The November 2021 arts calendar is chock full of things to be grateful for. From November Dance to the Festival of Writers, November offers up to explore and be inspired by gravity defying movement and groundbreaking ideas. With so many significant events slated for this month, this writer struggled to limit this list to five. So stay tuned to upcoming arts section reviews, interviews, and SPlogs for even more proof that the C-U arts scene is back and as vibrant as grove of trees in autumn. For now, grab your calendar and get ready to sign on for five fantastic fall arts even you definitely won't want to miss.


Origin Story

Face in side view facing left in front of a watery pink and blue background. Photo from the KCPA Facebook page.
Photo from Krannert Center for Performing Arts Facebook page.

The arrival of Origin Story illustrates yet another example of Krannert Center's focus on emerging artists and broadening our notions of American theatre and American experiences. Written by Illinois Theatre grad Nathan Alan Davis, Origin Story explores "the struggles and joys of Margaret, a young millennial working two jobs to pay off her student debt." The production, directed by the extraordinary Lisa Gaye Dixon, "looks at the phenomenon of “quarter-life” crisis, without pulling punches, and without cynicism or naivete." Get your tickets and you can say you were there for this Midwest premier of Origin Story.  Origin Story contains adult content. 

Origin Story
November 5th & 5th, 9th-12th, 7:30 p.m.
November 13th, 2 p.m.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Colwell Playhouse
500 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana
Get ticket information here

Artist Talk: Casey Noonan

Casey Noon, Lady Dumpster Walking into White Rabbit, February 2020. Photography courtesy of the artist.
Casey Noon, Lady Dumpster Walking into White Rabbit, February 2020. Photography courtesy of the artist. 

For those interested in the iconic work of photographer Hal Fischer, here's a chance to enjoy a deeper dive. Artist Casey Noonan will be on hand (both in person and live on Zoom) to offer his response to Krannert Art Museum's current exhibition Hal Fischer Photographs: Seriality, Sexuality, Semiotics. Noonan is "nterested in the subcultures of punk, drag, noise, and food." Since 2017, Noonan has "documented a burgeoning avant-garde drag scene in Indianapolis which centered on the queer dance party, Low Pone. " Along with Taylor Rose, a writer and Noonan's creative partner for the project, co-created Crashing Through THhe Front Door, " " book of photography, essays, and interviews."

Artist Talk: Casey Noonan
November 11th, 5:30 p.m.
Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody Dr, Urbana
Also available to view live on Zoom.
Free, registration required

November Dance

Female dancer in white leotard kneeling against a white backdrop. Photo from KCPA Facebook page.
Image (cropped) from Krannert Center for Performing Arts Facebook page.

As Dance at Illinois' graduate student showcase, November Dance embodies years of training and creative investigation and expression. It is also my go to event for experiencing the latest directions in dance performance. This November's event promises this and more. Award-winning choreographer, and George A. Miller Visiting Artist Donald Byrd will "recreate his dazzling work "Love" on Dance at Illinois students" which is "set to the elegant Cello Suites by Benjamin Britten." Byrd will return to KCPA with his Spectrum Dance Theatre in February 2022 to present "Strange Fruit." 

Also on the program are Anna Sapozhnikov, Dance at Illinois alumna (MFA ’02) and artistic director of her company Moyamo Dance,  whose work investigates "the traditional Russian family structure within the 21st century as inspired by legendary Ballet Russes choreographer Bronislava Nijinska’s signature work Les Noces." Jakki Kalogridis (MFA ’22) has created a work for "first-year Dance at Illinois students exploring complex polyrhythmic relationships between the auditory and the visual. Playful and evocative, it confronts assumptions we harbor about virtuosity, presenting the true challenge as one dependent more on association and less on individual elements." And Jacob Henss (MFA ’22) will present his thesis choreography "Harbored Weight,"which "spans a plethora of content from death rituals to remnants of club artifacts, sharing space in a montage of visual references and ephemeral movement." Novemver Dance, which can also be enjoyed as a virtual experience (see below)  may contain adult content.

November Dance
November 11th-November 13th
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin, Urbana
Also available to view live on Zoom
November 10th-29th
Gert ticket information here

Festival of Writers

Three photos in a row, Jericho Brown, Roxane Gay, and Tracy K Smith. Photos from the Festival of Writers/U of I Humanities Research Institute Facebook page.
Photo from the Humanities Research Institute Facebook page.

Celebrated as "a series of conversations in Urbana, Chicago and Springfield with some of the nation’s leading creative writers and authors," The Festival of Writers was initally launced in February 2020, but moved to virtual events in 2021 as a result of COVID. This month's line-up, featuring Jericho Brown, Roxane Gay, and Tracy K. Smith, will return to its original in-person format. Though only clocking in a 48-hours, Festival of Writers, is packed with opportunities to hear these esteemed writers read and take questions. Best of all, tickets are free.

Festival of Writers
November 12th & 13th
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin, Urbana
Free tickets available online
See the festival website for specific reading and discussion times

Crafts League of Champaign-Urbana Art Show

Photo of 5 small handmade ceramic bowls. Photo from the Craft League of Champaign-Urbana Facebook page.
Photo from the Craft League of Champaign-Urbana Facebook page.

The Craft League of Champaign-Urbana returns for its 38th annual art show featuring basketry, ceramics, glass, fiber, jewelry, painting/printmaking, photography, and woodworking. Featured artists and makers include, Howard Karl Schein, Jill Miller of Hooey Batiks, Fabrikate, Matt Urban, Gary Beaumont, and many more. Check out the Craft League's Facebook page for sneak peeks from participating artists. Consider shopping local artists and makers whose wor, by the way,  at all impacted by ongoing shipping container concerns. And be sure to note the fair's new location in Savoy.

Craft League of Champaign-Urbana Art Show
November 13th, 10 a.m-5 p.m.
Novemvber 4th, 11 a.m-4 p.m.
Savoy Recreation Center
402 W Graham Dr, Savoy