Parks and Recreation
ARTHUR – Some of the best high school-age rodeo performers from all over the state will compete in Arthur when the Illinois High School Rodeo Association comes to the Moultrie-Douglas County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday.
Riders will compete in bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, pole bending, bull riding and goat tying.
DANVILLE – It will be another year before an anticipated water playground will be built next to Garfield Park.
The Danville Chapter of AMBUCS announced Wednesday that its planned zero-depth aquatic playground has been postponed because the city's negotiations are taking longer than expected for the necessary land that borders Garfield Park.
MONTICELLO – Folks in and around Monticello are delighted that a statewide poll may put Allerton Park in danger of losing its "hidden gem" status.
The University of Illinois facility won a spot on the Illinois Bureau of Tourism's Seven Wonders of Illinois contest.
On a frigid February morning, Barack Obama stood in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield – where Abraham Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech almost 150 years ago – and announced his bid for the U.S. presidency.
He was surrounded by more than 15,000 people, many of them Illinoisans.
Now this really would have put the "memorial" in Memorial Stadium: a miniature Washington Monument-style obelisk rising from the north end zone.
The idea was one design proposed for the University of Illinois football field and, while it never was set in stone, it was rendered in a drawing, a piece of UI history now available for anyone to see on the Web, thanks to Kalev Leetaru.
CHAMPAIGN – Introducing his friend Paul Cox's film on Saturday at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, director Werner Herzog said he felt that the festival, more than anything, has to do with friendship.
"I thank Roger for the friendship that he's offered me and other filmmakers. One of the things I do not care that much about is that he's the most influential critic in the United States," Herzog said in an apparent reference to Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker saying that onstage Friday night.
CHAMPAIGN – University of Illinois alumnus Andrew Davis was not the only filmmaker wanting to make a film adaptation of Louis Sachar's award-winning young adult's novel, "Holes."
The powerful Hollywood directors Rob Reiner and the Coen brothers were pursuing the project at the same time. But Sachar settled on Davis, then mainly known as an intelligent director of action films, including "The Fugitive" starring Harrison Ford. Sachar eventually settled on Davis, and the novelist wrote the screenplay.
CHAMPAIGN – Roger Ebert, whose speaking voice has been disabled due to a tracheostomy, finally spoke to his audience Saturday at his Overlooked Film Festival at the Virginia Theatre.
"Good morning, I'm not HAL 9000 developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana," he said via a voice synthesizer. "I am the computer voice of Roger Ebert. This computer has been programmed to speak my words."
URBANA – You can't really pigeonhole Michael Wiese.
From an award-winning "Star Wars" spoof to a quest for spiritual enlightenment in Tibet, Wiese has explored an incredible range of subjects as an independent filmmaker – not to mention stints producing exercise and music videos and Democratic political ads.
It's a problem all right. Here you are, about to walk (well, maybe run) down the aisle as the ring dog in your people's upcoming nuptials, and nobody can find you a four-legged tux to wear.
And the wedding cake: Wouldn't you think somebody would make something in a flavor you like, say, one tier chicken, one tier liver, hold the chocolate please?