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Pop up art show coming to Champaign February 2nd

A two day pop-up art show entitled “Juxtaposition” is coming to Champaign in early February. Local artists Laura Anne Well, Cindy Blair Sampson, Marc-Anthony Macon, and Phil Strang will be hosting an evening celebrating individual and collaborative art. They event will also host local musicians Jim Bean, who will play Friday night, and JAM, playing on Saturday night.

The show will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday Feb. 2nd and 1 to 9 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 3rd. It'll be at 124 N Neil St Apt. 206 in Champaign. Click here for the Facebook event.

Photo from Facebook.


Apply to present at Pechakucha Night Vol. 26

The Champaign Urbana Design Organization is now accepting applications for their 26th Pechakucha Night, which will be on March 24th at the Virginia Theatre. Here’s what they say about potential presenters:

PechaKucha presenters come from a wide range of fields — activists, architects, artists, chefs, coolhunters, critics, designers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, historians, makers, photographers, and scientists, to name a few.

The most important thing about your PK presentation is that you love your subject matter. Though you will have only 6 min. and 40 sec. to deliver your final presentation, an ideal topic is one you could talk about for hours.

Pechakuchas are pretty cool to watch as presenters have 20 images and 20 seconds per image to discuss their topic. So even if you don't present, you should still check it out, especially if it's something you've never seen before. 

For more information or to apply now, click here.

Photo from CUDO website. 


Flying Machine Coffee in Urbana is closing

There's a bit more information that we are not going to share out of respect for all of the people who work at the new yet beloved coffee shop, and for our friends who rent the space to them, but the news is real:

Flying Machine in Urbana will close up shop on March 28, 2018. 

We will definitely miss having this sort of community gathering space, this sort of local business, and these kinds of people doing good work in Downtown Urbana. 

BUT REMEMBER: Flying Machine now has its very own space, on First & Clark, in Midtown Champaign. Avionics shares a space with Page Roasting Co., which is the newest coffee roaster in Champaign, and by all measures, absolutely amazing. 

Best of luck to everyone involved here. Never fun to report this sort of thing... 


Chef Judson Todd Allen returning to UIUC for book signing and cooking demo

Chef Judson Todd Allen, a UIUC alum, will be back on campus for a book signing, hot sauce tasting, and cooking demo on January 30th and 31st. 

Allen, known to some as "The Architect of Flavor®," is promoting his cookbook called The Spice Diet and his proprietary hot sauce. Details for each event are indicated in the press release below. 

Jan. 17, 2018

Source: Matt Smith,

News writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183,

Celebrity chef and food science alum brings new book to campus

URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois alum and celebrity chef, Judson Todd Allen, also known as the Architect of Flavor®, will return to the Urbana campus for book signings, a hot sauce tasting, and cooking demonstration Jan. 30 and 31.

Allen, who has appeared on the Food Network, earned a degree in food science and human nutrition from the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. He is the CEO and Executive Chef of Healthy Infused Cuisine, LLC, a premier cuisine company. His passion for childhood obesity and other health-related causes has positioned him in roles of advisory and endorsements.

Allen’s mission is to design powerhouse flavors sourcing seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients that change the way people think and feel about healthier foods. Allen struggled with weight for a significant part of his life and now maintains a weight loss of over 160 lbs. His current book The Spice Diet shares his personal story of being addicted to food, encourages weight loss, and shows how to pair the perfect spices and ingredients—excluding salt, sugar and processed foods—to yield simple and flavorful meals that happen to be healthy.

Activities included in Allen’s campus visit are:

·         Tuesday, Jan 30, 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m. – Book signing and meet and greet, Bevier Café (The Spice Diet cookbooks will be available for purchase); Bevier Café menu will also feature a recipe from the book.

·         Wednesday, Jan. 31, noon  -1:30 p.m. – Cooking demonstration, Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) instructional kitchen

·         Wednesday, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. – Hot sauce tasting and book signing, Illini Union Bookstore

For the ARC cooking demonstration, approximately 40 samples will be available from each of the three recipes Allen prepares; an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. The auditorium can seat up to 150 people and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

In 2013, Allen introduced his signature All Purpose and All Natural CHEF BLEND Hot Sauce.  The low-sodium product offers a “Less Hot More Flavor” taste. With a mission to eradicate childhood obesity, Allen launched CHEF BLEND Weekend, an annual event designed to celebrate the inspiration of flavor through healthier, locally sourced foods and the chefs/purveyors behind the art.

With an MBA in Entrepreneurship from DePaul University’s Graduate School of Business, Allen is a current advisory board member of the DePaul University School of Hospitality. For more information on Allen, visit

Photo from Facebook. 


