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Built to Spill, Mission Creek Festival headliner, is as chill as ever

Everything about singer-guitarist Doug Martsch and his longtime band is unassuming and undramatic — from the two decades of major-label albums they’ve steadily released as the music industry collapsed around them to the lilting melodies and long, winding solos that weep gently from Martsch’s guitar. […]

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Prairie Pop: Former Angels of Light reminisce about the influence of their brother and son Hibiscus

Before George Harris III became Hibiscus and founded the genderfluid theater troupe the Cockettes, he put on shows with his family in Florida during the early 1960s. The oldest of six siblings — three girls and three boys, sort of an avant-garde Brady Bunch — George formed the El Dorado Players, named after the street they lived on in Clearwater, Florida.

“Hibiscus had real leadership qualities,” his youngest sister Mary Lou said. “He came out of the womb as the grand marshal. He was just like the leader of the parade — tons of ideas. ‘Let’s get it rolling. Let’s not even think!’” […]

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Prairie Pop: NPR’s Codrescu breaks down Dadaism’s ongoing influence

Andrei Codrescu: Documenting Dada/Disseminating Dada Shambaugh Auditorium — Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. Dada was a volatile artistic, social and political movement that exploded in 1916 from the Zürich club Cabaret Voltaire, creating reverberations that can still be felt today. Its fuse was lit by refugees from World War One who decamped to Switzerland, […]

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Prairie Pop: Bibbe Hansen’s rebellious history and dynamic legacy

A single family’s artistic DNA can sometimes leave traces on the genetic makeup of the broader culture. Bibbe Hansen’s familial history, for example, also doubles as a survey of modern American bohemia and popular culture. It spans time and space, encompassing the 1950s Beatnik era and the present, New York and Los Angeles, Happenings and […]

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Prairie Pop: Sell your soul; you’ll feel better

Before Bart Simpson did it, though long after Faust, I sold my soul. This prank permanently cemented my status as a vaguely remembered factoid: “The guy who sold his soul on eBay.” I orchestrated the prank at the height of the late-1990s dot-com era, when eBay was the hot new auction website of the moment. […]

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Prairie Pop: ‘King of Nasty’ John Waters returns to Iowa City for one-man roadshow

John Waters — “Filthier and Dirtier” The Englert Theatre — Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Prepare yourself. Hide the children. John Waters — the Auteur of Ordure — is once again bringing his one-man roadshow to the Englert, on Oct. 1. “Filthier and Dirtier” is the latest iteration of his vaudevillian act, a freewheeling […]

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Prairie Pop: Flashback to ’70s SanFran drag with former Cockette Lendon Sadler

Plenty of dicks have lived in Iowa City over the years, but only one Cockette. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Lendon Sadler was part of a notorious San Francisco drag troupe named the Cockettes, which filmmaker John Waters affectionately referred to as a bunch of acid freak bearded Marxist drag queens. Since that […]

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Lisa Jane Persky brings her photos and stories of ’70s New York to Iowa City

Writer, actress and photographer Lisa Jane Persky is surely the only participant in the early CBGB punk scene who also appeared in When Harry Met Sally. After moving to Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, she met several colorful characters — from Divine and Debbie Harry to Lance Loud and Yoko Ono (the latter of […]

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Prairie Pop: Looking back on David Bowie’s love affair with experimental theater

The weekend after David Bowie’s death, the Starman’s spirit descended on Iowa City, sprinkling magical fairy dust during The Mill’s David Bowie Karaoke Party and Glam Costume Contest. A benefit for a local homeless shelter that raised $1,700, this lively event embodied what made Bowie such an enduring artist: spectacle. It’s no secret that David […]

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Interview: Richard Hell on his new collection of essays, ‘Massive Pissed Love’

“Fuck Rock and Roll (I’d Rather Read a Book),” Richard Hell sang in 1974, back when he played in the band Television. He also co-founded two other influential New York punk groups—The Heartbreakers and The Voidoids—something that tends to overshadow Hell’s half-century involvement in the publishing world. “I’ve always loved books,” he told me over […]

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The Pioneers of Disruption: Negativland members open up about deceased member Don Joyce, future projects

Negativland’s Don Joyce lived and breathed sound collage—’til his heart stopped beating on July 22, 2015 at the age of 71. “I’ve been more interested in what’s already out there than creating some new, so-called ‘original,’” Joyce told me in a 2003 interview at his home studio in a seedy part of Oakland, California. “I […]

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The Yes Men bring anarchy, comedy and political activism to Iowa City

Film Screening and Q&A: The Yes Men Are Revolting FilmScene (via The Bijou Theatre) — Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. (Free) Using humorous deceptions to get their political points across, the Yes Men have regularly made headlines since they joined forces in 1999. Today, Mike Bonanno and his partner in crime, Andy Bichlbaum, bring […]

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