What's Happenin': Tuesday, August 2, through Wednesday, August 17 Print
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 06:00

Richmond Hill's Allison Scherer and Cait BodenbenderTheatre

The Spitfire Grill

Richmond Hill Barn Theatre and Timber Lake Playhouse

Thursday, August 11, through Sunday, August 21


Running August 11 through 21 in Geneseo, Illinois, the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre’s next production is the tuneful and critically acclaimed musical The Spitfire Grill. And running August 11 through 21 in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, the Timber Lake Playhouse’s next production is a tuneful and critically acclaimed musical titled ... The Spitfire Grill! That’s right – it’s the show so nice they’re producin’ it twice!

And trust me, the show is awfully nice; I was fortunate enough to catch a first-rate, North Scott High School production of the piece in February and can think of few other musicals from the past 10 years that I’m actually eager to catch three times in one calendar year.

Adapted from the much-admired 1996 movie, The Spitfire Grill is set in the sleepy rural town of Gilead, Wisconsin, home to the charming, ramshackle diner of the title. Both Gilead and the grill, however, are treated to a long-overdue breath of fresh air in the form of Percy Talbott, a young woman (and recently released prisoner) who lands a job as the Spitfire’s new waitress, and whose arrival initiates profound changes for the diner, its widowed owner, the local sheriff, and an emotionally battered wife.

Don’t let that somewhat downbeat précis mislead you, though. In addition to being dramatic and touching, The Spitfire Grill is also oftentimes really funny, and according to critics, plenty more adjectives besides those; the Associated Press called the show “wistful and romantic,” Billboard magazine described it as “rich and satisfying,” and New York Magazine, which praised The Spitfire Grill as “soulful and transcendent,” also named it “the best musical of 2001.”

So plan on enjoying this moving and memorable entertainment, be it in Geneseo or Mt. Carroll – or, as some of us are planning, in both locales. Looking at the theatres’ schedules, I notice that you could even catch both on the same day, if you went on August 14 ... and didn’t mind missing the end of Richmond Hill’s production ... and the beginning of Timber Lake’s ... and were okay with multiple speeding tickets ... .

For tickets to the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre’s The Spitfire Grill, call (309)944-2244 or visit RHPlayers.com; for tickets to the Timber Lake Playhouse’s presentation of the musical, call (815)244-2035 or visit TimberLakePlayhouse.org.



Heidi NewfieldMusic

Heidi Newfield

Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center

Friday, August 5, 7:30 p.m.


Recording artist Heidi Newfield performs at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center on August 5, and I thought it’d be fun to better acquaint myself with the country star by checking out some of her song lyrics. Let’s see ... .

Here’s a popular Newfield tune called “Wreck You” that begins “I get dressed in the dark each day.” Hmm. So do I. Interesting.

It continues: “By 6:15 I’m in the car driving.” Wow, that’s weird. Me, too!

“I keep my change in the car ashtray.” Oh my God, so do I! It’s like we’re soul mates!

“I haven’t smoked in years and years.”

Aw, man ... so close.

Still, it’s an easy bet that lots of us can find ourselves relating to the music of Heidi Newfield, the four-time Academy of Country Music Award nominee whose songs of love, strife, and perseverance have been praised for their universal themes, rhythmic hooks, and soaring vocals. The former lead singer of Trick Pony, the lauded country trio that scored eight singles on the Billboard charts, Newfield left the group in 2006 to pursue a solo career and found success right out of the gate. Her 2008 debut What Am I Waiting for peaked at number two on the U.S. Country charts, and two of its singles landed on the charts’ Top 30: “Cry Cry (’Til the Sun Shines)” and “Johnny & June,” the latter of which is a tribute to Newfield’s country-legend friends the Cashes.

Currently on a summer tour that finds her traveling everywhere from Exeter, California, to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry to Bettendorf’s convention center, Newfield is an exciting new solo performer on the country circuit, and she’s amassing the accolades to prove it. MyKindofCountry.com writes that Newfield’s “smoky, Tucker-esque vocals are right on their mark,” and in a review of the artist’s CD debut, CountryStandardTime.com described her voice as “muscular and lithe, but also capable of touching intimacy.” Ah, if I only had a nickel for every time someone wrote that about me... . *

Tickets to Heidi Newfield’s Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center concert are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, and more information on the night is available by calling (800)724-5825 or visiting Bettendorf.IsleOfCapriCasinos.com.


