Iowa City is gearing up for a Summer of the Arts 30th anniversary free smorgasbord of artistic flavors filling the downtown with everything from movies to music, fine arts and food, as well as Hancher collaborations.
New to the lineup is the Iowa Soul Festival, bringing gospel groups, drums and dance and funky vibes from Sept. 13 to 15.
“Our goal is that everyone has soul, and we in Iowa City uniquely have the ability to bring people together to celebrate the greatness that diversity brings to our community, brings to the region and brings to Iowa,” says Chad Simmons, executive director of Diversity Focus in the Corridor, which is presenting the Soul Festival.
One thing that won’t be filling downtown streets this year is sand. Debuting in 2009, Sand in the City became “logistically challenging for us,” according to Lisa Barnes, Lisa Barnes, executive director of Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts. That event is moving up to Cedar Rapids as a new Freedom Festival attraction.
Also new is a partnership between the University of Iowa and Summer of the Arts to bring under the umbrella the MusicIC chamber music and literature festival June 13 to 16. Among the highlights are the musical setting of a new poem by Marvin Bell and the return of Iowa City natives Conor Hanick on piano and soprano Meagan Brus.
The mainstay events are bringing out the heavy-hitters, with the Old 97′s cowboy rockin’ the Iowa Arts Festival on June 8 and for the sizzling hot Iowa City Jazz Festival, fireworks on July 5, Dr. Lonnie Smith on July 6 and Pharoah Sanders on July 7.
The Friday and Saturday Night concert series bring out the best in local and regional bands across all genres. The Friday series is expanding into September, launching May 17 with a Hancher concert by Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience.
The ever-popular Free Movie Series opens with “Victoria/Victoria” on June 15, coinciding with Iowa City’s Pride Fest, and closes Aug. 22 with “The Hunger Games.” In between, are movies targeting various ages and interests, from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” to the animated “Ice Age” and “Monsters Inc.” Films are shown on a big screen outside Macbride Hall on the UI’s Pentacrest.
It’s still early in the season, so some festivals will be adding shows to their lineups in the coming weeks. Want to get in on the action behind the scenes? It takes more than 450 volunteers to make the events run smoothly. Check Summerofthearts.org for updates and volunteer opportunities.
2013 Friday Night Concert Series
May 17: Hancher presents Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience
May 24: David Zollo
May 31: Johnny Kilowatt with Gloria Hardiman
June 14: Tallgrass
June 21: The Fez
June 28: Orquesta Alto Maiz
July 12: Bambu
July 19: Feralings; Awful Purdies
July 26: Ben Soltau and the Funk Guarantee
Aug. 2: Jesse White Band; Chasing Shade
Aug. 9: The Ramblers
Aug. 16: Kevin “B.F.” Burt & Big Medicine
Aug. 23: Jake McVey
Aug. 30: Uniphonics; Chazman Band
Sept. 6: 6 p.m. Hawkeye Hometown Huddle, then Zeta June; Fire Sale
Sept. 20: Dead Larry
Sept. 27: 6 p.m. Hawkeye Hometown Huddle, then OSG
2013 Saturday Night Concert Series
May 18: City High & West High Jazz Ensembles
May 25: Tony Brown & the Earth Riddim Band
June 1: Adam Ezra (tentative)
June 15: TBA
June 22: Dan Dimonte and the Bad Assettes
June 29: TBA
July 13: The Beaker Brothers
July 20: Aaron Kamm & the One Drops
July 27: Bonnie Finken
Aug. 3: Sean Costanza Band
Aug. 10: House of Escher
Aug. 17: TBA
Aug. 24: Parranderos Latin Combo
2013 Iowa Arts Festival
4 to 11 p.m.: Culinary Row
5 to 8 p.m.: Art Fair & Downtown Gallery Walk
5 to 11:30 p.m.: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 7 p.m. Redbird; 9 p.m. Richard Thompson Electric Trio
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Art Fair & FUN Stops
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Children’s Day
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: family Stage Entertainment
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Culinary Row
Noon to 11:30 p.m.: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: noon Mutiny in the Parlor; 1:30 p.m. Slewgrass; 3 p.m. The Beggarmen; 5 p.m. Kelly Pardekooper; 7 p.m. Eilen Jewell; 9 p.m. Old 97’s
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Art Fair & FUN Stops
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Family Stage Entertainment
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Global Village
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Culinary Row
Noon to 5 p.m.: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 9:45 a.m. UI Steel Drum Band; 11 a.m. Rachael Marie; 11:45 a.m. MovMnt Dance Group; 12:45 p.m. Iowa City Community Band; 2 p.m. Christy Brown-Kwaiser; 2:40 p.m. William Danger Ford; 3:20 p.m. Milk & Eggs; 4 p.m. Sam Knutson
