Smile Politely

Weekender: September 14–16


We Won’t Go Back! Rally, Quad side of the Illini Union, Noon

It’s hard to believe that campus graduate and union employees still have to fight and negotiate for basic pay and protections. But it seems so. Evidently, the university “reneged on the agreement they signed back in 2009 … when they took away tuition waivers for students in the Fine and Applied Arts.” So here we go again. (TN)

4th Annual Corkscrew Gala Wine Tasting, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 5:30–8:30 p.m., $20

Benefitting the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, more than 250 diverse wines from a worldwide selection will be poured Friday night at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts during the annual event. A commemorative glass is included in the price of the ticket. Check out more information about the event in our Food & Drink section. A limited number of VIP early entry tickets are also available for an additional $10. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. (SK)

Urbana Land Arts opening reception, Indi Go Artist Co-Op, 6:00–9:00 p.m.

The Urbana Land Arts collective, an organization to integrate environmental stewardship and art, will have an art opening to exhibit their works on Friday night. Their collaborations include improvement of prairies and underutilized outdoor spaces, as well as a mobile exhibition. ULA contributors include: Evan Blondell, Christopher Carl, Sutton Demlong, Meredith Foster, Paul Howe, David Monk, and Booby Zokaites. (SK)


Youth Pancake Breakfast, Minneci’s Ristorante, 7:00–10:00 a.m., $5

Here is a fun and delicious way to support local LGBTQ and allied youth. Join the youth of the UP Center of Champaign County at Minneci’s this Saturday for breakfast.


Three pancakes (regular or vegan)
Sausage (vegetarian option available)
Juice or coffee

Click on the above link to RSVP. (TN)

Illinois vs Charleston SouthernMemorial Stadium, 11 a.m., ticket prices vary (but probably cheaper than a week ago).

Illinois has two home games against cupcake teams before they begin Big Ten play at home against Penn State on the 29th. Based upon their performance on the road against Arizona State, a mid-level Pac 12 that doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of many opponents, now is a great time to go check out an Illini victory. To be fair, “OUR STATE OUR TEAM” was playing on the road without starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase due to a left ankle sprain, but as SP sports writer Chris Willis noted earlier in the week, things really didn’t look good. Momentum in sports is a strange thing and you just never quite know when it will show up or disappear (see last season), so who knows, perhaps a good ole fashion woopin’ over an FCS team without a win is just what the doctor ordered. 

The football aside, the weather on Saturday appears perfect for a day of tailgating and general merriment out at Memorial stadium. This is never a bad way to spend a Saturday. (CC)

Listen, forget football. Just go booze it with the regulars down on 1st and Florida… errr… Kirby. I mean — for real; when else can you walk around at 8 a.m., unbothered, with a Bloody in one hand and a bottle of Bud Light Lime in the other. Seriously. Try it. No one will say shit. In fact, you will be lauded for your early morning prowess. You will be happy. (SF)

Psychic & Health Fair, Beads N Botanicals, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., $20 per 15 minute reading

Who knew there were so many different kinds of psychic readings? I’ve heard of palm and tarot (I’ve had both, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun). But evidently, there are numerous ways to get your future told, including by foot massage. Hmmm. (TN)


Ahmad Jamal, Tryon Festival Theatre at Krannert Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $10+

Jazz piano aficionado and living legend Ahmad Jamal comes to town for what is sure to be an amazing performance. Joined by Reginald Veal, Herlin Riley on drums, and percussionist Manolo Badrena, Jamal continues to create “mini-orchestra jazz” with his singular ability to restructure convention and joyfully reimagine meter, improvisation, and dynamics. Be sure to come a bit early to check out a free presentation about the life and stylings of Jamal put on by the students and staff of Mo’ Betta Music. After the performance, be sure to take advantage of a free show featuring classical Indian and jazz fusion of Snehasish Mozumder and Sound of Mandolin in the Lobby. (CC)

Eat a huge burger; lots of them; feel a sense of regret: Downtown Champaign; post-Illini game ’til 2:00 a.m.

Ok. You’ve watched the game. You’ve contemplated a night out on the town. Fair enough. But what you need now is a huge burger. You need one. I mean, calories be damned, all you need right now is a huge patty of beef, situated between a couple of slabs of carbs with the appropriate toppings to satiate your innermost desires.

Start here: Farren’s serves up a mean one, and by mean, I mean NASTY. Get the Motherlode. It’s chock fulla both Blue Cheese (sauce) and Swiss, along with mushrooms, broken down and wilted. Forgo fries and stick with the chips.

