Iowa City Weekender: December 9-11

What is that I see in front of me? Is that 2011? Yea, it is. Oh, hi there! Fancy seeing you. The weekender isn’t quite ready for you yet. We’ve still got some dope things to do here in the 2010. I got craft fairs, rock shows, art shows, and film classics, so just take a blow over there on that crate. We’ll call you when your number’s up.


Esperanza Spalding | Englert Theatre | 7:30 PM | $10-29, All Ages

In the world of jazz, there is a subset of talented women jazz singers. You probably already know at least Diana Krall, Billie Holliday, Norah Jones, and Ella Fitzgerald. While these four women are all quite different from one another, they share the common characteristic of singing straight through you to the bone. Their songs do not hit you in the ears; they hit you deep in the heart. Esperanza Spalding certainly shares this tendency. While she can play bass proficiently, one sees Spalding to hear her voice. Clear and beautiful, Spalding recalls jazz singers of old with her style. She will be coming to the Englert on Thursday. If you’d like to check her out, I suggest moving fast because it’s almost sold out.


Graduate Painting Open House | Graduate Painting Studios, 109 River Street | 7:00 PM | Free, All Ages

Every once in a while, the painting MFAs open up to let the public check out their studios. This is not the mundane event that it sounds like. On top of being wildly talented and creative, they are also fantastic hosts. Seriously. The last time they had an event at the studios, they had a full fledged barbeque. It was awesome. These artists do not mess around with their art or hospitality. This weekend, the magic returns. Go visit the artists at their house and let them treat you so, so well both visually and spiritually. They say to bring an appetite. I’d take them on their word.

Langhorne Slim | Blue Moose | 8:00 PM | $8 Adv, $10 Day of Show, 21+

In the previous decade, there was a show called Cheap Seats without Ron Parker. They did an episode on puberty where they watched putt-putt and double dutch championships. While the children were clearly being hilariously exploited, the filler segments featured this rather bored looking fellow singing hilarious songs about puberty topics such as facial hair. That disinterested gentleman was Langhorne Slim. Turns out that he’s far more accomplished than this appearance would ever suggest. He is a talented singer-songwriter with a rather sinister sense of humor about him. His music brings about comparisons to Beck, Hasil Adkins, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. Not bad company to share as a singer-songwriter if you ask me. He’ll be at the Blue Moose this Friday. Opening for him will be Brooke Strause & The Gory Details and Ryan Lauder. Folk, country, and blues-y people should take note of this show and make an effort to attend as this is a solid show from top to bottom.

S. Carey | The Mill | 9:00 PM | $8 Adv., $10 Day of Show, 19+

Coming to the Mill in support of his new solo album, S. Carey is a name that is, most likely, not familiar to many people. Although this is the case, many might better know him as the drummer from Bon Iver. An original member, his solo work is a departure from that material. While still taking inspiration from folk and rock, Carey adds the influence of Steve Reich and Bill Evans into the mix to create a sound of his own. Supported by White Hinterland, this show will both please and surprise Bon Iver fans while introducing them to the singular sound of S. Carey.


What A Load of Craft! | Johnson County Fairgrounds | 11 AM | Free, All Ages

The pinnacle of the craft season here in Iowa City, What A Load of Craft, returns for another installment. Featuring wares from both local and traveling artisans, the event is much more than just the selling of crafts. The highlight is the craft death match. I won’t attempt to explain it. Instead, you should find your way down to the fairgrounds and see it with your own eyes. You just might not be the same after you see people speed build gingerbread houses to searing metal music played by the resident DJ (yea, there is a house DJ as well). I know I’m certainly not.

Pieta Brown: This Land is Your Land II | The Mill | 8:00 PM | $10 Adv., $12 Day of Show, 19+

This Saturday marks the last show in the residency of Pieta Brown at the Mill this year. As I noted last week, this residency is an exchange between the musical and visual artists here in Iowa City. This week, Pieta’s musical guest will be another local troubadour and excellent lady: Alexis Stevens. Pieta’s a powerhouse. So is Alexis. This should be a great show to end a residency on.

Soul Dance Party | White Lightning Wherehouse | 9:00 PM | $5 Donation, All Ages

This weekend, the folks down at the Wherehouse are going all out, having a soul dance party to end the year. This isn’t all though. If you get there on time, you can be a part of the filming of Jarrett Mitchell’s new internet show “The Weather Report” as well as see a live art performance by Elizabeth Bergman. If that doesn’t interest you, there’s plenty of music on the bill which is headlined by The Low Forms, the new band of Minnesota stalwart Pete Biasi, and new local sensation We Shave. It should be a fun time, so grab your sweetheart and get down to the dance.

Goodfellas | Bijou Theater | 11 PM | Free for Students, $5, 18+

If you have never seen this movie, the Bijou offers you an opportunity to view one of the true classics of Martin Scorcese’s oeuvre in Goodfellas. Featuring Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and Lorraine Bracco amongst others, Goodfellas tracks the rise and fall of a mob enforcer. A thoughtful, fair portrayal of life in the mob, it is one of the great films and just has great scene after great scene. If a show seems daunting to you after all that craft deathmatch, this is the perfect alternative.

The holiday season is starting to roll in. Shop hard but safe. There’s no need to beat up a tween girl over a toy. If you want a respite from Christmas carols and Hanukkah menorahs, I think that you’ll find something out of these options that will tickle your fancy. Have a totally awesome weekend.


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