Arts and Culture

As a method for processing the end of a nine-year marriage with a gay man, Kellie Kramer has channeled her energy and emotions into a one-woman cabaret show, "All the Good Men Are Gay."  Kramer, an actor and singer who hosts Iowa Outdoors on Iowa PBS, pieces together the story of love and loss through songs that range from Judy Garland to "Weird Al" Yankovic. 

Jesper Aggergaard / Unsplash

Weightlifting didn't appear on Cynthia Martin's radar until age 64, when she picked up barbells for the first time through a Cross Fit program. Just a few years later, the Marion native won the 2018 National Weightlifting Championship in Buffalo, New York. 

Michael Leland

December in Iowa can feel like a magical wonderland of lights. January and February in Iowa can feel like a cold, dark wasteland. There are lots of wonderful arts events happening across the state this winter. Here’s a list of a few we think are worth leaving your house for, some of which are indoors and some that celebrate the winter weather. 

Courtesy of "Adore Us! Line" Production Team

From the creator of "Caucus: The Musical," a new song-by song parody of "A Chorus Line" showcases the 2020 Democratic candidates auditioning for Iowa voters. 

Composer, Playwright, and Producer Robert John Ford joins this edition of Talk of Iowa to discuss the opening of his musical, "Adore Us! Line." 

Pictured here: Poppy
Molly Wood

Photographer and 2018 Iowa Arts Council Fellow Molly Wood joins this edition of Talk of Iowa to reveal the inspirations behind her exhibit "The Poison Garden," which is on display at the Dubuque Museum of Art through Jan. 12. Her exhibit "Fatal Flora" is at the State Library of Iowa through Jan. 31. 

David Geiger / "Journey of a Bean"

Freshly harvested from cropland in Illinois, a single soy bean travels the world before ending up as part of a meal in Seoul, South Korea. Its long journey through the global agricultural and food industries paints a detailed picture of the real farm to table processes.

Charity Nebbe/IPR

This program originally aired on 9-27-19

All this week, Talk of Iowa has explored the question “Iowa: Is this home?” On the final episode of this Iowa Week series, six stories of finding, or perhaps not finding, home from Iowans originally from other parts of the country and the globe.

This episode origionally aired on  11-7-19

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once believed to be the wealthiest man in Russia.  In the 1990’s, Khodorkovsky rocketed to prosperity and celebrity, but his fortunes drastically changed. He ended up serving a decade in prison, and became an unlikely martyr for the movement against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Andre Wright

News fatigue is real. As the year closes out with rising awareness of climate change, international tension, multiple refugee crises, constant political wrangling, and so many important but difficult stories, Talk of Iowa pauses to focus on acts of kindness and positive connections.

Leander Arkenau / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, we get a rundown of some of IPR's favorite new releases from 2019 from classical, folk and blues musicians. Charity Nebbe talks with IPR Classical's Barney Sherman, the Folk Tree's Karen Impola and the one and only Bob Dorr, who hosts Blue Avenue and Backtracks on IPR's Studio One. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, IPR's Studio One hosts Mark Simmet, Tony Dehner, and Cece Mitchell share their top  albums of 2019. They take turns describing the value of each album and presenting short clips of music. Later on in the hour, we hear their favorite albums of the decade. 

Find the full list of the albums here. 

Guests:

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

Nate Staniforth is a professional magician. While he’s built a career by performing magic tricks in front of audiences, he also believes in real magic – the kind that keeps wonder alive in the world.

Associated Press / Gene J. Puskar

After starting out on WQED in Pittsburgh in 1966, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its national public television debut on February 19, 1968.  The final new episode was taped December 1st 2000, but the show lived on through re-runs even after Fred Rogers passed away in 2003.

Three generations have now grown up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or watching children’s programming heavily influenced by his philosophy.

Rollins College / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa with host Charity Nebbe, guests and callers reflect on how the public television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood affected their lives. The co-hosts of Iowa Public Television's Kid's Clubhouse Adventures, Dan Wardell and Abby Brown, share how Fred Rogers' philosophy has influenced their own children's show. Des Moines Register Storyteller Daniel Finney remembers how returning to Rogers' material changed his outlook on life and helped him through difficult times. 

IPR File

In 1949 when Evelyn Birkby began writing a weekly column for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel, her publisher told her to include a recipe every week. She did, even though she couldn’t cook. 

The newspaper column “Up a Country Lane” has had a 70-year run. Birkby, now 100, has decided it is time for her to say goodbye to her readers. 

