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Winter arts & entertainment guide


Any imbecilic idiot, stomping toddler, wailing infant or even a primate in sign can say, “It’s cold out,” damn cold — even for Iowa — and probably colder than it looks. But despite this season’s sadistic sub-zero wind chills, the dangerous drive along an icy Interstate pavement and that missing Isotoner exposing dead-cold fingers that the touchscreen won’t recognize as human digits, we take comfort in the promise of change, the glorious inevitably of spring.

Until then, we bring you our annual Winter Arts and Entertainment Guide. The tricky part is narrowing the list every year, as the local entertainment offerings are as numerous as the particles of white powder blowing across the road diminishing visibility to an almost suicidal level. Check our calendar of events each week for more options on ways to occupy the mind and body as we await March to end like a lamb.



Bow Wow

Seven Flags Event Center, Clive

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Friday, Feb. 14, 9 p.m., $30

The artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow — he dropped the “Lil” back in 2002, because it was time to grow up — will be playing some special “love and lyrics” on Valentines Day. The matured “B-Dub” hasn’t put out an album since 2009, but he’s back at the mic and rumored to be dropping new tracks next year that are sure to retain those sweet vocal stylings that topped charts in the mid-’00s — the R. Kelly-infused “I’m a Flirt,” “Shortie Like Mine,” featuring Chris Brown, and the Dem Franchize Boyz track “I Think They Like Me” sure to be among them.


Caroline Smith

Vaudeville Mews

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 9 p.m., $10

You can cease your search for new music to freshen up the New Year. Look no further than singer/songwriter Caroline Smith. The Minnesota native is barely known and most likely only from folk group Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps. That’s about to change — and fast. On her latest album, “Half About Being a Woman,” released last October, Smith makes a seamless departure into rhythm and blues where her soulful voice, reminiscent of Joss Stone or Norah Jones, settles into the new genre naturally. Her full, breathy voice perfectly complements the R & B beats with such ease, it’s a wonder why she would ever do anything else. Smith has found her sound, and people are wise to listen.


Crosby, Stills and Nash play at the Civic Center of Des Moines on Tuesday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets run between $71-$86.

Crosby, Stills and Nash play at the Civic Center of Des Moines on Tuesday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets run between $71-$86.

Crosby, Stills and Nash

Civic Center of Des Moines

Tuesday, March 11, 7:30 p.m., $71-$86

Remember Woodstock ’69? Most don’t, but even kids of Generation Z have at least heard of the legendary New York music festival — the music celebration by which all others are measured and left wanting. Back then, every band in the lineup earned its spot based on merit, talent and fan base, rather than an angling agent, an I Heart Radio contract or a major label lobbyist. Few acts that comprised the Woodstock lineup remain… but David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash were there, and this March they’ll be here. This is a bucket-list event of epic proportions, as each musician is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and for anyone old enough to remember Crosby, Still and Nash’s heyday, this concert is sure to be “Déjà vu” all over again.


Slightly Stoopid

Val Air Ballroom, West Des Moines

Wednesday, March 12, 8:30 p.m., $22.50-$75

Sublime front man Bradley Nowell was already a respected ska-punk songwriter along the California coast before most Iowans had ever heard of the Long Beach trio. His reverence and popularity traversed and conjoined the genres most famed of the region and the era, pioneering a sound that came to define the ’90s. Sublime was only scratching the surface when Nowell’s fatal heroin overdose ended the band’s climb. But before he died, Nowell ushered Slightly Stoopid into the scene by signing this band of then high-schoolers to his Skunk Records label. Now this 80/35 Fest alum’s devoted fan-base of “Stoopid Heads” have since made it a top -selling independent. The Cali-based has chosen Des Moines as its launch pad to kick off its 2014 spring tour.


