Calendar du C-U: Oct. 31-Nov. 6

October 31st, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/31/14-11/6/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday to Sunday, November 2: Sam Carmichael (producer, DIVERSION) … Monday, November 3: Wes Melton (actor, FINDING VIRGINIA) … celebrate!

Today Friday, October 31, 2014: Thanks to a resolution sponsored by representative Kay Hatcher, the Illinois General Assembly has decreed today Svengoolie/Rich Koz Day” in the state of Illinois. The veteran entertainer will make several media and personal appearances in celebration, while his (presumably prerecorded) alter ego appears all day long on national cable network MeTV. Also, props and ephemera from his long-running B-movie program (1979-1986 on WFLD-TV 32, 1995-present on WCIU-TV 26/MeTV) recently went on display in Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. We hope that Koz can hear our downstate “Hip, hip, hooray!” Why this matters

15 Years AgoFriday, October 29, 1999: After more than a year of development, networking, and production, the first print issue of MICRO-FILM magazine is introduced on opening night of the third annual Freaky Film Festival at the New Art Theater in downtown Champaign, Illinois. It means, among several conclusions one can draw, your humble editor has been at it for a third of his lifetime. The mind, it now boggles… Why this matters, too


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: LISTEN UP PHILIP (10/31 on), MY OLD LADY (11/1-11/5), Late Night: Shocktober feat. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (10/31, 11/1, 11:59 p.m., w/shadow cast; 11/6, 10 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/31, 7 p.m., free)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL: Champaign Screenwriters meeting (11/5, 6:30 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (11/6, 8 p.m.)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: DELIVER US FROM EVIL, BEGIN AGAIN, CHILD OF GOD, WISH I WAS HERE, MOEBIUS, LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, LFO, BENEATH, A LETTER TO MOMO, THE PRINCE, FEDORA (Olive), THE VANISHING (Criterion), more! (10/28 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THE BEST OF ME, ST. VINCENT, THE JUDGE (10/31 on), “Spookapalooza: The Return of the Houdini Séance” feat. Troy Taylor & April Slaughter (10/31, 10 p.m.)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986; 10/30, 7 p.m.), THE EXORCIST (10/31, 7 p.m.), GHOSTBUSTERS (11/1, 11/2, 7 p.m.)

@ Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount, IL: 5th annual Freeky Creek Short Film Festival* (10/30-11/1)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: OUIJA, FURY, ST. VINCENT, MARY POPPINS (10/31 on), INTERSTELLAR (11/6, 8 p.m.)

@ Effingham Performance Center, Effingham, IL: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (10/31, 10 p.m.)

@ Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL: 10th annual Embarras Valley Film Festival (11/6-11/9

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (10/31-11/2, 11/5)

@ Heroic Age Art Center, Mt. Zion, IL: Central Illinois Film Commission presents “Filmmaking 101” panels (11/1, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: DOLPHIN TALE 2 (10/31-11/2)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. DELIVER US FROM EVIL (10/31-11/2)

@ Landmark Century Centre Cinema, etc., Chicago, IL: Midwest Independent Film Festival hosts the 5th annual Advertising Community Shorts Night, presented by AICP Midwest (11/4, 6 p.m.)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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ZINED! of old is D.I.Y. zen today

October 29th, 2014

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the debut of MICRO-FILM, we’d like to share an excerpt from that first issue as well as related food for thought about the worth and place of independently made media, particularly of the print and self-created variety, in our world today. Themes discussed below, drawn from both the video explored in the excerpt and an event attended by your humble editor at Eastern Illinois University in the spring, will reoccur in additional material we plan to publish in the coming months. Enjoy!

Almost two years ago, esoteric renaissance artist Cory McAbee (CRAZY & THIEF, STINGRAY SAM) paid a welcome visit to Champaign-Urbana thanks to the efforts of the Champaign-Urbana Film Society. We at C-U Blogfidential happily marked the appearance by sharing L. Rob Hubbard’s interview with the cult musician about his prior filmmaking ventures, including THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, from MICRO-FILM 5 published in 2002. Flashbacks can be fun when they relate to the here and now in constructive ways.

More recently, yours truly participated in the ‘zine symposium “Cut & Paste at Eastern Illinois University in March, through which enough MF meta emerged to rival our previous sense of déjà vu as personified by McAbee. These reflections inspired a bit more pause then revelry, to be honest, innocently echoing a past when I’d regularly try out various media and technique with giddy abandon as opposed to the present, where methodical discipline and midnight oil fuel my creation. Ahh, the realities of being an adult in the publishing arts…

So, what signals did I pick up on, exactly? For starters, my contribution to the “Cut & Paste” panel partly focused on how I discovered the underground publishing surge of the Nineties, directly leading me to launch MF and then CUBlog. Liz Mason, a Chicago ‘zine maker participating in “C&P” through Skype, regularly stocked MF as a buyer at Quimby’s Bookstore in the Windy City. Dr. David Gracon, an EIU assistant professor in Communications and co-organizer of “C&P,” first made contact with me through MF as a college undergraduate in Buffalo, New York, more than a decade ago. The most overt Ghost of MICRO-FILM Past, however, came in the form of ZINED! A DOCUMENTARY, the screening of which closed the symposium.

