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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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Hijinks ensue in Revival Theatre Company’s beautiful production of ‘Victor/Victoria’

Revival Theatre Company Presents: Victor/Victoria Dows Fine Art Center at Coe College — through Sunday, June 4 The 1982 film Victor/Victoria and the 1995 Broadway musical of the same name were both star vehicles for Julie Andrews. This, of course, sets a high bar for anyone stepping into the title role. Nina Swanson, well known […]

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Love, loss and the keeping of secrets infuse Moorman’s ethereal family portraits

When you step into the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art’s second floor gallery filled with Tara Moorman’s watercolors, the first thing you might notice is that these paintings seem to emanate light. What might be less obvious is that the paintings are themselves emanations from the past. […]

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‘The Bully Plays’ pack a punch at Theatre Cedar Rapids

The short plays that make up The Bully Plays have all the subtlety of a punch to the gut. In the Theatre Cedar Rapids Grandon Studio under the direction of Amanda Mayfield, a cast of 10 young people and five adults present 12 of the 24 texts compiled and edited by Linda Habjan. […]

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Film based on Merritt’s play ‘The Summerland Project’ to premiere in CR on August 4

Rob Merritt, well known throughout the region’s arts, journalism and nonprofit sectors, established himself as a playwright in 2011 when The Summerland Project premiered as part of Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Underground New Play Festival. The play, about a woman whose consciousness is transferred to a robotic replica of her body, was so well received that […]

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Review: Orchestra Iowa brings gusto and grace to John Williams’ beloved film scores

When I spoke with Maestro Timothy Hankewich a few days ahead of Orchestra Iowa’s presentation “John Williams: A Night at the Movies,” he was insistent about one thing. The audience should come to the Paramount Theatre in costume. So Saturday night, I donned a Superman t-shirt and grabbed my reviewing notebook and a pen. With […]

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Czech Village Blues will bring two nonprofits together for concert, fundraising

Area blues fans have had the blues since the final Bluesmore event in 2015. The Linn County Blues Society had a two decade run with their annual daylong event on the lawn of the Brucemore mansion in Cedar Rapids, but for the last couple of years the enthusiastic fans of the music have had to do without. A new collaboration between the Linn County Blues Society and the Friends of Czech Village will give the event new life in a new home under a new name. […]

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SHEL satisfies with strong sets at CSPS

No one needs to encourage the members of SHEL to come out of their shells. Legion Arts presented the band at CSPS in Cedar Rapids’ New Bo District on Saturday night (May 13), and SHEL pleased the crowd with two sets of music and funny, if sometimes awkward, banter. […]

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Lindwall, Stewart take flight as Peter and Wendy in Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Peter Pan

The fairy dust does its job in the Theatre Cedar Rapids production of the musical version of ‘Peter Pan.’ Under the direction of Leslie Charipar, with musical direction by Benjamin Lee Schmidt, and choreography by Alvon Reed, the cast takes flight for a fun-filled romp in Neverland. My soon-to-be 12-year-old daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed the May 6 performance. […]

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Colorblind Comics: Award-winning Yang makes art of ‘outsiders’

Gene Luen Yang remembers the first comic he ever bought: DC Comics Presents #57 Superman & the Atomic Knights. “That comic book blew my mind,” Yang said in a phone interview. “Pretty soon after buying that comic, I was making comics of my own.” […]

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