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|What's Happenin': Fall|
|Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Wednesday, 10 September 2008 02:22|
September through December
"Hey, Jeff, I need your opinion on something."
"What is it, Mike?"
"Well, I'm working on my What's Happenin' piece on the fall events at the Adler Theatre, and I want you to tell me which idea is the funniest."
"Oh, God ... ."
"Since the Adler is hosting the first three concerts in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra's Masterworks series - on October 4, November 1, and December 6 - I thought about writing the piece as Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, and doing the whole thing in German or Russian ... ."
"But George Jones is performing on September 20 and the Oak Ridge Boys are on December 2, so I thought maybe I'd write it in the style of a country song - you know, something to the tune of ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today' or ‘Elvira' ... ."
"I get it."
"But they also sing gospel, and the contemporary Christian group MercyMe plays the Adler on November 15, so I could go that route ... . Plus, the national tour of Sweeney Todd is coming through on September 27, so I could do something Sondheim-y, with lots of complex rhymes and references to meat pies and such ... ."
"Mike, I'm really busy here ... ."
"But then again, Tom Brokaw's in town on October 21 as part of the Eastern Iowa Community College's Distinguished Speakers series, so I could easily do something more journalistic and serious-minded. And of course, there's the Jerry Seinfeld angle, since he's performing on October 17. You know, like, ‘What is the deal with Davenport? I mean, who names a city after a sofa?!' Get it?"
"I got it."
"So what do you think?"
"I honestly don't care, Mike."
"Of course, I could always use the combined events as an excuse for another Jeff-and-Mike dialogue ... ."
"Brokaw. Do it like Brokaw."
For more information on the Adler's fall events, visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Figge Art Museum
September and October
Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the tour of the Figge Art Museum's fall exhibitions! I'm your docent, Mike, and I'll be guiding you through a quick look at the venue's three autumnal exhibits. Please follow me, watch your step through the galleries, and be sure to hold the hands of all small children in your party.
Our tour begins with In the Light: Photographs from the Brent Sikkema Collection, which opens on September 13. In this fascinating exhibit composed of pieces from the early and mid-20th Century, you'll view photographs taken from experiments in abstraction, light, exposure, and color photography, plus works that resulted from such technological advancements as stop-motion photography, among them this Harold Edgerton piece showing the trajectory of a bullet shooting through an apple. Its title? Bullet & Apple. I have no idea how he came up with it.
Next is Decoy Masterworks of the Illinois River, an exhibit featuring nearly 50 famed decoys culled from a private collection. Some of the species represented include teal, mallards, pintails, and geese, and both waterfowl and art lovers are sure to be impressed by the exquisite craftsmanship of these creations, carved by such masters of the trade as Henry Ruggles, Stephen Lane, and Charles Schoenheider. The photo you see there features two of Schoenheider's works, and I understand that the larger of these birds actually sold for $126,500 at a 2005 auction in Boston! The artistry is certainly beautiful, but if you ask me, paying more than a hundred grand for a decoy is quackers. Ha ha ha! I joke, of course.
The Decoy Masterworks exhibit opens on October 18, and our final stop finds the Figge's Teen Anime Festival & Manga Art Show taking place on the very same day. Showcasing the entries from a recent contest for ages 12 through 18, the day's event will find their original works on display - ending with with prizes awarded for the best in anime and manga - and will also feature a graphic-novel drawing workshop, a comic-book swap, and a screening of the Oscar-winning movie Spirited Away. You and your kids are sure to have a great time, even if, like me, you originally thought "manga" was fruit. Ha ha ha! Kidding again!
I hope you've enjoyed your tour through the Figge's fall exhibits, and hope that you'll learn more about the venue's upcoming events by visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org. Thank you for your attention - you've been a wonderful group!
i Wireless Center
September through December
There's nothing quite like a cool fall evening under the stars. Unless it's a cool fall evening in front of the stars, which is exactly what the i wireless Center has in store for its visitors between September and December.
The star-gazing begins with September 16's concert featuring the hard-rocking musicians of Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry, Shinedown, and Saving Abel, and is followed by October 8's performance with vocalist par excellence Michael Bublé. Animated stars such as Mickey Mouse, Tigger, and Winnie-the-Pooh are brought to life in the October 10 presentation of Playhouse Disney Live!; Grammy Award winners Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson (both pictured) team up for a dual October 25 concert; and the electrifying stage performances of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and AC/DC are replicated in October 28's Classic Rock Experience.
