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What's Happenin': Tuesday, May 10, through Wednesday, May 25 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 May 2011 06:00

Circa: 61 Circus Acts in 60 MinutesEvent

Circa: 61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes

Englert Theatre

Saturday, May 14, 2 p.m.


Appearing as the final guests in Hancher Auditorium’s 2010-11 Visiting Artists series, the Australian troupe Circa brings its lauded 61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes to Iowa City’s Englert Theatre on May 14, demonstrating such feats as knife-throwing, flying without a net, and what’s called “the unicycle of death.” That last one certainly sounds like something to see, as I wasn’t aware there were any other kinds of unicycles.

Of course, with the United Kingdom’s The Guardian describing the show as “knee-tremblingly sexy, beautiful, and moving,” and Brisbane, Australia’s Courier-Mail calling it “fast and furious circus entertainment even for those with the shortest attention spans,” I’m guessing there’s very little about 61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes that wouldn’t be something to see.

As the title indicates, this new touring production from the noted, Brisbane-based entertainers finds its five-person team of acrobats, magicians, and contortionists pulling off 61 routines of spectacular agility and skill over the course of an hour. And if you’re wondering whether Circa’s performers fudge a little on their promise to wrap things up in exactly 3,600 seconds, 61 Circus Acts gives you the opportunity to call their bluffs; with an on-stage clock recording the hour-long countdown, you and your fellow audience members are – in the show’s final seconds – invited to goad the performers on with cries of, “Oh, for the love of God ... faster!”

Scheduled as the featured entertainers for Hancher’s annual “Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure” program, 61 Circus Acts promises exhilarating fun for the whole family. Yet with Circa advertising the production as a “circus without the boring bits,” you don’t necessarily have to feel obliged to bring children along, especially with some of the acts finding performers juggling numerous things at once, jumping through hoops, and walking all over each other. Kids’ll have the chance to learn about the workplace soon enough.

For tickets and information to the 2 p.m. Circa production, call (319)335-1160 or visit



Sunday Dinner for a SoldierMovies

“Homefront Films of World War II” Series

Marycrest Senior Campus

Saturday, May 14, through Saturday, October 15


It should go without saying that some people handle movie tearjerkers better than others. I know folks who could sit through a triple-feature of Love Story, Terms of Endearment, and Sophie’s Choice without so much as a sniffle, and others reduced to weepy wrecks at the end of The Muppets Take Manhattan, when the gang finally gets the chance to put on their big Broadway show ... and Kermit and Miss Piggy finally tie the knot ... and ... . Uh ... .

Sorry ... . Just need a moment here ... . O-o-o-okay ... .

So if you’re among this latter group that loves a good sob with your cinematic entertainment, especially if you’re a fan of the great tearjerkers of old, you won’t want to miss the Classic Film Society’s 2011 season at Marycrest Senior Campus, which kicks off with a May 14 screening of the 1944 family drama Sunday Dinner for a Soldier. Themed “Homefront Films of World War II,” this series of six classic dramas explores American life through the eyes of those waiting for loved ones to return from overseas and those who’ve recently come home, and the movies will be preceded by vintage shorts made in the Quad Cities, such as May 14’s 10-minute film on a War Bond rally held in downtown Davenport.

Sunday Dinner for a Soldier concerns a Florida family that invites a lonely military man into their home for his first home-cooked meal in ages, and similar lump-in-the-throat stories will be told in rest of the Classic Film Society’s screenings: 1942’s This Above All (June 18); 1943’s Claudia (July 16); 1944’s Winged Victory (August 13); 1943’s Happy Land (September 17); and 1949’s Come to the Stable (October 15). That last one, by the way, is about a group of nuns in New England who seek their community’s help in building a children’s health clinic, and find that ... . Uh ... . And find that ... .

Really, don’t worry about me ... . I’m gonna be fine ... . I think it’s just my allergies ... .

The six Classic Film Society screenings will be held at 7 p.m. in Marycrest’s Upham Hall Auditorium (located at 1607 West 12th Street in Davenport), and more information is available by calling (563)391-3502 or e-mailing



Bill FrisellMusic

The Bill Frisell Quartet

The Redstone Room

Friday, May 13, 8 p.m.


In reading an online biography for acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell – who performs at Davenport’s Redstone Room on May 13 alongside Bill Frisell Quartet members Ron Miles, Tony Scherr, and Kenny Wollesen – I learned that the man actually began his musical career with an entirely different instrument altogether, as he spent much of his youth playing the clarinet.

