• Weirdness in the Gubernatorial Race Just Beginning

    Several months ago, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff Tim Mapes made copies of candidate nominating petitions for what appeared to be every single candidate in the state, regardless of party or office sought. Madigan’s spokesperson was mum when asked why.

    It turns out that a database was constructed of the names of all the petition circulators who worked during the primary.

  • The Final Major Test of Rauner's First Term

    I’ve read, watched, and heard a whole lot of commentary about the upcoming state-budget negotiations during the past few weeks and it pretty much all ignores recent history and focuses instead on one-sided claims of pending controversy.

  • Rauner's Failures Can Be Pritzker's Winning Strategy

    JB Pritzker appears to have chosen a solid message for the fall campaign. The overall theme at the successful Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s press conference the day after he won the primary race was “Bruce Rauner is a failed governor.” The message is also the primary subject of his online advertising push against Rauner.

  • Illinois' Democratic Primary Sees Many Wins for Team Madigan

    The oddest political couple in all of Illinois did pretty well in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

  • Rauner's Gun-Bill Veto Was Timed Accidentally, but Perfectly

    Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a gun-dealer licensing bill last week took a lot of folks by surprise. It probably shouldn’t have.

  • Jungle Jam: “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure,” at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through May 12

    You've got to move it, move it over to the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse for the children's-theatre production of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure. It's showtime at the Central Park Zoo, and these animals are on the prowl.

  • Royalty Screwed: The Prenzie Players' “King John,” at the QC Theatre Workshop through April 28

    With the popularity of television series such as Downton Abbey and The Crown, contemporary audiences have become intrigued by, even addicted to, European aristocracy. I can’t help but think that in comparison to the many works of William Shakespeare, our obsession with binge-worthy TV must be like attending live theatre over 400 years ago. Take, for example, the twisted path of dysfunction, poor leadership, and random acts of stupidity as illustrated in Shakespeare’s tug-of-war tale King John.

  • “Crowns: A Gospel Musical,” April 26 through May 6

    Described by TheatreMania.com as “an artful amalgamation of oral history, fashion show, and musical theatre,” Crowns: A Gospel Musical will fill Moline's Black Box Theatre with glorious singing and spectacular style April 26 through May 6, author Regina Taylor's tune-filled play lauded by the New York Times as “wholly theatrical” and “a show that seems to arise out of spontaneous combustion.”

  • “The Drowsy Chaperone,” April 27 through May 6

    Winner of five 2006 Tony Awards and described by Variety magazine as “irresistible” and “superior, smartly crafted pastiche,” the joyous musical-comedy spoof The Drowsy Chaperone will receive a season-ending staging at Augustana College April 27 through May 6, its feel-good delights suggesting why the New York Times stated that “few productions have ever pulled an audience so immediately and unconditionally on their sides.”

  • An Evening with Kevin Smith, April 28

    One of the most beloved forces in comedy, comic books, movies, and podcasting visits Maquoketa's Codfish Hollow Barn for two April 28 performances of An Evening with Kevin Smith – 7 and 11 p.m. presentations and Q&A sessions featuring the legendary, baseball-cap-wearing indie filmmaker, author, and “Silent Bob” icon.

  • Akropolis Reed Quintet, April 26 and 27

    Serving as the final guests in Quad City Arts' 2017-18 Visiting Artists series, the chamber musicians and educators of the Akropolis Reed Quintet will perform their public concert at St. Ambrose University on April 26, treating attendees to an ensemble praised by Ioregon ArtsWatch for its “clear, richly-textured, well-rehearsed group dynamics,” and by Fanfare magazine for its “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality.”

  • Kweku Collins, April 27

    With the Chicago Tribune deeming him “an artist who makes deeply introspective music that by turns can project a hazy, late-night vibe or a lighter, sunnier flavor,” the 21-year-old rap and hip-hop musician Kweku Collins headlines a Daytrotter concert on April 27, his most recent LP Grey praised by HipHopDx.com for its creator “effortlessly conjuring melodies that gracefully tread the line between spoken word and rap.”

  • “QCSO: A Space Odyssey,” April 28

    For its latest full-length family concert, guest conductor Carl Topilow and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra will celebrate space – the final frontier – in the Adler Theatre's April 28 event QCSO: A Space Odyssey, an afternoon of thrilling and inspiring compositions familiar to fans of everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter to The Flintstones Meet the Jetsons.

  • Rogue Wave, April 29

    Appearing in an April 29 Moeller Nights concert at Davenport's The Stardust, the acclaimed indie-rock artists of Rogue Wave will deliver, in its entirety, a live performance of the group's Asleep at Heaven's Gate in celebration of its 10th-anniversary reissue, the 2007 album having been deemed “an incredible pop-rock journey” by Chicago Now and, according to Variety, “a satisfying full-length that grows more pleasurable with each listen.”

  • An Evening with Joshua Bell, May 3

    Presented as a gala-event concert in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra's 2017-18 season, “An Evening with Joshua Bell” will, on May 3, treat Adler Theatre audiences to the soaring classical stylings of one of America's most revered musicians – a Grammy Award-winning violinist whose career has spanned more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, conductor, and recording artist.

