The Wizard of Oz
Timber Lake Playhouse beginning Thursday, July 27,
and Prospect Park Auditorium beginning August 4
Well, this is awkward. On Thursday, July 27, the Timber Lake Playhouse debuts its stage production of the family classic The Wizard of Oz, running through Sunday, August 6. On Friday, August 4, the Quad City Music Guild unveils its Wizard of Oz, which will be presented at Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium through Sunday, August 13. Both musicals will showcase L. Frank Baum's beloved characters and the same timeless score by Harold Arlen, so which version should you choose? Well, the Timber Lake production will feature special effects aplenty - flying monkeys, the Wicked Witch aloft on her broomstick, and additional wonders involving the Wizard's chamber, the poppy field, and that pesky twister. Music Guild's version, however, will showcase favorite local performers, the talents of a live orchestra, and, you know, you don't have to drive so far. The decision is yours, but remember that there is a third option, too, as the Scarecrow himself would be the first to point out: "That way is a very nice way ... . It's pleasant down that way, too ... . Of course, some people go both ways." For tickets to the Timber Lake Wizard of Oz, call (815)244-2035; for tickets to Music Guild's Oz, call (309) 762-6610. - Mike Schulz
Wells Fargo Street Festival
Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29
With all of the excitement going on in the Quad Cities this upcoming Bix weekend, the 35th annual Wells Fargo Street Fest, taking place on July 28 and 29, is perhaps the most diverse option. You can enjoy live bands, arts and crafts, video-game tournaments, a family-fun area for the kids, and - what I consider the highlight of the festival - food! (The festival offers a smorgasbord including gyros, sausages, Chinese fare, tacos, fruit smoothies, ice cream, and beverages galore.) There will also be a variety of musical acts, ranging from blues bands such as The Mercury Brothers to rock and pop groups such as Jim the Mule and Wicked Liz & the Bellyswirls. And if you're looking for more than just food and music, you can visit more than 100 crafts vendors, displaying woodworking, ceramics, jewelry, floral art, and more. The event will be held in Davenport on Second Street between Brady and Iowa, and did I mention free admission? Free admission! For more information, visit (http://www.downtowndavenport.com). - Eric Junco
Clinton Area Showboat Theatre
Thursday, July 27, through Sunday, August 6
I'm excited about a bunch of upcoming shows, but I doubt I'm looking forward to anything more than the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's production of Incredible Sex, and not only for the reasons you think. Written by Rich Orloff, the show is an assemblage of three one-act comedies. In "Women in Heat," three vacationing women discuss sex, relationships, and the male hotties in the next room; think Sex & the City with one less gal. In "Mars Needs Women, But Not as Much as Arnold Schecter," a photographer discovers his girlfriend has been unfaithful ... with an alien. And in Orloff's farcical retelling of Oedipus Rex, entitled "Oedi," Oedipus' spin doctors - aware of potential media outcry - try to make their boss's marriage to his mother look like a good thing. I'm laughing already. For more information on the show, just search the Web for Incredible Sex, and ... wait a second ... my editor, Jeff, is saying something ... oh, fine ... I have just been asked to make the following disclaimer: "Parents: The River Cities' Reader is not condoning a Web search of the phrase 'incredible sex.'" For tickets to this adult comedy, which opens July 27, call the Clinton Showboat box office at (563) 242-6760. - Mike Schulz
Bright Red Paper
The Redstone Room
Thursday, July 27, 7 p.m.
At the Reader, we receive a lot of e-mails from rock musicians telling us about upcoming gigs, yet very few of these missives feature the introduction: "I'm the cello player in the group ... ." Bright Red Paper, though, isn't your run-of-the-mill rock ensemble, as witnesses to their July 27 Redstone Room concert will discover. Performing what they label "virtuosic indie cello rock," the Portland-based group - Daniel Enberg, Eben Dickinson, Arcellus Sykes, and "the cello player in the group," Douglas Jenkins - have played the Pacific Northwest since May of 2005, and the reviews for their self-titled debut CD have been rapturous; The Oregonian's Nathan Skidmore declared, "Bright Red Paper's combination of cello, drums, electric bass, and guitar blends to a dangerous gallop ... the music is hypnotizing," and Dave Clifford, in the Willamette Week, wrote that the group's "collective experience in indie-rock, classical, jazz, and surf combine to form an expressive whole that both soars and sears." I thank Mr. Jenkins for the e-mail, and welcome Bright Red Paper to the Midwest with a hearty "Cel-lo!" For more information, visit (http://www.redstoneroom.com). - Mike Schulz
Saturday, July 29, 6 p.m.
If you're reading this and have young children nearby, please hand the paper over to them for a moment. Thank you. Hey! See the picture of the goofy guy with the ice-cream cone? That's Justin Roberts. He writes and sings songs for kids your age, and they're not stupid Barney songs, either. Justin's songs are smart and funny, and he sings about bullies and losing your teeth and your annoying little brother and stuff like that. But since he's really famous, you probably already know who he is. You probably even have a few of his CDs, like Great Big Sun, or his new one, Meltdown!. Well, Justin will be playing his music in a live concert at the Family Museum in Bettendorf on Saturday, July 29. It's going to be awesome, and tell your parents that they'll have a great time, too; make sure they know that the Los Angeles Times called Justin "hip and sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy," and that his vocal style has been compared to James Taylor, Elvis Costello, and Billie Joe from Green Day. Have fun, kids! You can give the paper back to your Mom or Dad now. Welcome back, folks. And I'm sorry if your children are now screaming, "I wanna see Justin!!!" If you want them to stop, order Justin Roberts tickets at (563) 344-4106. - Mike Schulz