Monday, June 12, 2006

Wearing A Coat In June... Talkin' Weeklies

What's with the cold snap? I could easily confuse this for a late September day, but not one in mid-June. Seriously, Mother Nature, I appreciate the help on AC, but it's time to crack the upper 70's already.

At any rate, Chuck Koplinski said twelve words to Jennifer Aniston and it makes the front page of The Hub. A little too much filler for my taste, especially considering we learn little about the actress in the process. I suppose this was a case where the journey was considered more interesting than the destination. Too bad for Ms. Aniston!

Chuck also gives kudos to the new Pixar flick, "Cars," which will almost certainly be Owen Wilson's (aka The Butterscotch Stallion) best starring role this summer. "You, Me, and Dupree" looks pretty insipid.

From the Hub's Community Calendar, we find a free demonstration on "How To Make A Duct Tape Wallet" on Tuesday, June 13 from 3:30-4:30PM at the Champaign Public Library. Good tips for people who find their money getting into sticky situations, I suppose.

The Buzz brings us a fluff piece on The Blind Pig Pub. Sorry, but I'll be skipping the Ploughman's Lunch, Mr. Knight. I can cut an apple, some cheese, and a French Loaf all on my own. The beer selection is solid, though, as is the atmosphere. I'll be interested in the new Radio Maria tapas bar across the street, with Tom Sheehan's beer knowledge in full effect.

Buzz Editor Todd Swiss obviously doesn't know Central Illinois very well. While Boardman's Art Theatre is a great place to see international and art films, if were to not exist, the Normal Theater in Normal, IL and the Castle Theatre in Bloomington, IL are but a 45 minute drive away. A little closer than Chicagoland, that's for sure. And since when did Chipotle and Cold Stone Creamery reign supreme in CU? The last time I checked, Labamba's (with two locations in CU) and Jarling's Custard cup have a vastly larger following than either of those two establishments. Not to mention the fact that there are more than enough local pizza establishments to satiate any local citizen; Papa Del's, Garcia's, Zelma's... and a host of others. Local tastes "reign supreme" in CU, from fine to casual dining, Todd. Silver Creek, Kennedy's, Great Impasta, Bacaro, Jim Gould, Ko-Fusion, Jupiters, Farren's, Cowboy Monkey, Guido's, Esquire, Tracks, The Original House of Pancakes (not to be confused with the International one in Campustown), Miko, Dos Reales, Great Harvest Bread Company, Hickory River Smokehouse, Peking Garden, Margarita's, and many more are here on top of the few places you mentioned in your column. I rest my case.

Fortunately for Mr. Swiss, Mike Coulter comes in to save the day with a breezy column about "the summer trifecta" of music, drinking, and baseball. Regular readers of his column probably could have predicted those three without a prompt, but Coulter gives us some of the subtle nuances of those three relating to the all to fleeting season of summer here in the Midwest. While he reccomends Rhett Miller's fine solo album,"Instigator," I'll up the ante and offer the Old 97's "Too Far To Care." The Champaign Of Blogs prefers margaritas to mojitos, and anyone but the Cardinals or the Yankees in baseball. I think there is actually one more summer piece that he's missing; grilling out! While it can technically be done any time of year, no time is more prevalent for doing it than the summer.

Seth Fein starts a three part series on hating Champaign-Urbana. His first target? The U of I. From the seemingly self-absorbed students, the state of Campustown hang-outs, the Chief issue, and the lack of student leadership in the U of I's entertainment committee, Star Course, Seth finds his Alma Mater in a sad state. Let's play devil's advocate for a minute. It truly is depressing that the Red Lion and Mabel's are gone, but would they still be supported in the same way if they were here? It's hard to predict. Bar owners have a need to skew their establishments towards the desires of their customers and the ability to pad their bottom line. If they're already filling the coffers without paying a band, then what's their incentive? Joe's Brewery and The White Horse do well with live acts, however, but don't really have the space to pull off the bigger acts. Star Course having a consultant isn't such a strange occurance. The fact that they have a budget and are limited to that amount (plus whatever profits they make from shows) to book bands with the whole year could be a bit daunting to students with little to no experience in the music business. This is their learning ground, not the offices of Jam Productions. Also, don't forget that the U of I's student-run booking of the Courtyard Cafe has had some great shows over the years on a smaller budget. I'm not sure why there aren't more war protests on campuses like the U of I. I'd also expect some of the nation's best and brightest to stand up and say something about their peers who are putting their lives on the line in Iraq. That truly is upsetting, and there's really no defending it. However, why aren't more people protesting in general? The most I see is the group each Saturday afternoon by the One Main building in Champaign. If you're going ask for people to raise their voices, be willing to be there to lead the chants. The difference begins with the person you see in the mirror. What will you do? Rants can help raise awareness, but words don't have the same power without actions backing them up.

