About Us

Smile Politely is Champaign-Urbana's independent, online, culture magazine. We provide the community with a passionate, trustworthy, informed point of view on local music, art, culture, sports, and food & drink. Our writers range in age from college undergrads to fifty-somethings, and with that diversity comes a wide array of political, cultural, social, and artistic bents, as well as an impressive wealth of experiences from which to reference. Such variety accurately reflects the hodgepodge that is Champaign-Urbana, a university town with a decidedly Midwestern flair. Smile Politely's editorial staff immerses itself in the community it calls home, and our writers' coverage of events reflects that dedication.

We won’t pretend that we don’t possess and cultivate a particular aesthetic and personality. That’s what it means to be independent. We have our biases, and we’re unapologetic about them. And our strongest bias is that we think Champaign-Urbana is one of the best places to live in the U.S. We prove this every day at Smile Politely.

So, whatever entertains you, informs you, excites you, or frustrates you is all likely to be covered in our magazine. And if it's not, let us know. We're always open to suggestions that further expand our coverage. But of more importantance is our founding principle: Smile Politely exists as a platform where you — the reader — can help to shape what the magazine is all about. We welcome your contributions, and want to read about what YOU have to say.

Housekeeping note: Although we do allow anonymous commenting, we reserve the right to delete/redact any and all comments, depending on the nature of the comment. Let's keep things within reason, folks.


Boswell Hutson   
Opinion Editor

Jessica Hammie  
Food & Drink Editor

Julia McAnly
Music Editor

Patrick Singer  
Managing Editor

Rebecah Pulsifer  
Culture Editor / Host, Smile Politely Radio

Rebecca Knaur 
Arts Editor

Sam Logan  
Photo Editor

Seth Fein  
Publisher and Co-Founder

Mason Kessinger 
Designer and Co-Founder

Christopher Maier 
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and Co-Founder


Justine Bursoni  

Active Writers

Aaliyah Gibson
Alex Swanson
Alisa Greene
Ashley Huddson
Athanasia Giannetos
Brendan Denison
Brian Dolinar
Carly Gubbins
Cassia Smith
Chris D. Davies
Chris Rost
Christopher Evans
Cope Cumpston
Edwin Cho
Food Writers
Jade Tyson
Jeff Nelson
Jillian Klean Zwilling
Jimin Shim
Joe Krehbiel
Julia McAnly
Kate Ross
Lily Katz
Mace Mackiewicz
Maddie Rehayem
Madeleine Marsh
Mara Bandy
Matthew Gladney
Meghan McCoy
Music Editors
Nishat Ahmed
Olivia Maloney
Pamela Saunders
Patrick Filbin
Prudhvila Mulakala
Scott Wells
Smile Politely Editors
Smile Politely Writers
Stephanie Svarz
Stephen Kemp
Tom Ackerman
Tom Chandler
Travis McDade
Tyler Durgan
Will Hubbs