  • Beauty Fool Drops Out: “I Feel Pretty,” “Super Troopers 2,” and “Traffik”

    Frequently amusing though it is, the you-go-girl comedy I Feel Pretty isn't great, but it does boast greatness in the fearless blond comedienne who makes the whole experience worthwhile. Hilarious and touching while refusing to deliver even one line in a predictable manner, this much-lauded performer, whenever she appears, turns what might've been a forgettable trifle into surprisingly resonant and satisfying entertainment. Her character also makes important points about self-image, biased expectations, and both blatant and hidden misogyny in offhanded and unexpected ways. I'm referring, of course, to Michelle Williams. But the movie's star isn't bad, either.

  • Gorilla Tactics: “Rampage,” “Beirut,” and “Blumhouse's Truth or Dare”

    I suppose there have been flimsier inspirations for movies than Rampage, the 1980s arcade game that has players assume the forms of giant monsters who try to demolish entire cities before the military demolishes them. Inspirations such as, say, the Strawberry Shortcake doll, or My Little Pony. But I'll be damned if I could think of any examples while being pummeled by the thunderous stupidity and terrible jokes of the new action blockbuster Rampage, a work that somehow makes its director Brad Peyton's previous Dwayne Johnson adventure San Andreas look like the magazine-cover subject for Cahiers du Cinéma.

  • Animating Season: “Isle of Dogs” and “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero”

    Isle of Dogs is Wes Anderson's stop-motion-animated tale of a 12-year-old boy's search for his missing pooch, and somehow, against all logic, it feels like one of the least precious works on its writer/director's résumé.

  • Heroes, Quests, and the Lady in the Lake: “Blockers,” “A Quiet Place,” “Chappaquiddick,” and “The Miracle Season”

    Friday, April 6, 10:05 a.m.-ish: Call me an optimist, or maybe just a nitwit, but I was really looking forward to starting my day with Blockers, director Kay Cannon's tale of three middle-aged parents who attempt to foil their daughters' prom-night plan to lose their collective virginity. Sure, its central conceit, as several characters here point out, was sexist, retrograde, and more than a little icky, and there was bound to be an awkward blend of slapstick and sentiment, and the previews' comedic highlight was the sight of John Cena chugging beer through his anus. Still, though: Potential belly laughs! Likable leads! John Cena chugging beer through his anus!

  • Culture Pop: “Ready Player One,” “The Death of Stalin,” and “Oceans: Our Blue Planet”

    Adapted from Ernest Cline's famed sci-fi novel and set in the dystopian 2045 of Columbus, Ohio, Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One is about a teen gamer (Tye Sheridan's Wade Watts) who, like millions of others, enters a worldwide virtual-reality competition intent on finding a hidden Easter Egg that will reap him untold fortune. This is no knock against Spielberg's generally exhilarating, occasionally frustrating, frequently jaw-dropping entertainment, but considering the film runs 140 minutes, I'm rather astounded that the kid didn't find the thing within the movie's first seconds. Because good God is this thing lousy with Easter Eggs.

Art

  • “An Intimate Encounter with Nature,” April 28 through June 21

    From April 28 through June 21, the wonders of the great outdoors, and the creatures who make their homes there, will be celebrated in the latest exhibition at Bettendorf's Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy: An Intimate Encounter with Nature, featuring evocative paintings by Mary Kline Misol and expressive photographs by Larry Mendenhall.

  • Michael Ryan, Brian Roberts, and Trent Foltz Exhibits: May 2 through July 1

    Two artists from Iowa and one from Illinois will fill the Quad City International Airport Gallery with paintings, stoneware, and photography when Quad City Arts presents May 2 through July 1 exhibitions by Michael Ryan of Cedar Rapids, Brian Roberts of Pella, and Trent Foltz of Geneseo.

  • “College Invitational at the Figge,” May 3 through August 12

    In the 10th incarnation of the venue's latest group exhibit, on display from May 3 through August 12, the 2018 College Invitational at the Figge will boast two- and three-dimensional works from no less than 56 student artists, as professors from eight area colleges and universities were tasked with selecting the top works from their schools for this year’s exhibition.

  • “The Magical Glow of Fireflies,” March 10 through April 28

    Beginning March 10 and lasting through April 28, Bettendorf's Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy will be aglow with the outdoor photography of Czech Republic native Radim Schreiber, whose works will light up the venue in the haunting and beautiful exhibit The Magical Glow of Fireflies.

  • “Wynn Bullock: Revelations,” January 13 through April 29

    The photography of 20th Century photographer Wynn Bullock is currently included in more than 90 major museum collections worldwide, and in the Figge's new exhibit Wynn Bullock: Revelation – on display from January 13 through April 29 – museum guests will be treated to the most comprehensive assessment of Bullock’s (1902-1975) extraordinary career in nearly 40 years, as well as the first major exhibition of his work to be held in Iowa.