Local events during spring break


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Spring is finally here. Although the temperatures are still postponing the short sleeves, the best part about this time of the year is the break. For one week, school and all of its stress is out of sight, out of mind. Most college students will leave Iowa City — maybe to go home or chase warmer temperatures. But what about those who stay behind? There’s always spring cleaning or finishing that book you never had time for during the first half of the semester. In case that gets dull, here are a few local events not to miss during spring break.

Ari Hest

Singer/songwriter Ari Hest will perform his folk-rock songs at the Mill at 9 p.m. March 15. Admission is $12.

The New York City native became interested in music as a teenager. While in high school, he participated in the glee club; he enjoyed singing classical pieces and learning every section’s vocal arrangements.

“I knew then that music would be important to me always,” Hest said.

After graduation, he attended New York University, taught himself to play guitar, and began playing in various towns along the East Coast.

In May 2007, he released his first full-length CD, The Break-In. The following year, he wanted to try something new and released a song every Monday for a full year. He uploaded his newly débuted songs online and asked fans to vote for their top choices. He compiled the winning tunes together to create Twelve Mondays, his second album released in 2009.

“I wanted to try something challenging, something I hadn’t heard of anyone doing,” Hest said. “I kind looked forward to the struggle.”

Cirque Voilà

At Cirque Voilà, no lions, tigers, or bears exist. In fact, no animals at all. The circus is created in a small theatrical space. It’s a new type of theater that creator Brian McNelis wanted so that it could “fit in the palm of your hand.”

On March 15, Cirque Voilà will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. at the U.S Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

The troupe started in 2000. The group of five to nine stage actors and three to four tech crew members performed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In 2004, the members began showcasing their first full-length production. Soon, they introduced a different style of theater to universities, civic centers, and casinos across the country. The 90-minute act traveled to China in 2006 for the International Clown Festival in Shanghai.

Cirque Voilà is similar to Cirque du Soleil because it incorporates elements of dance, comedic acting, and acrobatic tricks. The acting style is exaggerated, creating both humorous and grotesque scenes.

Performances include contortion, physical comedy, gymnastic Hula-Hoop, and trapeze acts.

Scorsese showings

The American Filmmaker’s Series at the Englert that began in the fall by showing free films by Martin Scorsese has continued into the spring, now highlighting director Terrence Malick. The films will begin at 8 p.m. on March 16 and March 17. The showings will be free and projected on the Englert’s HD projector.

The first night will feature the 1973 film Badlands, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. The second night will feature Days of Heaven, which some critics say is one of the most beautifully constructed movies of all time.

Senses Fail

Punk-rock band Senses Fail will perform at the Blue Moose alongside A Ghost Inside, Man Overboard, and Transit at 5 p.m. March 16. Admission is $16.

Senses Fail began by writing and recording music in a basement in 2002. Almost a decade later, the New Jersey quartet is still evolving its sound, but it maintains the heavy screams that helped it gain popularity after its dèbut album, Let It Unfold You. After 2006’s Still Searching, the group showcased its energetic stage presence by performing in the Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos.

The band’s latest album, The Fire was released in October 2010. The new record focuses on anger about family relationships, as well as self-doubt and forgiveness. The 11 tracks focus more on the vocal acoustics of the band rather than guitar-driven songs.

St. Paddy’s Day Massacre

In case St. Paddy’s day wasn’t excuse enough to celebrate, the Yacht Club, 13. S. Linn St., will hold its seventh-annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre on March 17. The music fest is an all-day event beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing to the next morning. Admission is $5.

The bands will start playing at 2 p.m. The lineup includes the Trollies, Nebula Was, Mayflies, Ryan Persinger, White Tornado, Uniphonics, Mad Monks, and 5 in a Hand. Anyone who stays the entire length of the event will be rewarded with an honorary spot on the Yacht Club’s wall of plaques. Oh, and an exclusive T-shirt.

Corey Chisel

Midwestern musician Corey Chisel will perform at 8 p.m. March 18 at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St.

Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Joining the singer/songwriter on the bill will be the Vagabonds and Ernie Hendrickson.

Chisel is touring his début album, Death Won’t Send A Letter, which was produced by the local legend Bo Ramsey. Chisel’s music is deeply influenced such artistsj as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Cat Stevens.

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