• Chicago Dance Crash, January 23 and 25

    With their works deemed “so imaginative, so playfully revisionist, so superbly realized” by the Chicago Sun-Times and “fresh and innovative” by the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City hoofers of Chicago Dance Crash serve as the latest guests in the Quad City Arts Visiting Artists Series, their local January 23 and 25 engagements sure to deliver, according to the Tribune, “a show that so floods the stage with energetic talent.”

  • QCA Today: January 19, 2020

    This feature collects articles published online by Quad Cities-area media outlets and by CapitolFax.com and the state-politics sections of the Des Moines Register and the State Journal-Register.

  • “'Return into Your Prison Now!' The Long Battle for Beethoven's 'Fidelio,'” January 26

    Over a legendary career that produced nine symphonies, 16 string quartets, and 32 piano sonatas, Ludwig van Beethoven completed only one opera, and the story of its creation – and the immense toll it took on its composer – will be told in the German American Heritage Center's“Return into Your Prison Now!” The Long Battle for Beethoven's 'Fidelio,' a January 26 presentation by noted Quad Cities composer and Augustana College associate professor Dr. Jacob Bancks.

  • CINCH World's Toughest Rodeo, January 17 and 18

    Currently celebrating 41 years of bringing extreme rodeo excitement to fans nationwide, the CINCH World's Toughest Rodeo makes a return visit to Moline's TaxSlayer Center on January 17 and 18, treating patrons to entertainment from touring favorites such as professional bull jumper Manu Lataste and exceptional feats of bull, saddle bronc, and bareback riding.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration w/ the Soul Children of Chicago, January 18

    With this year's annual community event themed “Rise” – taken from the famed quote “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up” – Augustana College's 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be held in the college's Centennial Hall on January 18, its evening of art, poetry, dance, and music highlighted by a special visit from the young vocal talents of the Soul Children of Chicago.

  • Meet Mike McClain, ComEd Lobbyist and House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Morally Myopic Guy Friday

    "He has kept his mouth shut on Jones' ghost workers, the rape in Champaign, and other items. He is loyal to the Administration."

    That's from an e-mail sent at 2:04PM on July 31, 2012, by House Speaker Michael Madigan's consigliere and ultimate Statehouse insider Mike McClain to then-Governor Pat Quinn's chief legislative liaison, Gary Hannig, and Quinn's former chief of staff, Jerry Stermer. The message came to light after WBEZ reporters Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for all e-mails between McClain and e-mail addresses for all gubernatorial chiefs-of-staff during the last ten years.

  • Ability to Raise Funds, Attract Party Allies Seen as Key Feats in Senate Presidential Intramurals

    Senator Steve Landek (D-Bridgeview) and other Senate Democrats have been meeting since the 2018 session as part of a loosely-affiliated group that calls itself the "X Caucus." They apparently didn't know what to call themselves, so "X" filled in the blank.

  • When Rich Anti-Tax Donors Flee for Mars, Republican Candidates are Left to Flail Alone on Earth

    Republican Lawrence Oliver of Dorsey has filed to run against Representative Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) in the March primary. Oliver has not yet reported raising any money, but his main issue appears to be Representative Bourne's vote for the 19-cents-per-gallon gas tax-hike to fund infrastructure projects during the past spring legislative session.

  • The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012

    There is a high probability that you have never heard of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 (SMA). Which would comport with not knowing (or caring) about the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 (SMMA). Both these laws are critically important and impact your lives directly, so time to get up to speed.

  • Mike Madigan and Chuy Garcia Play Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison Amid Intra-Party Power-Plays

    The oddest political couple in the state's Democratic Party is teaming up again.

    Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is backing yet another young protégé of progressive US Representative Chuy Garcia (D-Chicago) for the Illinois House at a time when other people appear to be distancing themselves from or even challenging the powerful House Speaker.

