The River Cities' Reader Winter Guide (on newstands November 25 through December 9) features listings of more than 1,200 events. You can also browse through and search our online calendar. A PDF of version of the Winter Guide and 3-month calendar is available here.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra's Masterworks III
Adler Theatre and Augustana College
Saturday, December 5, and Sunday, December 6
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Mark Russell Smith, is set to debut the third of its season's six Masterworks concerts. And while the presentations will no doubt be exhilarating, I'll be honest: I'm feeling a bit intimidated just writing about them.
Composed of two classical pieces of roughly 45 minutes each, Masterworks III with a performance of Antonin Dvo?ák's "Cello Concerto," featuring the symphony's principal cellist, Hannah Holman (pictured). Dvo?ák's musical achievement would certainly be impressive enough - upon hearing the piece, Johannes Brahms reportedly asked, "Why on earth didn't I know that one could write a cello concerto like this?" - but Holman's credentials are pretty staggering in themselves, as she's also played for the English String Orchestra under Yehudi Menuhin, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle.
The program's second half, meanwhile, is the symphony's presentation of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich's legendary "Symphony No. 5 in D Minor." Not only was the 1937 composition an extraordinary critical smash upon its opening - piano master Heinrich Neuhaus called it "deep, meaningful, gripping music, classical in the integrity of its conception, perfect in form" - but according to the Quad City Symphony Web site, its premiere "elicited open weeping and a 40-minute ovation."
Taken together, Masterworks III should make for an unforgettable live-music experience, but if that Web quote is correct, you're probably advised to have some tissues on hand. And quite possibly some blister cream.
Masterworks III will be performed at Davenport's Adler Theatre at 8 p.m. on December 5 and at Augustana College's Centennial Hall at 2 p.m. on December 6; for tickets and information, call (563)322-0931 or visit QCSymphony.com.
The Joy of Life Weekend Retreat
Friday, December 4, through Sunday, December 6
Let's face it: You're a little stressed. The holidays are upon us, you haven't begun your shopping, and this week's River Cities' Reader is determined to get you thinking about winter when it isn't even freakin' December yet.
Thankfully, Rock Island's Satva Center (located at 1918 Seventh Avenue) has a sure-fire cure for holiday-related anxiety in its Joy of Life Weekend Retreat, led by internationally renowned yoga instructor Kambiz Naficy (pictured). Taking place from December 4 through 6, this three-day seminar will provide insight into, and practice of, Kriya Yoga, an ancient system designed to accelerate spiritual development along with mental and physical health, and one that emphasizes breath control as a key to inner peace. According to Satva Center Reiki practitioner Julie Skoff, Kriya Yoga allows her to feel "more energetic and at the same time relaxed" - and who doesn't need to feel more of both at this time of year?
In addition to the retreat's yoga and meditation sessions, time will be allotted for fellowship with other attendees, personal reflection and journaling, and even one-on-one sessions with Naficy, who will share his philosophies on maintaining what he calls one's individual "life-engine." As Naficy himself says, "A person who does not want to manage stress or find inner peace is like a driver who does not stop at the gas station."
And I've just figured out what I'm getting my dad for Christmas.
The Joy of Life retreat's four individual sessions will occur from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, and reservations can be made by calling (563)209-7167 or visiting SatvaCenter.com.
Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center
Friday, November 27, 7:30 p.m.
Rare Earth, the rockers who achieved national fame with their hit singles "Get Ready" and "I Just Want to Celebrate," will appear at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center on November 27, and it's fairly easy to see how the group might be considered "old school." "Get Ready," after all, hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and "I Just Want to Celebrate" peaked at number seven in 1971.
But while the band's biggest professional successes came during its early days, with one platinum and two double-platinum albums released over a three-year span, it's not like Rare Earth's members have comfortably settled into rocking chairs. As musicians Gil Bridges, Randy "Bird" Burghdoff, Ray Monette, Mike Bruner, and Floyd Stokes Jr. continue to amass gigs in North America and Europe (Rare Earth has thus far performed more than 3,000 concerts worldwide), new generations of fans continue to be influenced by the group's high-energy sound, among them plenty of fans in the entertainment industry.
Over the past 10 years alone, snippets from Rare Earth recordings have been used as samples by artists as diverse as Beck, Black Sheep, Scarface, and Ghostface Killah. The group's songs have been heard in Six Feet Under, Entourage, and throughout the George Clooney movie Three Kings. "I Just Want to Celebrate" was employed in national commercials for AT&T and the Ford Motor Company.
