Our crazy weather continues, but that doesn’t have to stop you from finding quality entertainment in southeast Iowa this weekend.
‘Crazytown’ is zany comedy by Old Fort Players in Fort Madison
On Friday, Old Fort Players offers a unique comedy as its final production of this season.
“Crazytown,” by Jonathan Rand, is about a messed-up burg in America presented as vignettes that run from just plain bizarre to fiendishly clever spoofs of American life.
There’s a police interrogation in which Mr. Nice Guy is issued a strange ultimatum, an elementary school that is the site of a heated political debate on critical issues including Tater Tots, and a delightful TV show in which two sedentary, snack-scarfing couch potatoes compete as if in a sports event.
Co-directors Ty Clute and Angela Sanford have an experienced cast: Richar Abel, James Salisbury, Tedra Edwards, Kim Albers, Michael Reed Randolph, Oscar Bauswell and Klute perform multiple roles in a range of scenes all interconnected by the recurring newscasts of TV station KOMG.
Bauswell and Albers deliver the shortest, most succinct rendition of “Romeo and Juliet” you’ll ever see. Abel and Salisbury battle it out in a marshmallow-eating contest to see who’s the best political candidate.
Edwards and Abel as the snack-fiendish couch potatoes are embarrassingly familiar to anyone who’s gained 10 pounds watching a ball game on TV on a Sunday afternoon.
Klute pops in and out as a — well, he has a southern accent and explains some of the goofiness in his own hick way.
“It’s a little bit different than what we normally do,” Sanford said. “It always goes back to the newscast, that ties it all in. Every scene ties into the next scene.”
The entire cast has many shining moments, but a special hats-off goes to last-minute volunteer Randolph, who, along with Salisbury, takes TV sportscasting all the way over the top.
Randolph sums things up succinctly at the end of the couch broadcast: “Folks, we have just witnessed the apex of greatness. Everything in life from here on out will be a depressing, bitter disappointment.”
“Crazytown” runs May 6-8 and 13-15 at the Old Fort Theater, 725 Ave. G in downtown Fort Madison. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.
Adult tickets are $15; seniors, vets and military are $12; student tickets are $10, available online at purplepass.com/ofpmay2022 or call (319) 372-9559, or send a Facebook message @oldfortplayers to reserve your seat.
‘Two Fishermen and Their Art’ is unique exhibition in Fort Madison
Friday also offers a more sedentary view of art at the Fort Madison Area Arts Association exhibition, “Two Fishermen and Their Art” featuring works by Macomb artists Michael Ericson and Steve Larimer.
The show opens with a 5 p.m. reception Friday at the Art Center, 825 Ave. G in Fort Madison.
The show features individually made pieces and includes mixed-media collaborative work by the two artists.
Ericson utilizes wood to create finely crafted panels with geometric designs, juxtaposing blocks of color and texture.
Larimer focuses on painted surfaces with this exhibit, using acrylics/airbrush, watercolors, and ceramics and other media to create porcelain tiles reflective of the mesmerizing patterning found on the sides of trout.
“I am committed to bringing a variety of exhibitions to the Main Gallery,” FMAAA director Lori Illner Greene said. “This work in the ‘Two Fishermen’ exhibit is appealing for its use of materials.”
The two men became fishing buddies after Larimer introduced Ericson to the art of fly-fishing.
“Another component of this exhibition is the collaborative pieces,” Greene said. “Stephan Larimer created elements that made their way into Michael Ericson’s finished work. That handoff and how it plays out with the surfaces Michael composes is very interesting to contemplate as an artistic process.”
Both men were educators in Macomb: Ericson taught music at Western Illinois University from 1986-2016.
After retiring from WIU, he pursued furniture crafting, and his asymmetric designs emerged from the stacks of leftover scrap in his garage.
Larimer’s art education degree and 11 years in the printing industry led him to teach at Macomb secondary schools until retiring in 2019. Larimer is a board member of the Two Rivers Arts Council and schedules events for the Macomb Art Center.
Greene said this month’s exhibition, sponsored by Climax Molybdenum, is an interesting take on the artisan-to-fine-arts process as seen through the lenses of these two men.
The show runs until May 31 except the evening of May 28, when the Art Center hosts its end-of-the-month performance series, “Finale.”
The FMAAA Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (319) 372-3996 for more information.
‘Battle of the Brushes’ is painting competition in Burlington
On Saturday, the Art Center of Burlington celebrates the return of its live painting competition, the Battle of the Brushes. Introduced in 2017, the battle has been a bi-annual hit ever since.
The brainchild of then-ACB director Tammy McCoy, the battle pits five artists and their creativity, brushes and competitive spirit as they each strive to bring a common topic to life, creating an original painting while racing the clock.
Here’s the schedule Saturday: Artists John Preston, Lena Johnson, Sean Walker, Jeri Sparks and Rebecca Williamson will learn the subject and theme to be painted minutes before the paint slinging begins at 5 p.m.
Each artist is provided a 22×28-inch canvas, upon which they have three hours to create an original painting in front of a live audience using their own paints and brushes. The winning painting will be chosen by a panel of judges.
After the competition, the paintings are raffled off as a fundraiser for the Art Center.
The money helps defray ACB operating expenses for gallery exhibits, classes for all ages and other opportunities for artists.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at the Art Center or $20 at the door.
The Gallery Lounge will be open with a cash bar offering light appetizers, wine and beer. Live music by jazz guitarist Jared Rouggly.
The five selected artists will showcase their work in the Art Center Mini Gallery in May.