'Bitch' to perform at Iowa Women's Music Festival


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She's an electric violinist. She has an alligator. She's not afraid of boundaries.

She's calls herself Bitch.

The musician wanted to "carve out a space in the public arena of a woman who is super-empowered in her body and outspoken" when she chose her stage name.

"It's an active reclaiming to make it an empowered and positive thing for everybody," she said. "The women's music scene has embraced me and my wild, violin electric spirit for many years now."

She will perform a set based on her most recent project, Beach, as a opening act for legendary female musicians Cris Williamson and Ferron at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is $25 in advance, $27.50 at the door.

The three acts are part of the 19th-annual Iowa Women's Music Festival, which supports and promotes the work of female artists from all over the country.

The Iowa Women's Music Festival will begin at noon Saturday in Upper City Park with a set of stage performances. Admission is free.

Laurie Haag, a musician and the founder of the festival, started the event in part as a suggestion from a community member.

"It's important to create spaces that are friendly to women as performers and audience members," she said.

Haag never thought the festival would continue for 19 years, but she is proud that the event has always been free.

Kelly O'Berry, who has volunteered for the event since its first year, is also surprised that the festival has remained free.

"It's kind of amazing that it all happens year after year," she said. "It's laid-back and easy and really is one of my favorite events in Iowa City."

O'Berry, along with spouse Kasia Laskowska, help with the kitchen portion of the event, which will sell hot dogs, brats, lemonade, and baked goods.

In addition to the stage performances during the day, the Iowa Women's Music Festival will host a film screening and a workshop.

Bitch will showcase her film Thunder at 1 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Women's Resource and Action Center. Admission is free.

"It's a surrealist tale that tells some of Ferron's story," she said. "My album Boulder was my take on Ferron's songs, and it was kind of like how I wanted the world to hear her, and this [film] is the way I want them to see her."

After the film, at 3 p.m., musicians Lisa Ferraro and Erika Luckett will present a workshop called "Body Talk."

When Luckett was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May, it came as a shock to the yoga practitioner, because she thought she embodied a close awareness of her body, mind, and spirit.

Luckett considers herself to have had a "pretty dramatic and miraculous healing," and that is something she wants to share with other women.

"We will talk about perceiving the body as a healing ground rather than a battleground," she said. "We will also show the tools to nurture the healthy body, mind, and spirit connection."

In addition to her workshop, Luckett looks forward to performing in Iowa City for the first time.
"I think what is so wonderful about being a part of a women's festival is you get to experience the collaboration," she said. "We look at the individual, but there is a recognition of how everyone is a part of a whole."

Iowa Women's Music Festival
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Upper City Park
Admission: Free

Cris Williamson, Ferron, & Bitch
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington
Admission: $25 in advance or $27.50 at the door

Film Screening and Workshop
When: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Women's Resource and Action Center, 130 N. Madiso
Admission: Free

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