Iowa City Band Joins Writer on Urban Planning Stage "An Evening the Ecopolis" road show takes "regenerative city" vision around Iowa

Iowa City Band Joins Writer on Urban Planning Stage

"An Evening the Ecopolis" road show takes "regenerative city" vision around Iowa 


 

Revamping an original multi-media show blending music and stories, the Iowa City-based Awful Purdies band will join American Book Award-winning author Jeff Biggers on a tour with their show, "An Evening at the Ecopolis," unfurling their vision for a "regenerative city" based on renewable energy, local food, reconnecting our cities to biodiversity and prairie restoration, and laying out strategic urban planning in an age of climate change.  
 

Shows are scheduled for Dubuque on Feb, 22, Iowa City on March 25, and Cedar Falls on April 14th.   Originally staged in Iowa City in the spring of 2014, the "Ecopolis" show (eco-polis meaning eco-city) has also been performed in Cedar Rapids, and at the historic Jane Adams Hull House in Chicago.  
 

In a time when cities in Iowa and across the nation deal with the fallout of extreme weather, drought, flooding and increasing environmental uncertainties, "Ecopolis" is a unique and unabashed musical and storytelling experience that asks cities to consider a new urban agenda as a regenerative city.

 

"Working with the Purdies is a perfect match," says Biggers, the Writer-in-Residence in Sustainability at the University of Iowa. "Their songs are rooted in the land and people, spring from personal stories and challenges, and inspire us with beautiful harmonies and irresistible music grooves." 
 

The Purdies latest album, All Recipes Are Home, emerged from a yearlong project with Sean Lewis of Working Group Theater in Iowa City.  Collecting stories from people and farmers around Iowa, as part of an Iowa Arts Council grant, thethe Purdies' also performed in a musical by the same name.  More info on the Purdies: www.awfulpurdies.com

 

Biggers has written extensively on regenerative city efforts in Iowa and beyond for The New York Times, Huffington Post and Solutions journal. More info on Biggers at: www.jeffbiggers.com 

 

Based on an original story developed by Biggers, "Ecopolis" weaves a futuristic vision of the first "regenerative city" in the heartland, leading the nation in rethinking the ways urban centers outsource their electricity, food, waste and transportation.  (Still today, Iowa imports 86% of its food; and while it leads the nation with 30% wind production, it continues to rely on 60% dirty coal for electricity.) Through a blend of songs and personal narrative stories, "Ecopolis" walks the audience through an Iowa city's response to an historic flood and a dramatic shift toward an urban design that showcases walking, biking and low carbon transport, develops renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal, ramps up a local food economy and zero waste initiatives; the show presents a timely challenge to Iowans to take the lead in restoration, biodiversity, food, inclusionary and just urban designs, energy and transportation initiatives that positively enhance rather than undermine our environment. 
 

After the first show of Ecopolis in 2014, an "Ecopolis" movement was launched in Iowa City and hosted a year of forums and initiatives, including solar energy, pesticide-free campaigns, and local food.  An anthology based on the Ecopolis movement is currently in production at the University of Iowa Press. 

 

Show Details: 
 

Monday, February 22, 6:30pm
University of Dubuque
Blades Chapel

Friday, March 25, 7:30pm
Old Capitol Senate Chamber
Iowa City

Thursday, April 14, 7pm
Octopus College Hill

Cedar Falls

All Recipes Are Home debuts in Decorah

This has been an incredible undertaking. Years of work for Sean Lewis and a year of work for us, with these last months in a vast rehearsal space figuring out how to fit our music (new and old) into a new kind of musical. On April 11th patrons at Luther College's Center for Faith and Life were the first audience to ever see "All Recipes Are Home". The band is seated stage left and upstage of most of the action. The cast sings with us, to us or the audience and sometimes we operate as their inner voice or part of the chorus. At times our music underscores scenes, creating a sonic landscape in which scenes unfold and the story drives forward.  We arrived at these ways the music works in the piece through playing, experimenting, writing, scratching something and trying something new. 

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Amanda Harwood blogging about All Recipes Are home

A couple weeks ago, I visited a Working Group Theatre/Awful Purdies rehearsal for the first time. When I entered their rehearsal space, the old library in Seashore Hall, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Before their run through began, there was a flurry of activity. The Purdies were warming up across from the staging area and the actors were putting on costume pieces and running through dance steps. I found a seat near the band in an out-of-the-way nook. The room eased into a performance without me hardly even noticing.

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All Recipes Are Home - in our own words

We are thankful for all the articles that have been written about our journey to collect farmers stories for All Recipes Are Home, but we thought it was time to write a little something about it from our viewpoint. Our accordion player Katie Roche is a featured writer in Edible Iowa River Valley and she contributed a feature story (turn to page 16  in the link, or read below) summarizing both the project and what we have learned so far.

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All Recipes Are Home now available for preorder

Awful Purdies 3rd album All Recipes Are Home is now available for pre-order with an expected delivery date of April 2015. Click here to order.  The album will either be delivered as a download code or you can have the album sent to in the mail. The album that will be sent will be an envelope of Seed Saver Exchange vegetable seeds with a Maximum Ames Records download card. This album is edible- plant the seeds, eat the produce and give it a listen this spring! Learn more about the All Recipes Are Home project here.

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All Recipes Are Home - in the news!

“A story circle is a simple way to for a group of people to share personal stories,” said Katie Roche, who plays accordion, xylophone, penny whistle, recorder and washboard for the group. She also is the development director for The Englert Theatre and the professional grant writer who wrote the grant from the Iowa Arts Council for the Awful Purdies.

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