The clocking is ticking toward Witching Hour, that sweet spot following Halloween where magical ideas can float between worlds.
Iowa City’s fifth annual Witching Hour festival, which organizers describe as “dedicated to exploring the unknown, discussing creative process and presenting new work,” will be floating between downtown venues Nov. 1 and 2.
Two-day festival passes are on sale now, and one-day passes and individual event tickets will go on sale Tuesday (8/27) at the Englert Box Office and witchinghourfestival.com
This year’s core themes center on designing a better future by uncovering and understanding our history, from personal to global scales.
Among the highlights is the premiere of the folk opera “The Way Forth,” in which composer Rachel Grimes of Louisville, Ky., reflects on her Kentucky-based family’s history. As the festival’s featured artist, she will present her work in performance, exhibit and lecture.
Keynote speaker Marcelo Mena will discuss global climate policy. Mena, who earned his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at the University of Iowa, served as Chile’s Minister of the Environment, where he helped transform air quality in his home country. He was awarded the 2017 Climate and Clean Air Award for his efforts to reduce air pollution in Chile. Currently serving as the World Bank’s climate adviser to the CEO, Mena will present a free lecture at the Englert Theatre, sharing his process for understanding a problem and how to address it, speaking as a scientist, a political figure, and a cultural leader.
Arts consultant Beatrice Thomas will challenge her audience to amass their creative tools for a pending apocalypse.
Current members of the University of Iowa’s executive team will present a free panel discussion on their vision for the institution in a shifting landscape. Panelists include Bruce Harreld, Monserrat Fuentes, Daniel Clay and Lauren Lessing.
SCOPE Productions is bringing in Shredders, a rap project from Doomtree members P.O.S. Sims, Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger. The Doomtree label released the group’s debut album, “Dangerous Jumps,” in 2017, and the new “Great Hits” album is coming out Aug. 30.
Brooklyn-based comedian and “Saturday Night Live” writer Julio Torres moved to New York from El Salvador to study literature at the New School. Along with Fred Armisen and Ana Fabrega, he co-created and stars in “Los Espookys,” a Spanish language series intended for an English-speaking audience, which debuted in June on HBO. His hourlong HBO special, “My Favorite Shapes,” premiered on HBO on Aug. 10.
And more than 20 Iowa-based creatives will present new work and ideas during the festival.
Program dates, times and sites will be announced at witchinghourfestival.com
WHAT: Witching Hour
WHERE: Downtown Iowa City venues: Englert Theatre, FilmScene, The Mill, Gabe’s, Iowa City Public Library, Merge, University of Iowa Libraries
WHEN: Nov. 1 and 2
FEATURING: Performances, discussions, panels and workshops
TICKETS: $55 two-day pass, $20 student two-day pass available now; $35 one-day pass and individual event tickets available Tuesday (8/27); Englert Box Office or Witchinghourfestival.com