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Women's Resource and Action Center
5 Old Capitol
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-1486

Release: Immediate

Writers, performance artists featured at WRAC Coffeehouse Aug. 27

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Local writers and performance artists will be featured live on stage at a continuing Coffeehouse offered by the University of Iowa Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC). The first Coffeehouse of the 1998-99 academic year will be Thursday, Aug. 27 at Women's Center, 130 North Madison, across the street from the Iowa Memorial Union.

Thursday's Coffeehouse features playwright Elise Gustafson, whose one-acts A Word Like Fork or Bus Station, Across the Universe and Only Visiting have been produced at the UI Playwrights' Festival. Her one-act Utah, Here We Come is set to be produced in New York City in September.

The Coffeehouse will also feature UI sophomore Katie Geha reading some of her non-fiction work. Geha, who is involved in the Undergraduate Nonfiction Workshop this fall, was a hit at the January Coffeehouse. "Geha's work was funny and smart, and she read it brilliantly," says Suzi Steffen, one of the founders of the Coffeehouse.

A Women's Center summer group, "Women Performers: Elvis has Left the Building" will present a performance piece combining an opera singer, a fiddler, a keyboard player, and assorted other talented women.

The final portion of the evening is an open microphone in which women read, drum, sing, and perform in other ways.

Since January 1998, the Coffeehouse has been featuring local musicians, poets, essayists, and dancers. "We wanted a smoke-free, alcohol-free welcoming environment for women to share their work," Steffen says. "Many people who read or perform at the Coffeehouse use it as their first public venue because it's relaxed, non-judgmental, and fun."

The Coffeehouse brings regional artists to Iowa City as well. In March the Coffeehouse spotlighted Fern Kupfer, non-fiction author and professor in the Iowa State Creative Writing program. In May a theater/performance art troupe from Columbia, Mo. presented their work, "Shades of Woman."

The Stepping Up Project, a community and campus coalition to reduce binge drinking and its second-hand effects, is helping to sponsor the Coffeehouse, which is alcohol- and drug-free.

For more information, to sign up for open mike session, or to become a member of the Coffeehouse Committee, call the Women's Center at (319) 335-1486.