Editor Emeriti

Ben Valocchi

Caleb Curtiss

Cody Caudill

Dan Schreiber

Doug Hoepker

Joel Gillespie

Jason Brown

John Steinbacher

Josh King

Lindsay Gates-Markel

Marissa Monson

Mark Sieckman

Mathew Green

Robert Hirschfeld

Ryan Neaveill

Sean O'Connor

Susanna Kline

Tim Adamson

Tracy Nectoux

Inactive Writers

A.B. Koontz
Aaron Burch
Abram Book
Adam Barnett
Adam Fein
Adam Scott
Alan Pocaro
Alexx Engles
Alisa DeMarco
Alyssa Schoeneman
Amanda Murphyao
Amanda Shively
Amanda Wicks
Amelia Bowen
Amirah Ar-Raheem
Amy Lingafelter
Andrea Johnston
Andrew Ang
Andrew Voris
Angela Delgado
Anna Barnes
Annalisa Rodriguez
Annie Weisner
Anthony Collebrusco
Azra Halilovic
Belden Fields
Beth Dillman
Beth Dillman and Scott Weber
Betsi Freeman
Bob Finch
Bob Steltman
Bob Yoon
Brandon Beachum
Brenda Koenig
Brian Duggan
Brian Kagel
Brian McGovern
Brian Reed
Brian Mertz
Brian Sullivan
Brit Johnson
Brittany Patch
Brock Peoples
Caitlin Cremer
Carly Doenges
Carlye Wisel
Carmen Shaffer
Carolyn Muller
Cassidy Williams
C.G. Estabrook
C.E. Brown
Cheryl Barnett
Chike Coleman
Christopher Evans
Christopher Tepedino
Chris Willis
Chuck Koplinski
Claire Melvin
Clint Popetz
Cody Bralts
Collin A. Bullock
Community Comment
Coy Wentworth
Cristy Scoggins
Crystall Pratt
Cynthia Hoyle
Dan Hill
Dan Kelly
Daniel Wolff
David Cubberly
David Kierski
David Wright
Dennis Roberts
Don Gerard
Donald Mabbott
Donnie Ferguson
Dusty Lawless
Dylan Heath
Edward Moses
Elaine Olson
Ellyn Newell
Elyse Russo
Emily Miller
Emily Otnes
Emily Siner
emma reaux
Eric Blair
Eric Bussell
Eric Heisig
Eric Stoff
Erik Allgood
Erin Gillman
Erin Hayes
Ernie Blackwelder & Cynthia Voelkl
Farah Chalisa
Gibson Wirth
gillian gabriel
Gordon Oyer
Grace R. Kenney
Grant Benda
Grant Deam
Heather Dillon
I. I.
isaac arms
Jack Tatterson
Jaclyn Smith
Jake Lahne
Jake Thomas
Jamal Collier
James Kilgore
James Treichler
Jamilah Alsharif
Jamie Newell
Jared Collins
Jason Berg
Jason Brechin
Jay Rosenstein
Jean Forst
Jeff Kohmstedt
Jeff Zolitor
Jen Redwood
Jenna Weglarz-Ward
Jennifer Knapp
Jeremiah Stanley
Jesse Woodrum
Jessica Lewis Watson
Jingrui Lu
JoAnne Cammarata
Joe Petry
John E. Marlin
John Flanagan
John Johnson
John Milas
John Menchaca
Jon Stone
Jonah Koslofsky
Joni Jeffries
Josh King
Joshi Fullop
Joshua George
Joy McClaugherty
Julianne Heuel
Justin Hemenway
Justin McLeod
Kathy Decker
Katie Charmas
Katie Prosise
Katie Travers
Katrina Halfaker
Kaya Tate
Kelly Hearne
Kelly Innes
Kelly James Shirley
Kesley McGrath
Kim Nguyen
Kimberly Leifker
Kirby Jayes
Kristiana Burtness
Kristin McCann
Kyle Patterson
Laren Pike
Larry Larson
Latifah Al-Hazza
Laura Adamczyk
Laura Allured
Laura Allured and Ray Mitchell
Laura Bandy
Laura Czys
Laura Stein
Lauren Laws
Lena Hann
Lena Singer
Lilly Bralts-Kelly
Linda Remaker
Lindsay Ignatowski
Lindy Wheatley
Lisa Bralts-Kelly
Lisa Janes
Liz Benoit & Jeremiah Stanley
Liz Faermark
Liz Jackson
Liz Stanley
Logan Burgett
Logan Green
Logan Moore
Madeline Knight-Dixon
Maggie Labno
Mark Laughlin
Mark Spomer
Marsha Reardon
Matt Fender
Matthew Campbell
Matthew DeMarco
Matthis Helmick
Megan Laz
Meghan Whalen
Mica Swyers
Michael Curtin
Michael Feltes
Mike Coulter
Mike Ingram
Monique Archer
Neal Rauhauser
Neil Parthun
Nina Samii-Frye
Noah Roberts
North 1st St Farmers Market
P. Gregory Springer
Pat Brown
Pat Schmitz
Patrick McCarthy
Paul Barrel
Paul Dudley and Bonnie Dudley
Paul Higgins
Paul Young
Phyllis Dey
Rachael Dietkus-Miller
Rachael McMillan
Rachel Buller
Ray Mitchell
Rhiannon Peery
Richard Anderson
Rob McColley
Robert Hirschfeld and Joel Gillespie
Robert Hirschfeld and Matt Campbell
Robert Knilands
Rohn Koester
Rose Keane
Rose Marshack
Ross Floyd
Ryan Brokamp
Ryan A. Ross
Safiya Noble
Sal Nudo
Samantha Bakall
Samantha Lee
Samara Cole
Samuel R. Vandegrift
Sarah Boland-Taylor
Sarah Boyer
Sarah Langer
Sarah Lubelski
Scott Frankel
Scott Humphrey
Sean Purvines
Seth Valentine
Sheri Williamson
Sidney Sheehan
Stacey Peters
Stories & Beer
Stuart Tarr
Suhail Barot
Suzanne Lewandowski
Suzanne Trupin, M.D.
T. McDade
Tara McGovern
Taylor Polydore
Teen Awareness Group
The Exilers
The Market Watcher
The Parasolorians
Theo Long
Thom Herakovich
Thom Schnarre
Thomas Cyrs
Thomas Gould
Thomas Nelshoppen
Tim Brookes
Tim Green
Tim Hayden
Tim Schreiber
Todd Spinner
Tom Pauly
Tommy Griscom
Tony Cherolis
Tony Pomonis
Tricia Scully
Troy Brundidge
Valera Chekmazov
Vern Fein
Vicki Hoskins
Vincent Pham
Wendy Edwards
Will Fernandez
William Gillespie
William Gillespie and C.D. Scoggins
Zack Adcock
Zack Grant