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Iowa City Weekender: September 23-25


Hello and welcome back to the Weekender. If you are reading this on the 22nd and wondering why it says the 23rd above, it’s because I’m pushing Thursday. There is a show on Thursday that will appeal to the singer-songwriter crowd in Jill Andrews (The Mill // 9:00 PM // $8, 21+), but there’s some quality programming that I want to tell you about for Sunday. Additionally, I want to write an actual weekend column this week. Thursday is not the new Friday. Friday is the new Friday. I’m going to hold it down for all of the weekend traditionalists this week. Alright, let’s start.

FRIDAY

WorldCanvass // Old Capitol Senate Chamber // 5:00 PM // Free, All Ages

Once a month, Joan Kjaer collects some of the smartest, brightest minds around for a discussion of a topic of international significance on her show WorldCanvass. While this might sound like a stuffy affair, Kjaer is an excellent moderator, making the discussion lively and drawing the audience in. For this month’s edition, Kjaer will be talking to the organizers of the upcoming Comics symposium at the UI campus in October. While you might only think of dudes in spandex and scantily clad ladies, comics have advanced, becoming a format that can rival the depth of feeling and emotion of the most profound of literary texts. If you know a lot about comics or absolutely nothing about them, I’m sure that you will be engaged with this conversation.

Dave Zollo & The Body Electric w/ The Burrows 4 // Iowa City Yacht Club // 9:00 PM // $6, 19+

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about Dave Zollo & The Body Electric. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that myself in the past. Rock ‘n’ Roll with a roots/blues edge, Zollo’s an excellent musician that knows how to write excellent songs that can make you move, feel, and just relax. He’s someone that loves what he does, and it comes through on the stage. A longstanding fixture of the Iowa City music scene, this show will be a treat for the fans and might convert a newbie or two. Opening for Zollo will be Chicago-based The Burrows 4, whose sound will dovetail nicely with Zollo & The Body Electric.

SATURDAY

Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps w/ Datagun & The Wandering Bears // The Mill // 9:00 PM // $8, 21+

For the pop fans in all of you, this show should be high on your list of things to do this weekend. For those that like there pop a little noisy, Datagun‘s structured approach to electronic music making will please the most inconsolable of you. If you like your music more folky, this show has you covered on two fronts. The first is the local Wandering Bears for whom this will be the last show for the foreseeable future as their singer Sam will be leaving for the great wide expanses of Oxford. The second will be Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps, a band that has been making more frequent Iowa City trips. They’ve been killing it here since Mission Creek 2011. If you didn’t catch them then or at one of the summer shows, definitely come check them out. Fans of upbeat, smart pop music should find themselves thoroughly contented by this whole line-up.

Blue Velvet // Englert Theatre // 12:00 AM (Saturday into Sunday) // Free for UI Students, $3 for General Public; 17+ (It’s an R-Rated Film)

David Lynch is a filmmaker that has always been obsessed with the seedy underside of America. Nowhere does this obsession come out more clearly than in 1986’s Blue Velvet. Starring future Lynch regulars Kyle MacLachan and Laura Dern, the movie is, actually, a murder mystery, but this fact is secondary. In investigating the crime, MacLachan and Dern find themselves caught up in a far more dangerous world of drugs and violence than they could have ever imagined in their small town of Lumberton, NC. While it was not particularly successful when it came out, its shocking nature, dark tone, and pop culture fetishism (you will hear Bobby Vinton multiple times in this movie) have since elevated Blue Velvet to the status of a legendary cult film. If I had to make a shortlist of films that had a significant impact on my life, this would be near the top. If you’ve never seen this before, do yourself a favor and go to this Midnight screening.

SUNDAY

Craig Thompson // Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A // 2:00 PM // Free, All Ages

Just to let you know, Iowa City will be covered in comics for the next month or so as the University of Iowa will be holding a major conference on comics and graphic novels in October, as I noted above. For those who shun graphic novels like I used to, these coming weeks might help you to change your mind about them as they are just as sophisticated as your favorite novel. There’s no further proof to this idea than Blankets. An autobiography, Blankets details the early life of its author Craig Thompson. Beautifully drawn with an amazing story to match, Blankets was critically praised and rightfully so. This Sunday will bring a reading by Thompson of his new graphic novel Habibi, which tells of the love that develops between two refugee child slaves.

Daniel Higgs w/ Dear Rabbit & Hermit Thrushes // The Mill // 8:00 PM // $7, 21+

One of the most memorable parts of the 2009 Mission Creek Festival for me was watching Daniel Higgs perform a solo set in the Cave of Spirits. It was powerful, compelling, haunting, and enchanting simultaneously. Some people in the audience were moved to tears, but after he finished, it took everyone a solid second to gather their breath and come back into the real world. What he does isn’t complex. It’s one man with a couple of instruments, singing songs. Everyone’s seen that. But, what moves it is his voice, which takes you to another plane as Higgs spins fantastic tales with his words. This is a perfect Mill show if I could think of one. Get a couple of drinks, sit back in a booth and let Daniel tell you a tale about this fine country.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through this throwback Weekender. Try to have the best one that you can. Next week, I’ll probably be back to Thursday through Sunday, but who knows? I can shift with the tides. In a last note, I know that a lot of people do yoga, so I thought it might be cool for y’all to do some together. In College Green Park, they will be doing 108 sun salutations for the equinox. If you got excited by that idea or understood what it meant, this is an event for you. So, until next time, have a good weekend!

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