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What's Happenin': Thursday, February 16, through Wednesday, February 29 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 06:00
Maggie BrownMusic

Maggie Brown

River Music Experience

Sunday, February 19, and Monday, February 20


The late, great Duke Ellington was quoted as saying, “By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” Let’s be thankful, then, that this sentiment wasn’t adopted by legendary composer Oscar Brown Jr., or the modern jazz scene – as River Music Experience patrons will soon realize – would’ve been deprived of one awfully gifted daughter.

Appearing locally on February 19 and 20, the soulful, Chicago-based jazz singer Maggie Brown will perform in two special events at the Davenport venue: as the featured musician and educator in Polyrhythms’ monthly Third Sunday Jazz series, and on Monday in Brown’s touring showcase on the history of African-American songs titled “Legacy: Our Wealth of Music.” As fans of her frequent Windy City gigs and her 2010 CD From My Window will attest, Brown brings emotional exuberance and subtle power to her renditions of classic jazz standards and pop favorites, and has earned numerous raves for her efforts. The Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich lauded “the interpretive depth of her work” and Brown’s “uncommonly expressive alto,” while the Chicago Defender’s Earle Calloway called her “a phenomenal artist who has loads of individual style.”

Yet while Brown has delivered impassioned takes on tunes by such disparate talents as Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Sade, and even Prince, critics agree that her most heartfelt performances are of compositions written by her father Oscar, who passed away in 2005, and whose output, as Reich describes, “remains as dramatically potent and socially relevant as when he penned them decades ago.”

So plan on hearing a number of her father’s signature works during Brown’s RME appearances, because as the singer says, “I find myself in his music and lyrics ... . It’s really hard to walk away from Daddy’s songs.” I say the same thing whenever people catch me humming the German drinking song “Ein Prosit.” Man, I wish Dad had a more varied repertoire.

On Sunday, Maggie Brown will lead a 3 p.m. jazz workshop and perform a 6 p.m. concert, and on Monday, she’ll deliver performances of her one-woman educational entertainment at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information on Brown’s area appearances, call (563)326-1333 or visit



Professor Smart's Fun with PhysicsEvent

Professor Smart’s Fun with Physics

Moline High School

Saturday, February 18, 4 p.m.


Arriving with an hour of comedy and a healthy amount of real-life magic, the latest guest in the Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Series is acclaimed professional clown Todd Victor, whose stage production Professor Smart’s Fun with Physics promises to be so entertaining that your kids won’t even realize how much education they’re amassing.

A graduate of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, Victor has spent the past several decades as a comedian and juggler with the internationally acclaimed Jest in Time Circus of Fools. Yet through his alias as Professor Smart, he’s found a way to mix the foolish with the utterly fascinating, teaching family audiences about gravity, air pressure and propulsion, gyroscopic properties, and other physics-related matters through amazing and hilarious stage experiences that have wowed crowds in 10 countries worldwide.

In Victor’s February 18 performance in the Moline High School auditorium, guests will marvel as Professor Smart stands volunteers’ hair on end, sends toilet paper sailing through the air, makes objects levitate, and even – through an optical illusion – shrinks his own head. But while I could describe more of the sights that Saturday’s audience will be enjoying, it’s a lot more fun to view them, so check out this YouTube video for some of the enticing wonders on display in Professor Smart’s Fun with Physics.

Man, the people who only read the What's Happenin' pages in print don't know what they're missin', huh?

Professor Smart’s Fun with Physics will be performed at 4 p.m. on February 18, admission is free (though donations are encouraged), and more information is available by calling (309)793-1213 or visiting



Ballet Quad Cities' Love Stories: Love on the Run!Dance

Love Stories: Love on the Run!

Augustana College

Friday, February 17, and Saturday, February 18


For the professional dance company’s third-annual presentation of mixed repertoire under the blanket title Love Stories, Ballet Quad Cities has added the subtitle Love on the Run! Don’t, however, presume that this means the dancers will be performing their group numbers and pas de deux at warp speed.

