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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.” [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] Yang was in fifth grade at the time, and he […]

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Hiawatha artist Blair Gauntt returns to visual roots with new book ‘George Orwell and His Magic Penguin’

Blair Gauntt and his longtime friend and collaborator Rich Dana were leading a hands-on zine making workshop at the 2015 edition of ICON — the long-running Iowa science fiction convention — when Gauntt picked up a ballpoint pen and started drawing. “I realized at that point I hadn’t drawn — I hadn’t made lines with […]

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Colorblind Comics: Violet Austerlitz reflects on early influences of ‘The Satanic Mechanic’

Violet Austerlitz

The world of Violet Austerlitz’s self-published comic The Satanic Mechanic first appeared in a short story. “The very, very early origins came from a little piece I wrote that was published in Little Village,” Austerlitz said in an interview in an Iowa City coffee shop. The piece, “What Happened to Violet Kubicek,” was published in […]

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Colorblind comics: Iowa’s Phil Hester takes on science, mythology, and world religion in ‘Mythic’

Mythic

Phil Hester is arguably the most prominent Iowan in comics. Hester has written and drawn a wide array of titles since breaking into comics while still a student at the University of Iowa. His credits include acclaimed runs as the artist for Green Arrow with writers Kevin Smith and Brad Meltzer. Hester’s current project is […]

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The history hiding behind the capes: an interview with Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler takes issue with novelist Michael Chabon’s origin story for superheroes. Writing in The New Yorker, Chabon, author of the comics-driven, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, maintained: “There were costumed crime-fighters before Superman … but only as there were pop quartets before the Beatles. Superman invented and exhausted his […]

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