Sunday, May 7, 2 p.m.
Called a "secret mixture of daring, talent, and utter foolishness" by the Santa Fe Reporter, Prague native Tomas Kubinek brings his unique comic stylings to the University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium on Sunday, May 7. What does Kubinek do, you might ask? Well, when the U. of Iowa's press release begins with, "Well, he flies, for one thing," a better question might be, "What doesn't he do?" Kubinek's performance piece is described as an "uncategorizable vaudeville that appeals to all ages," and it's one that the artist has been perfecting since his youth, when his parents - escaping the Soviet invasion of 1968 - smuggled the five-year-old Kubinek out of his homeland for the safer haven of Canada. Making his Canadian debut as the rear half of a circus's two-person horse, Kubinek began his career of "clowning, mime, magic, acrobatics, music, and verbal humor" when he was just 13, which goes to underscore the cultural differences between our countries. In Canada, Kubinek landed an agent; here, he'd be given Ritalin. Tickets are available at (319)335-1160, and more information on Kubinek's visit is available at (http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa). - Mike Schulz
The Redstone Room
Friday, May 5, 9 p.m.
The Redstone Room continues its streak of hosting nationally and critically acclaimed acts on May 5, when country singer-songwriter Charlie Robison makes his way to downtown Davenport. Robison began writing his own material at age 15, drawing from both rock and country. He has been a member of Chaparral, Two Hoots & a Holler, and the Millionaire Playboys, and recorded with Alejandro Escovedo and Kelly Willis. According to a Redstone Room press release, Robison's songs "have a sense of place, a point of reference; they are not generic, radio-driven creations, but music born of the Texas plains and the South, songs that burn with the loneliness and desperation of wide-open spaces." The Texas native will perform numbers from his five studio albums, including Bandera, Life of the Party, and Step Right Up. Yahoo! Music proclaimed that Robison's most recent album, Good Times, "qualifies as a solid country release that will nonetheless appeal to the alternative crowd." Tickets are $12, and more information is available by calling (563)326-1333 or visiting (http://www.redstoneroom.com). - Jesse Virgil
ELAINE WILLIAMS BENEFIT
Friday, May 5, 8 p.m.
On April 12, 26-year-old Elaine Williams, a beloved art teacher at Fillmore Elementary School, died of cancer. Since then, the outpouring of affection for Williams - displayed in school windows, written about in newspapers - has been overwhelming; Williams left behind not only family (including husband Travis, of local band Mariannis, and children Andromeda, 7, and Madelaine, 4), but lots and lots of friends. Many of them will be gathering at Rock Island's Hunter's Club on May 5, in a benefit performance designed to raise money for the Williams family. For a $5 entry fee, Hunter's guests will be eligible for raffle prizes donated by numerous local businesses, and enjoy performances by many of the area's most formidable musicians. Scheduled to perform are The Metrolites, Katalina, Blitzkrieg Brat, Post Mortems, One Night Standards, Donnie Hot Tub, Quiet Bears, Lilly Schull, Maylane, and Holy Smokes. Sounds like a wonderful night, one perfectly befitting someone who - by all accounts - was a truly wonderful woman. For more information, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call Hunter's Club at (309)786-9880. - Mike Schulz
THE DISGRUNTLED CLOWN
Penguin's Comedy Club
Thursday, May 4, through Saturday, May 6
I've seen the movie Shakes the Clown. I've seen Poltergeist. I even sat through that miniseries of Stephen King's It. And just as I was finally getting over my crippling fear of clowns, along comes the latest performer at Penguin's Comedy Club to scare the bejeezus out of me all over again. Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, allow me to present The Disgruntled Clown, who will appear at the Bettendorf venue May 4 through May 6. A regular fixture on commercials for Fox Television, the 6-foot-1, 285-pound comedian promises a night of what the Penguin's Web site calls "unforgettable entertainment," and I'm thinking that might not be hyperbole. The site goes on to list the wide range of comedic topics covered in TDC's act - including employment opportunities, sports, marital issues, achieving financial independence, and disciplining children - and promises "ensuing madness" throughout the evening. And while my phobia has thus far kept me from seeing The Disgruntled Clown's stage act, heed my advice on one thing: Do not trust anything this guy says about disciplining children. For more information, visit (http://www.penguinscomedyclub.com). - Mike Schulz