Iowa's massive economic-development boost is starting to look a lot more modest. The Iowa Values Fund was originally pitched as a $500-million state investment focusing on three core areas: life sciences, information solutions, and advanced manufacturing.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) regional conference in Davenport two weeks ago covered a wide array of what appeared to be disparate topics. But these sessions shared a premise: pumping money into neighborhoods and communities.
The Chicago band Tenki has graduated from pop oddity to maturity, and contrary to what you might imagine, the transformation is anything but dull. After last year's playful debut Red Baby, Tenki has just released View of an Orbiting Man on the Quad Cities' Future Appletree label.
It might sound like a small thing, but when the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) was putting together its regional conference - scheduled for Thursday and Friday at the RiverCenter in downtown Davenport - organizers put their money where their mouth was.
When you ask Brandon Jones about the MidCoast Film & Arts Festival, he often sounds like the shoestring-budget seat-of-the-pants filmmakers whose work he's bringing to the Quad Cities next week. "Our biggest downfall is that we don't have any staff," Jones said.
Master of the Game is great high-concept cinema. During World War II, four German soldiers and four Jewish prisoners are stranded in a farmhouse. The Nazis begin executing the prisoners, but one proposes a game: The soldiers can keep their weapons, but they must answer all his questions.
Stu Pollard will be an exception at next week's MidCoast Film & Arts Festival. While most films at the event are still negotiating the winding road of distribution - trying to be seen by people who don't get to film festivals - Pollard's Nice Guys Sleep Alone has achieved success.
Erik Moe is obsessed with high-school hockey. He lives in the Los Angeles area, the creative director for an advertising company, but he's brought his Wisconsin-bred insanity with him; his agency even has a Wisconsin-high-school-hockey office pool.

Feeling Blue

Kalen Allmandinger says that his mother can always identify him at the start of a show. He's in profile, and "she can always tell by my skinny neck," Allmandinger said. Of course, most mothers can readily identify their kids, but the task is a little more daunting if yours is one of three mute guys on stage with a bald pate, covered in blue grease paint.
Sean Leary, entertainment editor of the Rock Island Argus and Dispatch, has just released the second issue of the humor publication The Dingo. In the spirit of the work at hand, I offer my own Top 10 list (for the counting impaired), and some constructive criticism.