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Spell Bound: "Ballet Quad Cities' The Sleeping Beauty," May 19 at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Dance
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 21 May 2012 06:00

Ballet Quad Cities' The Sleeping BeautyWhat struck me most about Ballet Quad Cities’ Saturday-night performance of The Sleeping Beauty was how easy it was to follow the storyline even though it was told entirely in dance (set to Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s score), and featured absolutely no dialogue.

 
A Long Shot Comes in: Jaimy Gordon, April 19 at Augustana College PDF Print E-mail
Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 05:08

Jaimy GordonThere are few people in the arts who admit to being concerned about either their fame or their place in history. Jaimy Gordon is one of that rare breed, but she doesn’t need to fret anymore.

Over the past decade, she said in a phone interview last week promoting her April 19 reading at Augustana College, she wondered whether “I was going to be swallowed up in the oblivion of people who are just mildly well-known in their own lifetimes and then forgotten about.”

Since 1981, she has been on the faculty at Western Michigan University – in a creative-writing program that doesn’t have the cachet of, for example, the University of Iowa’s. Her 1974 novel Shamp of the City-Solo is considered a cult classic, and her 1999 Bogeywoman was a Los Angeles Times “best book of the year.”

She had the respect of her peers but said she remained a nonentity in the publishing world. “I had what I would have called a career,” she said. “But to my surprise, the New York Times among other places didn’t even recognize it as existing. It wasn’t even on the map until I suddenly became famous with this book.”

 
Destroy the Language: Matt Hart and the Poets of “Locuspoint: Quad Cities,” March 10 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 08:52

Matt Hart

Philosophy wouldn’t seem to lead naturally to poetry, but it can if you find the right philosopher. For Cincinnati-based poet Matt Hart – who will be reading from his work on Saturday at Rozz-Tox along with poets from the Quad Cities edition of the national journal Locuspoint – it was the 20th Century Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Hart fell in love with poetry as an undergraduate at Ball State University, but he studied philosophy. Pursing a graduate degree in the subject at Ohio University, though, “I really bought Wittgenstein hook, line, and sinker. As a result, I quit doing philosophy. One of his main ideas is that philosophy is a sort of mental illness; if you understand him, you quit doing it.”

And Wittgenstein offered an alternative to philosophy’s relentless rational argument, writing that “philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry.”

 
"I Love You," in Pieces: Ballet Quad Cities' "Love Stories: Love on the Run," February 18 at Augustana College's Wallenberg Hall PDF Print E-mail
Dance
Written by Thom White   
Thursday, 23 February 2012 08:00

Jake Lyon and Emily Kate Long in the Love Stories piece Prelude to EternityWhat first struck me during February 18’s performance of Ballet Quad Cities' Love Stories: Love on the Run was the venue, as Augustana College's Wallenberg Hall provided exactly the spatial experience I wanted for this series of balletic vignettes. There’s a grandness to the architecture, particularly the Tuscan pillars, that lends itself to the high-art air of ballet, but there's also an intimacy there that allowed the audience to be close to the dancers, who performed on a raised platform. I often lost myself in the beauty, passion, and emotion of the choreographed works because I was so near to the action, and not separated by a sea of seats in a formal theatrical setting.

 
How Public-Safety Pensions Are Increasing Your Taxes PDF Print E-mail
Local News
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 02 February 2012 06:25

State public-employee pension systems are grossly underfunded in general and are financial time bombs for most states. According to the 2010 paper “Are State Public Pensions Sustainable?”, 31 state pension systems will run out of money by 2030 at current benefit and funding levels. (Illinois topped the list, going broke in 2018; Iowa is in better shape than most states, with an estimated expiration date of 2035.)

What’s happening in cities across Iowa with police and firefighter pensions, though, shows the flip side – the short-term budget pain that accompanies a well-funded system when investments perform poorly.

In Davenport, the cost of police and firefighter pensions will increase from roughly $3.3 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to $5.5 million next fiscal year and an estimated $6.6 million in Fiscal Year 2014, according to city Budget Director Alan Guard. Over the four-year period ending in 2014, Guard said, the cumulative additional cost is $7.75 million.

In Bettendorf, the cost of police and fire pensions increased from roughly $747,000 in Fiscal Year 2010 to $1.22 million next fiscal year and an expected $1.36 million in Fiscal Year 2014, according to City Administrator Decker Ploehn. Over the four-year period ending in 2014, the cumulative additional cost is $1.62 million.

 
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