ROUNDING THIRD Playcrafters Barn Theatre Friday, March 10, through Sunday, March 19 Back in high school, "rounding third" was what we called it when one of our friends got this close to getting lucky.
Thankfully, the Rounding Third that's opening on March 9 at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre is nowhere near as immature. (Although, seeing that the show's entire cast is two men, I probably shouldn't make that guarantee.) In Richard Dresser's comedy, Don (Fred Harris Jr.), a veteran Little League coach, and Mike (Jim Driscoll), his new assistant, form an uneasy alliance during the pre-teens' tumultuous season, as Don subscribes to the "win or else" philosophy of gamesmanship, while Mike professes a more sanguine "let's all just have fun" approach. As the play progresses, the team's wins and losses are reflected in the camaraderie - and competition - between their more "grown-up" coaches, which could make for some serious explosions on the Playcrafters stage. You've been to Little League games. How serene and rational are the adult spectators you've encountered? Rounding Third plays at Moline's Barn Theatre through March 19, and tickets are available by calling (309)762-0330. - Mike Schulz
BACKYARD TIRE FIRE
Bent River Brewing Company
Thursday, March 9
Considering that they're called Backyard Tire Fire, you'd predict that the group's Web site (http://www.backyardtirefire.com) would be filled with quotes about how "smokin'" and "incendiary" the band is. But while this widely-admired rock trio - performing at the Bent River Brewing Company on Thursday, March 9 - is indeed red-hot, what the site best reflects (and what their fans love about them) is their cool - how the emotional vocals of leader Ed Anderson, the soulful strumming of bassist Matt Anderson (yup, he's Ed's brother), and the crisp percussion of drummer Tim Kramp blend to forge a sound that "is able to cut to the core of the human experience." At Thursday's Bent River gig, Backyard Tire Fire will surely perform songs from its 2005 CD Bar Room Semantics, which, according to the group's online biography, features the band lending its musical honesty to tales of "hard work and hard luck, long nights, dirty deeds ... and good ol' boys." We here at the Reader can totally relate. For more information on Backyard Tire Fire's local appearance, call the Bent River Brewing Company at (309)797-2722. - Mike Schulz
JOSH DUFFEE & HIS VERSATILE FIVE
River Music Experience
Friday, March 10, 6 p.m.
So, how do you plan to celebrate your 103rd birthday? Lunch with Willard Scott? A commercial appearance promoting the benefits of yogurt? Were legendary jazz great Bix Beiderbecke still with us, I have a hunch he'd be spending his at Davenport's River Music Experience, witnessing the debut performance of the new jazz ensemble Josh Duffee & His Versatile Five. On Friday, March 10 (the 103rd anniversary of Bix's birth), the youthful namesake behind Josh Duffee & His Orchestra - and a major Bix Beiderbecke fan - leads Alan Knapper on cornet, Terry Smith on clarinet, Earle Johnson on piano, Jamey Cummins on banjo, and Ron Morton on the tuba, giving River Music Experience audiences a taste of the most swingin', syncopated sounds of the '20s jazz scene. Sounds like a fantastic birthday bash; the guest of honor might not be in attendance that night, but it's hard to imagine that his spirit won't be. Josh Duffee & His Versatile Five will perform in the venue's second-floor recital room, admission is $5, and further information on this and future River Music experiences is available by visiting (http://www.rivermusicexperience.org). - Mike Schulz
PHILIPPINE ART & DANCE
Saturday, March 11, 1 p.m.
"Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and, therefore, imminent downfall," said celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright. So, get off the couch and bring the kids to the Bettendorf Family Museum on Saturday, March 11, and gain a little culture with a day full of Philippine Art & Dance. Kids and adults alike can explore exhibits from the three major regions of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Filipiniana Dance Group will provide spectators with authentic Philippine dances, and an Arnis Martial Arts demonstration will be held by expert Rick Velando; the fun starts at 1 p.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. If you can't make it, however, never fear; the Family Museum will also present videos and historical footage on the Philippines intermittently all throughout March. The Philippine Art & Dance program's cost is covered with regular museum admission ($5). For more information, call the Bettendorf Family Museum at (563)344-4169 or visit (http://www.familymuseum.org). - Jesse Virgil
Penguin's Comedy Club
Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11
If Web-site information is to be trusted, Todd Yohn is "a red-headed, walking, talking cartoon." But for anyone who wonders if perhaps Jessica Rabbit had adopted a new stage moniker, know that Yohn is actually a veteran comedian - recognized for his stand-up on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central - headlining at Bettendorf's Penguin's Comedy Club March 9 through 11. In addition to his numerous stage and television appearances, Yohn is well-known for his performances of original comedy tunes - one of which, "The Feminine Hygiene Song," sounds like the title of the worst commercial jingle ever - and for his contributions to the syndicated radio series "The Bob & Tom Show"; that program's Tom Griswald has called Yohn's act "by far, the funniest live-comedian show anyone will ever see." That, and his Web site (http://www.toddyohn.com) proclaims him to be "Joan Rivers' favorite opening act (in his price range)." Now that's funny. Yohn will appear on the Penguin's bill alongside comedian Jack Wilhite, and further information is available by visiting (http://www.penguinscomedyclub.com). - Mike Schulz