• Ballet Quad Cities' “The Nutcracker,” December 14 and 15

    One of the Quad Cities' most adored holiday traditions returns to Davenport's Adler Theatre on December 14 and 15 when the professional talents of Ballet Quad Cities perform Tchaikovsky's holiday dance classic The Nutcracker, an event boasting new choreography and staging by Artistic Director Courtney Lyon and Artistic Associate Emily Kate Long, live musical accompaniment by Orchestra Iowa, and the return of Domingo Rubio, who danced the title role in the company's recent presentation of Dracula Unleashed!

  • QCA Today: December 14, 2019

    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.

  • “Rube Goldberg: The World of Hilarious Invention!”, September 28 through January 5

    Patrons of Davenport's Putnam Museum & Science Center are invited to view fantastically ridiculous machines, and dream up some of their own, in the venue's Rube Goldberg: The World of Hilarious Invention!, the new traveling exhibition that opens on September 28 and showcases the legendary Rube Goldberg’s iconic contraptions, imaginative illustrations, and humorous storytelling.

  • Winterfest, December 8

    Seasonal activities, song and dance performances, Christmas displays, and much more can be found at the Family Museum on December 8 when the venue hosts its annual celebration Winterfest, with this year's event-filled afternoon treating guests to displays, photos, and even visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and a real live reindeer.

  • 19th Century Christmas, December 1

    An eagerly awaited holiday tradition, the Butterworth Center's and Deere-Wiman House's 19th Century Christmas returns to the Quad Cities on December 1 with its litany of seasonal treats including live music performances, interactive tours, make-and-take activities, the display of Charles Wiman's original 1933 Lionel Train set, and, of course, a visit from Santa.

  • Elf-'in: The Mississippi Bend Players' “The Santaland Diaries,” at Augustana College through December 15

    At Tuesday's preview performance of the Mississippi Bend Players' The Santaland Diaries at Augustana College, I had everything I needed for a respite from the relentless, forced holiday cheer outside. I had my seat in a cozy venue among a small passel of students revved up for their imminent academic break. I had a play by David Sedaris, one of my favorite writers. I had another lovely (and festively sparkly) Augustana set to gaze at, this one by technical director and scenic/lighting designer Mark Lohman. I had Keenan Odenkirk, one of my favorite actors. I had my cynical holiday exasperation dialed up to eight. It was the perfect storm.

  • No Business Like Snow Business: “Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical,” at the Spotlight Theatre through December 15

    If you need some inspiration to help you get into the holiday spirit, then you should check out the Spotlight Theatre’s current production of Meredith Willson’s Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical. I was lucky enough to catch a dress rehearsal on Tuesday night and it was delightful. Director Chris Tracy's production of this show I'd never seen before was already polished and ready to go with fantastic singing, dancing, and acting.

  • “Bandstand,” December 16

    With the New York Times lauding the show as “both a peppy celebration of can-do spirit and a more somber exploration of what American servicemen experienced when they marched home from World War II,” the Tony Award-winning musical Bandstand serves as the latest presentation in the Adler Theatre's Broadway at the Adler series, its December 16 staging in Davenport underscoring why Time Out New York wrote, “The show defies you not to be moved.”

  • Bolder and Miser: “Mr. Scrooge! A Musical Christmas Carol,” at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 29

    You don’t want to be late for the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's latest presentation Mr. Scrooge! A Musical Christmas Carol. About 15 minutes before the November 30 performance, actor Brad Hauskins appeared, clanging a bell and wandering about the house announcing that the show would begin shortly. With his proclamation, the production's merry band of actors appeared in a flurry of revelry – some delegated to bring props and costume pieces on stage, others to interact with young audience members through amusing games and activities – and immediately lifted the audience energy from unremarkable to “Wow!”

  • Holiday Cheer: “Elf: The Musical,” at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 29

    I attended the Wednesday preview performance of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Elf: The Musical, and director Jeremy Littlejohn and musical director Travis Smith have clearly concocted a sweet, fluffy treat. The songs may be standard fare, but they're given freshness by the performers, as well as the beautiful costuming by Greg Hiatt.

  • WVIK/QCSO Signature Series II: “Holiday Brass,” December 14 and 15

    For the second set of presentations in radio station WVIK and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra's 2019-20 Signature Series, the program's traditionally beautiful music gets seasonal in the December 14 and 15 concert event Holiday Brass, with respective audiences at Eldridge's North Scott High School and Moline's Bartlett Performing Arts Center treated to classic holiday favorites, celebrity-guest readings of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the talents of the Moline High School Choir.

  • “A Nova Christmas,” December 13 and 14

    An annual holiday-music tradition returns to the area as the professional vocal ensemble the Nova Singers presents its latest A Nova Christmas concerts, with exciting and moving arrangements of non-secular, classical, traditional, and contemporary holiday favorites performed December 13 at Davenport's St. Paul Lutheran Church and December 14 at Galesburg's First Lutheran Church.

