Category: Word

There’s a new burger joint on campus called Howdy Burger

Though a few days have passed since news broke that Howdy Burger would be setting up shop in Campustown, I caught a glimpse of one of their burgs on their Instagram today, so I had to post about it here.

The new burger joint opened up at 625 E. Green Street, and if the burgers look like they do above, I will need to get myself in there ASAP because that looks delish. We tend to talk a lot about burgers here on SP, check out the Top 8 list from last year.

Top photo from Howdy Burger's Instagram


Phoenix Botanical is offering a workshop on medical cannabis next week

What's the deal with medical cannabis? Well, you can find out next week by attending Phoenix Botanical's workshop at the Champaign Public Library. It will be on January 24th from 8 to 9 p.m., and it's free and open to the public. 

You'll find out more about why people choose medical cannabis, what the benefits are, and have the opportunity to hear some success stories.


Parkland’s CobraVenture accelerator has chosen 10 student startups

This is the pilot program for CobraVenture, and it is bringing a range of students from various academic programs to start work on businesses they hope to launch while still in school. According to the press release:

Part of the Parkland Entrepreneurial Network (PEN), the CobraVenture program provides students with an avenue for networking and business mentorship. The semester-long accelerator will feature a collaborative workspace, topics taught by local serial entrepreneurs, and one-on-one guidance with business mentors.

Participants will have the chance to bring their business ideas to fruition by competing for up to $3,000 in seed money in CobraVenture's capstone Pitch Showcase this May, along with opportunities to raise even more capital as their pitches impress area leaders.

Here are the students/businesses that will be a part of this first cohort:

Dylan Taylor, Good Game and Food
Laura LaBaugh, Handmade Bridal Veils
Mitchell Thompsen, Vanguard Drone Services
Giscard Roland, Screenboard LLC
Nichole Pearson, Medical Rides
Preston Richardson, The Helping Hand Company
James Buhr, Brace and Byte Woodworks
Gayle McDonald, PS 31 Productions
Elizabeth Allen, Vinyl Record Press
Samy Mackey, Samy's Food

Photo by Sam Logan


Illinois grad students meet up to bond over art

Kudos to the University of Illinois Graduate Student Society for celebrating the power of art to bring people together. This afternoon's Start Spring with Art: Interactive Tour event promises to be a perfect blend of social interaction and creative engagement. 

Students will meet at the Krannert Art Museum location of Espresso Royale at 4 p.m., then begin the hour-long tour. The group will then return to Espresso Royale for post-tour conversation. KAM staff know the importance of interactive learning and have designed an experience that incorporates activities, trivia (with prizes) and plenty of opportunities to engage with fellow students while reacting to and analyzing a wide range of art work. 

Grad school is hard and it can feel isolating. An event that brings together students from various disciplines in a fun, creative environment can go along way towards changing that.  Keep up the good work, GSS.  Can't wait to see what you do next. 

Start Spring with Art: Interactive Tour
January 17th, 4 to 7 p.m.
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody Dr., Champaign

Interested graduate students can register for the tour here.

Photo from the Krannert Art Museum Facebook page. 


Smile Politely seeking Culture writers

Our culture section attempts to capture the essence of C-U. We write about the people, places, and events that make this community a pretty awesome place to live.

We're looking for some writers for this particular section, and in order for this to really work, you must have at least a mild grasp on the world outside of Champaign-Urbana, yet also be able to keep up with what's happening locally, and preferably be able to tie the two together.

This section is great because we can cover a bit of anything and everything, and whether you are more of a niche writer or one that is open to a wide swath of topics, this could be a place for you.

If this sounds like something you're interested in, fire an email off to


Defy Gravity is moving to Lincoln Square Mall in February

Defy Gravity is a Pole Fitness and Aerial Arts Studio that's existed in Champaign at 24 E. Green for a handful of years now, and they have announced they're moving their studio to Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. It appears there's going to be something taking over that whole area (a new development, I'd imagine) so they are on the move.

They aren't the only new spot at Lincoln Square Mall in the last handful of months: The IDEA Store moved over there last year, though for different reasons than Defy Gravity.

