Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

John Pemble/IPR

Earlier this year Maddie Poppe won this season of American Idol. The national television show features unknown singers from around the country as they perform in front of celebrity pop music judges. Television viewers vote which artists come back and which do not.

Poppe is from Clarksville, an eastern Iowa town with a population of fewer than 2,000 people.

Courtesy of Doug Thompson

Doug Thompson of Marion has been performing as a comedian for over a decade. A few years ago, he was inspired to expand his skill set and learn hypnosis -- after seeing a really bad set. 

"I was watching this act, and I just thought, this could be so much  more," Thompson says. "I'm that kind of person who always wants to be learning and growing."

Anjali Pinto

Anjali Pinto became a widow on New Year’s Eve of 2016 when her young, strong, 30-year-old husband, Jacob Johnson, died suddenly of an aortic dissection.

They had been planning to ride RAGBRAI together as a way to honor Jacob’s late grandmother, but instead, Pinto ended up riding across the state with Jacob’s family to honor both Jacob and his grandmother.

Public Art Foundation of Greater Des Moines

A new piece of public art in downtown Des Moines honors a little known chapter in the city’s civil rights history.

Pixabay

Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile says that research shows parents do not use, appreciate, or agree on the age-based rating systems used for movies, television, and video games in the U.S.. 

"Only six percent of parents say that the movie ratings are always accurate, only five percent of parents say the television ratings are always accurate, and only six percent say the video game ratings are always accurate," says Gentile. "Even if they're using the ratings, often their children see things they didn't expect them to be able to see."

Photo Courtesty of Matthew Christopher

During this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe catches up with designer Matthew Christopher. Before Christopher became a couture dresser for celebrities and brides across the world, he made prom gowns for his dates in his hometown of Wellman. He learned to sew in 4-H as a kid.

“I was enthralled with Brides magazine at the age of 10,” Christopher says.

 

Photo Courtesy of Andre Wright

Andre Wright, CEO of the fashion label Born Leaders United, saw a post by his friend Jason Sole on Facebook months ago. Sole wrote that as as a culture, we need to stop stereotyping people based on how they dress. In that post, he pointed specifically to the hooded sweatshirt.

Wright picked up the phone and called Sole, and the Humanize My Hoodie campaign was born. 

KWWL

The music festival scene in Iowa gets bigger and better every year! It's an exciting time for live music fans in our state, but it can also get a little overwhelming if you're trying to make plans for the summer. We're here to help with our list of festivals happening in Iowa.

Concrete hearts, angels, and puppies… the sculptures of Isabel Bloom have been beloved since the 1950s. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Donna Young about the life of the remarkable Iowa artist behind the whimsical sculptures. 

Young says Bloom's work was unique for her time, not only because she was a woman who owned her own business, but because of the medium she worked with. 

"At the time, cement was used for construction, not art," says Young. 

Florida Grand Opera

Growing up outside of Kalona, Jessica Faselt didn't come from a particularly musical family. She sang in choir when she was a child, but didn’t realize the power of her voice until a concert in high school where she sang "O Holy Night" and brought the crowd to tears. 

After this experience, Faselt went on to study vocal performance at the University of Iowa. It was there that she discovered her passion for opera.

"To me, opera brings together so many art forms," Faselt says. "It's the human voice talking about the human experience through song and music."

Annals of Iowa

The State Historical Society of Iowa is trying to get a better handle on Iowa’s place in the African-American civil rights movement. It’s setting out to locate properties that might help tell the story of this in-state struggle for equality.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, researchers will be looking for workplaces, churches, schools, neighborhoods, any public place where people were fighting for civil rights in Iowa during the 20th Century.

An architectural historian with the Historical Society, Paula Mohr, says it’s difficult to know how many such places exist.

Phil Thomson

In this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Mark Simmet and Tony Dehner of IPR's Studio One to look at some of the music you can hear at Iowa's 2018 summer music festivals. Scroll down for Tony and Mark's lists of suggested listening.

J Dimas/Flickr

According to the media research company, Nielson, 50 percent of U.S. households are fans of at least one podcast. That’s more than 60 million homes across the country. 

What are the Rules? Can I Break Them?

May 15, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode (cropped)
Chris Clayson

The laws, morals, and ethics which guide us, can also confuse us, and sometimes challenge us to improve or change the rules.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a look at the philosophy of rules with Scott Samuelson, a philosophy professor at Kirkwood Community College. He says that he's learned a lesson stemming from the life of Socrates that for the most part, rules are important to follow, and when they need to change, then sometimes civil disobedience is that way that is done.

Gage Skidmore

The movie Black Panther features a cast full of strong black characters, both male and female. Its release is a powerful moment for many people who have longed to see themselves and their culture reflected on screen.