  • The Tony Sconyers Sextet Celebrates Johnny Hartman, December 15

    The stunning repertoire of a hugely respected yet only moderated celebrated jazz artist will be the focus of the latest offering in Polyrhythms' Third Sunday Jazz Workshop and Matinée Series, with the December 15 concert at Davenport's Redstone Room a celebration of American jazz singer Johnny Hartman as presented by the gifted jazz artists of the Tony Sconyers Sextet.

  • Arkansauce, December 19

    Praised by GratefulWeb.com for their “technical prowess” and for “maintaining a fresh take on traditional music,” the gifted musicians of the Americana ensemble Arkansauce headline the River Music Experience's Guest List Series on December 19, their Redstone Room concert sure to demonstrate why the music site insists, “Make it a mission to see Arkansauce live.”

  • Two Many Banjos at RIBCO -- December 20.
    Two Many Banjos, December 20

    Visiting the Quad Cities from Duluth, and composed of Minnesota musicians Marc Gartman, Dave Carroll, Jillian Rae, and Steve Garrington, the bluegrass quartet Two Many Banjos takes the stage at the Rock Island Brewing Company on December 20, their self-titled debut album described by the Duluth News Tribune as “a worthy addition to any collection,” with the paper adding “what sets this group apart is the heart that maestro Gartman puts into every single recording he has a hand in.”

  • Barely Living through Chemistry: “Dark Waters,” “Honey Boy,” and “Waves”

    At one point in Todd Haynes' Dark Waters, the heroic attorney played by Mark Ruffalo finds himself in a traffic jam, and as he surveys the gridlock through his windshield, he notices a single red balloon floating above the stopped cars. And we all know what that portends, right? A-a-a-a-aa!!! It's Pennywise! Hide the children!

  • Divorce, American Style: “Marriage Story” and “Playmobil: The Movie”

    I loved Netflix's Marriage Story, and a day after seeing it, eagerly returned to writer/director Noah Baumbach's dramatic comedy for a second go-around. My verdict? It's a great movie. Just not an extraordinary one. And maybe, when all is said and done, not even a great one – merely, or rather “merely,” greatly entertaining.

  • Blades of Glory: “Knives Out” and “Queen & Slim”

    Knives Out, the star-studded comic whodunit by writer/director Rian Johnson, debuted the day before Thanksgiving, and for just over two hours, the film is what every Thanksgiving spread strives to be: loaded with familiar elements (some presented in delectable new ways), utterly delicious, and enormously satisfying.

  • House Painting: “The Irishman” and “The Report”

    Considering that I was able to watch Martin Scorsese's new gangster epic from the comfort of my couch – and after a full plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, no less – the personal astonishment of Netflix's The Irishman wasn't that I made it through all three-and-a-half hours in one sitting. It was that, with only a couple hours' break, I then proceeded to watch all three-and-a-half hours again.

  • Ice Ice Baby: “Frozen II,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and “21 Bridges”

    Thanks to the Roman numeral helpfully attached to its title, audiences should have a fair idea of what to expect from Disney's latest animated musical: It's Frozen, but ya know … twice! Twice the peril! Twice the naïveté from sentient snowman Olaf! Twice the number of screamy power ballads for Idina Menzel to perform at the Oscars! But for all of its considerable pleasures, Frozen II is also more often Frozen Too – as in too formulaic, too unnecessary, and, for its target kiddie crowd and at least one grown-up, perhaps too confusing.

Art

  • Chris Rayburn, Tim Schiffer, and John Miller Exhibits, December 13 through January 24

    Photographs, watercolors, and giant glass goblets will all be on display in the next collective exhibition at the Quad City Arts Center, with the Rock Island venue, from December 13 through January 24, showcasing evocative and beautiful works by Chris Rayborn of Davenport, Tim Schiffer of Iowa City, and John Miller of Champaign.

  • Four Stories of Fun Art at the Figge

    Each of the current visiting painting and sculpture exhibits at the Figge Art Museum is worth seeing on its own. Combined, the fare at the Figge is packed with visual value and should not be missed.

  • “Mia Feuer: Totems of the Anthropocene,” September 21 through December 29

    A fascinating exhibition boasting installation work and even a synthetic indoor ice rink will be on display at the Figge Art Museum from September 21 through December 29 when the Davenport venue houses Mia Feuer: Totems of the Anthropocene, its widely acclaimed creator having enjoyed solo exhibitions worldwide from Washington D.C. to London to Calgary.

  • Juliet Stock, Julia Kulish, and Natalya Sots Exhibits, October 31 through January 1

    Works by a trio of gifted Midwestern artists will be on display in the Quad City Arts International Airport Gallery through January 1, with the venue boasting paintings by Juliet Stock and Julia Kulish and functional ceramic art by Natalya Sots.

  • “John Dilg: Arterial Resources,” September 14 through January 5

    Boasting approximately 30 works as well as a collection of source materials including a collection of thrift-store artworks, the exhibition John Dilg: Arterial Resources will be on display at Davenport's Figge Art Museum September 14 through January 5, with the exhibit's artist famed for idiosyncratic landscapes created within a pared-down visual vocabulary that draws on memory, imagination, vernacular artifacts, and folk-art and historical sources.