By Jared Curtis, Matt Miller, Michael Swanger and Jim Duncan
Forget escaping a cold Iowa winter. The snow will fall, the wind will blow and the temperatures will drop, so why not embrace it? Central Iowa has a variety of activities throughout the winter months, and we’ve created our fourth annual “Winter Arts & Entertainment Guide,” a four-page list to help get you to spring. We offer insight on sports, theater, live entertainment, and film that will make the winter months go away. This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it’s one that we feel you’ll find comfort in.
By Michael Swanger
Tea Leaf Green
Sunday, Jan. 23, 8 p.m., $15
San Francisco-based jam band Tea Leaf Green got its start when a group of high school friends decided to form a band. But since bursting out of Frisco’s thriving music scene in 1997, the quartet has gone on to build a national grassroots following thanks to its relentless touring and bootlegged live shows. Having opened for popular jam bands like Gov’t Mule, Phish’s Trey Anastasio and the Dave Matthews Band and delivered noteworthy sets at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa and 10K Lakes, Tea Leaf Green has graduated to become post-jam ambassadors of a different sort thanks to their mix of early jazz and rock. The band’s latest album, 2010’s “Looking West,” is a compilation of road-tested, fan favorite songs that the band has never recorded in the studio. It also marks a new chapter for the band and represents the artistic and individual growth of the band since their formation more than a decade ago. Bring your audio recorder and patchouli phunk to the Mews and immerse yourself in Tea Leaf Green.
Jaegermeister Tour Presents: Buckcherry, Hellyeah, All That Remains, The
7 Flags Event Center, Clive
Saturday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m., $29.99
Fans of metal music will have plenty of chances to bang their heads during the last weekend of January with concerts by Warrant and LA Guns (Jan. 28) at 7 Flags Event Center, but we thought the Jaegermeister Tour featuring Buckcherry, Hellyeah, All That Remains and The Damned Things had the most relevancy to our readers. Buckcherry’s fifth and latest album, “All Night Long,” is steeped in classic metal sounds, the kind a friend who worships metal bands describes as “Guns N’ Roses lite from back in the day, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” However, what makes this show compelling to loyal metal fans with a sense of context is the opening acts. Hellyeah features former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul and The Damned Things includes two former members of thrash metal pioneers Anthrax, including vocalist Scott Ian. Newcomers All That Remains rounds out the bill. Overall, it’s quite a stylistic mix of metal, promising something for everyone who is a fan of the genre.
My Chemical Romance
Val Air Ballroom
Sunday, April 10, 8 p.m., $30
Call them what you want, “alternative rock,” “post-hardcore,” “punk revival,” “pop-punk” or, dare say, “emo,” Des Moines area fans have enjoyed a front row view of My Chemical Romance’s evolution in the rock world, having graduated from playing clubs to larger venues like the Val Air Ballroom. The New Jersey rock band formed in 2001 and found major label success in 2004 with the release of “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” and 2006’s concept album, “The Black Parade.” Their latest album, 2010’s “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” however, is a bit of a departure from their previous albums, featuring a mix of rock and synthesizer sounds. Then again, fans of the band have come to expect My Chemical Romance never to be dependent on one tried-and-true sound. True to form, when they bring their “World Contamination Tour” to the Val Air Ballroom, it will mark the first tour the band has done since the departure of its drummer, Bob Bryar, who will be substituted by stand-in drummer Michael Pedicone. Brace yourself for more changes.
By Jared Curtis
Hoyt Sherman Place
Thursday, Jan. 13, 8 p.m., $25 - $39
Patton Oswalt is a man of many words. His wicked and warped sense of humor has been prominent for years, even if the average person has never heard of him. Known for being a part of the “Comedians of Comedy,” with Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford and Zack Galifianakis, Oswalt pushes the boundaries of stand-up comedy on stage and with his three comedy albums (“Feelin’ Kinda Patton,” “Werewolves and Lollipops” and “My Weakness is Strong”).
He has worked in TV (“King of Queens,” “Reno 911,” “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”), film (“Big Fan,” “Observe and Report”) and on Jan. 4, he became an author of his first book, “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland.” I chatted with Oswalt from his home in California as he prepared for his upcoming stand-up and book tour (no luck for Des Moines on a book signing).
“This is my first time in Des Moines,” he said. “I wanted to make sure and hit places I’ve never been before, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Although Oswalt is married and has a child, don’t expect his comedy to become family friendly.
