Centennial Gala and Iowa Women's Music Festival
University of Iowa and Upper City Park
Saturday, September 9
Iowa City celebrates 113 years of musical tradition on September 9, but don't get too excited - two different musical events are included in that 113 years. Of course, one of them is a 100-year celebration. So I guess you can get a little excited. Of the two events, the relative newbie is the 13th annual Iowa Women's Music Festival, taking place from noon to 6 p.m. in Iowa City's Upper City Park; among the day's sensational female headliners are local favorite Nikki Lunden, Australian Martine Locke, New York singer/songwriter Trina Hamlin, and funk bassist Laura Love. And the University of Iowa's School of Music celebrates the 100th anniversary of its inception with the day-long Centennial Gala event, featuring an open house, a banquet, and evening Hancher Auditorium performances by the school's Symphony Band, the University Symphony, the university choirs, a number of faculty soloists, and the Johnson County Landmark Jazz Band. Sheesh. You'd think they'd be happy with a simple shout-out from Willard Scott. More information on the Iowa Women's Music Festival is available at (http://www.prairievoices.net); for tickets to the Centennial Gala concert, call (319) 353-2284.
St. Ambrose University
Friday, September 8, 7 p.m.
Georgia-born, New York-based singer Jude Kastle will perform at St. Ambrose University's Rogalski Center Ballroom on September 8, and if you'd like a sense of the artist's soulful, guitar-driven style, you are invited to visit (http://www.judekastle.com) for samplings from her album, Ghost of a Girl. If, however, you'd like a sense of where that style comes from, visit Kastle's MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/judekastle), where the performer lists 57 career influences, consisting of everyone from Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin to Simon & Garfunkel and Pink Floyd. (She begins the list, though, with "my father's church," perhaps to offset later mentions of Black Sabbath and AC/DC.) In the course of her burgeoning career, Kastle has released two CDs on her own label - Kastle Records - and has opened for Grammy winner Phil Vassar, and she's currently enjoying what seems to be a most successful Midwestern tour; on the CD Baby Web site (http://www.cdbaby.com/judekastle), an unnamed fan wrote, "I pitty the fool who doesn't see the artist now." I, ttoo, would gett Kasttle tticketts. For more information, call St. Ambrose at (563) 333-6403.
The Lovely Liebowitz Sisters
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse
Wednesday, September 6, through Saturday, September 16
A week and a half ago, I bumped into Circa '21 producer Dennis Hitchcock and his wife, Carolyn, at a wedding - Congrats, Sunshine and Jeff! - and I told them that I was looking forward to the theatre's presentation of The Lovely Liebowitz Sisters: Live from the Krakatoa Lounge, 1945, as I had never seen the show before. Both of them looked stunned ("You haven't seen it?" asked Carolyn), and their disbelief was understandable; not only has this beloved musical comedy made several returns to Circa '21 over the years - two while I was employed there - but with audiences consistently adoring this USO-themed production, why would anyone want to miss it? Performing period classics à la The Andrews Sisters - the gals are even named Patti, Maxine, and LaVonne - The Lovely Liebowitz Sisters' comic repartee and ringing three-part harmonies have charmed audiences nationwide, and when I finally see the show (running September 6 through 16), I may bring some Reader staffers with me; trust me, with a song list that includes "Accentuate the Positive," "The Five O'Clock Whistle," and "The Beer Barrel Polka," this is right up our alley. For tickets, call Circa '21 at (309) 786-7733 extension 2.
Beaux Arts Fall Fair
Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, September 10
When, this past May, I wrote about the Beaux Arts Spring Fair for the Reader, I mistakenly suggested that fair-goers purchase some of the event's hand-crafted artworks, present them as Mother's Day gifts, and tell their mothers that they, themselves, spent weeks working on them. Well, Mom got wind of this, called the office, and totally chewed me out for the Mother's Day ruse. But with no such holiday in our immediate future, visitors to downtown Davenport on September 9 and 10 can enjoy the Beaux Arts Fall Fair sans subterfuge. In this invitational fine-arts show - its proceeds supporting programs at the Figge Art Museum - artists from several states present stunning works in painting, printmaking, drawing, weaving, jewelry, and crafts. And this is just between us, okay? But since the displayed works make for such wonderful presents, it would be a shame not to treat your mom to a few - buy some, stick 'em in your closet for eight months, and then reveal them with a hearty "Happy Mother's Day!" It's foolproof! And when you ... oh, wait a sec ... my phone's ringing ... . Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, and more information is available by calling Tom Magers at (563) 323-9042.
Saturday, September 9, 8 p.m.
As Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote in the online All Music Guide, the 1994 debut of grassroots rockers Sister Hazel "arrived precisely at the right time, just when radio was cooling to Hootie & the Blowfish but still needed journeymen bar bands that turned out sturdy, mainstream rock and roll, the kind of music that was the '90s version of heartland rock." As someone who loves '90s versions of heartland rock, I'm betting that Sister Hazel's September 9 concert at Augustana College's Centennial Hall will be a great time. The multi-platinum-selling artists have wowed listeners with their strong hooks and passionate vocals - even someone as musically out-of-touch as I am has grooved to Sister Hazel's singles "Happy" and "All for You" - and their enthusiasm and catchy melodics have impressed music critics as well as fans; the All Music Guide's Johnny Loftus called the band's 2004 CD Lift "an enormous goose down pillow of feel-good rock." Area rock fans should have a blast at Sister Hazel's show, even if, like me, you originally mistook the band's name for a sitcom wherein Shirley Booth enters a nunnery. Ha ha ha ha ha! Heh heh. Hmm. Man, am I out-of-touch. For tickets, call the Augustana box office at (309) 794-7306.