Change. We fear change.

Greetings readers!

First I’d like to apologize for the lack of new content since my last new post. I always hate it when I check on a blog or podcast and there isn’t anything new. Don’t worry though, new content is coming.

Speaking of “new,” you’ve probably noticed that there are more entries that aren’t necessarily new. I’ve been in the process of reformatting the site so it also has a collection of work from previous gigs. You can find that work by clicking on the category menus above, including new blog entries in the “The Blog” button.

Please bear with me as I’m still working on ways to restructure the site so it’s even easier to navigate.


Downtown Saturday Night Preview

This preview was originally posted on the City of Iowa City Summer of the Arts 7/19/2010.

Downtown Saturday Night presented by the Downtown Association of Iowa City returns to the Weatherdance Stage, right outside the Iowa City Sheraton Hotel, this Saturday night at 6:30 with performances from William Elliot Whitmore and The New Bodies.

Hailing from a horse farm along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, William Elliott Whitmore has developed an intense love and spiritual understanding of the land, which he flawlessly conveys through all of his records. With live performances that will leave one completely stunned in silence, and albums full of songs from the heart and the heartland. Whitmore is one of the most interesting contributions to today’s diverse collection of musical ingenuity.

Natives of Des Moines, The New Bodies play a brand of Rock that blends punk sensibilities and a strong alternative influence with catchy hooks. These guys are the real deal!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this week’s festival.

MidwestOne Bank Free Movie Series presents The Dark Knight Preview

Preview originally posted on the City of Iowa City Summer of the Arts website 7/6/2010

The MidwestOne Free Movie Series continues this weekend with a presentation of the 2008 blockbuster The Dark Knight at sun down on the Pentacrest.

Director Christopher Nolan’s second film in the rebooted Batman franchise follows the caped crusader (Christian Bale) as he works to put an end to Gotham City’s crime syndicate with the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and newly appointed D.A. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). However, their progress is thwarted when a new criminal called the Joker (the late Heath Ledger, in an Oscar-winning performance) emerges whose crimes cause widespread panic and chaos for Gotham’s citizens. Together, the three must work together to stop The Joker and find a way to give Gotham both the hero it needs, and the one it deserves.

While The Dark Knight is widely considered to be the greatest super hero film ever made, parents should know the film is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence and some menace.” Some children may also find the Joker character to be frightening.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this week’s festival.

2010 Toyota-Scion of Iowa City Jazz Festival Previews

All previews posted on the City of Iowa City Summer of the Arts under each respective events web page 6/28/2010.

Friday Night Concert Series page:

There is no Friday Night Concert Series this week due to our weekend long, Toyota/Scion of Iowa City Jazz Festival, which kicks off its 20th anniversary this Friday at 4:30 with the United Jazz Ensemble.

Composed of students from both Iowa City and West High Schools, this eighteen-piece band will open the show on the Miller Lite Main Stage. For seventeen years this program has immersed students in jazz and built a strong bond between the two programs.

Also taking the Miller Lite Main Stage this Friday night is U.S. Army Blues, the premier jazz ensemble of the U.S Army. This eighteen-piece band his a standard at government locales including The White House and the State Department. The band works hard to preserve the music of big band legends such as Count Bassie, Duke Ellington and Woody Herman.

Make sure to follow Summer of the Arts on Facebook and Twitter for important updates leading and information leading up to this weeks festival.

Downtown Saturday Night page:

There is no Downtown Saturday Night this weekend due to our weekend long Toyota/Scion of Iowa City Jazz Festival which continues all day Saturday.

The festivities continue into the evening as Gabriel Espinosa takes the Miller Light Main Stage at 6 p.m. A native of Merida, Mexico, Espinosa will play from his most recent work, “From Yucatan and Rio” which is best described as a beautiful blend of rhythmic, lyrical horns and affecting vocals.

Capping off the evening, 2010 Jazz Journalist Association winner for Best Trombonist, Rosswell Rudd and his Trombone Tribe will grace the Miller Light Main Stage at 8 p.m. This 5 member group is known for their eclectic influences which range from Kurt Weill to Eastern European gypsy brass bands and their ability to get even the most stubborn of crowds on their feet.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this week’s festival.

City of Iowa City Summer of the Arts 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert preview

Originally posted on The city of Iowa City Summer of the Arts website

The Friday Night Concert Series celebrates twenty years of free local music this Friday night at 6:30 PM at the Weatherdance Fountain Stage in the Ped Mall, right outside the Iowa City Sheraton Hotel.

Join us for a delicious dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, a choice of baked beans or pasta salad and a cookie prepared by Mama’s Deli and served on a commemorative 20th Year Celebration Frisbee Plate all for just $8.00 per person!

This week’s reunion show is jam packed with musical talent, featuring David Zollo and The Body Electric, Shame Train and Iowa City’s very own Dave Moore.

Dave Zollo began playing the piano at four years old and found his sound after he discovered his father’s eclectic record collection. In his formative early teens, he would entertain his parents house parties with Ray Charles and Huey “Piano” Smith Covers. Since then Zollo and his band, The Body Electric tour the Midwest fusing the likes of The Rolling Stones and Country Rock and released three records.

