Fair forecast: Piatt County

Most years, today's the day the Piatt County Fair kicks off.

But for those in the Illinois entertainment business, 2016 isn't most years.

06-13-16 The @CUTC cast from Oliver

06-13-16 The @CUTC cast from Oliver: Play now!

06-13-16 Jim Turpin with the CUTC cast of Oliver that opens June 16th.


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Chuck's Classics: "Ball of Fire" (1941)

Other than his contemporary George Stevens, no one was more eclectic than director Howard Hawks in turning any script into a classic. Consider his resume: "Red River" (western), "Only Angels Have Wings" (adventure), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (musical), "The Big Sleep" (mystery), "Sgt. York" (bio-pic), "Scarface" (gangster). This film, however, is one of his overlooked comedies.

Kelly Strom: Many mysteries to choose from

In the mood for some mysteries, but not sure what I wanted, I pulled two totally different titles to try out.

'Cranking it no matter where we are'

CHAMPAIGN — Two of Illinois' biggest bands are about to perform at Illinois' newest outdoor venue.

Cheap Trick and Styx perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grange Grove, west of Memorial Stadium.

It's a bit of a homecoming.

Cheap Trick, which came out of Rockford, often played in Champaign-Urbana at Chances R and other bars before hitting it big.

Studio Visit: Anson Woodin

Anson Woodin, 25, of Champaign, a 2016 University of Illinois graduate from Ames, Iowa, with a master's of music degree and a recent fifth-place winner in the National Society of Arts and Letters musical theater competition, recently chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli.

What do you plan to do now that you have your degree?

Ted Kooser: An American Life in Poetry, June 12, 2016

By Ted Kooser/U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-06

The greeting card companies are still making money, though the inventive online "cards" are gaining ground. Here's a poem about pen and ink greeting cards, by Cynthia Ventresca, who lives in Delaware.


She lived there for years in a

small space in a high rise that saw

C-U haiku, June 12, 2016

By Jim O’Brien, Ann Hart and Will Reger

Poet of black bough or

apparition of bee or

Ali bomaye!

— Steve Davenport, Urbana

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week ahead

Dining on 'Lobster'