Although Chicago readily and enthusiastically claims Roger Ebert as one of its favorite sons, the late, great film critic spent most of his formative years in the bustling university metropolis of Champaign, Illinois. For years, Champaign has played home to Ebertfest, an annual hometown celebration where he selects several of his favorite under-the-radar films from recent years to be screened for the locals at the historic Virginia Theatre. And although this is the first Ebertfest without the man, the show will go on as planned.
If you live in Champaign by some chance, or Chicago, or some other Midwestern city within easy driving distance and by the grace of God the weather isn’t abysmal where you are, you may want to get yourself in your car or on a bus or something and spend an afternoon at the movies. The remaining festival schedule includes Tilda Swinton in Julia tonight, the brilliant guru-skewering doc Kumare tomorrow, Randy Moore’s guerrilla-Disney film Escape From Tomorrow, and James Ponsoldt’s teens-in-love story The Spectacular Now. It’s a nice mix of fare, and after the week we’ve all had, it might be nice to escape to the movies for a while, don’t you think?
It’s almost that time of year! You know, the one where everyone on the internet who doesn’t consider themselves a diehard fan of the Insane Clown Posse comes together to ridicule a subculture we can never hope to understand, largely because its sense of tight-knit community makes us feel even more alone? Okay, let’s do this.
The good news is they picked the geographic locations by name alone, it seems: the gathering will take place at Cave-in-Rock State Park, Illinois, at something called Hog Rock, “also known as the illustrious and ever so infamous Hatchet Landings.” Pretty badass. This falls nowhere near an airport but right on the borders of Kentucky and Indiana, which should make things convenient for real Juggalos and difficult for coastal documentarians.
Who cares about the musical acts; the important thing is the sideshows. We’ve got a Miss Juggalette 2013 contest in the works, and you can audition for JCW (that’s Juggalo Championship Wrestling) if you think you have what it takes. But the best attraction of all has to be the wet T-shirt contest. What’s their spin on this Spring Break classic? They don’t use water—they use Faygo. Welp, see you in August! I’ll be the one wearing face paint.
A few years ago I caught a band called Illinois, deceptively from a small town in Pennsylvania. The five-piece plays Americana songs lost-and-found love, saloons, and unending nights. Here’s an exclusive look at the sixth and final chapter from their ambitious six-month release of six EPs, each coinciding with a chapter of a short-film project called The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe (see the other five parts here). In the saga, lead singer Chris ‘Arch’ Archibald is Kid Catastrophe, a flaneur on the quest to find love (and parties).