“Comedy is always changing, but I don’t think of family man terms when I’m working,” he says. “I say what I want to say.”
Oswalt has written columns for magazines (his recent Weird column, “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die” caused uproar in the nerd community) for a while, so it was a natural progression to move to write a book.
“Writing a book, compared to writing jokes or a column, is a different discipline,” he said. “I never set down to write a book; I just started writing, and it started flowing. The book itself is hard to describe, but it’s a mixture of essays and stories.”
Although he’s never visited Hoyt Sherman Place, Oswalt enjoys the confines of the larger venues.
“Theaters are better than comedy clubs,” he said. “You have one show, and the crowds are there to see you so they are more focused.”
Oswalt will record a new comedy album in the spring, so he’ll be trying a number of new bits during the show.
“Nothing old; it’ll strictly be all new material,” he said.
When asked what people should expect from the show, Oswalt responded with a hilariously honest, yet angry, answer.
“Me telling jokes into a microphone,” he paused. “Let me expand… me telling jokes into a microphone, which goes through a cord and amplifies my voice, which then allows the crowd to pass judgment on my jokes.”
It’s clear the man has a way with words.
‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’
Des Moines Playhouse, 831 42nd St.
March 25 through April 17, $17 - $35
The Des Moines Playhouse will get downright dirty and rotten this spring as it presents “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” March 25 through April 17. The play, based on the 1988 film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, follows the trials and tribulations of two con men, Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson, living on the French Riviera. The men are completely different in their approach (Jameson is suave and sophisticated, using his charm to talk rich women out of their fortunes, and Benson is a small-time crook who humbly swindles the compassion of women with his exaggerated tales of his grandmother’s declining health) but both are out to steal anything they can get their hands on. After meeting on a train, the two team up but soon realize the small French town is too big for both of them. A deal is made (whoever can steal $50,000 from a local heiress wins) and the loser has to leave town. If this production is half as funny as the movie, we’re in for a big treat.
‘Rock of Ages’
The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, 221 Walnut St.
April 19 through April 24, tickets go on sale to the public on Feb. 28
Are you ready to rock? That’s the question being asked this spring at the Civic Center as it presents the national tour of the five-time Tony Award nominated hit musical “Rock of Ages.” You might “Bang Your Head” or “Shout at the Devil” during this thrilling rock epic told through some of the greatest rock hits of the ’80s. “Rock of Ages” takes place in 1987 on the iconic mecca of ’80s music, the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, Calif. The story follows a small-town girl who meets a big city rocker (played by “American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis) in L.A.’s most famous rock club, and the two fall in love.
“Each season we like to have a variety of Broadway productions appealing to all tastes,” said Jeff Chelesvig, President & CEO of The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. “ ‘Rock of Ages’ will appeal to traditional theater-goers as well as fans who enjoy rock music of the ’80s.”
“Rock of Ages” is an arena-rock love story about dreaming big, playing loud and partying on, told through the music of some of the biggest bands of the decade including Poison, Twisted Sister, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Whitesnake, Pat Benatar and Styx. If it’s too loud, you’re too old. So get ready to have “Nothin’ But A Good Time” at this rip roaring party.
The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, 221 Walnut St.
May 3 through May 8, tickets go on sale to the public on March 14
It’s alive! The classic Mel Brooks film is alive and well as “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” invades the Civic Center this spring. Audiences will enjoy all of their favorite moments from the 1974 classic film, as well as brand-new musical numbers for the stage, including “Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” This re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend follows young Dr. Frankenstein as he creates a monster, but it doesn’t go as smoothly as planned as the doctor runs into multiple scary and hilarious complications.
“People who like to laugh should definitely come to this show,” Chelesvig said. “It’s hilarious, and it’s a big Broadway show that is sure to electrify audiences.”
Audiences can expect a monstrous good time.
By Jared Curtis
March 18, Rated R
Directed by Greg Mottola
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig and Jason Bateman
Let’s begin this part of the guide with one of the most highly anticipated geek films of the year, “Paul.” When the powers of director Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” Adventureland”) and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Spaced,” “Shaun of the Dead” “Hot Fuzz”) combined, you have pure gold. Add in a laugh-out-loud supporting cast including Seth Rogen, Kristin Wiig, Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, Jeffery Tambor, David Koechner and Joe Lo Truglio, and you’ve got a classic in the making. “Paul” is the story of two friends, Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost), who head out on a pilgrimage to the heart of UFO country — Area 51. The two meet an alien named Paul (voiced by Rogen), and together they escape the Army base Paul has lived in for more than 60 years. As federal agents chase them down, the two hatch a plan to help Paul get back to his mothership, turning two normal idiots into intergalactic idiots in the process. “Paul” has the talent to become the next great sci-fi comedy. Hopefully, it’s out of this world.