One of the initial subjects I wrote about for MF was ZINED! Running as a sidebar to Dr. Steven Bailey’s feature article on independent film journals and Web sites in MICRO-FILM 1, the piece attempted to express the quirky character and self-empowering vibe given off by this glorious underground VHS tape I ordered through the mail from producer Marc Moscato. ZINED! introduced me to the idiosyncratic print media of Gracon and two dozen other individuals, primarily based in the upper East Coast and contiguous Canada, while touching upon base concerns of the subculture. My much younger self found veracity and vigor in those voices speaking to him from afar in a program so lovably rough around the edges as this one.

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Eek! No rest from the flickers!

October 27th, 2014

Heck yes, we’re enjoying this awesome autumn weather! You too? Great. We now advise you to not get comfortable out there. Just look at our exclusive Calendar, people of cinema, it’s loaded with plenty of ooky delights that will tempt you indoors between now and Halloween this Friday, October 31. (“Oooooh,” you squeal in mock fright.) We also remind you that chilling Champaign, unnerving Urbana, and the dreadful cities beyond offer unique viewing options at this time of year in addition to the horrific. (“Aaaaah,” you nod in pensive acknowledgment.) Oh, please. See the recent drop in gas prices? We say it’s a sign encouraging you to haunt venues not necessarily close to home. A slightly scary proposition, we know, but there is only one true way to vanquish those fears, dudes … simply try ‘em!

Posting close to the bone, we won’t claw through all the upcoming shows and mainly remind you “The Pack” is descending upon our central Illinois moors once again, four niche film festivals taking place within a two-week span and 100-mile radius of the C-U. As in 2013, the first up is Freeky Creek Short Film Festival at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Oakwood, a “dark and darkly funny” entrée served with a side of performance art lunacy, from Thursday, October 30, to Saturday, November 1; contact them immediately since seating is reserved and limited. Then, we jump a weekend to when the remainder run simultaneously. (Don’t ask. We still don’t get it.) World cinema of all genres will play the Route 66 International Film Festival at the Capital City Bar & Grill in downtown Springfield on the evening of Friday, November 7, and all day Sunday, November 8. Those still hankering for indie horror can sup on the Drunken Zombie Film Festival at Landmark Cinemas in Peoria, also November 7 and 8. Entertainment legend Dick Van Dyke will be the common denominator in the screenings and panels comprising the Embarras Valley Film Festival at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, lasting from Thursday, November 6, to Sunday, November 9. Is your head now spinning like Linda Blair?

Don’t scroll that screen, however, for we haven’t yet exorcised all your options! Bonuses lie in wait for folks who might wish to partake in behind-the-scenes film activities. One is the new “Filmmaking 101” conference at the Heroic Age Art Center in Mt. Zion, near Decatur, on Saturday, November 1, organized by the Central Illinois Film Commission of Springfield. The other is the quarterly Champaign Screenwriters gathering at the Champaign Public Library on Wednesday, November 5, 6:30 p.m., sponsored by Champaign Movie Makers. Both groups should hold their respective monthly meetings in mid-November as well, although we can’t confirm topics as of this writing. To conclude our tour, we cast a medley spell ensuring you will enjoy whichever events you partake in! After all, you can sleep when you’re dead (tired).

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Calendar du C-U: October 24-30

October 24th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/24/14-10/30/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSaturday, October 25: Becca Whitaker (cartoonist, Bachelor Pad Magazine) … Tuesday, October 28: Molly Fosdick (member, Central Illinois Film Commission) … Wednesday, October 29: Montgomery Joyce (cover model, C-U Confidential #5 & #7) … Thursday, October 30: Michael Murphy (actor, WEREWOLF CEMETERY) … celebrate!

20 Years AgoFriday, October 21, 1994: Following early-bird reviews by The New York Times‘ Caryn James and The Los Angeles Times‘ Kenneth Turan, The Chicago Sun-Times would print Roger Ebert’s ecstatic vote of confidence in the documentary HOOP DREAMS, a Chicago-based production about two inner-city high school students banking on college basketball careers as a step towards the proverbial “way out.” His persistent support of this film famously hit a crescendo when the movie critic cried foul over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences overlooking it in both the “best picture” and “best documentary” Oscar categories. HOOP DREAMS director Steve James would ultimately return the favor with his work on the Ebert documentary LIFE ITSELF, currently in release.


LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

SPACE NINJA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE* U.S. DVD release: Friday, 10/24, via Neon Harbor Entertainment, Champaign, IL


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (10/24 on), KILL THE MESSENGER (10/24-10/26, 10/29, 10/30), Brilliant Corners Film Series 004: OTHELLO (1955; 10/27, 7:30 p.m.), Champaign Surplus, Fisheries Conservation Foundation, Patagonia, and Prairie Rivers Network present DAMNATION (10/28, 7:30 p.m.), Late Night: Shocktober feat. HALLOWEEN (1978; 10/24, 10/25, 10/30, 10 p.m.), TRICK ‘R TREAT (10/24, 11:59 p.m.), three mystery films (10/24, overnight after TRT), and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD w/live accompaniment by the Andrew Alden Ensemble (1968; 10/29, 10 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: “Zombie Film Festival” feat. DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004; 10/24, 7 p.m.), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968; 10/25, 1 & 7 p.m.); The News-Gazette Film Series presents the 2nd annual “5 Nights of Hitch!” Alfred Hitchcock festival feat. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (10/27, 7 & 10 p.m.), DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954; 10/28, 7 & 10 p.m.), THE 39 STEPS (1935; 10/29, 7 & 10 p.m.), REAR WINDOW (1954; 10/30, 7 & 10 p.m.), THE BIRDS (10/31, 7 & 10 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. GET ON UP (10/24, 7 p.m., free)

@ Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company offices, 608 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana, IL: “Costumes, Props & Curiosities” sale (10/26, 12-6 p.m., (217) 344-2884)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/30, 8 p.m.)

@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL: KAM presents GALLIPOLI (10/30, 7 p.m., free)

@ Gelvin Noel Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Sudden Sound Concert Series presents film, SANGUIVOROUS (KYUKETSU, Japan, 2011), w/live jazz accompaniment by Tatsuya Nakatani and Edward Wilkerson, Jr. (10/30, 7:30 p.m., free)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (through 12/13)

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (through 11/29)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: THE PURGE: ANARCHY, SEX TAPE, EARTH TO ECHO, SNOWPIERCER, LE CHEF, THE FLUFFY MOVIE, LIFE AFTER BETH, LA DOLCE VITA (Criterion Blu), F FOR FAKE (Criterion Blu), MAD MEN (s7 p1), more! (10/21 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: ST. VINCENT, THE BOOK OF LIFE, THE JUDGE (10/24 on), THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW w/shadow cast (10/24, 10/25, Midnight)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: ARGO (10/23, 10/26, 7 p.m.), LIFE ITSELF* (10/24, 10/25, 7 p.m.), THE NUT JOB (10/25, 1 p.m., free)

@ Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, Bloomington, IL: NOSFERATU (1922) w/live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott (10/28, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: GONE GIRL, THE DROP, ANNABELLE, THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/24-10/25)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: OUIJA, THE BEST OF ME, THE BOOK OF LIFE (3-D & 2-D), ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (10/24 on), THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (10/24, 10/25, 10:45 p.m., incl. prop bag!)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE BOOK OF LIFE (10/24 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: IF I STAY (10/24-10/26), HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (10/25, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. EDGE OF TOMORROW (10/24-10/26)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: “Fright Nights” feat. HALLOWEEN (1978), GHOSTBUSTERS (10/24-10/25)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the weekend!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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Will VSD save the video star?

October 18th, 2014

Due to timely topics and sweet editorial moves, this has been a prime week on C-U Blogfidential to drench our writings with buckets of love for the traditional movie culture outlets remaining in Champaign-Urbana, such as the Orpheum and Art theaters. It turns out we’re not quite finished gushing those sentiments, dearest readers! All day today, Saturday, October 18, is the fourth annual International Independent Video Store Day, or VSD, founded by the owners of Eyesore Cinema in Toronto as a would-be movement to rally around brick-and-mortar rental shops the world over. Let’s tune out the mainstream rhetoric of a physical media industry on the brink and give our favorite Internet and video-on-demand services a rest, opting instead to engage in some neighborly conversation, meditative browsing, and unabashed localism with a trip to That’s Rentertainment, 516 E. John St., in Campustown. Owner and resident cycling fanatic Geoff Merritt will have the TR staff ready to join in VSD solidarity for the first time by offering the following specials to customers, per their Web site:

Special Deal #6: Rent any two films, get a third rental free!

Special Deal #5: Two-for-one used DVDs … no limit! Used discs are usually $5 each or $20 for five; Saturday, they’ll be $5 for two or $20 for 10.

Special Deal #4: 20% off all bicycle stuff! Locks, lights, tubes … all of it.

Special Deal #3: Late fee amnesty! Got a late fee? Pay half of it today and we’ll delete the rest.