Justin Brice Guariglia gave up photojournalism to pursue environmental activism a few years ago. Today, he is most well known for his large scale photographic, sculptural and installation-based works inspired by the relationship between the earth and humans. He uses art to try and get his point across that humans are having a negative impact on the planet. 

Matt Alvarez / IPR

When cellist Hannah Holman began her YouTube series exploring the lives of female cellists throughout history, she did not anticipate getting many views or subscribers. Austin McConnell, a YouTuber with nearly one million subscribers, recently promoted Holman's channel in one of his videos, helping Holman develop a larger audience. 

James St. John / Flickr

A new podcast, "Mid-Americana: Stories from a Changing Midwest" is harnessing the power of oral storytelling to explore the history and identity of the Midwest. 

Kyle Head / Unsplash

Theater has a problem. Only 30% of all plays performed nationwide last year were written by women, and that number is even lower in parts of the Midwest. Iowa State wants to change that.

Ted S. Warren/AP

When the #MeToo movement took off in the United States, it sent ripple effects around the world.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by two writers from very different parts of the world for a look at how violence against women and other vulnerable individuals manifests across the globe, and how it is countered and called out by women who write.

S. Benjamin Farrar

Megan Gogerty made a name for herself in Iowa's theater scene with her witty and comedic writing and delivery. Her latest work "FEAST." is a departure from this style, and takes the audience into a visceral, immersive theater experience where those seated in the theater are just as much a part of the story as Gogerty.

On this segment of Talk of Iowa, Gogerty joins host Charity Nebbe for a look at her new one-woman show set at a dinner party where political discontent and patriarchal critique are on the menu.

Jennifer Drinkwater

 

It’s easy to focus on all the things that are wrong in the world today, but Jennifer Drinkwater has a way to recognize the good that is hiding in plain sight. The What’s Good Project is a collaborative archive of the good in communities which feature paintings inspired by interviews, stories, photos, and drawings. 

In this segment of Talk of Iowa, Jennifer Drinkwater joins host Charity Nebbe to discuss how art has a positive impact and how this project can help shape a community. 

 

“Focusing on strengthening those assets helps create a 'spiraling up effect' in communities," Drinkwater says. "It can help strengthen the challenging areas, and I thought why not use this as a way to start an art project."

Drinkwater's work has focused on her native state of Mississippi, and her adopted state of Iowa, but she hopes to connect with people around the world. She says The What's Good Project is, as of now, a continuation of her life's work. 

 

Charity Nebbe / IPR

 

Indigenous People's Day was first celebrated in 1989 in South Dakota, and it has gradually caught on around the country as an alternative to celebrating Columbus Day.

Several cities and towns across Iowa declared the second Monday of October to be Indigenous People's Day in 2017. Governor Kim Reynolds made a statewide declaration in October 2018, and this year many other communities in Iowa have joined the movement. 

Natalia Zubko

A giant piece of public art is going up in Des Moines’ Water Works Park. The work is part sculpture and part musical performance.

The piece near the recently opened amphitheater in Water Works is called “River Constellation.” It’s the result of a collaboration between Brooklyn, New York based sculptor Natalia Zubko and composer Beau Kenyon, a native of Creston.

Loucious Thomas / Flickr

Throughout the last five years of his career as a running back in the NFL, Marshawn Lynch, or "Beast Mode," disengaged with the press and embraced silence as a form of protest. He became known for sitting during the national anthem and pushing back against questions from the news media.

A new documentary, "Lynch: A History," gives insight into what the all-American, all-pro, Super Bowl champion was communicating through silence. 

Photo Courtesy of Gail Brasher-Krug

This episode origionally aired on  9-27-19

Patterns of Migration In Iowa

Sep 23, 2019
Matthew Alvarez

 

Iowa is home to over 180 languages, and residents from across the world as a result of a range of migration waves. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, we explore the factors that draw people to Iowa as well as the challenges they may face here as part one of our "Iowa Week: Is This Home?" series.

Visit a naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens with IPR Producer Matthew Alvarez, and hear the thoughts of new citizens about their ties to Iowa and thoughts about the state. Then, learn more about why we have the population in the state that we do. 

Charity Nebbe

A big dream is coming true for film lovers in Downtown Iowa City this week. For the last three years, people have watched the construction of the Chauncey building. This fifteen-story building will have a mixture of commercial and residential space, but what is on the first floor has film lovers excited. On Sept. 20, the new space for FilmScene, a non-profit cinema, and cultural organization will open its doors to the public. 

This program originally aired on April 1, 2019

NPR listeners know Paula Poundstone as a regular panelist on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and from 30 years of being hilarious on stage.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Poundstone.

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