One of the biggest events this weekend hasn’t received much advance publicity: Poet Nikki Giovanni will speak at 6 tonight (Friday, March 9) at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Giovanni might just be one of the world’s best known and most widely read poets. She’s also a commentator, activist and educator.
She’s penned 30 books for adults and children, and is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Her appearance here is free and sponsored by the YWCA of the University of Illinois, Women of Color and other organizations.
So what else is up this weekend?
Day of the Drum, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Krannert Center. Curated by Champaign percussionist Rocky Maffit, the day offers lots of free activities and concerts. It happens only every other year. It culminates in a performance (tickets required) by ScrapArtsMusic, a troupe said to be a blend of "Stomp" and Blue Man Group. As its name implies, ScrapArtsMusic uses recycled materials to create the beat, or beats.
Check out the Day of Drum schedule at http://krannertcenter.com/searchresults.aspx?s=day+of+the+drum.
Tonight, I’ll probably check out the art openings in Urbana and take in Dorothy Martirano’s Almost A gypsy jazz group from 6:30 to 8:30 at Buvons, the stylish wine bar at the Corkscrew Emporium. Don’t Ask, a local klezmer band made even more listenable by the addition of violinist Sara Sasaki, plays Buvons from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The cover charge is always free, and you can order there delish Pizza M.
The art openings in Urbana are at:
— Wind, Water & Light, where Andrea Thurston-Shaine, a freelance artist/illustrator with a bachelor’s in studio art from Oberlin College, will show her work, In it she explores complex situations and her reactions to them. That’s 6 to 8 p.m. tonight; the gallery/gift shop is inside Lincoln Square Village.
— The Art Coop, also inside Lincoln Square, will have an opening from 7 to 9 tonight for an exhibition of work by eight longtime photographers from all over the country. Most have ties to the C-U community. I know half of them: Knut Bauer, co-owner of the Art Coop; Peggy Shaw, who teaches photography at Parkland; Lyosha, a native of Russia who lives in Urbana; and Luther Smith — with whom I took my first art photography course at the University of Illinois a long time ago! The others are Laurent Gasquet, Bradley Hudson, Liese Ricketts and Jan Peterson Roddy.
— The Illini Union Art Gallery, where the third annual Eric Show opens from 5 to 7 tonight and features work by local high school students.
The juried exhibition was endowed by Urbana residents Dale M. and Margaret Steffensen in memory of Dale’s son Eric (1951-1970), who planned to major in art but was killed by a drunken driver.
For some groovy improvised music and dance, check out compostQ, starting at 2 p.m Sunday at Krannert Art Museum. It’s free.
Another good bet for weekend fun: the play "Becky Shaw" at the Station Theatre, starting at 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday. In the cast are some of the best young actors in town, and the play's received good reviews.
And let’s not forget the membership meeting at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Art Theater, where the 18 candidates running for the inaugural Art Theater Co-op will be introduced. The cost of becoming a shareholder, or owner, is $65. If you join before March 25, you get to vote for the board of directors.