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Iowa City Weekender – June 12-14

The IC Weekender is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, July 2-4, 2009 Ah, just when we’ve started to recover from Arts Fest, the weekend is here again! Big thanks to Andre Perry and The Mill for bringing yet another world-class band to Iowa City–Last night’s Rock Plaza Central (http://www.rockplazacentral.com/) show was definitely one […]

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Feelin' Blues

Driving to Fort Dodge is not what I had in mind on a Wednesday, but when Vicki Price e-mailed saying she and her husband, blues guitar slinger Joe Price would be happy to take time out of their busy touring schedule to chat, how could I resist? I only met this inductee of the Iowa […]

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Talking Movies: Screening Evil

One morning in April, I went to take my dog outside before I had to leave for work. I stepped onto our porch on Iowa Avenue and saw a young skinny man standing still on the sidewalk across the street. A woman with a video camera stood at a distance from him. Moments later, the […]

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Talking Movies: Copping Out

Jody Hill’s Observe and Report is one weird movie. I’m pretty sure this dark comedy is meant to provoke reflection: The title suggests that the movie is holding the mirror up to our reality. In a sense, it is; the worst parts of the movie are the most interesting, and the best parts are pretty bad. […]

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Prairie Pop: Pop Summit

Springtime is here, and I’m ready to rock: in this case, at the Experience Music Project’s Pop Conference, held last month in Seattle. It’s one of my favorite places to be, for a variety of reasons. The event attracts a diverse mix of music-obsessed scholars, journalists, critics, musicians, and other misfits—a strange brew that injects […]

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Iowa City Weekender: May 8-10

The University’s leg of this town might be twitching and tired from too much adderal and final projects, but stepping outside their bounds, Iowa City still doesn’t sleep (until after 2 a.m., at least. Gotta rest sometime). Here’s what we recommend: Friday, May 8th: • Iowa City’s own Birth Rites debuts its debut album at […]

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Birthing Medusa

When poet and teacher Barbara Lau began writing her first play about the transformation of the American teenager, she analyzed her knowledge of Greek mythology and found the famed goddess whose metamorphosis was one of the most terrifying and heartbreaking: Medusa. “Just because she has a beauty-and-the-beast transformation, that’s not enough. I looked at the […]

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Prairie Pop: Hip Hop's Media Assassin

For those listening to hip hop 20 years ago, Harry Allen’s name was well known after the release of Public Enemy’s classic “Don’t Believe the Hype,” from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. That 1988 album—with its massive freight train of a title, and rocketing aural attack—established the group as agitprop […]

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On the Beat: Showered in Shows

As we all know, thanks to T.S. Eliot, “April is the cruelest month,” but for music lovers in Iowa City, the pain and suffering that April causes may be in the form of cubicle and classroom hangovers, not an actual musical wasteland. In fact, April showers bring May flowers, and when it rains it pours, […]

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Talking Movies: Chaplin on the Economy

Someone should write an essay called “In Praise of Pretentiousness,” because in the first years of adulthood—please, those years only!—a little insufferable pretentiousness goes a long way. It was pretentiousness, I admit, that led me into a Charlie Chaplin film festival when I was a freshman at Grinnell: I showed up to appreciate silent films. […]

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(C) is for Criminal

Copyright Criminals Directed by Benjamin Franzen Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod have put together a quite entertaining documentary history of the sampling controversy in hip hop music. In this film, or at least in the rough cut of it, you will hear the following amazing things: Chuck D admits that you can in fact copyright […]

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