Richard Thompson Electric Trio: Richard Thompson was born in West London, surrounded by a family with wide musical tastes. Counted among his early influences are Django Reinhardt, Fats Waller, Les Paul, and Jimmy Shand. Flip the coin from his father’s jazz record collection to the early rock and roll music made available to him through his elder sister, including Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls of Fire, and the eclectic diversity of his multi-generational career becomes clear. Many musicians peak by age 30, but not Richard Thompson. The recipient of BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of theÂ Top 20 Guitarists of All Time, Richard Thompson is also one of the world’s most critically acclaimed songwriters. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, David Byrne, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded his work. Yet this may be the most prolific period of Richard Thompson’s astonishing career; his live-tourÂ CD Dream Attic was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Folk Album. In 2010 Thompson was curator at London’s prestigious 2010 Meltdown Festival at South Bank Centre, and for his service to music – was named on the Queen’s 2011 New Year Honours List as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In 2011 Thompson received an Honorary Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa (DHC) from the University at Aberdeen for his exceptional and distinctive contribution to contemporary music . Artist Music and Video
Old 97’s: Although they became one of the most enduring bands in the alternative country-rock catalog, Old 97′s drew inspiration from a broad range of genres, including the twangy stomp of cowpunk and the melodies of power pop. Formed in 1993 by frontman Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond, the group spent the bulk of the decade posed on the brink of mainstream success, issuing albums that often drew warm reviews but never yielded a substantial hit. Old 97′s tightened their sound as the decade drew to a close, retaining their bar-band vigor while introducing a stronger pop/rock sound on albums like Too Far to Care and Satellite Rides. Miller also mounted a solo career in the early 2000s, but the band remained together nonetheless, continuing to release material with their original lineup intact into the following decade. Artist Media
2013 MusicIC Schedule:
June 13: Trinity Episcopal Church, 7:30 p.m. Music for Soprano and String Quartet with a world premiere by composer David Gompper, setting a new poem by Marvin Bell (MusicIC commission)
June 14: Trinity Episcopal Church, 7:30 p.m. Music for Soprano and Piano with pianist Conor Hanick and soprano Meagan Brus
June 15: Englert Theatre, 7:30 p.m., Igor Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat,” with text by Kurt Vonnegut, choreography by George de la Pena, direction by Saffron Henke
June 16: Iowa City Public Library, 2 p.m. A Family Concert: Ferdinand the Bull and Other Favorites – with Music!
2013 Free Movie Series:
June 15: “Victor/Victoria,” PG; 132 minutes; 1982
June 22: “Ice Age,” PG; 81 minutes; 2002
June 29: “The Help,” PG-13; 146 minutes; 2011; Pre-movie performance by the Iowa City Community Band
July 13: “Real Genius,” PG; 108 minutes; 1985
July 20: “Vertigo,” PG; 128 minutes; 1958
July 27: “Hairspray,” Rated PG; 117 minutes; 2007
Aug. 3: “Lincoln,” PG-13; 150 minutes; 2012
Aug. 10: Double Feature Night: “The Princess Bride,” PG; 98 minutes; 1987 and “16 to Life,” not rated; 100 minutes; 2009
Aug. 17: “Monsters Inc.,” G; 92 minutes; 2001; pre-movie performance by UI Spirit Squad and area cheerleaders
Aug. 22: “The Hunger Games,” PG-13; 142 minutes; 2012
2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival:
4 to 8:30 p.m.: FUN Zone
4 to 10:30 p.m.: Culinary Row
4 to 11 p.m.: Beverage Garden
9:45 p.m. Fireworks
Main Stage: 4:30 p.m. United Jazz Ensemble; 6 p.m. Laranja; 8 p.m. Sachal Vasandani & the Iowa Jazz Orchestra
11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.: Culinary Row
Noon to 8:30 p.m.: FUN Zone
1 to 11 p.m.: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 2 p.m. North Corridor Jazz All Stars; 4 p.m. Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola Duo; 6 p.m. Christian Scott Quintet; 8 p.m. Dr. Lonnie Smith
11 a.m.. to 10 p.m.: Culinary Row
Noon to 8:30 p.m.: FUN Zone
1 to 11 p.m.: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 2 p.m. Philip Dizack Quartet; 4 p.m. JD Allen Trio; 6 p.m. Fred Hersch Trio; 8 p.m. Pharoah Sanders
Dr. Lonnie Smith and fans at the 2010 Iowa City Jazz Festival were very disappointed when a severe thunderstorm kept Smith from taking the stage. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to bring back someone as imperial and pertinent to jazz as Dr. Lonnie Smith. The organist is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for more than five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban!”
