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Deconstructing the Iowa Barn

The Johnsons kept eight or 10 milk cows in the barn. They sometimes kept pigs, too, but cows suited the barn best. They milked the animals by hand. Later, they skimmed the cream and sent it to the local creamery for butter or ice cream, saving the remaining milk for the hogs. That was 1950. […]

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Iowa City Weekender: May 8-10

The University’s leg of this town might be twitching and tired from too much adderal and final projects, but stepping outside their bounds, Iowa City still doesn’t sleep (until after 2 a.m., at least. Gotta rest sometime). Here’s what we recommend: Friday, May 8th: • Iowa City’s own Birth Rites debuts its debut album at […]

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Album Review: Porno Galactica – MixTape Vol. 1

Before Metallica and Napster ever butted heads, people used to venture
out and by their music on something called compact discs. Then, came
the era of the download. Now, artists like Porno Galactica can spread
their music without having to busk out on the pavement. Porno
Galactica, consists of Don and Phil Rabalais. They have made their
first release, Mixtape Vol. 1 directly available to anyone with an
internet connection and a computer. The release doesn’t sound like
anything you’d expect from Fairfield, Iowa. […]

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Album Review: N.A.S.A. – Spirit of Apollo

In the late 1990s, a new phenomena proliferated through commercial hip hop. Deejays began releasing albums overloaded with guest vocals and uninspired tunes. If you were a fan of rap music it was hard to escape this constant barrage of “exclusive” albums. Most were 15 tracks too long and you could tell every emcee was more concerned about the paycheck than the rhymes. […]

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Birthing Medusa

When poet and teacher Barbara Lau began writing her first play about the transformation of the American teenager, she analyzed her knowledge of Greek mythology and found the famed goddess whose metamorphosis was one of the most terrifying and heartbreaking: Medusa. “Just because she has a beauty-and-the-beast transformation, that’s not enough. I looked at the […]

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Hoagies & Grinders

Lunch-lady-land cafeterias in the U.S. public school system conjure dreams of Early Cuising Education. It’s early in the morning the day after a very busy Valentine’s weekend in the restaurant. I’m grumpy and sore and cleaning out the walk-in refrigerator while feeding a nasty NPR jones I’ve been contending with for a couple decades – […]

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Prairie Pop: Hip Hop's Media Assassin

For those listening to hip hop 20 years ago, Harry Allen’s name was well known after the release of Public Enemy’s classic “Don’t Believe the Hype,” from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. That 1988 album—with its massive freight train of a title, and rocketing aural attack—established the group as agitprop […]

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On the Beat: Showered in Shows

As we all know, thanks to T.S. Eliot, “April is the cruelest month,” but for music lovers in Iowa City, the pain and suffering that April causes may be in the form of cubicle and classroom hangovers, not an actual musical wasteland. In fact, April showers bring May flowers, and when it rains it pours, […]

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Talking Movies: Chaplin on the Economy

Someone should write an essay called “In Praise of Pretentiousness,” because in the first years of adulthood—please, those years only!—a little insufferable pretentiousness goes a long way. It was pretentiousness, I admit, that led me into a Charlie Chaplin film festival when I was a freshman at Grinnell: I showed up to appreciate silent films. […]

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(C) is for Criminal

Copyright Criminals Directed by Benjamin Franzen Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod have put together a quite entertaining documentary history of the sampling controversy in hip hop music. In this film, or at least in the rough cut of it, you will hear the following amazing things: Chuck D admits that you can in fact copyright […]

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Kaspar Hauser | The Sons CD Review

Kaspar Hauser The Sons www.kasparhausermusic.net Kaspar Hauser started in Iowa City and then moved to Chicago, but they’re back once or twice a year for shows at the Mill.  They play guitar-based pop music, with no grand pretensions or sonic gimmicks.  If you see them live, they look like they just finished a shift at […]

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