Talk of Iowa

Talk of Iowa

From Iowa Public Radio

Talk of Iowa offers a mix of regular guests, newsmakers and interesting Iowans to talk about the arts, culture, humanities and lifestyle of our state.More from Talk of Iowa »

Most Recent Episodes

Iowa's Jazz Scene

This program originally aired November 18, 2015. Jazz is American music. It was born in New Orleans around the turn of the 20 th century, and it continues to evolve. During this edition of Talk of Iowa , Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion about Iowa's jazz scene in the past, present, and future. Music professors Bob Washut (University of Northern Iowa) and John Rapson (University of Iowa) explore the genre's history in the state, Des Moines Big Band bandleader Dave Rezek talks about Iowa's surprisingly vibrant jazz scene, and Susie Miget of the Creative Music Studio in Des Moines explains how jazz musicians learn the art of improvisation. "If you play in concert band or play some solo classical repertoire, that's like giving a speech, because all the notes are planned out, but you do interpret it," says Miget. "When you are improvising it's like hanging out with your friends and having a conversation, and you don't really know where the conversation is going to go."

Make Your Container Garden Thrive

Container gardening is a great alternative to traditional gardening if you are low on space and don't have time for weeding. Potted plants also offer the benefit of being able to better control the soil, which allows for a superior soil type and drainage. Still, it's important to water your potted plants 3-4 times per week as the soil is likely to dry out more quickly. Cindy Haynes, Associate Professor of Horticulture Iowa State University, stresses that it's important to find a balance between the amount of sunlight and water the plant receives, as too much water in a dark space for a long period can have harmful effects. When choosing your plant container, Haynes says that it's a good idea to add water-absorbing crystals to help when watering plants in a hanging basket . Otherwise, any container can be used for a potted plant as long it meets a few essential requirements. "Anything can be a container as long as it's the appropriate size, it has some sort of drainage hole, and it

Fostering Community with Public Art

This program originally aired on October 14, 2015. The act of making art can be powerful on a personal level, but it can also be a powerful force in a community. "Public art is like locally grown food," says Tom Stancliffe, art professor and sculptor at the University of Northern Iowa. "There's value in having the people around you shape the space." On this edition of Talk of Iowa , Charity Nebbe talks with artists and community leaders in Perry, Grinnell, Cedar Falls, and Iowa City. Each is using art to improve the fabric of their communities through projects like murals, yarn bombs, poetry projects, painted benches, and city statues.

DIY Deck Improvement

The summer months are a popular time to make improvements around the house—deck building included. Home improvement specialist Bill McAnally says that regular inspection and repairs are critical to a deck's longevity but are often overlooked by homeowners. McAnally says the best resource for prospective deck builders and current deck owners is the American Wood Council's Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, which can be downloaded from their website. This guide offers tips for inspection when looking for incorrect fasteners and wood rot. "It's roughly a 40-some page manual. If you are going to build a deck, especially now, you would want to follow that. It's also a good guide to go back to look at the deck you have now to see where your deck may be underbuilt." He also says that it's especially important to inspect for damage on older decks because the methods for attaching them to houses have dramatically changed. "When you go out onto a deck, you're standing on it,

Iowa Violinist Combines Old and New

In high school and college, Lisa Dondlinger was seriously involved in music and academics, and at first, she hesitated when asked to participate in the Miss Iowa Pageant in 1998. She did so and won that competition. Later, she says she turned down offers to work as an orchestral violinist and instead moved to L.A. where she became a studio musician. She is included in recordings for many movies, and she has played with musicians like Celine Dion, Paul McCartney, and the band Kiss. In this segment of Talk of Iowa , Charity Nebbe talks with Dondlinger about her ascent in the music industry and her new album, "Movies and the Masters."

You're the Only One I Can Tell: The Language of Female Friendships

The way women communicate with their friends can be subtle but powerful. Georgetown University professor of linguistics Deborah Tannen studies interpersonal relationships and communication patterns between women and the ways in which they differ from those of men. These differences can often be frustrating to those involved. In her recently released book You're the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women's Friendships , Tannen explores the ways that women communicate and how having shared experiences creates a deep, indirect understanding among women. For her latest book, she interviewed over 80 women ranging in age from 9-97. Tannen explains that women find solace in being able to tell someone the details of their lives but that communication difficulties can arise if women have conversational style differences. "Because girls and women tend to talk more, tend to talk about more about personal topics and maybe more frequently as well, we do have more opportunity to say the

Keeping Plants Hydrated in the Summer Heat

Mother Nature can be pretty inconsistent when it comes to watering the yard or garden, but it's not hard to make up the difference. However, some watering techniques yield better results than others. Iowa State Extension Program Specialist Linda Naeve suggests watering plants in the early morning. She says, "5-9 a.m. is probably optimum because the wind isn't blowing much, so you can direct the water where you want it to go. It's cooler, less evaporation, so the water is getting to the point where you want it in the soil. And the plants will probably dry off by midday, so you will have fewer disease problems. We don't like to see a lot of midday watering because it's not going to the directed point. The wind may be blowing, we get a lot of evaporation in midday," says Naeve. She says that the evening is the worst time of day to water plants. "The evening might be my least preferred time for watering. Not only is there wind that that may not direct the sprinkler where it should go, but

Tips for Family Vacations

What's the point of a family vacation? Every family is different, but there are some things people can do to better ensure success. In this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks about how spending time on a vacation together can be healthy and meaningful. Joining the program is Karen Melton, an assistant professor of Child and Family Studies at Baylor University in Texas. Melton says that time with family should be intentional time together, but that doesn't mean every moment must be together. Also joining the program is Barb Dunn-Swanson, human sciences specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She says that involving kids in planning and being open about the goals and intentions of a vacation are very important. We also hear listener stories about their memorable vacations.

Toy Tractors and Codex Collections

Farm toys can be toy tractors, harvesters, plows, and other equipment. Some are meant to be played with, and others—the "precision models"—many people take great care to keep in good shape. During this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe explores what farm toys mean to collectors. Guests include Kate Bossen of Bossen Implement in Lamont; Amanda Schwartz, the manager of the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville; and Chuck Steffens from Sherrill, who makes custom parts to add to the farm toy models. We also hear from collectors that gathered at a recent farm toy auction in Frytown, Iowa including a couple that traveled from Canada to be there. To end this hour, Charity talks about another type of collection: old and rare books. Amy Chen is Special Collections Instruction Librarian at the University of Iowa, and she created a game that helps students understand the value of books and book collections through history. It's called Codex Conquest.

Message in a Bottle: Mississippi River Debris Turned Art Exhibit

Chad Pregracke, president of Living Lands and Waters, a river clean up and educational organization, has a different kind of project that's going on display at the Figge Art Museum this month. For nearly 20 years, he's been traveling along the Mississippi and other rivers around the United States to clean up waste. During that time span, he's collected a lot of things, like bowling pins, bowling balls, claw foot tubs, and a hand full of messages in a bottle. His collection of bottles, along with their notes and maps of where they were found and where they were sent from will be on display at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport this summer. During this Talk of Iowa conversation, he talks with host Charity Nebbe. "These are most of the bottles I've found," he says about the collection. "There are a few missing because I've sank a few boats on accident over the years." "I always pull out the notes and read them. Some of the messages are heavy, some of them aren't. Some of them aren't

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