|What's Happenin': November 12 - 25, 2009|
|Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Tuesday, 10 November 2009 06:00|
The Redstone Room
Thursday, November 12, 8:30 p.m.
The first full-length CD by the indie-folk musicians of Frontier Ruckus - playing Davenport's Redstone Room on November 12 - was 2008's The Orion Songbook, and the band's press materials state that the "Orion" of the title is pronounced "OR-ee-un." Of course, I live in the Quad Cities, so I wasn't aware that there was another way to pronounce it.
Frontier Ruckus' Orion, however, refers not to the nearby Illinois city, but to Michigan's Orion township, the chief inspiration for the group's soulful, thoughtful, and increasingly popular bluegrass-influenced output. Performing alongside singing-saw and trumpet player Zachary Nichols, percussionist Ryan "Smalls" Etzcorn, and bass player Anna Burch, Frontier Ruckus' founders - singer/songwriter Matthew Milia and banjo player David Winston Jones - have taken the band, in a mere seven years, from its humble Michigan beginnings to national and European tours, and in the process, have captured the attention and appreciation of fans and music critics alike.
The Real Detroit Weekly - which recently named Frontier Ruckus "Best Folk Group" in its annual awards - wrote of Milia, "His is a voice whose timbre carries as much meaning as the words that come through it." Metro Detroit, after the release of the 2007 EP I Am the Water You Are Pumping, raved that the band boasted "one of the very best sounds to come out of Michigan this entire decade." And if you're wondering what kind of area has inspired such probing, haunting songs about small-town triumphs and tragedies, Milia describes his Orion as a place of "overwhelming memory, young sexuality, guilt, and the slow disintegration of home and family." So it's like college. Except without the guilt.
Tickets for Frontier Ruckus' concert - featuring opening act Theodore - are $7, and more information on the evening is available by visiting RedstoneRoom.com.
Spencer Bohren and Albert Cummings
Davenport Fairmount Street Public Library and The Capitol Theatre
Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14
Along with falling leaves and falling temperatures, this November will, as always, find the Mississippi Valley Blues Society proudly presenting Blues in the Schools. And in a library. And in a theatre.
After a week spent performing for area students, the society's fall artist-in-residence, Spencer Bohren, will deliver a public concert at Davenport's Fairmount Street Public Library on November 13. Born and raised in Wyoming, this noted guitarist and singer began his professional career in the late 1960s, working alongside such legendary artists as Bukka White and the Reverend Gary Davis. Yet Bohrens quickly emerged as one of the genre's most extraordinary talents, and over the next four decades, embarked on tours throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, received an award for "Best CD of the Year" by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and earned plaudits from The Boston Blues News for his "pure and simple vocal techniques and his spotless finger picking."
Local blues fans, though, shouldn't bemoan Bohrens' area departure, as the Mississippi Valley Blues Society will follow the performer's Friday appearance with a night spent with Quad Cities favorite Albert Cummings, playing Davenport's Capitol Theatre on November 14. Familiar from his set at the 2007 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Cummings' playlist consists of both originals and covers that range from Jimi Hendrix to Merle Haggard, and the musician - who has toured with such blues stalwarts as Johnny Winter and Buddy Guy - was called "a great guitarist" by no less than B.B. King himself.
On behalf of the Reader staff, allow me to welcome both Bohrens and Cummings to the area with the immortal words of Homer Simpson: "Go ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy!"
For more information on both Bohrens' and Cummings' local gigs, contact the Mississippi Valley Blues Society at (563)322-5837 or MVBS.org.
Rock Island Brewing Company
Saturday, November 14, 8 p.m.
The Los Angeles-based rockers of OK Go will headline a concert at the Rock Island Brewing Company on November 14, and there's a lot I could tell you about the group.
I could talk about the talents of band members Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross, and their stint as the power-pop house band for the fifth-anniversary tour of public radio's This American Life.
I could discuss the online phenomenon of OK Go's 2005 video for "A Million Ways" - the first single from the group's second album, Oh No - or the 2007 Grammy Award won for "Here It Goes Again" as Best Short Form Music Video.
I could mention OK Go's appearances in the TV series Las Vegas and the feature film I Love You, Man, and the band's fundraising EP - You're Not Alone - for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and the scheduled release of a 2010 CD.
