Smile Politely

Weekender: August 2–4


20 Feet From Stardom, The Art Theater Co-op, 5:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.

From the Art Theater Co-op website: Millions know their voices, but no one knowstheir names. In his compelling new film 20 Feet From Stardom, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 20th century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.

These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 Feet From Stardom boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film.

From my own personal heartfelt notion: This film features the unbelievably great Darlene Love. That is reason enough to see it. Get on this, folks. (MG)

The Fights, Everything’s Alright, Lonely Trailer, Mike ‘N Molly’s, $7, 8:00 p.m.
I don’t have any problem saying The Fights are one of the best bands I’ve heard and seen over the last year in Champaign-Urbana music. Their style is all their own, and delivers something fairly unique to the Downtown Champaign music scene. I dig seeing a pretty much straight-up country act performing with rock outfits, and that’s what the Fights have been doing in their still-young existence. They released a pretty great EP earlier this year, and every time I’ve seen them, I have been more than satisfied with what they deliver. You’ll just have to see for yourself, which is my recommendation this weekend. They’re joined by musicians that used to be known as Dr. Manhattan, and had some pretty good buzz surrounding what they were doing, and are now known as Everything’s Alright (well, the reminaing members of DM). Another rocking local act joins in as the opener in the Lonely Trailer. Their release from last year was worthwhile as well. (PS)


King of the Grill BBQ Battle, Curtis Orchard, Presentation & Judging begins at 2:00 p.m.

Disappointed by Blues, Brews, and BBQ this summer? So were we. Get your BBQ fix this weekend at Curtis Orchard, where you can sample the BBQ chicken and ribs that regular folks produce! Rumor has it Erika Harold will be a judge. This event sounds pretty entertaining, and you’ll also have an opportunity to pick up some yummy treats from the Curtis Orchard bakery and store. (JH) 


C-U in the Prairibbean IXJupiter’s at the Crossing, Champaign, 6:00 p.m. to midnight, $10 advanced purchase, $15 day of

This event is co-sponsored by Jupiter’s at the Crossing and Billy Barooz, and is a fundraiser for the Developmental Services Center of Champaign. Entertainment will be provided by a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, The Boat Drunks. There will be a silent auction, live auction, and a raffle. There will also be food and a full bar. Last year the event raised over $40,000, so despite its ridiculous name, why not spend $10-$15 and get some food, drinks, entertainment, and support the community? Advanced purchase of tickets are suggested, and you can get them online here or by calling (217) 356-9176. (JH)

Freud’s Last Session, The Station Theatre, Urbana, 8:00 p.m., $15

The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre presents its final performance of the summer season, Mark St. Germain’s intellectual two-hander Freud’s Last Session. In this gripping one-act play, Station veteran Gary Ambler plays famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, taking a meeting with C.S. Lewis (played by Jesse Alexander). Under the direction of Tom Mitchell, these two actors explore deep philosophical issues in an absorbing and witty play. (MG)

Kilborn Alley, Memphis on Main, Champagin, 9:00 p.m. 

If you’re into drinking bourbon out of mason jars, check out Kilborn Alley’s show this Saturday at Memphis on Main. If you don’t like drinking bourbon out of mason jars, go because Kilborn puts on one of the best blues shows around and because lead singer Andrew Duncanson’s vocals sound like maple syrup mixed with cigar smoke and tacks. And if you don’t like a good blues show, I have no more words for you. (RP) 


Composting Basics, Flatlander Classroom, Urbana, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., $7 owners/$12 non-owners

There is more to composting than simply throwing food items into a heap. You can find out more in this class! Carey Smith will tell you all about what you should and shouldn’t put into your compost bin, basic compost bin structures, and how (and when) to add worms. (JH)



Visit Error Records, all day

There’s a different type of feel over at Error Records when browsing through their small but strong collection of vinyl for sale. Certainly, the selection heavily leans towards the heavier genres of metal, punk, hardcore, and others, but the couple of times I have gone in there, I can’t walk out without buying something. There are always a handful of records that I can’t help but grab and hold onto, thinking I’m going to put at least a few of them back and go with one or two records.

Nope. It doesn’t work that way. Every time I’ve been through there, I walk out with at least three or four albums that catch me by surprise that they have in stock over there. I dabble a bit in the genres that I mentioned previously, walking out of there a couple of times with some punk albums, but mostly grabbing some indie rock albums at great prices. There are plenty of surprises in there. It’ll sneak up on you go into Error, thinking you might not find anything you’re really wanting to take home. Not the case. I bet you’ll find something. (PS)



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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