Here are the winners in our fall 2010 Best of the Quad Cities balloting, covering four categories: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment; Night Life; Shopping and Services; and People. 

(For the winners of our spring competition - covering Food and Dining; Civics and Government; Media; and Recreation - click here. Our Best of the Quad Cities archive - with 10 years of winners - is here.)

In this round of voting, we had 581 valid ballots, and we required participants to provide reasonable answers in at least 20 of the 63 categories. In all, 17,829 votes were cast on valid ballots.

Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Local Band
1) Dani Lynn Howe Band
2) Funktastic 5
3) Wicked Liz & the Bellyswirls

Local Cover Band
1) Dani Lynn Howe Band
2) Funktastic 5
3) The King's Kiss

Venue for Live Music
1) Redstone Room
2) RIBCO
3) i wireless Center

(Author's note: This article was originally published in September 2010, but it serves as a fitting review of the career of Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2012.)


"But of course he was going away, there was nothing else to do, the time was up, the clock had run out, and he was going very far away indeed."

Sam Weller, Ray Bradbury, and Black Francis in June. Photo by Nathan Kirkman.Unless one believes that Mr. Electrico's command to Ray Bradbury should be taken literally, the famed author will likely not be on this planet to celebrate his 100th birthday.

For those unfamiliar with the Bradbury mythology, Mr. Electrico was a carnival magician Bradbury saw in 1932, when he was 12. Sam Weller describes the event in his 2005 biography The Bradbury Chronicles: "Mr. Electrico then approached the bespectacled, wide-eyed boy in the front row. Taking the [electrified] sword, he tapped Ray on each shoulder, then on the brow, and finally on the tip of his nose and cried, 'Live forever!'"

"Why did he say that?" Bradbury said to Weller. "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. Just weeks after Mr. Electrico said this to me, I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Immortality, of course, already belongs to Bradbury. His 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (published in 1932) and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949) as a mid-20th Century cautionary-tale classic imagining a future full of numbing technology and invasive government. (See the sidebar "Pleasure to Burn -- Reading Fahrenheit 451.")

The book is the subject of the Moline Public Library's Quad Cities-wide "Big Read" campaign, which begins September 27 with a keynote lecture by Weller and closes on October 31 -- Bradbury's favorite holiday. (For a list of Big Read events, see the sidebar "Fahrenheit 451 -- Area Book Discussions, Panel Discussions, and Film Screenings.") But while Fahrenheit 451 is undoubtedly Bradbury's lasting long-form work, Weller noted in an interview last week that the book isn't typical of the author.

Sean O'Harrow in 2008In Sean O'Harrow's telling, the Figge Art Museum is gaining an ally as much as it's losing an executive director.

It was announced last week that O'Harrow has accepted the directorship of the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), at which he'll start on November 15. A national search for O'Harrow's replacement is expected to take at least four months.

"It is my faith in this region that is keeping me here," O'Harrow said in an interview Friday. "I think there's a lot that eastern Iowa can achieve. There are a lot of great museums and great cultural offerings which I think need to be better promoted, to a certain extent organized, maybe coordinated."

And he said that after three years as executive director, he's leaving the Figge in good shape. "It's a very stable institution right now, and it's offering some very high-quality programs," O'Harrow said. "And if I can help the UIMA, I think that would be a very powerful pairing ... . It was important for me to offer my services."

In an interview promoting his 2007 lecture at the Figge Art Museum, urban planner Jeff Speck promised that his ideas would be "controversial." He explained to me that "most cities, for better or for worse, are being designed by their public-works departments, who state as the highest objective the free flow of automobiles."

Three years later, the City of Davenport is on the cusp of approving a 10-year comprehensive transportation plan called "Davenport in Motion" that draws from the philosophy Speck promotes. The shock is that it's barely controversial at all.

(Editor's note: "Fully Informed Juries: A New Hope for Freedom," Don Doig's commentary on jury nullification, can be found here.)

Like most people, Mike Angelos was surprised to learn about the power of juries to disregard the law. "The courts are really stacked against people," he said.

And he's trying to change that.