Call for artists put out by Lodgic Everyday Community

Lodgic Everyday Community has put out a call for visual artists. Lodgic is coming to Champaign Urbana in the summer of 2018 and promises to be a “new environment” that includes innovative work spaces, drop-in child care, and healthy dining options. Presumably they’re looking for artists to create pieces to add to their space. Or as they put it, they are looking to “commission local artists to create unique, site-specific works highlighting the history and fabric of the Champaign-Urbana community.” Visual artists can work in a “range of media— including (but not limited to) paint, ink and paper, mixed media, photography, 3D, print making, graphic arts, and more.”

Interested applicants must submit samples of their work as well as a paragraph describing their vision for “Lodgic specific art piece.” Their examples may indicate what they’re looking to invest in; they include a “large scale 2D wall installations/wall hangings, hanging sculpture, poster series conveying icons of the Champaign-Urbana community, [and] outdoor playground mural.”

Lodgic will select up to five artists and pay them a commission somewhere between $500 and $10,000 in order to create their original pieces.

For more information on the application process, click here.

Photo from Lodgic website. 


Illini Juggling and Unicycling Festival happening in February

Looking for a way to show off your juggling and/or unicycling skills with others that share your talents? Or maybe you've always wanted to learn so that you can entertain at parties. Here's your chance! The Illinois Juggling and Unicycling Club is reviving their three day festival February 9th through 11th at the Armory. The event is free and open to anyone in the community. See the Facebook event for specific times and to find updates on daily schedules. 

But do NOT bring your fire juggling props. They are not allowed, for obvious reasons. More info from the FB event below.

Come one and all to Champaign-Urbana for the revival of the IJUC Juggling Festival! Featuring three days of workshops, games and more, we hope to bring jugglers from all over together to celebrate this magnificent art! Admission is FREE for all 3 days! Contact IJUC through Facebook at Illini Juggling and Unicycling Club or email with any questions you have.






IMPORTANT NOTE: Absolutely NO fire juggling is allowed inside the field house. Please keep all fire juggling and related props inside your bags or vehicles during the event.

No food or drink except water is allowed in the field house, so we suggest you bring a refillable bottle of water. However, there are vending machines elsewhere in the building and many nearby restaurants.


Illini basketball preview: Nebraska

Illinois at Nebraska
8 pm
TV: Big Ten Network

Each year in Lincoln, something happens to put Tim Miles on the hot seat. Last year it was an underperforming (12-19, 6-12) team with high expectations, which led to a glut of transfers and a reheated seat. Once again, however, Miles has cooled his chair and gotten more than expected production from his charges.

The Huskers have already matched last year's win total (12-7) and done so against decent competition, including beating then-ranked Minnesota and Wisconsin. KenPom puts their adjusted strength of schedule at 59th overall, and the Huskers have hung tough in losses as well, such as in their 1-point loss to #12 Kansas.

One thing that has made Nebrasketball successful this year is a lack of turnovers. Their 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio is 55th in the nation. Against Illinois, who rank 23rd in turnover margin (335 opponent turnovers), the Huskers ability to control the ball could be important. Also important are the trio of James Watson, Isaac Copeland, and Glynn Watson, all of whom are averaging better than 12 points per game.

Coming in 0-5, after losing a miserable home game against an Iowa team they should have beaten, things are at a low point for the Illini. Some kind of adjustment seems necessary, from the team or from the game plan or both. What that adjustment is and whether is happens remains to be seen.


Parkland Theatre announces 2018-2019 season

Parkland Theatre announced their lign up for the 2018-2019 season. As a quick run through, it includes The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, The Musical Comedy of Murders of 1940 by John Bishop, Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon, and The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks. But here's the full rundown: 

The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni
Sept. 27–Oct. 7, 2018
Second Stage Theatre
A modern mash-up between traditional Italian commedia del’arte and modern day sit-coms, this new version of Goldoni’s classic pits the madcap servant Truffaldino against masters, mistresses, lovers, lawyers and 27 plates of fast food. Imagine a Bob Hope comedy written by Monty Python and performed with likes of Chaplin or Keaton.

The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 by John Bishop
Nov. 8–18, 2018
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre
When their latest Broadway musical closes after the murder of three chorus girls, the writers and stars escape to Westchester to work on their next hit. Unfortunately, the murderer has followed them upstate! A comedy about murders, secret identities, and the Golden Age of Broadway, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 is a modern classic in the vein of Clue and Murder by Death.

Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon
(The 28th Annual Student Production)
Feb. 7–17, 2019
Second Stage Theatre
Our 28th Annual Student Production will feature a student director and all-student staff. Come Blow Your Horn is the story of Alan and Buddy Baker, two brothers who could not be more different. Younger brother Buddy longs for the playboy lifestyle his elder brother Alan leads. However, as Buddy transforms into the swinging mirror image of Alan, Alan finds himself falling in love for the first time. This hilarious comedy launched the career of its internationally famous playwright, Neil Simon.

The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks
April 4–21, 2019
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre
Welcome to Transylvania! A hilarious musical adaptation of the beloved Mel Brooks movie, Young Frankenstein is the story of Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the infamous mad scientist. When Frederick inherits his grandfather’s castle—complete with mysterious passages and secret labs—he decides to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps by bringing the dead back to life.

For more info click here

Photo from Facebook. 


Illini basketball preview: Iowa

Illinois vs Iowa
7 pm

Two young, talented teams, winless in the Big Ten, enduring some bad luck so far. Something’s gotta give.

Iowa comes to Champaign this evening with a 9-9 record, including 0-5 in Big Ten play. Like the Illini, the Hawkeyes are light on seniors and is reliant on up-and-coming stars. Sophomore Jordan Bohannon has been a spark plug, averaging 12 points and 5 assists, and freshman Luke Garza has come on strong in recent weeks, getting two Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards, putting up an average of 10 points and 6 rebounds.

KenPom puts little distance between the Illini and Iowa, ranking 87 and 90, respectively. Offensively the Hawkeyes rate better, with 110.3 points to Illinois’s 104.2 points per 100 possessions, but defensively they rate much worse, at 102.7 points versus 96.3 points allowed per 100 possessions. Iowa has been a bit less lucky, however, ranking 338 to Illinois’s 321 in KenPom’s luck metric.

Illinois was hit hard by the flu, which ravaged most of the team, beginning before the Minnesota game last week. With that, hopefully, in the past, a full-strength squad should be able to earn its first win in conference play this evening. While Iowa is similar to the Illini, they have looked worse in their games and aren’t playing for much more than respect now. As Sam Vecinie of The Athletic put it, “The Hawkeyes are done. There is startlingly little to their accomplishments.”

If Illinois’s defense holds up and guys like Kipper Nichols and Greg Eboigbodin maintain a hot hand from the bench, the Illini as a 5.5 favorite looks like a good bet.

Photo by Mike Pauza


Democratic candidate meet and greet happening this Friday

It's 2018 friends, and that means election activities are going to start ramping up. I expect that we'll see a lot of these meet and greet type events as the March primaries and November mid-term elections loom. This seems like unique opportunity to meet a wide variety of candidates, and hey, there's tasty Mexican food too! The candidates will be at Los Zarapes in Mahomet this Friday, January 12 from 7-8:30 p.m. Here are the details:

Candidates in attendance: Gubernatorial Daniel Biss, County Clerk Aaron Ammons, House 101st Jen McMillin, County Executive Darlene Kloeppel, Circuit Judge Ramona Sullivan

Aaron Ammons
Aaron Ammons is running for Champaign County Clerk. Aaron is running because our community needs someone to stand up for our voting rights. Aaron has been working for voter access and voter education for years, as president with SEIU Local 73 Chapter 119 and as a member of Urbana’s city council. Serving as our County Clerk is the natural next step for Aaron to continue this vital work.

Daniel Biss for Governor
First as a mathematics professor, and now as a legislator, Daniel Biss has always tackled the hardest problems. While teaching, Daniel’s desire to confront our state’s most critical problems compelled him to get more involved in his local community — first as an organizer, and later as a candidate.

Daniel has taken on the machine throughout his career and knows how to win. His focus is on long-term, creative solutions for Illinois middle-class families, and fighting for those whose voices are typically ignored.

Daniel currently represents the 9th District in the Illinois State Senate and previously served one term in the Illinois House representing the 17th District. He’s spent his time as a legislator expanding access, equity and care for all Illinoisians, fighting for financial security for families, and protecting our environment.

Daniel has taken the initiative to raise and make progress on issues significant to the future of Illinois that would have otherwise gone unaddressed, like helping giving retirement security to millions of Illinois workers and addressing the fast-evolving problem of technology and privacy. He combines the discipline and pragmatism of a math professor with the tenacity of an organizer in everything he does.

Jen McMillin
Fighting for the future of Illinois and the people of the 101st district. Last year, I looked around within my home state and realized that very few of our elected leaders were focused on the future of Illinois. The only place that my family has ever called home. Although I’m new to politics, I’ve worked alongside some of the best people you could ever meet to improve the education sector in Illinois. From serving as a mentor to high school students to raising funds to cover the budget shortfall at the private college I work at – I’ve been dedicated to helping students and families succeed.