• Afternoon Tea and “Little Women,” November 24

    Fans of Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Taylor, Claire Danes, and/or the comforts of tea can enjoy a trip back in time on November 24, when Davenport's Putnam Museum & Science Center hosts an afternoon tea along with screenings of Little Women, the Alcott classic being shown in both its Oscar-winning 1949 version and its Oscar-nominated 1994 adaptation.

  • QCA Today Headlines Quad Cities - Sunset Marina Rock Island, Illinois
    QCA Today: November 20, 2018

    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.

  • Pimprov, November 24

    With the Chicago Tribune calling their performances “politically incorrect and funny” and the Charleston City Paper adding that the cast “has funny going on before they even open their mouths,” the Chicago-based comedians of Pimprov bring their sketch-comedy skills, acting talent, and significant bling to the Circa '21 Speakeasy on November 24, demonstrating why the Los Angeles Times calls their set “not your traditional improv.”

  • “Literary Heroines: Their Times, Their Fashions,” October 13 through January 4

    Heroic women, both fictional and real, will be celebrated in the Putnam Museum & Science Center's avidly anticipated Literary Heroines: Their Times, Their Fashions – an October 13 through January 4 exhibition notable not only for its breadth of clothing and period items from the museum's permanent collection, but for being the rare area exhibit that isn't making a local appearance as part of a larger national or international tour. As Putnam President and CEO Kim Findlay says, “We didn't find it – we created it.”

  • The Tenderloins, November 19

    Best known for their hit TruTV series Impractical Jokers – a reality/comedy program that the New York Post's Linda Stasi called “possibly the funniest, most ridiculous show I’ve seen in years” – the touring comedians of The Tenderloins bring their senses of humor and camaraderie to Moline's TaxSlayer Center on November 19, treating fans to the verbal wit, sketch comedy, and slapstic antics of “The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour.”

  • The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get

    I had the pleasure of meeting several Democratic women candidates from Lake County during the Illinois State Fair last summer. Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) was showing them around town and brought them to a reception I was attending. We chatted for a while before they went on their merry way.

    “Merry” is actually an understatement. Those candidates were positively joyful. They seemed genuinely thrilled to be running for office. Only one had ever run for something before. The rest felt compelled to get involved after the 2016 election.

  • What to Expect from Pritzker's First Months in Office

    Governor-elect JB Pritzker has taken the prospect of an immediate income-tax hike off the table, telling the Sun-Times that he won’t pursue an “artificial” progressive income tax during the coming spring legislative session.

  • A Pre-Midterms Lawn-Sign Story

    The last column I write before an election day is always the toughest because some papers will publish this before election day and others will publish it after. So today you get a yard-sign story.

  • Need to Knowtes: Transparency Makes for the Best Governance

    For decades, the American people have permitted the secretive nature of government to not just prevail, but exponentially grow, causing the public sector to adopt a sense of entitlement for operating beyond the reach of the public. It really isn't about left versus right anymore, because the obstructionists to transparency exist on both sides of the aisle and ideologies.

  • The Art of the Midterm Campaign Ad

    “I’ll be a check on the Pritzker/Madigan agenda,” Republican attorney-general candidate Erika Harold says in her latest TV ad about Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner JB Pritzker and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

  • “It Had to Be You,” November 23 through December 2

    Described by the New York Post as “sweet, funny, and sassy” and by CBS's Dennis Cunningham as “a comic miracle of non-stop laughter,” the romantic-comedy-with-a-twist It Had to Be You enjoys a November 23 through December 2 staging at Moline's Black Box Theatre, the holiday-themed show ideally timed for those seeking, according to the Post, “a cartoon comedy of great dexterity and loving warmth.”

  • “Pinocchio,” November 23 through December 29

    An elderly woodcarver, a magical blue fairy, a singing and dancing fox and cat, and a wooden puppet who longs to be a real boy will all grace the stage from November 23 through December 29, as Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse presents show-only and brunch performances of Pinocchio, the holiday family musical based on the classic fairytale.

