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|What's Happenin': March 26 - April 1|
|Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Wednesday, 26 March 2008 02:07|
Smoke on the Mountain
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse
Wednesday, March 26, through Saturday, May 24
On March 26, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse begins a two-month run of the gospel comedy Smoke on the Mountain. With the audience serving as the congregation for a North Carolina Baptist church in 1938, the production finds its ensemble of singing musicians delivering inspirational stories and songs, and performing a set list that includes such beloved gospel standards as "The Church in the Wildwood," "Whispering Hope," "Bringing in the Sheaves," and "I'll Fly Away."
In the interest of Full Disclosure, I should mention that I was a Circa '21 employee when this musical was last there in 2000, and having seen it - and with returning cast members Brad Hauskins and Bob Payne, to boot - I have some definite opinions about the show. But, in the interest of fairness, I'll preface them with some words from the New York Times' D.J.R. Bruckner, who called Smoke on the Mountain "wildly infectious," described it as "a delightfully engaging revelation of the rich complexity, and downright orneriness, of simple people whose faith is powerful but far from unquestioning," and added that, for the audience, "clapping and singing along seems as natural as breathing."
That's all well and good, but now for my take: When I last saw Smoke on the Mountain, it was ... um ... well ... .
It was everything that Bruckner guy said it was. Stupid New York Times ... .
Tickets are available by calling (309) 786-7733 extension 2, and more information is available at (http://www.circa21.com).
St. Ambrose University
Sunday, March 30, through Saturday, April 5
Jules Verne. Hmph. What a freakin' slacker.
Beginning March 29, St. Ambrose University will take visitors around the world in a mere seven days, with the presentations and special events scheduled for the school's Multicultural Week, running through April 5.
The celebration begins with Sunday's Diversity Festival, which offers an afternoon of international music and dance demonstrations, children's activities and crafts, displays, and ethnic cuisine. It ends, appropriately enough, with dessert - the "Cheesecake Connection" fundraiser on the front lawn of the St. Ambrose library, where you can indulge in sweets and simultaneously support women's entrepreneurship initiatives in west Africa's Togo and Benin.
And weekday activities include a multicultural fashion show, Irish social-dance lessons, storytelling by Davenport's Beverly Heintz, the "Around the World in a Snapshot" photo contest, dramatic readings on violence against women with "A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, & a Prayer," and three critically-acclaimed movies: Japan's Shall We Dance?, America's Mad Hot Ballroom (pictured), and England's Billy Elliot. I'm sensing a theme with these titles that extends beyond multiculturalism, but I just can't get my toe shoes around it ... .
For more information on St. Ambrose's Multicultural Week, call (563) 333-6264.
Bent River Brewing Company
Thursday, March 27
Folk singer Cody Diekhoff - a.k.a. Chicago Farmer - plays the Bent River Brewing Company on March 27, and according to his Web site (http://www.chicagofarmer.com), his debut CD About Time takes listeners on a journey through recent years in the artist's life, offering views on "anger, racism, loneliness, rehabilitation, tradition, poverty," and "small town/big city struggles."
One might wonder what'll be left to sing about on Chicago Farmer's next CD, but a hint might be offered with Diekhoff's online analysis of his 2007, which the musician says was filled with "festivals, great reviews, a ton of radio airplay," and "a big ol' wedding and honeymoon."
Wow. That could easily wind up being the happiest folk album ever.
Born in the Peoria suburb of Delevan, Illinois, Chicago Farmer has been a Windy City fixture since 2003, and his vocal and songwriting skills have certainly caught the attention of local reviewers; writing in Chicago Innerview Magazine, Kymber Berson praised the artist's "commanding poetic voice and passion behind his storytelling."
And not for nothing, but that Web site also provides this little nugget of information: "He didn't go to college, but he drank all of their beer." Pissed-off college students can officially seek revenge this Thursday, and more information on Chicago Farmer's Bent River gig is available by visiting (http://www.bentriverbrewery.com).
3 Blonde Moms
Penguin's Comedy Club
Thursday, March 27, through Saturday, March 29
That picture you see there is a press photo for the comediennes of 3 Blonde Moms. It wasn't easy to find. You wouldn't believe what images pop up after you enter "3 Blonde Moms" into a search engine.*
Composed of Beaumont Bacon, Helen Keaney, and Joanie Fagan, the stand-up performers of 3 Blonde Moms bring their act to Penguin's Comedy Club March 27 through 29, commenting on the universal trials and triumphs of middle-class American mothers through a trio of distinct comic perspectives: Bacon, of Jerry Maguire and her own one-woman show Raging Beau, provides Southern sass; Keaney, host of TBS's Movies for Guys Who Like Movies, offers blue-collar sensibility; and Fagan, who portrayed ever-optimistic Faith on The Drew Carey Show, proudly describes herself as "the pearl-wearing Martha Stewart mom ... on speed."
The comediennes readily admit to taking their material directly from life, and even have a notice on their Web site (http://www.3blondemoms.com) requesting that mothers write in and share funny and embarrassing stories about their own children. That sound you're hearing is my mother cackling at the ones she's about to submit.
More information on the 3 Blonde Moms concerts can be found at (http://www.penguinscomedyclub.com).
* I'm kidding. You'll find almost no unseemly photos after entering "3 Blonde Moms" into a search engine. And if some filthy pictures do appear within the next few days, I'll know it was one of you perverts who put them there.
Mojo's Coffee House
Saturday, March 29, 1 p.m.
Composer/musician Steve Couch performs at Mojo's Coffee House - located within Davenport's River Music Experience - at 1 p.m. on March 29, and one of his CDs features songs titled "Let's Be Friends," "The World Is a Rainbow," and "Put a Little Smile On. I'm totally buying my editor Jeff like a dozen of 'em.
If, that is, the little kids in attendance don't snap 'em up first. Couch's Mojo's concert is a CD-release party for his children's albums The World Is a Rainbow and Dinosaur Rhythms, which are geared toward ages three through 10, and which encourage young kids to read, do their homework, exercise, pick up their rooms, treat others respectfully, and stay away from drugs ... and if Couch had been around when I was a kid, life might have turned out a lot differently.
The Iowa musician's Mojo's performance will find him performing tunes from both CDs, and if he's taking requests, you should ask him to do the Dinosaur Rhythms song called "Numbers 'Round the World," in which he instructs his wee listeners how to count in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, German, and Hebrew. Why on Earth isn't this guy booked at St. Ambrose next week?
For more information on Couch, visit his Web site at (http://stevecouch.com).
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