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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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Reviewing Medusa

“Raising teens is more tricks than treats,” the Greek chorus chants in the new Riverside Theatre production “Raising Medusa,” written by local poet and playwright Barbara Lau of Mt. Vernon. The production features a stellar cast with palpable chemistry. Stage and screen actress Nancy Youngblut plays the mother in the play, exasperated with her 13-year-old […]

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I Pledge Allegiance to the HIP HOP

Even if the Wu-Tang Clan is a peripheral blip on your music radar, you probably at least have a vague notion that they’re nothing to fuck with, especially if you’ve seen more than a couple episodes of Chappelle’s Show. Their 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), became the prototype for over a decade of […]

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Man with a Plan

Here’s what promoter Tanki Nyane wants out of IC: Local hip hop pinned down, weathered posters of emcees competing with indie rockers, people strolling down Clinton Street on their iPods listening to Animosity and his future brethren. Nyane wants to clog the Iowa rhyme drain, build a scene worth cultivating, drop “Iowa” and “hip hop” […]

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Austintatious

South by Southwest (SXSW) is the daddy of all music festivals, four days of musical immersion held each March in Austin, Texas. This year, two Iowa City acts returned for their second dip: The Diplomats of Solid Sound and Caleb Engstrom. With over 1,400 acts packed into 80 venues (including a church and an old […]

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Iowa City Weekender April 3-7

With Mission Creek coming to a close this weekend you’re probably in one of two mindsets: a) “I’m heading for an intentional music overdose” b) “no more music, I’m getting a headache”. Quick Hits: The Mountain Goats, Copyright Criminals, No Age, The Cool Kids, Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival, Raising Medusa, Augusten Burroughs Friday, April […]

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