Ongoing Coverage:

Arts and Culture

Talk of Iowa
12:50 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

The Life and Times of Mark Twain

Mark Twain collection
Terry Ballard

Mark Twain was an incredibly prolific writer. He published more than 30 books and pamphlets, and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles.

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River to River
3:31 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Author Justin Cronin Describes Post-Apocalyptic World in "The Passage" Trilogy

stpaulgirl / flickr

New York Times bestselling author and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, Justin Cronin, takes us into the post-apocalyptic world he’s created in the newly released second book of his highly-acclaimed vampire trilogy.

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Superheroes
2:51 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

UI Course Takes Superheroes Seriously

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...a college course?
JD Hancock Flickr

While Iowans will see superheroes and villains out trick-or-treating tonight, University of Iowa students will be seeing them in their textbooks this spring.

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Talk of Iowa
3:48 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Haunted Iowa

The "Black Angel" in Iowa City
Wikimedia Commons

Looking for a haunted house to visit this Halloween? 

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Arts and Culture
3:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

The Scary Language of Halloween

Halloween can almost generate a dictionary of its own.

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Self-perception and Body Image
5:12 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Talking to Ourselves: How Self-Talk Affects Body Image

Locker says negative self-image and stress surrounding weight loss can start as young as 5 or 6 years old.
wader Flickr

When you stand in front of the mirror and look at your image can you see yourself as you really are?

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Girls On The Run
5:00 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

One Woman's Run to Self-Confidence

There are two Girls on the Run councils in Iowa.
Diana Thomas Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa

One day, while out on a run, Molly Barker had a breakthrough. Ten years later, “Girls on the Run” is a nationally known after school program for girls. 

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Death and Dying
5:24 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

"Both Sacred and Profane": Lessons from a Crematory

The body is placed in a container on top this hydraulic hoist, which lifts it to the opening of the crematory, about three and a half feet off the ground.
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.

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Talk of Iowa
2:19 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Keeping Promises: "Because I said I would"

TEDxYouth@Austin / flickr

When Alex Sheen’s dad died he made a promise to do something to keep his father’s legacy alive.

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Arts and Culture
12:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

A Concert Pianist Adapts to Blindness

Concert pianist Tim Schmidt, a professor emeritus of music at Waldorf College, performs during the 50th anniversary of White Cane Day at the Iowa Department for the Blind.
Credit Rob Dillard

When the Iowa Department for the Blind threw a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of White Cane Day, it called on a former client to provide entertainment. 

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Talk of Iowa
3:16 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Jackson Pollock's Mural: The Transitional Moment

Jackson Pollock's "Mural"
courtesy: University of Iowa Museum of Art

This hour, we hear about the two-year restoration of the University of Iowa Museum of Art's most important holding: the mammoth (8 X 20 feet) 1943 painting "Mural" by Jackson Pollock.

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Music
4:15 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Reviving Classical Music

Pianist George Lepauw

Fan of classical music? Most likely, the answer is no. Pianist George Lepauw is trying to change that.

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River to River
3:35 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Age of the Microbrewery

More than half of all U.S. brewing facilities are microbreweries
John Bollwitt

Traditional, big American breweries are in the midst of a global identity crisis. Meanwhile, craft beer microbreweries in the U.S. are flourishing like never before.

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Arts and Culture
5:57 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Rare Civil War Prints of African American Union Soldiers

Judy Norrell visiting the African American History Museum of Iowa for a symposium held there and at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Her photos of rare Civil War photos are part of the Museum of Art exhibit, “Shadows of History”.
Photo by John Pemble

Historians and collectors gathered in Cedar Rapids last weekend to mark the 150 anniversary of the Civil War’s end.

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Arts and Culture
12:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

A Great Grandson of Slaves Leads Grinnell College

Credit: Grinnell College

Grinnell College President Dr. Raynard Kington leads one of the nation’s most selective, academically challenging institutions of higher learning. He uses his family’s oppressed past to introduce social justice issues to students.