“I never saw that [growing up],” says Noreen Naseem Rodriguez, an assistant professor of elementary social studies at Iowa State University. “It’s so important, especially as an educator, to provide those mirrors to children, to affirm them, to show them that you have different options in life.”

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode (cropped)
Artiom Ponkratenko

The intersection of art and agriculture is important to Mary Swander. She says art has been a part of ag for a long time with concepts like folk art. Now she has helped start a new non-profit called AgArts.

She says that we are in a dilemma with issues involving pollution, erosion, decline of the family farm, decline of small towns, and the arts have a role in addressing those issues in a way that people can embrace and that helps with revitalization.

Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio

An opera opening in New York City this week will feature some voices from Iowa. But not all of the chorus members involved are free to travel to see the production in person.

“Give yourself a little inhale," says director Mary Cohen, as she stands before her choir. "Open your mouth for the exhale. This time reflect on the message of the song. So the message of freedom, light, hope.”

Black Violin / Wikimedia Commons

The genre bending classical hip-hop duo Black Violin is playing a show at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls on Wednesday, May 2. During this Talk of Iowa interview, Wil Baptiste, who plays viola for the duo, joins Charity Nebbe. 

Rooy Media

David James "DJ" Savarese is a poet, prose writer, and recent alumni of Oberlin College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing. He is also autistic and nonspeaking.

Clay / Iowa Public Radio

Kyle Munson’s last day as the Iowa Columnist at the Des Moines Register is Friday. He's worked there for 24 years. He's been the Iowa Columnist for the last 8 years. Munson is leaving for a job at Principal Financial. The first person to hold the job was reporting on World War II. Munson is just the fourth columnist to hold this position.

IPR's Clay Masters spoke with Munson about the state of journalism and the role of a columnist in the changing media landscape. 

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

From pick-up games to organized leagues, every hometown team has its heroes. Hometown sports continue to shape and unite us in towns, cities, and states across the country.

In Mount Vernon, a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian’s "Museum on Main Street Program" is working to celebrate local sports heroes and the broader impact of athletics on our communities. “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” will be on display at the First Street Community Center from March 18 to April 29, 2018.

Drake University

An art professor at Drake University is a winner of the prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in the arts. He’s only the second Drake faculty member to receive the honor, and one of a few Iowans.     

Chicago-born printmaker Phillip Chen has been teaching at Drake since 1996. He is the only person currently living in Iowa on this year’s list of 173 Guggenheim Fellows. The recognition comes with an undisclosed financial reward, which Chen says he can use.

Ryan Clemens / IowaWatch

Have you ever felt like you have an alter ego? A version of yourself that is most authentic, but also most often hidden? On Thursday, March 29, an audience gathered in Iowa City for "Fringe: True Stories from Outsiders," an IowaWatch storytelling event, to explore what it means to share one's authentic self.

The University of Washington / http://depts.washington.edu/moving1/black_migration.shtml

The city of Waterloo has won more $47,500 in grant money to a study a historically black neighborhood

Hoyt Sherman Place

Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines is adding to its art collection a piece from circa 1600 that it has owned for nearly a century without knowing it. Officials have discovered “Apollo and Venus” by Dutch master Otto Van Veen.

Kate Payne

When the U.S. men’s team won Olympic gold in curling for the first time this year, people all over the country paid attention. Since the historic win a month ago, one curling club in Iowa says interest in the sport is exploding. 

Katherine Perkins/IPR

This program originally aired 9-19-16.

Just off of 2nd Avenue in Cedar Rapids sits an unassuming little carriage house. In a tiny studio apartment that used to be the hayloft, is where the most iconic American painting was created. Artist Grant Wood lived as well as worked in the space from 1924 - 1935, and he created all of his masterpieces there, including "American Gothic," "Young Corn," and "Woman with Plants."

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe toured the studio with Katherine Kunau, associate curator of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa Public Radio’s Bob Dorr was honored in the Iowa legislature today for his long career in music and broadcasting in Iowa.

The Iowa House and Senate passed resolutions praising Dorr as an Iowa icon, and thanking him for his dedication to the cultural landscape and history of the state.

Dorr’s broadcasting career spans 45 years.  His music shows began airing from Cedar Falls public radio station KUNI, and expanded when it became part of Iowa Public Radio, where his show still air.

Emily Woodbury

Motivated by the Me Too movement, FilmScene in Iowa City is hosting "Women's March," a month-long series celebrating films directed by women filmmakers. At an Animation Camp on March 15 and 16, young filmmakers - specifically girls and genderqueer youth ages 11 to 13 - learned to make their own animated films. 

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with FilmScene programming director Rebecca Fons about the motivation behind the animation camp as well as participants' experiences.

Iowa Puppets Take Center Stage

Mar 21, 2018
Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company

Humans have been making, performing with, and enjoying puppets since the days of ancient Greece. In Iowa, this art form continues to thrive with a number of practicing puppeteers writing shows and giving performances throughout the state.

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