Iowa City Weekender: November 10-12

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Weekender. Each day this week will have a theme that will connect the two events. I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes particularly high right now with the ideas of themes as some of these links will be rather tenuous. Alright, let’s begin.


The theme for Thursday is comedy. The styles will be radically different. The locations will be radically different as one takes place at a dark haunt of Iowa City lore and the other occurs in a place with a barn door. In both situations, the performers will be working to make you laugh as hard as possible. The first offering will be a play that’s wrapping up its run here in Iowa City.

The Cripple of Inishmaan // Riverside Theatre // 7:30 PM // $15-28, All Ages

A collaboration between The Riverside Theatre and Cornell College, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a play that revolves around Billy, the titular cripple. Taunted by his aunts as well as the townspeople of Inishmaan who regularly call him “cripple”, Billy dreams of a way out. These plans change when he finds out that a Hollywood film team is in town. Instead of escaping town, Billy aims to get into the movie. Dark, cruel, violent, and extremely funny, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a play that is highly recommended. There will be performances at 7:30 PM on Friday and Saturday and 2:00 PM on Sunday as well. Tickets can be acquired at the Riverside Theatre website.

While The Cripple of Inishmaan follows the more traditional playwriting form, Dan Deacon and his posse from Wham City are bringing a completely different kind of comedy to The Mill.

Wham City Comedy Tour // The Mill // 10:00 PM // $6 Adv., $8 Day of Sale; 21+

Didn’t know that Dan Deacon did comedy? Well, he has been…since 2010. Spawning from the success of the first tour which took the east coast by storm, the Wham City Comedy Tour features skits, stand up, video, and the absurdist sensibilities that have always populated Wham City. If you’ve watched a lot of Adult Swim–I mean the weird stuff like Off The Air, Superjail!, China, IL, and Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job, not Family Guy reruns–you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. If not, think about the randomness of a Dan Deacon album and make it into comedy. If either of these ideas piques your interest, definitely check this out. The clip below is funny but NSFW.


Friday is moving away from comedy and into exploration. Given that exploration can mean a number of things, I intend for these events to be an exploration into the mind, an exercise in thinking about the norm and what that term even actually means. The easiest way to explore the radical is through the medium of art, and that is exactly how we will do it this week.

Rene Hell w/ Earn, Mirror to Mirror & Sister Midnight // Blue Moose Tap House // 5:00 PM // $5, All Ages

This show signals a return back for former IC resident Jeff Witscher. Known for his prolific output under a variety of different monikers, Witscher is performing under the name of one of his current projects Rene Hell. Creating blissed out, abstract soundscapes, Rene Hell is an exploration of the outer reaches of music and your mind. Merging experimental classical music with Tangerine Dream style, Rene Hell is a music project that is beautiful, creative, and fully worth seeing live. Playing on this return trip with Witscher will be Earn, Mirror to Mirror and Sister Midnight. If you are into the more abstract side of music, Rene Hell is definitely where it’s at.

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While Witscher will make your mind play tricks on you, TransWeek will make you reconsider how you think about gender and identity.

Transcending The Wall 2 // 130 N. Madison St. // 6:00 PM // Free, All Ages

As I noted above, this event is a part of TransWeek, a series of events that aim to celebrate trans-gendered people as well as those who choose not to identify by a specific genre. Transcending The Wall will feature work from local artists that help to explore the aforementioned ideas. If the idea of no gender is something that seems foreign to you, this art will help to open some windows. There will be more events associated with TransWeek this weekend as well. You can find out more information about those here.


As you can tell from the Friday events, I wasn’t kidding about those tenuous links. This Saturday will be about enjoying the local community and its artistic output.

Sycamore Craft Market // Sycamore Mall // 10:00 AM // Free, All Ages

As you well know, Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa is right around the corner. It’s time to start thinking about buying presents for your friends and family. If you want something cool and handmade, check out the Sycamore Craft Market. There will be crafters from all around the city and region selling original artwork, photography, mixed media art, many styles of jewelry, pillows and home decor items, patchwork blankets, dolls and soft toys, tasty treats, knitted and crocheted wearables, and much more. This will be an all day event, running until 6:00 PM. Get something thoughtful for those that you care about.

Slip Silo // Blue Moose Tap House // 8:00 PM // $6, 19+

The last event for this week is local band Slip Silo. Citing Jaga Jazzist, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pat Metheny as influences, Slip Silo’s sound is pulsating with electronic bleeps and bloops while keeping an organic feeling. Comparisons could be made to The Sea and Cake as they are also a jazzy, electronic-based rock group. Much like The Sea and Cake, Slip Silo prides itself on its excellent musicianship. If you are up for some compelling, innovative music on a Saturday night, give these local guys a shot.

With that, I end this edition of the Weekender. Have a good weekend, and I will see you next week.


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