Performing arts & Cinema

John Pemble

Bruce Campbell has been producing and starring in films since the 1970s, and through work largely with low-budget horror films, he has carved out a niche for himself as an iconic B movie actor. His most recognized role is that of Ash in the Evil Dead film franchise, which has produced three films, six video games, numerous comic books, and a critically-acclaimed TV show on Starz entitled Ash vs. Evil Dead, which was renewed for a third season in 2016. He mentions how his horror movie The Evil Dead received some added credibility from a fellow horror icon.

Iowa has dozens of opera houses and performance venues outside of its urban hubs. Some of these are still in use, others that used to get used quite a lot, don’t anymore. “The Nitch,” a touring vaudeville style show and integrated arts learning program based on a book of the same name, is trying to change that. 

Comic, author, and actress Jen Kirkman comes to Iowa this weekend as part of the Witching Hour Festival. On her latest special on Netflix, I'm Going to Die Alone (and I Feel Fine), Kirkman dives into the topic of her decision to not have children.

"Even the movement itself is called 'Childfree by Choice' and choice to me illustrates, you know, Coke or Pepsi, you sit there and you weigh the options. To me it was a non-instinct. It never dawned on me to even want children, ever. It wasn't even a choice."'

The act of creating is a powerful one, but you don't have to be a professional artist to tap into that power.  On this "Iowa Week" program about the arts in Iowa, we talk to a number of Iowans about art in their communities, from theater to community bands to the visual arts. 

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

From the time it opened in 1972, Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus was one of the premier performance spaces in Iowa. That all changed with the historic flooding of Eastern Iowa in 2008 when the auditorium was flooded beyond repair.

Executive Director Chuck Swanson says he remembers the flooding being surreal.  

Sioux Falls Argus-Leader

Paula Poundstone loves Iowa--she must, she's performing here again!  On this segment of Talk of Iowa, Charity speaks to the venerated comedian, who is returning to Iowa City for a show at the Englert Theatre on June 10. 

Kata Rokkar / Flickr

Marc Maron, comic and host of the popular podcast WTF, is coming to Iowa as part of the Mission Creek festival. He'll be performing at the Englert Theatre on Friday night. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe spoke with him about vulnerability, the impact success has on creation, and the quality of his phone line.

Photo Courtesy of Pyramid Theatre Company

Pyramid Theatre Company, which intends to feature black actors and draw from plays by black playwrights, is announcing their opening season in Des Moines this summer. Ken Matt-Martin, founder and executive director of the company, says a company with this mission is needed.  

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

The list of extracurricular activities for kids these days is almost endless, but for many years opportunities to sing, dance, act, and perform excluded kids with special needs. And when those kids become adults, those opportunities are even harder to find.

Len Matthews / Flickr

In high school, Nick Seymour never saw himself doing stand-up, but once when he got the opportunity to take a class in comedy at Iowa State, he figured it'd be a fun way to spend a semester.

"At the beginning, I didn’t know there’d be a performance associated with it. The teacher shocked us all the first day with that information. Everyone freaked out for awhile."

Bob Goodfellow / Riverside Theatre

In her new one-woman show, Housebroken, actress and playwright Megan Gogerty uses sarcasm and humor to describe the process of buying a new house.

On this segment of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Gogerty about the show, as well as her career as a solo performer.

Cory Lewellen

During the first year of his daughter's life, standup comedian Nathan Timmel missed a lot.

Do you get nervous on stage? How do you deal with the butterflies? 

Courtesy of Dan Treadman

People associate Iowa with  "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Field of Dreams." But what movies are being shot in Iowa today?

Photo by John Pemble

A new play about one the country’s most influential Presidents will take place in a space only used by politicians.  “Lincoln’s Last Interview” only engagement is on the floor of the Iowa House in the State Capitol.  It’s being used as a stand in for the US House of Representatives.  The play is set on April 14th, 1865 where President Lincoln and his wife Mary give an interview to a reporter before leaving to see a play at Ford’s Theater.  

Former Iowa State lawmaker John Wittneben has more than 4,000 assembled puzzles in his home, and he’s not the only one.

Courtesy of Rick Fredericksen

Robin Williams' death earlier this week sparked many stories of how he touched the lives of his fans and the people he met.

