From the serious to the silly…

One thing C-U Blogfidential has not been stellar about lately is providing plenty of advance warning about interesting local screenings. At some point, we’d love to invite into our ranks a Calendar Editor who could dedicate their time to dependably posting the details. With our focus slowly shifting evermore towards our specialty – the film culture generated within Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond – your humble editor can apparently sew only so many seeds at once. We’ll pledge at the least to report on the most tantalizing glimmers of relevant film exhibition and work them in when possible.

Certainly qualifying is a reprise of Kimberly D. Conner’s dramatic short about an AIDS victim, THIS LIFE AIN’T PRETTY, which will screen for free later tonight, Friday, February 26, 7 p.m., in Room 100 (the auditorium) of Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St., Urbana, IL, on the University of Illinois Main Quad. Champaign native Conner shot the 35-minute short in Springfield, where she currently lives as well as works for the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services, as a cautionary tale speaking to the African-American community about the indiscriminate reach of the disease – even affecting heterosexual females who are otherwise in good health. Watch CUBlog for our discussion with Conner about PRETTY and her other upcoming projects.

Just across the walkway at Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL, the Insect Fear Film Festival will return on Saturday, February 27, with a “prehistoric insect” theme as illustrated by THE BLACK SCORPION (1957), an atomic monster jaunt featuring some of the last filmed work by KING KONG animator Willis O’Brien, and ICE CRAWLERS (2003), a direct-to-video “killer trilobite” feature directed by Belleville, IL, native and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale alum John Carl Buechler. Cartoons, trailers, and other clips will fill out the program, which begins at 7 p.m., while starting at 6 p.m. the Foellinger foyer will be turned into a creepy crawly emporium as graduate students of the UIUC Entomology program display live insects, mounted insects, fossil insects, student insect art, and the Bugscope. Special guests this year will be horseshoe crabs, described as “living fossils” by the festival’s guiding light, Entomology department chair May Berenbaum, PhD. Admission is free.

Those of you who might not have realized the Art Theater, 126 W. Church St., Champaign, IL, began booking Bollywood cinema again can thrill to KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK, a brand-new feature showing at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 27. (Don’t forget about the marquee film, THE LAST STATION, and the weekend late show, THE LAST WALTZ; scheduling is listed right here.) Finally, those of you who missed the Oscar-nominated short films at the Art can catch the program over at the Normal Theater, 209 North St., Normal, IL, from Thursday, February 25, through Sunday, February 28, starting at 7 p.m. each night.

~ Jason Pankoke

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