By Gage Miskimen
Environmentalism and art will team up tonight at the Old Capitol to showcase the sustainable city of the future.
Writer in residence Jeff Biggers will put on an event with Iowa City band Awful Purdies titled “An Evening at the Ecopolis.” The event will begin at the Old Capitol at 7:30 p.m.
The show has been performed at different cities in the last two years, but tonight’s show will feature a new script, Biggers said.
“The show will showcase the inspiring stories of local heroes in renewable energy, regenerative agriculture and local food, zero-waste campaigns, pesticide-free schools, the Iowa River revival, and inclusionary urban designs,” he said.
Band member Katie Roche said the event uses music, storytelling, and projections to present a vision for a regenerative city based on creating renewable energy, using local food, reconnecting our cities to biodiversity, restoring prairies, and laying out strategic urban planning in an age of climate change.
“Weaving a tale set in the future, Jeff tells the story of how Iowa City chose to change its way of life in order to make a better tomorrow,” she said. “He researches and customizes the story for each city where it is performed making it undeniably relevant to each audience. The story is punctuated by songs relevant to the story and to expand on the elements of the story in a lyrical way.”
Roche said the purpose of the event is to change the way people talk about what they can do to become a regenerative city.
“By setting the story in the future, where our community has come together to create a better city, it becomes victorious and personal,” she said. “We move beyond the harrowing data of climate change and instead spend an evening meeting the Iowa Citians of the future who have followed the breadcrumbs and found an ideal home that is more than sustainable, it is regenerative.”
Biggers said the goal of the original Ecopolis show was to demonstrate how artists, musicians, and storytellers can play a key role in shaping a new narrative to re-envision Iowa City as a regenerative city while reversing dependence on fossil fuels, using the arts to bring together a diverse audience.
Nicole Upchurch, also a member of the Awful Purdies, said she looks forward to the event.
“Every time we play the event, I walk away feeling changed, transformed, and inspired by Jeff’s narratives and the reaction of people,” she said. “It’s presenting the material in a way that’s very powerful. It’s a catalyst for change to a much bigger conversation that needs to happen, so in that way, it’s a really power.