But instead, let me just offer this snippet from a review of Oh No: "The album's 13 songs rarely relent, dominated by bright, shiny, million-dollar hooks delivered with relish. Kulash and his band seem more committed to rock-and-roll and showmanship than their better-recognized peers, and the music and Kulash's vocals - even in their quieter moments - have a rough, urgent sexiness that's missing from many of today's critical darlings."
The author of that published rave? The Reader's managing editor, Jeff Ignatius. (Yes, I'm blatantly sucking up. I'm angling for an extra week of vacation next year. Sue me.)
OK Go's Saturday-night, all-ages concert will be preceded by a set with musical guests Princeton, tickets are $12, and more information can be found at RIBCO.com.
The Winter's Tale
Friday, November 13, through Sunday, November 22
One of Shakespeare's most fascinating and challenging works is about to get the full Prenzie Players workout, as the area's classical-theatre troupe presents the Bard's The Winter's Tale at the Village Theatre November 13 through 22.
A mélange of just about everything you'd ever attend a Shakespeare performance for - comedy, tragedy, romance, family strife, and even a few hints of the supernatural - this opening to the group's eighth season is being helmed by frequent Prenzie actor/director/adaptor J.C. Luxton, and features a cast that includes such area talents as Jeremy Mahr, Adam Michael Lewis, Denise Yoder, Beth Woolley, John Turner, David Furness, Stephanie Moeller, Molly McLaughlin, and Andy Lord, whose character Antigonus will no doubt exit, pursued by a bear.
"Exit, pursued by a bear," for those who don't know, is likely the most famous stage direction in the Shakespeare canon, and perhaps more familiar than any dialogue uttered in The Winter's Tale. It goes without saying, though, that the play is still chockablock with beautiful, poetic language - some of which you'll find below.
To help prep you for the Prenzies' latest, try guessing which of the following is not quoted in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.
1) "I am a feather for each wind that blows."
2) "It is a heretic that makes the fire, not she who burns in't."
3) "Opportunity knocks but once. Taken at the tide, t'will lead to fortune. If denied, t'will never return."
4) "Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance."
5) "What's gone and what's past help should be past grief."
Admission is $8 for each of The Winter Tale's six performances, and more information on the production is available at PrenziePlayers.com.
Answer: 3. That's actually a quote not from The Winter's Tale, but rather from An American Tail. You know, that 1986 cartoon about the immigrant mice? Check it out - it's cute!
Of Mice & Men
Harrison Hilltop Theatre
Thursday, November 19 through Sunday, November 29
"Tell me about the drama, George."
"So you forgot that already, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I?"
"I forgot. I tried not to forget. Honest to God."
"Okay, okay, Lennie. I'll tell ya again. We're goin' to see a drama called Of Mice & Men at the Harrison Hilltop Theatre."
"It's not gonna scare me, is it, George? That last one scared me, George."
"Nah, this ain't Rocky Horror, Lennie. This is a story set during the Great Depression. It's based on a classic book by John Steinbeck. You remember when your Aunt Clara read that to ya?"
"I remember! I remember, George!"
"Yeah, it's a beautiful story about a friendship between two migrant workers and the trouble they get into when they go to work on a ranch near Soledad ... ."
"I remember, George! And there's a pretty girl and a dead mouse and a sick dog and ... and rabbits! There's rabbits, ain't there, George?!"
"Well, they just talk about rabbits, Lennie. And there's gonna be a lot of actors you like in it. There's Steve Quartell and Matt Mercer and James Bleecker and Don Hazen and Mark McGinn and Jim Seward. And Wayne Hess is directing it. We're gonna have a great time, Lennie."
"And live off the fatta the lan'!"
"And live off the fatta the lan', that's right."
"How much does it cost, George?"
"Well, if I was goin' by myself, it'd be 12 bucks in advance. But I'm gonna be payin' 24 bucks. You know why?" '
"Because ... because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why!"
"That's right, Lennie. That's right."
The Harrison Hilltop Theatre's Of Mice & Men runs November 19 through 29, and tickets are available by calling (309)235-1654 or visiting HarrisonHilltop.com.
What Else Is Happenin'... ?
