Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

Emily Woodbury

Kevin "B.F." Burt of Coralville has been performing the blues for more than 20 years. He's beloved in Iowa, and has performed around the world.

This month, he won three first place awards at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Burt about his humble solo performance origins at Baldy's Wraps in Iowa City, what it's like to be discovered after his performance in Memphis, and where he's focusing his energy next. 

American Libraries / — https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

A few years ago, jazz vocalist Keri Johnsrud was talking with another musician about the role of music in children's television programs. 

"We started talking about Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and how the music in that program was so integral to the advancement of the stories and messages that he was telling on the program. And how jazz was especially was an important part of the show," she says.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Last January, actor Woody Harrelson wrote, directed, and starred in a live feature film called Lost in London. The movie was shot in London and broadcast live into American theaters, with audiences watching the film in real time.

The movie is inspired by real life events, and while it is a comedy, it takes places entirely in what Harrelson describes as the worst night of his life: a 2002 incident when he was arrested for getting into a fight with a cab driver just days after a night of infidelity was exposed by a tabloid.

Photo Courtesy of Justin Roberts

There is a lot of children's music out there, and some of it is really bad. But over the course of the last two decades, children's music as a genre has become a home for many smart, funny, and talented musicians. Iowa native Justin Roberts is one of them. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about his newest album Lemonade, which has been nominated for a Grammy this year. It's his third time being nominated. 

On this album, he has several laugh out loud funny songs, including one called "Valentine."  

African American Museum of Iowa

The African American Museum of Iowa will offer free admission from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST on Monday, January 15 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with LaNisha Cassell, the museum's executive director, and Felicite Wolfe, the museum's curator. 

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Domestic violence usually happens in private. It is unseen and underreported. Helping a loved one in an abusive relationship can be easier said than done. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with guests about this common type of abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced some kind of violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

Wordpress

The Oxford Dictionaries declared "youthquake" as its Word of the Year for 2017, although we found out that it was  originally coined in about 1965 by the fashion industry.  This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks again with our "Word Maven," Patricia O'Conner, proprietor of the popular language blog, "Grammarphobia."  O'Conner is the author of a number of language books, including "Woe is I," "Words Fail Me," and "Origins of the Specious."

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode – cropping and lighting changes made
Peter Shanks

As you ponder what to give as gifts for the music-lovers in your life, consider the expertise of some Iowa Public Radio music hosts. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hears about the notable releases and recordings of 2017 from the host of IPR's The Folk Tree Karen Impola, as well as classical music host Barney Sherman.

Karen Impola's top folk music picks for 2017

1. Catfish Keith – "Shake Sugaree" – Mississippi River Blues

2. Al Murphy – "Steamboat Quickstep" – Hogs in the Cornfield

The medical and mental health communities are doing their best to learn about and treat post traumatic stress disorder more effectively. Historically, the term "shell shocked" immediately comes to mind, and a new play by Combined Efforts Theatre in Iowa City raises some questions about the kinds of trauma that soldiers who fought in World War I experienced when the term was first introduced. 

Emily Woodbury

Artist Rose Frantzen grew up in Maquoketa and started painting portraits when she was in high school. Since then, she’s gained national and international acclaim for her oil paintings. She lives and works with her husband, Chuck Morris, an acclaimed artist of his own right.

Iowa seems like an unlikely destination for two very successful artists who met in New York City’s Central Park, but Rose Frantzen and Chuck Morris have made Maquoketa their home, their workplace, and an artistic destination.

Didriks / Flickr

For many, listening to StoryCorps on Friday mornings has become routine—a few minutes to listen, learn, reflect, and often shed a few tears.

When StoryCorps debuted in 2003, it sounded unlike anything else on public radio.  They were stories not driven by news or cultural events, and they were stories that didn’t feature news-makers. These were stories of normal people sharing their memories. We quickly learned that those normal people were extraordinary, and that we all have stories to share.

Earlier this month, six Iowa veterans told their stories at a live event in Iowa City.  The event was "Roll Call: Veterans Share Their True Stories" presented by Iowa Watch and hosted by Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe.  It took place on November 9th at Old Brick in Iowa City.  In the link above, hear these veterans' stories:

Photo Courtesty of Chris Weaver / Instagram

It's been a big year for Iowans on the NBC reality singing competition "The Voice." Chris Weaver, who attended college in Pella at Central College and lived in Des Moines for the better part of a decade working as a workshop leader for Lutheran Church of Hope, is one of them. During this hour he talks with host Charity Nebbe about how he got started singing, and how he's made a career for himself working as both a workshop leader and as a performer. His drag character is named Nedra Belle. 

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Stefan Shepherd remembers listening to ABBA and Herb Alpert as a kid; he did not grow up with "kids music." But now he has kids and he started reviewing kid's music on his blog, Zooglobble. In this segment of Talk of Iowa, Shepherd joins host Charity Nebbe to present a few options for good music for kids.

Here are three examples with some thoughts about the music from Shepherd.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, "Paletero Man" from the album Out of LA.

Image courtesy of IPTV

Music is a powerful medium, allowing us to access and experience an entire spectrum of feelings. For children, music is an important educational tool as well, and all too often, children's music has a tendency to become bland. Host of IPTV's Kids Club Dan Wardell and musician Jim Sieck are on a mission to create interesting kids music, while also teaching them valuable lessons. One song in particular teaches kids about the alphabet.

