What's Happenin': Thursday, January 19, through Wednesday, February 1 Print
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 06:00



Circa ’21 Speakeasy

Saturday, January 28, 7 & 9:30 p.m.


Here’s a stumper: Based solely on the accompanying photo, what would you guess are the professions of the four gentlemen pictured?

Wow … that’s right! One is a police officer, one is a fireman, one is a computer technician, and one is a community coordinator for a Head Start program! Nicely done!


Of course, those are just their day jobs. By night, this quartet – Mark Bratton, Jonathan Keaton, Keith Smitherman, and Marz Timms – dons sufficiently garish wardrobes for their roles as Ho’Lease, Poochie, Grand Finale, and Timepiece, the über-wild characters in the acclaimed comedy troupe Pimprov. Appearing locally in two January 28 shows at the Circa ’21 Speakeasy, this Chicago-based ensemble promises an evening of improvisational sketch comedy as memorable as it is hilarious. Or, in the words of Now Magazine Toronto, “ho’larious.”

Pimprov’s setup finds its performers playing gold-chain-laden alter egos, four Windy City – ahem – businessmen who wound up accidentally taking Second City improv classes. Consequently, they formed a hardcore comedy team eager to show off their newfound skills through improvised sketches and audience participation … if they can only stay in character long enough to do so.

In short, Pimprov finds actors playing pimps playing characters trying not to be pimps. And the resulting comic melee between the performers and their delighted crowds has led to frequent tours, a regular gig at Chicago’s Chemically Imbalanced Theatre, and plaudits from the likes of the Chicago Tribune, whose January 4 rave began, “Outrageous and tacky as all get-out, Pimprov is the rare show that truly nails political correctness right between the eyes with style and exuberant wit.”

Pimprov performs on January 28 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., reservations can be made by calling (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visiting Circa21.com, and tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. (Feel free to throw in a few bucks extra, though. Remember, as the Oscar-winning song told us, it’s hard out there for a pimp.)



John Watkins and Randal Sandersfield in Guys on Ice: An Ice-Fishing Musical ComedyTheatre

Guys on Ice: An Ice-Fishing Musical Comedy

Riverside Theatre

Friday, January 20, through Sunday, February 19


The latest production at Riverside Theatre is Guys on Ice: An Ice-Fishing Musical Comedy, it runs at the Iowa City venue January 20 through February 19, and it’s described at FolkloreTheatre.com as “a kind of Waiting for Godot with regional accents.” I’m presuming, though, that’s if Godot was a perch, and if Pozzo was a beer-guzzling mooch, and Vladimir and Estragon spent their time pining over the checkout girl at the Pick ’n’ Save.

With native Wisconsinites and best buddies Marvin and Lloyd sharing stories, and the occasional song-and-dance, while holed up in a ramshackle ice-fishing shanty, Guys on Ice has proven to be a huge hit with Midwestern audiences, so much of one that this marks the third time the show has been produced at Riverside over the past six years. And reading the raves of critics, it’s easy to see why; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel praises Guys on Ice for its “sweet charm, abundant humor, and original music [that’s] melodic and catchy,” and the Wisconsin State Journal states, “Unless your heart is colder than a Wisconsin winter, you’ll fall hook, line, and sinker for this light-hearted romp.”

Featuring a gifted cast composed of John Watkins, Randal Sandersfield, and Ryan Westwood – the latter a St. Ambrose University graduate who portrayed the title characters in recent productions of Pippin and Sweeney Todd – Riverside’s outing is sure to be a delightful seasonal treat. And I have to give the theatre points for bravery, as audiences may have easily wanted to shy away from a musical about ice and snow and miserable winter weather in the middle of January. Who knew that, this year, those elements would seem so freakin’ novel?

For more information and tickets to Guys on Ice: An Ice-Fishing Musical Comedy, call (319)338-7672 or visit RiversideTheatre.org.



Leo Lionni's Fish is FishExhibit

Fins & Feathers

Figge Art Museum

Saturday, January 21, through Sunday, April 22


On display from January 21 through April 22, the newest touring exhibition at the Figge Art Museum is Fins & Feathers: Children’s Book Illustrations from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. As its title suggests, the exhibit will celebrate the colorful and creative images that accompany many beloved literary offerings, including, according to the Figge’s Web site, stories of a turtle’s quest to find a new home, a chameleon who dreams of being like other animals, and “the adventures of a chicken’s beach towel.”

