• Energy Boon or Bailout Bust? Probably Both: The Benefits of Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Bill Come with Consumer Costs

    It’s admittedly difficult to get your head around Illinois’ recently passed Future Energy Jobs Bill – a massive, long-gestating piece of legislation that touches on many aspects of energy policy.

    Yet the legislation is worth exploring. It will be a major change in Illinois energy policy when it takes effect on June 1. And it’s an instructive study of the give-and-take of the legislative process – a case that was absolutely green and utility-friendly, but one that might not be nearly as kind to consumers as has been promised.

  • QCA Today: February 25, 2017

    This feature collects articles published online by the following Quad Cities-area media outlets: Quad-City Times, Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch, River Cities’ Reader, KWQC, and WQAD. It also includes items from CapitolFax.com and the state-politics sections of the Des Moines Register and the State Journal-Register.

    If you'd like your media outlet included in this list, contact Jeff at jeff@rcreader.com.

  • 2016 Winter Guide

    The River Cities’ Reader’s 2016-17 Winter Guide – featuring more than 1,300 events through March – is on stands now. Pick up a copy today!

  • Winners and Favorites from Our 2016 Short-Fiction Contest

    The River Cities’ Reader’s 2016 short-fiction contest, presented with the Bettendorf Public Library, received more than 130 submissions. Here are the winners and some of our favorites.

  • Slow-Moving Lava: The Midwest Writing Center’s New Address at the Rock Island Library Is Its Latest Incremental Change

    Small organizations tend to reflect the personalities of their leadership, and that’s certainly true of the Midwest Writing Center and its executive director, Ryan Collins.

  • Trump’s Tactics Just Don’t Work for Anybody Else

    If you’re running for office anytime soon, or if you currently hold office or are a “public figure,” please try to keep one thing in mind: So far, the only person to prove he can thrive by talking like President Donald Trump is ... President Donald Trump.

  • How Fascism Became the Political Bogeyman

    With the rise of the political right in both Europe and America, the wo

  • Remembering Steve Pedigo (1952-2017)

    “Ped’go!” I would bark out every time I ran into Steve Pedigo, always glad to see him – which was too infrequent these past couple years. Steve was as multifaceted as they come, and he was a lot of things to a lot of people. He was everything from a loving father to a political pundit to a handyman to a motorcycle mechanic to a blues ambassador to a radio disc jockey. Steve’s waters ran deep, and if you named a topic, he could carry on an engaging discussion. I always felt time with Steve was well spent, no matter where, when, or for how long. He was self-deprecating and incisively funny.

  • BHC Art Faculty: Programs Are Essential to the Community

    Our program at Black Hawk College, Art & Visual Communication, recently received the devastating news that two of our four full-time faculty positions will be cut. Kyle Petersen teaches new media and had just created a photography certificate unique to the western-Illinois region. Melissa Hebert-Johnson teaches full sections of art history every semester and several innovative online sections of art history and art appreciation. She is also department chair. Both faculty are hailed by our students as not only great teachers, but as having strong, positive impact on their lives in general. The justification that has been given is that a consultant recommended dismantling our AAS in Visual Communication and the Art Technology one-year certificate. We have not been granted access to this report.

  • Governor’s Budget Address Might Have Harpooned “Grand Bargain”

    Before Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address last week, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno made a rare visit to the Senate Democratic caucus meeting.

    Radogno assured the Democrats that she and her GOP caucus were working in good faith to achieve a bipartisan “grand bargain” in the chamber. And then Rauner gave his budget address.

  • A More-Thoughtful Fight: Death by Unga Bunga, February 28 at the Village Theatre

    Norwegian garage rockers Death by Unga Bunga, playing at the Village Theatre on February 28, buzzed through the writing, recording, and mastering of Fight! in just six weeks. Released in September, the four-song EP is over in a flash – 12 minutes of ragged indie garage rock infused with power-pop riffs that could have come straight out of a Cheap Trick song.

  • Older and Bolder: Sam Vicari, February 17 at Rozz-Tox

    Sam Vicari isn’t always as direct as the title of his fourth album – Blunt – might imply.

