Frank's Weekend Faves, May 26, 2019

Frank's Weekend Faves, May 26, 2019

Ever hear of the Hogchute Opry? Now we both have. The secret is officially out on this offbeat 13-hour jam way back in the woods of rural Monticello. The only trick is finding your way there, but once you do, you might not want to leave.

Actually, this Saturday's all-nighter is the sixth annual Hogchute Opry to be held at the Kalyx Center for Sustainability, located just outside Monticello's Allerton Park. The center is set back from the road in the woods and can be difficult to find for the uninitiated, so look for detailed directions at Hogchute's event page on Facebook, or email

And who or what is HogChute?

According to the collective's website, it's "a loose-knit group of musicians, artists and others," whose flagship project is the opry — "a DIY, independent one-day showcase of Americana and rock-'n'-roll-adjacent music and culture." Started in 2013, the low-profile event (which its organizers hesitate to call a festival) is now a biannual concert/party/happening/whatever you want to call it — Hogchute Opry every June, Hogchute Opry Harvest every October — held in a remote barn at the Kalyx Center.

This year's lineup includes 14 musical acts: Frontier Folk Nebraska; Rebecca Rego & The Trainmen; Angie Heaton & the Fights; Neoga Blacksmith; Relevator; Primitive Lights; Rebekah Songer; Jesse W. Johnson; Lonely Trailer; Bones Jugs; The Opera Bell Band; The Superior State; Sparkle Carcass; and The Donald Woodyard Inc.

Gates open at 1 p.m., and the music starts about 3 p.m. Admission is $15. One more note: The opry's organizers say the backwoods roads around Hogchute can be perilous at night, so they encourage all comers to bring a tent and camp out for no additional cost. That way you won't miss the giant bonfire and open jam after the music.

Get a load of this: Two nights of 'Crossing the Equator' with Amasong at McKinley Presbyterian Church

The twin concerts, directed by Jill Crandall, are scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, at the church at Fifth and John streets in Champaign. As the show's title suggests, the singing women of Amasong are heading south of the equator — to present music from Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. If Zulu, Portuguese, Maori or Xhosa is your mother tongue, you're invited to join in. Chorus members will be accompanying themselves on a variety of percussion instruments including djembe, frame drum and agogo.

Suggested donation is $15 — more if you can, less if you can't.

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The Little Theatre on the Square is kicking off its 62nd summer season in Sullivan with a "Big Night at The Little Theatre," a fundraiser to benefit theater programs. The celebration, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, will feature a concert by the Rave-On's, a Buddy Holly tribute band, as well as desserts, beer, wine, games and a live auction. Tickets are available by phone at 217-728-7375 or online at

No ticket needed: Alt-country artist Robbie Fulks at Charleston's fifth annual Musefest

The festival, sponsored by the City of Charleston Tourism Board, Coles County Arts Council and The Autism Program of Illinois, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 1 in downtown Charleston's historic square — the same day as the Tour De Charleston bike race.

Musefest features live music, arts, crafts and children's activities (including bouncy houses, go carts and face painting) — as well as a 2 p.m. performance by Chicago-based singer-songwriter/recording artist/instrumentalist/composer Robbie Fulks.

The Pennsylvania native's most recent album was last summer's "Wild! Wild! Wild!", a collaboration with Memphis, Tenn., singer/pianist Linda Gail Lewis (younger sister and frequent performing partner of rock 'n' roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis), and he's fresh off a tour with Lewis in support of that effort. Hopefully, Saturday's playlist will include my fave from that album, "I Just Lived a Country Song" (check out the music video on YouTube, if you can).

Of his upcoming Musefest gig, Fulks says, "This one's free. I'll be playing a loose, fun set with a trio."

What I'm watching this weekend: 'Avengers: Endgame' ... maybe

I might just have a rare opportunity to see one of this spring/summer's blockbuster releases by the time you read this, due to the fact that I will be getting together this weekend with my movie-loving brother from Washington state. And if the expected rainy weather chases us indoors, we might just sneak off to a nearby cineplex in hopes of catching a new film neither of us has seen yet, as we've been known to do more than a few times in the past.

Trouble is, as my brother sees far more first-run movies than I do these days, it can be a real challenge to settle on one that'll be a first for us both. Unfortunately, one that we're both eagerly anticipating, the new Elton John biopic "Rocketman," doesn't hit theaters until this Friday, a couple days after he flies home, and the current biggie, Disney's live-action update of "Aladdin," gets a big, fat "meh" from me for casting Will Smith to fill the late-great Robin Williams' genie slippers. So maybe I'll have a chance after all to finally catch up with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and enjoy my long-overdue first look at "Avengers: Endgame." Who knows? I've managed to avoid any ruinous spoilers so far, so anything is possible!

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