George Strait and Ronnie Dunn

Wells Fargo Arena

Friday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., $94-$1,930

Shine the cowboy boots and belt buckle, and knock the dust off the ol’ hat. The king of country is coming to town, and for fans of the genre, George Straight is an absolute can’t-miss. The show opens with the rocking country tunes of Ronnie Dunn, formerly of Brooks and Dunn. Between the two, these guys have numerous Grammy and Country Music Association Awards and have collaborated with some of the biggest names in country music, including Sheryl Crow, Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire. It’ll be a night of honky-tonk for the ages, and one fans will be talking about for years to come. – Cady Colosimo



‘Labor Day’

Jan. 31, Rated PG13, 111 minutes

Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Brooke Smith, Tobey Maguire, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, J.K. Simmons

Local theater Fleur Cinema brings a love story that will warm that cold center. Grieving from the loss of love in her life, Adele (Winslet) is a recluse relying on her 13-year-old son Henry to be the man of the house when a back-to-school shopping trip leads to the rescue of fugitive Frank Chambers, (Brolin). Together Adele and Frank are isolated and build a world of their own while the heat of prying eyes and police threaten to end their interlude. Who’s saving who in this touching, tragic-yet-hopeful tale of lonely hearts?


‘The LEGO Movie’

Feb. 7, Rated PG, 100 minutes

Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Allison Brie, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt and Morgan Freeman

Here’s one for the kiddos. Classic good guy vs. evil villain: An everyday LEGO mini-figure is mistaken for the illustrious MasterBuilder and is recruited to join a quest to stop a sinister tyrant from gluing the universe together. The voices of comedic pals Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Will Ferrell and others, are set to the classic LEGO men and women almost everyone will recognize from childhood play. With the use of modern 3D computer technology, the action unfolds in the timeless boxy LEGO world, so the state-of-the-art graphics are somehow reminiscent of the 1980s clay-to-cartoon-to-computer evolution. It’s sort of modern day kids’ “Gumby,” sure to be an instant classic — likely to the dismay of MegaBloks, which, let’s face it, is just Canada’s short-falling version that’s undeserving of its own full-length film. But could a LEGO vs. MegaBloks sequel someday emerge? Stay tuned.


‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

March 7, Rated

Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman

Wes Anderson’s slew of cult films (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Rushmore”), written in dry wit, chuckle comedy, Anderson’s work is naturally akin to British humor as it is. So his latest “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is the comedy to look for this winter. A legendary concierge takes a lobby boy under his wing, and the protégé becomes his most trusted friend. Drama unfolds over the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and a wrangling for an enormous family fortune. As it usually goes with Anderson, a write-up summary of his story robs the magic from the masterpiece, which can only be fully understood from a seat in the theater. The adventures of Gustave H. (Fiennes), and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) will leave the laughs lingering.



The biblical story of “Noah,” starring Russell Crow, opens in Des Moines movie theaters on March 28.

The biblical story of “Noah,” starring Russell Crow, opens in Des Moines movie theaters on March 28.

March 28, NR

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth

Almost everyone knows the story of Noah’s Ark. See this biblical tale come to life in the epic cinematic masterpiece of the year, “Noah.” Russell Crowe portrays Noah, who is haunted by prophetic visions of an apocalyptic flood, which is depicted by evolved special effects and captivating visual imagery that climaxes and assaults ancient Earth, while Noah desperately struggles to protect his family. – Amber Williams



‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

Des Moines Community Playhouse

Jan. 31-Feb. 16


Check out the local thespian talents of Tim Wisgerhof, as Randle P. McMurphy, and Kellie Kramer as the heinous Nurse Ratched. The rabblerousing McMurphy choses a mental hospital over a prison stint and awakens the patients from their stupors with his brash and boisterous personality that antagonizes the tyrannical Nurse Ratched. Things go too far in this unforgettable story of man damning the system.


“Rain - A Tribute to The Beatles,” comes to the Civic Center of Des Moines on Feb. 4 and 5. Tickets range in price from $50-$99 but are selling fast.

“Rain – A Tribute to The Beatles,” comes to the Civic Center of Des Moines on Feb. 4 and 5. Tickets range in price from $50-$99 but are selling fast.

