Fall 2011 Best of the Quad Cities - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 December 2011 08:50

6) Local visual artist

Steve Banks: Best local artist? Easy. Terry Rathje. Terry is the epitome of a Renaissance individual. He plays fiddle, records his own music, reads, explores, hikes, fishes, designs, and most importantly he is constantly at work in the studio making new and exciting artworks. His ever-expanding curiosity with new materials such as photographic tapestries, spray foam, and Fosshape is accentuated by his fearless exploration of interesting fabrication techniques ranging from primitively built stick constructions to laser-cut metal to shaping Plexiglas in his oven. Terry is an artist in the truest sense of the word. No single medium, art movement, or source of inspiration defines his oeuvre. And seemingly no challenge isn’t worth tackling. One of his more impressive self-imposed challenges was constructing a beehive structure that could be broken down and fit into three suitcases. This architectural “space” was shown in Portugal, packed up in his suitcases, and brought to the Quad Cities area for the Play show at Quad City Arts in 2010. That same year, Terry presented a paper regarding technology in the classroom in Sydney, Australia. Just this past summer he traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, for another show he was in. Vote Terry Rathje for Class President.

Leslie Bell: We all know how great the Quinn sisters are, Peter Xiao, Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, and other long-timers. But Joseph Lappie makes art books that are funny, literate, wise, and beautiful. Look him up. (Note: Jay Strickland’s archives contain masses of great photography that we may [or may not] ever see.)

Andrea Shook: While yes Joshua Ford won best photographer last year, if you’re the best, isn’t it okay to keep dominating the category? Josh began taking our family pictures two years ago, and while there are many great “picture takers” out there, Josh is a one-of-a-kind visual artist, with a personal touch. He is always very easygoing with our kids and knows how to make them comfortable while brining out their personalities. Each year he highlights big family events we have experienced and comes up with ways to tell “our” story within the session. From the birth of a baby to my husband deploying, Josh always takes time to create a custom canvas with an array of differently sized and shaped pictures for us. We are always very excited to see the end product, as we leave the visual details up to Josh. We know he pores over the photographs, arranging and rearranging them to make sure the canvas captures the essence of who our family is, and what we have experienced since the prior year’s photo session. I am constantly getting compliments year-to-year on Josh’s work!

Harry Walker: Harry Walker. RCReader.com/y/bestvid5

@jbrwn: #BestQC 6, Lance Dillie, Never has a piece of art made me cry, but his designs pull at your heart strings and then cuts them with a knife.

@rogerwilson1980: #BestQC 6 Lance Dillie, He is such a good artist, his illustrations are done with such care, you can tell he puts his all into his work.

@GeneSmith11: #BestQC 6 Lance Dillie, his artwork has been touched by the hand of God, Fathers. But still, amazing artist.

@LanceDillie: #BestQC 6 Lance Dillie, my style is unique and humorous. Visit my blog: http://t.co/Bq3ktYfb

@PiperDillie: #BestQC 6 Lance Dillie, he is such a unique artist and his woodblock prints are amazing.

7) Art exhibit

A sculpture by Donald Noon.Dawn Wohlford-Metallo: I nominate Michael Johnson’s black-and-white landscape photography paired with Donald Noon’s steel sculptures that were on display in Quad City Arts’ Art at the Airport Gallery in September and October. Noon’s smooth, angular, gray steel forms complemented Johnson’s large-scale landscapes, which demonstrated full use of the gray scale.

Bruce Walters: A Memorial Tribute to Jim Konrad at the Augustana College Art Museum. Jim’s work is probably best known for its “realism.” I appreciated it more for its thoughtful use of symbolism. A masterful exhibition.

Leslie Bell: T.L. Solien’s show at the Catich Gallery at St. Ambrose University was a veritable graduate-school education in how a postmodern artist can view literary history through paint. Taking great liberties technically and riffing to great effect on Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab and wife, Solien showed why he was twice included in the Whitney Biennial – brilliant, moral fiction clothed in smart, tart color with a cartoon vocabulary of forms, characters, and pratfalls.

Frances B. Emerson: Hands-down, the University of Iowa art collection housed at the Figge Art Museum is world-class. Jackson Pollack, Robert Motherwell, Picasso – no need to go all the way to Chicago to see these outstanding artists’ work. Be sure to enjoy the permanent collection of the museum while you are there: Grant Wood, Andy Warhol, Thomas Hart Benton, and more. We have a gem in our midst, and it is such a shame that too few people go to the Figge.

@QC_Anime_Zing: We vote for ourselves, since we give so many young people a fun place to learn and experience a new culture! #BestQC 9, 8, 7

8) Educational exhibit

@QC_Anime_Zing: We vote for ourselves, since we give so many young people a fun place to learn and experience a new culture! #BestQC 9, 8, 7

9) Local festival

Leslie Bell: The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is hanging in there despite the death of several complete generations of the greatest bluesmen and -women. Long gone are the days when Memphis Slim opened for John Lee Hooker or when the Holmes Brothers sang in the tent after Johnny Shines. But today’s judicious mix of bar bands, authentic practitioners, future classicists, and the occasional jazz garnish continues to hold its own.