Friday, November 13 - The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Rock, metal, and classical influences in an extravagant production of light and sound. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 8 p.m. $28.50-$57.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
Friday, November 13 - Herb Alpert & Lani Hall. Legendary trumpet player and Grammy Award-winning vocalist in a concert sponsored by Iowa City's Hancher Auditorium. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 7:30 p.m. $10-$47. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit http://www.Hancher.UIowa.edu.
Sunday, November 15 - m-pact. Noted a cappella ensemble in the group's public performance as Quad City Arts Visiting Artists. First Presbyterian Church of Davenport (1702 Iowa Street, Davenport). 4 p.m. $8-$12. For information, call (309)793-1213 or visit QuadCityArts.com.
Sunday, November 15 - Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra Autumn Concert. The first concert in the ensemble's 52nd season, featuring Mendelssohn's "Reformation Symphony," "Moussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," Offenbach's "Orpheus," and Grieg's incidental music from Peer Gynt. Centennial Hall, Augustana College (3703 7th Avenue, Rock Island). 3 p.m. $5-$10. For tickets and information, call (563)322-7276 or visit QCSymphony.com.
Friday, November 20 - Martina McBride. Grammy Award-winning county singer in concert, with special guests Blake Shelton and Lost Trailers. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $39.75-$59.75. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
Friday, November 20, through Sunday, November 22 - Little Thieves of Bethlehem. Holiday-themed opera performed by Opera@Augustana, under the direction of John Pfautz. Wallenberg Hall, Augustana College (3701 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $8-$16. For information, call (309)794-7306.
Wednesday, November 25 - The Oak Ridge Boys' Christmas Show. Chart-topping country musicians in their holiday tour. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $34.50-$41.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Wednesday, November 11, through Thursday, December 31 - Holly Jolly Christmas. Holiday-themed, Broadway-style song-and-dance revue. Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 6 p.m. dinner, 7:45 p.m. show; Sunday 4 p.m. dinner, 5:45 p.m. show; Wednesday matinée 11:45 a.m. plated lunch, 1:30 p.m. show. $27.04-$46.28. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2, or visit Circa21.com.
Thursday, November 12 - The Laramie Project. Acclaimed drama on the killing of Matthew Shepard, produced in conjunction with the Iowa Thespian Festival, featuring high-school students from across the state. Holzworth Performing Arts Center, Davenport North High School (626 West 53rd Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $8. For tickets and information, visit IowaThespians.org.
Saturday, November 14 - Dane Cook. Film and stand-up star in his Isolated Incident Global Thermo Comedy Tour. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 8 p.m. $32.50-$102.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
Friday, November 20, and Saturday, November 21 - Jon LaJoie. Stand-up comedian and co-star of the FX series The League, with opener Scott Deringer. Penguin's Comedy Club (421 West River Drive, Davenport). Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 7:30 and 10 p.m. $22. For tickets and information, call (563)324-5233 or visit QCFreightHouse.com/penguinsComedyClub.upcoming.php.
Tuesday, November 17 - Pacific Coast Top to Bottom. A presentation in the World Adventure Series, with a post-film discussion by filmmaker Steve McCurdy. Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre (1717 West 12th Street, Davenport). 1, 4, and 7 p.m. $4-$6. For tickets and information, call (563)324-1933 or visit Putnam.org.
Wednesday, November 18 - Cirque Dreams: Illumination. Performers re-invent familiar objects, balance on wires, leap tall buildings, and redefine the risks of flight in a circus stage spectacular. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $23-$47.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Thursday, November 19 - Adam Richman. Stories, Q&A, and an on-stage cooking demonstration with the host of the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $25-$30. For tickets, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Friday, November 20, through Sunday, November 29 - Quad City Arts Festival of Trees. Annual holiday festival featuring lights, decorated trees, an art exhibit, children's activities, concerts, vendors, appearances by Santa, and more. Davenport RiverCenter (136 East Third Street, Davenport). $3-$8. For information, call (563)324-3378 or visit RiverCtr.com.
Saturday, November 21 - Holiday Pops. Annual collaboration between Quad City Arts and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, featuring the circus artists of Cirque de la Symphonie, plus performances by the symphony, the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir, and the Holiday Pops Children's Chorus. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $15-$35. For tickets, cal;l (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
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