I also learned that that’s about the only thing he and I have in common.

A 2005 Grammy Award winner for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and a Grammy nominee in 2003 and 2008, Frisell has thus far enjoyed an illustrious and expansive career of mixing rock and country with jazz and blues. In doing so, he’s fashioned a uniquely earthy and soulful style that has led to collaborations with the likes of Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones, and Suzanne Vega; film-scoring work for directors Gus Van Sant and Wim Wenders; and Jazz Times magazine lauding him for his “airbrushed attack, stunning timbral palette, and seemingly innate inability to produce a gratuitous note.”

As someone who refuses to include even a single gratuitous comment in his own works (and that sound you hear is my editor, Jeff, laughing his ass off), I’ll spend the rest of my wordage here highlighting a few more of the musician’s many, many accolades. Among the following list of options, which isn’t a published rave awarded to Frisell?


1) “It’s hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell.” – New York Times

2) “Frisell is a revered figure among musicians – like Miles Davis and a few others, his signature is built from pure sound and inflection, an anti-technique that is instantly identifiable.” – Philadelphia Inquirer

3) “One of the most hopeful signs that contemporary jazz can evolve with dignity and charm.” – Chicago Tribune

4) “His guitar sound is unmistakable – billowing, breath-like, multi-hued, immense at times, almost palpable.” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune

5) “Strange meetings of the mysterious and the earthy, the melancholy and the giddy, make perfect sense by Frisell’s deliciously warped way of thinking.” – Rolling Stone

6) “Frisell has forged originals whose folky melodies and big-sky grooves make them seem like old friends in snazzy new clothes.” – Billboard.


Friday’s concert with the Bill Frisell Quartet begins at 8 p.m., and tickets and more information are available by calling (563)326-1333 or visiting



Answer: 3. That Tribune quote actually reads: “ ... can evolve with dignity, wit, and charm.” So Frisell’s even cooler than you thought he was.




Concerts at Rozz-Tox

2108 Third Avenue, District of Rock Island

Saturday, May 21, and Monday, May 23


“I traveled through Vietnam one summer,” says Benjamin Fawks, proprietor of the Quad Cities’ new art and music café Rozz-Tox, “and the coffee shops there really inspired me. There are outdoor coffee shops in the mountains there that just have little tables and hammocks. No chairs; just hammocks. And the coffee is amazing.”

Well, you won’t yet find any hammocks in the venue that, on April 1, opened at 2108 Third Avenue in the District of Rock Island. But based on the Vietnamese coffee that I enjoyed during a recent visit to Rozz-Tox, you’ll probably find that the coffee is amazing. And with its concert lineup including May 21’s Meth & Goats record-release show (also featuring Supersonic Pass and Slap N Tickle), May 23’s hardcore show with five national and international bands, and July 23’s concert showcasing the indie musicians of Other Lives, you also might find that Rozz-Tox is quite unlike any other Quad Cities establishment of its type.

“I believe in keeping the venue an open space,” says Fawks, a Moline native who recently relocated to Rock Island after nine years spent in China. “Instead of labeling it as a punk club, or a jazz club, or an indie club, I’d like to cover all genres of music in here – it’s like, we’re all creative, why don’t we have a space where we can all do something?”

Meth & Goats Record Release ShowIts name inspired by artist Gary Panter’s 1980 “Rozz Tox Manifesto” (a writing that, as Fawks says, “encourages artists to embrace capitalism instead of staying underground”), Fawks says the two-story Rozz-Tox was designed as “a platform for all artistic disciplines,” among them music, visual arts, and literature, with a book shop scheduled to open in the building’s second floor this summer. And yet another discipline is on display with the venue’s nightly screenings of silent movies. “We’ve got a lot of avant-garde and experimental cinema from 1890 to 1980,” says Fawks. “But we also have old Chaplin and Buster Keaton movies and things like that.”

Plus, of course, one shouldn’t underestimate the discipline required for making a perfect cup of joe, with each cup of Rozz-Tox java made fresh via the pour-over technique, and with the beans courtesy of Chicago’s famed Intelligentsia Coffee. (Says Fawks, “Quite a few people have come in and been wowed that we have Intelligentsia.”) With Rozz-Tox also serving beer, wine, sandwiches, paninis, cupcakes, and even cereal – and with future musical bookings including such eclectic acts as Daniel Ate the Sandwich (June 2), the Submarines (June 3), and Maritime (June 5) – Fawks is hopeful that a venue as distinct as Rozz-Tox can both survive and thrive in the area.

