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|What's Happenin': January 21 - February 3|
|Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Wednesday, 21 January 2009 09:45|
The Last Tour
The Capitol Theatre
Saturday, January 24, 8 p.m.
Immortalized in Don McLean's "American Pie," the date of February 3, 1959, will forever be remembered by rock 'n' roll historians and fans as "the day the music died," when the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper crashed north of Clear Lake, Iowa. Five days beforehand, though, the music was still very much alive in the Quad Cities, as this trio of legends brought their Winter Dance Party tour to Davenport's Capitol Theatre for two shows, rocking audiences with such classics as "Peggy Sue," "La Bamba," and "Chantilly Lace."
On Saturday, January 24, the Capitol Theatre proudly marks the 50th anniversary of these historic concerts with The Last Tour, a celebration of the early, innocent spirit of rock through the re-creation of 1959's Winter Dance Party tour. Among the performers bringing new energy to dozens of old favorites are Chicago's Buddy Holly tribute artist Johnny Rogers, Des Moines' 18-year-old rock ‘n' roll sensation Richie Lee, and the Duluth ensemble The Shackshakers, all of whom will lend their musical gifts to the timeless works of Holly, Valens, and the Big Bopper.
And playing lead guitar on the tour is Grammy winner Tommy Allsup, who not only played for such Holly recordings as "It's So Easy" and "Heartbeat," but performed in the Winter Dance Party tour - and in Davenport's theatre - nearly 50 years ago.
The Capitol is one of only three venues to host The Last Tour after hosting the original Winter Dance Party tour in 1959, and tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime musical event are available by calling (563) 326-8820 or visiting TheCapDavenport.com.
The Big Read: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Davenport Main & Fairmount Street Public Libraries
Wednesday, January 28, through Wednesday, March 25
Last year, the National Endowment of the Arts' literary-advocacy program The Big Read - in which community members are encouraged to read the same book and participate in related events - found our area engrossed in Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird. And this year, Davenport's Main and Fairmount Street public libraries, in partnership with the African-American Museum of Iowa, are focusing their attentions on Zora Neale Hurtson's Their Eyes Were Watching God through a series of discussions and presentations occurring between January 28 and March 25.
Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005, Hurston's 1937 classic details the extraordinary life of Janie Crawford, an African American raised in poverty who, after a long struggle, amasses considerable independent wealth. Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered a seminal work in both African-American and women's literature, and you'll be able to share thoughts on Hurston's acclaimed (and controversial) novel - plus several of the author's other offerings - in area discussion groups on February 9, 12, 26, and March 9.
These gatherings, though, are just the tip of the Eyes-berg: The Big Read's kick-off event, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Catherine Stewart, takes place on January 28; Ruth Ann Gaines presents a one-woman play about Hurston's life on January 29; Halle Berry's Emmy-nominated performance as Janie Crawford, in the Oprah Winfrey-produced Their Eyes Were Watching God, will be screened on February 4; and author Chaveevah Banks Ferguson, during the Big Read Finale Party on March 25, analyzes how relationships of today are mirrored in the relationships of the book's past.
Copies of the Hurston's works are available at both Davenport libraries, and more information on this year's The Big Read events - including numerous other discussions, lectures, and children's activities - can be found at DavenportLibrary.com.
The Santa Cruz River Band
Augustana College, Wallenberg Hall
Saturday, January 31, 7 p.m.
On January 31, Augustana College will host a performance by Quad City Arts' latest Visiting Artists the Santa Cruz River Band, Tucson-based musicians dedicated to bringing a little bit of the American Southwest to audiences worldwide. As I type this, it's 8 degrees in a snow-covered Davenport, and 70 degrees and sunny in Tucson. Any chance they can get here sooner?!?
Performing in English, Spanish, and Native American languages, the Santa Cruz River Band is composed of Ted Ramírez and Michael J. Ronstadt (yes, he actually is the brother of Linda), and with backup provided by Michael's son Petit, the trio lends outstanding vocal harmonies and powerful acoustic instrumentation to a collection of original, contemporary, and classic songs and stories of the American Southwest. The group's memorable and distinctly beautiful sound has been enjoyed in hundreds of venues throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, Canada, and Australia, and the Santa Cruz River Band's reviewers have been enthusiastic in their praise, with the Tucson Citizen describing the musicians as delivering "a unique blend of traditional Mexican and American styles with textures of country and blues rhythms, creating a sound that is both familiar and refreshingly different."
Tickets for the Santa Cruz River Band's Wallenberg Hall concert are $12 for adults and $8 for students, and are available by calling (309) 794-7306; for more information on the Visiting Artist series, visit QuadCityArts.com.
IBEX Puppet Theater
St. Ambrose University, Allaert Auditorium
Friday, January 30, 7:30 p.m.
In the artist biography on her Web site, Heather Henson writes, "I aim to create unique experiences for the audience where they feel a sense of wonder for life, and perhaps a greater sense of their soul. I draw inspiration from the natural world and its rhythms. I search for innovative methods to create visual metaphors."
I know what you're thinking: "But so does Mike!" And I appreciate the support. The difference, though, is that Henson creates her magic through puppetry, as you'll see when she brings the astonishments of her IBEX Puppet Theater to St. Ambrose University's Allaert Auditorium on January 30.
Based in Orlando, the IBEX Puppet Theater produces live shows for both adult and family audiences, and beyond the use of puppets, company leader Henson - the youngest daughter of the late, beloved Muppeteer Jim - and her team employ kinetic sculpture, dances, and projected animation in the service of their theatrical offerings. What results is part performance piece, part art-exhibit-in-motion, and pure exhilaration. "Puppetry is so many things," Henson told the Twin-Cities Daily Planet. "It's acting, it's directing, it's sculpture - it's hard to know what niche it falls into." (For our purposes here, we're going with "Events." But we're simple that way.)
Information on the IBEX Puppet Theatre is available by visiting IBEXPuppetry.com, and tickets for the company's St. Ambrose show are available by calling the Galvin Fine Arts Center box office at (563) 333-6251.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Monday, January 26, 7:30 p.m.
Still hurting from that time you participated in the fourth-grade spelling bee and were ousted in the second round for misspelling "receive"? (I know I am.) Consider taking in the Adler Theatre's January 26 touring production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - vindication awaits!
Winner of two 2005 Tony Awards, this Broadway smash by composer William Finn finds a half-dozen adolescents (played by adult actors) attempting to conquer such brain-breakers as "chimerical," "elanguescence," and "weltanschauung," but the performers aren't the only ones put on the spot. At each Putnam County show, three or four audience volunteers - chosen before curtain time - compete right alongside the cast, resulting in an occasionally improvised night of music and comedy that the New York Times called "riotously funny and remarkably ingenious."
Wanna see who you'll be competing against if you're chosen as a volunteer? Try matching the following Putnam County "students" with these brief character descriptions:
1) William Barfée
2) Leaf Coneybear
3) Olive Ostrovsky
4) Marcy Park
5) Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre
6) Chip Tolentino
A) Winner of the 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
B) Speaks six languages and sleeps three hours a night
C) Spells while in a trance
D) Employs the technique of speaking into one's hand before spelling
E) Employs a spelling technique called "the magic foot"
F) Wants to win because "America hates losers"
For more information on, and tickets to, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Answers: 1 - E, 2 - C, 3 - D, 4 - B, 5 - F, 6 - A. But don't kid yourself into thinking you actually have a chance against these kids. Unless, you know, you're touring with them.
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