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Arts and Culture
6:22 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Maximum Ames Looks to Take Label, Festival to Next Level

Nate Logsdon (left) and Christopher Ford (right) are both Iowa musicians and run the Maximum Ames music label.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

The Maximum Ames Music Festival took place over the weekend. It featured 100 bands from the around the country and Iowa.  It’s organized by two musicians who also run a record label under the same name.  They started this event four years ago to expose the label’s Iowa based musicians to larger audiences, but now they’re changing their strategy.

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Arts and Culture
11:15 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Statue of Senator James Harlan Returns Home

The 8-foot tall, 25-hundred pound bronze statue of James Harlan on a rainy afternoon after being dedicated at its new home on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan College. Previously this sculpture was on display for 104 years at Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.
Photo by John Pemble

After spending 104 years in Washington D.C., a sculpture of James Harlan returns to his hometown Mount Pleasant, Iowa.  Harlan was a U.S. senator and a member of President Andrew Johnson’s cabinet, but he is most remembered in Iowa as an influential college president of what is now called Iowa Wesleyan College.

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Arts and Culture
1:30 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Lincoln’s Last Interview Drama in Iowa Capitol

Mary Bricker, Elizabeth Klinge, and Matt McIver respectively playing the roles Mary Lincoln, Eve Harper and Abraham Lincoln during a rehearsal for “Lincoln’s Last Interview” in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Iowa Capitol.
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.  

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Iowa State Fair
10:20 am
Tue August 12, 2014

The Iowa State Fair in Black and White

Goat Bridesmaid
Kurt Ullrich University of Iowa Press

A new photography book sets out to capture what the author describes as, "the joy of the Iowa State Fair."  It's Kurt Ullrich's first book, and IPR's Katherine Perkins traveled to Jackson County to find out what inspired this fresh look at an event that's 160-years-old.

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Arts and Culture
12:14 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Color Removed from State Fair’s Photo Salon

This year’s Photo Solon at the Iowa State Fair has the theme “Salute to Ansel Adams”, where all pictures are in black and white. Of the 3,874 photos submitted, 841 were selected for display of which nearly a 25% received an award.
Photo by John Pemble

Some exhibits at the Iowa State Fair begin before the opening day like the photo salon in the cultural center building.

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Arts and Culture
1:09 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Amateur Radio Contests Encourage Emergency Preparedness

Jason Skretta, KC0EJT, scans frequencies in the “shortwave” band to find voices of other amateur radio operators in North America during the annual summer contest “Field Day”.
Photo by John Pemble

100 years ago, amateur radio operators were in the early years of making wireless communication with people around the world.  Professional radio operators started calling them “ham” as a pejorative, because the amateur’s equipment often caused interference, but operators embraced it and the negative connotation disappeared.  There are 800-thousand licensed ham radio operators in North America with 6,619 of them in Iowa. One of the reasons this hobby continues to move forward is because of regular competitions.  

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Arts and Culture
1:07 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Dead Man Walking: Intimate View of Death Row through Opera

Sister Helen Prejean speaks during a lecture at Drake University, May 2014. Her work with death row inmates is the basis for the opera “Dead Man Walking”, which is being presented by the Des Moines Metro Opera's summer 2014 season.
Photo by John Pemble

The Des Moines Metro Opera's summer 2014 season includes “Dead Man Walking”, the company’s first work from the 21st century.  It’s an adaptation of Sister Helen Prejean’s 1994 book about her experiences of ministering to death row inmates.  The story is based on Prejean’s early prison ministry work when she became the spiritual advisor for death row inmate, Patrick Sonnier until his execution in 1984 at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.  While the opera is based on Sonnier’s case, the story uses a fictious character, Joseph De Rocher.

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Arts and Culture
6:12 am
Sun May 11, 2014

David Byrne Speaks During Grand Opening of Des Moines Social Club

David Byrne is the keynote speaker during Des Moines Social Club’s grand opening at a former fire house built in 1937. He is speaking from a music stage in a courtyard to around 500 people.
Credit Photo by Clay Masters

Musician David Byrne was a mainstay on MTV in the early 1980s as the lead singer for Talking Heads. The group disbanded in the 90s, but Byrne’s still an influential artist and he used that influence this weekend during the grand opening of Des Moines Social Club.  This nonprofit organization started seven years ago as a center for the arts.  For most of those years it existed in small rented spaces, but now it has its own building, a downtown fire station built in 1937, that’s been under renovation for about a year. 

