Believe us, dearest readers, we love to spend quality time enjoying people, places, and things not necessarily having to do with the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond. However, we have an innate talent for connecting one with the other without even working up a sweat, so, here goes!

Case in point is our visit last week Monday, June 17, to downtown Champaign’s Mike ‘n Molly’s for their cheeky pageant/fundraiser “Mr. Mustache,” an annual townie competition wherein game young men (and occasionally women) display newly-groomed facial hair and wacky disguises as part of their comedic strategy to nab the Mr. Mustache title while entertaining a beer garden full of Pi Omega Omega frat sisters and brothers. (We’ll have to explain that one at another juncture.) By now, those hip to the hype know loyal Pi Omegan “Hoss,” a.k.a. Trevor Dowdy, earned the crown handily. Organizers will donate admission moneys to the Kathy Murphy Endowment Fund, set up in honor of the late Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company co-founder “to support college and post graduate studies by area students who have participated in theatre [sic] in their school and communities” per this Web site.

Considering his own involvement in local theater, it may be no surprise that Kathy’s brother Mike Murphy – the “Mike” of Mike ‘n Molly’s – has been amenable to hosting non-band gigs in his bar including improvisation comedy, plays, and movie screenings. He has even allowed filmmakers inside Mike ‘n Molly’s several times to shoot scenes, none more so than genteel Pi Omegan Jason Butler. We presume it is complete coincidence that Butler, now a Portland, Oregon, videographer, and fellow Pi Omegan Karl Bauer, a graphic artist at Weiskamp Screen Printing in Champaign, both happened to post older, rarely-seen projects with a heavy P.O.O. influence in the weeks immediately leading up to Mr. Mustache 2013. In either case, pests are apparently best!

Bauer’s basement-borne surrealistic short ONE ROACH FOR SEAMUS was originally made in 1990 and only recently completed, premiering at the aforementioned beer garden in 2010. Butler’s educational musical-comedy THORAXX II: THE BREEDING is a University of Illinois class assignment made a decade ago with his wife, the lovely Ann Fitzgerald, and numerous Mike ‘n Molly’s regulars. Both can be watched in their entirety below; natives of the C-U should recognize plenty of people, places, and things between the two, adding a weird time-capsule dimension to the viewing experience. We wonder if enough material exists that an ambitious Pi Omegan or three might be inspired to launch a YouTube channel filled with ludicrous PBR-fueled tomfoolery…

Until then, you can learn more about Butler’s pre-Portland adventures including THORAXX II by checking out this early C-U Blogfidential interview from 2006, while a brief essay regarding ONE ROACH FOR SEAMUS appears in the 2011 issue of C-U Confidential, issue 5.

~ “Lenscap” a.k.a. Jason Pankoke

Comments closed.