That's entertainment: Spotlighting events throughout the area

That's entertainment: Spotlighting events throughout the area

Movie scene

Lineup for New Art Film Festival

Organizers of the seventh annual New Art Film Festival promise a "tight" program next Sunday at the Art Theater Co-op in downtown Champaign.

The festival will showcase local and regional documentaries and films, starting at 6 p.m. and ending around 11 p.m. They include the feature "Before 'I Do'" by Champaign native Kimberly Conner, now living in Springfield.

Admission is free. Festival founder Jason Pankoke will emcee.

The festival is divided into three blocks:

— The first, beginning at 6, will be films that may be enjoyed by people all ages and include animation shorts created by a 9-year-old whiz kid, and by Carter Boyce, a Student Academy Award-winning graduate of DePaul University, now living in Champaign.

— The second set, starting at 7:40 p.m., will be the Champaign-Urbana debut of director-producer Conner's drama "Before 'I Do,'" starring Jensen Atwood ("Dante's Cove"), Omar Gooding ("Family Time") and Thea Camara ("Chi-Raq").

It centers on charismatic firefighter Caleb Abrams, also an artist, who as he nears the age of 40 suddenly becomes afraid of dying alone.

"Running in burning buildings gives Caleb an adrenaline rush out of this world, but he can't handle the deaths that are seemingly just part of the job," Conner said. "But Caleb's sanctified father sees his dreams of becoming the next Van Gogh as less than practical, a strike to his confidence. He's at a crossroad.

"Just one year ago, the love of Caleb's life bailed on the eve of the wedding, opting to stroll the aisle with someone else. Finally, Caleb is picking up the pieces and moving forward with his life, but the scars are ever-present, bleeding into his present life and coloring every decision.

"Out of nowhere, Asia resurfaces in Caleb's life, not to apologize for leaving him at the altar but to rekindle an affair that will lead to insidious, humbling consequences when he discovers he still loves her."

"Before 'I Do'' was a semifinalist in Creative Screenwriting magazine's AAA Screenplay Competition. Of more than 1,500 entries, it placed in the top 100.

— The first half of the block of films starting at 9:25 p.m. will address personal loss, self-doubt, violence or societal divide, introducing protagonists who rise to their respective challenges.

— The last block will delve into "strange and weird" territory.

The 2016 festival is dedicated to Trevor Alan Taylor, a former Champaign resident who passed away unexpectedly at age 34 earlier this summer.

An installation artist, photographer, filmmaker and Sundance Film Festival volunteer, Mr. Taylor had moved to New Orleans, where he helped establish the media collective Cinema Reset. While living here a decade ago, he worked at the Art Theater.

For more festival details, visit

Music scene

Symphony's Halloween concert

The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra will present its first-ever Halloween concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.

The program, "Masks, Music & Merlot — A Ghoulish Gala," is the theme, and concert-goers are encouraged to wear costumes and masks.

Conducted by Stephen Alltop, the orchestra will perform "spooky" music such as the theme from "Jaws" and "Fantasia." The program also will include Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," "The Witch's Ride" from "Hansel and Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck, "March to the Scaffold" by Hector Berlioz and selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," with soprano Wendy Marck and baritone Ricardo Sepulveda joining the orchestra.

In addition to conducting, Alltop, an organ virtuoso, will perform several scary musical pieces on the Virginia Theatre's mighty Wurlitzer, including the opening of "Phantom of the Opera."

As a keyboardist, Alltop has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque and Ravinia Festival.

Alltop will be at a pre-concert fundraiser party at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Virginia's mezzanine lobby. VIP tickets for the party are $75 and include premium concert seats and Halloween goody bags.

Concert tickets are $25, $35 or $45 and are available at the Virginia box office, 203 W. Park St., C, or by calling 356-9063 or via

UI group's Orange and Boo show

The University of Illinois Wind Symphony will present its Orange and Boo concert at 3 p.m. next Sunday in Foellinger Great Hall at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.

The program will include "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" by J.S. Bach, Joseph Schwantner's "From a Dark Millennium," "Phantasticke Spirites" by Donald Grantham, Malcolm Arnold's "Tam O'Shanter," "October" by Eric Whitacre and the perennial Halloween favorite, Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain."

Stephen Peterson, the UI's director of bands, and graduate students Sean Smith and Will Sugg will conduct the concert, which will also feature a costume contest and a "most terrifying scream" contest for attendees.

Admission is free to anyone wearing a family-friendly costume and is $4 for all others. Go to to buy tickets or call 333-6280.

Clavichord will be star of the show

The Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana (BACH) will open its season at 7:30 tonight at McKinley Presbyterian Church, 809 S. Fifth St., C, with a concert offering a "once in a lifetime" event — an opportunity to hear music for the most ubiquitous keyboard instrument of the Baroque era, the clavichord.

