Bronze Radio Return

The Redstone Room

Thursday, October 6, 7:30 p.m.


Given national and world news of late, it’s easy to feel depressed, if not downright despondent. Yet thanks to the roots-rock sextet Bronze Radio Return – performing October 6 at Davenport’s Redstone Room – I think I may have found an unbeatable pick-me-up.


Antoine Fuqua’s remake of 1960’s The Magnificent Seven, itself a remake of Akira Kurusawa’s Seven Samurai, isn’t a very good movie. If you’re able to ignore that, however, you can still have a very good time; given the assembled talent, this vengeance-minded Western is practically a triumph of screen charisma and the fine art of iconic posing over middling concerns such as depth of character and historical realism. You may not believe a minute of it, but you may be grinning too hard to care.

The Mississippi River brings to mind images of steamboat travel, devastating floods, and Huckleberry Finn on his raft.

The tuba conjures visuals of marching bands, Oktoberfests, and the mother ship making contact at the end of Close Encounters. (Okay, that last one might just be me.)

Audience members for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s season-opening Masterworks concerts, however, might find that, from now on, whenever they think of either the Ole Miss or the tuba, they’ll immediately also think of the other.


When his identity first became public in June of 2013, former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden resembled the real-life hero of a real-life Oliver Stone movie – a well-scrubbed, nerdishly handsome government opponent and champion of truth in the vein of JFK’s Jim Garrison. It seems somehow inevitable, then, that the famed whistleblower would indeed find himself the focus of a Stone-directed bio-pic, and the chief pleasures of Snowden lie in the beautiful match-up of subject matter and creative force; this truly feels like a movie Oliver Stone was born to make. Perhaps it would’ve felt like even more of one had the film not already been made – in 2014, as Laura Poitras’ exceptional documentary Citizenfour. But as unnecessary movies go, this new work is a strong and sober one, with the added benefit of revealing Joseph Gordon-Levitt to be a surprisingly uncanny mimic.

When I attended Augustana College’s second-to-last performance of the musical Sweeney Todd in May, I found the evening a bittersweet affair – and not just because of the meat pies.

Without question, Augie’s rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s demon-barber musical was terrifically performed and produced. Hence, the sweet. But the bitter came in knowing that the show would be the final one staged in the Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts’ Potter Hall – the utterly charming, 144-seat venue that I, as an Augustana theatre major, had so energetically toiled and played in from 1986 to 1990, as had any number of students active there between the building’s 1955 opening and this past spring.

Yet there was a silver lining, and you could find it right across the street at the former Augustana College Center. This was the venue that was to be newly named the Kim & Donna Brunner Theatre Center – a $4.2-million facility that would be the home to Augie’s theatre department, with its approximate 7,500 square feet boasting a 263-seat mainstage area, individual light and sound booths, an 80-seat studio theatre, a scenic-construction shop, a costume shop, a theatre library and conference room, faculty and administrative offices, spacious dressing rooms, and even showers. (Full tours of the center, which officially opened at the end of August, will be available during the theatre’s celebration gala on October 13.)


Jackie Greene

The Redstone Room

Wednesday, September 28, 7:30 p.m.

Americana and roots-rock musician Jackie Greene will perform with his ensemble at Davenport’s Redstone Room on September 28, and in a review of his most recent album Back to Birth, praised the artist’s “ability to move from one instrument to another as he has done during shows since he was too young to vote or enlist in our military.” That’s right: The 35-year-old headliner was a multi-instrumentalist back in high school, and even self-released his debut Rusty Nails before he earned his diploma. Talk about Greene initiative.


Sully is a well-crafted, touching, feel-good movie whose existence, for the life of me, I can’t comprehend.


Romantic dramas for adults have been so infrequent this millennium that it sometimes seems they appear only when studios feel the need for another generally laughable Nicholas Sparks adaptation, which makes it hard, in The Light Between Oceans, to know whether to swoon or chortle when – honest to God – a woman accepts a marriage proposal by saying, “Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” (I was sure that line had been put out to pasture after the demise of vaudeville.) Yet writer/director Derek Cianfrance is nothing if not sincere, occasionally to his detriment, and his take on novelist M.L. Stedman’s period romance is serious-minded, thematically resonant, and, at times, emotionally devastating in ways that the Sparks oeuvre almost never is. It’s the film’s second-half plot contrivances, and the unfortunate arm-twisting that accompanies them, that routinely bring Sparks to mind.


Adler Theatre

September through November


What ... is the deal ... with fall?! Is it a season? Is it a command? “You’ve been on your feet all summer, people – time to fall!” And why does it get two names – fall and autumn? Is it for when the season is feeling extra-fancy? “‘Fall’ just doesn’t go with these golden leaves of mine. Call me ‘Autumn!’”

Granted, my outstanding Seinfeld impression is a lot more impressive in person than in writing.

But you’ll be able to hone your own this fall – or, if you prefer, this autumn – after the legendary, Emmy-winning comedian comes to Davenport in September 22’s evening with Jerry Seinfeld, the first of numerous exciting events kicking off the Adler Theatre’s 2016-17 season.


Thursday, September 1 – Savage Master. Louisville-based rockers in concert, with an opening set by Angelust. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $10. For information, call (309)793-1999 or visit

Friday, September 2 – Trippin’ Billies. Concert with the Dave Matthews Band tribute musicians, with an opening set by Jason Carl. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. For information, call (309)793-1999 or visit

Friday, September 3, and Sunday, September 4 – Labor Day Benefit Fest. Fundraiser for Center for Worker’s Justice in Eastern Iowa, with sets by Endorsed, Staghorn, Dowsing, and more than a dozen additional bands. Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island). $6-12. For information, call (309)200-0978 or visit

Saturday, September 3, and Sunday, September 4 – The Travoltas. Annual outdoor Labor Day-weekend concerts with the disco and pop musicians. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. For information, call (309)793-1999 or visit