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Arts and Culture
10:24 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Sculptor Visits His Work's New Home for the First Tine

"panoramic awareness pavilion" by Olafur Eliasson in the Pappajohn Sculture park, downtown Des Moines.
Photo by John Pemble

Late last year Olafur Eliasson finished the sculpture “panoramic awareness pavilion” in his Berlin studio and in December members of his crew installed it at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines.  The work is a series of 23, 9-foot tall glass panels arranged in a circle around a light beam.  Each slab of glass is semi-reflective in color gradients from yellow, blue, to orange.  Thursday afternoon Eliasson saw his work for the first time in its permanent Iowa home during a brief ceremony conducted by the Des Moines Art Center.

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Arts and Culture
10:39 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Des Moines Ties to Tony Awards

The first Tony Award winners were given a scroll to commemorate their achievement, but in 1949 the medallion became the symbol of achieving the best from Broadway. The 68th Tony Awards will be held on June 8th, 2014 at Radio City Music Hall.
Photo by John Pemble

This week in New York City, nominations for the 68th Annual Tony Awards were announced.  In a few days around 870 voters across the country will receive ballots to determine this year’s winners, but only one will be sent to Iowa. 

Jeff Chelesvig is the CEO of Des Moines Performing Arts, which includes the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, where touring versions of Broadway musicals are presented.  Chelesvig has been a Tony voter for 18 years and says for a musical to be eligible for a Tony award, the producers must formally invite voters to come see the shows in New York.

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Arts and Culture
5:39 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

From Russia with Love

Ten Russian students visited the Cedar Falls IPR studios Tuesday.
Credit IPR's Tony Dehner

  A group of ten Russian journalism students visited the Iowa Public Radio studios in Cedar Falls Tuesday. They are part of an exchange program with Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo. The project is known as Challenge Our Bias, Midwest-Russian Alliance on Dialogue and Education or COMRADE. The Russian  students are on a whirlwind tour of Iowa with stops at media outlets in Waterloo, Iowa City and Des Moines.

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Arts and Culture
9:30 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Remembering Jason Molina, A Musician Who Refused To Look Back

Jason Molina performs in Barcelona with Magnolia Electric Co. in 2009.
Credit Jordi Vidal / Redferns

Musician Jason Molina influenced many of his peers and sold tens of thousands of records for a small independent label from Indiana. Molina died at age 39 a little more than a year ago from organ failure due to alcohol abuse. But now two new releases are paying tribute to the musician. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters has more. 

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Arts and Culture
5:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Modern Folk in a Classical Music Environment

The OK Factor’s Karla Dietmeyer and Olivia Hahn demonstrate techniques used to create their modern folk music at Luther College’s Dorian Orchestra Festival workshop. They graduated from there last spring and just released their first album “Water Street”.
Photo by John Pemble

Last May when violinist Karla Dietmeyer and cellist Olivia Hahn graduated from Luther College’s music program, they had already formed the modern folk duo The OK Factor.  But to move their musical goals forward, they decided to move to Minneapolis where they developed their songs and made recordings at a friend’s studio.  Some of their concerts dates brought them back to Olivia’s home town Cedar Falls as well as the Iowa State Fair.  By the autumn, Olivia moved to Memphis where she took a day job in an office and Karla to the Atlanta area living with her parents and teaching music lessons.

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Arts and Culture
8:00 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Iowa's real "Monuments Man"

George Stout
Credit 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…

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Arts and Culture
5:00 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Nontraditional Collection of Traditional Music

Max Wellman records jazz standards in a Des Moines venue for his 2014 monthly subscription service of music titled “The Songbook Project”.
Photo by John Pemble

Most albums are a group of songs acquired as a single body of music on a vinyl record, CD, or download, but musicians like Max Wellman from Des Moines are challenging this decades old system.  Wellman is a 22-year old jazz singer who has been working full time in the business for three years after dropping out of Butler University in 2011.  Last November he released the CD “You Must Believe in Spring”, a collection of songs by artists like Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Frank Sinatra.  The instrumentation is mostly a string quartet to blend his love of classical music with jazz.

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