UI music Professor Dana Robinson will play music from the 16th to 18th centuries on two clavichords he owns. The small, portable keyboard instrument differs from the more familiar harpsichord because the strings are struck by a small brass tangent rather than plucked. As a result, the performer has far greater ability to effect expressive nuances in the tone.

Robinson will be joined by flutist Amanda Pond in a performance of C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in C for flute and clavichord as the final work on the program, also featuring works by Georg Philipp Telemann, Heinrich Scheidemann and Antonio de Cabezon as well as two of the preludes and fugues from the first book of J.S. Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" and the Partita in A minor.

Because the clavichord produces a rather soft sound, people will be seated in the round to allow as many of them as possible to be close to the instrument.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10, students, and may be paid with cash or check at the door or in advance via

Fundraiser for music scholarships

Bass-baritone and UI music Professor Ricardo Herrera will be the featured soloist, along with tango dancers Joe and Carlota, at the St. Patrick's Youth Orchestra's "A Night of Dance Music" at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Patrick's Church, 708 W. Main St., U.

Herrera's daughter, Renata, will lead the youth orchestra in her first concert as the new principal conductor. Admission will be free.

The program will feature selections from Maria de Buenos Aires, "St. Paul's Suite," the "Firebird" Suite and other pieces.

Herrera recently finished a successful run as Diego Rivera in the acclaimed opera "Frida" at the Michigan Opera in Detroit. He has performed distinguished venues, among them Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Opera and Chicago Opera Theatre.

Renata Herrera, a senior at University High School, has been a member of the youth orchestra since its inception four years ago, playing the viola. In addition, she recently performed as Maria in "The Sound of Music."

The concert will raise money for the orchestra, primarily for music scholarships. For more information, contact or visit

Arts scene

Artists sought for first annual event

Artists are sought for the Rattle the Stars' first annual art showcase, "Art for Understanding Mental Illness and Suicide," in November.

Rattle the Stars is a non-profit founded this year, following the April 7 suicide of 19-year-old Sam Blisset, a 2015 Centennial High School graduate who had battled depression for several years.

The organization aims to raise awareness about mental illness and prevent youth suicide by engaging high school teachers, staff and students on these issues.

Rattle the Stars also hosts community events to encourage people affected by these issues to use their voice to help break down stigmas.

"Art for Understanding" will provide an outlet for people to express themselves artistically through music, painting, writing, photography and other art forms.

The "Art for Understanding" event will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign. For more information, go to or

Danville Art League event

The Danville Art League's October "Color Splash" party from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday will have participants painting a picture of a covered bridge, with instructor Eleanor Welsch.

Welsch, owner of the Coloring Room Studio in rural Indiana, will teach a technique called "ink and scrub." The cost is $35 per person and includes supplies and refreshments.

"Color Splash" does not require previous art experience. The party fee may be paid ahead of time via The Art League is at 320 N. Franklin St. For more, call 442-9264.

New exhibition at Illinois State

"Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy," an exhibition featuring works by contemporary women artists inspired by women writers, will open with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Illinois State University Galleries in Normal.

Artist Bethany Collins will give an artist talk at noon on Wednesday.

Among the artists whose work is in the show is UI sculpture Professor Melissa Pokorny. The title of the exhibition is derived from a sentence Sylvia Plath underlined in her copy of Virginia Woolf's "The Waves" and that artist Stephanie Brooks later appropriated for a text-based artwork.

The exhibition will feature works by 21 artists inspired by writers, including Octavia Butler, A.S. Byatt, Mara Elena Cruz Varela, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Clarice Lispector, Gabriela Mistral, Toni Morrison, Alejandra Pizarnik, Mary Shelley, Rebecca Solnit, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Plath, Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf.

Besides Collins, Brooks and Pokorny, the artists represented in the exhibition are Jen Bervin, Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Marcelline Delbecq, Abigail DeVille, Eve Fowler, Dianna Frid, Coco Fusco, Sabina Ott, Dawn Roe, Kay Rosen, Carrie Schneider, Xaviera Simmons, Lisa Tan, Cecilia Vicua, Catherine Wagner, Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis.

The show, organized by University Galleries' Senior Curator Kendra Paitz, will remain on view through Dec. 18.

Dance scene

UI professor to give lecture

New York-based choreographer Tere O'Connor, also a UI professor of dance, will give the Center for Advanced Study's 26th annual lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., U.

His lecture is titled "Choreographic Thinking: From Movement to Idea."

O'Connor has created dances for 35 years. Often classified as an iconoclast, he perceives his journey as an excavation of the philosophical underpinnings of the form.

A tension between his love for the art of dance and persistent questions about its use and fundamental nature have driven his research. As a young artist working to break free from the tenets of European/American dance history, he cast a critical gaze on virtuosity, notions of standardized beauty, narrative and other aspects of dance.

He eventually understood that dance is ill-equipped to send specific messages, so he focused on complexity, nuance, inference, essence, rhythm, reference and embodiment.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Topics (3):Art, Film, Music