Ask 'Mimi' March 23, 2014

Ask 'Mimi' March 23, 2014

Melissa "Mimi" Merli answers questions about the Vince Gill/Amy Grant concert, the next two PechaKucha nights in C-U and who gets the credit for downtown Champaign's revitalization.

How did the Vince Gill-Amy Grant concert go at the Virginia Theatre last week?

I wasn't there but three Facebook friends were. Dave Kuhl called it awesome. "A really nice mix of styles by two incredibly talented people. They played for well over two hours with no breaks. It was a concert that people of all ages and music 'likes' could enjoy!"

Todd Salen enjoyed the couple rotating between each other's songs. "Vince hasn't missed a lick in guitar or voice. Amy seemed relaxed and ready to entertain. Their love for each other shows on stage."

Gary Delhaye called the show good but said he and others had hoped for a little more Gill. "Seems like he let Amy be the star and maybe that was the plan. She looked amazing and her voice was awesome. Vince never missed a beat on his guitar. Wish he would have sung a few more of his songs as the headliner. Perhaps he is helping to revive her career. I think most of us kept waiting for him to take over the show."

Is there another PechaKucha Night coming soon to C-U?

Yes, two. The C-U Design Organization will have PechaKucha Night C-U Volume 15 on May 31 at Krannert Art Museum and Volume 16 on Aug. 8 at Krannert Center.

Any creative person may present a PechaKucha program on his or her passion. The quick-moving format: Each person presents 20 slides in 20 seconds, talking only for 6 minutes 40 seconds. If you find someone boring, his or her presentation ends soon! The PechaKucha nights draw big crowds and are a lot of fun.

To apply to present go to thecudo.org/pecha-kucha-app/. Deadline is April 2.

Who led the revitalization of downtown Champaign?

T.J. Blakeman, a city planner and unofficial historian of downtown, believes it would be "incredibly hard to pinpoint" one person. Instead it's been a combination of folk

Jeff Mellander took early risks, renovating and preserving downtown properties. Another pioneer: Chris Knight, who opened his first Blind Pig tavern on Taylor Street. Carlos Nieto is another; he renovated Jupiter's and a number of other properties and helped grow downtown "into the collection we have today," Blakeman said.

Former mayors Dannel McCollum and Jerry Schweighart plus the city councils deserve credit for policies that paved the way. Blakeman also credits business owners Carrie Homann and Flora Faraci for opening shops downtown when it wasn't thriving, as well as early businesses like Jos. Kuhn & Co, C.V. Lloyde, the Brass Rail and the Esquire.

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