Kim Rice and Kate Ruin grace us with a Doin' It Well column discussing online dating. They introduce a good overview of the topic, but this is a subject worthy of further investigation. Perhaps a three-parter about the different sites and ways people use them; from Craigslist and Hot or Not, to E-Harmony and Match, and so on. Just a suggestion.

There's gonna be a celebration of mid 20th century American culture known as Atomic Frolic. Essentially, some rockabilly and lounge bands and DJ's will be performing at the Highdive on July 2nd at 6pm. You can buy tickets online at the Highdive's website or from a number of locations in Champaign, including Exile On Main St.

Finally, following up on the Taste Of Champaign reminder from last week, there are no dogs allowed at this years event. Fido will have to make due with scraps from Famous Dave's when you get home.


At 12:10 PM, June 12, 2006, Blogger Matthew said...

I have to disagree about the Boardman's / Castle / Normal Theatre thing.

Judging by what the columnist says regarding why he doesn't go to the Savoy or the Beverly and instead patrons the Art, I'd have to say that the Castle doesn't even belong in the same category. I used to live in B-N, and the Castle at the time made a half-hearted attempt to show non-mainstream films, but I'm guessing the market didn't support them, because it soon switched to showing more mainstream fare (for example, the Robin William turd "R.V." just had an exclusive engagement there). Boardman's it is not.

The Normal Theatre is better. It at least shows the occasional art film. But "occasional" is the primary word there. It oscillates between old films and art house fare. There's nothing wrong with old movies, but it's just not a consistent maqrquee at the Normal. And their screenings are very limited. No one in B-N is doing what the Art Theatre is. And we should rightly single them out for being so awesome and above board (no pun intended).

Actually, what threw me about the column was how it started about being centered around Boardman's, but then suddenly segued into a Virginia Theatre lovefest.

At 12:17 PM, June 12, 2006, Blogger greymatter said...

I used to live in B-N as well. The fact is, Matt, that the Normal Theater DOES show both older films and foreign films. They may not be the same titles as Boardman's, but it is an example of a nice, relatively close theater doing these things. Todd Swiss was saying that the closest example was Chicago, and that's not true. Hence, my point. Regardless of the total frequency in comparison to Boardmans, the Castle and Normal theaters are doing these things, and it's worth noting.

At 1:04 PM, June 12, 2006, Blogger Don Gerard said...

Holy Crapoly...Now THAT is what I call a blog entry. Nice work.

At 2:07 PM, June 12, 2006, Blogger Matthew said...

"... Regardless of the total frequency in comparison to Boardmans, the Castle and Normal theaters are doing these things..."

For the sake of not getting into a nitpick about it, I'll grant you the Normal Theatre. But the Castle? No way. Right not it's showing Over the Hedge, and coming next is Garfield. Um, ok...

Whatever your opinion of its scheduling, it can be safely said that the Castle is not in the same league as what the Art is trying to do, and what the Normal does on ocassion.

That's all I'm saying.

And I agree with you about the Koplinski piece, and the Ploughman's Lunch at Bling Pig. BP is an awesome bar/pub, though.

At 4:45 PM, June 14, 2006, Anonymous C. said...

Todd Swiss fired me his first week as an editor. At least he doesn't think that there is a White Castle in town like the last head editor, Paul what's-his-face.

I'm not sure if Starcourse works the same way, but I know that shows booked by the Illini Union concert committee don't get the proceeds from the shows they organize added to their budget. It just goes to the big black university hole.

At 6:43 PM, July 08, 2006, Blogger JadeEJF said...

So... what would you like to see the weeklies write about? *curious*


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