@MoonshineBearEt: #BestQC The best festival in the QC is the RI Co Relay For Life. They are helping to make a world with more birthdays! #BestQC 7

@AllieGrafton: #BestQC 9 Rock Island Co Relay For Life is an amazing event to honor survivors.I go 2 remember my aunt who passed away from cancer.#BestQC 9

@dlhband: #BestQC 9 Relay For Life of Rock Island Co. is an amazing event that brings together a community and supports those affected by cancer

@QC_Anime_Zing: We vote for ourselves, since we give so many young people a fun place to learn and experience a new culture! #BestQC 9, 8, 7

@Jamie_Wolfe: QC Anime-zing! is definitely the best festival! It’s both fun, and an awesome cultural experience too!! #BestQC

@erica_bleed: QC Anime-zing! is the best local festival! It gives tons of young people a place to be themselves and make friends! #BestQC

10) Best-kept Quad Cities secret for arts, culture, and entertainment

Frances B. Emerson: The Grape Life Emporium in Davenport (Elmore and Kimberly) is a great environment to enjoy a glass of wine any day, a free chair massage on Wednesday, or wonderful local music on a Saturday night. Friendly staff and great wine selection. Fine talent drawn from blues, jazz, pop, and country. It’s a true safe haven for music and wine lovers who actually want to listen to the music rather than talk over it.

Connie Drevich: I once wrote to Nadine D’Angelo, the artistic director of Wings-NYCW, here in the Quad Cities, “Your company must be one of the best kept secrets in the Quad Cities. For a location this large and only four of you in the company? Oh my gosh. People need to find out about Wings. Please consider advertising for auditions/sign-ups for your group, in our local papers like the Reader. Your vision of Wings is too good to be kept quiet ... .” I also told her that “Wings is a great night of entertainment! I would gladly pay more, for as much time and work all of you put into the show!” They put on only one show a year, because they are involved with each detail of the show along the way. They design it, practice it, make up the backgrounds, come up with their own costumes, and perform it. They do it all. They also promote dance as an art form in the schools in this area. All of it is done as a nonprofit organization. Where dancing can be a way, children can absorb and interpret the world around them.

Josh Patrick: I would like to nominate The Clubhouse for best-kept secret for arts, culture, and entertainment. I have been to just about every hot spot this year and have to say that the Clubhouse has a really good thing going here. The golf simulators are amazing, but this place has billiards and ping-pong tables! That may sound simple, but add the fully stocked bar that has about every beer, wine, whiskey, vodka, etc. that you would care to drink. The turtle races are great, the live acts keep coming, and the daily specials they put on are topnotch. The location, the parking, and the hours make this a must-see in the Quad Cities. Sure there are great bars in town, and great music acts at such places, but this place is truly unique, and our area needs a place like this if we are going to grow and become a destination spot for visitors.

Leslie Bell: Although Quad City Arts, the Phoenix, and a few other venues have their own wonderful secrets, the Catich Gallery has been building a strong national reputation for years. Heather Lovewell, the curator, has parlayed her keen and sympathetic eye with the quality of past shows into an increasingly excellent showcase for provocateurs, independent practitioners, abstract contortionists, populist wizards, and all manner of visual-art talent. It’s always amazing to see a great, national review of an artist showing in Chicago, New York, or L.A. and know that he or she showed earlier at the Catich Gallery in dear old Davenport. It takes a bit of pluck and a compass to get there, but it’s always worth it.

Leslie Bell: A new art space that can’t be overlooked is the Eastside Bakery in Davenport. Not only do they have great, artisanal pizza and fine pastry, but the front room is a hip art gallery showing works on paper and book arts of a very high (and often funny) order. The one-two whammy of art and food is available any time, but those in-the-know get on their e-mail list and frequent the openings, dig the tunes, eat the food, and chat up the artists.

ComedySportz Quad Cities. Photo by A.J. Brown.Patrick Adamson: The Establishment Theatre, home of ComedySportz, is a renovated movie house that was built in 1941, a unique venue in the Quad Cities. There are live performances every Friday and Saturday from ComedySportz improvisers. The theatre has premieres and showings of local filmmakers’ work. They also host a monthly open-mic series, stand-up showcases, and occasionally bring in outside talent to perform such as Sean Morey and Tim Bedore. The Establishment has held the Metro Arts program classes and showcase, Festival of Trees designer-recruitment event, the Addys media-award ceremony, concerts by the Avey Brothers and the Late Night Blues Brothers, hair shows, and local theatre-troupe auditions, and it opened an improv-training center for actors and non-actors alike. With only a year open to the community it is definitely “the best-kept secret.”

Diane Volrath: Mississippi River Valley Art Drive. RCReader.com/y/bestvid6

Jeff De Leon: The Establishment Theatre. RCReader.com/y/bestvid4

@LanceDillie: #BestQC 10 Galvin Fine Arts building St Ambrose, Art shows year round, stage productions, and new art added weekly to the halls.

@RedHotTonyTone: Aunt Hatties in LeClaire is a unique & wacky gift shop. Locally owned and operated Donna is a character herself! #BestQC 10

@RonMorse: The Establishment Theatre is the best kept secret for arts in the QC. Huge open space, great A/V system, awesome location in RI. #bestqc 10

@Soduh: The best kept secret of the QCA is the Curtainbox Theatre Company. Always a moving production! Top quality! #BestQC 10