‘Rain — A Tribute to The Beatles’

Civic Center of Des Moines

Feb. 4-5


Never experienced the Beatlemania of the 1960s? “Rain” is said to be the next best thing to actually seeing The Beatles. This touring show offers a full range of The Beatles’ discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles recorded in the studio but never performed live. Despite the performers’ lack of the key Southpaw bassist that was Sir Paul McCartney, which gave the band its symmetrical look on stage, “Rain” otherwise delivers the classic tunes just as the legendary foursome would have. Discover what the mania was all about with a dose of “Rain.” Seats are filling fast.


‘Our Town’

Kum and Go Theatre – Des Moines Social Club

Feb. 14-23

$22-$25 adults/$19 seniors/$12 students

This Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic is a dramatic journey through 13 years in Grover’s Corners, U.S.A, in the early 1900s. A perfect fit for Iowa actors and audiences, the story is a trip through time where the characters cycle in and out of the town’s history. It is an intimate draw to the new DMSC venue. – Amber Williams



The next Iowa Energy basketball game goes down on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., at Wells Fargo Arena, where Des Moines takes on the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

The next Iowa Energy basketball game goes down on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., at Wells Fargo Arena, where Des Moines takes on the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Iowa Energy basketball

Wells Fargo Arena

The Energy are battling it out for the No. 1 spot in the National Basketball Association Development League this year, sharing the second-place standing in the Central Division with rivals Sioux Falls, both at 15-8 and trailing division leader Rio Grand Valley, 17-5 (as of press time). If the Energy can rebound from a couple recent losses, the team could still earn a spot in the playoffs. Stakes will be high in division games ahead.

Other Energy events to note are ’70s Night and Ladies Night on Feb. 1, the Chicago Boyz Aerobics Team halftime performance on Feb. 8 and Family Day, Feb. 23 and March 9. Oh, and all Saturday home games feature $2 beer.

Iowa Energy remaining home schedule:

Jan. 23                   vs. Maine Red Claws                  7 p.m.

Feb. 1                  vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce                   7 p.m.

Feb. 6                   vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce                  10:30 a.m.

Feb. 8                   vs. Erie Bayhawks                  7 p.m.

Feb. 11                   vs. Tulsa 66ers                  7 p.m.

Feb. 23                   vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants                  4 p.m.

Feb. 28                   vs. Tulsa 66ers                  7 p.m.

March 9                  vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers 4 p.m.

March 17                  vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce                  7 p.m.

March 20                   vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants                  7 p.m.

March 22                  vs. Tulsa 66ers                  7 p.m.

March 29                  vs. Canton Charge                  7 p.m.

March 30                  vs. Canton Charge                  4 p.m.

April 2                   vs. Idaho Stampede                  7 p.m.

April 4                   vs.Maine Red Claws                  7 p.m.

April 5                   vs.Los Angeles D-Fenders                  7 p.m.


Des Moines Buccaneers hockey

Buccaneer Arena

The Bucs are running middle-of-the-pack this season with games divided between the United States Hockey League Western and Eastern Conferences, standing at 8-7-2 and 5-1-1, respectively. As of press time, the Bucs were 3-1 in conference play with plenty of games remaining, so play-off contention is looking good for Des Moines.

CVA_30 PAGE 17Aside from the league stats, though, the games are just fun, promising exciting family entertainment each night, including a budget-friendly promo or post-game at every event: Jan. 24 is $1 hotdog night and Feb. 7 and March 7 are $1 Miller Lite nights; the third annual Wine, Women and Hockey night is scheduled for Feb. 15 — including a post-game skate with the team; and the third annual Animal Rescue League of Iowa Doxie Dash, in which 40 or more Dachshunds race across the ice, is on Feb. 22; and don’t forget the pre-game St. Patty’s Day party on March 15.

