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What's Happenin': Tuesday, February 15, through Wednesday, March 2 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 06:00

Cuban EssenceMusic

Cuban Essence

Augustana College

Saturday, February 19, 7 p.m.


The latest performers in Quad City Arts’ Visiting Artists Series are the members of the Latin-American music ensemble Cuban Essence, and as I write this – two days after the crazy blizzard of ’11 – I’m looking out the window at a snowdrift that’s literally twice as tall as the car parked beside it. Any chance we could get a little Cuban Essence in our temperatures right now?

Probably not, but since the group is appearing at Augustana College’s Wallenberg Hall on February 19, they’re sure to be heating things up in no time.

Based in Chicago, and led by Cuban-born composer, director, and percussionist Waldo Ocaña, the acclaimed ensemble performs authentic Afro-Cuban music in the rhythms of timba, the Cuban counterpart of salsa. Substituting vocals for traditional horn arrangements, and singing and playing instruments in genres that include Latin jazz, pop, funk, and hip-hop, Cuban Essence routinely thrills audiences nationwide with its uniquely fiery blend of styles ... and if you want to talk “unique,” you should check out Ocaña’s résumé.

As an orchestra member, the man has performed with the Chicago Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Chicago Festival of the Arts Orchestra, and as a musical director and drummer, he’s worked for Chicago’s esteemed Pump Room and Odyssey Cruise Lines. As a touring artist, Ocaña has played backup for such disparate celebrities as celebrated contralto Marian Anderson, legendary pianist Victor Borge, I Dream of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden, and even comedienne Judy Tenuda.

And as a composer, he’s not only published more than 60 original pieces but wrote the score for the 2007 musical A Blank Stare Is Better Than an Empty Chair. So you don’t even have to enjoy yourself during Cuban Essence’s Augustana performance; Ocaña will be happy if you just show up!

But enjoy yourself you no doubt will. Tickets to Cuban Essence are $12 for adults and $8 for students, and more information is available by calling (309)794-7306 or visiting



The Dirty Dozen Brass BandMusic

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Redstone Room

Wednesday, March 2, 8:30 p.m.


Before you ask: Yes, that accompanying photo is indeed a picture of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Yes, I’m only counting seven musicians, too. And yes, not a single one of band members resembles Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, or George Kennedy.

The name of the group is actually inspired by New Orleans’ legendary nightspot The Dirty Dozen Social & Pleasure Club, where this internationally renowned ensemble originated in the late 1970s. Yet if you attend the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s March 2 performance at Davenport’s Redstone Room, you’ll see, and more importantly hear, that the performers kick just as much ass as Marvin and company, with the added benefit of doing it musically.

Incorporating funk, soul, bebop, and jazz-fusion stylings into the traditional, New Orleans-flavored brass-band sound, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band had a smash success with its interpretation of Marvin Gaye’s (entire) landmark album What’s Going On, recorded to mark the one-year anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina devastation, and described by the Washington Post as “ambitious, defiant, searing, and spiritual.”

The group, however, was long on the musical map before that 2006 triumph. Electrifying both critics and crowds on concert tours throughout the United States and in more than 30 countries on five continents, the Dirty Dozen Brass has also worked with some of the most noted names in music; the ensemble’s Columbia Records debut, 1987’s Voodoo, featured guest appearances by Dizzy Gillespie, Dr. John, and Branford Marsalis, and further collaborators have included Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Modest Mouse, DJ Logic, Widespread Panic, and the Black Crowes.

Described by as “jovial and rousing,” and with the New York Times raving that the band’s “crisply focused” concerts “convey a sense of communal jubilation,” you’re sure to thrill to the group’s Redstone Room set ... with or without Ernest Borgnine playing backup. Don’t rule that possibility out, though. Did you see that guy’s tribute at the SAG Awards? Man’s been everywhere.

Tickets to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band concert are $15 in advance and $18 at the door, and are available by calling (563)326-1333 or visiting



Kay RyanLiterature

Kay Ryan

St. Ambrose University

Friday, February 25, 7:30 p.m.


On February 25, St. Ambrose University will host an evening with the latest guest in the Galvin Fine Arts Center’s Performing Arts Series: acclaimed poet, and the 2009-10 U.S. poet laureate, Kay Ryan.

The recipient of such honors as a 2001 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Ryan’s poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Scholar, and Paris Review, among other publications. And in lieu of delivering some good-natured joke here – say, about how Ryan’s talents might even surpass my own – I thought I’d instead defer to the author by offering some examples of the staggering praise she’s received over the years.

From the New York Times’ Dwight Garner: “You can’t help consuming Kay Ryan’s poems quickly ... . But you immediately double back, and their moral and intellectual bite blindsides you.”

