Juneteenth celebrations blossom online and throughout Iowa, Illinois

A three-day virtual festival, comedy nights, protests, family-friendly gatherings, concerts, and online events of all kinds are honoring Juneteenth like never before this year. The annual June 19 celebration, which honors the date that slavery was abolished, is receiving long overdue nationwide focus in light of the recent rash of police killings of black men. The entire state of Illinois will lower its flags to half-staff in honor of the holiday. More than 70 Chicago restaurants have joined to offer Juneteenth specials, writes Chicago Eater. Many cities, including Chicago, have…

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Choose from dozens of virtual, socially-distanced Pride events this year

In a year when more than 400 Pride parades and events have been forced by the coronavirus crisis to reschedule or cancel, a smorgasbord of digital and socially-distanced Pride events are still happening, both locally and nationally. A few entities, such as the Metro East Pride group in Belleville, Ill., are also still planning on holding physical Pride events sometime this year. Here’s a rundown of how you can celebrate Pride, an LGBTQ tradition built around the Stonewall uprisings in 1969 in response to police brutality: • Wed., June 3:…

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Everyday People Say What unites artists for two shows this week

Everyday People Say What, one of Iowa City’s most respected jazz/soul bands, will gather its largest group of collaborative musicians yet, in two shows this week. Tonight at Trumpet Blossom Cafe, EDPSW plays before Hadiza, a former Iowa Citian who now lives and tours from Kansas City. EDPSW’s two founding members, saxophonist Mary Reasoner and percussionist Adrienne L. Woodard, will be joined by outgoing bass player Ben Alston, plus six other spoken word artists, singer/songwriters, and rappers. This Saturday, the same six artists plus two more in the soul/jazz/blues realm…

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Englert/FilmScene collab builds on diversity

The Englert Theatre was doing what it’s always done, collaborating with other community entities, when it learned a key fact about Iowa City. The “other community entity” was the university, which had conducted a demographics study. The pivotal fact was the high concentration of Sudanese residents in Iowa City: 5 percent of the population, actually. Katie Roche, Englert’s director, realized people of color generally did not feel welcome in Iowa City’s arts community. So she sought more programming relevant to Sudanese people and other people of color. She sought out…

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On the anniversary of Woodstock, a look back at Camp Euforia 2019

“The sunsets here are some of my favorite,” texts a friend before I head to the last night of Camp Euforia near Lone Tree, Iowa. My car was all set in the back, and I had my bag of nuts and White Claws in tow. I trudged through the festival field like a packhorse, in my Bonnaroo galoshes that I’ve had for over five years. After running into a high school buddy at the festival gate, I wove through and headed to a familiar campsite in the same spot as…

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LGBTQ, POC: what’s it like to grow up in Iowa?

This year’s 50th anniversary of Stonewall, though moving, has also been marred by episodes of entitlement. These included the shoutdown, at Stonewall Inn itself, of a black transgender woman as she tried to read the names of murdered transgender women amid a party involving mostly white gay men. The episode illuminated that even LGBTQ communities, while themselves marginalized, are still struggling with intersectionality, inclusion, and respect for other marginalized communities. Isaac Burris, 22, and Adrienne L. Woodard, 59, were among the headline performers at Iowa City Pride recently. They also…

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Live local musicians deserve our dollars

When musicians perform, audience members only see the final portion of their work. That show, concert, or gig is only the end of a larger process that takes hours, days, and even years of investment and preparation. The compensation for these performances rarely matches the effort and time musicians put into their craft. This doesn’t even account for the time and energy spent booking shows, rehearsing, traveling, and setting up equipment. Typically, musicians make $50 to $75 a night. If you’re part of a band, you earn only a fraction…

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Lend Handicare a hand at March 31 benefit concert

Ginny Ryan turned to Handicare to help care for all four of her children. All of the staff remember all of her kids’ names, and identified each of their unique needs. “We were so grateful to have the loving support and experienced care of Handicare providers,” Ryan said. “We utilized everything from the infant room to preschool, and felt confident that the kids were in great hands. Handicare has a wonderfully dedicated staff that has fun with every kid.” Handicare now needs the public’s support to pay for some much-needed…

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The best of protest music

Every year, I dive through the music industry’s “best of” lists, looking for albums and artists that made a splash or flew under my radar. This January, scrolling through lists from NPR, Pitchfork, the Guardian, and other tastemakers, one pattern became extremely clear: 2018 was a year for resistance music. Pop, hip hop, and indie music took a strongly political stance in 2018, reflecting resistance, frustration, and courage in the Trump era. From the cool, devastating rhymes of Noname, to the lonely alt-country ballads of Brandi Carlile, the rhetoric of…

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