March 25, Rated R
Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish and Carla Gugino
Zack Snyder’s venture into animated tales with “Guardians of Ga’Hoole,” was a letdown, but it’s not going to derail me from his bandwagon. I’m excited to see his upcoming ass-kicking chick flick, “Sucker Punch.” The film takes place in the 1950s and follows Baby Doll (Emily Browning), a young girl who is institutionalized by her evil stepfather after the accidental death of her younger sister. Alone and in a scary, unfamiliar place, Baby Doll retreats into an alternative reality in her mind and envisions a plan for escape. She needs help and joins forces with some of the other girls locked up including Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung) to escape Blue (Oscar Isacc), the doctor who will lobotomize Baby Doll in a matter of days. Escaping in her imaginary world, Baby Doll works in a brothel run by Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) but even in her dream she can’t escape danger as the brothel’s high roller (Jon Hamm) will be there in five days to take Baby Doll’s virginity. “Sucker Punch” looks like all kinds of crazy, featuring dragons, B-52 bomber planes and plenty of action. And if you need any more reason to go, Snyder describes his latest film as “‘Alice In Wonderland’ with machine guns.” Enough said.
April 1, Rated R
Directed by James Gunn
Starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon and Nathan Fillion
We’ve had plenty of vigilante superhero films over the past couple of years including “Kick-Ass,” “Special” and the superior “Defendor.” But none of them compares to the craziness that will be unleashed in “Super.” Frank (Rainn Wilson, “The Office”) is an average guy with a hot wife (Liv Tyler). But after she leaves him for a smooth-talking drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon), a switch turns off in Frank’s head, and his grasp on reality quickly fades away. He has an epiphany and realizes his true calling in life is to become a superhero and clean trash like Jacques off the street. Donning a red suit, carrying a pipe wrench and taking the name The Crimson Bolt, Frank stalks the streets. Fighting every type of criminal from drug dealers, rapists and even people who cut in lines at movies, The Crimson Bolt leaves no crime unpunished. Along the way, he crosses path with an unstable comic nerd named Libby (Ellen Page). Soon they join forces, and she becomes The Crimson Bolt’s sidekick, Boltie. Director James Gunn (“Slither”) knows how to make a B-movie feel like a Hollywood blockbuster, and his twistedly absurd premise should deliver. Reviewers are already saying that “Super” is funnier and offers more blood than “Kick-Ass.”
April 8, Rated R
Directed by David Gordon Green
Staring Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel and Justin Theroux
Of all the films being released in 2011, “Your Highness” is at the top of the list. Directed by David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express,” “Eastbound and Down”), written by Ben Best (“Eastbound and Down,” “The Foot Fist Way”) and starring Danny McBride (“Eastbound and Down,” “Observe and Report,” “Pineapple Express,” “Hot Rod”), “Your Highness” has all the makings to be the funniest film of the year. Add in an amazing cast including James Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel, and this film is medieval goodness. The story follows two brothers — Prince Fabious (Franco), a skilled fighter and predictable heir to the throne; and Prince Thadeous (McBride), a lazy, worthless man who has “settled for a life of wizard’s weed, hard booze and easy maidens” — as they set out on a journey of epic proportions. When the love of his life, Belladonna (Deschanel), is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer (Justin Theroux), Fabious must put his faith in Thadeous as the two brothers join forces to bring her back. Along the way, they meet Isabel (Portman), a fierce warrior who is skilled with a bow. The trailers are laugh-out-loud funny and McBride has stated publicly they set out to make a movie like “Krull,” which makes it that much better. Get ready to ride into battle with this outrageous comedy.
By Matt Miller
Price varies, Wells Fargo Arena
Iowa Energy head coach Nick Nurse says the NBD-L is in unchartered territory with a large number of NBA caliber players peppering team rosters around the league. Yet, Nurse has his team right where he wants it — atop the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record as of press time.
“Our team is really gelling and playing well right now,” Nurse said. “There is room for improvement, but we have a favorable schedule the rest of the season, and we’re leading the conference. It can’t get better than that.”
The Energy have six players averaging double figures in points, led by guard Othyus Jeffers at 20.3 points per game.
