Last week, Culture Editor Julie McClure wrote SP’s monthly Food & Drink round up, and this week I’ve moseyed over from F&D to write this month’s Culture round up. The most exciting thing about the Culture section, to me at least, is that it’s so varied. This month, I’ve included a book event, a sporting event, some foreign language learning, celebration of Indigenous people, and a showcase of aerial and pole dancing. It’s quite the spread. Of course, there are about a million other things to do, like all the fall and Halloween-themed things I did not include in this list.

Illinois Volleyball

Did you know that the University of Illinois has one of the best volleyball teams in the country? The program is consistently ranked in the top 25 nationwide, often cracking the top 10 (it’s currently 17). Last year the team made it to the Final Four. Huff Hall is small enough for you to actually see the action, and tickets are affordable. Forget propping up losing men’s teams — come out and support some women kicking ass and taking names.

Tickets are available here.

Photo by Scott Wells

Language Labs at Urbana Park District  

One day, I keep telling myself, I am going to dedicate myself to becoming fluent in a foreign language. Fluent! But before we run, we must crawl, or stumble awkwardly over words in another language. Thankfully, the Urbana Parks District offers Language Labs that can help with linguistic crawling, walking, and running. Native speakers can meet up with other native speakers, beginners can come and learn some basics, and those who need to shake out some rust can get some practice.

There are four meetings this month (though Hindi has already passed by the time of publishing):

  • October 2nd: Hindi
  • October 9th: American Sign Language (ASL)
  • October 16th: French
  • October 30th: Swahili

Language Lab events are free, and everyone is welcome.

Phillips Recreation Center
Wednesdays
6 to 7 p.m.

Image from the Facebook event

Commemorate Indigenous People’s Day

Indigenous People’s Day is Monday, October 14th. You likely don’t have work, and the kids are off from school. And sure, it’s nice to have a day off and a long weekend. Instead of worrying about how to ensure your children are entertained, perhaps take a little time educate yourself and your family about the plight of Native Americans in this country. Start by explaining that as a society, we have renamed the day Indigenous People’s Day because we want to prioritize the people who have been harmed in the making of this country. We will no longer put in the center a man and an empire that spread disease, rape, and murder in the name of greed and racism.

Maybe ask yourself why there aren’t more Native American people living here in C-U, or in Illinois, a state literally named after a Native American tribe. Listen to this podcast. What are some more respectful images of Native people than the one the University of Illinois and Central Illinois can’t let go of? Who are some Native American artists, authors, scholars, actors, and musicians? Are you familiar with their works? If you care about climate change (and you should), do you know Quannah Chasinghorse and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez as well as you know Greta Thunberg?

Sadly, there isn't much programming in the community, save for the celebration at the Native American House at the University of Illinois. Think we can do something more for next year?

Photo from the University of Illinois' Native American House Facebook page

Halloween Showcase at Defy Gravity

Defy Gravity is a pole fitness and aerial arts studio located in Lincoln Square Mall. This month’s showcase includes three shows: two featuring students, and one featuring instructors. If you’re looking to get involved and want to see the possibilities, this is for you. If you’re here to support the performers who have worked their butts off to put on an awesome show, this is for you. Presale tickets are on sale now. They go quickly, so grab them soon. There will be a few tickets sold at the door. 

From what I’ve seen over on the Defy Gravity Facebook and Instagram pages, these performances are going to be incredible. And dare I say, gravity defying? (I’m sorry.)

Defy Gravity
Lincoln Square Mall
October 18th 6 p.m. + 8 p.m.
October 19th 7:30 p.m.
Additional information available here

Photo from Defy Gravity's Facebook page

Top photo by Sam Logan