Just announced: DJ Spooky, Tom Tomorrow, Beach Fossils, Talibam! and more at the third annual Witching Hour Festival

Witching Hour Festival

Various Venues — Oct. 20-21

Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky — photo by Tobin Poppinberg

Iowa City’s Witching Hour festival, a joint venture between Little Village and the Englert Theatre, announced the 2017 lineup today. The festival, now in its third year, celebrates the unknown and lifts up new music and the creative process. This year’s lineup is, as always, an eclectic assortment of music, literature, science, art, comedy and more, with a mix of performances, screenings, lectures, art and workshops.

Notable on the lineup is DJ Spooky, whose work with the University of Iowa Libraries Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio hits several of those categories. His multimedia project involves audio and visual recordings from the Van Allen probes. His completed piece will have its world premiere at the Witching Hour festival.

Also on the performance track this year are New York dadaists Talibam!, the fascinating experimentation of Yves Tumor and violist Nadia Sirota. The festival is also collaborating with SCOPE Productions to bring in dreamy shoegazers Beach Fossils.

Additional science and research presentations include Paulina Mena, a biology professor at Central College in Pella who will be discussing her work on bees. Will Hunt, a 3D essayist, digs into examples of compulsive tunneling. Janet Hilary, of the Floreat Education Academies Trust, and Iowa’s Chuck Peters will look at challenges in elementary education.

Political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow will present on 25 Years of Tomorrow: A Look Back (and a Look Forward), celebrating his long-running political strip This Modern World.

Comedy highlights include Hari Kondabolu of Politically Re-Active and the return of Jak Knight, who was in town last year with the Floodwater Comedy Festival.

Poet Danez Smith, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Nightvale and other writers will have readings of new work at the festival.

Workshops include Iowa City theatre artists Saffron Henke and Kristy Hartsgrove Mooers’ exploration of creative expression and the authentic self.

Tickets for Witching Hour are on sale now at $60 for the two-day pass. On Sept. 12, single day passes ($40) and individual show tickets (price varies) will go on sale, and the cost of the two-day pass will rise to $65. They can be purchased at the Englert box office or on the festival’s website.


See the full current lineup for the festival below. The program will continue to develop.


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Music + Performance

DJ Spooky
Nadia Sirota
Beach Fossils
Yves Tumor
Audrey Chen
Kweku Collins
Karen Meat


Hari Kondabolu
Aparna Nancherla
Jak Knight


It Devours! featuring Welcome to Night Vale co-creators Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cantour
Danez Smith
Kiese Laymon
Writers of Color Reading Series

Presentations + Panels

25 Years of Tomorrow: A Look Back (and a Look Forward) with Political Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (This Modern World)
Honey & Mass Extinction: What every Iowan should know about the state’s bee population (Paulina Mena)
Future of Education: The Fall and Rise of the Elementary School System (Janet Hilary and Chuck Peters)
The Decolonization of Tymika Lawrence
Local Media: Dying or Already Dead? (Susan Patterson Plank)
Freedom is a Feeling in the Tongue (Tameka Cage Conley)
Democracy in Crisis (Baynard Woods)
The Burrowers (Will Hunt)


Risk Taking & the Authentic Self (Kristy Hartsgrove Mooers and Saffron Henke)
Gong Bath
Finding Honey in the Rock: A Workshop of Obsession (Danez Smith)

Film Screenings

Adam’s Run
Brimstone & Glory
New Perspective
Future of Education: The Fall and Rise of the Elementary School System

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