“Othyus has been a constant for us — he’s doing it all,” Nurse said. “We’re going to continue to need him to push us into the playoffs.”
Of the five losses the Energy has suffered, two of were to the Tulsa 66ers, a team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.
“The 66ers are one of the top teams in the league — they’re athletic and deep,” Nurse said. “We’ll see them again. But at this point, we have to concentrate on our next game. We seem to have a bullseye on our back, so we must be doing something right.”
Iowa Energy remaining home schedule
Jan. 16 – vs. Fort Wayne Mat Ants, 4 p.m.
Jan. 22 – vs. Reno Bighorns, 7 p.m.
Jan. 23 – vs. Reno Bighorns, 4 p.m.
Jan. 28 – vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 – vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 7 p.m.
Feb.4 – vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce, 7 p.m.
Feb. 5 – vs. Utah Flash, 7 p.m.
Feb. 11 – vs. Dakota Wizards, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 – vs. Dakota Wizards, 7 p.m.
Feb. 24 – vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce, 10:30 a.m.
Feb. 25 – vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce, 7 p.m.
March 6 – vs. Idaho Stampede, 4 p.m.
March 13 – vs. Erie Bayhawks, 4 p.m.
March 18 – vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce, 7 p.m.
March 20 – vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 4 p.m.
Des Moines Buccaneers
Price varies, Buccaneer Arena
Entering the 2010-11 season, the Des Moines Buccaneers weren’t sure what they had in new head coach Regg Simon. What players and fans have found is an individual dedicated to bringing the Buccaneers back to prominence. Simon, 34, was a defenseman for the Buccaneers from 1994-96 and helped the team capture its first “triple crown” in 1995 — a USHL Anderson Cup (best regular-season record), the Clark Cup (playoff championship) and the Gold Cup (junior hockey’s national championship).
As of press time, Simon has the Buccaneers at 14-9-2 in the Western Conference. The Buccaneers begin a five-game homestand on Jan. 22 against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Des Moines Buccaneers remaining home schedule
(all games at 7:05 p.m. unless noted)
Jan. 15 – vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints
Jan. 22 – vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks
Jan. 25 – vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Jan. 28 – vs. Fargo Force
Jan. 29 – vs. Indiana Ice
Feb. 4 – vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Feb. 12 – vs. Waterloo Black Hawks
Feb. 19 – vs. Indiana Ice
Feb. 22 – vs. Waterloo Black Hawks
Feb. 26 – vs. Sioux Falls Stampede
March 4 – vs. Chicago Steele (7:30 pm.)
March 11 – vs. Team USA
March 12 – vs. Omaha Lancers
March 22 – vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
April 2 – vs. Chicago Steel
April 5 – vs. Youngstown Phantoms
April 8 – vs. Team USA
April 9 – vs. Green Bay Gamblers
Iowa Bicycle Summit
Jan. 28-29, Iowa Events Center
Iowa is blessed with an abundance of bicycle paths and trails to residents on two wheels most of the year. Thanks to events like the Iowa Bicycle Summit, which raises bicycle awareness, the recreational activity continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The upcoming Summit is focused on producing low-cost, accessible education to build stronger bicycle communities.
On Jan. 28, Antonio Rossell will lead the facility design workshop designed to give city engineers and planners the tools to build and improve facilities for bicycling.
On Jan. 29, featured speakers will cover a variety of topics including design innovation, safe routes to school, long-term trail and streets planning, community bicycle clubs, bicycle injury rehabilitation, bike-share programs and more.
The Summit will conclude with the announcement of the 2011 RAGBRAI route.
Red Flannel Run
Feb. 12, 9 a.m., Riverfront YMCA
Register at www.dmymca.org.
Flannel might not be popular in today’s fashion, but it’s perfectly acceptable to flaunt during the upcoming 22nd Annual Red Flannel Run. Starting at the Riverfront YCMA, the Red Flannel Run is considered the kick-off to the racing season, as it attracts more than 1,500 runners each year. Organizers hope that 2,000 runners participate in this year’s event, which features a 3- and 5-mile course.
“This race gets the racing season underway,” said Kathy Strottmann, associate executive director with the YMCA. “Even with the race being held in February, we’ve always had a great turnout.”
Since its inception, the Red Flannel Run has attracted runners of all ages from Iowa and beyond. Adding to the race’s creativity, runners run in outlandish costumes and get-ups to win prizes. This year’s prizes include “Icy Cupid Award” (Best Dressed Couple) and Penguin Award (Best Dressed Participant).
