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What's Happenin': Tuesday, September 14 through Wednesday, September 29 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 06:00

The Emmitt-Nershi BandMusic

The Emmitt-Nershi Band

Rock Island Brewing Company

Wednesday, September 22, 8 p.m.


It was in the fall of 2007 that musicians Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi originally teamed up to form the much-admired touring outfit The Emmitt-Nershi Band. Considering that the gentlemen are, respectively, also members of the popular jam bands Leftover Salmon and The String Cheese Incident, trust me, the group’s name could’ve easily been a far less appetizing hybrid.


Yet for bluegrass fans, the duo’s tunes would no doubt be tasty no matter the band moniker, as audiences will discover when The Emmitt-Nershi Band plays the Rock Island Brewing Company on September 22. Joined by guitarist Tyler Grant and banjo player Andy Thorn, Emmitt (the lead singer who plays mandolin, fiddle, and acoustic and electric guitar) and Nershi (the lap-steel guitarist also expert at the bass and dobro) will rock the Rock Island venue with their modern, passionate take on the traditional bluegrass sound, performing genre classics and originals from their 2009 CD, New Country Blues.

Featuring compositions that include the dynamic songs “I Come from the Country” and “These Days” and the blazing instrumentals “Mango Tango” and “Surfing the Red Sea,” New Country Blues was a smash with both fans and critics, with praising The Emmitt-Nershi Band’s “amazing picking and soulful harmonies.” And writing for, Brian Robbins stated that the group’s “wicked picking and good vibes” made it sound “like you’re sitting in the middle of the living-room floor scratching the dog’s ears with the band in a circle around you,” an experience that will likely be replicated during the gents’ RIBCO engagement. If, that is, the venue is okay with you sitting in the middle of the stage. And, you know, if they allow pets.

The Emmitt-Nershi Band performs with opener Chicago Farmer, tickets are $13 in advance and $16 at the door, and more information on the concert is available by visiting



The Taj Mahal TrioMusic

The Taj Mahal Trio

Riverside Casino & Golf Resort

Friday, September 24, 7:30 p.m.


According to this press release I received on Hancher Auditorium’s 2010-11 Performing Arts Series, the University of Iowa venue is currently inviting audiences to view the Taj Mahal for as little as $10. Seriously, I don’t know how this series makes a profit, given that plane tickets to India have to cost at least ... !

Oh, wait. By “the Taj Mahal,” it appears they’re referring to the legendary blues and roots musician who’ll be playing the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort on September 24. Yeah, that makes a lot more sense.

Ten dollars, though, still seems like an incredible bargain for a night spent enjoying Taj Mahal and his gifted backup musicians, who together form the Taj Mahal Trio. With a career spanning nearly 50 years, Mahal – born Henry St. Claire Fredericks – has long been at the forefront of the American blues scene, his talents on guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano internationally-recognized, and his vibrant, soulful work rewarded with two Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

And joined by bandmates Bill Rich (on bass) and Kester Smith (on drums), the Taj Mahal Trio has been acclaimed literally worldwide, with its members recently demonstrating their exhilarating musicianship on tours in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. Don’t, however, expect any sort of downbeat experience in an evening of Taj Mahal’s blues. As the artist is quoted as saying, “You can listen to my music from front to back, and you don’t ever hear me moaning and crying about how bad you done treated me.” Man, he would so not fit in on the Reader staff.

For more information on, and tickets to, the Taj Mahal Trio’s Riverside Casino concert, call the Hancher box office at (319)335-1160, or visit



Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster JenkinsTheatre

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins

Village Theatre

Friday, September 17, through Sunday, September 26


The first play in New Ground Theatre’s 2010-11 season is the two-character piece Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, and I’ll admit that before hearing the title, I had no earthly idea who Florence Foster Jenkins was. It turns out, though, that she was a wealthy American socialite from the 1930s who once performed a sold-out engagement at Carnegie Hall, and thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I’ve been lucky enough to hear recordings of her voice.

With apologies to those of you reading this in print, click here for a sampling of the legendary Florence Foster Jenkins sound. I guarantee it’ll make you cry. With laughter.

That’s right, years before William Hung made ears bleed on American Idol, Jenkins was the inspiration for every wannabe vocalist who wasn’t thwarted by an utter lack of talent. And with playwright Stephen Temperley’s Tony Award-nominated Souvenir – which tells of Jenkins’ relationship with her longtime accompanist – audiences are shown just what made this tone-deaf chanteuse such a national sensation, in a touching comedy (with music) that, according to, “offers a humorous and insightful look at the woman and her unusual career.”

Performed by area favorites Susan Perrin-Sallak and Bryan Tank, and directed by Lora Adams, Souvenir is sure to be both moving and, in the best possible way, cringe-inducing, at least if Perrin-Sallak’s approximation of her character’s “style” is at all close to the genuine article. Just ’cause I can’t resist, here’s another Jenkins sampling that left me weeping.

