Smile Politely

Weekender: August 16-18


First Annual Champaign-Urbana Singer-Songwriter Festival, Urbana Landmark Hotel, Friday (6 p.m.-??)/Saturday (6-11 p.m.)/Sunday (1-9:30 p.m.), free show on Friday, Saturday/Sunday showcases $10 or weekend wristbands $15 on Friday

The Champaign/Urbana Singer-Songwriter Collective is hosting its first festival this weekend, and there’s a lot to see. There’s a free show on Friday night, a redux of the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash concert hosted by the Collective back in May on Saturday night, and two showcases on Sunday. Check their Facebook event pages (linked above) for detailed lineups. This festival looks like a great way to get introduced to a lot of local bands and artists in a hurry. (RP)

Coco Butter KidsJames Jones Trio, and Upshot, Cowboy Monkey, 8:00 p.m., $5

When’s the last time you saw someone rock out with a spoon on a washboard? How do you feel about bluesy covers of Estelle’s “American Boy”? And just how funky do you like to get? That’s what I thought, and that’s why you should head to Cowboy Monkey this Friday. Coco Butter Kids play from 8:00-9:00 p.m., James Jones Trio from 9:15-10:45 p.m., and Upshot will finish up at 1:00 a.m.. Plus, Cowboy Monkey’s kitchen is open until 11:00 p.m. (RP)

Zoo Improv!, SoDo Theatre, 8:00-10:00 p.m., $5

From The Troupe webpage (DM):

Zoo Improv is a group composed of a diverse performers who love to improvise. The Core members of Zoo Improv have been working together since early 2004. We have triggered belly laughs and inadvertent snorts throughout the central Illinois area at bars, galleries, festivals, private parties, and corporate events.  Like silly putty, we are versatile and create a unique experience to engage any crowd. Audiences young and old have pointed, laughed, and even blown beverages out their noses at our on-stage antics.

Singin’ in the Rain, The Art Theater Co-op, 10:00 p.m.

Per the Art website: “At the time, Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain was treated as just another MGM musical; but over the years it has gained in stature and is now considered as one of the best American films ever made. Displaying mind-boggling choreography, catchy songs, innovative cinematography, a captivating story, and an off-kilter sense of humor, Singin’ is both a playful homage to a lost era (silent movies) and a celebration of cinema’s possibilities.” (MG)


Cafe OpeningCurtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The Curtis Orchard opened up a few weeks ago, and this Saturday their cafe opens up for the fall season. Stop by and sample the first cool-weather treats, including chili, cornbread, and hot spiced cider. (RP)

Outbound Drive Outdoor Block PartyCowboy Monkey, 6:00 p.m., free admission

This family-friendly event will feature the band Outbound Drive and include a beer truck and a mobile bar. This event is completely outdoors — in the PNC parking lot adjacent to Cowboy Monkey. The weather this weekend looks dry and comfortable, so bring the kiddos with you, grab some food and a drink, and take in some music. (JH)

Outbound Drive will be performing not one, not two, but three sets for patrons to enjoy this wekeend. If you’re into alt-country and cover bands, this is your ticket for the weekend. If they have that kind of longevity to perform outdoors int he August late-night heat for that many hours, they deserve some of your attention. (PS)

Baroness, Royal Thunder, The Highdive, 7:30 p.m., $15 advance/$17 door

One of the more prolific sludgemetal bands of the past few years is coming through Champaign on Saturday night. In the Overture earlier this week, I ran through some of the reasons that Baroness is worth going to see, but take a listen to some of their recent records and you’ll get the idea. This year, they put out a brand new live record to bulk up that incredible studio material. Yellow & Green, their 2012 record, is enough of a committment through its double album length, but I would expect a lot of their live material to come from that album. However, Blue Record and Red Album are both worthy of being on display in the live show as well. It could go any way, but one thing is certain: it’s going to get loud, folks. (PS)

Curb Service, Thoughts Detecting Machines, Swords, Mike ‘N Molly’s, $7, 9:00 p.m.

There is a lot packed into this one bill on Saturday night that opposes what Baroness brings to the table at the Highdive. Both shows worthy of attendence, but for different reasons, no doubt. Curb Service has been performing in the C-U music scene for years now, and is releasing his new record Romeo Jive on Saturday after releasing it for free online within the last few weeks. In addition, one of the founding members of the Poster Children is back in town with another outfit, Thoughts Detecting Machines. Rick Valentin lives in Bloomington now, but any active member of the Poster Children has to have some awesome music to offer. Not to be overshadowed, Swords is opening things up on this ecclectic bill on Saturday. Lots of local good going down here on Saturday night. (PS)


Ice Cream Social, Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Stop by Common Ground on Sunday for an ice cream sundae, and support a good cause. All proceeds will be donated to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. Per Common Ground’s newsletter:

Gather on our porch with your friends and community for a good cause, and build your own ice cream sundae for a donation. How much you donate is up to you. We will have multiple flavors of ice cream for you to choose from, followed by mounds of toppings like bananas, berries, honey, chocolate, gluten-free graham cracker crumbles and more! Vegan and soy free options will be available by request. Get down to live music by the Church Street Ramblers, and enjoy performances by Michael and Satina Braswell- “The Extreme Variety Act” including juggling, magic, hula hooping, balloon animals, face painting and more! Last year we came together and raised $900 for the national No Kid Hungry Campaign, way beyond our expectations! Now that we know what is possible, let’s raise the bar for our local Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

The fundraising goal is $1,200 — surely we can help them meet it. (JH)

House of Thaddeus, The Art Theatre Co-op, 5:00 p.m., $5

The new “haunted house but not a haunted house” movie directed by Mike Boedicker and starring Joi Hoffsommer and Bill Kephart will have its premiere on Sunday. This film has been featured on the SP podcast and is the product of all-local talent and features many of the very best actors in the Champaign-Urbana area. Expect a packed house at the Art. Doors open at 4:30. (MG)


All event information is accurate to the best of our abilities, but sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes event information, times, prices, etc., change after we look them up. Whenever possible, we’ve provided a link to the original event page; you should always double-check the source before you make any firm plans. Thanks for your understanding.

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