Arts and Entertainment
URBANA – Thanks to an emergency grant of more than $200,000, public broadcasting is continuing uninterrupted by a new 18-story building in the path of WILL's television and FM radio signals.
The Burnham310 apartment and office being built at Springfield Avenue and Fourth Street in Champaign is in the direct line of a microwave signal between WILL's studios at Campbell Hall in Urbana and a transmitter 22 miles southwest of Urbana in Monticello, according to Mark Leonard, general manager of WILL AM-FM-TV.
CHAMPAIGN – When director Rene Moreno first heard the writers and performers of "N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK" talking about their show on his car radio, he sat in his driveway and stayed there.
"I had to finish listening to them," said the visiting director from Dallas. Moreno was struck by the cast members' stories and how "they were talking about my life ... how race provides some opportunities, but also stops you at the door."
DANVILLE – Debbie Prentice likes being around children. She drives a school bus, so she's used to their enthusiasm.
But Prentice is working with children in a different way now, by directing the latest Red Mask Players Children's Theater production, "Wooing Wed Widing Hood."
MONTICELLO – Ticket sales for the inaugural Allerton Barn Music Festival got off to a slow start but surged in recent weeks.
Now a limited number of tickets are available for only three of the five shows, which start tonight and continue to Monday night.
URBANA – A benefit concert for the new Community Center for the Arts (C4A) at Lincoln Square Village will take place Saturday evening at the Iron Post in downtown Urbana.
Admission is a minimum donation of $5.
RANTOUL – Though attendance was lower than hoped, officials at the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum plan to hold future air shows.
Hal Loebach, the museum's executive director, said this week that the attendance figures – 3,000 total for Saturday and Sunday – "were disappointing but not unexpected. We will have the air show next year but have not set a date. We'd like to have it earlier, when there is less chance of roasting."
On the eve of "Hallows," witches, wizards and Muggles alike roamed the aisles of bookstores in Champaign and Savoy by the thousands, eagerly awaiting the final chapter in the Harry Potter series.
At 12:01 a.m. today, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was officially released, the boxes finally opened, and the wait finally over, a decade after J.K. Rowling's magically popular series began.
SAVOY – Hours before midnight, the Harry Potter madness had already begun.
At the Savoy 16, theater manager Jeremy Curtis said more than 1,500 tickets were sold – and nine theaters filled – for the Tuesday night opening of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."
CHAMPAIGN – With a circus set to come to Champaign on Friday and Saturday, an animal rights organization is urging city council members to enact an ordinance banning the use of devices that can cause pain or injury to elephants.
But the mayor of Champaign says he doesn't plan to take up the issue.
Officials recommend that it's best to leave fireworks to trained professionals who have permits to use them.
Champaign Fire Department spokeswoman Dena Schumacher said the sights and sounds of fireworks are mesmerizing.