Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, reporter Rob Dillard talks with members of military service organizations. Nationwide, these groups have struggled to maintain membership levels in recent time. Some of the smaller chapters are in danger of disappearing altogether. In Iowa, however, Rob found they continue to play an important role in the social lives of many veterans and their families.

Being Latino in Iowa

Apr 1, 2011

All this week we’ve been hearing what it’s like “Being Latino in Iowa” from Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard. This hour, we top off the series with discussion about the pull many Iowa Latinos feel between the need to assimilate into American culture and the desire to hold on to their heritage. Rob Dillard will join us. Also, JoAnn Mackey, Executive Director of Latino Resources; Juan Pena of New Life Furniture in Des Moines; and Nancy Gardner, Principal of West Liberty Elementary School, a school with the only dual language program in the state.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been exploring Latino life in the state as part of the series, “Being in Iowa.” Today we learn about a celebration that is the major date on the social calendars for many young Latinas – especially those from Mexican heritage. It happens right around the time a girl turns 15. As Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard reports, families often spare no expense in honoring this coming-of-age event.

More and more Latino groceries and restaurants have opened in cities and towns across the state in recent years. As Rob Dillard reports, they are offering an array of new flavors to many Iowans.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation.

Latino immigrants have wielded a huge influence over the media landscape in Iowa. Twenty years ago when they first began to arrive looking for work, almost all of the newspapers they saw and broadcast outlets they heard were delivered in English. But as Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard tells us, these days it's nearly impossible to scan a radio dial or walk by a newspaper stand without noticing some content in Spanish.

"Being in Iowa" starts with a series on "Being Latino in Iowa." Reporter Rob Dillard will bring us stories about how this growing minority group is transforming some aspects of life here. Latinos now make up five percent of Iowa's overall population, numbering more than 152,000. That's a nearly 84% increase since 2000. Many of these newcomers are settling in rural areas of the state. Rob starts his series by looking at how that's altering the character of small-town Iowa.

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.

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.

Despite the sluggish auto economy, sales never did slow down for an exclusive Iowa car dealership. In fact, the company has attracted some of the nation's biggest celebrities. Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen reports from American Dream Machines.

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.

Iowans hit hard by the economy are losing more than their jobs or their houses. In many cases, they face losing their pets. Iowa Public Radio's Rick Fredericksen begins his story in southern Iowa.

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.

A different type of Independence Day celebration will take place this weekend in Cedar Rapids. Community leaders and residents will gather for the rededication of a magnificent stained glass window which honors American veterans. Iowa Public Radio's Alex Heuer has the story of the only known stained glass window designed by Iowa artist Grant Wood.

Tonight when the Des Moines Metro Opera begins its new season it will be the first time a production is directed by someone other than Doctor Robert Larsen. Since he founded the organization in nineteen seventy three Larsen has overseen nearly every aspect of the Des Moines Metro Opera but this year he decided to significantly reduce his role as sole leader.

Bil Baird

Jun 20, 2010

There was a time when puppets and marionettes played featured roles in American pop culture not just for children, but for adults too. They starred in plays, operas, movies, TV commercials, even news programs. If you doubt this, Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard invites you to tour a museum in Mason City to see the proof.

Leslie Hall is an artist who defies description. When she was a senior at Ames High School she amassed flamboyant sweaters decorated with shiny rhinestones. In 2002 Hall launched an online picture gallery featuring her favorite gem sweaters and quickly gained a large following of fans. Five years ago Hall released her first hip hop music album where she raps about her gem sweaters and her love of do it yourself crafts. She also published several music videos on the Internet many of which have been viewed over one hundred thousand times.

Harvest of Grief

Jun 11, 2010

A documentary film about the high rate of suicides among farmers in northern India will have a single screening Sunday night in Des Moines. Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard reports the movie may bring back memories of the 1980s Midwest farm crisis.

Cedar Rapids- classical music ensemble Orchestra Iowa has several education programs to teach children the basics of classical music. One of these outreach programs, the Pied Pieper series, introduces preschool-aged children to the sound of each section of the orchestra. The season’s series concluded over the weekend as the bass section played popular and classical music for the next generation of classical music listeners.

Today in the Iowa City area there are at least nine theater ensembles and most of them are amateur groups lacking a permanent space to perform. Iowa City's newest theater group Red Door Ensemble debuted this spring and is trying to stand out in an already crowded theater scene.

On Friday night in Cedar Rapids students at Kirkwood Community College will perform the world premier of a play about the only U.S. President to come from Iowa. The play is about Herbert Hoover’s early adult life as a mining engineer in China. At the turn of the 20th century the West Branch native and his newlywed wife, Lou, were trapped in the country during the Boxer Rebellion.

Christopher O’Riley is an internationally renowned classical music pianist whose career includes profiling young performers on National Public Radio’s classical music program "From The Top". This weekend O’Riley was the Des Moines Symphony’s guest artist. His performance featured George Gershwin’s well known work "Rhapsody in Blue" and modern music of the band Radiohead

Edward Hopper’s oil paintings feature scenes of emotionally detached New Yorkers in metropolitan environments where the viewer is often forced to fill in the dramatic blanks as to what his subjects are doing. The most famous of which is "Nighthawks", depicting three customers at a late night diner. The early 20th century American artist frequently depicted women in his paintings that some say are vulnerable scenarios.

Internationally-acclaimed vocalist Simon Estes has performed in opera houses and concert halls around the world. But the Centerville native is taking on a tour that in some ways will be his most ambitious. Estes will perform in every Iowa county to raise college scholarship funds for high school students. Friday night his ninety nine county tour started in Franklin county where he sang with high school students and community choirs to a sold out auditorium.