John Pemble

Arts and Culture Reporter

John Pemble is the Arts and Culture reporter at Iowa Public Radio. In 1989, John began his Iowa Public Radio career in Fort Dodge as a program host for jazz, classical, and contemporary instrumental music programs. He joined Iowa Public Radio’s news department in 2008 to produce arts and culture stories.

John spent ten years as an adjunct professor for Iowa Central Community College’s broadcasting department teaching production and operations classes.

John's favorite public radio program is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

Ways to Connect

Yesterday world renowned violinist Midori began a week long residency with the Quad City Orchestra where she is holding master classes and performing concerts. Months ahead of her visit young people entered a composition contest where they were challenged to create a piece around a three note motive that also spells Midori’s name.

For 72 years the comic book Superman has told the story about a superhero who hides his identity as a mild mannered newspaper reporter named Clark Kent. Recent issues have a story arc where Superman is traveling across the country trying to reconnect with those he protects. In the newest issue released today the Man of Steel fights crime in downtown Des Moines but instead of being praised Superman's credibility is being questioned.

In two thousand seven the movie "Sixteen to Life" was filmed in the Clayton county town McGregor by Los Angeles based director Becky Smith. Smith is an Iowa native and spent a lot of time this month attending screenings of her film across the state. This weekend her film was shown for the first time in her hometown of Okoboji.

Last week Jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding started a worldwide tour for her new album Chamber Music Society. It’s receiving high praise from critics including the jazz magazine Downbeat where Spalding is featured on this month’s cover. One of her first tour stops took her to Des Moines this weekend where hours before her evening concert Iowa Public Radio’s John Pemble found her writing new music.

Next month the Harvester Artspace lofts will open in Council Bluffs and by the end of the year thirty six units will house artists in a live / work environment. It's one of a few dozen artist lofts in the country overseen by Artspace a non profit real estate developer based in Minnesota. Tonight, the public gets their first look at the New Harvester lofts. It's part of an effort in Council Bluffs to use art to stimulate the economy and move the city forward.

Some college kids spend their summers working a part time job, an internship, or going back home to relax but some choose to spend every day of the summer committing to a rigorous training and performance environment. This is the life of a drum and bugle corps member rehearsing and competing across the country from Memorial day through the middle of August. Last night six world class drum and bugle corps competed in West Des Moines including the Colts from Dubuque.

Recording music is often a long process. It's not unusual for each song to have multiple takes, edits, and mixes taking weeks to complete. But a small studio in the Quad Cities keeps the recording process quick and simple and has gained a national reputation.

Yesterday was first day for the third annual 80/35 two day music festival. 17,000 went downtown Des Moines to hear twenty bands on three stages including last night’s headliner Spoon a group that has gained wide popularity in the indy rock and mainstream music world. Hours before Spoon played Iowa Public Radio’s John Pemble talks with Spoon’s lead singer Britt Daniel about how the band’s independent sound is doing well with large audiences across the country.