Mission Creek nourishes IC


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Come Easter evening, posts of praise had collected along the Mission Creek Festival Twitter page.

“I do want to thank you all for throwing such a fantastic week of pure fun,” Molly Walker, a festival-goer, tweeted. “I’m so worn out [I’m] going to need a year to recover.”

Nicole Forsythe shared her succinct thoughts on the weeklong music, literature, film, and art festival that dominated central Iowa City March 31 through Sunday.

“Oh yes,” Forsythe tweeted. “#Iowa is cool.”

Mission Creek Festival wrapped up Sunday night after a full weekend of events. These included a Lit Crawl, craft fair, Innovation Conference, and a host of readings and musical acts.

The evening of April 3 saw performances by Shovels and Rope, Foxygen, Sir Richard Bishop, the Sea and Cake, Ben Miller Band, and Com Truise, attracting crowds from the Englert Theater to the Mill. One of the unique events of the festival, a live film score by psychedelic rock band Sqürl, sold out FilmScene cinema.

Featuring auteur film composer Jim Jarmusch, Sqürl performed live guitar riffs, drum beats, and assorted melodies to several films by silent film era surrealist Emmanuel Radnitzky, better known as Man Ray, in FilmScene’s intimate theater. The films covered everything from a love affair to a strange visit to a French castle.

What a Load of Craft, another quirky event, marked the first time the craft fair has taken place as a part of Mission Creek. Guests shopped local arts vendors, listened to rock band Lipstick Homicide, and partook in a range of cutthroat craft-offs in the Craft Death Match. These included decorating giant eggs with plastic rats and tinsel, painting a portrait of the Lipstick Homicide bandmates, and knitting a blanket with supersized knitting needles and yarn.

“It has always been a super fun event that overlaps in many places with the same people who are making other kinds of art, music, food, and literature in the community and beyond,” said Mission Creek marketing manager Jen Knights.

“Radiolab” co-creator and host Jad Abumrad spoke to a full audience at the Englert on the evening of April 4, recounting his most memorable moments on the WNYC program and what it takes to be an innovator.

“I thought it was a very entertaining mixture of visual entertainment as well as very thought-provoking discussion on the process that we all go through in order to find out what we do well in and how to really achieve our best selves,” said attendee Seren Shank.

Along with a reading by Kiese Laymon, a University of Iowa M.F.A. graduate, and nonfiction writer Eula Biss greeted a packed house at Prairie Lights on April 4. Biss discussed her newest book, On Immunity: An Inoculation, from her research on vaccines to her comparison of Victorian doctors to Count Dracula.

Finally, Mission Creek Festival went out with a bang (and a few full stomachs) Sunday, with two Last Call Brunch Buffets held at the Mill, and a headlining performance by singer/songwriter Father John Misty on the Englert stage Sunday night.

“I’m afraid Father John Misty’s rock might destroy the Englert,” tweeted Doug Ongie.

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