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Iowa City to be renamed Iowa Rock City


Roboprofessor accepts the "rocklamation" proclaiming Iowa City as Iowa Rock City on March 28 -- photo by Adam Burke
Roboprofessor accepts the “rocklamation” proclaiming Iowa City as Iowa Rock City on March 28 — photo by Adam Burke

By order of a special “rocklamation,” the City of Iowa City will officially change its name to “Iowa Rock City” on March 28, 2015. The one-day name change was approved at tonight’s Iowa City Council meeting. The rocking initiative is the brainchild of University of Iowa communications professor and Little Village columunist Kembrew McLeod, who is a music writer and a performance artist known as “Roboprofessor.”

In conjunction with the temporary renaming of Iowa City, on March 28 at 3 p.m. the Englert Theatre will host a free concert at and album release party of For Kids and By Kids, an album that features music by and for kids. The concert will begin at 3 p.m. where they will sell Iowa Rock City t-shirts with all proceeds going to benefit the Iowa City chapter of Girls Rock!

The tongue-in-cheek “rocklamation” claims that “the City of Iowa City’s official name contains redundancies and is not sufficiently rocking enough.” The proclamation also states that Iowa City was built on rock and roll, that “the kids are all right” and that the children are indeed the future.

McLeod and his wife, Lynne Nugent, have been working on the project for over a year and in the liner notes for the album they wrote, “Parents gotta rock too!”

The couple found many rocking partners for the project, including the Iowa City chapter of Girls Rock! — a summer music camp for young women to write and perform songs in a week of rocking out with mentors and camp counselors. Five of the songs on the album came out of the 2014 Girls Rock! camp and were recorded at the United Action for Youth (UAY) studio in downtown Iowa City.

The album artwork and liner notes were created by Nugent’s colleagues at The Iowa Review where she works as an editor. Lauren Haldeman created the cover art for the album featuring an owl playing drums in a tree.

The album was created in partnership with The Englert Theatre, Iowa City Public Library, Hills Bank and Trust Company and the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement. Co-sponsors include Maximum Ames Records, United Action for Youth, Flat Black Studios, White Rabbit, The Iowa Review, KRUI, The Mill, West Music and the University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies.

The 24-track album is available for free to the community at the Iowa City Public Library beginning Tuesday, March 24.

Roboprofessor at Iowa City Council meeting on March 23, 2015 -- photo by Adam Burke
Roboprofessor at Iowa City Council meeting on March 23, 2015 — photo by Adam Burke

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