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
Boswell on Twitter

Bridget Curren
Tech Editor
Bridget on Twitter

Jessica Hammie
Food & Drink Editor
Jess on Twitter

Patrick Singer
Managing Editor / Music Editor
Patrick on Twitter

Rebecah Pulsifer
Culture Editor / Host, Smile Politely Radio
Rebecah on Twitter

Rebecca Knaur
Arts Editor
Rebecca on Twitter

Sam Logan
Photo Editor
Sam on Twitter

Seth Fein
Publisher and Co-Founder
Seth on Twitter

Mason Kessinger 
Designer and Co-Founder

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


Justine Bursoni

Active Writers

Aaliyah Gibson
Adam Barnett
Amanda Wicks
Amirah Ar-Raheem
Athanasia Giannetos
Belden Fields
Brendan Denison
Brian Dolinar
Carly Gubbins
Casey Thiel
Cassidy Williams
C.G. Estabrook
Chike Coleman
Chris D. Davies
Christopher Tepedino
Community Comment
Cope Cumpston
Dennis Roberts
Don Gerard
Emily Otnes
Eric Bussell
Food Writers
Hannah Pitstick
isaac arms
Jay Rosenstein
Jeff Nelson
Jeff Zolitor
Jen Redwood
Jillian Klean Zwilling
Jimin Shim
Joe Petry
John Milas
Jonah Koslofsky
Joy McClaugherty
Katie Charmas
Katie Prosise
Kaya Tate
Liz Faermark
Logan Green
Maddie Rehayem
Mark Laughlin
Mark Spomer
Music Editors
Nina Samii-Frye
P. Gregory Springer
Pamela Saunders
Patrick Filbin
Rachel Buller
Rohn Koester
Sal Nudo
Sarah Boland-Taylor
Sarah Boyer
Sean Purvines
Smile Politely Editors
Smile Politely Writers
Stacey Peters
Taylor Polydore
Thom Schnarre

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 Fein
Adam Scott
Alan Pocaro
Alexx Engles
Alisa DeMarco
Alyssa Schoeneman
Amanda Murphyao
Amanda Shively
Amelia Bowen
Amy Lingafelter
Andrea Johnston
Andrew Ang
Andrew Voris
Angela Delgado
Anna Barnes
Annalisa Rodriguez
Annie Weisner
Anthony Collebrusco
Azra Halilovic
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
C.E. Brown
Cheryl Barnett
Christopher Evans
Chris Willis
Chuck Koplinski
Claire Melvin
Clint Popetz
Cody Bralts
Collin A. Bullock
Coy Wentworth
Cristy Scoggins
Crystall Pratt
Cynthia Hoyle
Dan Hill
Dan Kelly
Daniel Wolff
David Cubberly
David Kierski
David Wright
Donald Mabbott
Donnie Ferguson
Dusty Lawless
Dylan Heath
Edward Moses
Elaine Olson
Ellyn Newell
Elyse Russo
Emily Miller
Emily Siner
emma reaux
Eric Blair
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.
Jack Tatterson
Jaclyn Smith
Jake Lahne
Jake Thomas
Jamal Collier
James Kilgore
James Treichler
Jamilah Alsharif
Jamie Newell
Jared Collins
Jason Berg
Jason Brechin
Jean Forst
Jeff Kohmstedt
Jenna Weglarz-Ward
Jennifer Knapp
Jeremiah Stanley
Jesse Woodrum
Jessica Lewis Watson
Jingrui Lu
JoAnne Cammarata
John E. Marlin
John Flanagan
John Johnson
John Menchaca
Jon Stone
Joni Jeffries
Josh King
Joshi Fullop
Joshua George
Julianne Heuel
Justin Hemenway
Justin McLeod
Kathy Decker
Katie Travers
Katrina Halfaker
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 Jackson
Liz Stanley
Logan Burgett
Logan Moore
Madeline Knight-Dixon
Maggie Labno
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
Noah Roberts
North 1st St Farmers Market
Pat Brown
Pat Schmitz
Patrick McCarthy
Paul Barrel
Paul Dudley and Bonnie Dudley
Paul Higgins
Paul Young
Phyllis Dey
Rachael Dietkus-Miller
Rachael McMillan
Ray Mitchell
Rhiannon Peery
Richard Anderson
Rob McColley
Robert Hirschfeld and Joel Gillespie
Robert Hirschfeld and Matt Campbell
Robert Knilands
Rose Keane
Rose Marshack
Ross Floyd
Ryan Brokamp
Ryan A. Ross
Safiya Noble
Samantha Bakall
Samantha Lee
Samara Cole
Samuel R. Vandegrift
Sarah Langer
Sarah Lubelski
Scott Frankel
Scott Humphrey
Seth Valentine
Sheri Williamson
Sidney Sheehan
Stories & Beer
Stuart Tarr
Suhail Barot
Suzanne Lewandowski
Suzanne Trupin, M.D.
T. McDade
Tara McGovern
Teen Awareness Group
The Exilers
The Market Watcher
The Parasolorians
Theo Long
Thom Herakovich
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