Staff picks: 2016 Witching Hour festival



Downtown Iowa City — Friday, Nov. 4 – Saturday, Nov. 5
Tickets available here

Let’s just preface this by saying you should attend as many Witching Hour festival events as you possibly can. You may not know every artist or be familiar with every topic, but for those that choose to completely embrace the festival and take the “Witching Hour ride,” you’ll be immensely rewarded at the end of the weekend.

With that said, the staff at Little Village spent some time picking out events that we think attendees should be particularly excited about. This was not an easy — nor painless — task. Morning debates. Evening bullhorn sessions. Late-night shouting matches over beers. Rinse and repeat…Alas, our staff picks for the 2016 Witching Hour festival, presented by Little Village and the Englert Theatre, are as follows:

Hacking Sustainability: Architecture for an Uncertain Future

FilmScene — Friday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m.

Architecture is fascinating! And it’s one of those things I wish I knew more about. Princeton professor Forrest Meggers’ talk will explore the future of sustainable architecture — a can’t-miss event for armchair architects. (Drew Bulman, Digital Director)

From Prison to PhD: A Journey of Pain, Promise and Protest

Iowa City Public Library — Friday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.

Jason Sole, assistant professor at Metropolitan State University and an admitted former drug dealer and gang member, will discuss the journey from his difficult past to the successful life he lives today. Recidivism, and the institutional mechanisms that encourage it, are a huge problem in the United States — a country still marred by its prison industrial complex. An opportunity to learn more about this world from someone who’s experienced it firsthand should not be missed. (Drew Bulman, Digital Director)

Pussy Riot in Conversation with Jessica Hopper

The Englert — Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

This one is a no-brainer. What an amazing opportunity to hear about the struggles faced by artists in a country where “freedom of expression” isn’t even given lip service. Maria Alyokhina and journalist Alexandra Lukyanova, her associate at MediaZona, are fierce and fearless advocates for giving Russians a voice in the West. (Genevieve Trainor, Arts Editor)

Psalm One

The Mill — Friday, Nov. 4 at 10:30 p.m.

We all fell in love with her when she tore up the stage at Mission Creek, in the unenviable position of opening for the one and only Saul Williams. The phenomenal rapper from Chicago is back at the Mill again, gracing us with her unique sound. (Genevieve Trainor, Arts Editor)

The Art of Doing Nothing: A deep exploration of what meditation is and what it is not

The Englert — Saturday, Nov. 5 at 11 a.m.

Things are busy and frenetic out there, and a little downtime, even from our own thoughts, can be hard to come by. This workshop provides the essential tools for us all to carve out a space for the quiet, which is something we all stand to benefit from.

Hip-Hop Kitchen at The Mill

The Mill — Saturday, Nov. 5 at 12 p.m.

This panel brings together hip-hop history, cooking and the art of freestyling. My knowledge of cooking and eating far outweighs what I know about hip hop and freestyling, so I’m interested to see how these seemingly unrelated topics are blended into a multidimensional discussion. (Frankie Schneckloth, Food & Beverage Director)

You Ain’t Getting No Cookies for Doing What is (Racially) Just

The Englert — Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m.

People seem to want to condemn others for asking questions just as often as people want to condemn others for being “too PC,” and too often allies, intentionally or not, co-opt movements. Higgins is set to address all of these nuances to move toward actually focused, productive and inclusive discourse. (Kelli Ebensberger, Community Manager)

Romeo is Bleeding

FilmScene — Saturday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m.

This documentary from director Jason Zeldes follows the story of Donté Clark, whose efforts to bring calm to his fraught neighborhood in Richmond, California through art ultimately lead to a staging of a modern and disturbingly relevant production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. (Genevieve Trainor, Arts Editor)

Authenticity and Authorship: Political Storytelling in the Digital Age

The Englert — Saturday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.

Arun Chaudhary will present on his time as the first official White House videographer in the Obama administration and his most recent stint with the Bernie Sanders campaign. Maybe he’ll give us new insight into the public vs. private personas of these figures as well. (Simeon Talley, Sales)

Live Podcast: Criminal

The Mill — Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.

I’m a sucker for podcasts, and Criminal is no slouch. Its stories are gripping and production values top notch. It’ll be interesting to see how their finely-tuned show works in a live format. (Drew Bulman, Digital Director)

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