Big time fun: Make plans to live large this weekend

Originally Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014, 10:53 am
Last Updated: Feb. 26, 2014, 8:16 pm
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By Jonathan Turner,

Ruben Studdard was literally a big star over 10 years ago, when the "Velvet Teddy Bear" won the 2003 season of TV's "American Idol."

Now, the 35-year-old singer is an even bigger celebrity since he's shed more than 100 pounds in the most recent season of another popular reality show, "The Biggest Loser." Mr. Studdard will share his impressive weight-loss journey on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Davenport RiverCenter's Great River Hall, as part of this year's KWQC-TV6 Women's Health & Lifestyle Fair.

The 6-foot-3 Ruben, who once tipped the scales at 462 pounds, now weighs 342 pounds, thanks to a low-calorie diet and daily two-hour workouts, Mr. Studdard has said.

"The Biggest Loser" finale on Feb. 4 coincided with the release of his newest album, "Unconditional Love" -- Mr. Studdard's sixth studio release and the first with his new label, Verve Records. David Foster, who has won 16 Grammy Awards, was the executive producer of the disc, which primarily consists of covers of love songs along with two originals, including "Meant to Be." Mr. Studdard has called it "the album that everybody expected from me when I won 'American Idol'."

The women's health and lifestyle fair will be held Saturday and Sunday at the RiverCenter, and booths and exhibits will be in both The Great River Hall and The Mississippi Hall. KWQC-TV is offering door prizes at the entrances to the halls. In addition, all attendees can participate in a drawing for two 50-inch flat screen TVs as well as two Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

Speaking of big...

If you want to learn how those awe-inspiring documentaries that come to Davenport's Putnam Museum are made, be sure to see "Titans of the Ice Age 3D" tonight (either 5:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m.) at the museum. Giant Screen Films president and founder Don Kempf will answer questions after each showing.

"Titans of the Ice Age" -- originally released nationwide in January 2013 -- tells the story of a critical yet misunderstood era during which humans walked the earth alongside iconic beasts of prehistory, according to GSF, based in Evanston, Ill. The film was shot at Yellowstone National Park, as well as across the Northern Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and Alaska, and features state-of-the-art, high-resolution computer-generated re-creations of ancient, extinct Ice Age mammals.

"The computer-generated imagery and 3D element creates an impeccable viewing experience," Putnam president/CEO Kim Findlay said. "We are excited for the film's producer, Don Kempf, to share his expertise and passion for the film with the attendees."

As a former history teacher, Mr. Kempf's decision to devote his career to educational documentary film production was a natural one, according to In 2009, he founded D3D Cinema, a sister company of GSF dedicated to digital 3D theater integration and film production. Mr. Kempf received a bachelor's in history from Dartmouth College and an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago. GSF's other films at the Putnam have included "The Last Reef" and "Tornado Alley."

Solve a mystery at "CSI"

Come back to the Putnam on Saturday, for the opening of its newest blockbuster exhibit, "CSI: The Experience." Based on the hit CBS crime series, this is a completely immersive exhibit that invites visitors to enter "crime scenes" where they identify and record evidence.

It takes them inside "laboratories" for scientific testing and to "autopsy" rooms for pathology analysis. Then it returns them to the "office" to build their case, based on the scientific evidence. The exhibit brings to life real scientific principles and the most advanced scientific techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists, according to

From DNA and firearms analysis to forensic anthropology and toxicology, "visitors will be immersed in hands-on science in an exciting multi-media environment with dazzling special effects direct from the CSI TV series, the site says. Cast members from the TV show welcome guests into the exhibit from a large video monitor, lead them through the experience, and praise them for a job well done at the end. The exhibit is geared toward adults and children ages 12 and older.

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) -- the quirky, whimsical Theodor Seuss Geisel -- was born 110 years ago Sunday and a few Q-C locations will celebrate with appearances by the author's iconic "Cat in the Hat," based on the beloved 1957 slim story.

The chaotic 225-word tale focuses on a tall anthropomorphic cat, who wears a red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie. Why the girl and boy in the story were left alone by their mother for the titular cat to cause havoc I will never know. It's all fun and games (until someone gets hurt), but the cat miraculously cleans everything and vanishes before the mom gets home.

Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated 46 children's books and received the first of many honorary doctorates in 1955, from Dartmouth College, his alma mater. The Cat in the Hat will first appear tonight at the Moline Library, where there will be stories, games, activities and crafts for all ages.

On Saturday, the Family Museum in Bettendorf will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can make a set of Horton ears, play Sneetch Ball and do tricks with the Cat in the Hat. The Santa-like Cat (he's everywhere!) will also attend a Dr. S. birthday party from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Geneseo Library.

Get your Mardi Gras on early

Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") isn't until, well, Tuesday, but three pubs in downtown Bettendorf are getting a head start Saturday with the first-ever Sinners and Saints Party. It kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Paddle Wheel, Muddy Waters and Fumbles, marking the start of the carnival season with Cajun food, music, drink specials and plenty of bead throwing.

"Sinners and Saints" parties began before World War II in the small towns scattered around Louisiana's Bayou country, where Cajun musicians would get together and play all night, according to The Muddy Waters' Kristy Bennett.

All those 21 and over are invited (for $10 each) to receive an array of Mardi Gras party items including a Hurricane Glass filled with a Sinners or Saints beverage, a swizzle straw, and a mask, to party among the pubs. Each location will have $6 Sinners or Saints refills (as well as other drink discounts), Cajun cuisine specials, live entertainment, dancing and beads. There will be prizes awarded for best party-goer of the night.

Think green on a sustainable Sunday

Sunday promises an entertaining and educational event at St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center.

As part of its year-long Sustainability Project, a free concert at 3 p.m. will feature a new composition by SAU music professor Bill Campbell, performed by the University Chorale. Glenda Crawford, visiting assistant professor of choral activities, has assembled a program to include spoken word presented by two narrators, projection of images supporting the ideas, and a full concert of music relating to the earth, including the SAU Chamber Singers, Bee Sharp, music faculty and guests.

Mr. Campbell's "Among the Trees" is a setting of three poems by Wendell Berry about finding peace and unity in nature. "Balance comes to many of us by leaving the human world, experiencing the beauty of nature, and taking the time to reflect on our connection to all," according to the program notes. "It is a commonality found in the creative work of civilizations past and present as reflected in our stories, religious writings, poems, art, music and philosophy."

The composer wrote: "I chose these three poems to set to music for choir and piano because of their beauty, their meaning for me, and the inclusion of the singing as part of the wisdom of Berry's expression. They are beautiful poems about finding unity with nature, invoking 'light, leaf, foot, hand and wing' and reflecting the peace that comes when we mindfully surround ourselves within the natural world; that when we 'go among the trees and sit still,' and 'join our work to Heaven's gift,' then 'all the earth shall sing.'"

The Sustainability Project (which includes lectures) focuses attention on "ethical practices relative to the earth, its resources and to humans, especially marginalized and future generations," according to the project website.

"We have entered a period of human history when our moral responsibility is for ensuring survival rather than pursuing happiness, sustainability -- exercising one's critical thinking skills in such a way as to better ensure the long-term viability of human flourishing and nature's integrity -- is a fitting topic," it says.

For more information on the project and a schedule of events, visit

The itinerary: Feb. 27-Mar. 2

"Titans of the Ice Age 3D" with producer Don Kempf: 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. tonight, Putnam Museum Giant Screen Theater, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport. $5.50-$8.50. 563-324-1933,

Dr. Seuss birthday parties: 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. tonight at the Moline Library, 3210 41st St., free, 309-524-2480; 10-11 a.m. Saturday at Geneseo Library, 805 N. Chicago St., free, 309-852-0197; and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Family Museum, 2900 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf, free with admission, 563-344-4106

KWQC-TV6 Women's Health & Lifestyle Fair: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday; RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport. Admission is $1 and one canned good to help community food pantries.

"CSI: The Experience": 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through July 6, Putnam Museum, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport. $7-$18.

Sinners and Saints Party: 6 p.m. Saturday, The Paddle Wheel, 221 15th St.; The Muddy Waters, 1708 State St.; and Fumbles, 1716 State St., Bettendorf; $10 for Mardi Gras party items, drinks separate. 563-355-0655

"All the Earth Shall Sing" sustainability concert: 3 p.m. Sunday, Allaert Auditorium at Galvin Fine Arts Center, Gaines and High streets, Davenport. Free. 563-333-6251,


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.

(More History)