Des Moines Buccaneers remaining home schedule (puck drops at 7:05 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

Jan. 24                  vs. Indiana Ice

Feb. 7                  vs. Sioux City Musketeers                 

Feb. 8                   vs. Fargo Force

Feb. 15                   vs. Youngstown Phantoms

Feb. 21                   vs. Chicago Steel

Feb. 22                   vs. Sioux City Musketeers                 

March 7                   vs. Sioux Falls Stampede                 

March 8                   vs. Waterloo Blackhawks                 

March 15                   vs. Omaha Lancers

March 16                   vs. Waterloo Blackhawks, 5:05 p.m.

March 29                   vs. Chicago Steel                 

April 4                   vs. Tri-City Storm                                   


BRR (Bike Ride Rippey)

Feb. 2, 10 a.m.

Downtown Perry

Bike Ride Rippey participants don’t mind waking up on Monday morning feeling like they have cinder blocks for thighs. It doesn’t matter to them that Rippey has no bar (there is a beer garden that gets pretty heated with bodies, music and libations) to call a destination halfway into the journey. They ride BRR despite possible blinding blizzards, torrential downpours, crashing lightning or whipping wind, stopping at neighborly checkpoints along the way to imbibe in hot chocolate and high-fives, fueling them forward. BRR riders are animals, and nothing — save possibly a blown tire or broken chain — will stand in the way of the 24-mile round trip ride from Perry to Rippey and back. For some, it’s a new physical challenge or a fat-burning exercise. For many, it’s tradition. The rest are completely nuts.

Now in its 37th year, the “Original Winter Bike Ride” begins with breakfast at the Perry Lions Club in Hotel Pattee from 7:30-10 a.m., after which the ride starts. Registration is $30 in advance and $35 for walk-ups, which includes a long-sleeve T-shirt, admission to the McCreary Center swimming pool, sauna and whirlpool and prize drawings. Sign up at to join the 100-plus daring, devoted and determined BRR riders, and celebrate at the end with some beers in downtown Perry, whenever those wheels roll in. The party goes all night, so there’s no hurry. This is a test of will, not speed. No one is racing.


Red Flannel Run

Feb. 8, 9 a.m., Des Moines

Riverfront YMCA, 101 Locust St.

Its name suggests warm — and albeit stylish and sexy in a Red Green-style — garb, but some of the Red Flannel Run’s most fearless participants ignore that and stick it out in nothing but their shoes, shorts and flimsy, sleeveless cross-country shirts. The Red Flannel Run is not for the weak or half-hearted: More than 2,000 runners contended last year as much against each other as they did against the frigid, sub-zero temperatures. This is the run’s 24th year and its second year in memory of avid runner Luke Altmix Simmons, described as an “adventure-seeking athlete.” The run will begin at the Riverfront YMCA, and participants can choose between a three-mile or five-mile trek. Registration closes on Feb. 4, and the cost is $30 for adults, $15 for kids younger than 12 and $60 for a family. All proceeds go to the Riverfront YMCA YPartners Campaign.


Cops Against Cancer 5-Hour Fitness Challenge

Feb. 22, 10:30 a.m.

Fitness World, Ankeny

Whether competitors are frequent gym rats or haven’t been on a run in months, competing in the Cops Against Cancer 5-Hour Fitness Challenge at Fitness World in Ankeny is sure to be beneficial for all. Participants will work through six 30-minute fitness events in a race to come out on top. While competing, teams and individual members will be scored on their performances, and trophies will be awarded to the Top Team, Top Female and Top Male. But while it’s a healthy race for winners and losers alike, the real benefit goes to cancer fighters. All proceeds for the $25/team registration fee go toward Cops Against Cancer, an organization founded by an Ankeny police officer who survived cancer. The organization assists families with expenses during a loved one’s chemo and radiation treatments. Since March of 2012, Cops Against Cancer has helped 255 families in 55 Iowa counties. Registration closes on Feb. 21 at noon. – Meagan Flynn CV

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