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.


Work is underway to to convert Champaign's McKinley YMCA pool space into a roller rink for the Twin City Derby Girls.
Jamie Kozma/Twin City Derby Girls
January 19, 2016

Roller Derby Team Leases Champaign’s McKinley Building

The Twin City Derby Girls now has secured a downtown Champaign site for its future practices and bouts - but it will take about $20,000 and some construction work.  Last month, the roller derby team secured a 3-year lease for the former McKinley YMCA building on Church Street.


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.


A screen grab from the Star Wars movie.
Walt Disney Studios
December 21, 2015

‘Star Wars’ Awakens A New Generation

University of Illinois students and Roger Ebert Fellows Ashish Valentine, Riane Lenzner-White and Shalayne Pulia reviewed the opening-night screening of The Force Awakens and convened in the studios of Chicago Public Radio to discuss what the Star Wars phenomenon meant (or didn’t mean) to them, going into the film.


Portrait of Julie Turnock
University of Illinois
December 15, 2015

‘Star Wars’ Franchise Continues To Drive Movie Special Effects

One of the many ways Star Wars has changed the movie industry since the first movie came out in 1977 is through special effects.  Much of the industry standard in special effects even today has its roots in the original Star Wars trilogy of the late 1970’s and early 80’s.  That’s according to Julie Turnock, a professor of media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois Urbana campus.  She spoke with Illinois Public Media's Brian Moline this week.


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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