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Becoming Roxie: For Iowa City’s Jason Seaba drag was a way to replace self-doubt with self-expression

It may be 2017, but tonight drag queen Roxie Mess is channeling her inner ’80s superstar. From the moment she takes the stage, she controls the crowd at Studio 13, the only gay bar in Iowa City. Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It To My Heart” blasts through the speakers. Roxie struts on stage in a skin-tight, neon orange dress with pink frills and huge blonde hair that seems to take up more space than her actual head. Her 4-inch heels make her tower above the crowd at 6-foot-9. Her makeup is just as bright and jarring as the neon dress and makes it impossible for anyone to look away as she dances across the floor and against the wall. […]

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Photos: Local thrifters curate vintage looks

Last month, photographer Michael Stenerson spent an afternoon with three local vintage purveyors. While sifting through their extensive archives for this shoot, they chatted about how they fell into thrifting and the treasures they unearth while shopping. Ashley and Seth Goodman thrifted before they met, but their shopping picked up when they got together about six years ago. Demitrius Perry started thrifting for himself about seven years ago, but has only been selling his finds for a year. […]

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Iowa City band Aseethe is taking its minimalist metal sound back on tour

Aseethe, the Iowa City band made up of Brian Barr and Eric Dierks, has been kicking around the Midwest heavy music scene for a few years now, with an evolving sound based around Barr’s exploration of the raw sound of guitar, synth and samples. Having caught the ear of Thrill Jockey owner Bettina Richards, they went from selling her a T-shirt, to Thrill Jockey distributing their 2015 EP ‘Nothing Left Nothing Gained,’ to releasing their current record, ‘Hopes of Failure,’ on the label. […]

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Interview: Filmmaker David Byars discusses the Patriot movement ahead of Vino Vérité’s screening of ‘No Man’s Land’

This Sunday, July 9, documentarian David Byars is bringing his incendiary new film, No Man’s Land, to FilmScene as part of the Vino Vérité series, presented by FilmScene, ‘Little Village’ and Bread Garden Market. Tickets are $20 for FilmScene members, $25 for the general public. The film begins at 7:15 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres & wine tasting preceding at 6:30 p.m. A wine and dessert reception with the filmmaker begins at 8:45 p.m. […]

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‘Reasons for Living’: Leslie Charipar hitting the road in search of inspiration

By any measure, Leslie Charipar has lived through a couple of lousy years. “Lived through” is no mere turn of phrase. Charipar has been in the grips of not one, not two, but three cancers — breast, lung and thyroid — not to mention blood clots in her brain. At the moment, she’s on the […]

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Iowa City’s Sudanese community navigates Trump’s travel ban rhetoric

Hanadi Elshazali will always remember what it felt like to go to work on Nov. 9, 2016 — the day after the country elected Donald Trump as its 45th president. She’ll remember the chaotic silence as she entered her office at the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center of Johnson County, the muffled whispers that made her […]

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Discussing food mediation through the lens of a burrito stand in Portland

Food and identity are inextricably linked. This is both cliché and absolutely true. It is not surprising then that people get angry when others appropriate the foods that they identify with culturally. If you don’t believe me take a look at the Kitchen Sister’s wonderful series Hidden Kitchen: War & Peace & Food. But what exactly is appropriation? Is using an ingredient from outside your own culture an act of respect or aggression? Put simply, is it okay for me to use Szechuan bean paste when I make dinner? (I’m not Chinese.) What if I use it in an inauthentic way? (I’m quite fond of putting it in tomato sauce.) Would it be okay for me to open a Szechuan restaurant? Where is the line between culinary borrowing and theft? […]

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A-List: Out Loud! Author Series welcomes the rapid-fire flow of Kwame Alexander

When he’s excited about a subject, Kwame Alexander speaks in a rapid-fire flow, an improvised musical line that takes a theme and mines it for meaning and possibility.

Take, for example, his answer to a question about cultural references — to jazz, hip-hop, books and more — in his novels-in-verse The Crossover and Booked.

“I’m a big fan of exploring what’s going on in the world and our place in it,” he says. And then he fires off a list as I scurry to keep my pen flying across the page of my notebook: books, music, police brutality (I didn’t see that one coming), first love, how to imagine a better world — probably more that I didn’t catch. […]

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Youth in the LGBTQIA+ community raise their voices in unity

The United Action for Youth (UAY) Pride group, along with students and recent UAY graduates, are hoping that pulling together what UAY’s Jamie Ellis a “gay teen mob of awesomeness” to participate in the Iowa City Pride Parade will give young members of the LGBTQIA+ community a greater presence and more recognition. […]

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A-list: Anaïs Mitchell brings a deep history to the Iowa Arts Festival

Among the exciting national acts brought in for the Iowa Arts Festival this year is Vermont-born, Brooklyn, New York-based songwriter Anaïs Mitchell. Deeply rooted in American folk traditions, Mitchell manages a sound that is contemporary without being retro or revival — an extension of the sound, rather than a tribute to it. She is tomorrow’s folk singer.

Mitchell’s 2010 recording of her folk opera Hadestown featured an array of key voices in the genre, from Ani DiFranco to Iowa’s own Greg Brown. Mitchell continues to work on its transformation into a full stage musical; the 2016 off-Broadway production has been nominated for several awards, including the April Drama Desk Awards announcement of its nomination in the Outstanding Musical category. Her most recent record, 2014’s xoa, was the third released on her own label, Wilderland Records. Mitchell took some time just before hitting the road to answer some questions over email for Little Village. […]

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