Besides, the group first came to prominence in 1968 - the same year I was born! So if Rare Earth is considered "old school," that means I am, too, and ... um ... as we all know, I'm ... er ... uh ... .
Tickets to Rare Earth's Friday-night concert are $30 for general admission and $20 for IsleOne members, and can be reserved by calling (800)843-4753 or visiting Bettendorf.IsleOfCapriCasinos.com.
Theatre and Music
Babes in Toyland and "Christmas at the Figge"
Prospect Park Auditorum and Figge Art Museum
Thursday, December 3, through Sunday, December 6
A word of advice if you were hoping to recruit Quad City Music Guild singers for your company's holiday bash: If the party falls between December 3 and 6, you might wanna make alternative arrangements. Those folks are biz-zay.
Many of them will be booked at the Guild's home venue, Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium, for the organization's holiday presentation: a lavish staging of the 1903 musical Babes in Toyland. Yet even if you're familiar with this classic children's tale and Victor Herbert's beautiful music, Music Guild's rendition will surely be unlike any version you've seen before. With a new book and lyrics by Babes in Toyland director (and frequent Guild performer) John Donald O'Shea, the production promises to deliver a brand-new spin on beloved material, and includes a cast featuring Jonathan Schrader, Jim Pearce, Lyle Sears, and Greg and Jan Golz.
You've likely seen those performers in previous Guild endeavors, and more of the organization's gifted regulars can be found at this year's "Christmas at the Figge" presentations. The art museum's annual madrigal dinners will find the Quad City Singers harmonizing to all genres of holiday choral music while guests dine on a sumptuous meal, and among the familiar singers are such noted Guild veterans as Nathan Bates, Sheri Hess, J. Adam Lounsberry, Kevin Pieper, Jennifer Sondgeroth, Joe Urbaitis, Todd Weber, and Jenny Winn. Bring your appetites, and maybe an autograph book.
Babes in Toyland will be performed at 7:30 p.m. December 3 through 5, and at 2 p.m. on December 6, and tickets can be reserved at (309)762-6610 or QCMusicGuild.com.
"Christmas at the Figge" will take place on December 4 and 6 - the evenings' 6:30 p.m. dinners and concerts preceded by 5:30 p.m. social hours - and tickets are available by calling (563)326-7804 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Monday, December 7, 6:30 p.m.
The legendary thrash-metal musicians of Megadeth are performing at Davenport's RiverCenter on December 7. And since the group's long history includes the release of 12 studio albums, six live albums, three compilation albums, two EPs, 26 singles, and 32 music videos - and since, it goes without saying, they're rock icons with a nearly religious worldwide fan base - you might think that you have absolutely nothing in common with Megadeth members Chris Broderick, Shawn Drover, James Lomenzo, and Dave Mustaine.
Not so! Check out this convenient chart listing some of the guys' personal favorites - you might find that a post-concert conversation with Megadeth would be less awkward than you imagined! ("Hey, you like Friends? I like Friends!")
|Favorite Movie||Favorite TV Shows||Favorite Hobbies||Favorite Holiday||Favorite Cliché|
|Chris Broderick, lead guitar||The Shawshank Redemption||Anything on the Discovery Channel||Wake-boarding, jet-skiing||Independence Day||"Carpe Diem."|
|Shawn Drover, drums||Halloween||The Carol Burnett Show, Friends||Golf, watching NFL football||Christmas||"Be careful what you wish for."|
|James Lomenzo, bass||The Tingler||Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher||Photography||Halloween||"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't."|
|Dave Mustaine, rhythm guitar||The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly||24, SportsCenter||Surfing, Yoga||Thanksgiving||"It is what it is."|
Megadeth performs with opening acts Suicide Silence, Warbringer, and Archanium, tickets are $36.50 in advance and $38 on the day of the show, and more information on the night is available by calling (563)326-8500 or visiting RiverCtr.com.
