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Wonderfully acted ‘Matilda’ a TCR holiday joy

Theater Cedar Rapids opened Matilda the Musical, based on Roald Dahl’s book Matilda, on Nov. 15 with a high energy number that sets the tone for the whole show. The song, “Miracle,” poses the question: Who is special, and who decides? The choreography (Erin Helm) is outstanding in this number, and that carries throughout the show. […]

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Young spoken-word poets express ‘heartache and joy’ on the Englert stage for the IC Speaks showcase

Stage lights cast a blue hue on a lone mic as attendants trickled into the Englert Theatre to see the IC Speaks Showcase on Saturday night. About a dozen students from West, City, Liberty and Tate high schools filled the first two rows on the theater’s west side. In the hour and a half that followed, the students got up one by one to stand at […]

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James Tutson and the Rollback drummer Tyler Carrington offers insight into new album ‘Make You Free’

James Tutson and the Rollback will perform an album release show on Friday, Nov. 15, at 9 p.m. at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. There is no cover.
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Heaviness in Mirrorbox Theatre’s ‘Orange Julius’ lightened by absurdity and human connection

‘Orange Julius’ is not a traditional family drama. It’s not a traditional play, for that matter. Many shows are fairly linear and logical in their progression — the story and action build up to a climax and then have a denouement clarifying the resolution and final thoughts. But this one feels pretty cemented in “dream logic.” […]

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Five questions with: Comedian Dave Maher

Generally, life is a laughing matter — and death (while not off the table for the talented) remains more of a punchline than a set up. Dave Maher dodged a bullet in 2014, surviving a month-long coma by pulling out of it before they pulled the plug — but that experience provides the set up to his show rather than the punchline. Rather than killing his career, his coma rekindled his comedic interests. […]

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Q&A with Alex Gibney, Oscar-winning documentary director, after the Iowa premiere of ‘Citizen K’

Regarded as one of the most important documentarians of the last couple decades, Alex Gibney has focused his camera on con-artists and fallen heroes in films such as The Armstrong Lie, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. His 2007 doc Taxi to the Dark Side […]

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Springtime for Hitler, Germany and Jojo: Taika Waititi’s quirky coming-of-age comedy opens at FilmScene

Nazis are bad, right? Right. Taiki Waititi assumes you already understand this if you’re sitting down to watch his latest film, Jojo Rabbit. If you know anything about this movie, it’s that it’s about a kid who has Adolf Hitler as an imaginary friend. Maybe you even heard that it’s directed by the Thor: Ragnarok guy. Oh, and it’s divisive as hell. […]

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Local label spotlight: Brokers Tip Records

“Independent” used to mean something. Before it became the preferred way to describe any and all rock microgenres that don’t otherwise fit the classic rock ’n’ roll mold, it was a reference to process. It’s like the term “DIY” before Pinterest came around and co-opted it. To be independent, or indie, meant to be more aligned with the individuals […]

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Local publisher spotlight: PromptPress

PromptPress ignores traditional boundaries with a quiet defiance. It began in 2014 with founding editor Jennifer Colville; her brother, Christopher Colville (photography editor); and Susan Goslee (poetry editor), creating an outlet for artists who wished to play at the boundaries. Jennifer did the bulk of the work until Kalmia Strong (book arts […]

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Local publisher spotlight: Ice Cube Press

Steve Semken founded Ice Cube Press in 1991, when he was living in Lawrence, Kansas. “I’d been working a series of jobs I hadn’t anticipated, like most of us need to do,” Semken said in an email, “and it was during a break at work that I wandered into the nearby Indie bookstore, picked up a copy of a Wendell Berry book […]

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Nonprofit choir Family Folk Machine unites singers aged 5 to 75 to perform original and classic songs

In April of 2018, right near its fifth anniversary, Family Folk Machine (FFM), which had by then already become an institution in the Iowa City community, achieved another milestone: it became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The intergenerational choir’s goals had always been focused on fostering and serving the community — “We seek to […]

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Album Review: ‘No Obedience for this Dog’ — A Benefit for Jeff Nehring

There’s a classic axiom about judging a man by the company he keeps. Despite my years in this job, I am not IC-scene enough to have met Jeff Nehring (known for Los Marauders, the Rough Housers and the Day Glow Bomber Boys). But I feel like I know him, judging by the amazing array of people who have rallied around him. His support […]

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