Always ahead of the curve, it is no surprise Smith’s fan-base is truly worldwide. Smith has been amused to find himself sampled in rap, dance and house grooves while being credited as a forefather of acid jazz. When questioned about his consistent interest in music some consider outside the jazz “mainstream,” LSmith shrugs. “Jazz is American Classical,” he proclaims. “And this music is a reflection of what’s happening at the time. … The organ is like the sunlight, rain and thunder … it’s all the worldly sounds to me.”
Pharoah Sanders is a Grammy Award-winning American jazz saxophonist. Saxophonist Ornette Coleman once described him as “probably the best tenor player in the world.” Emerging from John Coltrane’s groups of the mid-1960s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of “sheets of sound.” Sanders is an important figure in the development of free jazz. Born Ferrell Sanders, the name ‘Pharoah’ was claimed to have been iven to him by fellow band member and legendary pianist and composer Sun Ra. Sanders played with John Coltrane’s band for about a year beginning in late 1964, the same year he recorded his first album as a leader. Most of his late-1960’s albums were released on the Impulse, his first major label.
In the 1970s, the tenor saxophonist continued to develop his abilities as bandleader, working with the likes of Alice Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Don Cherry and producing highly acclaimed albums for Impulse such as Black Unity (1971) and Thembi (1971). In 1994, he travelled to Morocco to record with master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania, resulting in the Bill Laswell-produced The Trance of Seven Colours. Sanders continued to work with Laswell, Jah Wobble, and others on the albums Message from Home (1996) and Save Our Children (1999). In 2000, Sanders released Spirits — a multi-ethnic live suite with Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph. In the decades after his first recordings with Coltrane, Sanders developed into a more well-rounded artist, capable of playing convincingly in a variety of contexts, from free to mainstream. Some of his best work is his most accessible. As a mature artist, Sanders discovered a hard-edged lyricism that has served him well.
2013 Iowa Soul Festival
5 to 10 p.m.: Culinary Row
5 to 11 p.m. Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 5:30 p.m. Kevin “B.F.” Burt and Big Medicine; 8 p.m. TBA Special Performance presented by Hancher
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Arts & Crafts Booths, FUN Zone
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Culinary Row
1 p.m. to midnight: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 10 a.m. Tony Brown; noon Funk Stop; 2 p.m. Ayodele Drum and Dance (tentative); 3:15 p.m. TBA; 5:30 p.m. Carlos Johnson featuring Demetria Taylor; 8 p.m. Mint Condition; 10 p.m. TBA
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Arts & Crafts Booths, FUN Zone. Culinary Row
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Beverage Garden
Main Stage: 10 a.m. Johnny Kilowatt featuring Gloria Hardiman; 11:30 a.m. Groove Theory; 1 p.m. Local Gospel Choirs; 2:30 p.m. Hargrove Family Choir, James Teague Gospel; 4:15 p.m. Jason Watson
Mint Condition: Once upon a time there were great funk/R&B bands like Earth Wind & Fire, The Meters, War, Kool & The Gang, Slave, and numerous others who constantly broke down musical barriers. The musicality of these units was superior – they could rock or funk out as easily as they could move the crowd with a tenor soulful ballad. The rise of electronic music gradually undermined self-contained bands but in the 90s a dynamic young new band emerged—Mint Condition, now the greatest self-contained R&B band of our time.
Mint Condition does it all — delivering hard-bitten funk with a hip hop edge, rocking out with screaming lead guitar, and crooning lush, “baby-making” soul ballads. The members of Mint Condition met as teenagers growing up in the Twin Cities—Minneapolis-St. Paul amidst a thriving music scene energized by Prince, The Time, Jam & Lewis, The Replacements, Soul Asylum and many other artists. Keyboardists Lawrence El and Keri Lewis, guitarist O’Dell, keyboardist/saxophonist Jef, drummer/vocalist Stokley, and bass player Ricky came together in the performing arts program at Central High School. Playing together in different combinations led to them forming Mint Condition; a gig at the famed First Avenue club in 1989 caught the attention of super-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, formerly of The Time, and they were signed to Jam & Lewis’ Perspective Records.
Two decades on, Mint Condition stands along with The Roots as the only high-profile examples of a self-contained, hit-making Black music band, and with Mint’s emphasis on songs and great singing, the sole band carrying on the great tradition of R&B funk bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire, The Meters, War, The Commodores, Lakeside, Slave and many more that were an important, progressive element of the black music scene in the Seventies and Eighties. “We’re fortunate that people have come to expect us to march to our own drum, musically speaking,” says bassist Ricky. And even though we have carved out our own unique creative path, we’ve always been well embraced.”