Special Deal #2: 20% off any gift certificate worth $25 or more; the certificate cannot be used on Video Store Day, but would make an awesome gift for a loved one in the future.

Special Deal #1: 20% off any Renters-Block! Already have one? Why not get another, or, one for a friend!

We trust those venturing to TR will spend a few quality moments taking in the deepness of their library as well as contemplating how valuable it is on numerous levels. Let’s be humbled such a resource has been available to this community for nearly 30 years, particularly if one has read any of the horror stories linked on the official VSD site, Facebook, or Twitter about mom-and-pop shops continuing to vanish, even in a Blockbuster Video-free era, thanks to indifferent consumers and big city gentrification. It will be interesting to see if VSD participants can collectively engineer any sort of qualitative revival as its obvious inspiration, the springtime Record Store Day, has helped do for independent music stores and labels. We also wonder how merchandising could eventually play a part outside of VSD-specific swag, considering no consumer video product that is still easy to play – Blu-ray, DVD, laserdisc, and VHS in particular – has the long-standing reputation, collectability, and hipster approval of the almighty vinyl LP, whether new or used.

Sure, we understand things change – or, as a wise Buggle once sang, “We can’t rewind / We’ve gone too far” – yet we’re honestly mystified over how instant touch-screen access to limited film collections is increasingly preferred by the modern consumer over the satisfying, tactile discovery of a title in the most unlikely reaches of the neighborhood home video emporium. Video Store Day is a good day to grow back that cinematic backbone, people of C-U, by checking out a selection or two from That’s Rentertainment.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Your humble editor is itching to throw down some Confidential magic during next year’s VSD. Pay close attention to our upcoming interviews and features for hints on what he has in mind!

p.s.2 We may have to eventually eat crow on that VHS comment, given topics to be covered in some of that very same content. Yum, yum!

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IOW: A very merry un-NAFF-day!

October 17th, 2014

Oh, the time, how it flies … away in a big hurry, especially at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters! We’ve been editing and writing so constantly these past few months – including a good handful of articles and columns we have in store for you by year’s end – the halfway point on the calendar between the last and next New Art Film Festival managed to sneak up on us this week. To mark the occasion, we’re sharing a partial photo set the awesome and talented Dora Valkanova shot for us during the fifth annual NAFF at the Art Theater Co-op way back on April 13. Feel free to hover your cursor over these images to learn who is who, even though it spoils nothing to flat-out tell Luke Boyce, Andrew Gleason, Griffin Hammond, Brett Hays, Chris and Anne Lukeman, Tim Meyers, Thomas Nicol, Oliver Peng, Matt Shivers, Christopher Sotelo, Andrew Stengele, Jonathan Ward, and the indomitable Z they are present and accounted for! Also, this might be the first time C-U Blogfidential has revealed what the interior of our beloved Art looks like; the group portrait above uses that all-important silver screen as a backdrop while the lobby picture below clearly shows the celebrity mural commissioned by previous owner Greg Boardman. (His successor, Sanford Hess, is standing outside.) In the remainder you can spot various related artifacts: a streetscape featuring the Art’s unmistakable marquee, the corner of a promotional poster for The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years, and the NAFF ’14 one-sheet drawn up by the ThirdSide agency. Did we ever mention we absolutely dig having the Art within walking distance of MFHQ? No? Shame on us, then.

Look for these and other good-to-great snaps to finally reach our Facebook page next week. We’ll also gift you a second dose of the Art on CUBlog in November, depicting its exterior at various stops on the Champaign-Urbana timeline of the past two decades. Finally, as far as our next go-round tripping the light NAFFtastic … guess we only have six months left to get on that one, don’t we?

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Nothing should be stopping you from visiting the Art during the absence of NAFF. Go see KILL THE MESSENGER and/or THE EXORCIST, beginning at 5 p.m. tonight!

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Calendar du C-U: October 17-23

October 17th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/17/14-10/23/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, October 17: Maggie Gottlieb (actress, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE 1970s) … Saturday, October 18: Sasan Shabrou (publicist, Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival) … Wednesday, October 22: Bob Dignan (cover model, C-U Confidential #5), John May (filmmaker, CASTLE ASSHOLE ‘99) … Thursday, October 23: Jennifer Bechtel (director, SCARY NORMAL), Blake Stubbs (actor, THE TRANSIENT) … celebrate!

100 Years AgoMonday, October 19, 1914: Owners of the brand-new New Orpheum Theatre in downtown Champaign open for business according to the Urbana Courier-Herald; entertainment scheduled for 7:30 and 9 p.m. shows includes “five high-class vaudeville acts,” an “enlarged orchestra,” and “special exclusive photo plays” per a news item and advertisement in that day’s edition. Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp after the Royal Opera theater within the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France, the building now houses the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum.


LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

SPACE NINJA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE* U.S. DVD release: Friday, 10/24, via Neon Harbor Entertainment, Champaign, IL


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: KILL THE MESSENGER (10/17 on), Late Night: Shocktober feat. THE EXORCIST (10/17, 10/18, 10/23, 10 p.m.) and CANDYMAN (10/22, 10 p.m.)

@ East Gallery, Krannert Art Museum, FAA, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Opening of “Global Groove 1973/2012” video art exhibition (10/17, 8:30 a.m.; runs through 12/13) Information

@ Figure One, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Opening of “Descent into Darkness” multimedia exhibit by Coriana Close (10/17, 5-8 p.m.; runs through 11/29) Interview

@ The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, Champaign, IL: The Orpheum Theatre Centennial Celebration w/performances by Katie Flynn, Illini Contraband, Crash Events (10/18, 6-10 p.m.) Tickets

@ WILL-TV, Campbell Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Post Sound” (10/21, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: “Zombie Film Festival” feat. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (10/21, 10/22, 7 p.m.), DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004; 10/23, 10/24, 7 p.m.), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968; 10/25, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Jean Evans Archives Room (2nd floor), Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL: “Local History & Genealogy Authors Panel” feat. The Art Theater coauthors (10/23, 7 p.m., free)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/23, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, CHINESE PUZZLE, HIMIZU, BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY, WHITEY, EUROCRIME!, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (Criterion), FARGO (s1), PENNY DREADFUL (s1), more! (10/14 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THE BOOK OF LIFE (3-D & 2-D), THE JUDGE, GONE GIRL (10/17 on), BEETLEJUICE (10/17, 10:30 p.m., free), TRICK ‘R TREAT (10/18, 10:30 p.m., free)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: Your Normal LGBT Film Festival 2014 presents THE NEW BLACK (10/15, 7 p.m.), LILTING (10/16, 7 p.m.), TO BE TAKEI (10/17, 7 p.m.), APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (10/18, 7 p.m.), THE WAY HE LOOKS (10/19, 7 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: GONE GIRL, THE DROP, ANNABELLE, THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/17-10/18)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: THE BEST OF ME, THE BOOK OF LIFE (3-D & 2-D), GONE GIRL, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (10/17 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE BOOK OF LIFE (10/17 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (10/17-10/19)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (10/17-10/19)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: GONE GIRL, THE EQUALIZER (10/17-10/18)

@ AMC River East 21, etc., Chicago, IL: 50th annual Chicago International Film Festival (through 10/23)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the weekend!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

Orpheum 100th, lore in spotlight

October 14th, 2014

Without a doubt, Perry C. Morris must be one of the hardest-working cultural stewards living in our fair twin cities! He will prove it handily over the next 10 days during a quartet of appearances at which he will wax ephemeral not only about the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Champaign, which will reach its centenary at the end of the week, but also his book on the neighboring Art Theater.

Morris will become a de facto theater historian-in-residence at the Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St., Urbana, as three of his four events will be hosted there with the first taking place tonight, Tuesday, October 14, 7 p.m., in the second-floor Jean Evans Archives Room. After general business is conducted at the monthly meeting of the Champaign County Genealogical Society, of which Morris is acting president, he will give a presentation titled “100 Years of the Orpheum Theatre.” And tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15, also at 7 p.m. but this time in the ground-floor Lewis Auditorium, Morris will be joined by Joshua Harris, media preservation coordinator at the University of Illinois’ University Library, for a unique show-and-tell called “Champaign County on Film” where they will discuss various artifacts of local significance. (Morris has hinted to C-U Blogfidential that Harris will share vintage footage of the Orpheum at this event.) The latter is part of a new “Town & Gown Speaker Series” sponsored by the Student Life and Culture Archives, UIUC, and the Champaign County Historical Archives, while both are free admission for the general public.

The “main event” of the bunch will jazz it up on Saturday, October 18, when current caretakers – including Morris, who serves as secretary on their board – throw a Twenties-themed “Centennial Celebration” in the auditorium of the Orpheum, 346 N. Neil St., Champaign. Home for the past two decades to the non-profit Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, the space will reflect its former life as a vaudeville and movie house for one night only while guests enjoy dinner, libations, and performances by singer Katie Flynn, the Illini Contraband, and Crash Events. Obviously, this is being staged as a dress-up affair – era-appropriate attire is highly encouraged – and not just a nostalgic reunion show you can crash at any point; tickets are available here for $95/individual, $180/couple, and $500/table for six, with all revenue going towards continued operation of the science museum. For your memory banks, the ornate New Orpheum Theatre first opened for business on October 19, 1914, replacing a previous live venue of the same name, and eventually operated as a dedicated movie palace for many years until its closing in 1986.

