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Illini Basketball preview: DePaul

Illinois (2-0) vs. DePaul (1-1)
7:30 PM at State Farm Center
TV: Big Ten Network

The last 5 years in KenPom ratings: 174, 183, 150, 183, 183.

DePaul is nothing if not consistent.

There was a time when the Blue Demons were a feared bunch, a Chicago powerhouse. However, it has been 13 years since DePaul last went dancing, and 11 since the last time the team won 20 games. In the last decade, DePaul has tallied single-digit win totals 50% of the time, and never in that span have they won more than 12 games.

The Blue Demons could be entering a brave new world, however. This year they open their brand new stadium in downtown Chicago and, through continuity, coach Dave Leitao’s charges are showing talent and ability.

Building a roster around JuCo kids and transfers is a solid strategy for mid-majors (e.g., Illinois State), and Leitao has found some gems in Tre’Darius McCallum (12.5 ppg and 8.7 rpg last year) and Max Strus. Eli Cain also looks like a stud, averaging double figures scoring each of his first two seasons. After 2 games, it’s hard to say if DePaul has really turned a corner or is still building, but by the eye test they appear to be a greater challenge than Southern or UT-Martin.

Perhaps a by-product of the new defense, Illinois has allowed too many easy layups so far: opponents are shooting 76% at the rim so far this season. This could work in the Blue Demons favor, as they have particularly lived inside the arc this season, taking 44% of shots at the rim compared to just 30% behind the three-point line.

DePaul has decent height, which will challenge the smaller, guard-heavy Illini. But, if Illinois matches up well and plays a complete game, getting to 3-0 is not out of reach. It will likely be more of a task than they’ve come up against thus far, though.

Photo by Mike Pauza


Springer Cultural Center seeking artists for exhibition opportunities

Champaign Park District's Springer Cultural Center (301 N Randolph St, Champaign) is looking for artists that would like to display their work within their walls. Check out the information via their press release about this opportunity:

From the press release:

Springer Cultural Center Exhibition Opportunities

The Springer Cultural Center is seeking solo or group exhibition proposals for the following dates:

January 8 - January 27, 2018 (proposals due by Nov. 30)

February 12 - March 3, 2018 (proposals due by Dec. 12)

Exhibits are open and free to the public. The Springer Cultural Center resides in downtown Champaign at the corner of Randolph and Church Streets. The exhibition area has approximately 100 linear feet of wall space. Works in all media will be considered. Chosen artists are responsible for transporting their art to and from Springer Cultural Center and all artwork must be installation ready. The Cultural Center will provide a reception to honor the artist and artists are welcome to give an informal talk about their work during that time.

Notification for the Jan 8 - Jan 27, 2018 slot will be sent by Dec. 7

Notification for the Feb. 12 - Mar. 3 slot will be sent by Dec. 19

Contact e mail: or

For more information and to apply, please download the application.

Top photo from Champaign Park District.


Here’s how you can help out Habitat for Humanity this holiday season

This year, as a part of their annual Day of Giving Campaign, WCIA has selected Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County as the designated non-profit partner. Ultimately this drive will go to help benefit this particular non-profit, which is celebrating 25 years in 2017.

Remember, you can always volunteer for Habitat as well, check out that info from last month when we posted about it.

The Day of Giving event takes place Tuesday, November 28th from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. at 509 South Neil in Champaign.

From the press release:

On Tuesday November 28th WCIA will be presenting their annual Day of Giving campaign to both raise awareness and funds for a local non-profit organization. Day of Giving i.e., #GivingTuesday is a nationally recognized event which follows on the heels of the busy Thanksgiving Weekend;  Black Friday, Small Business Saturday/Sunday, Cyber Monday — and finally Giving Tuesday!

This year, WCIA has selected Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County as the designated non-profit partner! From 6am til 7pm community members are encouraged to make donations in the WCIA back lot, or on the Habitat website Sheila Dodd, Executive Director of the Champaign County Habitat affiliate says, “we are honored to be selected by WCIA in the Day of Giving program. All donations generated will stay local as we continue to champion more stable and self-reliant families, through affordable housing support.”

