City Pick: Happenings


Dec. 8 through Dec. 14

All entries must be submitted by noon Friday. Fax 953-1394 or e-mail


Bill Blank
7:30 p.m.
Vaudeville Mews

Bill Blank refers to himself as "The Reluctant Family Man." The Des Moines native was also tapped to play a bit part in William Shatner's prank on Riverside, SpikeTV's weeklong series "Invasion Iowa." This laid-back, quirky comedian is known for being warm and fuzzy before switching, without warning, to sick and twisted as he spews forth stories from his childhood and crazy home life. In the past, he's played at the Funny Bone, as well as at The Underground Lounge in New York City. But you can see this stand-up comedian tonight at the Vaudeville Mews. Tickets are $6 in advance through IowaTix or $8 day of show.


311 and Alien Ant Farm
8 p.m.
Val Air Ballroom

One covered a song by The Cure; the other, a song by Michael Jackson. But both 311's version of "Love Song" and Alien Ant Farm's version of "Smooth Criminal" took the same risk in covering songs that, in reality, should probably never be covered, as they will never live up to the originals. These two risk-takers - 311 with its trademark funky alternative pop and Alien Ant Farm and its quirky post-grunge - have been tapped by 105.1 Channel Q to play the radio stations "Snowball" tonight at the Val Air Ballroom. Tickets are $28.50 in advance through Ticketmaster and the Val Air box office and $31.50 at the door.


Guns 'N' Hoses Charity Hockey Game
4:15 p.m.
Wells Fargo Arena

Though the "cold November rain" (cue the strings section) has passed, head out to the Wells Fargo Arena this afternoon and watch policemen and firefighters duke it out - on the ice - in the Inaugural Iowa Stars Guns 'N' Hoses Charity Hockey Game. Tickets are $15, with $4.50 from every ticket benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The rest covers the cost of the ticket to watch the Iowa Stars do battle with Chicago at 7:05 p.m. following the charity event. For more information, call Ken Parkins at 556-8489 or e-mail


"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"
1 and 4 p.m.
Des Moines Playhouse

Those horrible Herdman kids have taken over the annual Christmas pageant. And because those kids lie and steal and smoke cigars (even the girls!), the townspeople are just sure this year's pageant is set up for disaster. Could this, in fact, turn out to be the worst Christmas pageant ever? Either way, it'll be memorable, as the holiday favorite "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," based on the book by Barbara Robinson, is staged at The Des Moines Playhouse through Dec. 18. Tickets are $12 for students and $16 for adults through the Playhouse box office or by calling 277-6261. And show up early, as area choirs will be singing the sounds of the season in the lobby.


The Good Life
9 p.m.
Vaudeville Mews

Tim Kasher is perhaps better known for his Omaha-based band Cursive. And though that band has had its share of success alongside the other stars of the Saddle Creek record label, Cursive never allowed Kasher to explore the more personal, softer approach he longed to mine. The Good Life affords him that opportunity, not merely as a side project, but as a completely separate band that also releases CDs and tours on a regular basis. The Good Life's material is stark and depressing, brooding pop music often tapping the same vein as The Cure or Morrissey, and often centered on a heartbreaking divorce that still haunts Kasher's past and inflects even his newest material. See Kasher and The Good Life tonight at the Vaudeville Mews with openers Euphone and Eagle Eagull and Me Too Bob Dylan, Me Too. Tickets are $8 in advance through IowaTix and $10 day of show.


"Little Shop of Horrors"
7:30 p.m.
Civic Center of Greater Des Moines

Seymour Krelbourn is an unlikely hero; horticulturalists are generally only known for their life-saving abilities when it comes to objects with petals and stems and pollen and such. Nevertheless, mild-mannered Krelbourn must find a way to save his co-worker and crush, Audrey, who has a boyfriend who keeps Krelbourn from revealing his true feelings, from a rapidly growing plant with a bloodthirsty secret. See this first-ever Broadway production of "Little Shop of Horrors" tonight at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, where performances will be held through Sunday, Dec. 18. Tickets for tonight's performance range from $17.50-$40, and are available through the Civic Center box office.


6 p.m.
The House of Bricks

Halifax is a band that's not afraid to admit that, back in 2002, it was a standard, cookie-cutter pop punk band, which is a lot more than all of the other standard, cookie-cutter pop punk bands are admitting. After a U.S. tour in support of their predictable release, "Start Back at Start," the band broke up due to differing viewpoints on the direction of the band. But two members remained, hoping to rebuild the band. And they did. New members brought new influences and new energy to Halifax's debut EP, "A Writer's Reference," seven songs worth of emo-tinged pop punk, but with a bit more promise than the 2002 incarnation provided. Tickets are $8 through IowaTix or $10 day of show.

Comment on this story | Return to top