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University of Iowa News Release

May 23, 2005

Free ICN Event Launches 'Spot' Residency Of Romper Rocker Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes, the king of Romper Rock, will launch his Iowa residency through "Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure" with a free event on the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) at 1 p.m. Monday, June 6. The interactive event will originate in Hancher, where the public is invited to participate, free of charge.

Families will interact with Zanes, through real-time audio and video, in the ICN rooms at the public libraries in Spencer, Decorah, Bellevue, Urbandale, Bettendorf, Hawarden, Guthrie Center and West Union (other sites may be added, so check with your local library).

He will then meet Iowa families in person during his residencies in Perry, June 7-8 and 12; Spencer, June 9-11; Iowa City/Coralville, June 14-15; and Marshalltown, June 16-18.

Zanes' Iowa residency will culminate in a Hancher performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19, preceded by a Father's Day picnic.

For additional information about the ICN event, contact Jessica Netolicky at 319-335-0009 or

Zanes first came to public attention as the leader of the Del Fuegos, the popular '80s garage band out of Boston, but he left the rock 'n' roll world to record and perform for children and families.

It was the New York Times Magazine that labeled Zanes' new venture "Romper Rock," a folk-tinged, roots-rock sound that led the Boston Herald critic to observe that his show is one of "those rare children's concerts where the grownups clearly (have) as much fun as their (kids)." His recordings have featured guests including Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright and Suzanne Vega.

Zanes' residency is supported by the Wallace Foundation and Peggy Scholz, with media support from the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The June 19 picnic is supported by the Hy-Vee Food Store on Waterfront Drive in Iowa City.

"Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure" makes integral use of an interactive website -- The website includes entire areas specifically on events in each community.

The Spot project was initiated in November 2003 when the Wallace Foundation awarded Hancher a four-year, $800,000 "Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation" (LEAP) grant. The grant enables Hancher to enhance arts participation through the use of innovative technology and direct interaction with performing artists over a four-year period.

The launch of the Spot Web site on March 1 kicked off a series of eight performing-arts residencies in each community, with each series of residencies leading to a concluding performance in Hancher.

Children can become Spot Kids by registering at the website. Spot activities and information for parents is also available on the Web page, which includes games, recipes, learning activities and a chance for kids to get their own work published online. In addition, the site features a video of two Iowa City Spot Kids leading a backstage tour of Hancher.

The Wallace Foundation grant, which is the largest programming grant in the auditorium's history, builds on Hancher's experience partnering with Pella, Decorah and Burlington in the Iowa Network Project, also made possible by Wallace funding. That $300,000 grant was the largest previous grant received by the auditorium.

The LEAP grant is being combined with resources committed by several other UI programs and offices -- Academic Technologies, University Relations, the Division of Student Services, the Graduate College and the office of the Vice President for Research.

During the course of the project, the University of Iowa Foundation is establishing a $200,000 endowment that will enable Hancher to continue its audience-development efforts with the technology and expertise developed through the project.

Tickets for the concluding Dan Zanes concert are now on sale at the Hancher Auditorium box office. Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: <>.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,