What to do over Thanksgiving break

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 18, 2010 7:20 AM

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Going to be stuck in Iowa City over Thanksgiving break? Don't worry — there's plenty going on to keep you occupied. Whether it's a stage reading of a play, a family-friendly production, or a Jimi Hendrix cover show, there's something for everyone.

Tag Sale returns

Maggie Conroy, a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights' Workshop, is getting a second chance to stage her play The Tag Sale Project after receiving feedback from audience members last year.

"I really wanted to add things that the audience suggested," she said. "And I filled out some parts, and I split some of the narration between the characters."

She and four of her friends gave a sold-out stage reading of the play last year. The audience filled the seats at the Riverside Theatre to hear about the adventures of five women coordinating a yard sale through a series of e-mails. This year's production features new and altered story elements as well as a discussion session after each performance.

The women about whom the play was written will give a stage reading of The Tag Sale Project at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 28 at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert St.

Admission ranges from $12 to $18.

— by Hannah Kramer

Swing is silver and more

After around 40 years without practicing, Nancy Wombacher took out her trumpet for the first time since high school and began playing music again thanks to the Senior Center New Horizons Band.

"Our philosophy is, your best is good enough," she said. "It doesn't matter if you haven't played before, but it shouldn't just be left to the kids, because it is so fun to play music as a group."

An extension of the group, a jazz band called the Silver Swing, will play Generations of Jazz at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is free. Four area high-school jazz bands will also perform.

"It's always fun to see the kids' faces when our group starts to play," Wombacher said. "They just thoroughly enjoy seeing and hearing the senior group play. It's so obvious, then, that music is a lifetime love."

Students in the jazz bands from Regina High, West Liberty High, West Branch High, and City High will play with the Silver Swing.

— by Hannah Kramer

The funk comes home

FUNKMA$TER Matt Grundstad will release a new album featuring Katharine Ruestow at 10 p.m. Nov. 26 in the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St. Admission is $5.

Grundstad and Ruestow met in a music class while attending the UI. The two have worked together before, but the release party will be their first live performance as a duet.

Grundstad is a one-man band, and he combines drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, and vocals into a looping device in which it sounds as though an entire band is playing.

"I've always loved working in the recording studio, and this looping thing was a way to bring what I do in the studio to the stage," he said.

Ruestow will sing the vocals over Grundstad's instrumental music for the show. The duet will play most of the songs from a new album they will release soon.

The album Katharine Ruestow will be available at katharineruestow.com and will also be on iTunes and Amazon.

Grundstad and Ruestow will play their set until 11:15 p.m.; the Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band Lunatix on Pogostix will finish the night.

— by Samantha Gentry

Growing (groan) up

ArtsPower, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, will perform the childhood favorite Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great at 2 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St.

Admission is $8 for children, $10 for adults.

ArtsPower has had thousands of theatrical performances; the group has acted for 9 million people in 47 states, the troupe reports. Most of its performances involve children's productions.

"ArtsPower has a great tradition for putting on interesting and well-conceived productions," said Andre Perry, the Englert executive director.

Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great is ArtsPower's version of the award-winning author Judy Blume's classic book.

— by Samantha Gentry

Channeling Hendrix

For guitarist Michael Fett, the Jimi Hendrix tribute he will play isn't just a birthday celebration for Hendrix, it's more of a celebration of his whole life and entire musical career.

On Nov. 27, Fett, along with his band, will play a Jimi Hendrix tribute at 9 p.m. at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St. Admission is $5.

The night is especially important for Fett not only because it's Hendrix's birthday, but it is also his father's and grandfather's.

Fett has been playing Hendrix's music for about eight or nine years, and he considers Hendrix to be a huge part of his musical education.

"I remember going to a Hendrix workshop in Seattle when I was 17," he said. "The instructors had me teach the other students Hendrix songs."

He will also play Nov. 26 alongside FUNKMA$TER Matt Grundstad in the Red Hot Chili Pepper tribute, which will also perform at the Yacht Club. He expects these two nights to be very entertaining.

"Maybe I'll pull out some Hendrix tricks and play the guitar behind my back or through my legs," Fett said, joking.

— by Samantha Gentry

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