Habitat encourages you to consider making a gift on this day! Habitat home buyers work alongside community businesses, faith and civic groups and individual volunteers to build homes where children can thrive, and neighborhoods are vibrant. Your donations on Tuesday November 28th will be providing a hand up to local families working toward a stronger, more stable, and self-reliant future. 


Krannert Art Museum screening ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS December 1-2

Krannert Art Museum is showcasing the collection of videos that makes up Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings as a part of Day With(out) Art December 1st and 2nd. Screenings will be on a continuous loop from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day on the Main Level Lobby portion of KAM.

Check out the information about the exhibit at the KAM website and below:

Krannert Art Museum Raises Marks World AIDS Day (Dec 1-2) through "A Day With(out) Art"

ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS is the 28th iteration of Visual AIDS’ longstanding Day With(out) Art project. It contains seven videos that will show on continuous loop for two days at Krannert Art Museum, December 1-2 as you enter the museum from Peabody Drive.

Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven artists—Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia Labeija, Tiona McClodden and Brontez Purnell—to create new and innovative short videos, each approximately 7 minutes long, about the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis.

In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are constantly excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016 African Americans represented 44% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans folks.

The commissioned projects range from intimate meditations of a young HIV positive protagonist, to a contemporary re-imagining of 90s-era “safer sex” media culture, to a musical journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, to accounts from formerly incarcerated women living with HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.

Top photo: ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS for Visual AIDS' 28th Annual Day With(out) Art

Tiona Nekkia McClodden, The Labrynith 1.0, 2017. Production courtesy of the artist.

Thomas Allen Harris, About Face: The Evolution of a Black Producer, 2017. Video courtesy of the artist.

Brontez Purnell, 100 Boyfriends Mixtape (the demo), 2017. Film still courtesy of the artist.

Mykki Blanco, STONES & WATER WEIGHT, 2017. Video courtesy of the artist.

Reina Gossett, Atlantic is a Sea of Bones, 2017. Video courtesy of the artist.

Cheryl Dunye, Bambi Gaddist, DiAna DiAna, and Ellen Spiro in South Carolina. Production still courtesy of Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro. Photo by Bailey Goff.


Paper2Tree, a new University-Community partnership, launches today

The University of Illinois has teamed up with the community to introduce a new partnership, Paper2Tree, which launches today.

Founded by Mattia Gazzola, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Paper2Tree will connect researchers in the University with members of the community and the environment by encouraging anyone who publishes a scientific paper to plant a tree in one of the participating local parks.

Trees will be associated to the publication reference, geo-localized, and visualized on a map — all data to be made publicly available, along with tree species, scientific area, and associated university department.

Paper2Tree has also partnered with the Champaign Park District, Urbana Park District, the Cities of Champaign and Urbana, Champaign and Urbana School districts, along with many university units, including the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, and others.

To celebrate the take-off of this new program, an all-day kickoff celebration will take place including educational activities with students, tree plantings in Urbana and Champaign parks, and official remarks.

The schedule goes as follows:

Kickoff Schedule:
9:00-10:30 am -- Educational activities at MLK Jr. Elementary School, Urbana
10:30-11:00 am -- Tree planting by Urbana Park District, with students, in King Park, Urbana
1:00-2:30 pm -- Educational activities at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Champaign
2:30-2:45 pm -- Official remarks/thank you to Paper 2 Tree partners
2:45-3:00 pm -- Tree planting by Champaign Park District, with students, in Douglass Park, Champaign    

**For more details on the day’s schedule, please email


Urbana HS grad Adria Dawn’s Dorkumentary LIVE! takes stage this week in Chicago

Urbana High School & U of I graduate Adria Tarleton will star in a five-night run of live theatrical comedy beginning Wednesday at Chicago's Stage 773.