* How much would I have, you ask? None of your business.



L.A. GunsMusic

L.A. Guns

Rock Island Brewing Company

Wednesday, August 10, 8 p.m.


L.A. Guns are coming to Rock Island. And not just in the trunk of my cousin’s car. Which I’m really not supposed to talk about.

The L.A. Guns I’m actually referring to are the musicians of the famed hard-rock band, who will be playing the Rock Island Brewing Company on August 10. Having undergone several different incarnations over the years, the group made a tremendous splash on the music scene in the late 1980s with the platinum-selling album Cocked & Loaded and tours alongside such legendary rock outfits as AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and Def Leppard, By the late 1990s, L.A. Guns were touring with the likes of Poison and Ratt, and enjoying critical and commercial success with the greatest-hits compilation Black Beauties.

And now, with a lineup composed of vocalist Jizzy Pearl, guitarist Tracii Guns, bassist Jeremy Guns, and percussionist Doni Gray, L.A. Guns’ pulse-quickening, ceiling-shaking rock anthems are being performed in a Midwestern tour that finds the band wowing crowds with classic hits and songs from their trio of 21st Century CDs. Just how familiar are you with the L.A. Guns discography? Find out by filling in the missing word to the hit albums and singles that follow:


1) American ________

2) “Killing ________”

3) “________ Down”

4) Waking the ________

5) “The Ballad of ________”

6) “Sex ________”

7) Hollywood ________


A) Action

B) Dead

C) Face

D) Hardcore

E) Jayne

F) Machine

G) Vampires


L.A. Guns performs with openers Los Tres/The Brandon Gibbs Project, tickets are $12 in advance and $15 on the day of the show, and more information is available by calling (309)793-4060 or visiting RIBCO.com.



Answers: 1 – D, 2 – F, 3 – C, 4 – B, 5 – E, 6 – A, 7 – G. Of course, you could just enter “Vampires” into any of those titles and likely score a hit. Those things are wicked popular these days.



Pato BantonEvent

Ya Maka My Weekend

District of Rock Island

Friday, August 12, and Saturday, August 13


At last year’s Ya Maka My Weekend – the District of Rock Island’s annual, two-day celebration of Caribbean music and culture – acclaimed reggae performers Pato Banton & the Now Generation were only able to play four numbers before Mother Nature (in the form of a massive lightning storm) put an abrupt end to their set.

Well, start practicing whatever the opposite of a rain dance is, because the group is back for this summer’s Ya Maka My Weekend, participating in the August 12 and 13 festival alongside 11 additional bands, Caribbean food and merchandise vendors, and hundreds upon hundreds of District visitors eager to add a little Jamaican flavor to their Quad Cities summer.

Described by the Los Angeles Times as a musician of “nonstop enthusiasm” whose “high-speed rhyming becomes an insistent rhythm instrument unto itself,” Pato Banton has been a popular fixture on the reggae scene for nearly 30 years. A guest artist on UB40’s Baggariddim, he released his album debut Mad Professor Captures Pato Banton in 1985, and has subsequently treated reggae fans to 15 others, along with collaborations with the likes of Sting, Paul Shaffer, and Steel Pulse’s David Hinds.

Nominated for a “Best Reggae Album” Grammy Award for 2000’s Life Is a Miracle, Banton will perform August 12 alongside his bandmates the Now Generation, which the Los Angeles Times called “a nimble rhythm team and a delightfully propulsive, roots-based horn section.” And the Caribbean-themed magic will continue all weekend long, with the District’s two outdoor stages also boasting sets by Kenyatta Hill, Inner Visions, DeHurricane, Firesale, Ifficial Reggae Movement, Niabinge, The Fiyah, Universal Expression, Yard Squad, Zion Lion, and The Steel Panthers.

