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Who owns indigenous music? Psychedelic duo Heavy Color collaborate across cultures to make ‘world music’ less parasitic

Heavy Color, a beat-driven psychedelic music duo founded by Ben Cohen and Sam Woldenberg, makes “world music” by way of Toledo, Ohio. These composer-producers are very careful to distance themselves from that problematic term — world music often treats music made by people outside of a European or American context as exotic culture ripe for […]

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There’s something special about record stores

For those who view music as a vital necessity like food and shelter, being without Iowa City’s longtime institution the Record Collector leaves a gaping hole in the soul. “A record store isn’t really a record store without customers,” said co-owner Alissa Witzke. “It feels empty and sad, like we’re just a warehouse.” The store […]

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‘I was there’: University of Iowa performers, President Harreld to celebrate Stonewall, 50 years later

Seismic social change sometimes starts at a dive bar. In the summer of 1969, a spontaneous uprising that began outside the Stonewall Inn inspired the gay rights movement and eventually transformed the ways we think about gender and sexuality. The University of Iowa is honoring the 50 years that passed since that formative event with a […]

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‘There is a time for every season’: David Berman discusses grief and inspiration in one of his final interviews

David Berman was a kind, sensitive artist with many formidable talents — a poet, cartoonist and musician who was often regarded as the best songwriter of his generation. He died at the age of 52 on Aug. 7, after a lifetime of struggling with depression and addiction. When he agreed to an interview about his upcoming performance in Iowa […]

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‘It kicks ass to still be around’: X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka on song origins, LA punk and their new book

X, an original 1977-era punk band, has remained one of my all-time favorites for decades, but I never got to see them until a recent show at the Pageant Theater in St. Louis. It was fitting to watch X in Missouri, the setting for Road House — the craptastic Patrick Swayze vehicle that featured X co-founder (and actor) John Doe. […]

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