More classic rock will be on hand in the i wireless Center's October 30 performance by the Steve Miller Band; Metallica rocks the Moline house on November 8; and after their sold-out appearance last fall, the Cheetah Girls return to the Quad Cities for an afternoon engagement on December 6. The annual gathering of gospel stars that is the Bill Gaither Homecoming Tour lands on December 12, while stars, lights, and lasers will all be in effect during December 13's concert with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
And finally, the venue will host a season's worth of Quad City Flames games beginning October 11. The players' individual names may lack the marquee value of a Reba or a Bublé, but the way those hockey players routinely bash into one another during games, you can bet that someone will be seeing stars.
Tickets to all i wireless Center events are available by calling (563)326-1111, and more on the fall season can be found at iwirelessCenter.com.
Hancher Auditorium Productions
September through November
Extensive damage from the June flooding may have caused the University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium to temporarily close its doors. But happily, a number of Iowa City venues are rallying to ensure that Hancher's fall shows - just like our summer festivals originally planned for Davenport's LeClaire Park - go on as scheduled.
On November 6 and 7, the city's Englert Theatre houses An Irish Homecoming - an all-star gathering of Celtic and Irish musicians that includes vocalists Maura O'Connell and Dermot Henry, Celtic band Cherish the Ladies, and champion dancers of Riverdance and The Chieftans - while the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center plays host to An Evening with Judy Collins, the legendary soprano famed for her unforgettable renditions of "Both Sides Now," "Chelsea Morning," and "Send in the Clowns."
Iowa City's Congregational United Church of Christ presents an evening with the gifted young musicians of the Chiara String Quartet on October 23, and area high schools are also set to lend Hancher a hand - West High School hosts The Global Drum Project, featuring the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, on October 15, while Iowa City High School offers the Hungarian music of the Takács Quartet on November 12, and the jazz stylings of the Brad Mehldau Trio on November 13.
Plus, audiences won't have to venture far beyond Hancher for two venue events taking place on the University of Iowa campus: September 28's afternoon with the innovative Canadian performers of ScrapArtsMusic, taking place at the UI Pentacrest, and October 4's evening with the unpredictable - and proudly shameless - Emmy-winning comedienne Kathy Griffin (pictured) at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
These presentations may be occurring all throughout Iowa City, but information on all of the events is still available in one convenient locale that never gets flooded: the Internet. (Hmm ... wait a minute ... .) For more on Hancher's fall season, visit Hancher.uiowa.edu.
Freight House Complex Grand Opening
Davenport Freight House
Wednesday, September 17, through Sunday, September 21
As the edifice houses Penguin's Comedy Club, Nan's Piano Bar, the Ripley Street Grille, and the Balls & Pucks Sports Café, there are already plenty of reasons to be happy about the opening of Davenport's Freight House complex, located at 421 West River Drive. But between September 17 and 21, the venue will celebrate its official Grand Opening with even more reasons. There's Saturday's Family Day, featuring farmer's marketplace activities, stilt walkers, balloon-folding artists, and magician Sean Gregory. There's contemporary jazz with the Nan's Piano Bar musicians the Steve Grismore Trio on Wednesday, dueling pianists Tony Baragona and Jonno on Thursday and Friday, and the Saul Lubaroff Quartet and Tim Stopulos on Sunday. And Penguin's treats its visitors to the stand-up of former Full House and America's Funniest People star Dave Coulier (pictured) Thursday through Saturday, plus a Thursday-night concert with recording artist Tone Loc. But do you know what I like best about the Freight House complex's opening? The building is literally a three-minute walk from our offices, which means that instead of filling my flask before every staff meeting, I can just pop over to the Freight House, and ... . Oh, please tell me Jeff and Todd aren't reading this ... . For more information, visit QCFreightHouse.com.
(Publisher's note: We did read this. Mike will be dealt with appropriately.)
Tuesday, September 23, 8 p.m.
