Iowa City Weekender: April 21-23

Sometimes, you can lose track of what you are supposed to be doing during the day. You think you’ve got it all down, only to realize the next day that you were doing it completely wrong. This column got off the rails a little bit in the past weeks, I admit. With some help from the benevolent-ish higher-ups (I only got one burning effigy on my front lawn (it smelled like lavender and made my house smell wonderful for two days) and two animal heads in my bed), I’m going to get this column back on the right track. Actually, I’m going to start this process this week. Before I begin in full, I want to give a shout to Beyond The Hemline, which is happening this Saturday at the Wherehouse. There’s full information on the front page. Without the revenue from this event, you would not be able to read this column. Think about that while you read this week’s column.


Iowa Liszt Festival // Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge // 7:30 PM // Free; All Ages

This weekend marks the 200th Birthday of Hungarian Composer Franz Liszt. Well known for his piano skills, Liszt left behind a diverse, complex body of compositional work for future generations to enjoy. This year, the University of Iowa will be hosting the Iowa Liszt Festival, a three day celebration of all things relating to the artist. This concert is the opening concert of the entire festival, which will feature master classes and lectures in addition to recitals. Featuring a full orchestra with Iowa Piano Professor and decorated musician Ksenia Nosikova as featured pianist, this will be a powerful tribute to the work of the composer as well as an opportunity for many to experience the power that is a live classical musical performance. For further information and full schedule of the weekend’s events, visit The University of Iowa School of Music. I’m posting a performance of one of the pieces that will be performed during this concert, Totentanz, to provide a taste of Liszt for those who are unfamiliar.

Un Chien Andalou/ Phantom of Liberty // Bijou Theater // 9:00 PM // Free for UI Students, $5 General Admission; All Ages

Luis Bunuel is one of the great directors of the 20th Century. Known for films such as Belle Du Jour, The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm of The Bourgeoisie, Bunuel’s films have always kept one foot in reality and the other in absurdity. The two films showing at the Bijou this week are standing fully on that absurd foot. Un Chien Andalou is Bunuel’s infamous collaboration with surrealist artist Salvador Dali. A masterpiece of avant-garde cinema, the 16 minute film is known for its combination of stunning and shocking imagery, shaking up understandings of what surrealism was at the time. Phantom of Liberty is a nonlinear narrative film that diverges from his other work at the time. A touchstone for this film could be Richard Linklater’s Slacker, another film that features a series of loosely collected narratives. While Slacker is based in the real struggles of being a slacker in Austin, Phantom of Liberty features monks plays poker with holy relics amongst other things. Clearly, we are not talking about a very reasonable film, but then again, we aren’t talking about a director who makes reasonable work. That’s what makes him so special.


The Eva Luna Project: Now & Then My Country // Public Space One // 8:00 PM // Free, All Ages

As they are separated from the general population out of sight and out of mind, it can be sometimes hard to remember that people in prison are exactly that: people. From the white collar criminals that swindled an old lady to the woman that shot a man in cold blood, each has a story to tell. More importantly, they can be just as creative as the actual artists that you know, maybe even more so. The Eva Luna Project is a collaboration with this forgotten population in America to create works of theatre. This Friday will be the first presentation of this work here in Iowa City. Dealing with issues such as home and exile, this will be a moving, powerful document from a part of the world that is so frequently pushed aside.


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World Book & Copyright Day // Iowa City // 9:00 AM // Free, All Ages

The 23rd is UNESCO’s World Book & Copyright Day. As Iowa City is the only City of Literature in the United States, we will be privy to a rather extensive celebration of the day. Bookstores across town will have specials for the day, the Public Library will be giving out roses (on stamps, not real ones) to everyone who checks out a book, and there will be readings. They will be by two poets: Aliki Barnstone and Robert Pinsky. Barnstone has been a published poet since the age of twelve when her book The Real Tin Flower was published (and introduced by Anne Sexton). Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997-2000, is one of America’s greatest working poets, a man whose work has great depth and clever insights on the world around us. More information on the events is available at The City of Literature website.

Found Footage Festival // The Mill // 9:00 PM // $10, 19+

The Found Footage Festival is a traveling cultural event. Featuring video cassettes culled from estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores and other places where people try to help obsolete media die, The Found Footage Festival watches all of it to find the funniest and strangest of it all. With two emcees to guide you through the experience, this is a fun way to spend a night. If you want to know what you are getting yourself into, I’m posting a clip from a prior performance which discusses the bizarre genius that is sexual harassment video tapes.

This is the new Weekender. It’s leaner, but certainly not meaner. Stay warm in what I’m calling the Faux Winter for now. It’ll be Spring when I can leave my windows open at night. I’ll let you know when this come.


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