    Vicari, who will play a February 17 solo show at Rozz-Tox, kept gravitating toward the theme of aging while writing his 2016 album. But he taps into the emotions and realizations that come with getting older, and they’re often complicated.

  • “Peace, Love, and the Joy of Music”: Remembering Ellis Kell (1955-2016)

    Ellis Kell died suddenly in December – after an October cancer diagnosis – and he was known to many as a stalwart part of the Quad Cities music scene and a longtime staff member of the River Music Experience. But these remembrances attest that Kell was loved far beyond those roles.

    Peace, Love & the Joy of Music, a benefit concert for the Kell family, will be held on Saturday, January 21, from 4 to 11 p.m. at the RiverCenter (136 East Third Street, Davenport). The suggested donation for admission is $10. Scheduled performers include the Ellis Kell Band, The Whoozdads?, The Way Down Wanderers, David G. Smith, The Candymakers, Lojo Russo, The Velies, Rude Punch, The Curtis Hawkins Band with Ernie Peniston & Hal Reed, Quad Cities Blues Mafia, and RME Camp Kids Jam.

  • Trading the Computer for Real Life: Karen Meat, February 2 at Rozz-Tox

    “I want to barf on you,” sings Arin Eaton on “Sad,” the most stripped-down song on the 2016 Karen Meat EP She’s Drunk Like the Rest of Us. “I hate what you’ve put me through.”

    While vomit is nowhere near unexpected from a Karen Meat & the Computer track (see puking references in songs such as “I Wrote You a Card” and “Pizza & Beer”), Eaton is coming from a more-personal place on this solo EP.

  • Moeller’s Music Moments: The Daytrotter Founder Picks His Favorites from 2016

    Sean Moeller Illustration by Dave Leiberg for the Time & The Mystery Podcast

    I’m a glutton for these year-end wrap ups. They’re fascinating and ultimately demoralizing because as you’re reading all of them – taking that finger down the rankings – it doesn’t take you very long at all to see a pattern, and you wonder why everyone’s lying. You know damned well that there can be no consensus for this activity – especially across so many publications and outlets. But there is almost always a consensus, and I call BS on it. Don’t fall for these lists. Each one should be startlingly different and ranging. They should be the result of tightening the beautiful shambles that music does to you and your daily life.

  • A Sword-ed Affair: “The Great Wall,” “A Cure for Wellness,” and “Fist Fight”

    For a brief period during the mid-aughts, Chinese director Yimou Zhang was the first international helmer in decades to find his foreign-language titles – 2004’s Hero, 2005’s House of Flying Daggers, and 2006’s Curse of the Golden Flower – receiving wide U.S. distribution. Predictably, the novelty soon wore off for mass audiences, and Zhang’s subsequent films, when we got them at all, were confined solely to specialty houses. But China has recently become such a yu-u-uge bottom-line consideration that Zhang is apparently again in-vogue – especially with action adventure The Great Wall having already earned some $200 million abroad. Since money talks, it isn’t surprising that Hollywood has re-embraced Zhang. In return, it seems that Zhang, for better and for worse, has fully embraced Hollywood. How else to explain a movie in which thousands of fierce Chinese warriors would be annihilated if not for the ass-kicking abilities of Matt Damon?

  • Set in (Emma) Stone: Predicting La La Land and Other 2017 Academy Award Winners

    La La Land has 14 Oscar nominations. It won seven Golden Globe Awards – a new record – out of seven nominations. It won the Producers Guild and Directors Guild awards, both of which have led to Best Picture wins eight times out of the past 10 years. The movie is still in the box-office top 10 more than a month after its wide release, has grossed more than $125 million domestically, and is such a pop-culture touchstone that Saturday Night Live recently aired a skit in which two cops attacked a perp for the cardinal sin of insufficient admiration for the movie. The guy liked it; he just didn’t love it.