And again, I’m sorry if you’re landing on this What’s Happenin’ piece in print instead of online. I’ll try to make it up to you in the next issue by making one of these things a scratch-’n’-sniff.

Souvenir runs September 17 through 26 – with tickets available for $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors – and reservations can be made by calling (563)326-7529 or visiting



Simon J. OrtizLiterature

Simon J. Ortiz

Centennial Hall, Augustana College

Thursday, September 23, 7 p.m.


(The following haiku were written in tribute to the famed writer who opens the 2010-11 season of River Readings at Augustana.)


Simon J. Ortiz,

The Native American

Author of fiction


(Also poetry,

and children’s literature,

and nonfiction, too),


Will take the stage in

Augustana College’s

Centennial Hall.


At seven-thirty

On September twenty-third,

He’ll read from his works,



The school year’s River Readings

Series with a bang.


Sharing stories of

His people’s struggles, conflicts,

And community,


The acclaimed Ortiz

Will orate passages from

Titles including


Men on the Moon and

Woven Stone and From Sand Creek,

And help demonstrate


Why he received the

Arts Discovery Award

From the NEA.


The reading is free,

As is the art-museum

Reception after,


And there’s another

Perk to Ortiz’s visit

I haven’t mentioned:


I guarantee that

He won’t deliver any

Insipid haiku.


Examples of Ortiz’s writings and readings can be found at, and more information the River Readings at Augustana series is available by contacting the college’s Margaret Rogal at (309)794-7823.



Synergy Brass QuintetMusic

Synergy Brass Quintet

Galvin Fine Arts Center, St. Ambrose University

Saturday, September 25, 7:30 p.m.


“Mike, I need you to cut part of your piece on the upcoming concert with the Synergy Brass Quartet.”

“What are you talking about, Jeff? I finally wrote a What’s Happenin’ article that’s fewer than 200 words!”

“It needs to be shorter.”

“But I kept it direct and to-the-point, like you’re always telling me to! I mention that the acclaimed musicians are based in Boston, and that their unique stylings find them covering every musical genre from classical to ska, and that they perform upwards of 300 concerts per year, with recent appearances including sets at the Ravinia Music Festival in Illinois, the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, and the Bethlehem Musikfest in Pennsylvania!”


“I mention that the Synergy Brass Quintet is often heard on National Public Radio and performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on NBC, and that the group has enjoyed residencies at the Boston Conservatory, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Los Angeles, and that New York’s Watertown Daily Times raved about the ensemble’s ‘blazing precision and amazing technique’!”


“I mention that local audiences can hear the quintet’s extraordinary blend of trumpets, French horn, trombone, and tuba at St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center on September 25, that tickets are only $6 to $11, and that reservations can be made by calling (563)333-6251 or visiting!"


“So what could you possibly want me to cut?”

“The opening line.”

“You don’t like ‘So who’s feeling horn-y?!’? Inappropriate for an event St. Ambrose?”

“Inappropriate for anything, Mike.”


What Else Is Happenin’...?



Friday, September 17 – Nappy Roots. Alternative Southern rappers in concert, with openers Mac Lethal and DJ Carlo Rossi. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 9 p.m. $15. For information, call (309)793-4060 or visit

Saturday, September 18 – Sammy Kershaw. Chart-topping country musician in concert. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $15-30. For tickets and information, call (800)843-4753 or visit

Saturday, September 18 – Iowa Women’s Music Festival. 17th-annual celebration of female musicians, with headliners The Refugees, and performers including Ruth King, Mary McAdams, and the Chris Pureka Band. Upper City Park (Dubuque Road and Park Street, Iowa City). Noon-6 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (319)335-1486 or visit

Sunday, September 19 – The Petra Van Nuis Quartet. Jazz ensemble performs and educates as part of Polyrhythms’ Third Sunday Jazz Matinée & Workshop Series. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. all-ages workshop – $5/adult, children free; 6 p.m. concert – $10-15. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit or

Tuesday, September 21 – Gaelic Storm. Chart-topping Celtic rockers in concert. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $25-30. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Tuesday, September 21 – The Texas Tenors. Acclaimed country musicians in concert. Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $22-32. For tickets and information, call (800)843-4753 or visit

Wednesday, September 22 – Michelle Shocked. East Texas singer/songwriter in concert. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $20. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit

Thursday, September 23 – A Night of Sunshine. Cabaret evening featuring Circa ’21 Bootlegger Sunshine Ramsey and musical accompanists. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. $10-12. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit

Saturday, September 25 – Doo Wop ’n’ Roll. Fundraising concert for Bethany Children & Families, featuring Jay & the Americans, Johnny Tillotson, and The Shirelles’ Shirley Allston Reeves. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street). 7:30 p.m. $27-67. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Wednesday, September 29 – Drive-By Truckers. Alternative-country/rock musicians in concert. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $24. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit



Thursday, September 16, through Sunday, September 26 – The Tragedy of Sarah Klein. Debut production by the Internet Players, written and directed by Nathan Porteshawver. Nighswander Theatre (2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport). Thursdays-Saturdays 8 p.m.; Sundays 2 p.m. $10-15. For tickets and information, call (563)383-6089 or visit For an interview with Internet Players founder Nathan Porteshawver, see "'Net Gain."

