I’m thrilled to share this information from my friends at ArtFarm19! I will be there with bells on. Bells and heaven knows what else. Anything is possible.
Dear creative friends and collaborators,
I wanted to let you know about ArtFarm19, a festival of creativity happening near Iowa City this July. ArtFarm19 brings together artists, educators, entrepreneurs, healers, and movement builders, to share creative practices, find renewal and restoration on Scattergood’s rural campus, and participate in the launch of new regional arts programming. The mission of ArtFarm19 is to connect people across differences and harness the power of the arts to build a more JEDI (just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive) world.
Throughout the month, ArtFarm19 will gather together creative folks to participate in a variety of creative activities. Check out the opportunities below and RSVP for one or all of them:
July 4 (RSVP here)– opening potluck to greet the Swarm Artist Residency hive queens who will be curating 75 artists in residence this summer at Scattergood.
July 9 (RSVP) – Art Bazaar to meet the Swarm artists in residence.
July 14 (RSVP) – join The Great Parade in the Muscatine County Fair Parade in West Liberty – we will give you costumes, musical instruments, and puppets to play with as we make a spectacle and recruit more people to the creative force
July 15-17 – join us as we Build-a-Show in three days. The first day will be for designers who want to get inside the making of the show. The second day will be for people who want to be in the show. The third day will be for people who want to see the show we made. RSVP to join us for Day One-Designers, Day Two-Performers, or Day Three-Final Performance!
Attached is a flyer you can share with your networks. Please follow our social media platforms (linked below!) to keep up on all the events as they unfold. You can also fill out our contact form to be added into our events email.
I have very good days and very hard days. Just like you. On the very hard days, I try a number of things to get back in tune. Different things work on different days. Social media never works. Dogs are a pretty reliable win. Poetry has never let me down.
Naomi Shihab Nye wrote this in one of my favorites of her poems: “I want to be famous in the same way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular but because it never forgot what it could do.”
This is me being the very best buttonhole I can be:
I remember this day. It was a terribly sad day for me because it was the last performance of a band I had played with for almost fifteen years.
Here I am happy though because I am useful. I love these three dancers and their joy gives me joy. Dance needs music and music needs dance.
Thank you, Tréa Champagne and the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance for being my buttons.
The international Irish dance community has suffered a tremendous loss in the death of beloved young dance champion Ian Luebbers.
Today is an important day to reflect on the truth that we all belong to each other and what’s most important is how we can love each other best in this world.
Without my buttons, I’m just a hole.
Nothing makes me merrier than celebrating Christmas with Iowa’s finest Irish dancers as fiddler for the Champagne Céilí Band.
Join us on Saturday, December 15 at 2 pm at North Liberty South Slope Community Center.
Tickets are $16 at the door.
Introducing Lucy, my featured musician for July and August!
One of my favorite aspects of producing these featured musician profiles every other month is what I learn about my students and how that new knowledge relates to what I’ve already seen from them in the context of working together each week.
I knew of course that Lucy has been taking lessons since May 2015 because my studio software keeps track of these things for me. When I consider all that Lucy has accomplished in just over three years of study while at the same time establishing a thriving acupuncture, Asian bodywork therapy & Chinese herbs practice, I am overwhelmed with adoration and pride.
Lucy regularly attends and fully participates in various Irish music sessions around town. She has also performed locally many times and a recent successful open mic performance culminated in her being invited to open for a touring folk band. I’m going to pause there and let you take that in. Amazing.
Lucy has listed “collaboration with other musicians to make music that inspires others to move and dance” and that inspires me to fondly remember that Lucy and I first met in a dance class. Her innate love of moving to music comes through so beautifully in her playing.
I also love what Lucy has to say about the rhythm of the seasons, community and the importance of embracing the beginner’s mind. These are all deep values for me as well and are the roots of where I find my purpose as an artist.
Congratulations to Lucy for all she has accomplished, for all she brings to our community, and for her sheer courage, determination, and dedication to playing her important part in our miraculous musical ecosystem.
Tom Stoeffler and I loved playing for the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance‘s Christmas Céili 2017.
Awesome job, dancers! Thanks for including us.
As a proud returning member of the Champagne Ceili Band, I warmly invite you to join us on Saturday, December 16 at 2 pm at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.
Christmas Ceili 2017: Christmas in Killlarney will be an afternoon of dance, music, fun, food and community.
From the Facebook event page:
Watch your favorite Irish dancers perform both traditional and contemporary Irish dance along with some seasonal favorites! Then join in for a jig yourself!
Ceili (social dance)
Tickets sold at the door: $16
3 and younger free (on lap please)
St. Patrick’s Day as it is observed in most American cities is a consumerist sham. Sure, it started in the early 17th century as a religious feast day honoring the death day of St. Patrick in 462 AD, but it has devolved to a level of kitsch that deters many from any desire to observe the day at all.
The arguments against the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day are sound. Patrick, or Maewyn Succat according to some sources, wasn’t even Irish, for one. According to The Confession of Saint Patrick, he was a British teenager who was captured by Irish pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland where he lived for six years before escaping. He later became a cleric and then a bishop who returned to northern and western Ireland to spend the rest of his life evangelizing, ordaining clergy, and organizing a new religious order.
The most famous legend attached to St. Patrick also doesn’t hold up well in the light of modern interpretation. All scientific evidence suggests that the post-glacial island of Ireland never had snakes in the first place so this notion of St. Patrick banishing them can only be a symbolic representation of what he actually did destroy, the Druidry of the native Irish people.
Leaving history aside, there’s also the problems with how St. Patrick’s Day is most commonly celebrated now. Namely, with lots of green beer and t-shirts emblazoned with tasteless stereotypes. Google ‘Irish yoga’ if you’re confused.
That’s the bathwater. Now let me describe the baby.
The music of Ireland, of which I have been both scholar and devotee for more than three decades, is compellingly, heartrendingly beautiful. The same can be said of the dance traditions with the additional observation that Irish dancers are also dedicated and capable athletes. Irish food has never gotten the respect given to other European cuisines but if you’re ever actually had good Irish food, you know as I do how hearty and tasty it can be.
The place to be in eastern Iowa on this coming St. Patrick’s Day (Friday, March 17) is Uptown Bill’s Coffee House in Iowa City beginning at 6 pm. Bring a dish to pass in the potluck and an instrument to join in the open session that follows dinner. Maybe you’ll go on after the festivities and find yourself some green beer. Whatever floats your boat. There’s no wrong way to celebrate but there is more than one way.