Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

John Pemble

Early last year the Des Moines based band Parlours released their music on a 5 song EP.  Less than 6 months later one of their songs was used in a prime time television program.  This national attention helped give the band the resources to record a full length collection.

Michael Feldman, host of PRI's Whad'Ya Know spoke with Talk of Iowa's Charity Nebbe about the origins of the live radio quiz show, in advance of an appearance in Cedar Falls this weekend.  He explains that his start in radio was accidental.

Nearly every transplant to Iowa from Southeast Asia who we’ve met this week has been in the state for a number of years. Iowa has a long history of welcoming them. That’s partially why refugees from that corner of the world continue to arrive. The latest are from the country now known as Myanmar. But it’s almost impossible to lump these new arrivals into a single group of refugees.

In part four of our series “Being Southeast Asian in Iowa.”  we explore what it takes to integrate into a place where the people speak a different language and practice different customs. Is it possible to maintain the traditions from back home and embrace the American way of doing things?

Thousands of Southeast Asians left behind the familiar culture of their homeland for a fresh start in Iowa. Although they’re now living on the opposite side of the world from their birthplace, these immigrants strive to maintain the traditions of their native countries. Correspondent Rob Dillard explains the lengths to which they go to bring a touch of Southeast Asia to the American Midwest.

A few years after former Governor Robert Ray found a home in Iowa for the Tai Dam refugees of Laos, he did the same thing for another group who was seeking sanctuary. These were the “boat people”, most of them from Vietnam, who risked everything on the high seas to escape communism.

The number of Southeast Asians in Iowa received a boost almost 40 years ago, when about 1,200 refugees who were fleeing the Communist takeover of Laos and Vietnam were allowed to resettle here. Their saga of escape from war and persecution is part of a bigger story about a compassionate governor and a state’s citizens, who opened their hearts to a batch of new residents.

The Word Maven

Aug 2, 2012

Words like tornado and Derecho fascinate and frighten and they both have surprising histories. Charity talks with English language expert Patricia O’Connor who looks at  the origins of weather related words.  Patricia answers all questions that relate to the English language.

"Papergirl" Project Rethinks Street Art

Jul 24, 2012
Clare Roth / IPR

If you’re walking down the street this evening in Davenport, someone might hand you a work of art. "Papergirl" is an art movement where participants collect artworks from community members, roll it up newspaper-style, and distribute it to random passers-by via bicycles, like the paperboys of old.

Dave Herholz / flickr

RAGBRAI XL, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, rolls out of Sioux Center on Sunday. On the latest "Talk of Iowa", host Charity Nebbe spoke with the director of RAGBRAI, TJ Juskiewicz. Juskiewicz shared what is new for this year's route, why the tradition has continued over the years, and how the weather might affect the ride.

It’s common for musicians to collaborate in several bands.  This weekend at the 80/35 music festival in Des Moines an active musician found himself playing in three bands during one afternoon.  Iowa Public Radio’s John Pemble followed this busy artist from one stage to the next.

This weekend the annual alternative music festival Eighty Thirty Five marks it’s fifth consecutive year of bringing national acts like Avett Brothers and Death Cab for Cutie to Des Moines.  For some these are new and unusual bands and festival organizers say this is one of the key reasons they put together this music event.

When Joe Murphy’s wife, Linda, spies an ad for a “beautiful 3-story Victorian house in need of some TLC,” the couple jumps at the chance for their dream home. Renovating it will allow them to indulge their passion for antiques and to get closer to an era they believe was a better time. Privately, Joe hopes that the project will also fill the void that has opened within their family life.

Memories of the USS Iowa

Jul 4, 2012

One of the largest battleships to serve during World War II was the USS Iowa. Now the Iowa has found a place to rest, rather than rust, as a museum in the port of Los Angeles.  On Tuesday she welcomed many of her seamen back home. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks visited the ship to hear their stories.

 

Grotto of the Redemption Turns 100

Jun 25, 2012
Sandhya Dirks / Iowa Public Radio

The Midwest is known for its roadside attractions — world's largest ear of corn, heaviest ball of twine, biggest truck stop.

But it's also home to one of the largest collections of grottoes in the world. Most of these man-made caves were created by immigrant priests at the beginning of the 20th century. And the mother of them all — encrusted in $6 million worth of semiprecious stones — is in West Bend, Iowa.

This weekend, the Grotto of the Redemption turned 100.

In the early 20th century Iowa had close to 1,000 opera houses but now only a few hundred are still standing and many of them are abandoned.  This summer an Iowa musician is doing a series of performances in restored opera houses highlighting these building’s historic value while showcasing contemporary musicians. 

For nine days, starting next week, Iowa will be railroad heaven for fans of old trains. Thousands of people will be climbing aboard, photographing, or just admiring the romance of an earlier time. An organization of railroad buffs is bringing its national meeting to Iowa for the first time.

Last Friday a new painting was unveiled in Cedar Rapids titled “You Know, We’re all in This Together”.  The work features dozens of optimistic community members in a scene about a city still recovering from the devastating flood of 2008.

Depot Spared

Jun 8, 2012

A 100 year old railroad depot set for demolition this summer, will instead be the site of a birthday party. The Gilbertville Depot now belongs to a non-profit organization which is hoping to re-open it as a stop along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.  Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank talks with the group’s Dick DeWater.  The birthday event is set for the afternoon of July 7th.

 

 

To learn more about the Gilbertville Depot:

Got Government Data? There's an App for That

Apr 30, 2012

You might have heard about the Drake Relays this weekend. Turns out there was another kind of relay going on - a race to make phone and computer applications - using government data.

The event was called the Open Iowa Code-a-thon. It involved around 50 people, 52 sets of data, and approximately 54 hours to get it done. Government agencies made information available, so coders could capture open-source data to turn into useful applications.

Saving a Sullivan?

Apr 18, 2012
Friends of Historic Preservation

In Cedar Rapids, there’s a fight to save an historic church some believe was designed by one of America’s greatest architects. But time is running out until the building is demolished…for a parking lot. Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Wells reports.

Grinnell College

A young composer who is seen by many as an up-and-coming talent will soon have his new piece performed on the East Coast.  His work was written for and premiered this spring by the Grinnell College choir.  It combines the unlikely pairing of Irish poetry about Iowa with biblical passages about an apocalypse sung in Arabic.

A shipment of precious cargo will begin its journey from the east coast to Iowa tomorrow morning. Crouching on 2 pallets inside a box-truck, are a pair of panthers; they were sculpted by one of Iowa’s most famous artists. The lost-and-found story is told by Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

John Pemble

Des Moines based indie rock musician Chris Ford is trying out a new venue for releasing his new CD. Instead of a typical release party or concert, he’s unveiling the work at a venue that brings musicians together with authors and visual artists during a weeklong event -- the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City.

 

For thirty six years the Ames Piano Quartet has been Iowa State University’s resident chamber music ensemble. Their accomplishments include worldwide tours and a discography of fifteen releases. Next month, two of the founding members will retire resulting in the biggest personnel change in the quartet’s history.

Photo by John Pemble

Many movies are created by large studios for theaters and television, but a group of Iowa film makers launched a small movie production company with the plan of only using the Internet to reach an audience. With small a budget and help from volunteers they’ve had their first taste of success on a national level.



 

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Iowa Public Radio reporter Rob Dillard has met with military service organizations and health-care providers in an attempt to uncover issues that face many veterans on their return to civilian life. Now, he takes on a lighter topic. Rob has found a bunch of Iowa veterans who are in the entertainment business – tooting horns, pounding drums and bringing joy to audiences statewide.

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