  • “Kinky Boots,” January 15 through March 14

    Winner of six 2013 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score for pop icon Cyndi Lauper, the high-kicking musical Kinky Boots enjoys its first long-running area engagement at Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse January 15 through March 14, the show called “cause for celebration” by Entertainment Weekly and, according to Time Out New York, “the very model of a modern major musical.”

  • “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” January 24 through February 1

    Described by Broadway Baby as “an emotional, hard-hitting study of innocence lost and the survival of hope in even the most hellish conditions,” author Celeset Raspanti's haunting, moving, and uplifting I Never Saw Another Butterfly serves as the season-opening stage presentation at Moline's Black Box Theatre, its January 24 through February 1 run showcasing the works of art and poetry created by Jewish children who lived in the concentration camp Theresienstadt.

  • Picks o' Six 2019: Highlights from the Year in Area Theatre

    A hearty welcome to the theatre fans and theatre-curious among you – it's time for the Fourth-Annual Reader Tony Awards!

  • “Jersey Boys,” January 14

    Lauded by Time Out New York for its “infectiously energetic 1960s tunes” and by The New Yorker for its “well-judged humor and elegant strokes of observation,” the Broadway-musical smash Jersey Boys hits Davenport's Adler Theatre on January 14 as the latest presentation in the Broadway at the Adler series – a jukebox revue that, according to Broadway World, “rousingly recreates the catchy songs, convoluted lives, and roller-coaster careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.”

  • Holiday Cheer: “Elf: The Musical,” at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 29

    I attended the Wednesday preview performance of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Elf: The Musical, and director Jeremy Littlejohn and musical director Travis Smith have clearly concocted a sweet, fluffy treat. The songs may be standard fare, but they're given freshness by the performers, as well as the beautiful costuming by Greg Hiatt.

  • Aubs., January 25

    To celebrate the release of a project called Sensei of Syllables, the Rock Island-based MC/poet/spoken-word artist Aubs. (with the period) has assembled a huge crew of Quad Cities-and-beyond artists including Equinox[x], Ahzia, Legnd, Taj, Kels, Orlando Coolridge, Apple Tree, Poor Bill, Da Round Hero, and Sage the 64th Wonder at Rozz-Tox on January 25.

  • Squirrel Nut Zippers, January 29

    A beloved jazz, swing, and Americana ensemble whose latest album Beasts of Burgundy inspired PopMatters to rave “There's no doubt that the band's musical chops have only improved over its lifetime,” Squirrel Nut Zippers takes the stage at Davenport's Redstone Room on January 29, with Americana Highways adding that the group's most recent recording “displays a uniquely American gumbo of influence in its amalgamation of New Orleans style.”

  • Everything Is Everything: The 10 Best Albums of 2019

    As time drags closer to the inevitable apocalypse and the modern world continues to develop in grisly and unforeseen ways, we can find some comfort in the fact that there is now more music available than ever before.

  • Mike Conrad & the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra, January 19

    Appearing in the ensemble's first performances as guests in Polyrhythms' Third Sunday Jazz Workshop and Matinée Series, Mike Conrad & the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra will take the stage at Davenport's Redstone Room on January 19, playing from a jazz repertoire comprised solely of works by gifted Iowa-based composers.

  • The Rose Ensemble, January 15 through 18

    With the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel raving that “they sing and play with a lusty ease that blows the dust off old music,” the vocal and instrumental talents of the Rose Ensemble serve as the latest guests in Quad City Arts' Visiting Artists series, their January 15 through 18 concert events sure to prove why the Duluth News Tribune stated, “The Rose Ensemble always creates a colorful blend of text and tune, woven together for a seamless tapestry of music from distant times and places.”

  • Mammals, Fish, and Foul: “Dolittle” and “Bad Boys for Life”

    Overstated though most of them seemed to be, I enjoyed the mean-spirited take-downs of Cats as much as the next guy. But I think I've figured out why director Stephen Gaghan's new family adventure Dolittle – a far worse movie – hasn't suffered nearly the critical indignities of Tom Hooper's musical train wreck: It's so tediously by-the-numbers, and so predictably awful in all the expected ways, that it simply saps your will to mock.

