All Arts and Entertainment Content

All Arts and Entertainment Content

Rare visit to North Korea opens area couple's eyes to life there

North Korea is not likely to be found on a list of popular tourist destinations.

But the "hermit kingdom" was the first choice of destination for Homer residents Ray and Christine Cunningham on a recent trip overseas.

Ray, a certified records manager and certified archivist who is manager of records services at the University of Illinois, and Christine, a board member for the Homer Community Improvement Association, visited the country Oct. 7-11. They traveled with Koryo Tours, a company that operates out of Beijing.

UAW Local 579 retirees to hold annual Christmas party Dec. 3

TILTON – The United Auto Workers Local 579 Retirees will hold its annual Christmas Party at noon Dec. 3 at the union hall on the 1009 Catlin-Tilton Road.

The potluck meal begins at 12:30 p.m. Retirees are asked to bring a covered dish to share. The organization will provide meat, rolls, beverages and table service. The event is free for UAW 579 (General Motors) retirees; spouses and surviving spouses are eligible to attend. It is not open to guests or public.

Local screening of Cannes 'Reel Show' scheduled Wednesday

CHAMPAIGN – The American Advertising Federation Central Illinois will show "The 2008 Cannes Highlight Reel Show" at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Great Impasta restaurant, 14 W. Church St., C.

In addition to hosting the prestigious film festival that bears its name, the French city of Cannes also plays host to the Cannes International Advertising Festival, which recognizes the world's best creative talent. For more than 50 years, the titans of advertising have entered this international arena actually hoping to encounter a Lion, the official award of the event.

UI professor having blast in ensemble of Bebe Miller piece

As a professor, mother and dancer, Cynthia Oliver has a lot to manage, among them her own dance projects and now as an ensemble member in Bebe Miller Company's new piece, "Necessary Beauty."

But Oliver, an associate professor of dance at the University of Illinois, said earlier this week from New York City that she's having a blast.

"I've always wanted to do something with Bebe, so this is a great, great opportunity," Oliver said from her cell phone in the city, where "Necessary Beauty" was presented at the Dance Theater Workshop.

World traveler's top pastime: Making people feel at home

CHAMPAIGN – Elizabeth Dickerson was in Paris last weekend and Moscow in September. She'll soon make one of her regular trips to India. And she'll likely be in Europe again, or Japan or Shanghai, in the next several months.

Dickerson loves the travel and adventure and seeing new sights that come with her career as an international flight attendant.

Olympic medalist, UI coach to be featured at Rantoul banquet

RANTOUL – Justin Spring of Champaign, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist on the U.S. men's gymnastics team and assistant gymnastics coach at the University of Illinois, will be the featured speaker at this year's Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Spring, a UI graduate, will discuss the obstacles he overcame to help the U.S. team to a third-place finish at Beijing.

Danville Light Opera sets bus trip to 'Spamalot' in Chicago

DANVILLE – Danville Light Opera is sponsoring a bus trip to see the Tony-award-winning musical "Spamalot."

The trip will leave the Village Mall at 10 a.m. for a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Jan. 24 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago.

Danville Madrigal shows to feature fine music, dinner, desserts

DANVILLE – The Danville High School music department will present its annual Madrigal dinner and dessert shows Dec. 8-11 at St. James United Methodist Church, 504 N. Vermilion St.

The dinners are at 6 p.m. Dec, 8, 9 and 10, and the dessert performance is at 7 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets are $15 for dinner and $10 for the dessert performance. Also available are patron tickets for a minimum donation of $20. Patrons receive recognition in the Madrigal program, and their money goes to the financial support of the DHS Choral Booster Program.

Musical event to benefit hurricane victims in Haiti

CHAMPAIGN – The Black and White Steppers will perform with live band Of A Native Tribe at a charity fundraiser Friday evening at Radio Maria restaurant in Champaign.

Tickets to the event from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. are $5 in advance. Advance tickets may be bought from 10 p.m. to midnight today at Barfly. Ask for Melissa. Advance tickets may also be bought between 7 and 9 p.m. Thursday at the Bruce Nesbit African-American Cultural House at Mathews Avenue and Nevada Street on the University of Illinois campus.

UI professor studies factors in child piano prodigy's success

URBANA – After delivering a lecture in Hong Kong four years ago on musical development in children, Gary McPherson walked to a nearby restaurant. He quickly felt someone following him.

It was Tiffany Poon's father, asking for advice on how to help his daughter. She was quite talented at piano but didn't like the pedagogical approach of her former teachers – all 10 of them.

Sensing the dad was genuine, McPherson, now a professor of music education at the University of Illinois, agreed to meet his daughter. Upon first hearing Tiffany, then only 7, the professor was deeply impressed. She played from memory – not just the notes but with great expression.