Otherwise, you’ll never make it over to Dublin O’Neil’s for their house burger, which can go toe-to-toe with any other in town. Irish cheddar sits atop fried onions, curried ketchup, and a slab of bacon. Go medium rare here.

Afterwards, stop in for a pint at Destihl. They have house-made brews. You can drink a lot of them. I know you are full, but that’s OK. You can power through.

Next up, don’t be bashful; order a couple of sliders at Seven Saints. But you must — MUST — ask for them to be cooked rare. They will look at you funny, but when you are dealing in two to three oz. portions of ground beef, you are asking for trouble asking for anything else. Go with the Blackjack Slider and the Asian slider. Both will be a nice respite for you, after the big heavy burgers you’ve already ingested.

After a pint of Guiness at Mike N Molly’s, head on over to Esquire for a late-night snack: their classic cheeseburger. Thin, pathetic, yet strangely delish. Filler up with toppings from the buffet-bar by the ‘tenders and enjoy that helping of fries with some new friends as you discuss the idea that, YES — Illinois is just four small victories away from a trip to the post-season. Just four.

Me? I’ll be relishing another Boiler victory. Not eating a burger. I’ll be careful this weekend. But you? You should totally do this. THIS. (SF)

Gabriel Iglesias: Stand Up Revolution, Illinois Assembly Hall, 8:00 p.m., $35

Gabriel Iglesias’ show is a “mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters and sound effects that bring all his personal experiences to life.”

The Assembly Hall also describes Iglesias’ act as “clean,” which makes him “popular among fans of all ages.” (TN)


Racist? Or Funny? Gift Basket Prank

Henhouse Prowlers take over The Iron post, don’t be afraid to drink too much, 9 p.m., $5

Wander into Urbana a little bit this weekend. Find yourself some bluegrass music to jam out to, and you won’t have to look much further than these guys. This would make for a pretty good night in my book, so it might make sense to mark in your calendar this weekend as well. Chicago’s Henhouse Prowlers have a lot going on — couple of banjos, some fiddle, and all the bluegrass components, so check it out. Also, sorry kids, this is a 21+ show. (PS)

Indigo Sun, Billa Camp, The Foundation, Jay Moses, Hazy, Harshpro at The Highdive, 9 p.m., $5

Catch a variety of different sounds at The Highdive Saturday night, and by mix-up, this is really a mix-up. Plus, this is an outdoor patio show, so what’s not to like? Hopefully the weather holds up for this and it’s all that it should be. Some really great hip-hop acts mixed in here, plus DJs, plus Indigo Sun, which has a little bit of everything, would make for a pretty awesome time. (PS)



The Divas and the Dude show, Chester Street Bar, 11:00 p.m.

Sunday’s drag show will feature Ohio’s Amaya Sexton and Missouri’s Chris Mazzaratie Steele, along with local favorites, plus your host Ceduxion Carrington. Tables are available. Larger poster image.

Drag shows at C-Street kick butt. Check out our feature story on them for all the details. (TN)



Time to relax; make a gravy and just hang for a bit; all day — literally; your house

I didn’t understand it until I saw it, but in Italian-American families, it’s par for the course, as it were. Gravy. Sunday gravy. For my entire life until I met my wife, I never understood what “gravy” was. She’s a Bursoni, I mean seriously. My father-in-law’s name is Tony-fuckin-Bursoni — say that with a Mafioso-accent and try not to laugh — and here is what I know: Sunday gravy is key, especially when the weather turns.

So, here is what.

Go get three cans of Italian tomatoes. Not sure if the Co-op or Fields has organic Italian tomatoes, but get three cans. Open them. In the meantime, dice up two small onions real fine, and mash up a head of garlic. Put that in a stock pot, with a little oil, and a puncha salt.


Next, after it gives and carmelizes, put in a few veal shanks and a bone-in pork chop. Fry them until they brown on the outside, and take them out.

Open a decent bottle of red, and glug it in there til there is enough for about two glasses for yourself. Let that simmer and go watch a little pre-game NFL.

Once it’s reduced, put in those tomatoes. Stir it a bit, turn the heat down, and put a lid on it, tilting is just enough to let the steam out. Keep an eye on it. When it gets bubblin’, put that meat back in there.

Now — there’s football to watch, kids to play with, yard work to catch up on, emails to manage. Whatever. Read a book for all I care. Just don’t care. If the heat’s low enough, it will do its thing. In about four to five hours, you are going to have Gravy.

And with Gravy, it’s on. (SF)


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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