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Music and literature under one roof

BY ISAAC HAMLET | APRIL 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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Imagine sitting at home, taking refuge in your choice chair. A book, with pages yellowed by the breath of time, rests pleasantly between steady fingers.

Now place yourself in the midst of a euphoric crowd of hundreds as it throbs in wild synchronization. The electric notes of rock 'n' roll soar through the air, overwhelming every other particle of sound.

"Literature and music both are and are not connected," said Joe Tiefenthaler, who is in charge of the literary programming for the Mission Creek Festival. "That union or that split occurs at the points of creation and consumption. We happen to be fans of both and find that often love of one leads to love of the other. From an outsider's standpoint, I find relation and interest in their attempts and successes at telling stories."

On Saturday, Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St., Mission Creek will bring these two pillars of entertainment under a single roof to celebrate the release of Third Man Records' first book, Language Lessons: Vol. I. The event has garnered the presence of authors and songwriters alike; the event begins at 8:30 p.m. with readings held downstairs and the music performance upstairs.
Tiefenthaler said the publication "is meant to dive into the spaces that writing and music meet," which the spearhead of the event, Chet Weise, fully supports.

"The hardbound book features work by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award authors to morticians, librarians, bartenders, and a taco chef," he said. "Along with the book is a double LP of music ranging from blues to free jazz to psychedelic-punk rock to live poetry recitations."

The release of the book was celebrated in February in Seattle, but that doesn't seem to have hindered the talent that the Iowa City celebration was able to attract.

"[Getting the authors and performers to come] wasn't that hard of a sell," said Mission Creek Executive Director and Cofounder Andre Perry. "Come to Iowa City; there will be books and music."

The event will feature readers Weise, Kendra DeColo, Joshua Gillis, Janaka Stucky, Russell Jaffe, and Bill Hillmann. The bands will include Paul Cary and the Small Scarys, Kings of the F**King Sea, and Sam Locke Ward and the Garbage Boys.

"My thinking with the lineup was, 'Who is the most emblematic of the Third Man ethos?' " said Christopher Weirsema, the associate director of music programming and the person responsible for the presence of many of the bands. "I want to highlight the caliber of talent that has been born or raised in Iowa."

Though some might imagine the gap between music and literature nearly impossible to cross, the people behind Language Lesson Vol. I seem to refurbish the bridge without a problem, if there was ever a gap.

"Poetry is a genre of music, just like jazz or hip-hop," Weise said. "In fact, I'm not sure when music and literature split apart. [Though] the relationship certainly isn't as public and tight as it used to be."

Whatever the condition of the relationship, the event promises a night to remember.

"As a hybrid/crossover event between the literature programming and the music programming — there's a lot to buy into here," Tiefenthaler said. "We always say, too, see something you're not entirely familiar with, so even music heads can show up early for the reading element and really get into one of authors, and writers in the audience may completely dig a band on the bill that they may not have heard of. It's a mantra for the week and on Saturday night, it's all smushed into Gabe's."


MUSIC
Third Man Records Presents: Language Lessons: Vol I
When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Gabe's, 330 E. Washington
Admission: $8


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