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PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE EXPLORES 'WORLD OF PERCUSSION' FEB. 16 -- The Percussion Ensemble from the University of Iowa School of Music will present "The World of Percussion," a concert ranging from Brazilian street samba to American ragtime to a new piece played on buckets, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, under the direction of Dan Moore, will be free and open to the public.

The concert program will feature some of the many styles of percussion music of the Americas. Selections will include "Soul Sauce" by Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie, a top-10 hit in the 1950s in a recording by vibes player Cal Tjader; "Fanfarra," a Brazilian street samba recorded and arranged by Sergio Mendez; "Marimba Grande," traditional marimba music from Guatemala; and the ragtime tune "Chromatic Foxtrot" by George Hamilton Green.

Other works from around the world will include "Dream of the Cherry Blossoms" by Japanese composer Keiko Abe; "Senegal Calling," a jazz- and world-music-influenced piece by American Mike Maineri; and "Osaine and Mingus" by UI undergraduate student Johnathan Crawford, which is based on Cuban religious music.

The concert will end with "Don't Kick the Bucket," a piece by Moore that will be played on buckets.

The UI Percussion Ensemble provides students with performance experience in wide-ranging contemporary styles, many different cultural traditions and the historical roots of percussion. With an extensive array of instruments -- from traditional drums, xylophones and cymbals to just about anything that can be struck, scraped, shaken or smashed together -- Percussion Ensemble performances generally run the gamut from gentle melodies to explosive outbursts of rhythm.

A nationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore holds the position previously occupied by long-time UI percussion teacher Thomas L. Davis, who retired last spring. Prior to coming to the UI, Moore helped lead the SkyRyders Drum and Bugle Corps, taught percussion at Montana State University and studied for a doctorate in percussion at the University of Kentucky.

For the past 10 years Moore has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo.

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PROSE READS FEB. 18 -- Novelist Francine Prose will read from her new book, "Guided Tours of Hell," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Prairie Lights Bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the UI Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public.

Prose, who has been called one of the most important American writers publishing today, is the author of 10 acclaimed novels and a collection of stories, including "Guided Tours of Hell," "Bigfoot Dreams," "Women and Children First," "Primitive People," "Hunters and Gatherers," "Marie Laveau," "The Glorious Ones" and "The Peaceable Kingdom." Her novel "Household Saints" was made into a major motion picture directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Lili Taylor.

Known for her "funny, imaginative and often fantastical novels and stories," as Publisher's Weekly describes it, Prose has in recent years begun to write more darkly, and closer to home in her novels "Primitive People" and "Hunters and Gatherers," and most recently in "Guided Tours of Hell," the newly published pair of novellas from which she will read.

The New York Observer calls Prose "a writer with a perfect ear for the rhetoric of contemporary self-deception."

Rhoda Koenig of New York magazine says "Francine Prose's wicked portraits of American Primitives seem like illustrations of Clemenceau's comment that this country has gone from barbarism to decadence without passing through civilization."

Of "Guided Tours of Hell," Vanity Fair says, "Dare to sear the fat from your brain with these dual novellas that crackle and hiss with dark wit, skewering the treasured, romantic ideal of Americans finding themselves abroad."

A former visiting faculty member at the UI Writers' Workshop, Prose has taught at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, the Breadloaf Writers' Conference and the University of Utah. She has published stories, reviews and articles in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Mademoiselle and Vogue. Prose is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright foundations, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other awards.

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PERSPECTIVES Feb. 19 -- University of Iowa art history faculty member Robert Rorex will present a slide lecture on the work of Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi as part of the weekly Perspectives series at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the UI Museum of Art.

The presentation, which is offered in conjunction with the exhibition "The Woodblock Prints of Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi: Samurai Stories," is free and open to the public.

Kuniyoshi, a Japanese printmaker who lived during the 19th century, was extremely popular and prolific. His work reflects the immense aesthetic and social changes Japan underwent when its centuries-long period of isolation came to an end.

This collection of Kuniyoshi's triptychs focuses particularly on warrior or Samurai stories, an artistic genre that became popular following an imperial decree forbidding production of prints depicting the morally suspect red-light districts and Noh theatre actresses. Samurai stories were officially sanctioned as celebrations of the heroic Japanese past.

The exhibition is gathered from a private collection in Iowa City.

M.C. Ginsberg Jewelers of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for the 1996-97 Perspectives series at the UI Museum of Art, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday. Admission to the museum is free.

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ANCESTORS' SPEAK IN GALLERY PRODUCTION FEB. 20-23 -- The University Theatres Gallery series will present Shay Youngblood's "Talking Bones," winner of the Lorraine Hansberry Award for plays about the African-American experience, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 20-22, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

"Talking Bones" is a portrait of three women who have different interpretations of the meaning of voices they hear in their heads.

"I grew up in a house where the elders heard voices, and it was understood that these voices were the voices of the ancestors," the playwright has written. "I didn't think it very odd until I went out into the world and learned that 'people who heard voices were crazy.'"

The Lorraine Hansberry Award is administered by the American College Theatre Festival in honor of the famed African-American author, who wrote in "To Be Young, Gifted and Black": "Write about our people; tell their story. You have something glorious to draw on begging for attention. Don't pass it up."

The production is directed by graduate student Edris Cooper, who last fall directed the University Theatres Mainstage production of Robert Alexander's "A Preface to the Alien Garden." Cooper is a veteran of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, America's leading political theater company.

Admission is $4 ($2 for UI students, senior citizens and young people 17 and younger) at the door.