  • Breezy Street: “Annie,” at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse though December 30

    Thirty-five years ago, as her birthday present, I took my wife out for our first “classy” date to the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse. I had arranged for a dear friend (shout-out to Bill Sensenbrenner) to be our Bootlegger, and wanted to treat my wife to the thrill of seeing Circa '21 produce the musical Annie for the very first time. It was an elegant evening boasting a topnotch performance that we both remember to this day. Fast forward 35 years, and we found ourselves doing the exact same thing on November 9 by enjoying an elegant evening of food, friends, and Circa '21’s latest extraordinary production of – what else? – Annie!

  • Memories Light the Cyber-Corners of My Mind: New Ground Theatre's “Marjorie Prime,” at the Village Theatre through November 18

    Life is full of many different highs and lows that make up the human experience. We may have trials and tribulations, unexpected loss, unforeseen disappointment, and sadness, but we also have happiness, joy, and love. Memories are stored in our brains that, over time, can fade or become distorted. Now what would it be like if we downloaded those memories into a computerized holograph? So goes this science-fiction play by Jordan Harrison, called Marjorie Prime.

  • Brothers and Arms: “Topdog/Underdog,” at the QC Theatre Workshop through November 18

    Lincoln, Booth, and a gun. What could go wrong? As you will come to find out in the latest QC Theatre Workshop presentation Topdog/Underdog, pretty much everything. This production is dark and riveting, even if you can see the inevitable end from the get-go.

  • Izaak Opatz, November 19 and 20

    Praised by The Missoulian for his “lovelorn songs with evenly paced melodies and surprising twists” and by WideOpenCountry.com for “putting whimsical touches to songs that are deadly serious,” folk singer/songwriter Izaak Opatz serves as the Moeller Nights headliner on November 19 and 20, demonstrating why Rolling Stone lauded his “quirky Americana crossed with the indie-pop sensibility of the Shins, as performed by a Montana mountain man.”

  • No Duh, November 23

    Its impending area engagement sure to be the next best thing to an actual No Doubt reunion, the California-based musicians of tribute band No Duh take over the Rhythm City Casino Resort Event Center on November 23, offering a salute to Gwen Stefani and company that led BeaconStreetOnline.net to call them “awesome” and rave, “We definitely recommend checking them out.”

  • The Artisanals, November 24

    Praised by PopMatters as musicians who “pull off the neat trick of straddling the line between small-scale touches and anthemic choruses,” and by Paste magazine as artists who “bring to mind the best of Tom Petty and the more fun aspects of Father John Misty and The War on Drugs,” the indie rockers of The Artisanals headline a Moeller Nights concert on November 24, performing in support of their self-titled debut album released a mere two months ago.

  • The Smoking Popes, November 29

    “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 November 29 in support of their October release Into the Agony.

  • The Mike Conrad Trio, November 18

    A masterful jazz musician and Bettendorf native headlines the latest event in Polyrhythms' Third Sunday Jazz Workshop & Matinée Series, with the award-winning pianist and trombone player Mike Conrad performing a November 18 concert alongside his esteemed bandmates Alexander Pershounin on bass and Tim Crumley on drums.

  • The Grift of the Magi: “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” “Instant Family,” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

    There's a little something for everyone in the adventure fantasy Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – and that's kind of the problem. Serving as both prequel and appendage to her Harry Potter series, screenwriter J.K. Rowling's continuation of her latest wizard saga boasts plenty of random pleasures, including some nifty visuals, a couple of cheerful comic turns, and a scarily resonant sequence suggesting a Rowling-ized Nuremberg rally. Yet this second installment in a planned five-part franchise – one that began with 2016's Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them – is still so wildly overstuffed with incident and exposition, and so distractingly focused on The Bigger Picture, that it barely gives us a chance to admire its many lovely fringe touches. There may be a little for everyone here, but taken overall, there's not a lot for anyone.

  • Anything They Can Steal We Can Steal Better: “Widows” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

    Before my screening of the new heist thriller Widows, the film's director Steve McQueen popped up in one of those “Thanks for coming to the movies!” PSAs, and after some charming flubbing of his lines, he called the film we were about to see “a dream project.” In retrospect, it was an unexpectedly lighthearted – and therefore, perhaps necessary – introduction to a decidedly somber movie. But still, coming from the director of Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave, I have to ask: Really? This was McQueen's dream project? A feature-film version of a 1983 British mini-series about a team of former thieves' wives who ridiculously, even ludicrously pick up where their hubbies left off? The minor miracle of McQueen's latest, though, is that it might just satisfy both fans of the director's grave, unsparing, almost completely humorless works (I'm one of those fans), and those who just want to enjoy a tougher-minded Ocean's 8 with Viola Davis in the Sandra Bullock role. (I'm one of them, too.)

  • Boo-Hoo-ville: “Dr. Seuss' The Grinch,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Overlord,” “The Girl in the Spider's Web,” and “Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation”

    Before I'm accused of being one myself, let me state up front that Dr. Seuss' The Grinch – the latest retelling of the good doctor's How the Grinch Stole Christmas – has quite a few things going for it (Happy Holidays!), even if they're eventually outweighed by the things going against it. (Bah, Humbug!)

  • Is This the Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy? : “Bohemian Rhapsody”

    About an hour into the Freddie Mercury bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody, the screen is suddenly filled with excerpts from reviews of the title song, with the least harsh among many hateful notices calling the Queen track “perfectly adequate.” Depending on where you look, a glance through the film's own reviews can feel similar to that montage, with some of the nation's foremost news outlets attacking the release with a loathing that suggests the second coming of Ed Wood. (The headline for the New York Times' take was “Another One Bites the Dust” … and that was one of the kinder things said.)

    But if ever a movie was wholly, deservedly review-proof, it's this one. Yes, I thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was in most ways disappointingly traditional and in many ways bad. It left me, however, with such a movie-going high – and a high composed of numerous incidental thrills well before its phenomenally satisfying finale – that I found its scores of problems, in the end, almost completely irrelevant. As the insistent lyric goes: “We will we will rock you.” And damn if I didn't leave rocked.

  • Clara in Blunderland: “The Nutcracker & the Four Realms,” “Nobody's Fool,” and “Suspiria”

    Given the previews' gaudy color schemes and overall air of manic busyness, my fear was that the family adventure The Nutcracker & the Four Realms would feel like an unfortunate redo of Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland, with another cherished childhood classic Disney-fied and blockbuster-ized almost beyond recognition. What we actually get, though, is even worse: a redo of Alice Through the Looking Glass, director James Bobin's 2016 headache that managed to be even more visually garish and narratively incoherent than Burton's predecessor.

Art

  • “Världen är Liten: The World is Small – Modern Swedish and Swedish American Works,” November 16 through February 9

    Presented in partnership with the Figge Art Museum's current exhibition French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950, the Augustana College Teaching Museum of Art showcases artistic creations from the same 100-year period in Världen är Liten: The World is Small – Modern Swedish and Swedish American Works, a November 16 through February 9 exhibit highlighting works in the museum's collection made by Swedish and Swedish-American artists.

  • “A Guide to Domestic Measurement” and “Reconstructing the Rise of Asymmetrical Skylines,” October 19 through November 30

    New exhibitions of screen prints and photographs will be on display October 19 through November, as Rock Island's Quad City Arts Center presents A Guide to Domestic Measurement, a collection of works by Iowa City artist Alison Filley, and Reconstructing the Rise of Asymmetrical Skylines, a creative assemblage by Davenport-based photographer Matthew Terry.

  • Emma Farber Cunningham and Barbara Toner: “Paintings & Glass,” October 13 through December 1

    Two disparate forms of artistic media will, from October 13 through December 1, combine in one fascinating exhibit at Davenport's Bucktown Center for the Arts, when area artists Emma Farber Cunningham and Barbara Toner showcase their immense talents – and their specific mediums of interest – in the new MidCoast at Bucktown Gallery exhibition Paintings & Glass.

  • “A Visualization of Hope,” September 6 through December 9

    Presented by the area nonprofit Living Proof Exhibit, an organization that celebrates the creative spirit of those impacted by cancer, the exhibition A Visualization of Hope will bring messages of strength and resilience to Davenport's Figge Art Museum September 6 through 9, with Living Proof's annual assemblage boasting more than 50 pieces of art created by cancer survivors in the tri-state area.

  • “William L. Hawkins: An Imaginative Geography,” September 22 through December 30

    From September 22 through December 30, one of the 20th Century's most accomplished artists will enjoy a career retrospective as the Figge Art Museum houses the touring William L. Hawkins: An Imaginative Geography, the first major exhibition in more than a decade to showcase Hawkins' varied work and important examples from his favorite artistic subjects.