Mission Creek announces Margaret Cho, Rufus Wainwright, Andrew Bird and more for 2017

Mission Creek Festival 2017

Various venues — Tuesday-Sunday, April 4-9, 2017

Violinist Andrew Bird, formerly of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire, brings his solo work to Iowa City -- photo courtesy of Mission Creek Festival
Violinist Andrew Bird, formerly of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire, brings his solo work to Iowa City. — photo courtesy of Mission Creek Festival

Announced Performers

• Andrew Bird
• Margaret Cho
• Saeed Jones
• Rufus Wainwright
• The Cool Kids
• Cole Swensen
• Tennis
• My Brightest Diamond
• The Bad Plus
• Alice Sola Kim
• Jlin
• Bridget Kearney
• HEXA (Xiu Xiu + Lawrence English)
• Preoccupations
• Kristen Radtke
• Elysia Crampton
• Janelle James
• Dorothy
• Lawrence English
• Marisa Anderson
• Jay Som
• Sarah Louise
• Tashi Dorji & Taylor Damon
• Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas
• Danielle Dutton

more announcements to come …

Mission Creek, Iowa City’s music, art and literary festival now in its 12th year, has released their first line-up announcement for April’s six-day event. Passes go on sale this Friday, Dec. 9 at 12:30 p.m. The $164 festival pass, which covers all ticketed performances, will be available at the Englert box office and online at Midwestix. Tickets to individual events will be on sale starting Jan. 17, 2017.

For the second year in a row, a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will provide support to the festival’s literary programming. This year, that will include the small press book fair, the annual Lit Crawl, artist roundtables and youth workshops.

On Saturday of the festival, April 8, several daytime events will be free and family-friendly. Last year’s Art + Life + Tech speaker series will return, as will the ICE CREAM comics and zine fair.

This year’s festival again offers a wide array of musical options, from the electronics of Jlin, making up for the at Witching Hour performance that never was (due to computer difficulties), to the Canadian post-punk of Preoccupations (formerly known as Viet Cong), to Minneapolis jazz trio the Bad Plus.

The comedy and literary offerings are similarly exciting and diverse.

Here are some key highlights of the current announcement:

Comedian Margaret Cho is among the phenomenal artists announced as part of Mission Creek 2017 -- photo courtesy of Mission Creek Festival
Comedian Margaret Cho is among the phenomenal artists announced as part of Mission Creek 2017. — photo courtesy of Mission Creek Festival

Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho is best known for her stand-up comedy, which she’ll be bringing to the festival in a performance co-sponsored by Studio 13 and IC Pride. However, she is so much more than that.

In addition to comedy, Cho is an actress, fashion designer, author, musician and fierce political activist. Her latest album, American Myth, was released in April of this year, and she is currently one of the co-hosts of the E! program Fashion Police.

Cho’s political activism has gotten her noticed by a number of advocacy groups: She was awarded a Lambda Liberty Award by Lambda Legal in 2001, an Intrepid Award by the National Organization for Women in 2003 and a First Amendment Award by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004, among other honors.

Andrew Bird

Following an early career with the Squirrel Nut Zippers and his project Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, this Suzuki-trained violinist (who’s been studying since age four and has a degree in violin performance from Northwestern) embarked on a solo career of complete self-reinvention that’s been thriving for 13 years. He’s released nine studio albums since 2003, including two on Righteous Babe records and two on Fat Possum. His latest, Are You Serious, was released on Loma Vista in April.

Bird and fellow indie folk/baroque pop artist My Brightest Diamond will be joining the festival through a partnership with Hancher and SCOPE Productions, and will be performing at Hancher Auditorium, an exciting addition to this year’s list of venues.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright will bring his unmatchable sounds to Mission Creek 2017. -- photo by Matthew Welch
Rufus Wainwright will bring his unmatchable sounds to Mission Creek 2017. — photo by Matthew Welch

In the 18 years since his debut album, Rufus Wainwright has run the gamut of musical styles. With early influences like Edith Piaf and Al Jolson, his work often exemplifies an art song feel — but as the child of two folk singers, his pop sensibilities also can’t be ignored. He has written two operas — 2009’s Prima Donna and Hadrian, which is set to premier in 2018. His latest album, Take All My Loves, which was released in April, is a collection of songs based on nine of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Wainwright’s distinctive vocal stylings make him a much-sought-after artist for soundtracks. Even those unfamiliar with his work will no doubt recognize the “Hallelujah” he was asked to record for the movie Shrek; he’s also had tracks in films as diverse as Brokeback Mountain and Big Daddy.

Little Village is a sponsor of the Mission Creek Festival.

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