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Hancher, Iowa City star in James Franco's 'Saturday Night Live' spelling bee skit
Iowa City Press Citizen - Sunday, December 10, 2017
The new Hancher Auditorium has attracted plenty of attention since it opened last year, but the entertainment venue got a brand-new platform Saturday when it was the (alleged) site of a (supposedly) very uncomfortable scholastic spelling bee on "Saturday Night Live." The live NBC sketch show returned from a commercial break just after 11 p.m. with an establishing shot of Hancher's exterior; an introduction and signage on the set indicated that the second round of an Iowa City school district bee was about to begin, broadcast on a local Iowa Public Radio affiliate, KSUI 91.7 FM.
REVIEW: Straight No Chaser serves up intoxicating blend of holiday spirits in Iowa City
The Gazette - Sunday, December 10, 2017
Straight No Chaser added a most welcome chaser to its Hancher mix Friday night. After an hour of silky smooth a cappella harmonies shaking up pop tunes and standards, the nine vocalists added nearly another hour of holiday favorites, turned upside down and inside out. Vocal mash-ups are the hallmark of this wildly popular ensemble. Formed in 1996, Straight No Chaser rose out of Indiana University obscurity into a YouTube viral sensation in 2007 with its hilarious take on “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — laced with Toto’s “Africa,” half a dozen carols and a little dreidel. That led to a record deal and launched a professional journey that has the group selling out concerts far and wide.
Blanchard, E-Collective roll into Hancher
The Daily Iowan - Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Terence Blanchard, a Grammy-Award winner on trumpet, and his band, the E-Collective, have created a groove-infused R&B album titled Breathless. The musicians will shine at Hancher at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Breathless is a political force to be reckoned with, and it casts a bright light on the social injustices that still occur in the United States. Eric Garner, a resident of Staten Island, New York, was put in a chokehold during an apparent arrest. Garner repeatedly told the police officer, “I can’t breathe,” but those three words were his last. In Garner’s memory, Blanchard and his crew forged Breathless in hope of expanding the view of raw and horrific social injustice. Blanchard also writes music about large incidents that spark but never ignite a flame in the general public. Currently immersed in writing music for his next album, he means to tilt the light on cities in which police shootings have occurred.
The Daily Iowan - Thursday, November 16, 2017
Hailing from Boston, chamber orchestra A Far Cry operates as an “artistic wheel.” While all of the string musicians, also known as “criers,” act as the spokes, each of them take turns working as the axis, with a chance of being the musical director. The unique set of musicians will roll its way to Hancher at 7:30 p.m. today, collaborating with Grammy-winning jazz singer Luciana Souza on the project “The Blue Hour.”
Hancher executive director presented Larry Eckholt Award
Iowa Now - Thursday, November 16, 2017
The Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance presented Hancher Auditorium Executive Director Chuck Swanson with the 2017 Larry Eckholt Award for arts advocacy Nov. 8 at its annual Celebration of the Arts. The award is the ICCA’s highest individual honor, presented annually to a south corridor-area community member. Larry Eckholt was the development director for the Iowa City Public Library at the time of his death at age 56 in 2002. He previously served as the University of Iowa Foundation’s director of development for the Iowa Center for the Arts, where he was responsible for fundraising for all of the UI’s arts programs. He initiated efforts to raise funds for the Iowa Dance Residency program, worked to establish a long-term relationship with the Joffrey Ballet, and served on several cultural organization boards and committees.
UI dance faculty use their art to challenge, inspire students
Iowa Now - Monday, November 6, 2017
There’s an old saying: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. While most people would agree this isn’t true, those who need to be persuaded otherwise need look no further than the University of Iowa’s Dance Gala. The annual tradition returns Nov. 10–11 to the Hancher Auditorium stage for the first time since the 2008 flood. Along with the premiere of an original work created for Dance Gala by award-winning artist Monica Bill Barnes, the works of five members of the UI’s highly acclaimed dance faculty will be brought to life by their students.
The Daily Iowan - Thursday, October 26, 2017
The blue janitorial jumpsuits are subdued underneath a twinge of purple light. Glow-in-the-dark stars are scattered across the back wall as in the bedroom of a child. The set draws a fine line between simple and imaginative. “I have always loved music from colorful storytellers, and I brought that into my band,” Ethan Lipton said. “We have melded various genres together into one particular sound that is rooted in American music. “We are always trying to make sure we are pushing forward and charting new territory.” Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra perform cabaret–lounge-style music, but the lyrics have a satirical element that transcends genre. The group will play at Hancher at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, performing two different sets: “The Outer Space” on Friday and “No Place to Go” on Saturday.
The Daily Iowan - Thursday, October 26, 2017
On Tuesday and Wednesday evening, the New York City Ballet merged fantasy with reality when it performed at Hancher during its MOVES tour, mesmerizing the more than 850 people in the audience. Ballet dancers moved swiftly across stage, their bodies moving fluidly, their dancing graceful and seemingly effortless. The live music and dancing was flawless and in sync , while the lighting and stage scheme enhanced the aesthetics of the performance. Brian Anstedt, the Hancher production manager, said preparing for New York City Ballet’s performance was a long process. Stage workers spent eight hours on Oct. 21 and around 13 hours on Monday setting up the light plot and getting ready for the performance.
Review: New York City Ballet on the move at Hancher
The Gazette - Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Everything was exquisite in New York City Ballet’s Hancher debut Tuesday night, but all eyes were fixed on Iowa City native Miriam Miller’s triumphant return to her hometown. She appeared in the company for “La Stravaganza” in the first half of the 2 1/2-hour program, but truly got to shine in the sensual “After the Rain.” Christopher Wheeldon, whose re-imagined “Nutcracker” previewed at Hancher last year, created a pas de deux — a ballet dance duet — in 2005 with extraordinary, fluid choreography that today fits Miller’s tall frame beautifully, showing the full reach of her liquid, languid arms.
Review: New York City Ballet on the move at Hancher
The Gazette - Sunday, October 22, 2017
Joshua Bell is peerless perfection on violin. His artistry knows no bounds. Friday night’s nearly sold-out crowd at Hancher Auditorium heard Bell and his 300-year-old violin in all their glory, in a magnificent two-hour recital with pianist Alessio Bax. The pair performed three sonatas and three encores, each piece keeping listeners on the edge of their seats, holding their breath as each final note hung suspended in midair before fading into silence, broken only by gasps, thunderous applause and multiple standing ovations. “That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard,” a young woman told her friend as they exited the auditorium.