By the Daily Iowan Arts & Culture Staff
As the semester winds down and finals wind up, University of Iowa students flock to the library and the IMU to cram in a few more
hours of studying. The days seem to grow ever shorter, and the work only continues to pile up. But there is some solace to be had: Christmas is around the corner. In fact, Christmas seems to have the corner on the season.
This week, in the semester’s last edition of 80 Hours, The Daily Iowan Arts & Culture staff have gathered a series of (mostly) Christmas-theme events taking place today through the end of the weekend. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to let loose and go wild after a stressful week or simply searching for a change of pace in between hourlong chunks of studying, we hope to have something for you. Read on, and have some happy holidays.
Fiddler on the Roof
By Levi Wright
To this day, Fiddler on the Roof — the story originally written in 1905 and produced on Broadway in 1964 — is still performed on Broadway. The famous play’s narrative follows milkman Tevye as he embarks on a journey that will test his dedication to his Jewish beliefs as they are repeatedly threatened or infringed upon by others.
At first thought, it may not seem like a story written in 1905 would still have relevance today, but with City Circle Acting Company’s production of the show, playing now through Dec. 18, Christopher Carpenter — the actor playing Tevye — argued otherwise.
“It talks about the immigrant experience of coming to America,” he said. “And right now, with what’s going on politically here — and I hate to bring in politics — it kind of mirrors a lot of what’s going on, with the recent election and those people who are being scapegoated because they’re different.”
Given the decades-long gap between the show’s first production and this iteration, the production team saw a need to update a few things. That said, however, Carpenter made it clear that City Circle’s interpretation would appeal to both traditionalist and for those looking for something new.
“There are parts of this show that would seem very familiar to someone who watched this show 50 years ago,” he said. “There are other parts that would seem very different.”
Ultimately, though, Fiddler’s success relies not on the physical details of the production but rather, on the underlying messages it attempts to convey.
“People are going to find a lot of things that mean something to them,” Carpenter said.
Heartland Bombshells: Unwrapping for a Cause
By Tessa Solomon
The ladies of the Heartland Bombshells — Iowa City’s Midwest-bred, shoulder-shimmying, thigh-slapping burlesque troupe — will “unwrap for a good cause” Friday in a holiday show at 8 p.m. at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave. The proceeds will later be donated to the kind folks at Planned Parenthood.
After returning to the Plains from a stint in New York, the Bombshells will dazzle the Blue Moose crowd for the second time this season, having been joined before by the IC Kings.
“A lot of the crowd last time were close friends with the performers,” Blue Moose general manager Nic Spieker said. “You get people who are super-pumped to see their friends, then you get people who come for just the burlesque show. This one will draw a bigger crowd than last time, I’ve already sold a lot online.”
International burlesque sensation Lola van Ella will serve as a special guest hosting the event. A regular presence at such festivals as Shimmy Showdown, Spectaculaire, and Show-Me Burlesque, her appearance may only be rivaled by the evening’s other guest performer, Foxy La Feelion. A veteran of such dance companies as Battleworks, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp, Feelion’s award-winning moves are an event on their own.
“Doing a holiday-theme event is always nice, and we’ve been trying to push more with people from the surrounding area, just get the local population down to the show,” Spieker said. “People enjoy celebrating in general, so if you can put a theme that’ll get them out and if it’s supporting a cause, that’s even better.”
It’s a Wonderful Life
By Claire Dietz
When thinking of Christmas, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
Playing on that association, on Saturday, FilmScene, 118 E. College St., will present a 10 a.m. showing of the holiday classic to ring in the season.
Donna Reed and James Stewart star as wife and husband in the film, centered on Stewart’s character George Bailey and his wish to have never been born. Early in the film, after seeing that Bailey is on the verge of suicide, his guardian angle intervenes and proceeds to show him how bad all of his loved ones’ lives would have been had he not been born.
Andrew Sherburne, a cofounder of FilmScene, aims to provide patrons with affordable entertainment that is available to all sorts of families.
He describes watching movies — particularly holiday-theme ones — in the theater as “magical,” because both old and young moviegoers are able to participate in the experience.
“Film is art, and art appreciation begins at a young age,” Sherburne said. “This is a chance for us to provide that communal experience around movies of all kinds, not just the usual blockbuster fare that most kids are exposed to. It’s also a reason for people from around the community to come together and feel welcome downtown by the arts.”
Studio 13 — 12 Days of Christmas Party
By Claire Dietz
With the holiday rush upon us, Studio 13, 13 S. Linn, will offer a way to get away from the stress of the season with its 12 Days of Christmas Party.
The party will begin at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and includes both a holiday drag show and dance party.
Studio 13 has been best known as the only gay bar in Iowa City for more than a decade. It is especially known for its drag shows, which have included performances from a number of troupes, including the IC Kings.
The club is also known for its continued integral role in the Iowa City Pride celebration every year. Its donations include money and time, as well as performances throughout downtown during Pride Week.
“We do what we can to be leaders and guide those in the LGBTQIA+ community by leading by example,” the establishment’s mission statement reads. “We cannot control the actions of others but believe involvement and action are the best ways to bring about the change we all want and the best in everyone.”
Above all else, the club wants to be known that it aims for inclusiveness for everyone, both at the Christmas Party and in general.
“We are a place that welcomes everyone, from the college freshman who is just coming out to an elder pillar of the community.”
By Austin Henderson
On Friday, longtime Iowa City band Jack Lion will celebrate the release of its new EP, ION, with a 9 p.m. performance at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. The concert ($8) will feature openers Tires and Alex Body.
Jack Lion drummer Justin LeDuc said he and the other two members, Drew Morton and Brian Smith, met while playing in jazz combos at the University of Iowa in the early 2000s, and they have played together for the last decade.
Despite the group’s formal training and incorporation of a trumpet, the members do not let their jazz roots dominate the music.
“We see ourselves as a live electronic group with ambient, atmospheric textures,” LeDuc said.
The group seeks to tread new musical territory on ION, he said.
“With our last two albums, it seems like the feedback from people was, ‘Wow, this is chill, man,’ ” he said. “That’s the last thing we are going for, because we are going nuts on it. Where our last two EPs had a lot of down-tempo songs on them, the songs on this album we chose specifically because they are up-tempo, driving, and aggressive.”
The band débuted much of the EP during its Nov. 5 performance at the Witching Hour Festival.
“The directors of Witching Hour challenged us to come up with a set of all new material,” LeDuc said. “We chose to make something that was more straight-ahead, groove-oriented.”
There is a palpable degree of excitement surrounding the new project’s release and the subsequent live shows that will follow.
“I’m really proud of ION and looking forward to hearing feedback about it,” he said.