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Revolution and Beatitudes of Black Liberation: A video essay by Stacey Walker

Produced by Little Village in partnership with Witching Hour and Englert Wavelength   Below is an excerpt from Walker’s essay, published in Little Village’s February 2021 issue. What is Black Liberation? What does it mean to be free? Black people […]

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Beatrice Thomas returns to Witching Hour to guide us through the apocalypse

Over the past five years, Witching Hour has become an innovator within festival cultures. While many festivals are stops on a circuit of touring bands that parade spectacles for passive participants, Witching Hour, like the Englert’s Mission Creek Festival, has […]

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Who owns indigenous music? Psychedelic duo Heavy Color collaborate across cultures to make ‘world music’ less parasitic

Heavy Color, a beat-driven psychedelic music duo founded by Ben Cohen and Sam Woldenberg, makes “world music” by way of Toledo, Ohio. These composer-producers are very careful to distance themselves from that problematic term — world music often treats music […]

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‘Nothing is real until it happens’: Stacey Walker on being a ‘foot soldier’ for racial justice reform

A month out from the 2020 Witching Hour festival, presenter Stacey Walker isn’t exactly sure what he will say to attendees. But that’s not for lack of something to say. “As a Black man, as an elected official, as a […]

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Watch: Sharon Udoh (Counterfeit Madison) discusses her Iowa City experiences, Nina Simone and the future

On Nov. 2, 2019, Sharon Udoh (Counterfeit Madison) gave one of Witching Hour Festival’s most memorable performances, presenting her Nina Simone songbook solo, on piano, at the Englert Theatre. She spoke with Little Village before the show at the site […]

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Counterfeit Madison brings the music and message of Nina Simone to the Witching Hour Festival

When Sharon Udoh first heard Nina Simone’s music, it was a revelation. “I was struck by our similarities,” said Udoh, who performs under the moniker Counterfeit Madison. “Here was this dark-skinned black woman who was a classically trained pianist, just like me, and with a similar vocal register. My head was spinning.” […]

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The new Stanley Museum of Art will serve as ‘a library and a laboratory,’ says its director, bringing art to all majors

Lauren Lessing began serving as the eighth director of the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art in July 2018, and less than nine months later, presided over the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new site for the museum. UI’s renowned art collection (arguably one of the top university collections in the United States) was displaced by […]

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A snacking guide to Witching Hour 2019

Since 2015, Witching Hour has worked to expand the consciousness of festival-goers by stretching imaginations and perceptions of what a festival can and ought to be: a two-day smorgasboard of obscure discussions and performances that take place just as the weather starts to turn horrible. I’m here to stretch how you imagine filling your gullets.
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Rachel Grimes explores her roots and Kentucky’s checkered history in ‘The Way Forth,’ a folk opera and film

A few years back, siblings Rachel and Edward Grimes were faced with a difficult but rather common responsibility: transitioning their parents into a nursing care facility. This required the pair to sort through decades—and, it turned out, centuries—worth of stuff in their parents’ Kentucky home. “Both of my parents had a really wonderful trove of photographs […]

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What’s in a fest? Witching Hour kicked off with curatorial conversation

If you are a devotee of the arts who has ever wondered how the sausage of your favorite festivals, seasons and programs gets made, the opening salvo of the 2018 Witching Hour festival shed a little light on the subject. […]

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