Man, if I had a nickel for every book I’ve read about the adventures of a chicken’s beach towel ... . Are there no new ideas in children’s lit?!?

Seriously, though, this special showing of 43 original illustrations from the late 19th Century through the present day will no doubt be an informative, visually absorbing treat for young readers and their adult chaperones. Showcasing a wide variety of techniques – among them colored pencil, watercolor, and painted-tissue collage – employed to help transform funny and touching parables into true works of art, this family-friendly exhibition will introduce museum guests to a host of memorable fish, birds, and other creatures designed to spark readers’ imaginations. Perhaps you, or your kids, are already acquainted with some of them?

Try matching the following illustrators with their works on display in Fins & Feathers:


1) Ashley Bryan

2) Eric Carle

3) David Harrison and John Par Miller

4) Leo Lionni

5) Arnold Lobel

6) Petra Mathers


A) Beautiful Blackbird

B) An Extraordinary Egg

C) The Foolish Tortoise

D) The Ice Cream Cone Coot & Other Rare Birds

E) Little Turtle’s Big Adventure

F) Lottie’s New Beach Towel


For more information on Fins & Feathers: Children’s Book Illustrations from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.com.


Answers: 1 – A, 2 – C, 3 – E, 4 – B, 5 – D, 6 – F. “Lottie,” by the way, is the name of the chicken whose heroic towel protects her from sunburns and being lost at sea. The heroic towel, I regret to say, has no name. Much like Eastwood in those Sergio Leone Westerns.




Helpful Tips on Appearing More Intelligent Than You Actually Are


RioultThe latest guests in Quad City Arts’ Visiting Artist series are the gifted modern-dance masters of Rioult, whose exhilarating expressiveness and acrobatic intensity will light up St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center on Saturday, January 28. It should go without saying that anyone with an appreciation for the thrill of contemporary dance won’t want to miss this performance. But if you’re a dance novice who’d like to attend but are leery about going in completely blind, here are five ways to get yourself a bit more up-to-speed on the Rioult experience.

1) Know where Rioult’s name comes from. The company was founded in 1994 by famed French choreographer (and former track-and-field star) Pascal Rioult, who serves as the group’s artistic director, was a former principal dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company, and was described by Backstage magazine as “one of the most adept and courageous choreographers in mainstream modern dance today.”

2) Know where Rioult has performed. Based in New York City, the company presents an annual season of New York-based productions, and has performed in such esteemed North American venues as Lincoln Center, Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center, and Canada’s Le Grand Théâtre de Québec. Across the Atlantic, Rioult has toured in such countries as France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium.

3) Know what the critics have to say about Rioult performances. Among the dance troupe’s many accolades, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes Rioult as “rich in tradition and intellectually and musically satisfying,” New Jersey’s Daily Gazette calls the group’s choreography “vibrant, soulful, and painterly,” and Cleveland.com raves about “the limber and urgent strength that is a hallmark of the company.”

4) Know how to pronounce “Rioult.” It’s RAY-yoo.

5) Know how to use it in a sentence. When asked about your weekend plans, say, “I’m actually going to be busy that night seeing those amazing dancers of Rioult, Ray. You?” Only say this, of course, if you’re speaking to someone named Ray. And if you don’t mind sounding like an overly self-amused ass.


Rioult’s January 28 performance starts at 7:30 p.m., and more information is available by calling (309)793-1213 or visiting QuadCityArts.com.



What Else Is Happenin’ ... ?



Thursday, January 19 – TobyMac Unplugged: A Night of Stories & Songs. Performance with the acclaimed Christian recording artist, featuring special guest Jamie Grace. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $25-45. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.

Thursday, January 19 – The Java Jews. The seven-piece klezmer ensemble in concert, in a presentation by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. Moline Public Library (3210 41st Street, Moline). 7 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)793-1300 or visit JFQC.org.

