Arts & Culture

Witching Hour Festival announces lineup

Comedian Aasif Mandvi will appear at The Witching Hour festival. (Adam Cantor)
Comedian Aasif Mandvi will appear at The Witching Hour festival. (Adam Cantor)
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The Witching Hour festival returns to downtown Iowa City Oct. 12 & 13, with a lineup featuring musicians, writers, chefs and more:

Performances and Readings

Puddles Pity Party

The “sad clown with a golden voice,” Puddles Pity Party rose to viral stardom with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox and as a semifinalist on America’s Got Talent in 2017.

Aasif Mandvi

Peabody award-winning comedian, creator, and actor of screen and stage known for his work as a correspondent on the multi Emmy-winning news satire series “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.

Here Lies Man

Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?

Richard Hell + Katherine Faw + Lisa Jane Persky

Punk music and fashion trailblazer Richard Hell (Television, Neon Boys, the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell & the Voidoids) will participate in two events at Witching Hour 2018. Hell will join novelist Katherine Faw (Ultraluminous, Young God) and more writers in Notes from the Underground: A Reading. 2016 Mission Creek Festival participant Lisa Jane Persky, who shared her work as a photographer and journalist in the early ‘70s New York City scene, will join Hell in a discussion, Making a Scene: A Conversation about Downtown New York City. Moderated by Kembrew McLeod, author of Blondie’s Parallel Lines (33 1/3 Series), which explored the tensions of NYC’s music scenes of punk, disco, pop, and mainstream rock.

Writers of Color Reading Series with Fatimah Asghar

Pakistani-Kashmiri-American poet and Fulbright fellow Fatimah Asghar, popularly known as co-creator and writer of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls, will lead the next installment of the Writers of Color Reading Series. Asghar’s latest work is a forthcoming debut collection of poems, “If They Come For Us,” slated for August release on One World/Random House. Additional undergraduate and graduate writers will participate.

Jaimie Branch

Brooklyn-based trumpeter focused on improvisation and composition, Branch is pushing the technical limitations of the trumpet and the musical language of free jazz and improvised music. Branch will perform at Witching Hour with an ensemble of some of her longtime collaborators, featuring Toby Summerfield (Ex-Eye), Anton Hatwich (ex-Ryley Walker), and Dan Bitney (Tortoise).

Presentations

Building a Queendom with Michelle Fletcher

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Award-winning Brooklyn-based director, choreographer, and dance filmmaker Michelle Fletcher will deliver a talk on her current process in developing new work surrounding themes of the future, feminism, abstraction, symbolism, and the superhero(ine).

Reframing Pain: Using Acceptance and Connection to Confront Suicide with Sara Knox

Following the highly-profiled deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, suicidologist and suicide prevention training coordinator at the Crisis Center of Johnson County will give a presentation on the factors that contribute to suicide, the power of human connection, and the difference between pain and suffering.

Workshops

How Capitalism is Designed to Kill (Most of) You with Shawn Sebastian

Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed Up Campaign and an attorney at the Center for Popular Democracy, will lead a separate lecture and workshop exploring how institutionalized racism, decline of unionization, and the rise of financialization and corporate concentration drive financial inequality. The workshop will focus on building locally-rooted economic justice campaigns to effectively take on concentrated wealth and power.

Do You Want to Play? with Natalie Benway and Alison Oliver

Reverberating from the #MeToo movement, there is a clear need for tools and skills to negotiate mutually-affirming, consensual experiences and relationships. Therapist and sexuality expert Natalie Benway and Alison Oliver, human sexuality lecturer at the University of Iowa, will give a separate lecture and workshop where attendees will learn practical and playful erotic communication skills and conversation starters.

Food

Parts Unknown Tribute Dinner

In Witching Hour’s first curated dinner, St. Burch chef de cuisine Gabe Branch will collaborate with visiting fellows of the University of Iowa International Writing Program in a dinner and reading pairing in honor of chef Anthony Bourdain.

Tickets

The Gazette is media sponsor for the festival. Additional lineup and schedule announcements will be made at a later date. Two day passes are $55, with $20 passes for students. One day passes are $35 and will be available Aug. 28, as will tickets to individual events. The Parts Unknown Tribute Dinner is not included in the festival pass and is $60. Tickets and more information can be found at witchinghourfestival.com or the Englert Box Office, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City, (319) 688-2653.

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