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FAIRIES GIFT SHOP OPENS AT THE MUSEUM OF ART -- A gift shop offering posters, postcards, gifts and various other fairy-related merchandise will be set up in the foyer of the University of Iowa Museum of Art in conjunction with the museum's "Victorian Fairy Paintings" exhibition. The gift shop will be open throughout the entire duration of the exhibition, from Feb. 28 through May 24.

Shop hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays and during special events. The shop will be staffed entirely by museum volunteers.

"Victorian Fairy Painting," the first comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to this distinctly English genre, will open at the UI after breaking attendance records at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, over the winter months. The exhibition and its companion book examine the portrayal of fairies in art and literature from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. It will include more than 70 paintings by both well and lesser known artists, including J.M.W. Turner, Richard Dadd, John Anster Fitzgerald, Daniel Maclise, Edwin Landseer, Richard Doyle and Arthur Rackham.

"Victorian Fairy Painting" was organized by UI Museum of Art assistant director Pamela Trimpe, working with Jane Martineau of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and independent scholar Charlotte Gere. The late Jeremy Maas, who wrote the lead essay in the exhibition catalog, provided inspiration and guidance in the planning of the exhibition. After its showing at the UI Museum of Art, it will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada, where it will be shown June 23 through Sept. 13, 1998.

Proceeds from the gift shop will go towards construction of the Friends Development Council's Educational Resource Center, a part of the museum's proposed expansion project.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center, which is just north of the museum.

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UI ALUMNUS BENJAMIN ANASTAS READS MARCH 2 -- Fiction writer Benjamin Anastas will read from his novel "An Underachiever's Dairy" at 8 p.m. Monday, March 2 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public.

The reading will be broadcast on the "Live at Prairie Lights" series, originating on WSUI, AM 910.

With his first novel, the hilarious "An Underachiever's Diary," Anastas emerges as a bright and promising voice in American literature. "Diary" tells the story of William, a devout underachiever and the first-born of identical twins.

The book has received delighted praise from contemporary novelists. Ann Beattie writes, "I would be proud of myself if I ever underachieved so brilliantly," and Francisco Goldman recommends the book with the observation, "Ben Anastas's underachiever is the most heartbreakingly likable and brilliantly convincing character of this type since Holden Caulfield."

Calling the book "an extremely precocious debut," Thomas Mallon writes, "From the first paragraph, Benjamin Anastas has got you. . . . the cleverest literary monologue in a long while."

Anastas is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the winner of GQ magazine's Frederick Exley Fiction Prize as well as a prize from Story magazine. He received the Paul Engle fellowship at the UI.

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PERSPECTIVES MARCH 4 -- Pamela Trimpe, assistant director and curator of painting and sculpture at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, will present a gallery tour of the exhibition "Victorian Fairy Painting" at 12:30, Wednesday, March 4 as part of the museum's Perspectives series. The tour will be open to the public free of charge.

"Victorian Fairy Painting," the first comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to this distinctly English genre, was organized by the Museum of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Having been recently displayed at the Royal Academy, the exhibition opened for its only U.S. showing at the museum on Feb. 28 and will remain on view until May 24.

Trimpe, the curator of the exhibition, commented: "My tour will introduce an exhibition that we expect will be very popular with viewers. The exhibition broke attendance records in London, and we are looking forward to sharing it with American audiences."

The exhibition includes more than 70 paintings by both well and lesser known artists, including J.M.W. Turner, Richard Dadd, Edwin Landseer, Richard Doyle and Arthur Rackham. Some 32 artists are represented, and more than 40 lenders contributed works to the exhibition.

Fairy painting was commercially and critically popular during the 19th century. In combining fantastic subject matter with realistic Victorian techniques, the genre represents some of the most important concerns of 19th-century British art, including depiction of the nude, the sentimental narrative, and imagery from literary and theatrical sources.

Wednesday's gallery tour is the first of a series of "Perspectives" that will focus on various aspects of the exhibition's themes. Future "Perspectives" events will include a film that explores the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite movement and a lecture on the social history of religion in the 19th century.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for the 1997-98 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. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

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TWO BANDS GIVE CONCERT MARCH 4 -- The University and Concert Bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a joint concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The concert will be free and open to the public.

The University and Concert bands are two of the wind ensembles at the UI School of Music. They are open to all students in the university, who are placed in the ensembles through an audition process. The University Band is directed by UI graduate assistant Brian Dewald, and the Concert Band is directed by Morgan Jones, a School of Music faculty member who is also interim director of the Hawkeye Marching Band.

The University Band will play "The Fire of Eternal Glory" by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, in an arrangement by Timothy Rhea; "Continental Overture" by Johann de Meji; 'Variations on a Korean Folk Song" by John Barnes Chance; "Serenade" by Derrick Bourgeois; and "Elegy for a Young American" by Ronald Lo Presti.

The Concert Band will play a band arrangement of the finale from the "New World" Symphony of Antonin Dvorak; Percy Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy"; "Othello" by Alfred Reed, and "The Chimes of Liberty" March by Edwin Franco Goldman.

A native of Muscatine, Jones was director of the Hawkeye Marching Band 1973-91. During Jones' tenure, the band attended 12 bowl games, including three Rose Bowls, three Holiday Bowls, two Peach Bowls, the Gator Bowl, Freedom Bowl, Alamo Bowl and the Kickoff Classic. Under his direction, the band won the 1990 Sudler Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy, awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation for longtime contributions by the band and its directors.

Jones holds undergraduate and master's degrees from the UI. As an undergraduate he was a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band trumpet section and attended the 1957 and 1959 Rose Bowls. He received a doctorate in music education from Northwestern University. An active clinician and music contest judge, he is the founder of the Iowa Ambassadors of Music.

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'TEN-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL' MARCH 5-7 -- The University Theatres Gallery series will present a "10-Minute Play Festival" at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 5-7, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

The production will feature eight minimally-staged new plays, each of a duration of no more than 10 minutes, presented by undergraduate playwrights and directors in the UI department of theatre arts. The eight scripts were selected by faculty member Kate Aspengren from among 31 submissions.

The plays are "Workday" by Jake Johnson Weinberger, directed by Satori Snow; "The Celibacy Club" by Kristin Hanson, directed by Evan Atkinson; "Black Rhinoceros" by Chris Mullins, directed by Erin Myers; "Soap Opera" by John Olson, directed by Aprille Clark; "Only Visiting" by Elise Gustafson, directed by Ryan Berg; "Pusillanimity" by Jenny Sigler, directed by Neal Leaheey; "Willa" by Tanna Frederick, directed by Laura Slater; and "The Saved" by William Nedved, directed by Michael Thornton.

Admission to the "10-Minute Play Festival" will be $4 ($2 for UI students, senior citizens and youth) at the door.

The festival includes material of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for them should contact the department at 319-335-2700 for additional information.