2011's Firecracker 500 Festival serves up more than 20 eclectic garage-rock groups bent on rocking an all-ages-audience's socks off over three thrash-filled days. Bands such as White Mystery and Pitchfork-reviewed quartet The Coathangers kick out jams with riot-grrrl grit, and headliners The Strange Boys shred psychedelic hooks sharper than Jimi Hendrix's diamond-tipped mustache-trimmers. The festival's full roster of up-and-coming acts can expose most attendees' ears to new shrieks and sounds.
A community pillar since 1956, the Iowa City Community Theatre has enlisted local dramatists to take to the stage for the fourth-wall-leaning musical farce The Drowsy Chaperone . A heartfelt and humorous examination of the interplay of life and art, the play depicts a devoted fan of musical theater as he literally slips into the world of his favorite cast album. As the comedic musical unfolds, audiences find themselves thoroughly bemused by the main character's constant footnoting of theatrical trivia, and English students flip frantically through encyclopedias to cite his sources. A nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a love of theater in the community, ICCT reserves a spot for everybody—onstage, in the audience, or masked behind the subterranean organ.
While it is not possible to have a review for an upcoming event, the Englert Civic Theatre is an Editors' Pick on 10best.com for Iowa City attractions and was voted by Cityvoters as being the #2 Best Theater in 2010, and the #1 Best Theater in 2009.
Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Boston Brass enthralls audiences with stylized performances of eclectic musical arrangements. Like sailors to the Sirens, assorted audiences are drawn to the group's diverse horn-blowing backgrounds, including classical compositions and contemporary jazz numbers. No strangers to the limelight, Boston Brass has performed in 49 states and 21 countries, been featured on The CBS Early Show, NPR's Performance Today, and The Great American Brass Band Festival, and recorded several albums.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.
As though scrawled by a member of the world's least-threatening street gang, the graffiti'd word "PENGUINS" on the stage's brick wall announces the venue's name. Nationally touring comics make that wall their backdrop every week, flooding the room with laughter as audience members accidentally flood their lungs with beer. The venue draws a number of recognizable industry names each month, with past appearances including Chris Kattan and Tom Arnold.