Fluid Events replaces 'dueling' pianos with open space

URBANA – The 88 Broadway space inside Lincoln Square Village no longer has ebony and ivory to tickle – gone are the "dueling" pianos as well as most of the tables and chairs.

The new operator, Fluid Events, has adopted an open-floor format, with the option of adding as many tables and chairs as needed, or desired.

Romance writers help each other at monthly meeting

URBANA – Sometimes, it takes more than love to make a manuscript.

Sometimes, you need a little help from a group of fellow writers to get to the heart of a story.

Ex-UI prof chose best of European writing for book

CHAMPAIGN – Reviewers of Dalkey Archive Press' inaugural anthology, "Best European Fiction 2010," often wonder why such a collection hasn't been released before.

There's a good reason, said Martin Riker, associate director of the publishing house at the University of Illinois.

"It's an enormous undertaking to be able to publish new fiction from countries all around Europe," he said. "You need to translate an extraordinary amount of work" from which to select.

Heard the news? It's family fun night at Assembly Hall

CHAMPAIGN – If you hear Newsboys keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein tell it, Winter Jam 2010 has it all: family-friendly entertainment, an inexpensive charge at the door and popular Christian music many enjoy.

He describes it as "kind of like a traveling music festival." It's Christian music's largest annual tour, as well.

How encouraging can governor be in State of State?

Gov. Pat Quinn moved up the date of his State of the State address to this Wednesday so he could grab the news spotlight 20 days before the primary election.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea. Perhaps he should have waited until after the Feb. 2 primary.

UI's interim president shares his thoughts on future

Stanley O. Ikenberry, interim president of the University of Illinois, spoke at length last week with News-Gazette reporters Julie Wurth and Paul Wood about budget cuts in his first weeks of office.

Ikenberry talked candidly about the need for the UI to make painful cuts, his hopes for future revenues and parings of the budget, the likelihood that the state income tax will be increased, his feelings about working with a mostly novice board of trustees, and how his management style may have evolved since his first term of more than 15 years.

'Veracity' author to hold reading at area Borders store

CHAMPAIGN – Like many Americans, Laura Bynum became worried about the direction the country was taking after Sept. 11, 2001.

She was concerned about the passage of the Patriot Act and how little debate there had been on it, and how people seemed not to be able to tell the difference between fact and opinion.

Workshops set for kids, adults

URBANA – Amara Yoga & Arts will have a series of natural arts and crafts play shops starting this month for both children and adults.

Back by popular demand will be a Fairies and Fairy Houses Playshop, this time for adults, led by dollmaker and art teacher Rebecca Flores, who moved to Urbana last year from Chicago and is a Waldorf-trained teacher.

Art Theater's new owner plans changes, welcomes input

CHAMPAIGN – Movie lover Sanford Hess is taking over ownership of the only art-movie house in Champaign-Urbana. He has a lot of ideas but no preconceived notions.

And he's open to input about what he is renaming the Art Theater, currently Boardman's Art Theatre.

Area artists sought for Feb. 6 Fine Arts Celebration

URBANA – Organizers of Yankee Ridge School's Fine Arts Celebration seek area artists to share their talents with students, at the event from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 6 at the school.

The artists will work with children during two 50-minute sessions that include instruction and demonstrations and an opportunity for each child to try the art form. The festival is a way to give the students a taste of new forms of art that they normally wouldn't experience. In the past, artists have shared their talents in photography, self-portraiture, jewelry making, macrame/beads, watercolor, sewing, cartoon drawing, Balinese gamelan and dance. All art forms are welcome.