Smile Politely

Weekender: January 18-20

Friday, January 18th

Make some soup, your house, all weekend, prices vary

I feel like I say this every week, but it’s soup season. This weekend’s impending winter storm provides the perfect excuse to make a giant pot of soup. My favorite winter dinner is a bowl of soup served with some crusty bread and a cheese and pickle plate (some crackers, cheese, dates, pickled veggies, and pepperoncini). It’s the best. Don’t feel like making soup? Grab a large container from your favorite grocery  store or restaurant. (JH) Photo of chicken pho from Thara Thai by Jessica Hammie

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Vineyard Church, 4 to 7 p.m., free

This weekend we recognize the life and work of MLK, as the nation does each year for his birthday. Champaign County puts on a multi-event celebration each year that begins with this ceremony that will honor the work of those in our community who are furthering his legacy. In addition, well-known pastor and activist Father Michael Pfleger will be speaking (read our interview with him here). Check out the MLK Celebration website to see other ways to participate. This is a good opportunity to look beyond the inevitable memes that will be posted this weekend, pulling out of context quotes that tend to soften the image of MLK. Do some research. Read his Letter from Birmingham Jail, or watch King in the Wilderness on HBO. Examine how his legacy reverberates today, and consider the work that still needs to be done in our nation and here in Champaign County. (JM)
Join a 24-hour compos-a-thon at the Iron Post, 7:30 p.m. (event runs through Saturday evening), free

Composers and performers can join in on the creative adrenaline rush that is the University of Illinois’ Group for New Music’s 24-hour compos-a-thon. Start out at the Illinois Music Building, where you’ll find a group, compose, compose more, rehearse, rehearse more and end with a Saturday night performance at the Iron Post. Sign up here. (DD)

The Dry Look, Frontier Folk Nebraska, Col. James Presents, Primitive Lights, Loose Cobra, $5-$10 suggested donation, 8 p.m.

The Loose Cobra is always easy to recommend on the weekend, especially if there’s a show worth checking out. Luckily for you, there is on Friday night. The Dry Look is joined by a trio of others, one being Frontier Folk Nebraska, a touring band that’s no stranger to C-U (they’ve played PYGMALION, and various venues in town) so this oughta be a good time. (PS)

Start learning Latin dance, Urbana Dance Company, 8 to 11 p.m., $5 donation

This is an event that was rescheduled from January 11th. Take a 30-minute lesson from C-U’s salsa maestro Yuri Sohn and then get out on the dance floor and move to the sounds of DJ Sebastian, who’ll be spinning salsa, bachata, merengue, and cumbia. Lessons will be held from 8 to 8:30 p.m., open dancing starts at 8:30 and ends at 11 p.m. Learn something new, enjoy a fun way to get fit, and meet new people. This event hits the New Year’s resolution trifecta. (DD) Photo from Urbana Dance Company’s Facebook page

Saturday, January 19th

Get some coffee beans, Page Roasting Company at Avionics, 7 or 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., $15

Page Roasting Company has some really, really delicious coffee. It’s one that I often gift, and tell others to gift, but you can also gift yourself the beans. The descriptions are incredibly accurate, so if you’re unsure of what kind of coffee you want, know that you will not be misled. (JH) Photo by Jessica Hammie  

Learn about local elections, Champaign Public Library, 2 to 4 p.m., free

The non-partisan organization Champaign County Voters Alliance will be hosting a session titled “Do Local Elections Matter?” The answer is obviously yes, so take this opportunity to learn more about the municipal elections happening in April, including a mayoral election as well as school board, park district, and city council. (JM)

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, $10-$40, 7:30 p.m.

The six-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill hits Urbana on Saturday night at Krannert Center, and if you want to get a preview of what you should expect, just check out this video and it’ll provide some insight into this one. Tickets appear to be moving quickly, so check the link above for info on that front before heading to KCPA. (PS) Photo from Krannert’s website

Sunday, January 20th

Eat a sandwich, Cheese & Crackers, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., about $10

I really, really like the sandwiches at Cheese & Crackers. They’re pretty damn big, and pretty damn tasty. There’s nothing quite like a massive sandwich and a bag of chips for lunch, or dinner — I find it totally comforting. I really love Mindy’s Italian (with all the toppings), and the turkey sandwich with the goat cheese and little sweetie drop peppers. But do your thing, or order two and split them with another person. (JH) Photo by Jessica Hammie

UFLive! Joey Glassman Trio with Kevin Hart, Urbana Free Library, 2 to 3 p.m., free

The sounds of the Joey Glassman Trio are guaranteed to warm up your winter weekend. The trio, Glassman on vibraphone, Crystal Rebone on bass, and James Sims on drums, will be joined by special guest Kevin Hart, also on vibraphone. UFLive! concerts take place on the third Sunday of most months. (DD) 

View the lunar eclipse, Staerkel Planetarium, 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., free

First of all, a warning. It is going to be fuh-reeezzz-ing cold on Sunday. BUT! The planetarium will be open so that you can stay warm in between viewings. This is the only visible lunar eclipse this year, and the C-U Astronomical Society is offering up some of their telescopes so that the public can see it. So bundle up and maybe bring along some coffee or hot chocolate.(JM) Photo from


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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