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CHAMPAIGN – "Tabula Rasa: A Drawing Exhibition" featuring contemporary drawings by artists from throughout the country will be on display through Oct. 25 at the Parkland Art Gallery.
The artists' reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, with a talk by Chicago artist Michael Dinges and music by pianist Kristina Engberg.
DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Museum Society will hold its annual Arts Week Open House from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 116 N. Gilbert St.
On hand will be artists and craftmen displaying talents in tatting, crocheting, china painting, oil painting, wood carving, loom weaving, plastic canvas, counted cross-stitch, knitting, hand weaving, quilting, spinning, photography, costuming, teddy bear making, beading, embroidery, sock making and jewelry making.
Celebration on Saturday offers variety of food, booths, events
MONTICELLO – Main Street's eighth annual Monticello Celebration will be held Saturday throughout downtown and on the square.
URBANA – Sinfonia da Camera's 25th season will open on Saturday with a concert featuring guest artist Ricardo Herrera, a bass-baritone and University of Illinois School of Music faculty member. Herrera will join Sinfonia for an evening of Spanish-inspired music, to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Foellinger Great Hall at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Herrera will sing Xavier Montsalvat- ge's Cinco Canciones Negras, five songs based on themes of Antillean rhythms and folk songs, and Pablo Sorozabal's "Despierta Negro," from the nautical opera "La Tabernera del Puerto."
CHAMPAIGN – For Mary Kalantzis and Violet Harris, planning the first-ever Youth Literature Festival for East Central Illinois has required a lot of labor. But it's work that Harris calls a "glorious burden" because it celebrates books.
The dean and associate dean, respectively, of the University of Illinois College of Education, have ambitious goals for the festival, happening Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They hope it will eventually rival Roger Ebert's Film Festival in popularity and the ability to attract people, including from out of town, and make reading central to families' lives.
CHAMPAIGN – The sixth annual Asian Film Festival starting Friday at the Boardman's Art Theatre will showcase five feature films seldom seen outside Japan, among them a family film and a World War II documentary.
All of the films have English subtitles and are open to the public free of charge. The festival is sponsored by The Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies and the Asian Educational Media Service, both at the University of Illinois.
URBANA – The Asian Educational Media Service recently became more visible and accessible to area residents.
Earlier this summer, the service – a program of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois – began making its media library available through the Lincoln Trail Libraries System, which provides interlibrary loans to patrons of 118 public and school libraries in nine East Central Illinois counties.
ROSSVILLE – It's been nearly 100 years since Ross Township dedicated its new red brick building at 103 W. Attica St.
On the celebratory day in October 1908, a large parade was held before the speeches began, according to the hometown newspaper. A string of hayracks came to town, some decorated and all bearing children from the area schools within traveling distance. Students came from Alvin, Squankum, Pleasant View, Pleasant Hill, College Hill, Summer, Dale, Centennial, Lee, Mann's Chapel and Bethel schools – none are still in operation, and the buildings of most don't even exist today.
CHAMPAIGN – Kathy Cottong, director of The Arts Club of Chicago, will give a lecture titled "Gracious Provocation: The Arts Club of Chicago 1916-2008," at 12:45 p.m. Friday at the Champaign Country Club.
The talk is part of the Krannert Art Museum Council Fall Lecture Luncheon, which will begin with a council meeting at 11 a.m., a cash bar at 11:30 a.m. and lunch at noon.
With no fish boil in sight, Greg Martell opts for The Fish Wagon.
"I'm originally from Wisconsin and I live in Indiana now. Nobody has fish boils or fish fries there," Martell says. "That's hard when you love fish."
So when he's in Illinois twice a year for work at the Stone Ridge Dairy in rural Mansfield, he stops regularly at The Fish Wagon in Farmer City.
"I come to Stone Ridge once in the spring and once in the fall. And every Friday and Saturday night – this is where I eat," Martell adds as he places an order at The Fish Wagon window.
The Fish Wagon is owned and operated by Kevin and Hope Castle. It's a mobile example of roadside architecture – a restaurant on wheels. More precisely, it's a takeout diner in what used to be a motor home.
"This is something that came about on its own and it has taken on a life of its own," Hope Castle says. "This is our 10th year here."
The Fish Wagon is a modern-day twist on the horse-drawn lunch wagons that are the forerunner of the diner. The wagons would park in front of factories and offer reasonably priced lunches to workers. Before long, the wagons were parked in permanent locations and by the 1930s had evolved into the streamlined diner.
Roadside architecture is also sometimes called roadside Americana or even roadside archaeology. It is a wide and varied category, from stainless steel-sheathed diners to tile-roofed, mission-style gas stations to log-cabin motel cottages – all tied to America's love of the automobile and travel. A summary in three words: eat, sleep, gas.