  • How Oscar Got Best Picture Right – by Nearly Any Measure

    Mocking the Oscars – or any made-for-TV awards spectacle with the fool’s errand of crowning the “best” in the arts – is a time-honored tradition. Sometimes it’s even important, as with last year’s backlash against the whiteness of that Academy Awards slate of Best Picture and acting nominees. (That paleness was a bit of an anomaly in recent times, as I’ll show in a bit.)

    So let’s give the Academy its due: Expanding the Best Picture field – starting with 2009 movies – from five nominees to as many as 10 was a smart and ultimately necessary change with substantial benefits, no matter how you parse it.

  • The Further Adventures of Chris, John, and Bruce: "Fifty Shades Darker," "John Wick: Chapter 2," and "The Lego Batman Movie"

    Brand-happy though Hollywood is, it’s still rare when three high-profile franchise extenders all debut on the same weekend. Personally speaking, it’s even rarer when all three are follow-ups to movies I liked. (One of which, to be accurate, I only kinda liked.)

  • With This “Rings,” I Thee Dread: “Rings,” “The Space Between Us,” and “The Comedian”

    In its blatant attempt to revive a scare-flick “franchise” that couldn’t even produce a second sequel, director F. Javier Gutiérrez’s Rings probably won’t make 2002’s The Ring and its 2005 follow-up relevant again, but the results are better than I expected – by which I mean the first 10 minutes are actually pretty good.

Art

  • Art in Plain Sight: Sentimental Sculptures

    Two similar Quad Cities sculptures that could be best described as sentimental raise issues about the role of art. Although their tones are different, both pieces depict young girls with adult-male authority figures and are meant to reflect the goals of the organizations that host them.

  • Art in Plain Sight: Neon Signs

    Downtown Davenport was once bathed in the bright glow of neon signs. In a photo taken from the intersection of Main and Second streets in the 1940s, the Hansen’s Hardware neon sign in the foreground rises several stories over the street below. So does a nearby Kaybee sign. There are, seemingly, a dozen or more smaller neon signs in the block.

    Today from the same vantage point, we see U.S. Bank, the Figge Art Museum plaza, and the Charles J. Wright Ground Transportation Center. The prominent Hansen neon sign? Long gone. So are all of the other large neon signs in the photo: Kaybee, The Hub, Three Sisters, Baker’s Shoes. Also gone are the even-more-impressive neon signs rising high above the downtown theatre marquees.

    Neon signs from this past era, fortunately, can still be found elsewhere in the Quad Cities.

  • Featured Image from the Quad Cities Photography Club

    At a recent Quad Cities Photography Club meeting, one of the high-scoring competition images was <i>On Golden Pond</i>, created by Dale Fehr. Dale explained: “I have learned that golf courses are great places to find beautiful landscape photos. That is where I found this image on a late-November morning at Golfmohr golf course in Hampton, Illinois. I went at sunrise to catch some images with the fog. By the time I got there, there was a light fog and frost on the ground, the sun was coming up, and the air was very still. All of this led to great golden-hour lighting in this image with a perfect reflection.”

  • “Being Angry Is a Great Place to Start”: The Guerrilla Girls, January 18 at Augustana College

    The most-famous work by the Guerrilla Girls is simple and direct, asking: “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?”

    The pointed text of the 1989 poster continues: “Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.”

    That work is more than a quarter-century old, but the Guerrilla Girls have updated it over the years – with the results just as discouraging. The 2011 version states that women represent 4 percent of the artists in the modern-art sections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art but 76 percent of the nudes.

    The work gets more complex as one considers it.

  • Augustana’s Teaching Museum of Art: “Art Is Very Active”


    Composer Cheryl Leonard

    Claire Kovacs is in her third year as director of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art, and she said that from the outset she needed to answer one question.

    “One of the things that I’ve been thinking about since the moment that I even considered coming to Augustana,” she said, “was ‘What is the purpose of an art museum when the Figge is across the river?’”

    The answer can be seen this month in a pair of free public events: the Guerrilla Girls’ January 18 lecture in Centennial Hall, and the January 11 performance collaboration of visual artist Oona Stern and composer Cheryl Leonard in Wallenberg Hall.