Amy Mayer/IPR

  In a living room converted to a theater for the evening, Ethan Peterson and Madeleine Russell portray the characters from Mary Swander’s play, “VANG.” In it, the actors share the emotional stories of four immigrant couples who farm in Iowa. Swander used transcriptions of conversations with Hmong, Mexican, Sudanese and Dutch farmers to create the play.

Movies on a Deadline

Jul 22, 2014
Bart Everson / Wikimedia Commons

On your mark, get set, lights, camera, action. The Des Moines 48 Hour Film Project is celebrating its tenth year this weekend. At 6 PM this Friday, over 40 teams will pull a slip of paper out of a hat. On that slip of paper is their genre assignment: anything from Romance to Fish Out of Water. 48 Hours later, they'll turn in a finished 4-7 minute film. Host Charity Nebbe speaks with city producer Samuel Pace-Tuomi and ten-time participant Mike Kieler in this hour of Talk of Iowa. 

Courtesy of Dorothy Marcic

When Professor Dorothy Marcic was asked to give a talk about how women have been portrayed in song lyrics over the course of the 21st century, she was shocked to find that nobody had really look into it, so she did.

“What I found was that the songs that resonated on Top 40 charts, have shadowed the women’s empowerment movement. Songs start out being very co-dependent, like in Little Peggy March’s ‘I Will Follow Him’ and end up being very empowering. Take ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria  Gaynor," she explains.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

From the idealistic public servants of "The West Wing" to the conniving anti-heroes of "House of Cards," the portrayal of Washington D.C. in popular culture has changed significantly over the last decade.

Today on River to River - what shows set in our nation's capital say about our political climate, and what we can and cannot learn from these programs.

Photo by James Minchin III/AMC

Marshalltown native Toby Huss’ latest project reaches back into history into the burgeoning computer revolution of the 1980’s, when IBM was out in from of the PC wars. The new series, AMC’s Half and Catch Fire, premiers this Sunday.

Huss, along with a small group of people at a midlevel computer company in Texas called Cardiff Electric, try to reverse engineer an IBM PC, steal the technology and improve upon it. He talks with host Ben Kieffer about the new series. 

Brian Friedman / Wikimedia

Comedian Mike Birbiglia hit the big time by sharing his most intimate and embarrassing experiences on stage.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with him about storytelling and the power of oversharing.  Birbiglia is traveling the country right now with his latest show, “Thank God For Jokes,”  and is appearing at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines on Saturday, May 17th.  He’s also become a regular panelist on NPR’s "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me," and filmed a role in one of the most anticipated movies of the year.  A conversation about making people laugh, the conne

litlnemo

25 years ago an Iowa farmer and baseball fan started hearing voices in his corn field.  The film "Field of Dreams," touched millions in a profound way and left behind a baseball diamond in Dyersville that has taken on a life of its own.

Orchestra Iowa

The 2008 Cedar Rapids flood literally capsized the Paramount Theatre's Wurlitzer organ, leaving it badly damaged. But a coalition restored the historic instrument to its full glory, and Orchestra Iowa unveiled it this March in a triumphant concert that you can hear rebroadcast tonight at 7PM on IPR Classical.

CSIS PONI

The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee says the CIA improperly accessed computers used by congressional staff.  What comes next?

kevinkling.com

Everyone is at some point a storyteller.  

Kevin Kling is known for telling stories that are weird and wonderful.  He makes audiences laugh until they cry and he makes them cry until they laugh again.  In this 'Talk of Iowa,' Kling talks about storytelling, his upcoming residency at Central College in Pella, and his latest book On Stage with Kevin Kling.  

Worcester Art Museum

Winterset is known as the birthplace of John Wayne, but the town also claims real life hero and art conservator George Stout who rescued hundreds of pieces of art work from being destroyed by the Nazi’s during World War Two.  Stout is profiled in the book, Monuments Men, and a film of the same name starring George Clooney, opened this weekend across the country. Winterset Public Library director Nancy Trask says when he was younger George Stout was quite an actor…

Courtesy of Bob Dorr

When the Beatles touched down in New York on February 7, 1964 Beatlemania arrived with them.

'Genius 101'

Dec 30, 2013
ebravolosada / flickr

Dennis Reese guest hosts this talk with Dean Simonton, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California-Davis.  Simonton was recently visiting the University of Iowa, and he describes his research as the "cognitive, dispositional, developmental, and socio-cultural factors behind eminence, giftedness, and talent."

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