December through February
We all know that Iowa City's Englert Theatre has, for many years, been a popular destination for some of the most noted names in American music. So why the venue feels the need to totally show off this December - with two of the country's most exciting ensembles appearing within three days of each other - I have absolutely no idea. First, on December 10, the Englert presents an evening with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the California-based musicians who helped make a cult smash of the 1996 Jon Favreau/Vince Vaughn comedy Swingers, and who were (literally) instrumental in revitalizing the late-'90s swing-music scene. And then, on December 13, the theatre will host a night with the Blind Boys of Alabama, the internationally renowned performers who were recently inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and who managed to win the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album every year between 2002 and 2005. (The group's rendition of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" was also the theme song for the first season of HBO's The Wire, so you know they're cool.) Other notable Englert happenings this winter include a New Year's Eve party with Public Property, Euforquestra, and the Uniphonics; the sketch and improv comedy of Second City's 50th Anniversary Tour (February 5 and 6); the gravity-defying thrills of the Peking Acrobats (February 13); and the theatre's Sunday Night Pictures presentations of Miracle on 34th Street (December 20) and Napoleon Dynamite (December 6). To quote the last line of that latter film, there's really only one word to describe the venue's patrons this winter: "Lu-cky!" For tickets and information to all Englert Theatre events, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Hancher Auditorium Presentations
December through February
A number of area venues will be treating audiences to exceptional concerts this winter, but only one will be giving them cash. Or, more specifically, Cash. Or, even more specifically, Rosanne Cash. In a presentation hosted by Hancher Auditorium - the Iowa City venue still undergoing flood-damage renovations - the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter (and daughter of the legendary Johnny) will bring her soulful country, folk, blues, and rock stylings to the Englert Theatre on February 10, and hers is just one of many thrilling Visiting Artist events that Hancher will sponsor between December and February. Fiddler Natalie MacMaster demonstrates her invigorating Celtic talents at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort on December 5, while the a cappella artists of Straight No Chaser bring yuletide spirit to the Iowa Memorial Union on December 8. Music, dance, and drama are on-hand when Hancher presents Rinde Eckert's adventurous Eye Piece (February 5 through 14); an astonishing 65 voices will blend for the Iowa City West High School performance by the YL Male Voice Choir (February 21); and a true jazz explosion will be experienced when Iowa City High School hosts the Winard Harper Sextet (February 12). The school will precede that jazz with tap, as eight gifted hoofers pay tribute to the late, great Gregory Hines in January 23's multimedia dance extravaganza Thank You, Gregory. Thank you, Hancher. For more information and tickets to these Hancher Auditorium presentations, call (319)335-1160 or visit http://www.Hancher.UIowa.edu.
November through February
Not to toot our own horn or anything, but one of the great things about the Reader's annual Winter Guide is that it gives you a convenient sampling of area highlights in the realms of music, dance, theatre, comedy, literature, and children's events. Then again, this winter, you could say the exact same thing about the Adler Theatre. Thanks for stealing our thunder, guys. Beginning with November 25's presentation of The Oak Ridge Boys' Christmas Show, the Davenport venue will be filled with musical treats this season, including Masterworks performances by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (December 5 and February 6), high-energy Christian rock with Skillet (November 28), and a joyful mélange of holiday tunes in the Quad Cities' annual Creative Christmas (December 18 and 19). The gifted dancers of Ballet Quad Cities take the Adler stage in their annual presentation of The Nutcracker (December 12 and 13), while the 70th anniversary of a legendary film is celebrated in a lavish stage version of The Wizard of Oz (November 29). More theatre - mixed with hearty laughs - comes courtesy of the Tony Award-winning musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone (January 18), and a literary giant will be on hand when Presumed Innocent author Scott Turow appears as part of the Eastern Iowa Community College District's "Viewpoint Distinguished Speakers Series" (January 26). And 2009's close brings with it a stage delight for kids of all ages, with the madcap storybook antics of Curious George Live! (December 29 and 30). One thing's for sure: The Adler's winter season will no doubt have audiences going bananas. I mean ... . Aw, man, I tried so hard not to end this with a stupid Curious George joke ... . For Adler Theatre tickets and information, call (563)326-8500 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
December through February
Friedrich Nietzsche famously stated, "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once." Well, the German philosopher would be happy to know that there aren't going to be a lot of lost days around here this winter. ("Happy," of course, being a relative state for Nietzsche.) The wintertime hoofing both begins and ends at Davenport's Capitol Theatre, with the venue presenting the annual Gilda's Glub fundraiser Dancing with the Quad Cities Celebrities on December 4 - participants include the reigning Miss Iowa, Anne Michael Langguth, and Figge Art Museum Executive Director Sean O'Harrow - and Ballet Quad Cities' staging of exhilarating romantic encounters in February 13's and 14's Love Stories. Between those balletic bookends, you'll be treated to Hancher Auditorium's tap-tastic Gregory Hines tribute Thank You, Gregory (at Iowa City High School on January 23), and the exuberant modern stylings of Thodos Dance Chicago (at St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center on January 30), appearing locally as Quad City Arts Visiting Artists. And if you're one of those who enjoys a little Tchaikovsky with your dance, boy oh boy, are you in luck this winter! Not only will the Nolte Academy of Dance perform The Nutcracker at the Englert Theatre December 4 through 6, but both Ballet Quad Cities and RiverPointBallet will deliver their own renditions of this holiday classic, with the former's being staged at the Adler Theatre, and the latter's at the First Presbyterian Church of Davenport and Jumer's Casino & Resort. And get this - both Nutcracker productions are taking place on the same weekend of December 12 and 13! It's gonna be like the Sharks and the Jets! With ballet slippers! (Which, now that I think about it, is kinda redundant.)
