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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: Nov. 19, 1999

UI CAMPUS NOTES -- IOWA CENTER FOR THE ARTS

'FROM BEHIND THE MASK' CANCELED AT UI -- "From Behind the Mask," scheduled as a University Theatres Second Stage production Dec. 2-5 in the University of Iowa Theatre Building, has been canceled.

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HARSCH READS NOV. 30 -- Rick Harsch, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, will read from his second novel, "Billy Verite," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30 at the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

"Billy Verite" is the second book of Harsch’s "La Crosse" trilogy, set in Wisconsin. The Boston Phoenix review of the book concludes, "In its fascination with the lingo and struggles of criminals, molls and losers, Harsch’s work flirts with the antiromance of Bukowski, Nelson Algren and a host of other travelers in the dingier districts, but once his characters begin to blossom in all their complexity, the author resembles more closely a Midwestern William Kennedy, whose novels find a similar grim dignity in the Depression-era underclass of Albany, New York."

The San Francisco Chronicle critic wrote, "At once violent and thoughtful, serious and wry, Harsch’s books are set in the city’s underbelly . . . but in ‘Billy Verite’ Harsch has written with a playfulness that makes his dark vision easy to swallow."

Harsch, a former taxi driver in La Crosse, now lives in Oskaloosa. He received the James Michener/Copernicus Award for "Billy Verite." The third installment in the trilogy, "The Sleep of the Aborigines," will be published in the fall of 2000.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series’ web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.

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SHIELDS READS DEC. 1 -- University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate David Shields will read from his new book, "Black Planet," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the UI radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

"Black Planet" is an account of the Seattle SuperSonics’ 1994-95 basketball season, and it focuses on white spectators’ relationship to black athletes.

Robert Lipsyte of "The New York Times" writes, "’Black Planet’ [is] a risky and brilliant book . . . It compares favorably to Frederick Exley’s classic ‘A Fan’s Notes.’ It is an emotional journey into Jock Culture’s heart of darkness . . . Shields [is] willing to write himself naked about the hungers and envies that move across the grandstand like the wave."

Charles Johnson concludes, "In ‘Black Planet,’ David Shields honestly uses himself as a test subject to peel away the layers of personal need, sexual longing, cultural sedimentation, alienation and blatant prejudice that make even a season of the Seattle SuperSonics a disturbing microcosm of America’s 300-year-old Race War. You don’t need to be a sports fan to experience this book as a rare, troubling map of the seldom charted, subterranean regions of the souls of white folks."

David Shields is the author of the novels "Dead Languages" and "Heroes." He has also written a collection of linked stories, "A Handbook for Drowning," and a work of autobiographical nonfiction, "Remote." His stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Vogue, Details, and the Village Voice.

The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a PEN/Revson Foundation fellowship, and a New York foundation for the Arts fellowship, he lives with his wife and daughter in Seattle, where he is a professor of the English department at the University of Washington.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series’ web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.

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HUFFEY READS DEC. 2 -- Rhoda Huffey will read from her first novel, "The Hallelujah Side," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 at the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

UI alumna Sena Naslund, author of "Ahab’s Wife," writes, "Characters burst into reality from ‘The Hallelujah Side’ holding tambourines and ‘Das Kapital’ and tubes of Tangerine Kiss lipstick in their hands. Rhoda Huffey depicts Roxanne Fish’s struggle to grow up in her radically evangelical family with humor and see-through-you insight."

Michelle Latiolais, author of "Even Now," writes, "Rhoda Huffey makes the Assembly of God Church in 1950s Ames, Iowa, seem like the most magical place on earth. Her wisdom and love for her characters glow from every hilarious page."

The daughter of two Pentecostal preachers, Rhoda Huffey lives in Venice Beach, Calif. She is a magazine writer and a tap dancer who teaches and performs extensively. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California at Irvine, and her writing has been published in Ploughshares.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series’ web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.

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LECTURE ON OPERA DEC. 3 -- Charles Dill, associate professor of music at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will speak on "Les Filles de l’Opera" ("The girls of the opera") at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 in Room 1027 of the Voxman Music Building on the UI campus.

The lecture, which is sponsored jointly by the UI Opera Studies Group, the department of French and Italian and the School of Music, will be free and open to the public.

Dill has published articles in scholarly journals, including the Journal of the Royal Musical Association and the Cambridge Opera Journal, and is the author of a book, "Monstrous Opera." He received a doctor’s degree from Princeton University and was a dissertation fellow at the Getty Center for the History of the Arts and Humanities in 1987-88.