CHAMPAIGN – Luis Alberto Urrea, author of "The Devil's Highway," a best-seller and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, will speak at two events on Friday in Champaign and Savoy.
Urrea will be the guest speaker at the Friday Forum from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the University YMCA Latzer Hall, 1001 S. Wright St., C. Later that day, from 5 to 8 p.m., he will read and sign copies of his book at Pages for All Ages Bookstore, 1201 Savoy Plaza Lane, Savoy.
CHARLESTON – Three new shows have opened at the Tarble Arts Center on the Eastern Illinois University campus.
They are: "Beverly Fishman: Optical Unconscious"; "James Oliver: Rural Happenings," featuring paintings of Midwestern sites such as carnivals and farm expos; and "Forced Photography," showcasing 135 photographs by Brian Poulter, a professor of journalism at EIU.
CHAMPAIGN – The touring company of the Chicago-based Second City comedy club will pay satirical homage to the election season with its latest show, "Deface the Nation," to be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.
The company has customized the all-political revue for the election year. Expect the performers to do skits and songs that poke fun at both political parties and at a variety of pundits.
CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois Press is hosting the 2008 Book Show of the Association of American University Presses through Sept. 19 at its offices at 1325 S. Oak St., C.
The show features 45 winning books and 30 winning cover designs, on view during business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A reception will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
DANVILLE – Women Aware, an outreach program of Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation, will present "Skin as Soft as the Dewy Petals of a Flower" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 27 in Conference Rooms 2 and 3 of the medical center, near the cafeteria, 812 N. Logan Ave.
Presentations include: Dr. Arvin Uppal on the different types of aesthetic enhancement available for face lifts; Carol Shriver, dietician, on how to eat properly for healthy skin; and Dr. Mary Gindi on the warning signs for freckles and moles that could turn cancerous.
CLINTON – The Apple 'N Pork Festival in Clinton is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 27 and 28 on the grounds of the C.H. Moore Homestead, located on the north edge of Clinton, on U.S. 51.
This will be the 40th festival that began as a source of income for the C.H. Moore Victorian mansion. Over the years the festival has grown to include more than 20 county nonprofit groups raising money to continue their programs.
CHAMPAIGN – Tickets for hometown favorite band REO Speedwagon's Oct. 24 concert at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall will go on sale starting at 10 a.m. Sept. 20.
The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. with special guest the Tons 'O' Fun Band, a local R&B band.
PESOTUM – I was greeted at the front door of Sweet Dreams Bed and Breakfast Inn by proprietor Cheryl Smitley. Her friendly greeting set the tone for my visit with her and Fred, her husband of 31 years. However, I was not prepared for the beautiful elegance of the home they showed me.
The Smitleys say they fell in love with the original woodwork and fine craftsmanship when they first saw the 1902 Victorian-style home at 300 East Adams Street in Pesotum.
MAHOMET – Some 150 years after Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Champaign County Fairgrounds during the nation's ongoing slavery debate, the Early American Museum in Mahomet will present "Lincoln, Slavery and the Legacy of Race" at 2 p.m. Sept. 21.
Historian Ron Keller will trace the imagery and documents that present Lincoln on both sides of the battle between pro- and anti-slavery forces.
A small girl jumps into a line of singers, most several inches and several years above her. They sing "The storm is passing over," and then she is handed the microphone.
But inside that small girl – 12-year-old Jefferson Middle School student Carmen Jackson – is a big voice, a powerful voice that holds the high notes and pushes them higher, and pulls soul into the low notes.
It's a voice of someone who'll be a star one day, Shandra Summerville said. "She will be one of Champaign's finest."
Jackson is not the only could-be-a-star in that line of singers.
Summerville is the program coordinator of CUperStar, a program started by the Champaign-Urbana Area Project and now in its third year.