From Dana Gioia, former chair of the NEA: “Ryan reminds us of the suggestive power of poetry – how it elicits and rewards the reader’s intellect, imagination, and emotions.”

From Jack Foley, San Francisco author and literary critic: “Kay Ryan is a serious poet writing serious poems ... . Ryan can certainly be funny, but it is rarely without a sting.”

And from the Web site for the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation: “Characterized by subtle, surprising rhymes and nimble rhythms, her compact poems are charged with sly wit and offbeat wisdom.”

You know, all that brings to mind another writer of compact, sly, witty pieces for whom those accolades wouldn’t be out of ... .

Nah. I’m too humbled to even try equating myself to Ryan.

But, you know, if you wanna do it ... .

Tickets to St. Ambrose’s evening with Kay Ryan are $7 to $9 and can be reserved by calling (563)333-6251 or visiting



The Nova SingersMusic

Food for Body & Soul

First Lutheran Church of Galesburg and St. Paul Lutheran Church of Davenport

Saturday, February 19, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 20, 4 p.m.


“Mike, I wanted to talk to you about this What’s Happenin’ you dropped on my desk.”

“The one on the upcoming performances by the Nova Singers?”

“Yeah. The Food for Body & Soul concerts. What’s the deal?”

“I don’t understand the question, Jeff. As I mention in the article, the Nova Singers are the Galesburg-based professional vocal ensemble that sings under the direction of founder Laura Lane, and the group’s 20 members are performing their new program at Galesburg’s First Lutheran Church on February 19, and Davenport’s St. Paul Lutheran Church on February 20.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that ... .”

“The repertoire for the ensemble’s latest explores the power of prayer and meditation through music, and as its title suggests, its features a number of a cappella songs that are all somewhat related to food.”

“I get that, Mike ... .”

“The singers will be performing two works by Norwegian composers – Knut Nystedt’s Immortal Bach and Ola Gjeilo’s The Spheres – and a rendition of French composer Francis Poulenc’s Motets for the Season of Lent. The program will also include a powerful piece by England’s Herbert Howells called Take Him, Earth for Cherishing, which was composed to honor the memory of John F. Kennedy. And finally, the group will present Bob Chilicott’s Fragments from His Dish, which Lane describes as ‘a collection of songs about food that are sweet, grateful, playful, and hysterically funny.’”

“Uh huh. I read that ... .”

“It’s all there in the piece, Jeff, along with the ticket prices – $15 for adults and $10 for seniors. So what do you mean, ‘What’s the deal?’”

“What’s the deal with all these water spots on the paper?”

“Oh. That’s uh ... that’s drool.”

“ ... ”

“Hey, it’s a food-themed piece I wrote over the lunch hour. Whaddaya want from me?!”


Tickets to Food for Body & Soul performances are available by calling (309)341-7038, e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visiting the Nova Singers' Facebook page.





Hey, everybody! Here’s a question for you: What do you get when you cross a spider, a rat, and an irritating little brother with one of the most beloved authors of all time?

Well, you either get one really scared and annoyed author, or you get Charlotte’s Web, the magical family adventure by world-famous writer E.B. White!

I’m sure you all know this book about the adorable pig, Wilbur, and his wonderful friendship with the motherly spider, Charlotte. But did you know that the book is also a play? And did you know that this play is about to be staged by the talented students at Davenport Junior Theatre? Now you do!

Charlotte’s Web will be performed at Davenport’s Nighswander Theatre, located in the Annie Wittenmyer Complex, on Saturdays and Sundays, February 19 through 27; showtimes are at 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, and tickets are just $5 for anyone over three years old. For anyone ages three and under, the ticket price is $59.95.

Just kidding! They see the show for free!

To get you in the mood for the hour-long production, see how well you do at finding 13 characters in this Charlotte’s Web word find – the answers are here ... but no cheating! Charlotte herself may be watching you!

More information on Davenport Junior Theatre’s Charlotte’s Web is available by calling (563)326-7862 and visiting Have fun, kids!


Charlotte's Web word find


What Else Is Happenin’...?



Thursday, February 17 – Gaelic Storm. Acclaimed Celtic group performs originals and fresh arrangements of classics. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $25-35. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit

Friday, February 18 – Buckwheat Zydeco. Concert with the blues- and roots-music master, with an opening set by the Whoozdads. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8:30 p.m. $25. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Friday, February 18 – Michael Twitty: Memories of Conway Twitty. Concert tribute to the county-music legend, performed by his son. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $10-20. For tickets and information, call (800)724-5825 or visit

Friday, February 18, and Saturday, February 19 – Great River Show Choir Invitational. Song and dance competition with students from area schools. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). Friday – 5 p.m. middle-school competition; Saturday – 8 a.m. high-school competition; Saturday – 7:30 p.m. finals. $5 competition tickets; $8 finals tickets. For information, visit

