National Sweetheart Pageant Runners-Up, 2015
National Sweetheart Pageant Facebook page
March 01, 2016

Miss America Ban Could Mean End To Hoopeston Pageant

A clarification in the language from the Miss America organization may mean Hoopeston can no longer hold its National Sweetheart Pageant, held during Labor Day weekend.  The competition has gone on since the 1940's. Its co-directors, Cliff and Michelle Crabtree, say they're looking into what it would take to become affiliated with the organization.


Director and University of Illinois graduate Ang Lee, left, and Guillermo del Toro
Chris Pizello/Associated Press
January 21, 2016

Filmmaker Del Toro Attending 18th Ebertfest With ‘Crimson Peak’

Writer/Director Guillermo Del Toro will be the opening night guest at the 18th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival, April 13th at Champaign's Virginia Theater, accompanying his 2015 film "Crimson Peak." Further films will be announced in the coming weeks.


Bruce (middle) discussing protocol with Rob James-Collier (Tomas, left) and Kevin Doyle (Mr. Mosley, right).
Courtesy of Masterpiece
January 04, 2016

Downton Abbey Historical Adviser On Season Six, Filming And More

Downton Abbey season six, the final season, premiered in the U.S. yesterday to great acclaim. It wouldn’t look the way it does or be so historically accurate, however, if it weren’t for Alastair Bruce. The cast and crew of Downton Abbey, Masterpiece’s smash hit about the Crawley family and their servants call Bruce, the show’s historical advisor, “The Oracle” because he knows everything about the customs and protocols of the time period. 


Some of the homes on Fairlawn Drive in Urbana, part of Candlestick Lane.
Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
December 24, 2015

The History Of Urbana’s Candlestick Lane

Candlestick Lane, a holiday tradition of lights and decorated lawns for 52 years in Urbana, was started after a utility company's decorating contest.  Three of the families who started the tradition in 1963 are still in the neighborhood.  Participating homes on Grant Place, Eastern Drive, and Fairlawn Drive are expected to keep up their displays through New Year's Eve.


Courtesy of Masterpiece
December 14, 2015

Downton Abbey Historical Adviser Alastair Bruce On Filming, Manners Special

The cast and crew of Downton Abbey, Masterpiece’s smash hit about the Crawley family and their servants call Historical Advisor Alistair Bruce “The Oracle” because he knows everything about the customs and protocols of the time period. Bruce is in town to share some of that knowledge and secrets about filming the show at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts tonight.


Front cover photo for "Songs of the Night."
Archeophone Records
December 07, 2015

Another Grammy Nomination For Champaign’s Archeophone Records

Archeophone Records, which re-issues recordings from the acoustic era, has picked up a Best Album Notes nomination for 'Songs of The Night: Dance Recordings 1916-1925.'  Ryan Barma's accompaying booklet discussses band leader Joseph C. Smith's life and contributions to early 20th Century dance music.


Still picture from "The Bathrooms are Coming", the 1969 American-Standard Musical.
Steve Young
December 04, 2015

Night Of ‘Corporate Musicals’ Coming To Champaign

Veteran David Letterman late night writer Steve Young has compiled dozens of recordings from trade shows and conventions, songs from companies ranging from car manufacturers to beer breweries to General Electric.  "The Lost World of Industrial Musicals" comes to the Art Theater Co-op in Champaign Friday night.


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