Exploring Witching Hour’s can’t-miss events: Theater, film, performance

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The Way Forth

Englert Theatre — Friday, Nov. 1 at 8:30 p.m.

Composer Rachel Grimes has three events this week while she is in Iowa City, with two talks at the University of Iowa in addition to her Witching Hour performance. — photo courtesy of the festival

In this series, local arts critic (and Witching Hour participant) Daniel Boscaljon provides a guide to his choices for the most thought-provoking parts of the 2019 Witching Hour Festival. Monday: Talks and presentations. Today: Theater, film and performance.

Composer Rachel Grimes’ folk opera/film amalgam epitomizes the sort of critical and creative engagement that invites Witching Hour audiences to life-changing, mind-bending beauty.

Mining history to make art that reintroduces us to what we take for granted in the present seems interesting; the multimedia expression of the results promises an incredible experience. Grimes’ process of unearthing old recordings, mixing genres and media, curating the past into a present-day composition and transforming the results sounds enthralling.

I look forward to discovering how the questions and ghosts from the past haunt the art we hear in the present. I want to witness how hope emerges from a past that time failed to forget.

Tickets are $10 for students, or $20 for general admission. Free with a festival pass. Grimes also has free speaking events this week, on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the University of Iowa Creative Matters Lecture Series and on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. in conversation with the UI Iowa Women’s Archives.

Official bio: Rachel Grimes is a composer and pianist who creates music for chamber ensembles, orchestras, film, and collaborative live performances. Her work has been performed by ensembles such as the Louisville Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, A Far Cry, Longleash and the Dublin Guitar Quartet. Recent works include the soundtrack The Doctor From India (2018), The Blue Hour (with Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snyder and Angelica Negron, commissioned by A Far Cry, 2018), Through the Sparkle (with astrïd on Gizeh Records 2017), The Clearing (Temporary Residence, 2015), Book of Leaves, Marion County 1938, If Then Not When with King’s Daughters & Sons (Chemikal Underground), and numerous albums with ground-breaking indie chamber group Rachel’s (Quarterstick/Touch and Go).

Other Theater, Film and Performances:

Witching Hour
Comedy Showcase, ft. Arish Singh, Meredith Kachel, Cameron Gillette, Spencer Loucks, Aloe Mean and Nancy/Eric Persoon The Mill | Friday, Nov. 1 at 9:30 p.m. | $5 students, $10 general or free with festival pass
Lynch: A History, screening and discussion FilmSceen — Chauncey | Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. | $10 or free with festival pass
The Mirror / The Reaping (Christopher McMillan) Public Space One (229 N. Gilbert) | Saturday, Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m. | Free and open to the public (Note: Viewer discretion is advised)
Julio Torres w/ Arish Singh Englert Theatre | Saturday, Nov. 2 at 9:30 p.m. | $10 student, $20 general or free with festival pass.

Witching Hour Adjacent
Feast. Riverside Theatre | Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. | Free with festival pass (show runs through Nov. 10; regular ticket prices $10-30)

Witching Hour is a co-production of the Englert Theatre and Little Village Magazine.
Festival passes are $20 student, $35 single day general, $55 weekend general.

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