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IOW: Assessing the HONORS roll

October 11th, 2014

A lovely cool Saturday to you, dearest readers! Today’s heady Image of the Week offers a few bonus hypotheses that stem from core issues laid down in the center spread of C-U Confidential issue 7 from last fall. So, to begin our complementary brain game, please review the following clip and try to name which Ivy League cornerstone is the setting. You may skip ahead to the 38-second mark, if you wish:

Familiar to students, faculty, and year-round residents in Champaign-Urbana, the main quad of the University of Illinois campus is here seen doubling for another in the collegiate drama WITH HONORS, starring Brendan Fraser (THE MUMMY) as a student attending prestigious Harvard University and Joe Pesci (GOODFELLAS) as an ailing vagrant with a poetic streak living in a boiler room. Producers enlisted UIUC as one of several surrogate sites at which to film scenes not already covered on location at Cambridge, Massachusetts, dressing up the Foellinger Auditorium grounds in May 1993 for a Harvard-set graduation scene. Yet, despite the brief thrill C-U citizens and UI administrators might have felt at the time, knowing (fictionalized) images of the school would eventually be flickering before a nationwide audience’s eyes, does this rate any more than a footnote 20 years later?

Also starring Patrick Dempsey, Moira Kelly, Josh Hamilton, and Gore Vidal, the Warner Bros. release directed by Alex Keshishian (MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE) opened theatrically one full year later on April 29, 1994, to decent earnings and tepid critical reaction. You can reference Rotten Tomatoes for a smattering of the latter but let’s pay attention to what the former might tell us. Box Office Mojo lists a domestic take just north of $20 million for WITH HONORS including a brief perch at the top of the chart with $3.7 million, earned at 1,220 locations during the second weekend of its run. Performing on par with unremarkable numbers logged by the entire filmic field leading up to the summer of that year, launched in mid-May by Mel Gibson and MAVERICK, the Fraser vehicle quickly lost traction. Of the immediate competition, only FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL or THE CROW might spark discussion today.

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Calendar du C-U: October 10-16

October 10th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/10/14-10/16/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSunday, October 12: Chris Folkens (filmmaker, TRIGGER) … Monday, October 13: Brett Hays (line producer, CONSUMED), Alaric Rocha (filmmaker, DEADLY EMBRACE) … Tuesday, October 14: Myles Beeson (photographer, Shatterglass Studios) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: MY OLD LADY (10/10-10/12, 10/15), THE TRIP TO ITALY (10/10-10/13, 10/15-10/16), ALIVE INSIDE (10/12-10/16), Food & Water Watch presents GMO OMG w/discussion (10/14, 7:30 p.m.), Late Night: Shocktober feat. RE-ANIMATOR (10/10, 10/11, 10/16, 10 p.m.) and THE LOST BOYS (10/15, 10 p.m.)

@ Fluid Event Center, Champaign, IL: Immersed in Ink Tattoo Arts and Horror Festival feat. R.A. Mihailoff, Tiffany Shepis (10/10, 2-10 p.m.; 10/11, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; 10/12, 12-8 p.m.) Information

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: Courage Connection (formerly The Center for Women in Transition) presents Sing-a-Long GREASE fundraiser (10/12, 7:30 p.m.)

@ The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL: 40 North 88 West presents the 10th annual ACE Awards* feat. Pens to Lens (10/14, 5:30 p.m.)

@ Jean Evans Archives Room (2nd floor), Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL: Champaign Co. Genealogical Society meeting feat. “100 Years of the Orpheum Theatre” presentation by Perry C. Morris (10/14, 7 p.m., free)

@ Lewis Auditorium (ground floor), Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL: Student Life and Culture Archives, UIUC, and Champaign Co. Historical Archives present “Town & Gown Speaker Series: Champaign County on Film” presentation by Josh Harris and Perry C. Morris (10/15, 7 p.m., free)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/16, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: EDGE OF TOMORROW, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, MILLION DOLLAR ARM, OBVIOUS CHILD, THE GRAND SEDUCTION, SHARKNADO 2, ADVENTURE TIME (s4), AMERICAN HORROR STORY (s3), VIKINGS (s2), HOUDINI (cs), more! (10/7 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THE JUDGE, MY OLD LADY, GONE GIRL (10/10 on), HOCUS POCUS (10/10, 10:30 p.m., free), YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (10/11, 10:30 p.m., free)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (10/9, 10/12, 7 p.m.), FORREST GUMP (10/10, 10/11, 7 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: THE BOXTROLLS, PARANORMAN, ANNABELLE, THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/10-10/11)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY, GONE GIRL, LEFT BEHIND, “Classics Double Feature” with SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, CASABLANCA (10/10 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE BOXTROLLS (10/10-10/12, 10/15)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: LET’S BE COPS (10/10-10/12), DUMBO (10/11, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (10/10-10/12), GOD’S NOT DEAD (10/12)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: THE BOXTROLLS, ANNABELLE (10/10-10/11)

