Ballet Under the Stars
Friday, August 17, through Sunday, August 19
This past winter, I appeared alongside the dancers of Ballet Quad Cities in their annual production of The Nutcracker, and let me say about the group: They're terrible.
Seriously, they're lazy, they're unprepared, they have no business being on a stage ... .
Totally kidding. Just wanted to give Joedy Cook a start there.
The truth is that these performers are about as gifted and entertaining an ensemble as you'll find, and you can enjoy their spectacular talents in this weekend's Ballet Under the Stars, being presented August 17 through 19 in Rock Island's Lincoln Park.
Included on the program are four works by five choreographers: a contemporary piece, performed to French music, by Lynne Bowman; the high-energy "Kodo," by former Artistic Director Matthew Keefe; an adaptation of the wedding pas de deux from 1870's Coppelia, by Ballet Quad Cities' new Artistic Director, Steve Beirens; and an adaptation of The Ugly Duckling by company member Courtney Walrath, with fellow dancer Hannah Williams choreographing the fourth graders who portray The River.
You see, according to Ballet Quad Cities Executive Director Joedy Cook, this Ugly Duckling was born on the banks of the Mississippi.
So what're you saying, Joedy?! That people born in this area are ugly?!? Why, of all the ... !!!
(And Joedy is officially missing the days before we worked together.)
Co-sponsored by Genesius Guild, admission to Ballet Under the Stars is free - though it never hurts to put a little something in the donation envelope! - and more information is available by calling (309) 786-3779.
- Mike Schulz
The Picador's One Year Anniversary Bash
Saturday, August 18
I've always felt that a healthy mix of personal shame and hatred for children makes for the best contraceptive. But then I called the Picador in Iowa City and had a conversation with "Bill the Bartender." He informed me that during the month that the club formerly known as Gabe's Oasis was closed before re-opening under its current name, an alarming number of regular patrons managed to get pregnant.
Was there a link between these pregnancies and the Iowa City hot spot not being open? We may never know. Will club-hopping, as a birth-control method, be giving abstinence programs a run for their money? Hard to say.
But one thing is certain: The Picador's One Year Anniversary Bash on August 18 should remind people why it's a much-needed and
Performers scheduled to appear include hypnotic, space-age post-punks Weather Is Happening (see photo); psychedelic, Deadhead soul rockers Decibully; mysterious stranger Evan Miller; thrashy, spaz punks STNNNG; and - featuring plenty of fuzzy, jam-punk bass and a madman singer with the stage presence of an escaped basement gimp seeking vengeance - Iowa City's the Tanks.
And on top of all the great bands, the celebration will also feature the downstairs DJ gettin' jiggy with it, an excellent selection of drinks, BBQ ... and if none of these other festivities interest you, who could turn down free cake?!
Doors for the 19-and-older show open at 9 p.m.; for more information, visit (http://www.thepicador.com).
- Brad Vidmar
IMAX Video Game Tournament
Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre
Saturday, August 18
On August 18, the Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre is pleased to present the first IMAX Video Game Tournament, which will enable six top gamers to demonstrate their skills on the enormous IMAX screen.
That sound you just heard was my younger brother wetting himself.
This day-long event begins with a single-elimination tournament, as participants face off in one of three games - Madden 2007, Halo 2, or MarioKart - on televisions located throughout the museum. The two top winners of each then advance to the championship finals, earning prizes and, of course, bragging rights.
And if you'll permit me a side note to my brother: You're welcome to crash at my place, man, but if you keep me up half the night with, "I can't believe I just played video games on the IMAX screen!!!" I'm kicking your ass out. (He's really good, folks.)
The entry fee is $10 per gamer, and more information on the tournament is available by calling (563) 324-1054 extension 219, or visiting (http://www.putnam.org).
- Mike Schulz
Hot August Nights / Ya Maka My Weekend
The District of Rock Island
Friday, August 17, and Saturday, August 18
Okay. Let me nutshell this for you, because I sense there might be some confusion.
The Ya Maka My Weekend festival (the District of Rock Island's annual celebration of Caribbean music, food, and tchochkes) used to run over the course of two days. It is now running one day, with gates open noon to 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 18.
It is, however, tag-teaming with a new District Festival: Hot August Nights (a celebration of legendary Vegas headliners), with its gates open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, August 17.
Ya Maka My Weekend features special "island activities" for kids; the "interactive hospitality experience" of the Bud Light Lounge; and musical performances by the Ifficial Reggae Band (pictured), Universal Xpression, and groups with less oddly-spelled monikers.
Hot August Nights features a salute to Frank, Sammy, and Dean with the Chicago Rat Pack; Al Hull performing as Elvis Presley; and a Neil Diamond tribute group called... Hot August Nights.
Both festivals will feature activities involving sand volleyball, as the Caribbean has sand and Vegas has the Sands Hotel... .
You're more confused than ever now, aren't you?
Better just to get a two-day pass. Then you can tell friends you partied in Jamaica and Vegas over the course of one weekend, and you can't put a price tag on that.
For more information, visit (http://www.yamakamyweekend.com).
-- Mike Schulz
Richmond Hill Barn Theatre
Thursday, August 16, through Sunday, August 26
A few words about Arcadia, the Tom Stoppard comedy being performed at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre August 16 through 26.
It is the story of what occurred in 1809 at Sidley Park, the Coverly family's stately rural English estate, and what's happening in the present day, as rival scholars try to sort out the clues to that mystery.
In the earlier period, the house is in an uproar over a scandal involving visiting poets, a landscape upheaval, a duel, Lord Byron, a 13-year old mathematical prodigy, and her sardonic tutor.
In alternating scenes, we watch as modern-day characters try to piece together the age-old scandal, with mixed success.
The action flows back and forth between the centuries in a game of blind-academic's-bluff-meets-musical-time-periods, with Stoppard's dazzling wordplay weaving a tale of time, truth, science, literature, love, sex, and tortoises.
A pretty comprehensive, concise, and amusing precis, if I do say so myself!
I've never seen or read the play. I stole that description verbatim from Richmond Hill's press release. Happy?
I do, however, know that the New Republic called Arcadia "highly literate, ingenious, and intelligent theatrical entertainment," that the production features Chris White and Jessica Nicol (pictured), Jeremy Mahr, Aaron Sullivan, and Maggie Woolley - all of whose names you should know - and tickets are available by calling (309) 944-2244.
-- Mike Schulz