Iowa City Weekender: June 16-18

Although it is not yet officially summer, the 21st is right around the corner. Maybe some of the rain will die down and make the outdoors doable again. I don’t know though because I’m not a meteorologist. This weekend will recall some traditions of this fair city of ours as well as some generally cool things. It should be a colorful weekend for sure, so let’s begin.


The Laureates w/ Sarah Cram & The Derelicts and Bats in the Belfry // Blue Moose Tap House // 8:00 PM // $6, All Ages

Hailing from Chicago, The Laureates follow in the shape of other bands from that city like The Ponys. Writing pop songs that stray, displaying a great willingness to dive into the experimental/psychedelic realm but not in an overly aggressive way, The Laureates are a band making moves and gaining a presence in the larger American rock underground, appropriately so as they release their second album Spells later this month. This show will be one of three release parties that the band will have for the album (the other two are in Chicago and Cincinnati), and The Laureates will be joined locally by Sarah Cram & The Derelicts and Bats in the Belfry. Fans of more straight-ahead rock/pop bands that aren’t afraid of progression should find something that they like in The Laureates. A sample of The Laureates’ music can be found at the Free Music Archive.

Townies should note that the Laureates’ guitarist Adam Penly is an Iowa City alumni who was in Alto Heceta. Adam also plays with former Iowa Citian Paul Cary.


Ah, Wilderness! // City Park // 7:30 PM // $17-39, All Ages

It has become mid-June once again and, as it has been for the past 11 years, the start of the Riverside Theatre’s Shakespeare Festival. In something of an interesting twist for its 12th iteration, one of the plays is not a Shakespeare play. It’s by Eugene O’ Neill and is entitled Ah, Wilderness!. Centering on young Richard Miller, Ah, Wilderness! is a family friendly play about being a teenager, family, romance and independence at the turn of the 20th Century. Playing all weekend, this play will share the bill for this year’s festival with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. To learn more about either play or to get tickets or a pass, visit the Riverside Theatre website.

West Side Story // Englert Theatre // 7:30 PM // $10-20, All Ages

A classic play, West Side Story is the story of a love between two young teens caught on opposing sides. Adapted from the Shakespeare classic Romeo & Juliet, our Romeo here is Tony and his Juliet is Maria. The Jets and Sharks are the Houses of Montague and Capulet, respectively. Their Verona: the rough streets of 1950s New York City. An excellent play with a considerable amount of dancing, this version will be put on by the City Center company and feature junior and senior high school students from the area honing their skills on stage. If you are more of a musical person than a drama person, this would be the better stage bet for your Friday night.


Iowa City Pride Day // Downtown Iowa City // Noon // Free, All Ages

While they have made significant strides in recent memory, the LGBT community has struggled to get all of the rights that are entitled to. Those who have stood up and said that they are being discriminated against are unfairly targeted by those whose lives are not affected by the actions of those they persecute. While this is tragic, we should remember from The Karate Kid and any kung-fu movie training sequence that one stick is never stronger than many sticks united. Said differently, the LGBT population should never have to stand alone. If you know a LGBT member of this community and consider them a friend, show your support by attending the Iowa City Pride Parade and Festival. The parade will start at College Green Park and end at the Ped Mall where the festival will continue with vendors and games until 5 PM.

A Film of David Lynch // Bijou Theater // 8:00 PM // Free, All Ages

There are two things different about this Bijou screening that I should note immediately. The first is that it is free to everyone. The second is the director of the film, Richard Beymer, and producer Rob Wilson will be there to provide a short introduction and to answer any questions following the screening. As many of you well know, Lynch is the crazy mastermind behind cult films such as Blue Velvet, Mulholland Dr., Eraserhead, and Inland Empire as well as the creator of one of the most mind-bending television shows of all time, Twin Peaks. What’s not well known is Lynch’s deep love of Transcendental Meditation. This movie documents Lynch as he follows the steps TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi made through India before beginning his Spiritual Regeneration Movement in 1957. It will provide an interesting insight into the world of Lynch as well as Transcendental Meditation, a technique that has been adopted by many, from celebrities to working stiffs.

In a last note for Saturday, local indie pop stars The Wandering Bears are playing the first show of their summer tour with LWA, Dewi Sant and The Western Front at the Blue Moose. It’s all ages and $6 at the door. The show starts at 8 and will be an interesting mix of sounds from the experimental LWA to the folk-styled Dewi Sant. If Lynch’s meditation habits aren’t your jam, maybe this is.

Have a good weekend, and maybe I’ll see some of you at the Yo La Tengo concert at the Englert on Tuesday. Afterward, don’t forget that Little Village is having its 10th anniversary party at the Blue Moose Tap House. It’s a free show with Del The Funky Homosapien. Need I say more? Until next week, Weekender out.


Do you have a weekend event that you want to see here? Email with dates and details!

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