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Release: February 26, 1999


ART LECTURE MARCH 4 -- Cynthia Manning Crosby, a visiting artist in the painting and drawing area of the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, will speak on current paintings that mimic the outer appearances of urban space at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 4 in Room E109 of the UI Art Building.

Crosby's lecture, "Notes on a Brick Epic," will be free and open to the public.

Crosby received a master's degree from the UI and a Master of Fine Arts from the State University of New York in Stonybrook. She is currently teaching at the Tyler School of Art.

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CLARKE READS MARCH 5 -- Welsh poet and playwright Gillian Clarke will give a reading at 8 p.m. Friday, March 5 in Tippie Auditorium of the University of Iowa Pappajohn Business Building. Sponsored by the UI Writers' Workshop, the reading is free and open to the public.

Clarke is the author of 10 books of poetry, including, "Snow on the Mountain," "Letter from a Far Country," "The King of Britain's Daughter" and "Five Fields."

She has also published essays, written plays and been widely anthologized. She is an honorary fellow at the University of Wales and has received, among other awards, the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry and the Chair of Judges T.S. Eliot Award in 1997.

Clarke is president of Ty Newydd, the Writers' Centre, which she co-founded in 1990. She teaches creative writing at the University of Glamorgan, South Wales.

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MUSIC IN THE MUSEUM, MARCH 7 -- Iowa City's versatile John Lake Band will perform at the University of Iowa Museum of Art at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 7.

This presentation, which is part of the Music in the Museum series, will be open to the public free of charge. The performance will be preceded by a tour of the museum's current exhibitions, led by a museum docent. Exhibitions on display in the museum will include "Artists Poster Committee: A Decade of Political Art," "Barry Le Va: Sculpture and Drawings for Sculpture," "Boris Lurie," "Dale Joe Paintings" and "Baba Wague Diakite: African Folktales."

The John Lake Band will perform original songs along with an eclectic mix of acoustic music reflecting the band's rock, pop, folk, country and gospel influences. Included will be pieces from a wide array of artists, including John Haitt, Patsy Cline, Gram Parsons, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Bonnie Raitt, and Les Paul and Mary Ford.

The John Lake Band, made up of John Lake, Jeffrey Morgan, Heather Kingham, Rick Cicalo and Eric Griffin, was formed in the spring of 1996 to feature original music written by Lake, as well as a diverse mix of popular covers. Icon Magazine's Jim Musser wrote, "Whether on electric or acoustic, solo or in groups from two to ten, bandleader or sideman, managing to find something of worth and durability at every stop along the way, Lake is left today with an enviable set of chops, a delicate touch, and a refined understanding of the scope and merits of Western popular music."

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 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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UNIVERSITY AND CONCERTS BAND GIVE CONCERT MARCH 8 -- The University and Concert Bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a joint concert at 8 p.m. Monday, March 8 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The concert will be free and open to the public.

Both groups are open to all UI students on the basis of auditions. They share a concert program once or twice each semester.

The University Band will be directed by graduate student assistant Russ Kramer. They will perform a band arrangement of J.S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G minor; "They Hung Their Harps in the Willows" by W. Francis McBeth; "Sun Dance" by Frank Ticheli; the Symphonic Suite of J. Clifton Williams, and "The Big Cage," a circus march by Iowan Karl King.

The Concert Band is directed by Kevin Kastens, a member of the School of Music faculty. In addition to directing the Concert Band, Kastens directs the Hawkeye Marching Band during the fall semester, teaches band arranging and marching band techniques, and during the summer will be director of the All-State Music Camp.

The Concert Band will perform five works: "Folk Festival," music from the film "The Gadfly" by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, as arranged for band by Donald Hunsberger; Percy Grainger's arrangement of "Air from County Derry," a tune widely known as "Oh Danny Boy"; "Colonial Airs and Dances," a suite by Robert Jager based on songs from the colonial period of America's history; "Year of the Dragon" by Philip Sparke; and Japanese composer Naohiro Iwai's arrangement of "76 Trombones" from the popular Broadway show "The Music Man" by Iowan Meredith Willson.

