Iowa City Weekender: December 15-17

Hello, and welcome to the Weekender! As the semester begins to wrap up for the university, the town starts to shift into slight hibernation for a week until it pops back into full form for the coming new year. This weekend will be your last chance to get out before the hibernation begins, so make sure that you have as much fun as you possibly can. This week, you’ll have a variety of options to choose from. Let’s find out what they are.


Festival of Carols // Englert Theatre // 5:30 PM // Free, All Ages

In case you weren’t able to tell from the decorated trees and the increased visibility of all things green and red, Christmas is swiftly moving in. The Englert will be celebrating its impending arrival with the annual Festival of Carols. Like in past years, there will be all types of merriment including sing-alongs, choral performances, and a visit from Santa for the kids as well as hot cocoa to knock the chill off. This year’s performers will be Old Capitol Chorus, Saffron Henke reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Dave Moore, Alan Swanson, Ghrá Na Gaeilge Irish Dancers, and Katie Roche. This event will be perfect for those who’ve found their seasonal spirit and want to spread it as well as those who need a little more encouragement to get into the right frame of mind.


Aaseamah’s Journey // Englert Theatre // 8:00 PM // $10, All Ages

Aaseamah’s Journey is a story that revolves around a young Iraqi girl named Aaseamah who comes to the United States looking for her father. Armed with the rather useless knowledge that he lives in Iowa and is named John Smith, Aaseamah moves through this state trying to find him, struggling with the language barrier at every step. She assisted in her journey by two journalists, Jodi and Jake. As Aaseamah looks for her father, the movie shifts the question from will she find him to will she find the peace of mind that she, Jake and Jodi need. Filmed completely in Iowa, this is a film that tells a riveting story about a group that can easily be forgotten in war: orphaned children. The money from proceeds will be donated to Daniel Hampel, who is a member of the crew that was severely injured recently.

Communist Daughter // The Mill // 9:00 PM // $8, 21+

Hailing from Minneapolis, Communist Daughter is the project of John Solomon. Following addiction and jail time, Solomon thought that he had left music forever. His passion came back while he was spending time in a small Wisconsin town. It was there that he found that he still had the itch, so he called some friends and put together this band. The music is well-written, poppy, and melancholic. The songs are minimal and well focused. Solomon’s soothing voice is always prominent in the mix, giving the band a folky, seductive feeling. Fans of the singer-songwriters that frequent The Mill as well as Americana music should check this show out as it will be right up your alley and worth the money.


Radio Holly Days // Sinclair Auditorium (Cedar Rapids) // 7:30 PM // $20-40, All Ages

America has a long tradition of radio performance. While many of the genres of programs like game shows and soap operas have now switched over to television, there is still a magic in watching live radio. Anyone who has seen the Prairie Home Companion movie knows this. Saturday provides an opportunity for this area to see this lost art. Hosted by the vocal group Five By Design, Radio Holly Days is a recreation of an old 1940s-style radio broadcast during the holiday season. Full of humor and entertainment, Radio Holly Days will be a special treat for those who want to hear some great music and learn more about the great history of this country while celebrating Christmas. More information as well as a link to buy tickets can be found at the Orchestra Iowa website.

Limbs w/ Zeta June // Gabe’s // 8:00 PM // $5, 19+

Limbs is a local band that bases its music in the controlled, thoughtful poetry of frontman Ty James. James found some interesting collaborators for this project, tapping members of psych band The Messy Blend and the dubstep group Control Freaqs for backup. The band takes these disparate influences and lays down solid jazzy, electronic grooves for James to rap over and the crowd to dance with. Limbs is a newer band on the local scene, but they are certainly one worth your time to check out. Fans of the Uniphonics and the groove-based bands will find something here very much to their liking. Opening for Limbs will be local jam upstartsZeta June, playing their first show on stage.

If you haven’t been able to tell, I am no longer the regular writer of this column. That responsibility has fallen onto Steve Crowley. This has been fun, and I am glad that I have been able to talk about the local arts scene every week for the past year+. While I’m done with this column, you can still read my writing as I will be taking over The Haps in the print magazine, starting in the January edition. For the last time, have an excellent weekend!


Do you have an event that you want to see here? Email dates and details to!

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