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Michelle Droe is the music teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Cedar Falls, Iowa. For a long time her students and colleagues have known that she’s a remarkable teacher, but now she’s receiving national recognition for her work. She’s a semi-finalist for a music educator Grammy award.

One special exercise Droe does involves sixth grade students pretending to be street musicians.  They work with a partner or come up with a performance on their own. 

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

When her husband died, Brenda, an Iowa City resident, struggled to explain the death to her four sons. So she turned to a person who handles death for a living: her husband’s funeral director.

Image courtesy of Gary Kelley

Gary Kelley is an illustrator and painter based in Iowa who works have been published in Time Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly and Rolling Stone. His latest project, illustrating the book Next Year: Hope in the Dust by Ruth Vander Zee, centers around the Dust Bowl, the catastrophic wind storms in the 1930s which displaced native prairie protecting the soil of the Great Plains from wind erosion.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Actors huddle around microphones as foley artists create sound effects with musicians. They are performing a scene about a teenager running away from gunfire in Burundi. This is Pang!, a three-act play presented as radio theater on a stage at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids.

Image courtesy of Witching Hour Festival

Iowa City native Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow, is the creator of This Modern World, a weekly political and satirical cartoon which has been a mainstay of the alternative press for more than two and a half decades. He says that the country's tense political environment lately has been challenging in many ways, and the speed at which news is made is particularly difficult. 

Image by Rob Holysz

Hari Kondabolu, a New Yorker and first-generation American of Indian descent, is an awarded comedian who has a problem with the negative stereotypes of southeast Asians and Indian people in the media. He explores that frustration in his new documentary “The Problem with Apu,” which highlights the effect of the character on his life growing up. 

Image courtesy of Squirrel Cage Jail of Pottawattamie County, Iowa

In 1885, residents of Council Bluffs wanted the city to become a safer community, but did not want to pay more taxes to do so. As a result of this, the Squirrel Cage Jail was implemented, composed of 90,000 pounds of metal standing three stories tall. The design of the jail was a cost-efficient rotary design, where the prisoners were housed in pie-shaped cells that were rotated with a crank and centered around one opening, similar to the design of a "lazy Susan." This design meant that only one jailor was necessary to man each of the three structures, each housing over 90 prisoners.

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There has been controversy about what it means to respect or disrespect the American flag and the country itself. What does it mean to be patriotic in 2017, and how have our ideas about patriotism changed over time? During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with historian and former Herbert Hoover Library and Museum Director Tim Walch. 

At the end of the program Walch sums up one aspect: that we are able to have such a discussion at all.

Flickr / Jim Forest

Some of the brightest stars from Iowa City’s literary community will give readings at the Englert Theatre on Sunday afternoon to raise money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and the Virgin Islands.

All money raised will go directly to the American Red Cross. Tickets are by donation, with the suggested level of $10. Readings will be given by more than a dozen writers, including Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson, Iowa’s first poet laureate Marvin Bell and Lan Samantha Chang, who is the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

International Writing Program Turns 50

Sep 20, 2017
Credit Ben Kieffer

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is one of the university's signature programs, attracting notable authors from across the world and establishing both the university and Iowa City as paramount to the future of American literature. 

Since 1967, over 1,400 writers from more than 150 countries have come to Iowa. International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill explains how the program came about.

Jon Kerstetter has experienced many "crossings" in his lifefrom a civilian doctor to a medical officer in the Army National Guard, and then, after a career-ending stroke, from a medical provider to a recovering patient.

In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Jon Kerstetter talks with host Charity Nebbe about his life's transformations, detailed in his new book, Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story. 

You may have noticed during this pledge drive that we had some new music beds that we used as we were taking a minute to talk about how wonderful it feels to support Iowa Public Radio financially. If you heard any of those and thought, "huh, I like that, wonder what song it is," we've got your back. 

www.theblueband.com

Since 1981, Bob Dorr and the Blue Band have played about 100 gigs per year all around Iowa and the Midwest. Over their 30-plus year run, they have become one of Iowa's most celebrated bands, playing their beloved, self-described brand of blues/soul/rockabilly/reggae/Creole/rhythm music at festivals and venues across eastern Iowa, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, and Chicago. They have shared the stage with such icons as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Bobby Rush.

Rawbert|K|Photo

Heated conversations—especially political ones can be unsatisfying and emotionally draining.  In this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with the co-facilitators of a "difficult conversations" workshop organized by the University of Iowa School of Social Work.  Guests are Alison Oliver and Jefri Pallermo from the University of Iowa, and North Liberty based consultant, coach, and speaker Heather Woody joins in for advice for workplace conversations.

http://www.mattkuhns.com

The Iowa and Iowa State football rivalry as we know it today only dates back to 1977, but even during the years when the Cyclones never played the Hawkeyes, there was a rivalry between the two schools. And the sports rivalry may pale in comparison to a conflict when Virgil Hancher was the president of the University of Iowa and James Hilton was the President of Iowa State University.  Matt Kuhns has written about those years in the new book Hancher vs. Hilton: Iowa’s Rival University Presidents.

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