Iowa City scene alive during break

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 17, 2009 7:30 AM

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Winter break can be a barren land, full of downtime and boredom. Luckily, Iowa City’s arts scene is still bustling, even when classes are not in session. Here are a few ways to keep cabin fever at bay over the next few weeks.

• Kevin Gordon
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mill, 120 E. Burlington
Admission: $8

In addition to his work as an indie-rock guitarist, Kevin Gordon is a songwriter who has created tracks for Keith Richards, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Dave Zollo, and more. Gordon received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1989 and is a published poet residing in Nashville. Having worked with Grammy-winner Lucinda Williams on his 2000 album title track “Down to the Well,” Gordon is a force to be reckoned with in the rock/blues arena.

• Public Property, Euforquestra, and Uniphonics
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 31
Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington
Admission: $25 for all ages

Ring in the New Year with this night of entertainment, for which the Englert’s website promises “dancing in the aisles.” The show will be the Englert’s first New Year’s Eve bash since the venue reopened in 2004. These three bands will provide all the funk and groove needed to ring in 2010 with a bang, cranking out reggae, roots, funk, and jazz-influenced hip-hop both separately and together.

• 12th-Annual Elvis Tribute and Benefit
When: Jan. 8
Where: Mill
Admission: $3 or one canned-food item

The concert — a benefit for the Crisis Center — is a tribute to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, whose birthday also happens to be Jan. 8. Tributes will be performed by a great deal of local musicians, covering classic Elvis tunes all night long. A list of the acts performing will be announced in the near future. This event is the perfect chance to show a philanthropic side and rock to the classics all rolled into one.

• Colin Braley and Company, with Lick it Ticket
When: 9 p.m. Jan. 16
Where: Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn
Admission: $5

Colin Braley, a music student at the University of Northern Iowa, will bring musicians from Cedar Falls and put them together with Iowa City talent in what he calls an “eastern Iowa all-star jam.” Lick It Ticket is a new outfit from Cedar Falls that plays bluegrass, jazz, experimental music, and more. The band is a super group of sorts, featuring musicians from Hunab, 3 Lbs. of Love, and some of the top UNI jazz bands.

• Church Basement Ladies
When: 2 and 7 p.m. Jan. 16
Where: Englert
Admission: $25 for adults, $22 for students, seniors, and children

The musical comedy Church Basement Ladies, set in 1964 Minnesota, centers on four women who work in the kitchen of a church basement living through changing times. The play is lauded as being funny and down-to-earth, with characters ranging from a young newcomer to an elderly veteran. As they prepare dinners for every function imaginable, they learn to enjoy (or at least tolerate) the company of one another.

— by Rebecca Koons

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