Dorkumentary LIVE! derives from a web series created by Adria and her husband David Tarleton. The Tarletons both lived and worked in Los Angeles before relocating to Chicago a few years ago. There, they produced the short films that became Dorkumentary, as well as a toe-headed child named Hart.

Known professionally as Adria Dawn, she's most recognizable from a number of appearances in hit TV shows like NCIS, Nip/Tuck and 7th Heaven.

Her most memorable role was the quirky (or possibly just insane) April Tuna from the WB's high-school dramedy Popular.

Her work is still in print, so to speak. Currently, you can see her in Uncle John, on Netflix, and Teenage Ghost Punk on Amazon streaming. 

Dorkumentary has its own YouTube channel, so if you were already considering a visit to the Windy City this weekend, ee for yourself what this LIVE! version might offer for your entertainment dollar (in fact, your entertainment $20, general admission).

From the press release:

Adria will be acting out the dorkiest of sketches, supported by Jaime Abraham and Chloe Rae Ward, who round out this three person female cast. Billed as “a contemporary variety show a la Carol Burnett and Andy Kauffman,” this show predicts “you should wear a diaper, because you’re gonna piss your pants.”


The 22nd Annual Festival of Trees happening November 18-19

Join the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana the weekend of November 18th for the 22nd Annual Festival of Trees. This year also marks 85 years of Junior League's imact on the community.

Proceeds raised will be used for community grants and programs benefiting children and families in C-U along with Junior League's new partnership with Crisis Nursery.

Additionally, pictures with Santa will take place Sunday, November 19th, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

To purchase tickets:

Tickets may be purchased at the door for each day you’d like to attend the event. Inquiries about bulk purchase of group tickets (100 tickets or more) can be made to

Adults and children 13 years of age and older: $5.00
Senior Citizens and children 4 to 12 years of age: $3.00
Children under 3 years of age: free

For more information on the where's and what's on the event, check out their event page here. 


Save Graduate Education demonstration on U of I campus November 16th

In response to GOP lawmakers' proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminates tax exemptions for tuition wavers for teaching and research assistants, concerned graduate students are rallying at the Alma Mater on the University of Illinois Campus on November 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Speakers representing the Graduate Employees' Organization, CU Indivisible, the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Coalition, and other campus groups will talk about how the tuition waiver tax will affect the university.

Representative Rodney Davis has written in favor of retaining tax exemptions for research and teaching assistants' tuition waivers, but he has declared his intent to vote for this bill anyway. One focus of this event will be arming attendees with the resources they need to contact Representative Davis and urge him to vote in the interest of his constituents.

More details about the rally can be found at the rally's facebook page.


shiver magazine curating art show at IMC this Friday

There's a new-ish art project called shiver magazine, which is currently in the early stages of development by some local artists.

Info from their website about the scope of the project:

life is raw.
art should be, too.
shiver mag is a collaborative effort of artists and poets and those who feel their way through life

They're curating an free art show at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center on Friday, November 17th from 6-9 p.m. Check out the information from the Facebook event (linked above) for the details:

Shiver mag is a collaborative effort of artists and poets. We're having our first art show at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center on Friday, Nov 17. Come see and purchase great local art, talk to us about our upcoming launch, or just hang out! All proceeds go towards printing our fall/winter magazine which will be available soon! **There will also be drinks and snacks**


Gift drive for Cunningham Children’s Home happening now until December 8th

First Federal is making it easier to give back this year by hosting Christmas for Cunningham, a gift drive to support the Cunningham Children's Home. The home helps children with serious emotional and behavioral challenges caused from neglect, abuse, mental illness, and more.

The drive will be held from now until December 8th.

Donations can be made three ways: 

  1. Money Donations can be dropped off at either the Neil Street or Urbana branch. Money donations will be used to purchase gift cards. 
  2. Toys and gifts can be bought from the wish list (see below), and dropped off new and unwrapped to either location. 
  3. Gift cards can be purchased from the wish list and also dropped off. 

Everyone who donates will receive a thank you gift from the bank.