One of the most popular and successful children's-book authors of all time – along with many of his beloved animal, bird, and insect friends – will be celebrated in a new Family Museum exhibition opening May 26, as the Bettendorf venue hosts the touring family delight Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit.

A Southern-fried slapstick comedy by the popular playwriting team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Dearly Beloved, from May 31 through June 10, will serve as the second title in the venue's 50th-anniversary season of audience-favorite revivals, the show's 2008 presentation praised by the River Cities' Reader as “charming and funny and unfailingly likable,” as well as “a terrific amount of fun.”

“Ever wonder what a traditional lounge singer would sound like backed up by a punk band?” asked the Los Angeles Times. “The Smoking Popes take that concept one step further: They've created a unique kind of music that some listeneres are describing as 'hyperkinetic tear-jerkers.'” That description is as accurate today as it was during the band's early-'90s beginnings, as The Smoking Popes will prove when the pop-punk and alt-rock musicians play Davenport's Redstone Room on June 1.

With its creator described by New York magazine as “the most legitimately provocative and polarizing playwright at work today,” the relationship comedy/drama Some Girl(s), written by Tony-nominated Fat Pig and reasons to be pretty author Neil LaBute, will enjoy a May 24 through 26 staging as the latest presentation in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Barn Owl Series, with the play itself eliciting, according to DCTheatreScene.com, “barks of surprise, gasps of stupefaction, cries of affirmation, and, over and over, laughter.”

Wildlife, history, geology, and more will be explored when River Action hosts presentations in this year's Channel Cat Talks and Riverine Walks – “Explore the River Series” celebrations of the Quad Cities' unique culture and landscape taking place four times weekly from May 29 through September 1.

Lauded by The Guardian for her “grinding blues, sleazy jazz, and bracing rock with punk immediacy and pop appeal,” Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Shilpa Ray headlines a Moeller Nights concert on May 26, her signature vocal style described by the Star-Ledger as a “big-voiced blues-rock howler,” and summed up in four words by the New York Times: “That scream is primal!”

Hosted by the Quad Cities Bicycle Club and beginning at 9 a.m., an eargerly anticipated Memorial Day tradition returns for its 53rd year in the May 28 Quad Cities Kwik Star Criterium – a Village of East Davenport event featuring hundreds of adult and youth cyclists participating in 12 bicycle races, with over $10,000 in cash prizes awarded throughout the day.

Known for both his individual alt-rock compositions and as half of the Brooklyn-based pop/rock duo KaiselCartel, singer/songwriter Benjamin Cartel performs a solo concert at the Rock Island venue Rozz-Tox on May 24, his 2015 album Gothenberg leading American Songwriter magazine to state, “Your heart will be haunted by the tunes, your mind will wonder about those complex lyrics, and you’ll soon be a fan.”

One of the most original forces in American music makes an eagerly anticipated May 19 appearance at the Rock Island Brewing Company, as the venue hosts a night with Tav Falco's Panther Burns, the blues and roots rockers who will soon enter their fifth decade of live performance. Its frontman was described by Robert Palmer in the New York Times as “a singer, guitarist, and researcher of musical arcane who hasn't let his idiomatic mastery and increasing technical expertise compromise the clarity of his vision.” Variety's Deb Sprague, meanwhile, said of Falco: “He was post-modern when post-modern wasn't cool.”

Although there won't be any stage musicals presented between the May 12 closing of The Church Basement Ladies in “Rise Up, O Men” and the May 23 opening of The Bridges of Madison County, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse will hardly spend that period tune-free. Instead, the Rock Island venue will deliver concert extravaganzas in May 16's Dream Lover: A Salute to the Music of Babby Darin and May 17's Man in Black: The Music of Johnny Cash – a pair of special touring events with noted singer Robert Shaw portraying the iconic headliners of both productions.

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