All Arts and Entertainment Content

All Arts and Entertainment Content

Storytelling events set today, Friday at Urbana bar, church

Two storytelling events are coming up, one tonight and the other a set of two scary-story concerts.

The first at 7 p.m. today at the Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., U, will feature Mike Speller, with Champaign-Urbana Storytellers Guild member Camille Born. Admission is $5.

Djembe drummer to open Champaign library series

CHAMPAIGN – A performance by Bolokada Conde, acclaimed master of the djembe drum, will lead the Champaign Public Library's three-part series of free, family programs of music and dance from across the globe.

Conde will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the library, 200 W. Green St., C. All performances in the series are free and open to the public.

UI play 'La Soy Latina' focuses on life as Latina in America

URBANA – The members of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority will perform the ensemble play "La Soy Latina," which explores their identities and connections in American society, on Wednesday evening at the Illini Union.

"An honest and funny look at what it means to be Latina in America, it explores the stories of six diverse women growing up bilingual, bicultural and proud to declare, 'Yo Soy Latina!,'" according to a news release.

Japan House celebrates 10 years at Lincoln Avenue location

URBANA – Japan House will celebrate the 10th anniversary at its present location at 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., U, with a series of special events this week.

The highlight will be the performance "Hidden Beauty: Yugen in Tea, Noh and Contemporary Washi Art" at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Cleary family returns to area for reunion, tour of its roots

In the 1850s, a young man from County Tipperary left Ireland to make his fortune. He found it in the fertile farmland of central Illinois.

Michael Cleary settled on a homestead near El Paso. He married Sarah Murphy, a County Tipperary girl, in Bloomington in 1859. Together they raised 12 children.

In 1891, the Cleary family began migrating to Ford and Champaign counties. Cleary bought 160 acres three miles south of Paxton for sons James and William. Daughter Nellie went along as housekeeper. Four more children, Molly Cleary Corbett, Sallie Cleary Huguet, Bess Cleary Head and Ed Cleary followed.

Artist's talk canceled

CHAMPAIGN – Artist Fred Tomaselli, who was to have given a talk at 5:30 p.m. today at Krannert Art Museum, has canceled due to illness.

University of Illinois art history Professor Jonathan Fineberg said the talk will be rescheduled for the spring.

Stopping By: Homer Lake Forest Preseve offers peace, quiet

HOMER – Memories of summer camp, lakeside weddings, family reunions, nature hikes, quiet conversations between friends – Homer Lake Forest Preserve is the source and home to all of these. Located in the southeastern section of Champaign County, its 800 acres offer a slower pace for fishing, birding, hiking, picnicking or for just sitting on a bench by the water.

I began my visit to the park late in the day on the West Lake Trail, which is 4.6 miles, the longest hiking loop at Homer Lake. For more than a mile the path follows the edge of the lake through forest, with plenty of benches along the way. Then the path opens onto the prairie portion of the wildlife conservation area, and continues for several miles before it loops back to its starting point.

EIU Jazz Lab, Collegiate bands to perform Tuesday night

Eastern Illinois University's Jazz Lab and Collegiate bands will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Doudna Fine Arts Center's Dvorak Concert Hall on the Charleston campus.

The first half of the concert will feature the EIU Jazz Lab Band, a 19-piece ensemble directed by Paul Johnston, playing a variety of big-band music, including selections written for the Count Basie Orchestra and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.

Annual ACE Awards to fete area's cultural life at new venue

CHAMPAIGN – The fourth annual ACE (Arts, Culture and Entertainment) Awards ceremony will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Highdive, 51 E. Main St., C.

The awards recognize and celebrate outstanding contributions to the cultural life of Champaign County. A panel of independent judges representing a cross- section of the community selected seven winners for 2008; they will be announced and the awards given out at the ACE Awards ceremony.

Novices sink their teeth into lead roles in 'Little Shop of Horrors'

As just a little boy, Josh Bough became obsessed with the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" after seeing a production at Tuscola High School.

"Basically, I've been trying to be Seymour since then," he said. "When I heard CUTC was doing it, I thought, 'I'm going to drop out of Eastern and go to Parkland.'"

He admits there were other reasons he left Eastern Illinois University for Parkland College. But he was successful with one: landing the lead role of Seymour in the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company production of "Little Shop," opening Thursday evening at the Virginia Theatre.

This is the first time that CUTC has presented the rock musical by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman.

It focuses on Seymour, a nerdy florist shop worker on Skid Row in New York who unwittingly raises a plant that feeds on human blood, and his love for Audrey, another worker at the shop.

The music is styled after 1960s rock 'n' roll, doo-wop and early Motown and will be performed by a 23-member cast and 13-piece orchestra directed by Cody Halberstadt. Music director is Brad Jenks.

Among the musical numbers are "Skid Row (Downtown)," "Somewhere That's Green" and "Suddenly, Seymour."

The role of the human Audrey is being played by Leanne Noland, a promotions staff member at WCIA-TV Channel 3. This is her first foray into local community theater, as she grew up near St. Louis and moved here just a year ago.

"I always liked Audrey a lot," said Noland, an EIU graduate in broadcast jour-nalism. "I like how naive she is.

"Throughout high school I always had Audrey-esque parts – the girls who are kind of clueless but likable."

Todd Salen, who is producing, said more powerful actor-singers auditioned for the roles of Seymour and Audrey, but producers liked the naivete and freshness that the 20-year-old Bough and 23-year-old Noland bring to the parts.