Saturday, January 21 – The Big Dance. Fifteenth-annual competition between a dozen high-school show choirs from three states, with competing schools including Bettendorf, Davenport Central, and Davenport West. Davenport North High School’s Holzworth Performing Arts Center (626 West 53rd Street, Davenport). 11:30 a.m. preliminaries, 7:30 p.m. finals. $7-12 at the door. For information, call (563)388-9884.

Friday, January 27 – Battle of the Bands. The first night of the annual competition, featuring three sets by local musicians. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 9 p.m. For information, call (309)793-4060 or visit RIBCO.com.

Friday, January 27 – Tim Stop. Pop, rock, and soul musician in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $8. For information and tickets, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.

Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29 – The Turn of the Screw. Adaptation of Henry James’ novel performed by students in the University of Iowa’s opera department. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). Friday and Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $5-20. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.

Saturday, January 28 – Hillbilly Casino. Acclaimed rockabilly musicians in concert, with openers James Hunnicutt and 3 on the Tree. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 9 p.m. $8. For information, call (309)793-4060 or visit RIBCO.com.

Saturday, January 28 – The Giving Tree Band. Popular folk, bluegrass, and indie musicians in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $8. For information and tickets, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.

Saturday, January 28 – Night Ranger. Pop-rock musicians of the classic “Sister Christian” in concert. Riverside Casino Event Center (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $25-35. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit RiversideCasinoAndResort.com.

Wednesday, February 1 – Eliot Lipp. Acclaimed electro-funk 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 RiverMusicExperience.org.



Thursday, January 19, through Sunday, February 5 – Bad Habits. New Ground Theatre’s presentation of locally written one-acts, featuring Ann Boaden’s Bad Habits and Chris Moss’ Malnati Monday. Village Theatre (2113 East 11th Street, Village of East Davenport). Thursdays-Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. $15-18. For tickets and information, call (563)326-7529 or visit NewGroundTheatre.org.

Friday, January 27, through Sunday, February 5 – How I Learned to Drive. Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memory play, directed by Jennifer Popple. Augustana College’s Potter Hall (3701 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 1:30p.m. $9-11. For tickets and information, call (309)794-7306 or visit Augustana.edu.



Friday, January 27, through Friday, February 24 – Augustana Sights & Sounds Exhibition. Fifth-annual exhibit of photographs from Augustana students and high-schoolers throughout the Quad Cities. Opening reception January 27 from 6-9 p.m. Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street, Davenport). Wednesdays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)794-7632 or visit Augustana.edu.



Saturday, January 28 – John Oliver. Stand-up with the Emmy-winning comedian and “senior British correspondent” on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in a Hancher Auditorium presentation. University of Iowa’s Iowa Memorial Union (125 North Madison Street, Iowa City). 7:30 p.m. $22-40. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit http://www.Hancher.UIowa.edu.



Saturday, January 28 – Mixed Martial Arts Extreme Challenge. Competitions with amateur and professional MMA fighters. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $25-35. For information, call (800)724-5825 or visit Bettendorf.IsleOfCapriCasinos.com.



Saturday, January 21 – The Project of the Quad Cities’ Red Ribbon Dinner. Annual fundraiser featuring a cocktail hour, a gourmet dinner, music by Smooth Groove, a live and silent auction, and more. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 5 p.m. $65. For information, call (309)762-5433 or visit APQC4Life.org.

Friday, January 27, and Saturday, January 28 – World’s Toughest Rodeo. Touring event featuring wild Brahma bulls, bucking horses, cowboys, rodeo clowns, and more. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $18-55. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.

Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29 – Eagles & Ivories Ragtime Weekend. Eighteenth-annual event featuring concerts, eagle watches, and presentations held throughout downtown Muscatine. $10-15 concerts, $5 after-hours events, $35 three-day event package. For information, call (563)263-8895 or visit MuscatineArtsCouncil.org.

Saturday, January 28 – Chinese New Year Celebration. Event featuring a historical program, calligraphy, martial arts, noodle-making, a Chinese-instrument demonstration, children’s activities, and a traditional Chinese meal. St. Ambrose University’s Rogalski Center (518 West Locust Street, Davenport). 3-7 p.m. $5. For information, call (563)333-6389 or visit SAU.edu.

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