Although last year’s winter was near record-breaking in terms of snowfall, Strottmann says the run was still an overall success with more than 1,600 runners crossing the finish line. The Red Flannel Run has never been cancelled, and Strottman has no intentions of doing it this year. Although one year, the race had to be strictly run up and down Second Avenue.
“The Red Flannel Run has become a staple running event in Des Moines,” Strottmann said. “It will be again this year.”
‘My Mulligan Life’ with Rick Reilly
Feb. 18, 4 p.m., Iowa Events Center
Award-winning columnist and author Rick Reilly visits Des Moines to share some of his most distinguished memories in the sports world. Over the course of his 30-year writing career, Reilly has experienced such adventures as running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; bicycling with Lance Armstrong, flying upside down at 600 mph in an F-14, and more. He is best known for his Sports Illustrated column, “Life of Reilly,” and has been voted National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times.
BRR (Bike Ride to Rippey)
Feb. 5, 10 a.m., Perry
Register at www.bikeiowa.com
Sponsored by the Perry Chamber of Commerce, the 34th annual winter ride is from Perry to Rippey and back (43 miles total). Known as the “Original Winter Bike Ride,” the event also includes prizes and entertainment.
Other notable events
Des Moines Winter Games
Feb. 4-6, Various locations
State Wrestling Tournament
Feb. 16-19, Wells Fargo Arena
Iowa Deer Classic
Feb. 25-27, Hy-Vee Hall
CIRREM 100K Gravel Road Race
Feb. 26, Cumming
Boys and Girls State Basketball Tournament
March 1-6 (girls), Wells Fargo Arena
March 7-12 (boys), Wells Fargo Arena
By Jim Duncan
This young German artist staked his own territory within the postmodern ironic art scene by exploring “the merger of the mundane with the seductive.” Using 20th century inventions like PVC pipe, Plexiglass, aluminum foil, neon tubing and neon light, Reyle creates with intense colors, light and surface effects that deconstruct common composition patterns of more familiar abstract painting styles. This is his first American exhibition outside New York. Jan. 28 through April 17 at the Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave.
Five years ago, art critic David Cateforis explained this Kansas City installation artist: “Small is best known for his steel and ceramic interpretations of war machines, weapons and equipment. Creatively manipulated to deprive them of their function, Small’s bombers, jeeps, tires and helmets operate simultaneously as antiwar statements and compelling aesthetic objects.” Small has since honed his sensibilities while working in China. His upcoming show in Des Moines departs from military themes with new influence coming from Chinese ceramics and porcelain, neon signs, paper lanterns and video games. Feb. 4 through March 19 at Moberg Gallery, 2921 Ingersoll Ave.
Painters Gregory Euclide, David Linneweh, Amanda Smith, Matt Pulford, Michael Wille and Kris Holmgren work “between the traditional polarities of representation and abstraction (or non-representation).” This exhibition explores not only the middle states of such visual exploration but also its geographic roots in the American Midwest. Jan. 28 through Feb. 27 at Drake’s Anderson Gallery, 2505 Carpenter Ave.
The father of both Minimalism and Conceptual Art, Sol Lewitt delivered Abstract Expressionism from the tyrannies of psychological nuance, emotionalism and bodily movement. Form became a means rather than an end. This show at Vail demonstrates how Lewitt reduced his repertoire to simple geometric forms, colors and shapes. The exhibition becomes an art history lesson. Through Feb. 24 at Steven Vail Fine Arts, 4700 Locust St.
‘New Works by Michael Brangoccio, Timothy Frerichs, Jan Zelfer-Redmond, Bonney Goldstein, Gary Olson’
Abstract painter Goldstein, botanical minimalist Frerichs, Expressionist Zelfer-Redmond and assemblage artist Olson join magical-realist Brangoccio in an exhibition of Olson-Larsen heavyweights. One commonality strings them together — all look at rather ordinary things and see something unusual, something that only artists see. Feb. 18 through April 11 at Olson-Larsen Gallery, 203 5th St., West Des Moines.
‘Relationships: Dawn, Analog to Digital’
Artists Anson Call, Dean Biechler and Chuck Richards are featured in this cycle of exhibits and interdisciplinary educational programs pairing Iowa State studio arts faculty with colleagues from other disciplines. Through May 8 with a reception on Jan. 20, Brunier Art Museum, Iowa State University. www.public.iastate.edu/~ceah/events.htm. CV