For more than a year, Angelos (a retired electrical engineer) and three other people have been handing out information regarding jury rights, including the power to return a verdict of "not guilty" if jurors believe that the law itself is unjust -- regardless of the facts of the case. This is commonly called "jury nullification" of laws, and the effort to spread the word about that power is known as the "fully informed jury" movement.

"The message we try to get to people is that it's the jury's right and duty to judge the law -- laws are arbitrary, bad, and misapplied -- as well as the facts of the case," Angelos said. "This was a new concept to me."

Balloting is now open for the second part of the 2010 Best of the Quad Cities survey.

Click here to begin voting online.

The survey includes 63 questions in the categories of "Arts, Culture, & Entertainment," "Night Life," "Shopping & Services," and "People," and all we ask is that you provide reasonable answers for at least 20 questions.

People who complete a valid ballot and choose to receive both once-a-week content alerts from the River Cities' Reader and Low Fare E-Alerts from the Quad City International Airport will be entered in a drawing to win a $500 AirTran Gift Certificate good for booking airfares at AirTran.com.

Voting closes on Friday, September 10. Results will be printed on October 14 in the River Cities' Reader, and published online in late September.

On February 17, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously to support a motion recommending "that the legislature reclassify marijuana from Schedule I of the Iowa Controlled Substance Act ... to Schedule II ... with the further recommendation that the legislature convene a task force or study committee ... for the purpose of making recommendations back to the legislature regarding the administration of a medical-marijuana program."

That simple, unequivocal statement followed four public hearings in summer and fall 2009, and appeared to be a major victory for medical-marijuana advocates.

But that win looks largely symbolic today, as Democratic legislative leaders last month balked at forming a study group, and the Board of Pharmacy reiterated its desire for legislative guidance.

Yet the Board of Pharmacy's recommendation remains a clear first step toward allowing medical use of marijuana in Iowa. According to the Iowa Controlled Substances Act, a Schedule I drug has "no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision." A Schedule II drug has "currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions."

So a request to reschedule marijuana is an acknowledgment by the Board of Pharmacy that marijuana has an "accepted medical use." But who will make marijuana available for medicinal use in Iowa?

At this point, the answer from the Board of Pharmacy and the legislature could be drawn from that old Family Circus gag: "Not Me!"

When Jodee O'Tool's son entered kindergarten in the Bettendorf Community School District in 2008, she was troubled by the meals the school offered.

"I started looking at the menu," she said. "I am in the field of nutrition, so that's something that's important to me.

"It's mostly processed food," she said. "Not much fresh food. ... A lot of it is hot dogs. ... A lot of chicken nuggets. Fried food ... ."

The Bettendorf elementary menu for May is a good illustration. The 20 lunches include three meals anchored by chicken nuggets, one with popcorn chicken, and one with a breaded chicken patty. One entrée is a hot dog; another is breaded mozzarella sticks.

On the fresh side are days with orange wedges, bananas, apple slices, watermelon wedges, grapes, celery sticks, "carroteenies," and freshly made salads.

While these meals meet federal nutrition standards, O'Tool said they're not particularly good for students overall. And she's trying to change the way the Bettendorf Community School District feeds its children.

Daniel WoodrellOne thing you might notice picking up Daniel Woodrell's novel Winter's Bone is how thin it is -- less than 200 pages.

And when you start reading, you might be struck that it's been carved incredibly lean. While relatively plainspoken, the sentences are dense, with a mix of dialect from the Ozarks and artfully turned idioms that feel instantly right. One has to sip Woodrell's language.

"I do like to make it apparent to the reader that you need to probably read everything," Woodrell said in a phone interview this week, promoting his reading at Augustana College on April 15. "'I won't put in any flab, but you have to read what's here' is kind of my deal with the reader. ... Pay attention to the sentences."

Here you'll find the Best of the Quad Cities in 63 categories, including articles on 11 winners. Voting was open from mid-January to mid-March, and our readers submitted nearly 500 valid ballots. (Reasonable responses to 20 of the 63 questions were required.) The winter balloting covered the areas of Food & Dining; Civics & Government; Media; and Recreation. (Summer balloting will cover the areas of Arts, Culture, & Entertainment; Night Life; Shopping & Services; and People.)

For winners from previous years, check out our Best of the Quad Cities archive.

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