Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Friday fun in Urbana

The 12th in the series of Imbibe Urbana's First Fridays takes place this Friday on the streets of downtown Urbana, with "Makers on Main: An Artisan Market," and other activities such as demos by the Champaign Ladies Amateur Wrestling group; a Main Street Carnival; a Girl Power Pop-Up with the Urbana Free Library and Habitat for Humanity; crafts by the Spurlock Museu

Top of the Morning, July 29, 2017

GENE ALEXANDER's fixation started at an early age, when he pieced together a puzzle map of the U.S. with his grandpa.

"I knew my states before I could read," he said. "Here I am now, 82 years old and still messing with them."

Entertainment listings, July 27-Aug. 3, 2017


This weekend

What: July 27, 4H Day. Grandstand concert by Chris Young, with and Drew Baldridge and Kassi Ashton, July 28. Other highlights: Tractor pulls, July 29. Also, carnival, through July 29; 4-H, beer tent with live music, July 28;  morning livestock shows, July 27; and more.
When: Continues July 27-29.

Ask 'Mimi,' July 23, 2017

What did you think of Lou Ballard?

As do many local art lovers, I admire his work and I admired him. He specialized in ceramics, hand-built and wheel-thrown. In a 2011 interview, Lou told me he started doing pottery when he was a boy in New Mexico, with a potter friend of his father's.

Entertainment listings, July 20-27, 2017


This weekend


What: Traditional fair events including queen pageant, demo derby, wild World of Animals, horse shows, livestock, Nick Lynch Band, 4-H, tractor pull and talent show.

When: July 20-24.

Where: Fairgrounds,1390 E. 2000 N. Road, Watseka.

Ask 'Mimi,' July 16, 2017

Are there renovations this summer at the two Krannerts?

At Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois Facilities & Services is replacing 14 sections of limestone exterior to which railings are attached, as well as the railings, for safety reasons, said Bridget Lee-Calfas, Krannert's publicity and marketing director. A crane had to be used.

Entertainment listings, July 13-20, 2017




Ask 'Mimi,' July 9, 2017

Why isn't Jennifer Roscoe on the 10 p.m. news anymore?

She decided to give up anchoring it to have more time at home with her two teenage daughters and husband. She continues to anchor the WCIA Channel 3 news shows at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m.

Entertainment listings, July 6-13, 2017



What: Main Street between Race Street and Broadway Avenue will be closed to cars and open for festival fun. Unique tastings, games, fire and dance performers, dinner specials, art shows and more.

When: 4 to 11 p.m. July 7.

Where: Downtown Urbana.


Studio Visit: Mike Harper

Mike Harper, 47, of Danville is a professional artist and muralist.

Do you have any other job?

Nope. This is it. It took me a long time to work up to doing this. This is my fourth year doing it full-time.

Do you paint mostly murals?