C-U underground scene picks up the pace
Local groups working hard to promote the arts
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:12
With the winter break comes an abundance of free time and occasional boredom. Without the burden of coursework, it becomes easier to get involved in what's going on in the community. For those interested in supporting the arts in the Champaign-Urbana area, the C-U Music Collective and the CU Film Society are hard working groups to take into consideration.
Emerging from the Champaign-Urbana music scene is the C-U Music Collective, a group of local artists and enthusiasts working to raise awareness of music and art in the community. They have recently created a website, http://cucollective.com, in order to help music lovers find out about upcoming shows and events. The site also lists over 70 bands in the community, as well as local venues, businesses and organizations.
Collective member Darwin Keup explained that the collective "was mostly founded due to the fact that last year there were a number of house venues, and then everyone moved so we weren't able to do many house shows." Keup goes on to say that, "every week you had at least two or three shows to go to, it was great. And then we weren't able to do shows, so everyone got together and decided to form a collective in hopes of opening an all-age venue."
The collective is hoping to make the venue more than just a place for live music. They are also planning on using it as an art gallery, zine library, film theater, and a spot where people can come just to meet and hang out. Ideally, the venue will be completely volunteer-based.
The group is diligently working to achieve this goal by hosting shows in order to raise money for the venue. Their last fundraiser show was on November 17 at Mike ‘N' Molly's. The show featured the bands Grandkids, Midstress, Deathtram, Isaac Arms, and Petunias. It was their greatest success yet, raising nearly $500. The collective is also earning money by selling homemade baked goods and merchandise such as T-shirts and patches. Also, to further raise money for the venue, Indianapolis based record label Dead Rodent Records is working to release a C-U Collective benefit compilation.
The C-U Collective is open to any artist, band, or music lover who wants to become a part of it. "It would be awesome if people from other scenes got involved," collective member Finn Smith said. "Right now it probably seems like it's mostly just for punk kids, but it's not. That's just the group of friends that got together (to form the collective)." There are no requirements for local bands interested in being part of the group.
For those interested in joining, the C-U Collective holds meetings every other Sunday at Espresso Royale on the corner of Oregon Street and Goodwin Avenue in Urbana. These meetings are open to the public. More information on the C-U Collective can be found at their website, http://cucollective.com and on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cucollective.
The C-U Film Society has only been around since September, but it has been an idea in the minds of co-founders Luke Boyce and Brett Hays for about a year. "The Film Society is an organization that exists to provide resources to film lovers and film makers," Boyce said. "A lot of the time they are the same thing and a lot of the times they are very separate. But we just want to be a central resource for film interested things, whether that's watching them, making them, or studying them." One resource the board of the society provides is access to professional film makers. The C-U Film Society brings people in the business from out of town to give classes and workshops on subjects such as camera work, set building, screenwriting, budgeting and editing.
They also try to provide a way for other film makers or enthusiasts to meet others like themselves. Members can use this network to help promote films, cast productions or anything else they need.
The Society looks to appeal to community members ranging from high school students to senior citizens. They also have a student-centered committee for finding ways to specifically offer resources to students both of Parkland College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Boyce also mentioned that they hope to start providing classes on each of the college campuses eventually, as well.
"Our events are open to the public. All events. So a Parkland student can come to any event we have, but we want to work hard to bring resources there and bring resources to the U of I," Boyce said.
Membership in the society costs $15 for individual members and comes with many beneficial perks. The fee is used to pay for the high quality workshops that the society hosts. Their strict rule is that they never bring in local people to teach their workshops. "You don't have to be a member to attend any of our (events). Usually the benefit of membership, for instance-the workshop we just had was $20, but if you were a member, it was free. If we get to the point where we have a very popular person to come in, like a celebrity, and we know it'll be a high selling event, a member will get first choice of tickets," Boyce explained.
Boyce encourages people to join, not only in order to receive first choice at event tickets, but also to show their support what they are trying to do and to help the C-U Film Society become a stronger organization. More information on the C-U Film Society can be found at their website, http://cufilmsociety.org.
While relaxing between semesters, consider helping out one, or both, of these organizations. It is an interesting way to meet new people, make a difference and become involved in our local community.