Created in 2000 by lead singer and songwriter, Sam Knutson, Shame Train has dealt with personel changes that helped shape the band into the rockin’ ensemble they are today. Sometimes referred to as “real country” or “roots rock,” this group of close, musical veterans thrives on sharing their creativity with the Iowa City community.

Upon moving to Iowa City, musician Dave Moore settled into the local music scene both quickly and easily. Moore is known for keeping his musical collaborations specifically Iowan but still manages to gather national recognition, having appeared on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, All Things Considered, World Cafe, and Live from the Mountain Stage.

Spotlight Iowa City: Cross-cultural man

Originally published in The Daily Iowan 12/16/2009

One of UI senior Paul Worrell’s fascinations lies in conflicting cultures living together. He observed such a divide firsthand in his hometown of Denison, Iowa, and the experience has forever shaped his interests in the world.

Worrell, 22, recalled the change his predominately white community went through when the Latino population amplified.

“During that time, my town faced a huge culture shock,” Worrell said. “Seeing that even though there’s not that much difference between people, I began to think about how different they were.”

Most recent data shows roughly 1,200 Latinos lived in Denison in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 17.4 percent of its population. In comparison, approximately 3 percent of Iowa’s population was Latino that year.

The clashes and cooperation all piqued Worrell’s interest in conflicting cultures, influencing him to travel to South Africa twice. He will graduate this month with degrees in journalism and international studies and a minor in French, which he hopes to use to pursue more worldly adventures.

Worrell first traveled to South Africa through the UI’s study-abroad program in the spring of 2008. He craved the cultural diversity and wanted to see the transitions the country had made since abolishing apartheid.

The semester abroad also led Worrell to develop an interest in traditional medicine — also known as ethno-medicine — and encouraged him to make the trip back to South Africa last summer to research.

Worrell said traditional medicine is very much a part of South Africa’s cultural conflicts — practitioners have more entrepreneurial freedoms, allowing them to market and sell their remedies more freely.

“It’s really fascinating to me — this old institution that’s being thrust into this modern world,” Worrell said. “You go to different places in South Africa, and it’s different because modern world hasn’t reached all.

His traveling has moved some of those he’s encountered, including his professors. Worrell took Writing across Cultures with journalism Associate Professor Gigi Durham. She recommended him for a UI Student Government research grant to return to South Africa this past summer.

“Paul has an adventurous spirit that has impelled him to venture into places many people wouldn’t think to travel,” Durham said.

In addition to traveling, Worrell has also served as a reporter and newscaster on KRUI.

He plans to attend graduate school to focus on African studies but hopes to culminate his interests one day and write for a publication that will allow him to travel and learn more about other cultures. His dream is to work for National Geographic.

No matter where his journey takes him, Worrell is convinced he will return to South Africa.

Spotlight Iowa City: Following a winding journey to art

Originally published in The Daily Iowan 11/13/2009

Exposure is key.

It’s what UI senior Olivia Rendone believes about the world of art, at least.

That’s why the 22-year-old worked with students at Tate High for her Honors project in the UI School of Art and Art History, showing them the works they create have an outlet and that they are very much real artists. The project culminated with a reception for the students’ gallery at the Lindquist Center on Thursday.

“It was something they didn’t seem to be exposed to,” said Rendone, an art-education major. “I wanted to figure out a way they could see their work in a nice gallery.”

And she did. After working with students and administrators at the school, she set some deadlines and requirements and worked twice a week with the student-artists. The work will remain on display in Lindquist until Dec. 14.

Her path to art was probably as original as her work.

Starting on the nursing track, Rendone, who hails from the northwest Chicago suburb of Cary, Ill., found herself eyeing the art-class offerings

She consulted her father.

“I said to my dad, ‘I really want to take these classes, but I don’t have room in my schedule.’ So he said he’d pay for a fifth year,” Rendone said.

While she started balancing the two, she eventually made the switch completely to art. “That’s where my heart was,” she said.

Though the shift may have been difficult for Rendone’s parents, it did keep with her desire to give back — just in a different way.

“When it came down to it, I didn’t think I would connect the best way in an emergency room,” Rendone said.

Her project is something UI art history and education Associate Professor Rachel Williams finds beneficial. Most high school freshmen don’t have a professional outlet for their work, she said.

“A lot of our students haven’t taken art classes since junior high,” Williams said. “Often they take their art classes early so they can take their AP classes.”

Stephanie Corlett, a UI senior also in art education, worked with Rendone on the project.

Corlett, who is also good friends with Rendone, said she will make a great art teacher.

“She works so hard and is really dedicated,” Corlett said. “She’s got some really ambitious goals.”

After finishing 16 weeks of student teaching back home, Rendone will spend eight more weeks in New Zealand this summer.

She’ll share this time with New Zealand’s indigenous population, the Maori, who are known for their stone cutting and using art as a way of life.

And Rendone won’t leave such an experience in the mountains and sea that dominate the country.

“I feel like that’s a great experience for me to bring to my students,” she said, noting the intimate relationship between the culture and art in the country.

Ultimately, Rendone said, she doesn’t know where her travels will take her career, but she’s open to whatever comes her way.

“I think the sky’s the limit. You’ve got to take your opportunities when you can get them.”

Corresponding video I shot and edited for The Daily Iowan website: