer. So on Wednesday night after the storm blew through and the air got a little chill to it, my mind went back to the comforts of that delicious beef broth and rice noodle combo. Add some thai basil and some jalapeno, and it’s perfect. A full bowl probably feeds two, so my recommendation is to take a pal or a date and split a banh mi and a bowl of pho tai nam and share the both of the. Their home made lime soda is also the stuff of gods. (SF)

Go eat at Carmon’s Bistro, open hours 

We got the unfortunate news this week that Carmon’s Bistro will no longer be open past August 26th, which is a real bummer to not only me, but a lot of people around town. I feel like I’ve been there to eat or drink every weekend for the past I don’t know how many weekends, and it has always been a real treat. I’m not just saying that because I’m friends with a bunch of the people that work there, but seriously, this place is awesome. If you’re on the site at all, you’ve seen what we think about the place. There isn’t much time left to go, so make a trip in there this weekend. (PS)

Go see LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play the Hits at the Art Theater, Friday or Saturday at 10 p.m., or Sunday at noon, $5

I was lucky enough to see this band a few times live, and boy are they spectacular. Probably a top ten contemporary artist in my book, and one of the more consistently great acts of our generation, LCD Soundsystem hung it up and this film has been making its way around the country as a farewell of sorts for the band. It’s always sad to see a band go, and for some reason it really does seem like James Murphy is hanging it up with this project. Jeremiah did a bang-up job at reviewing this thing on Thursday, so now I’m looking forward to seeing it myself. (PS)

Go see some girl group Motown with The Vallures; Mike N Molly’s, 10 p.m., Free

So, I convinced the Music Editors to bill this show as a Big Mystery, because it was supposed to be a surprise party. Then, some Hoosier jackass ruined the surprise, so now what to do? Let you know about this fantastic band from Bloomington, Indiana, who are making their first visit to Champaign-Urbana. If you like the Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Crystals, and you don’t mind watching it sung by young ladies in matching dresses, then you’ll probably have a really good time at this show. Plus, it’s free, and it’s likely to be the most comfortable evening all summer to take in a beer garden show. (JG)


Take in The Curses and support the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen; Mike N Molly’s, 9 p.m.

There are two main reasons to head to the best beer garden in downstate Illinois this Saturday. The first is purely to see The Curses, who, if you haven’t seen them busking the streets of Downtown Champaign by now, are likely one of the more talented groups of musicians performing in C-U these days. Led by the extraordinarily gifted Benjamin Spoden, they assemble songs that toe the line between Tom Waits, 50s-era pop, 20s swing, and Waka-Jawaka era Frank Zappa. If that sounds crazy, that’s OK; they hit the mark every time. Needless to say, it’s been on repeat lately in my office, and I tend to feel better about life after having listened in for just five minutes. Brilliant.

The other is to support what has to be one of the more important parts of our community in the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. Run from the kitchen at New Covenant Fellowship on White and Randolph, this group is committed to keeping the hungry fed in C-U. With all this talk these days about what is right and wrong about Christianity — what Jesus believed regarding gay marriage, and what not — well, sometimes you have to take a step back and acknowledge when people actually are doing right by what is written in the Bible. Whether you agree that Jesus was the Son of God or simply a good natured hippie long before it was cool, it’s pretty clear that the Good Book teaches us to help the needy and feed the poor. And that’s exactly what they do.

And you can support them simply by having a pint and taking in one of the best bands performing in town. Seems like a deal if you ask me. (SF)

Go outside and sit somewhere, have a barbecue, whatever, all damn day, free

Just have a look at that forecast over there. Not a number over 80 in sight. Enjoy this while it lasts, folks. (JG)




Illini Football Fan Appreciation Day, on the field at Memorial Stadium, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Well, it turns out the coaches have a little extra free time now that they are no longer feasting on the carcass of the Nittany Lions. If the wind is just right you can still smell the scandal floating in the breeze. But in all honesty, Big 10 football is right around the corner and the league wants to bring back memories of joy and pain on the field rather than conjuring up an offseason of shame that took place off of it.

This is an early chance to mingle with players, get autographs, and try to kick a field goal (you won’t make it, that shit is hard). Hard to believe the season begins in just a few short weeks. (CC)

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