Two venues in downtown Rock Island will co-host one exciting literary event when the Midwest Writing Center presents readings and a release party for the annual literary magazine THE ATLAS, the latest volume of which will, on August 15, be showcased in a late-afternoon event at the Rock Island Public Library and an evening celebration at the neighboring Rozz-Tox.

With the New York Times lauding Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Neil Simon for “writing at his ebullient best” and “making us laugh so effortlessly,” the playwright's California Suite will enjoy an August 16 through 26 staging in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's 50th-anniversary season of returning audience favorites, marking the popular comedy's first performance at any area venue since 2007.

An Emmy-winning, Grammy-nominated comedian will make a rare area visit to the TaxSlayer Center on August 15, with the Moline venue presenting an evening with film, television, and standup star Jim Gaffigan, the bestselling author and multi-platinum-selling artist appearing in the latest stop on his acclaimed “The Fixer Upper Tour.”

A day of outdoor fun culminating in an attempt to break a pair of Guinness World Records is set for August 18, when River Action hosts the annual celebration of paddle sports s Floatzilla, with participants and spectators gathering at Rock Island's Sunset Park to see if the Quad Cities can boast the world's “Largest Raft of Canoes and Kayaks” and “Largest Simultaneous Kayak Launch.”

A nationally renowned artist and University of Iowa professor praised by the Washington Post for her “refreshingly experimental bent,” Laurel Farrin presents an August 16 Artist Talk at the Figge Art Museum, offering insight into the collection of abstract, geometric, and frequently humorous images on display in her latest exhibition No Partiuclar Order.

Saturday, August 18, 7:30 p.m.

LeClaire Park, 400 West Beiderbecke Drive, Davenport IA

It'll be “Surf's up!” at Davenport's LeClaire Park when the Quad City Symphony Orchestra performs its annual Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops concert on August 18, this year's outdoor event “Pet Sounds Live – a Beach Boys Celebratrion” featuring the area musicians performing the iconic album in its entirety under guest conductor Jeffrey Reed.

Held in honor of the late Quad Cities native commonly known as “The Jazz Professor,” Polyrhythms hosts a collection of inspired jazz talents in this year's Bill Bell Jazz & Heritage Festival, an August 17 through 19 weekend celebration at Rock Island's Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Davenport's Redstone Room boasting cultural presentations, family activities, and concert sets with musical luminaries including Chicago great Frank Russell.

Described by NoDepression.com as a group that “has the groove and the chops of a great string band balanced with infectious rock-and-roll energy,” the bluegrass musicians of Old Salt Union perform an August 16 concert at Davenport's Redstone Room in support of their eponymous 2017 studio-album debut, a work that inspired Elmore magazine to rave, “From expert folky fiddling to classical dual mandolins and beyond, they’ve made an excellent rollicking debut full of energy and promise.”

Performing a special August 17 concert presented by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society, the Nashville-based blues-rock trio Too Slim & the Taildraggers plays Bettendorf's Harley Corin's in support of the musicians' latest album High Desert Heat, a release RockAndBluesMuse.com called “a testament to the power and gravity that only comes with time,” and Blues Blast magazine lauded with “The sound is big, the sound is rocking, and the band gives a no-holds-barred performance.”

On August 17, two sets of acclaimed indie rockers will share one Moeller Nights evening at Davenport's Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel, with the New York-based trio The Shacks described by Pitchfork.com as “refurbishers of warm, fuzzy rock 'n' roll,” and Amasa Hines – an ensemble out of Little Rock, Arkansas – lauded by Paste magazine as “a name that you definitely want to keep on your radar.”

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