Just Living

I have often alluded to the fact that I arrived here in the Portlandia of the Midwest quite by accident more than half my life ago and have stayed largely because I’m too complacent to make any efforts toward settling elsewhere. Come now, that’s not the whole story.

Yes, Iowa City is a place where people have annual spirited arguments about the ethics of knitting for trees, but it is also a place where The University of Iowa‘s establishes a Theme Semester this awesome:

Just Living, the University of Iowa’s Spring 2016 Theme Semester on social justice, will explore values, beliefs, and positioning by examining our past and looking to our future. By understanding ourselves, our relationship to others, and the natural world, we can make intentional choices to connect with others. By choosing to be aware of where we come from and where we are, we will engage more with individuals and our larger community.

One of the Hancher events that is co-sponsored by Just Living is Taylor Mac‘s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music; 1846-1856: Whitman vs. Foster; Songs Popular Near the Breaking Point. I am honored to be providing back-up violin for this event coming up this Saturday, December 5 at 7:30 pm.


I have already tried and failed to explain this but nothing similar exists so my efforts are sadly insufficient. From Taylor Mac’s website:

Taylor Mac (who uses “judy”, lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer.  “A critical darling of the New York scene” (NY Magazine), TimeOut NY has called Mac, “One of the most exciting theater artists of our time” (naming judy a future theater legend).  American Theater Magazine says, “Mac is one of this country’s most heroic and disarmingly funny playwrights”.   The New Yorker says, “One of contemporary theater’s more unforgettable performances.”  The Village Voice named judy the Best Theater Actor in New York (2013) and Best Male Vocalist (2015). The New York Times says of Mac in general, “Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming every one of them”.

About this project specifically:

“Imagine running a marathon in stilettos. While singing your heart out. That’s the kind of mad feat the singular performer Taylor Mac has embarked upon in his magnum opus”
The New York Times

“In short, Mac is a theatre artist through and through—no aspect of the stage is alien to him.”
The New Yorker

“A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is, like many things that spring from the mind of Taylor Mac, an absolute marvel.”

“Within this swirl of pleasure and entertainment, there is also something quite serious at stake, something that we might hazard to call the politics of historical knowledge.”
The Helix Queer Performance Network

I spend a lot of my creative energy tending to my own tiny corner of the world and it’s easy for an introvert to get lost in the pleasure of that but this opportunity makes me remember how lucky I am to live in a town that invests in bringing artists of this caliber to our community.

I would be remiss if I signed off without mentioning that a beautiful Irish tenor banjo has joined my family this week. Oh, the possibilities!

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