Pop-folk musician Dar Williams - who performs at the Englert Theatre on September 23 - first began playing the guitar at age nine, yet it wasn't until age 11 that she wrote her first song. Sheesh. What a slacker. You can't say, though, that Williams hasn't made up for lost time. The New York-based singer/songwriter opened for Joan Baez early in her career, and has subsequently toured with such performers as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Griffin, and Ani DiFranco. She 's released nearly a dozen CDs and EPs since 1993, and has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. She's received raves from Rolling Stone, which praised Williams' "earnest and unadorned" vocals and "impressive" Beauty of the Rain CD. She's even written and published a natural-food-store and restaurant directory titled The Tofu Tollbooth. And when Williams turned 40 on August 19 of last year, she made a public request on PledgeBank.com that "anyone who wants to mark the day please plant a tree or make an effort to buy local food that hasn't had to travel thousands of miles to reach your table." Williams sounds pretty cool, but man ... way to ruin it for those of us who just turned 40. All I requested was that people leave me the hell alone. For more information on Dar Williams' Englert appearance, and the Iowa City venue's fall calendar, visit Englert.org.
Global Gathering: China
Bettendorf Public Library
through Friday, October 24
So now that the Olympics are over, are you finding yourself missing the hell out of Beijing? If so, the Bettendorf Public Library is set to make the next few months a lot more palatable with the Global Gathering: China program, a two-month series of cultural events taking place through October 24. Highlighted by a visit from award-winning author Ying Chang Compestine - who will participate in children's story times, book discussions, and presentations on the role of food in Chinese culture and her experiences growing up in Wuhan during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s - this year's Global Gathering boasts a number of educational and enjoyable events, including: September 14's Moon Festival celebration, where you can make a Chinese paper lantern, play the Guzheng, and witness a vegetable-carving demonstration; Chinese folk and classical music performed by Tom Cao, Kevin Li, and Kelsey Qu; a workshop on calligraphy; a group discussion with University of Iowa students who served as media volunteers for the 2008 Summer Olympics; lectures on "China: The People, History, & Customs," and "Acupuncture - the What, How, & Why of It"; and even martial arts with John Morrow, who demonstrates the traditional forms of the Leopard, the Snake, the Dragon, the Tiger, and the Crane. All of which, ironically enough, are nicknames we have for each other here at the Reader. Ten bucks says you can't guess which one we have for Lib. To see the many, many other events in the Global Gathering: China program, visit BettendorfLibrary.com.
Ballet Quad Cities and RiverPointBallet
October through December
Dance instructor/author Anna Paskevska is quoted as saying, "Learning ballet is wonderful for children even if they never become dancers ... because it teaches discipline, grace, and manners." And I was wondering why I was deficient in all three. But even if you, too, went without dance training as a youth, you're sure to respond to the discipline, grace, manners, and spectacular talents of the young artists in the fall offerings from the RiverPointBallet and Ballet Quad Cities. On November 25, RiverPointBallet delivers the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Snow Queen (pictured) at Maquoketa's Ohnward Performing Arts Center, and brings the ballet closer to home on December 6 and 7 with three Snow Queen performances at Davenport's Capitol Theatre. Ballet Quad Cities, meanwhile, presents Capitol Theatre audiences with the one-acts Dracula (starring former Joffrey Ballet member Domingo Rubio) and Johann Sebastian Bach's Die Hochzeit (The Wedding) on October 18 and 19, and stages its annual Nutcracker at Davenport's Adler Theatre on December 13 and 14. Expect to be dazzled by the elegant movements and athletic prowess on display, which brings to mind another dance-related musing: "To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other." Okay, so that one isn't very appropriate, but you know, any chance to quote Saturday Night Live's Jack Handey ... . For more information on RiverPointBallet, visit IlBalletTheatre.com, and more on Ballet Quad Cities' 2008-9 season is available at BalletQuadCities.com.
Friday, September 12, 8 p.m.
The Christian alternative rock band Kutless - featuring musicians Jon Micah Sumrall, James Mead, Jeffrey Gilbert, Nick De Partee, and Dave Luetkenhoelter - plays Augustana College's Centennial Hall on September 12, and the Portland, Oregon-based group made a splash right out of the gate, with the release of its eponymous debut in 2002. The album's single "Run" wound up breaking the record for the most weeks spent on the R&R Top 40 chart and was the most-played song during the first five years of ChristianRock.net, and the group has hardly slowed down over Kutless' six subsequent years; the band went on to headline its first national tour in 2004, took part in the nonsecular Strong Tower Tour in 2005, achieved mainstream recognition with the song "All of the Words" (prominently employed in an episode of NBC's Scrubs) in 2006, and has released five studio albums in total, the most recent being 2008's To Know That You're Alive. Yet for pop-culture awareness, it would be hard to beat the group's Xbox coup, which found the video for the band's song "Shut Me Out" included with every copy of the video game The Apprentice, meaning that Kutless' tune wound up in the possession of some 350,000 gamers. Looks like the band does indeed have a friend on high ... or at least as high as the 58th story of Trump Tower. Tickets to Kutless' concert are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and can be reserved by calling the Augustana College ticket office at (309) 794-7306.