November through February
There will be numerous winter musicals for area audiences to choose from over the next several months, but let's be clear: "winter musical" doesn't necessarily mean "holiday musical." I mean, sure, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse is currently presenting a revue titled Holly Jolly Christmas, and is set to unveil a family presentation for the holidays, in Frosty's Magic Hat (opening November 27). Yes, Quad City Music Guild will premiere a festive new version of Babes in Toyland (December 3 through 6). And yes, Davenport's Capitol Theatre will present the debut of Marvin & Karen Roebuck's Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh (December 5 and 6). But that doesn't mean ... . Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, there are also plenty of non-seasonal musicals on-tap between December and February. St. Ambrose University, for instance, will stage the joyous family entertainment A Year with Frog & Toad (December 5 and 6), while Augustana College presents the Tony Award-winning children's-book adaptation The Secret Garden (opening January 29). Iowa City's Englert Theatre hosts a group of singing Church Basement Ladies (January 16 and 17), and Davenport's Harrison Hilltop Theatre presents workshop performances of the debuting rock musical Tired American Dream (opening February 25). Circa '21 delivers the return of the ever-popular Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (opening January 13), while Davenport's Adler Theatre brings in touring productions of the musical farce The Drowsy Chaperone (January 18) and The Wizard of Oz (November 29). Plus, another rendition of that classic tale will be offered when The Center for Living, on December 5, presents ... er ... A Christmas Wizard of Oz. Hey, I didn't say there weren't a lot of holiday musicals this winter ... .
Comedies and Dramas
November through February
Don't let that elf's sour mug fool you - actor Mark D. Lingenfelter is actually thrilled to be taking part in our area's winter-theatre season. (Uh ... you are, aren't you, Mark?) The performer will reprise his role as David Sedaris' doppelgänger in the Harrison Hilltop Theatre's remount of The Santaland Diaries, opening December 16, and the show is just one of a dozen comedic and dramatic gifts in store for audiences this winter. (Two of them, in fact, are productions from organizations more frequently associated with summer theatre; the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre stages Barbara Robinson's beloved The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, opening November 27, and the Timber Lake Playhouse presents the holiday comedy The Santa Class on December 5 and 6.) The Harrison Hilltop will also deliver poignant monologues in Birth (December 10 through 13), and Edward Albee's dramatic comedy Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (opening January 28). Less corrosive fare can be found in Davenport's Junior Theatre's student-actor takes on Scrooge! (opening December 12) and Ramona Quimby (opening February 20), with a romantic-comedy option in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Wrong for Each Other (opening February 11). The Playcrafters Barn Theatre delivers a show-biz satire in Moon Over Buffalo (opening January 15); St. Ambrose University offers a Tennessee Williams masterpiece with The Glass Menagerie (February 19 through 21); and New Ground Theatre stages family dysfunction with Lee Blessing's Grand Falls (opening February 25). Meanwhile, the Curtainbox Theatre Company follows its recent Glengarry Glen Ross with Sam Shepard's Fool for Love (opening January 21), with a cast composed of Kimberly Furness, Eddie Staver III, Michael Kennedy, and ... well ... me. If you bring fruits and vegetables, do your best to aim away from the other performers. They're good people.
What Else Is Happenin'... ? - November 5 through December 9
Saturday, November 28 - Skillet. Grammy Award-nominated Christian rockers, performing with guests Decyfer Down and The Letter Black. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $24-$47. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Saturday, November 28 - Richard Marx. Chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning pop-rock singer/songwriter. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $39-$50. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit RiversideCasinoAndResort.com.
Thursday, December 3 - Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser. Country-music stars performing with "CMT on Tour 2009." Davenport RiverCenter (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $27-$32. For tickets and information, call (800)745-3000 or visit RiverCtr.com.