Here's their announcement on Facebook:

Top photo from Defy Gravity's Facebook page


Pour Bros. will feature Illinois brews the first weekend of February

For their event The Land of Drinkin' (see what they did there), Pour Bros. Craft Taproom will be featuring beers that have been crafted right here in our state. 

From their Facebook event:

Four score and seven beers ago, we created a beer spectacle called The Land of Drinkin'. This event features highly sought after and hard to get brews from breweries near and far across the great state of Illinois!

The event kicks off at noon on Friday, February 1st. Stay tuned to the event page for updates on what beers they will be tapping.

Photo by Jessica Hammie


Smile Politely now seeking Music Editor

We're looking for a Music Editor here at Smile Politely. While being an Editor involves actual editing of content — this position requires much more of a producer mindset than straight-forward copy editing. 

Some components of being an Editor at Smile Politely include, but aren't limited to:

  • Putting together The Overture weekly
  • Curating the section each week and producing content of your own as well as writers
  • Interested and in-tune with the music scene in C-U, in multiple genres, for a comprehensive knowledge of the landscape
  • Recruiting writers to contribute to the section, as well as the magazine on the whole
  • Contributing to the SPlog each week, posting about a variety of subjects relevant to Champaign-Urbana
  • Contributing to the Weekender each week

There's a little bit of money on the table as an Editor, but the best candidates are ones that are engaged with the local music community, interested in perpetutating this component of C-U's culture within the magazine, recruiting writers, and one generally excited to be involved with the magazine as a community journalism project.

If you're interested, please email us at with the subject "Music Editor Applicant", as well as any relevant information about yourself, a resume, and any writing samples you might have. If you don't have writing samples, that's totally OK too.

Thanks for taking the time!


Crudo is adding American Mondays to their weekly events

Crudo Wine Bar is adding to their weekly events which include French Tuesdays and Thursday tastings. The first American Monday will feature bourbon and rye from Whiskey Acres in Dekalb — I've recently been introduced to these and they've become a go to — and they will also have Duckhorn's 2014 Cabernet, which is typically only available in California. 

Now you have an excuse to have a little fun on a Monday evening.

Crudo Wine Bar
116 N Walnut
M-Th 5 p.m.-midnight
F-Sa 5 p.m.-2 a.m.


Station Theatre holding auditions for Stupid xxxxxx Bird!

Attention local actors! The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre will be holding auditions for Stupid xxxxxx Bird! on Sunday, January 20 from 1 to 3:30 pm. 

Written by Aaron Posner, Stupid xxxxxx Bird!  will be directed by Kay Holley. Sides for cold readings will be available at the audition, so there is no need to prepare a monologue. 

Production notes, taken directly from the Facebook event, are as follows:

Stupid F#cking Bird is a sort of adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull

Dev suffers from an unrequited love for Mash, who composes cleverly despairing songs on the ukulele. Mash is desperately in love with Con, a passionate playwright who is deeply in love with Nina, his beautiful, vibrant muse, and childhood friend. Nina returns his love until she becomes entranced by Trig, a literary star who happens to be the lover of Con’s mother Emma, a successful actress. With a dead bird, a gun, and a little help from the audience, Con might be able to win Nina’s heart again...

In this edgy, funny, and compassionate reboot of Anton Chekhov’s famous play, The Seagull, Aaron Posner has created a hilarious and moving meditation on love, art, life, and the world we live in.

Dev: male, age 20s-40  Con’s best friend. Very nice guy, funny. Totally in love with Mash.

Mash: female, age 20s-40; Cook for Emma and Con. Cleverly dour, singer of songs of ennui and sadness. In love with Con. Plays ukulele.

Sorn: male, age 50s-60s Emma’s brother. Sweet and thoughtful, if sometimes sad.

Stage Manager

Check the audition event on Facebook for additional information about rehearsals and other scheduling commitments. 

Auditions for Stupid xxxxxx Bird!
January 20, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre
223 N. Broadway,  Urbana

Photo from Facebook