End of May events

BY DI STAFF | MAY 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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Going to be stuck in Iowa City through May? Don’t worry — there’s plenty going on to keep you occupied. Whether it’s a reading by a Writers’ Workshop alum or an acoustic rock concert, there’s something for everyone.

Former Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Chris Adrian will read at 7 p.m. on May 19 at Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St. Admission is free.

Adrian is an American author who has written a large number of short stories ranging in style from modernist-realism to lyrical allegory. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Florida and an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School. He also attended University of California-San Francisco and Harvard Divinity School.

His novels — Gob’s Grief, The Children’s Hospital, and The Great Night — all focus on the concept of surrealism, in which realistic characters experience fantasy circumstances. In 2008, Adrian published a collection of short stories, A Better Angel. His writing has been featured in The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and The New Yorker. In 2009, he was featured as one of 11 fiction writers to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship.

— by Samantha Gentry

Roger McGuinn, a cofounder of the group the Byrds, will play his folk-style music at 8 p.m. on May 20 at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. Admission ranges from $20 to $30.

McGuinn is a Chicago native who was influenced by folk music early on in his career. After recording with the Byrds, he wanted to pursue his dream of a solo career and ended up producing five solo albums with Columbia Records. He then decided that he wanted to return to his folk roots and began touring as a solo acoustic act. He released the rock album Back From Rio in 1991, which featured his longtime friends Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello, and David Crosby.

After touring to support the new album, he recorded and uploaded an Internet series of traditional folk music on his website. Hollywood Records produced his album Live From Mars. His next album, Treasures from the Folk Den, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 in the category for Best Traditional Folk Album.

— by Samantha Gentry

Secondhand Serenade will play from its new album at 5 p.m. on May 21 at the Blue Moose, 211 Iowa Ave. Admission is $15.

John Vesely, the man behind Secondhand Serenade, has brought audiences through his life’s ups and downs with songs about life, love, and loss. With the release of his third album, Hear Me Now, audiences get a clearer look at a man coming to terms with his shortcomings in life and how he has moved forward.

The songs bring fans through the realization that Vesely has made mistakes along his life’s journey and even though he may not be perfect, he’s not going to beat himself up about it. Instead, he takes pleasure in the joys and riches of life, and his growth as a writer and musician shines through this new album.

— by Samantha Gentry

Spiritual Rez will bring its reggae-horn-funk party music to Iowa City at 9 p.m. on May 20, at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St. Admission is $6.

The six-piece band blends diverse sounds and textures in its music that changes the mind and soul. The group’s deep, subsonic groove and powerful vocalizations makes crowds dance and scream at every concert. Spiritual Rez’s rock, reggae, and funk style shows its love and desire to put on a live performance that lights the inner flame in every fan.

For the past eight years, Spiritual Rez has toured across the country and has been a constant festival favorite. The band is known to shake a stage like a psychedelic-dance earthquake, and each member finds his personal power in every performance.

— by Samantha Gentry

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