@ Effingham Performance Center, Effingham, IL: Evil Dead: the Musical (10/16, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: THE PURGE: ANARCHY, AS ABOVE SO BELOW (10/10-10/11)

@ AMC River East 21, etc., Chicago, IL: 50th annual Chicago International Film Festival (through 10/23)

@ Film Row Cinema, Columbia College, Chicago, IL: IFP/Chicago presents 2014 Filmmakers Conference (10/10-10/11) Information

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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World of film opens wide at AFM

October 10th, 2014

“Conquering the American Film Market”
A dynamic labyrinth of talent and opportunity, the AFM can be overwhelming to navigate for neophytes. A veteran attendee offers guidance to green filmmakers who are otherwise game.

by Robin Christian

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Each year, the American Film Market (AFM) attracts tens of thousands of film industry professionals from all around the world to Santa Monica, California. I say professionals; however, not unlike the millions of actors and actresses who wait tables while awaiting their next role in a feature or on television, some of us producers, directors, writers, composers, costume designers, and so on are doing film business on the side while holding down other jobs. For those of you falling in this category, I can offer a glimpse into the exciting industry you hope to someday conquer through my experiences attending AFM.

Thousands of little meetings take place in the suites and hotel rooms, converted into mini-offices, of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and surrounding beachfront venues. Some may be about a single film, others might cover a slate of projects. It appears AFM has become the “go-to” indicator, or barometer, for sensing the pulse of the entire entertainment industry. (This excludes the major film studios, an industry unto themselves.) If movies sell poorly or attendance is up at AFM, the trades such as Variety or The Hollywood Reporter document it as a positive or negative reflection of the independent movie business as a whole.

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Calendar du C-U: October 3-9

October 3rd, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
10/3/14-10/9/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, October 3: Mary Susan Britt (associate director, Roger Ebert’s Film Festival) … Sunday, October 5: Anna Zorn (co-director, MR. SNUGGLES, Pens to Lens 2014) … Monday, October 6: Victor Miely (director, CHANCES, Pens to Lens 2014) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: LOVE IS STRANGE (10/3 on), THE SKELETON TWINS (10/3-10/6, 10/8-10/9), WEFT 90.1 FM and DocFactory present SHADOWS OF LIBERTY (10/7, 7:30 p.m.), Late Night: Shocktober feat. POLTERGEIST (10/3, 10/4, 10/9, 10 p.m.) and PSYCHO (1960; 10/8, 10 p.m.)

@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL: KAM presents WHAT PRICE GLORY (1952; 10/9, 7 p.m., free)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/9, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, CHEF, ARE YOU HERE, COLD IN JULY, DECODING ANNIE PARKER, IVORY TOWER, more! (9/30 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: GONE GIRL, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, THE MAZE RUNNER (10/3 on)

@ Heroic Age Art Center, Mt. Zion, IL: “The Art of Fear” event feat. “The Art of Fear in Film” panel w/James Betts, Michelle Helmeczy, Scott Mitchell (10/4, 10 a.m., 1 & 3:30 p.m., free w/ticket) Information

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: Manhattan Short Film Festival 2014 w/voting (10/2-10/5, 7 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: THE MAZE RUNNER, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, ANNABELLE, THE PURGE: ANARCHY (10/3-10/4)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: GONE GIRL, LEFT BEHIND, THE BOXTROLLS (3-D & 2-D), THE EQUALIZER (10/3 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (10/3-10/5)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (10/3-10/5), REDEEMED (10/5)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: “Fright Nights” feat. ANNABELLE (10/3-10/4), St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital fundraiser feat. HOCUS POCUS (10/3), UIUC College of Veterinary Medicine fundraiser for the Wildlife Medical Clinic feat. HOMEWARD BOUND: THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY (10/4)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: THE BOXTROLLS, EARTH TO ECHO (10/3-10/4)

@ AMC River East 21, etc., Chicago, IL: 50th annual Chicago International Film Festival (10/9-10/23)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: Closed for the month!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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Calendar du C-U: Sept. 26-Oct. 2