“Because the Capitol Theatre closed,” says Ballet Quad Cities Artistic Director Courtney Lyon, “which was where we normally performed Love Stories, we actually had no idea where we were going to be performing this one. And we were thinking that if we didn’t have a formal theatre space, we could just find really cool places around the Quad Cities and do a traveling show – a ‘ballet on the run’ kind of thing. So Love on the Run! was kind of a tongue-in-cheek joke just for ourselves, but that’s what we ended up calling it.”

Happily, though, attendees won’t have to race around the area trying to find the production, as the company did find a venue in Augustana College’s Wallenberg Hall, where the latest Love Stories will be staged February 17 and 18. “It’s a really, really cool place for us to be performing,” says Lyon. “It’s being done in the round, and we’ll be up close to the audience, so it’s going to make for a much more intimate atmosphere.”

Included on the program are seven short works of mixed rep, staged by such talents as Ballet Quad Cities resident choreographer Deanna Carter, guest artist Rebekah von Rathonyi, former Artistic Director Johanne Jakhelln, former company member Lynn Andrews, and current member Kelsee Green, a 21-year-old presenting, says Lyon, “the first piece that she’s choreographed on professional dancers. She has a background not only in classical ballet but in hip-hop and jazz, and has set a jazz piece on our entire company.”

In addition to jazz, the eclectic Love on the Run! presentation will feature snippets from the Romeo & Juliet ballet, the Black Swan (and Black Swan) pas de deux from Swan Lake, and Jakhelln’s Prelude to Eternity scored to Beethoven. Plus, in what Lyon describes as “like one of those candy hearts filled with chocolate,” Carter’s 12-minute “NEWSFLASH,” which finds recognizable musical motifs from the ’50s and ’60s (the Lassie theme, the Mr. Clean jingle, Bert Parks’ “Miss America” song) “woven into a love story between this tabloid couple that everyone’s reading about. Like an Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt kind of thing.”

So while we probably shouldn’t cross our fingers that Jennifer Aniston will be in attendance, Love Stories: Love on the Run! will be performed in Wallenberg Hall at 8 p.m. on February 17 and at 2 and 8 p.m. on February 18, and tickets and information are available by calling (309)794-7306 or visiting



L.A. Theatre Works' The RivalryTheatre

L.A. Theatre Works’ The Rivalry

Englert Theatre

Thursday, February 23, 7:30 p.m.


On February 23, Iowa City’s Hancher Auditorium will present the latest offering in the venue’s 2011-12 series of Visiting Artist events: L.A. Theatre Works’ Englert Theatre staging of Norman Corwin’s The Rivalry. As this production is a dramatic re-creation of debates on such matters as race, freedom, equality, states’ rights, and America’s future, it should go without saying that the play in question is set more than 150 years ago.

What’s that? It shouldn’t go without saying? Hmm. I guess you might be right about that ... .

A stage depiction of the legendary 1858 Illinois Senate race debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, The Rivalry employs oratory taken from historical transcripts to not only illustrate the urgency behind the men’s ideological clashes but to offer shrewd commentary on the partisan politics of the present. And with the Los Angeles Times praising its “consistently superb work” and American Theatre magazine calling the company “original, exciting, and highly theatrical,” the visiting members of L.A. Theatre Works are sure to deliver a memorable evening of impassioned rhetoric and emotional fire in The Rivalry, making centuries-old debates feel newly, powerfully relevant.

As a way of boning up on the play’s content, try your hand at this quiz. Which of the following were spoken by Lincoln during the debates, and which by Douglas?


1) “Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal.”

2) “No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.”

3) “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.”

4) “If we cannot give freedom to every creature, let us do nothing that will impose slavery upon any other creature.”

5) “I leave you hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.”


A) Stephen Douglas

B) Abraham Lincoln


Ticket prices range from $18.50 to $42, and seats for The Rivalry can be reserved by calling (319)335-1160 or visiting



Answers: 1 – B, 2 – B, 3 – B, 4 – B, 5 – B. Jeez, that Lincoln snagged all the best lines.



What Else Is Happenin’... ?