Friday, February 18 – Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Hancher Auditorium presents a concert with the three-time Grammy Award-winning world musicians. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 7:30 p.m. $10-42. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit

Friday, February 18 – Lucinda Williams. Louisiana-based singer/songwriter in concert. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $35. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit

Thursday, February 24 – The Schubert Piano Trios. A Hancher Auditorium presentation of Franz Schubert’s two famed piano trios, performed by cellist David Finckel, violinist Philip Setzer, and pianist Wu Han. Riverside Recital Hall (405 North Riverside Drive, Iowa City). 7:30 p.m. $10-40. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit

Saturday, February 26 – Buffalo Clover. Roots musicians in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $7. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Saturday, February 26 – Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. Chart-topping Motown recording artists in concert. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $15-25. For tickets and information, call (800)724-5825 or visit

Sunday, February 27 – Quad City Wind Ensemble 2011 Winter Concert. Event in the ensemble's 25th-anniversary season, with guest conductor R. Scott Cohen of Big Rapids, Michigan's Ferris State University. St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center (518 West Locust Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. $8-10, students free. For information, call (309)507-2971 or visit

Tuesday, March 1 – The Holmes Brothers. Americana, blues, and soul musicians in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $17-20. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit



Friday, February 18, through Sunday, February 20 – Columbinus. Drama inspired by the Columbine High School shootings, directed by Daniel Rairdin-Hale. St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center (2101 Gaines Street, Davenport). Friday and Saturday – 7:30 p.m.; Sunday – 3 p.m. $7-11. For tickets and information, call (563)333-6251 or visit For an interview with Rairdin-Hale, visit

Friday, February 25 – All Shook Up. National touring production of the musical comedy in which Elvis Presley’s discography meets William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street). 7:30 p.m. $29.50-49.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Friday, February 25, and Saturday, February 26 – Invasion Earth: As Seen on TV. Debuting comedy by high-school senior Tim Bawden and his father, Mike, in which an alien race relocates to Earth after researching TV broadcasts from the 1950s. Pleasant Valley High School (604 Belmont Road, Bettendorf). 7 p.m. For information, call (563)332-5151 or visit

Friday, February 25, through Sunday, February 27 – A Little Night Music. A City Circle Acting Company of Coralville production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical romance, directed by Patrick DuLaney. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). Friday and Saturday – 7:30 p.m.; Sunday – 2 p.m. $15-20. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit

Saturday, February 26, through Saturday, April 2 – Mr. U.S. Grant: A Man & a Patriot. Fifty-minute, one-man show written by and starring Dan Haughey, focusing on Grant’s efforts during the Civil War years. Harrison Hilltop Theatre (1601 Harrison Street, Davenport). Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. $8. For tickets and information, call (309)235-1654 or visit



Saturday, February 19 – “Dancing with the Staff” Competition. Competitors from more than a dozen area schools face each other in a dance-off, with half of the proceeds going to the winning school, and the other half to the Moline Foundation. Moline High School (3600 Avenue of the Cities, Moline). 7 p.m. $5 at the door. For information, call (309)786-4800 or visit



Tuesday, March 1 – Etta May. Stand-up comedy with “The Queen of Southern Sass,” and an opening set by Chris Schlichting. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. $20-25. For tickets, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit



Sunday, February 20, and Monday, February 21 – Lincoln’s Secret Killer. Advance screenings of the National Geographic Channel documentary, partly filmed in Galesburg and at the Orpheum, questioning whether Abraham Lincoln was dying of cancer when he was assassinated. Orpheum Theatre (57 South Kellogg Street, Galesburg). Sunday – 2 p.m.; Monday – 3 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)342-2299 or visit

Sunday, February 27 – Hollywood Live! Hosted by Chris Okiishi, a red-carpet walk, movie-themed food, costume contests, a silent auction, and a screening of the Academy Awards presentation. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 6 p.m. $10 suggested donation. For information, call (319)688-2653 or visit



Tuesday, March 1 – Barney Live in Concert: Barney’s Birthday Bash! Interactive concert party with the stars of the children’s television smash. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 3 and 6:30 p.m. $10-50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit



Friday, February 25, and Saturday, February 26 – World’s Toughest Bulls & Broncs. Rodeo competition featuring bareback riding, saddle-bronc riding, bull riding, cowgirl barrel racing, and more. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $18-35. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Saturday, February 26 – Tailgate Party with Pat Angerer. Fundraiser for the museum’s summer drop-in programs featuring food, a silent auction, and a Q&A, meet-and-greet, and autograph session with Indianapolis Colts linebacker Angerer. Family Museum (2900 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf). 6 p.m. $25. For tickets and information, call (563)344-4168 or visit

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