September 26th, 2014

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
9/26/14-10/2/14

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSaturday, September 27: L. Rob Hubbard (contributor, MICRO-FILM) … Sunday, September 28: Elisha Reichert (actress, ONE FINE DAY!) … Wednesday, October 1: Drew Mitchell (filmmaker, KILL YOUR TELEVISION), Jason Croft (publisher, Bachelor Pad Magazine) … Thursday, October 2: Mike Prosise (actor, THE TIME WILL COME, Pens to Lens 2014) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: LOVE IS STRANGE (9/26 on), Late Night: THE ZERO THEORUM (9/26, 9/27, 10 p.m.), Shocktober kick-off feat. SCREAM (10/1, 7:30 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: Clark-Lindsey, Health Alliance, Presence Center for Healthy Living, and the Champaign Park District present THE AGE OF CHAMPIONS (9/26, 7 p.m., free), The News-Gazette Film Series presents Viewer’s Choice: THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN (9/17, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Institute 4 Creativity, SoDo Theatre, Champaign, IL: Thollem Electric performs “Silver Ochre,” a live sonic accompaniment to the short films of ACVilla, w/Jason Finkelman and Ben Wheeler Duo (9/28, 8 p.m.) Information

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (10/2, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: NEIGHBORS, THE SIGNAL, THE ROVER, WE ARE THE BEST!, THE LAST OF THE UNJUST, FIRESTORM, MACBETH (Criterion Blu), THE INNOCENTS (Criterion Blu), KEY & PEELE (s3), more! (9/23 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, THE MAZE RUNNER (9/26 on), MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (9/26-9/28), THE LAST UNICORN w/author Peter S. Beagle in person (9/30, 7 p.m.)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: MAIDENTRIP (9/25-9/26, 7 p.m.), ORCHESTRA OF EXILES (9/27-9/28, 7 p.m.)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: THE MAZE RUNNER, LET’S BE COPS, DOLPHIN TALE 2, IF I STAY (9/26-9/27)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: THE BOXTROLLS (3-D & 2-D), THE EQUALIZER, THE MAZE RUNNER, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (9/26 on), MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS – RAINBOW ROCKS (9/27, 9/28, 11 a.m.; 10/1, 7 p.m.)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (9/26-9/28), THE SWORD IN THE STONE (9/27, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (9/26-9/28)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: “‘80s Flashback Weekend” feat. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, THE GOONIES, THE NEVERENDING STORY, THE PRINCESS BRIDE (9/26-9/28)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: THE BOXTROLLS, DOLPHIN TALE 2 (9/26-9/27)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: Closed for the month!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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IOW: I spy KEVIN and big P2L fun!

September 26th, 2014

It’s only prudent we inform our dearest readers that the entire Pens to Lens 2014 short film roster has been uploaded for Internet viewing to the official Web site complete with the thrills, chills, and random lumps in the throat you might remember from their unveiling August 9 at the Virginia Theatre. Each of the two shows attracted several hundred children and adults who enjoyed the second P2L batch, developed from student-written scripts by a small army of volunteer filmmakers and friends entrenched in Champaign-Urbana; they hopefully left with a collective sense of community accomplishment as well as personal inspiration to tell stories the cinematic way!

If you melt at the sight of smiling kids dressed to the nines and having a grand old time, visit this Flickr account filled with P2L gala photography by Anna Zorn. Up top is her red carpet portrait of returning P2L team William Kephart (left) and Joe Taylor (right) who brought to life the adventure tale DOUBLE-O KEVIN submitted by Champaign sixth grader David Cerezo (center). We’ve embedded KEVIN below as today’s P2L representative along with three of the many movie posters provided by graphic designers from the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) including THE RUNNER by Michael Thomas, WATCH OUT FOR BUTTERFLIES by Matt Wiley, and MY IMAGINATION BECAME A NINJA AND IT’S FOLLOWING ME by Briana Elsik.

Think the all-ages imagination train ends here for the year? No, sir or ma’am! As with the post-P2L months of 2013, we can probably expect the program and its participants to receive play in the C-U and beyond. One instance will take place Tuesday, October 14, when P2L and organizer Thomas Nicol will receive the 2014 “Advocate ACE” award during the 10th annual ACE Awards presentation at the Canopy Club in Urbana. Presented by 40 North 88 West, the Champaign County arts council, these citations honor individuals or groups breathing invaluable life into the artistic culture of our cities and towns; others who will be awarded that night include painter Jason Patterson (“Artist ACE”), philanthropist and event organizer Eric Robeson (“Volunteer ACE”), the supply store Art Coop (“Business ACE”), educator Nathaniel Banks (“Teacher ACE”), UIUC masters candidate Megan Diddie (“Student ACE”), and blues musician Gerald “Candy” Foster (“Lifetime ACE”). Congratulations to all! More details about the event and the candidate voting process can be found at this page.

All graphics and videos on this post are courtesy Pens to Lens/Champaign-Urbana Film Society.

~ Jason Pankoke




No, Thomas Nicol is not cradling his Advocate ACE in advance of the ceremony, silly people. He is displaying another inhuman co-star fashioned for the aforementioned WATCH OUT FOR BUTTERFLIES, “Bob” the koalaoctopus. Since both koalas and octopi figure into your humble editor’s past, we were morally obligated to include him. Gerf.