Arts and Entertainment

Film critics join lineup for annual film festival event

CHAMPAIGN – Roger Ebert will be getting a little help from his friends during his 10th annual film festival in Champaign.

Time magazine movie critic Richard Corliss, Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips and Richard Roeper, Ebert's Sun-Times colleague and partner in the weekly movie-review television program "Ebert & Roeper," will fill in for him onstage during Ebertfest, or Roger Ebert's Film Festival, April 23-27 at the Virginia Theatre. They will take turns questioning festival guests after the screenings.


'Hoopeston' hits the big screen

NEW YORK – New York independent film fans, who might not be able to find Hoopeston on a map, know a little more about the small Vermilion County town today.

A feature-length documentary titled "Hoopeston" premiered Thursday night at the New York Underground Film Festival, which was founded in 1994 and is known for innovative, experimental and sometimes controversial films.


Veteran British actor to appear at Ebertfest

Screen, stage and television actor Timothy Spall will be a guest at Roger Ebert's Film Festival with the screening of "Hamlet." The 1996 movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh, will open the festival at 7 p.m. April 23.

Individual tickets to the 13 movies in Ebertfest go on sale starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Virginia Theatre box office. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and students. Call 356-9063 for information. Festival passes sold out soon after they went on sale in previous years.


'Jesus Christ Superstar' opens Thursday at Virginia Theatre

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Urbana Theatre Company will present the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." It opens for four productions starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.

The musical traces the last seven days in the life of Christ from his entrance into Jerusalem to his crucifixion as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Originally a concept album recorded in 1970, the rock opera is one of the earliest works of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.


Local painter's landscape picked for national park's exhibition

Martha Seif started what she calls her "canyon series" when her daughter, an Idaho resident, urged her to take an interest in the geographical features common in the West.

Seif, who has studied art at Parkland College since 1994, is known in the local art community for her paintings of flowers and landscapes. She tackled the canyon challenge after friends, Jack and Sally Paxton of Urbana, brought her photographs they took at Zion National Park, St. George, Utah.


WWHP whips up all-star lineup for '08 shows

Farmer City radio station WWHP-FM, 98.3, "The Whip," annouces a stellar lineup of acts for its 2008 concert series.

Artists set to perform are Texas singer/songwriter James McMurtry; Justin Townes Earle, son of alt-country icon Steve Earle; Western swing/honky tonk artist Wayne "The Train" Hancock; Southern roots-rock musician Paul Thorn; Texas blues-rocker Carolyn Wonderland; and Americana/alt-country musician Dale Watson.


Rock Against Rape show set for Saturday at Highdive

CHAMPAIGN – The fifth annual Rock Against Rape show, set for 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Highdive in downtown Champaign, features a five-band lineup headlined by local singer-songwriter Angie Heaton.

Tickets to the show are $4, and additional donations are accepted. All proceeds benefit Rape Crisis Services of Champaign.


'Return to Forbidden Planet' sends Shakespeare into space

CHAMPAIGN – In a review of the 1956 sci-fi movie "Forbidden Planet," based on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest," a New Yorker critic wrote, "It's a pity they didn't lift some of Shakespeare's language."

Perhaps playwright Bob Carlton read that before writing his rock-and-roll musical "Return to the Forbidden Planet," a hybrid based on the movie and "The Tempest." In the musical, Carlton lifts the bard's language from not only "The Tempest" but also other Shakespeare plays.


Famed director to attend this year's Ebertfest

CHAMPAIGN – Acclaimed director and University of Illinois graduate Ang Lee is one of the highlights of the 10th annual Ebertfest at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.

The film festival, hosted by noted film critic, Urbana native and UI grad Roger Ebert, takes place April 23 to 27. Other guests scheduled to appear at the festival, with films hand-picked by Ebert, include director Paul Schrader, actor Joey Pantoliano, a return performance by the Alloy Orchestra, director William Forsyth, actress Christine Lahti, actress Aida Turturro, choreographer Tricia Brouk and more.


College students going joke-for-joke in comedy contest

URBANA – If you attend the University of Illinois and think you're a funny-man (or funny-woman), then you can compete for the title of "The Country's Funniest College Student."

RooftopComedy.com, an Internet comedy channel, is behind the competition, which features students competing from 32 colleges from around the country, including the UI. The first event takes place April 2 at the UI, but the time and campus location have yet to be nailed down.


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