Thursday, February 16 – Rave on: A Night of Rock ’n’ Roll. Period hits performed by the Circa ’21 Bootleggers and cast members from the theatre’s production of Grease. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit

Thursday, February 16 – Gaelic Storm. Standards and originals with the acclaimed Celtic musicians. 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 17, and Saturday, February 18 – Great River Show Choir Invitational. High-school and middle-school show choirs compete for Grand Champion prizes. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). Friday – 5:30 p.m. competition; Saturday – 8 a.m. competition, 7:30 p.m. finals. $4-14, $16 all-weekend pass. For information, call (563)322-3660 or visit

Friday, February 17 – The Toasters. Noted ska, reggae, and pop musicians in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $12. For information and tickets, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Saturday, February 18 – Anthony Gomes. Chart-topping Canadian blues musician in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $10-15. For information and tickets, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Tuesday, February 21, through Friday, February 24 – James “Super Chikan” Johnson. Performances with the Blues Music Award-winning artist, appearing locally as a guest in the Mississippi Valley Blues Society’s “Blues in the Schools” program. Tuesday – Black Hawk College’s Hawk’s Nest (6600 34th Avenue, Building 4, Moline), 10:30 a.m., free admission. Wednesday – River Music Experience (131 West Second Street, Davenport), 7 p.m., free admission. Friday – The Muddy Waters (1708 State Street, Bettendorf), 9 p.m., $5 suggested donation. For information, call (563)322-5837 or visit For a 2006 interview with Johnson, visit

Friday, February 24 – Brad Paisley. Country-music superstar in concert, with special guests The Band Perry and Scott McCreery. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $25-59.75. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Friday, February 24 – Texas Tenors. Country-music concert with the vocal ensemble from America’s Got Talent. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $15-25. For information, call (800)724-5825 or visit

Saturday, February 25 – Thy Blackened Reign Tour 2012. Concert with metal musicians The Horde, Bible of the Devil, and A Hill to Die Upon. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 9:30 p.m. $5. For information, call (309)793-4060 or visit

Saturday, February 25 – The Candymakers’ CD Release Show. Concert with the winners of the 2011 Iowa Blues Challenge. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $7. For information and tickets, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Saturday, February 25 – Joseph Hall’s Elvis. Las Vegas tribute performer in concert. Ohnward Fine Arts Center (1215 East Platt Street, Maquoketa). 7 p.m. $10-20. For tickets and information, call (563)652-9815 or visit

Tuesday, February 28 – The Hackensaw Boys. Acclaimed bluegrass musicians in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $10. For information and tickets, call (563)326-1333 or visit



Saturday, February 18, through Sunday, February 26 – Mia the Melodramatic. Stage version of Junior Theatre alumna Eileen Boggess’ comic novel, directed by Jessica Sheridan. Davenport Junior Theatre (2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport). Saturdays 1 and 4 p.m.; Sundays 2 p.m. $5 at the door for ages three and older. For information, call (563)326-7862 or visit For an article on the production, visit

Sunday, February 19 – Doubt: A Parable. John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, presented by the Montana Repertory Theatre. Orpheum Theatre (57 South Kellogg Street, Galesburg). 3 p.m. $20-35. For tickets and information, call (309)342-2299 or visit

Thursday, February 23, through Sunday, February 26 – The Toymaker’s War. Playwright Jennifer Fawcett’s drama about a journalist in Bosnia, presented by Working Group Theatre. Riverside Theatre (213 North Gilbert Street, Iowa City). Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, call (319)338-7672 or visit

Friday, February 24, through Sunday, February 26 – The Plagiarists. Aaron Randolph III’s debuting comedy on relationships and art, directed by Corinne Johnson. 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 a 2011 interview with Randolph, visit



Friday, February 17 – The Capitol Steps: Election Year. Musical political satire with the famed touring performers. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa). 8 p.m. $25-30. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit



Saturday, February 25 – Iowa Barnstormers. Arena football with the Des Moines-based team versus the Chicago Rush. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7 p.m. $10-30. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit



Friday, February 17 – DubStar Presents Minute 2 Win It. Fundraiser for the Quad Cities Autism Center based on NBC’s Minute to Win It, featuring games, team challenges, prizes, and comedian Brian Gale hosting. The Pub (4320 North Brady Street, Davenport). For information, call (563)528-5465 or visit

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