“We’ve had amazing results with the shows so far,” he says, “and everybody that’s come in so far is basically telling me the same thing: ‘The Quad Cities needs something like this.’ And our area’s actually big enough that we could have more of them. We just need people to go out and do it.”

For more information on Rozz-Tox and its forthcoming concerts, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit



What Else Is Happenin’...?



Thursday, May 12 – Marshall Crenshaw & Freedy Johnston. Accalimed folk-rock musicians in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $20. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit For a 2010 article on Johnston, visit

Friday, May 13 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Beethoven’s Last Night. Multimedia rock-theatre performance of classical works. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 8 p.m. $28.50-59.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14 – The Magic Flute. Opera@Augustana presents an abridged, English-language version of one of Mozart’s most beloved works. Augustana College’s Denkmann Memorial Hall (3520 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)283-9879 or visit or visit

Saturday, May 14 – August Zimbal. Farewell performance by the area alternative rockers, with opening sets by Lost Allies and Big as a Mouse. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $5. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Sunday, May 15 – Pamela Reese Smith. Jazz vocalist performs and educates alongside Manny Lopez III & Friends, as part of Polyrhythms’ Third Sunday Jazz Matinée & Workshop Series. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. all-ages jazz workshop: $5 per adult, children free. 6 p.m. concert: $10-15. For tickets and information, call (309)373-0790 or visit and

Friday, May 20 – Ray Price. Famed country/Western musician in concert. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center. (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $15-25. For tickets and information, call (800)724-5825 or visit

Friday, May 20 – Roger McGuinn. Concert with singer/songwriter and co-founder of The Byrds. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $20-30. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit



Friday, May 13, through Saturday, May 21 – Rent: The School Version. Student-performed production of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. The Center for Living Arts (2008 Fourth Avenue, Rock Island). Fridays and Saturdays: 7 p.m. $10. For tickets and information, call (309)788-5433 or visit

Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 22 – Once Upon a Mattress. Musical-comedy re-telling of “The Princess & the Pea,” in the 18th-annual fundraising production by the New Era Dinner Theatre. New Era Community Building (3455 New Era Road, Muscatine). Fridays and Saturdays: 6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. performance. Sunday, May 22: 5 p.m. dinner, 6 p.m. performance. $10-20. For tickets and information, call (563)263-5255 or (563)263-0881.

Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 22 – Rehearsal for Murder. Mystery thriller by D.D. Brooke, directed by Tom Swegle. Playcrafters Barn Theatre (4950 35th Avenue, Moline). Fridays and Saturdays: 7:30 p.m.. Sundays: 3 p.m. $10. For tickets and information, call (309)762-0330 or visit

Friday, May 13 – Dames of Denmark. Shakespearean soliloquies performed by Prenzie Players Cait Bodenbender, Stephanie Burrough, Catie Osborn, Beth Woolley, Maggie Woolley, and Denise Yoder. Coffee Hound (4141 Seventh Street, East Moline). 6 p.m. $5 suggested donation. For information, call (309)752-0019.

Saturday, May 14 – Quad City Playwrights Festival. Staged readings of six 10-minute plays by area authors. Augustana College’s Bergendoff Hall, Black Box Theatre (3701 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). 7:30 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)794-7306.

Thursday, May 19, through Sunday, May 29 – Under the Radar. Debuting play about the Quad Cities’ gay and lesbian scene in the 1970s, presented by New Ground Theatre. Village Theatre (2113 East 11th Street, Davenport). Thurdays through Saturdays: 7:30 p.m. Sundays: 2 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, call (563)326-7529 or visit For an interview with director Chris Jansen, visit



Friday, May 20, and Saturday, May 21 – Rodney Carrington. Stand-up comedy with the touring performer and sitcom star. Riverside Casino Event Center (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $45-55. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit

Saturday, May 21 – Brian Regan. Nationally renowned stand-up comedian in concert. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $40.50. For tickets and information, call (800)745-3000 or visit



Saturday, May 21, through Sunday, September 4 – Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog. Traveling exhibit offering numerous “paws-on” activities with the famed children’s book canine. Family Museum (2900 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf). Free with $4-6 museum admission. For information, call (563)344-4106 or visit



Saturday, May 21 – St. Ambrose University Wine Festival. Annual fundraiser for student scholarships, featuring hors d’oeuvres and samples of more than 120 wines. St. Ambrose University lawn (518 West Locust Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. $45-50. For information, call (563)333-6290 or visit

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