My Morning Jacket
University of Iowa
Tuesday, October 7, 7:30 p.m.
In an interview with The Onion's A.V. Club, Jim James, the front man for the rockers of My Morning Jacket, said, "I remember being a kid and thinking, ‘Man, someday it would be so cool if I was in a band that toured and we made it, and we'd be on Saturday Night Live.'" Here's hoping that, as of this past May 10, the rest of James' trajectory isn't all downhill. The singer/songwriter and his band - who, on October 7, will perform the first concert ever held at the University of Iowa's Recreation Building on Stadium Drive - did indeed perform on SNL this spring, but considering the group's accomplishments since its 1998 debut, My Morning Jacket's musical-guest appearance seems less its career highlight than one particular highlight in a career filled with them. Performing an eclectic mixture of indie, funk, country, and psychedelic rock, the band has appeared on the covers of Spin and Billboard magazines, was named "Best Breakthrough Artist" in Rolling Stone's Best of Rock issue, and recently played a groundbreaking four-hour jam at the annual Bonnaroo festival. Their Recreation Building gig will find the musicians performing both hits of the past and offerings from their latest CD, Evil Urges, and in an interview on Spinner.com, James revealed what his number-one evil urge is: "Probably caramel sundaes. It's hard to resist them." These rockers, I'm tellin' ya. Always livin' on the edge. Tickets to My Morning Jacket's Iowa City concert are $35, with $1 from each ticket being donated to the University of Iowa Flood Relief Fund, and are available by calling (319) 363-1888.
Quad City Arts
September through December
If it's fall, it must be time for Quad City Arts to kick off its annual Visiting Artists series. And for the organization's fall lineup of public performances, audiences are invited to enjoy both a tour of Quad Cities venues and a de facto tour of the world, through the gifted international artists appearing as part of Quad City Arts' 35th-anniversary season. Born in Seoul, Korea, and educated at New York City's Juilliard, the Ahn Trio - composed of sisters Maria, Lucia, and Angella - performs vibrant and original chamber music at Davenport's North High School on September 27. The Boston-based Atlantic Brass Quintet brings its acclaimed repertoire of classical, Brazilian, and New Orleans stylings to Moline's John Deere Administration Center on November 18, while Chicago-based folk musician Michael J. Miles plays banjo and guitar at Bettendorf's Redeemer Lutheran Church on December 12. The sounds and sights of West African music and dance will electrify Davenport's Adler Theatre when Manding Jata (pictured) performs on October 25. And on October 4, American politics are given a spin when Moline High School hosts the theatre company Child's Play and the musical Kids for President, a nonpartisan look at what our country might be like if it were being run by children. In the spirit of nonpartisanship, I will refrain from ending this piece with a mean-spirited, totally partisan joke. (Although I've got, like, 100 of 'em.) For more information on Quad City Arts' 2008-9 season, visit QuadCityArts.com.
Friday, September 19, 6:30 p.m.
For the September 19 community event themed "Conquering Obesity!", Davenport's Palmer College of Chiropractic has recruited guest speaker Morgan Spurlock (pictured), and with all due respect to Palmer, I'm hoping that the accompanying photo isn't emblematic of Spurlock's secrets to good health and well-being. I mean, look at the guy! He's stuffing himself silly with French fries, for Pete's sake! Jeez, doesn't he realize that ... ?! I'm kidding, of course. The Oscar-nominated director of 2004's Super Size Me, and executive producer and star of the reality-TV series 30 Days, famously gorged on an exclusive diet of McDonald's for a month, and subsequently spent 14 months returning to his pre-experiment weight; Palmer's event will find Spurlock discussing the nutritional and exercise regimens that resulted in his weight loss. Also participating in Friday's event are executive chef Gregg Simmons, who will prepare healthy, easy-to-make meals on stage, and Palmer instructor Nia Nightingale, who discusses whole- versus processed-food choices, and the evening will be preceded by a screening of Super Size Me at 4 p.m. Palmer's "Conquering Obesity!" event will also feature service booths and health screenings, and more information on the day's lectures and activities can be found at Palmer.edu.
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