What’s Happenin’: January 7 - 21 Print
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 10:30

On Becoming

St. Ambrose University

Tuesday, January 13, through Friday, February 13


Cherie Sampson's River Spirit of Life Ice PieceDid you know there are Reader readers who don't know that the What's Happenin' pages can also be found online? Just thought I'd mention it.

In other news, January 13 marks the opening of a new art exhibition at St. Ambrose University's Catich Gallery titled On Becoming, showcasing works by Midwestern artists Gillian Brown and Cherie Sampson. Running through February 13, the month-long exhibit will feature selections that employ video projection on sculpture, a technique that gives stationary objects the appearance of movement, and that allows for the presentation of some truly unique imaginings.

Gillian Brown's Untitled (brain/conception), for instance, features a wire-frame sculpture of a head with a translucent gauze shell where the brain should be, and projected onto this fabric are video representations in which, as Brown states, "a single bird enters an ear canal and disappears in a series of images including the cochlea, swirling fish, whirling dervishes, a coffee cup, and a hurricane."

Cherie Sampson's River Spirit of Life (Ice Piece), meanwhile, finds one of the artist's performance-art videos being screened within a 12-foot-by-8-foot assemblage of wood, felt, and twine, which Sampson, in her artist's statement, describes as an exploration of "the abstraction of the body - its relationships and contrasts, formally and symbolically, to the environment."

The accompanying photo of Sampson's piece gives you an idea of her works, but for even more sense of the artist's style and output, click here and here. For a look at Brown's Untitled (brain/conception), click here, and for images from her Insight Out piece, click here.

Now aren't you glad you found the online What's Happenin's? This piece is totally boring in print form... .

The January 16 opening reception for On Becoming will be held at the Catich Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m., and more information on the exhibit is available by calling Heather Lovewell at (563) 333-6444.



The Mousetrap

Playcrafters Barn Theatre

Friday, January 16, through Sunday, January 25


Denise Yoder and Spiro Bruskas in The MousetrapAgatha Christie's The Mousetrap opens the 2009 season at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, and since I appeared in a high-school production of the play, I already know whodunit. But there's sure to be plenty of mystery on hand even if you, too, are well-acquainted with this popular show - instead of "Whodunit?", though, the question is likely to be "Who's gonna steal it?" (The show, that is.)

Will it be Denise Yoder or Adam Overberg, cast as the boarding-house proprietors whose country inn becomes the setting for a puzzling murder? Or perhaps Mike Kelly as Christopher Wren or Alexa Florence as Miss Casewell, both characters potentially linked to a recent strangulation in London?

Perhaps the play's thief will be Don Hazen as the stoic Major Metcalf, or Dee Canfield as the snooty Mrs. Boyle, or Spiro Bruskas as the untrustworthy (and oddly accented) Mr. Paravacini? Or maybe it'll be Adam Michael Lewis, as the detective assigned to suss out the killer?

There's only one way to find out, of course. For tickets to The Mousetrap - running January 16 through 25 - call (309) 762-0330 or visit Playcrafters.com.

Oh, and in case you were wondering which role I played as a teen, it was Christopher Wren - the eccentric, sardonic man of dubious intent and questionable personal tastes, who routinely cackles at his own jokes, which aren't all that funny to begin with. I don't know why the director thought I'd be right for it.



The 16th Annual Red Ribbon Dinner & Great Art Auction

Davenport's RiverCenter

Saturday, January 10, 5 p.m.


ShoShana BeanSponsored by AIDS Project Quad Cities, this year's annual Red Ribbon Dinner & Great Art Auction fundraiser boasts a performance by Broadway veteran Shoshana Bean, who, last month, released her first CD: Superhero. I love it when artists' debut albums are self-titled.

You might think that's an overstatement, but since the turn of the millennium, Bean has certainly been performing her share of heroic musical work. Less than three months after her move to New York City in 2000, Washington native Bean was cast in an off-Broadway revival of Godspell, and ended the year singing with Christina Aguilera, Jon Secada, Toni Braxton, and Marc Anthony at Madison Square Garden. The following spring, she joined the national tour of the musical Leader of the Pack, and that fall, appeared in the televised Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration alongside the likes of Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, and Liza Minnelli.

ShoShana Bean in WickedIn 2002, Bean originated the role of Shelly in Broadway's Hairspray. In 2004, she performed in a benefit production of Hair at the New Amsterdam Theatre. And in 2005, she assumed Tony winner Idina Menzel's role as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, which she played for a full year before joining the show's national tour in 2006.

The Red Ribbon Dinner & Great Art Auction will find Bean singing from her Superhero CD of soul and pop ballads, but I'm betting a few Wicked songs might find their way into the mix, too, as the event's theme this year is "Over the Rainbow." It'd just be rude if she didn't.

Bean's performance, with accompaniment by a live band, will be preceded by 5 p.m. cocktails and music by Lojo Russo, silent and live auctions, and a 7 p.m. dinner, and tickets to the event are available by calling (309) 762-5433 or visiting APQC4Life.org.



Songs for a New World

Harrison Hilltop Theatre

Friday, January 9 through Sunday, January 18


Jason Robert BrownThe Quad Cities' first new theatrical presentation of 2009 debuts at Rock Island's The Green Room Theatre on January 18 (*EDITOR'S NOTE: The show has subsequently been moved to Davenport's Harrison Hilltop Theatre -- see HarrisonHilltop.com for details) - a production of the musical revue Songs for a New World. Let's hear it for the venue again giving local audiences more than is required. Songs for a New Year, after all, would've been just fine.

Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown (pictured), a double Tony Award-winner for Broadway's Parade, this 1995 work finds its four-person ensemble performing songs in the genres of pop, jazz, gospel, and classical music, and features a quartet of gifted performers all making return appearances on the Green Room stage: Sarah Ulloa, from Into the Woods and john & jen; Carousel's Cara Chumbley; Steve Quartell, of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika; and the venue's artistic director, Tyson Danner, who also co-starred in the Angels in America productions.

Boasting musical numbers that the New York Times praised as "illuminated by character and wit," Songs for a New World is an essentially plotless piece, yet covers a range of subjects including American history, race, class, and romance, and references a series of familiar historical and fictional figures that includes Martin Luther King Jr., Betsy Ross, and ... Mrs. Claus, in a song that explores the trials and tribulations of being married to Santa. I'm guessing that getting the man out of the house only once a year will be high on the list.

Songs for a New World runs through January 18, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563) 650-2396 or visiting TheGreenRoomTheatre.com.



Sound & Vision Art Event

Sound & Vision Art Gallery

Saturday, January 10, 5 p.m.


artwork by Rose NobleOn Saturday, January 10, the Sound & Vision Art Gallery will present a special, one-night-only event that should underscore why this Moline venue has the name that it does.

The Sounds will be provided by members of local bands Quiet Bears and Meth & Goats, performing what Meth & Goats' Jon Burns describes as a "free-form musical project."

The Visions will be offered by recent St. Ambrose University graduate Tien Chang, a Taiwan native showcasing oil paintings; Galena resident Rose Noble, working in watercolor, acrylic, and drawing; and artists from the venue's Sound & Vision Collective, whose works in a number of media will grace the gallery's walls and studio space.

Admission is free, doors will be open from 5 to 11 p.m., and complimentary refreshments will be served throughout the evening.

And on a personal note, I'd like to applaud Ms. Noble on the accompanying drawing, which looks to be an almost eerie representation of me on the morning of New Year's Day. Except without the crown.

For more information on the Sound & Vision Art Gallery's Saturday-evening event, call Jon Burns at (309) 912-5024.



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