Saturday, December 5 - Hersong. The Quad Cities' women's chorus performs the fifth-annual Warm Winter benefit concert. St. John's Lutheran Church (4501 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). 6 p.m. Donations of cash or new blankets accepted. For information, call (309)737-9898 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, December 5 - Natalie McMaster. Celtic fiddler and vocalist performs her "Christmas in Cape Briton" concert, in a presentation sponsored by Iowa City's Hancher Auditorium. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 7:30 p.m. $10-$45. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit http://www.Hancher.UIowa.edu.
Tuesday, December 8 - Straight No Chaser. Holiday concert featuring the a cappella recording artists, in a presentation sponsored by Iowa City's Hancher Auditorium. Main Lounge - Iowa Memorial Union (University of Iowa, North Madison Street, Iowa City). 7:30 p.m. $10-$28. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit http://www.Hancher.UIowa.edu.
Friday, November 27, through Saturday, December 26 - Frosty's Magic Hat. Holiday-themed family musical, with a guest appearance by Santa Claus. Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Scheduled lunch, brunch, and show-only performances Thursdays through Tuesdays. $10.50-$20. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.
Friday, November 27, through Sunday, December 13 - The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Holiday-themed family comedy based on Barbara Robinson's beloved book. Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (311 Riverview Drive, Clinton). Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, call (563)242-6760 or visit ClintonShowboat.org.
Sunday, November 29 - The Wizard of Oz. Touring production of the stage and screen classic, in conjunction with the film's 70th anniversary. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $25-$52.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Saturday, December 5, and Sunday, December 6 - A Year with Frog & Toad. One-act version of the Tony Award-nominated musical comedy, based on the children's stories of Arnold Lobel. Allaert Auditorium - St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center (2101 Gaines Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. $6-$8. For tickets and information, call (563)333-6251 or visit http://Web.SAU.edu/galvin.
Saturday, December 5, and Sunday, December 6 - Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh. Musical, dance, and drama production depicting the journey of five magi, written by Marvin Roebuck. The Capitol Theatre (330 West Third Street, Davenport). Saturday 7 p.m., Sunday 6 p.m. $5-$10. For tickets and information, call (563)326-8820 or visit TheCapDavenport.com.
Saturday, December 5 - "So You Want to Be a Star ... " Workshop. New York-based talent scout Peter Sklar offers tips on success for aspiring actors, singers, and dancers. Davenport Junior Theatre (2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport). 6:30 p.m. Free admission, but reservations required. For information, call (563)326-7862.
Friday, December 4 - Ballroom with the Quad City Celebrities. Annual Gilda's Club fundraiser modeled after TV's Dancing with the Stars, with performers including reigning Miss Iowa Anne Michael Langguth and Figge Art Museum Executive Director Sean O'Harrow. The Capitol Theatre (330 West Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $20. For tickets and information, call (563)326-8820 or visit TheCapDavenport.com.
Friday, December 4 - Gallery Hop! Annual winter event featuring art galleries, shops, clubs, and restaurants offering a variety of music and visual and performing arts. The District of Rock Island. 5-9 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)788-6311 or visit RIDistrict.com.
Saturday, December 5 - Don Hepner. Comedian and frequent area actor performs stand-up, with openers Jimmy Peterson and "Bustin'" Dustin. Harrison Hilltop Theatre (1601 Harrison Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $10-$15. For tickets and information, call (309)235-1654 or visit HarrisonHilltop.com.
Thursday, November 26 - Scott County Family Y/McCarthy Bush Turkey Trot. The 23rd-annual 5-mile run/walk and 1-mile family fun run, with proceeds benefiting the YMCA's character-building programs. Davenport Family YMCA (606 West Second Street, Davenport). 8:30 a.m. fun run, 9 a.m. run/walk. $20-$35. For information, visit ScottCountyFamilyY.org.
Wednesday, December 2, through Sunday, December 6 - Disney on Ice: Princess Classics. Debuting ice-skating spectacular, featuring Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, and other storybook characters. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). Wednesday through Saturday 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Sunday 1 and 5 p.m. $11-$47. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
Sunday, December 6 - 19th-Century Christmas. Annual holiday event featuring children's activities, an art show, historic displays, video presentations, and live music by Selma Johnson, the Moline Boys Choir, Steve Steely, and the trombone quartet Slide. Deere-Wiman House and Butterworth Center (1105 Eighth Street, Moline). Noon-5 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)743-2701 or visit ButterworthCenter.com.