All Arts and Entertainment Content

Partners find restoring Watseka Theatre a labor of love

Chuck Gomez always thought the art-deco Watseka Theatre, designed by Louis Skidmore, would be a good investment. But from day one, he said, the theater that he bought 14 months ago turned out to be a magical building instead.

"It changed both of our lives for the better," Gomez said of himself and his partner, Debra Liddell.


Shape-note singing set Saturday at New Salem State Historic Site

NEW SALEM – The Sacred Harp singers from Springfield, Jacksonville, Charleston and other downstate cities and towns will have a shape-note singing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Second Berry-Lincoln Store at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site.

A "singing" is an informal gathering patterned after singing schools and all-day singing conventions of the 19th century.


Rascal Flatts planning concert in Peoria

Tickets go on sale starting at 10 a.m. Saturday for the Rascal Flatts concert with special guest Taylor Swift on Sept. 19 at the Peoria Civic Center.

Tickets for the "Bob That Head Tour 2008" show are $63.50 and $48.25 and available at the Peoria Civic Center box office, all TicketMaster outlets and online at www.LiveNation.com and www.TicketMaster.com. Tickets also may be charged by calling 309-676-8700.


Upcoming video game releases will blow you away

After spending July 13-18 at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles, getting a preview of the video games that will come out during the next year or two, I've got some good news and some bad news.

The good news: Tons of fantastic games with new levels of realism are coming our way. The bad news: Few people will have the time and money to play all of these great games.


40 North 88 West sets Final Friday arts festival at Carmon's

CHAMPAIGN – Anyone interested in the arts in Champaign County is invited to the Final Friday arts social at 5 p.m. Friday at Carmon's Restaurant, 415 N. Neil St., C. The sponsor is 40 North 88 West Champaign County's Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council.

The free "Final Friday" arts social is designed to answer questions or to address challenges concerning the arts in Champaign County. People are also welcome to use 40 North representatives as a sounding board, or just to connect to them and other arts lovers.


Charleston Alley Theatre schedules auditions Monday

CHARLESTON – The Charleston Alley Theatre will have auditions at 7 p.m. Monday for Marsha Norman's "'Night, Mother" at the theater, 718 Monroe Ave., Charleston.

"'Night, Mother" is directed by Ruth Straith. People planning to audition will read from the script. For information or to arrange an alternative audition, contact Straith at 345-1437, the theater at 345-2287 or e-mail CATmail<@>consolidated.net.


Rantoul group's production of 'Inherit the Wind' starts Friday

RANTOUL – The Rantoul Theatre Group will present the courtroom drama "Inherit the Wind," based on the "Scopes Monkey Trial," starting Friday at the Grissom Hall Theatre, 914 Arends Blvd., on the former Chanute Air Base in Rantoul.

Actors from Rantoul, Paxton, Loda, Ogden, Sidney, Champaign and Urbana appear in the play. Heading the cast is Robert Picklesimer as prosecuting attorney Matthew Harrison Brady, and Randy Offner as defense attorney Henry Drummond. David Goold plays the defendant Bertram Cates, with Jessica Marcotte as his fiancee Rachel Brown.


ACT Theater Company presenting two shows in Gibson City

GIBSON CITY – The ACT Theater Company of Gibson City for the first time will present two shows this weekend during its eighth season.

Elementary school children are featured in "Disney's 101 Dalmatians, Kids," the well-known tale of Cruella Deville's obsession with spotted puppies. The production involves singing, dancing and lots of "puppies."


Heavy meanings: Hippie encyclopedia's author to visit C-U

CHAMPAIGN – John McCleary likes to call the '60s and '70s hippie movement the Renaissance of the 20th century, one that spawned incredible ideas, other movements and slang terms still in use today.

To emphasize the importance of the era, McCleary wrote "Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1960s and 1970s," first published in 2002 and then revised and reprinted in 2004 by Ten Speed Press.

McCleary will sign copies of the book Friday evening in Champaign.


Saturday's used book sale is Danville library volunteer's type of fun

DANVILLE – Millie Wilson first got involved with the Danville Public Library through the onetime Business & Professional Women's Club, now the Danville Business Women's Club, as a community service project.

"I've loved to read, since I was a child," said Wilson, a Danville Realtor. "It seemed natural to get involved with the library."

And involved she got. She volunteered for the used book sale, assumed more responsibility and now is in charge of the entire sale three times a year. She is also on the Friends of the Library Foundation Board.