Frank's Weekend Faves, July 22, 2018

Frank's Weekend Faves, July 22, 2018

Now here's an idea that combines some of my favorite things: books, conversation, journalism and beer. Oh, yeah, and food for thought. It's "News & Brews," a new event series from Illinois Newsroom and WILL debuting Tuesday at Riggs Beer Company in Urbana.

The first in the series, "Books in Prisons, Why So Complicated?", about the impact of books in prison, is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, at Riggs Beer Company, 1901 S. High Cross Road, U.

Open to the public, the event is hosted by Riggs, Illinois Newsroom, Jane Addams Bookstore and Illinois Public Media. The topic for Tuesday's panel discussion was inspired by a story in April by education reporter Lee Gaines uncovering data from the Illinois Department of Corrections that showed funding for prison libraries had dropped from over $750,000 in 2002 to $276 in 2017. You can check out that report here.

Then, on Tuesday evening, you can sip locally crafted ales as well as nonalcoholic beverages while listening to the panelists — social justice activist Barbara Kessel, Chicago attorney Michael O'Connor and certified life coach James "TYGAR" Corbin — sound off on this funding problem.

The panel discussion will be about 35-40 minutes, followed by a 10-minute intermission, and then 30 to 40 minutes for questions and answers. Some volunteers from the Champaign County Jail will join the panel during the Q&A. Donations of any paperback books in good condition (both front and back covers intact) will be accepted at the event for Books to Prisoners.

Illinois Newsroom's Kristin Walters tells me WILL and Illinois Public Media have no plans of broadcasting this episode of "News & Brews," at the panelists' request. But, "yes, there are future ones (but no dates locked down yet), and they will be recorded and rebroadcast either online or by radio!" So stay tuned ...

If you prefer tunes to talk — and the Champaign County Fair even better — head out to the Urbana fairgrounds this Friday for a hot summer night with country-music star Trace Adkins.

The Grammy-nominated baritone, "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" champ and spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project, American Red Cross and honky-tonk badonkadonks everywhere will take the stage at the Urbana fairgrounds following opening acts Tracy Lawrence and Confederate Railroad at 7 p.m. July 27.

Tickets are $30 for grandstand, $35 for track (standing-room only) and $55 for the VIP party pit. I caught the big guy's show back in 2005 at the David S. Palmer Arena in Danville but missed his last visit to Champaign in 2010, so if you're hoping to see country music's biggest biceps and longest pony tail for yourself, I recommend you not miss this chance. At this rate, it could be another decade before he's back this way again.

Screaming rock 'n' roll guitars more your thing? It's over an hour's drive south, but that's a small price to catch the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, blowing the roof off the Effingham Performance Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Figuratively, of course.

I suppose I should choose my words more carefully when describing such an outspoken gun-rights advocate as Terrible Ted, but then again, why should I? He never does (he was back in the news not long ago for calling the survivors of the Parkland, Fla., shooting "liars" and "soulless," for crying out loud).

Then again, it's not his politics that makes "Stranglehold," "Great White Buffalo" and "Hibernation" such classic-rock standards, not to mention his more libido-driven hits like "Cat Scratch Fever," "Free For All" and "Wango Tango." The guy still plays guitar like it could, um, severely maim a charging rhino at 60 paces.

Here's hoping he keeps "Workin' Hard, Playing Hard" (while cutting back on the talk-radio interviews) for many moons to come. Tickets, ranging from $74 to $232, are still available.

By the way, I hear via social-media grapevine that Champaign indie pop/rock band Elsinore is poised to come out of hiberation and play their first local show in a couple years this weekend. And a new record's not far behind.

In fact, word is, it's close to finished, and the band's eager to introduce some of its new material — as well as its new bass player, Adam Wayne. ZXO and Moon Ruin will open the 8 p.m.-to-midnight, all-ages show Saturday at Seven Saints, 32 E. Chester St., C. Admission is $7 at the door.

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