Sunday, September 19 – Godspell. Stephen Schwartz’s beloved nonsecular musical, in a presentation by the Center for Living Arts. Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (121 West 12th Street, Davenport). 2 p.m. Donations encouraged. For information, call (563)323-9989 or visit



Friday, September 17, through Wednesday, September 22 – Ballet West II. A Hancher Auditorium presentation, with outdoor performances by the noted touring ensemble. September 17 – Central Park Square (Main Street and Burlington Avenue, Fairfield). September 18 – Hancher Green (Riverside Drive and Park Road, Iowa City). September 19 – Shiloh Amphitheater (100 Shiloh Drive, Kalona). September 22 – Riverfront Park (West Mississippi Drive and Iowa Avenue, Muscatine). All performances at 6 p.m.; all performances free. For information, call (319)335-1160 or visit



Saturday, September 18, and Sunday, September 19 – Riverssance Festival of Fine Art. 23rd-annual outdoor event featuring visual artists showcasing and selling their works, live music, food vendors, a children’s art tent, and more. Lindsay Park (River Drive and Mound Street, Davenport). Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $3. For information, visit

Saturday, September 18, through Sunday, January 9 – Dancing Towards Death. Exhibit examining “Dance of Death” imagery, with works by artists including Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Georg Grosz, James Ensor, and Sue Coe. Figge Art Museum (225 West Second Street, Davenport). Tuesdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays noon-5 p.m.; Thursdays 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free with museum admission ($4-7). For information, call (563)326-7804 or visit

Friday, September 24, through Friday, October 29 – Living Proof. Exhibit of artworks, in all media, created by breast-cancer survivors, with performances by Lisa Fox, Christina Marie Myatt, Bobbi Smith, and ComedySportz at the September 24 opening reception. Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street, Davenport). Reception 6-9 p.m. Gallery hours: Wednesdays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)737-2066 or visit



Friday, September 24 – Banned Books Reading. Local authors, librarians, and artists read favorite passages from books, poems, and plays that have been frequently contested in the United States, in an event hosted by the Davenport Public Libraries and the Midwest Writing Center. Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street, Davenport). 7-9 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (563)324-1410 or visit

Monday, September 27 – Fahrenheit 451: “The Big Read” Kick-Off Event. Featuring a presentation by Ray Bradbury biographer Sam Weller, and a panel discussion on intellectual freedom. Moline Public Library (3210 41st Street, Moline). 6:30 p.m. Free. For information, call (309)524-2470 or visit For an interview with Weller and a schedule of “The Big Read” events, visit



Saturday, September 18 – Sad on Vacation. An evening with the Chicago-based sketch-comedy troupe. The Circa ’21 Speakeasy (1818 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit

Saturday, September 25 – The Second City National Touring Company. An evening with members of the famed sketch-comedy and improvisation troupe. Augustana College’s Centennial Hall (3703 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $10; free for Augustana students with ID. For information and tickets, call (309)794-7306.



Friday, September 17 – Evenings at Butterworth: Leslie Goddard. Solo performance on Frances Willard, the famed temperance and women’s rights activist who rose to prominence in the 1880s. Butterworth Center (1105 Eighth Street, Moline). 7 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)743-2701 or visit

Friday, September 17, and Saturday, September 18 – Our Big Fat Greek Festival. Annual event featuring Greek cuisine, a wine tasting, live music, performances by Chicago’s Hellas Dancers, Greek souvenirs and jewelry, children’s games and activities, and more. St. George Greek Orthodox Church (2930 31st Avenue, Rock Island). 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $2; ages 12 and under free. For information, call (309)786-8163.

Saturday, September 18 – 2010 Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Annual event featuring Scottish athletics, Highland dance, children’s games, workshops, food and beverages, and more, with evening Ceilidh entertainment by Laura MacKenzie & the Lads, Highland Reign, and New Grass News. Centennial Park (Beiderbecke Drive and Marquette Street, Davenport). Athletic competitions begin at 8 a.m. Free daytime admission, $5 Ceilidh admission. For information, call (309)794-0449 or visit

Saturday, September 18 – 2010 Brew Ha Ha. Annual event co-sponsored by WQPT-TV, offering samples of hundreds of local, national, and international brews, and featuring live music by Corporate Rock, the improv comedians of ComedySportz, games, and more. LeClaire Park (River Drive and Ripley Street, Davenport). 1-5 p.m. $20-25. For information, call (309)796-2424 or visit

Sunday, September 19 – Fall Tour of Historic Homes. A visit to five houses built between 1850 and 1900, in an event sponsored by the Scott County Historic Preservation Society. Davenport and the Village of East Davenport. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $10 for adults; ages 12 and under free. For information, call (563)323-4077.

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