  • The 2020 Academy Award Nominations

    We all had a hunch it would do well, right? Picture, probably; actor, for sure; maybe writing and maybe directing and probably a handful of craft nominations. But if you told most Oscar watchers that, with the announcement of nominees for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, this morning's big winner would be the super-villain origin story Joker, they'd likely reply with one of Joaquin Phoenix's most memorable lines from that film: “Hahahahahahaha!!!

  • Look, Ma, No Cuts! : “1917,” “Just Mercy,” “Like a Boss,” “Underwater,” and “The Grudge”

    Although many audiences would disagree, not all movies need to be fun, and Sam Mendes' 1917 is the perfect example of a film that's not only more fun than it needs to be, but more fun than it should be.

  • “Hoo-boy!” for "Hollywood": Reminiscences on the 2019 Movie Year

    My favorites of 2019, you ask? Oh, gosh, I have so many: the second season of Amazon Prime's Fleabag, with the divine Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the imploding of the fourth wall and Andrew Scott shaking things up as the definitive Hot Priest; HBO's Chernobyl, with its docudrama delivered as the most enraging of fright films; Netflix's John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch, with its insanely catchy songs and simultaneous salute to and parody of cherished children's programs … .

    Oh, wait – we're talking movie favorites? Cool. 'Cause I can talk about those, too.

  • 100 Favorite Movies, 2000-2019: Mike Schulz

    What are the criteria for movies that you consider your all-time favorites? Themes that continue to engage and affect you, sometimes in profoundly different ways, every time you return to them? Scenarios and jokes that still make you laugh after dozens of viewings? Über-familiarity, allowing you to vacuum your living room while a film is playing and not miss a thing because you have the dialogue committed to memory?

Art

  • “Figuratively Drawn: Works from the Figge Collection,” January 18 through April 19

    Drawing from the human figure has long been part of the traditional training for artists, and in the Figge Art Museum's fascinating new exhibition Figuratively Drawn: Works from the Figge Collection, on display from January 18 through April 19, guests of the Davenport venue will explore the infinitely varied ways that the body can be portrayed by artists who use the human form as a jumping-off point and drawing as their medium.

  • “41st Rock Island Art Guild Fine Arts Exhibition,” January 18 through April 19

    An eagerly awaited exhibition featuring dozens of recent and debuting works in a variety of artistic mediums, the 41st Rock Island Art Guild Fine Arts Exhibition will be on display at the Figge Art Museum January 18 through April 19, with the Davenport venue housing paintings, sculptures, installations, and more by artists living within a 150-mile radius of the Quad Cities.

  • Figge Art Museum's “George Olson: The Found Obj
    “George Olson: The Found Object,” through April 19

    Focusing on the artist's earlier works that employ found objects as inspiration, the Figge Art Museum's current exhibition George Olson: The Found Object, on display through April 19, finds its creator using a range of mediums – among them woodcut relief, ink wash, charcoal, and assemblage – to move beyond the objects he is referencing in order to create bold graphic abstractions that simulate the intriguing surface textures of his source material.

  • Chris Rayburn, Tim Schiffer, and John Miller Exhibits, December 13 through January 24

    Photographs, watercolors, and giant glass goblets will all be on display in the next collective exhibition at the Quad City Arts Center, with the Rock Island venue, from December 13 through January 24, showcasing evocative and beautiful works by Chris Rayborn of Davenport, Tim Schiffer of Iowa City, and John Miller of Champaign.

  • “Rose Frantzen: Portrait of Maquoketa" and "The Storytelling Tree,” October 19 through February 2

    A favorite exhibit among Quad Citians makes its eagerly anticipated return to Davenport's Figge Art Museum October 19 through February 2, with artist Rose Frantzen's multi-dimensional installation Portrait of Maquoketa boasting 180 portraits of Maquoketans and a 315-square-foot landscape view of the city, and newly accompanied by illustrations from Chuck Morris' 2019 children's book The Storytelling Tree.