Before coming to the UI in 1998 Kastens served five years at the University of Missouri, where he directed the marching band, Marching Mizzou, the Symphonic Band and the pep band for men's basketball games, Mini Mizzou. He has written articles for the Music Educators Journal and other professional publications. He assisted in the beta testing and development of "Drill Quest," a marching band drill-writing software program, and he continues to be involved in the improvement of the program. He has presented workshops and clinics on marching band techniques and computer drill design and appeared as guest conductor at band clinics throughout the Midwest.

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SCULPTOR WILL LECTURE ON HER WORK -- Pam Blotner, a visiting artist in the sculpture area of the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, will present a lecture on her work at 8 p.m. Monday, March 8 in the Basement Auditorium of the UI Art Building.

Blotner has lived in the San Francisco Bay area since 1996. Working in her Oakland studio, she examines functional objects, such as tools for cultivation, vessels for carrying water and grains and religious articles, as evidence of humankind's relationship to nature, science, religion and calamity. In recent years she has created a personal "form language" -- a kind of visual and thematic source bank that she can draw upon in her work -- based on objects and images that she as seen and collected while traveling in remote areas of the United States, Thailand, Cambodia, Ireland, Iraq, Bolivia, Mexico and Guatemala.

Blotner is particularly interested in agrarian peoples and how the forms and shapes of their shrines and reliquaries are reflected in everyday objects. She sees these utilitarian objects as timeless reminders -- even in the worst of times -- of humankind's tenacity and capacity to endure.

"Peasant societies must struggle to survive," she has written, "and their tools, through their familiar shapes and associations, serve not only to mark seasonal changes and the cyclical rhythms of life, but through their inherent evocative and associative power, come to represent and embody the promise of change, as well as the existence of a higher spiritual plane."

In her work, Blotner aims to blend a personal aesthetic with humor while examining subject matter that may be disturbing and difficult.

Blotner grew up in Virginia and North Carolina. After earning degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Syracuse University, she taught at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, the University of Maryland at College Park and Tufts University in Medford, Mass. She is presently on the faculty of the San Francisco Art Institute, where she teaches sculpture and co-directs a program called "The Artist as Citizen in Contemporary Society."

Blotner is also a faculty member at the new Pixar University of Pixar Animation Studios. She has had solo and group exhibitions of her work in Great Britain Italy, Belgium, Africa and throughout the United States.

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ALLEN READS MARCH 10 -- Mary Allen will read from her new memoir, "Rooms of Heaven," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 at the Prairie Lights bookstore in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public.

"This book may haunt your imagination," says Susan Allen Toth, author of "Blooming, a Small-Town Girlhood." "Mary Allen raises many questions -- about the nature of love, the meaning of death, the possibility of a world beyond this one -- and tries to answer them in remarkably lucid, sometimes shimmering prose."

Honor Moore calls Allen's book "An unflinching romance for our time."

Allen, a graduate of the UI Writers' Workshop, lives in Iowa City.

The reading will be broadcast live on radio stations WSUI AM 910 and WOI AM 940, as part of the "Live from Prairie Lights" series.

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EVANS READS MARCH 12 -- Novelist Elizabeth Evans, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from her new novel, "Carter Clay," at 8 p.m. Friday, March 12 in Prairie Lights Books in downtown Iowa City. Sponsored by the Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, the reading is free and open to the public.

Writer Ann Patchett says Evans' new novel "is thrilling in its enormous ambition and intelligence. [Evans] is a fearless writer."

"Beautiful, mysterious, and superbly written, 'Carter Clay' is an enthralling and profound meditation on the accidents of fate that can often cause life to slip beyond our control," Oscar Hijuelos writes.

The author of the novel "The Blue Hour," Evans has received numerous grants and fellowships for her writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the James Michener Fellowship.