Admission to Ya Maka My Weekend is $8 per day and $12 for a two-day pass, with ages 12 and under free; more information is available by calling (309)788-6311 or visiting YaMakaMyWeekend.com.

And for those of you thinking this has been a somewhat dry piece for the What’s Happenin’ pages, know that my first stab found me describing the weekend’s activities in a Jamaican patois, and ending nearly every sentence with “mon.” Trust me; you’re a lot better off.



What Else Is Happenin’...?



Thursday, August 4, through Sunday, August 7 – Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. The 40th-annual celebration of the jazz legend, featuring lectures, workshops, and concerts with more than a dozen bands, including the Jimmy Valentine Quintet, the River City 6, the Hot Club of Davenport, the Manny Lopez Big Band, and the Josh Duffee Orchestra. Concerts take place at numerous Davenport venues, including LeClaire Park, the Hotel Backhawk, and the Col Ballroom. Times and prices vary. For information and a schedule of events, call (563)324-7170 or visit BixSociety.org.

Saturday, August 6 – Mötley Crüe & Poison. Hard-rock legends in concert, with musical guests New York Dolls. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7 p.m. $29.50-65. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.

Saturday, August 6 – Waltson and Writer. Alternative rock and electronica musicians in concert. Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 9 p.m. $5 at the door. For information, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit RozzTox.com.

Thursday, August 11 – Come Rain or Come Shine. Liz J. Millea pays tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Peggy Lee, with accompaniment by Danny White. Circa ’21 Speakeasy (1818 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. $10-12. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.



Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 14 – The Music Man. Quad City Music Guild’s presentation of Meredith Willson’s beloved, Iowa-set musical. Prospect Park Auditorium (1584 34th Avenue, Moline). Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $10-15. For tickets and information, call (309)762-6610 or visit QCMusicGuild.com.

Thursday, August 11, through Sunday, August 21 – Evita. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s Tony-winning musical on the rise and fall of Eva Peron. Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (311 Riverview Drive, Clinton). Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday and Wednesday 3 p.m. $16-20. For tickets and information, call (563)242-6760 or visit ClintonShowboat.org.



Saturday, August 13 – Rhythm State of Mind. Summer concert with the area’s WINGS Dance Company, featuring a program of jazz, comedy, and the group’s signature black-light numbers. St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center (2101 Gaines Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $4-8. For information and tickets, call (309)523-3035 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Saturday, August 6 – Christian Care’s Walk the Walk. Second-annual benefit for domestic-violence awareness programs, with live music, presentations, a professional self-defense demonstration, children’s activities, trivia competitions, chair-massage stations, a silent auction, and more. Sunset Park (18th Avenue and Sunset Road, Rock Island). 10 a.m. Donations encouraged. For information, call (309)788-2273 or visit ChristianCareQC.org.

Sunday, August 7 – Quad City Phoenix Festival. Fundraising event for domestic-violence awareness programs, with live music, food vendors, art for sale, self-defense demonstrations, information booths, children’s activities, and more. Schwiebert Riverfront Park (17th and 20th Streets at First Avenue, Rock Island). Noon-7 p.m. Donations encouraged. For information, call (309)292-6380 or visit QCPhoenixFestival.com.

Thursday, August 11, through Saturday, August 13 – 2011 Tug Fest. Annual “grudge match” festival between LeClaire, Iowa, and Port Byron, Illinois, featuring live music, a parade, a 5K run/walk, vendors, children’s activities, carnival events, a fireworks display, and Saturday’s 1 p.m. tug-of-war over the Mississippi River. LeClaire and Port Byron levees. $5 per day, $12 for a three-day pass. For information and schedules of Iowa and Illinois events, call (563)289-3946 or (309)314-0556, or visit TugFest.org.

Friday, August 12 – Flamingo Fling Art Auction & Party. Annual fundraiser for the botanical center, featuring art on exhibit and for sale, music by the Fry Daddies, a live auction, a cash bar, light appetizers, a raffle, and more. Quad City Botanical Center (2525 Fourth Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. $10-15. For information and to register, call (309)794-0991 or visit QCGardens.com.

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