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A L W A Y S

ISSUE 286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020

F R E E

A Sudden Storm The community copes with a new new normal

Willie Fairley

Behind the fight to

A theatrical power

on keeping Cedar

“Save The Mill”

couple returns to

Rapids fed

the “stage”


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VOL. 29 ISSUE 286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 ALWAYS FREE LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM PUBLISHER MATTHEW STEELE Izabela Zaluska / Little Village

DIGITAL DIRECTOR DREW BULMAN ART DIRECTOR JORDAN SELLERGREN MANAGING EDITOR EMMA MCCLATCHEY ARTS EDITOR GENEVIEVE TRAINOR NEWS DIRECTOR PAUL BRENNAN CONTRIBUTING EDITOR ANGELA PINTO VISUAL REPORTER­—VIDEO JASON SMITH STAFF WRITER/EDITOR IZABELA ZALUSKA ENGAGEMENT EDITOR CELINE ROBINS FOOD & DRINK DIRECTOR FRANKIE SCHNECKLOTH STAFF WRITER ANJALI HUYNH DISTRIBUTION BRIAN JOHANNESSEN, DAI GWILLIAM, NORBERT SARSFIELD, NICOLE ELDRIDGE ADVERTISING

20

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Barbecue to the Rescue

Can You Hear Me Now?

Run of The Mill

Willie Ray’s Q Shack sprung to action after the derecho, and went viral for it.

Keeping in touch is tough in a Mexican village where home phones are a luxury.

Two grassroots groups have different strategies for saving an Iowa City institution.

IZABELA ZALUSKA

LEONOR MÁRQUEZ PONCE

MIKE KUHLENBECK

6 - Letters & Interactions 12 - Brock About Town 13 - Cortado 16 - UR Here 20 - Bread & Butter

22 - En Español 28 - The Mill 34 - A-List 38 - Events Calendar 45 - Ad Index

47 - Dear Kiki 49 - Astrology 51 - Local Albums 53 - Local Books 55 - Crossword

ADS@LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM LISTINGS CALENDAR@LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM CONTRIBUTORS CHRISTOPHER B., DANIEL BOSCALJON, AUDREY BROCK, W. ALEX CHOQUEMAMANI, THOMAS DEAN, BLAIR GAUNTT, MIKE KUHLENBECK, JOHN MARTINEK, LEONOR MÁRQUEZ PONCE, MICHAEL ROEDER, SONJA STRATHEARN, TOM TOMORROW, SAM LOCKE WARD SUBMISSIONS EDITOR@LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM DISTRIBUTION REQUESTS DISTRO@LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM CREATIVE SERVICES CREATIVE@LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM CONTACT (319) 855-1474, 623 S DUBUQUE ST, IOWA CITY, IA 52240

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Little Village is an independent, community-supported news and culture publication based in Iowa City. Through journalism, essays and events, we work to improve our community in the Iowa City, Coralville and Cedar Rapids area according to a few core values: environmental sustainability, affordability and access, economic and labor justice, racial justice, gender equity, quality healthcare, quality education and critical culture. Letters to the editor(s) are always welcome. We reserve the right to fact check and edit for length and clarity. Please send letters, comments or corrections to editor@littlevillagemag.com. Little Village is always free; all contents are the licensed work of the contributor and of the publication. If you would like to reprint or collaborate on new content, reach us at lv@littlevillagemag.com. To browse back issues, visit us at 623 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, or online at issuu.com/littlevillage. Blair Gauntt

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LETTERS LV encourages community members, including candidates for office, to submit letters to Editor@LittleVillageMag.com. To be considered for print publication, letters should be under 500 words. Preference is given to letters that have not been published elsewhere.

HOW TO TACKLE A CATASTROPHE • If you experienced the catastrophe firsthand, start drinking water immediately. Your body is going through a post-trauma response and may be in some shock. Begin hydration early. • Purchase batteries, flashlights, lighters, charcoal and lighter fluid (if you have a charcoal grill), propane (if you have a gas grill), candles, ice, Gatorade, beer, Oreos. • Get a full tank of gas. • Tell people you will give them information and updates as you have them—too many questions or repeated questions provokes anxiety and frustration. If you become overwhelmed, ignore your phone and come back to it when you’re ready. Your family and friends don’t know it’s

the fifth time someone’s asked if you have electricity in the last four hours, so don’t react harshly. Just put down your phone and breathe. • Empty what’s left in your coffee pot including the filter with spent grounds. • Gather portable chargers, laptops to charge phones. • Limit conversations to need-to-know to conserve phone battery. • Don’t force yourself to swallow casual slogans like “look on the bright side,” “find the silver lining” or “it could be worse.” These comments often add insult to injury when you’re in the thick of a crisis because it feels like it’s implying your experience is wrong and you are weak for being upset, scared, tired, stressed. Your experience


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of the event is legitimate and valid; let Hallmark print the platitudes. You do you. • Photograph and dispose of refrigerated/ frozen food. • Set out cooler in a cool location away from sun, preferably lowest level. • If you see a large group of people doing the same thing and you don’t quite know why (at a gas station, everyone’s buying ice, huh, that’s weird, maybe a party)—do what everyone else is doing. You buy the ice, too. You’ll discover the reason soon enough and hopefully before it’s too late. • Keep a consistent location to place flashlights, lighters, candles, cooler, work gloves, lawn tools, portable chargers and cords to eliminate time lost looking for things used daily. • Call your people and let them hear your voice even when you’re terrified. In a secondary way, your family and friends experience the devastation through caring about you, so let them help in any way you can see possible. • Find a strainer or small plastic storage basket to drain water from the cooler. Place the strainer inside the cooler’s edge and tilt enough to let the water out. Add fresh ice. • Rotate every other day between outdoor labor/clean-up and inside cleaning/organizing to give your body a rest, recover from the weather and not let one area of the recovery consume you or one area fall to neglect. Everything can take turns and eventually progress will occur.

Keep Iowa City healthy: Cover your face You can spread COVID-19 even if you don't feel sick. Protect others by covering your nose and mouth with a face shield or cloth face covering while in public. We all have a role to play.

icgov.org/coronavirus LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 7


LETTERS & INTERACTIONS • Ask for and accept help. • Heat leftovers on the grill in a glass container. • Make sure all important work, especially showering, is done by sunset. • Check in with neighbors, and let them check on you, but be mindful of when you start to feel crowded or irritated by their constant presence/conversation and honor personal boundaries. • Set up a drying rack or outdoor clothesline pole to dry hand-washed clothing, or call your mom. • If there is a volunteer opportunity, make an effort. When it’s all over, you’ll be glad you reached outside yourself at least once. • Cry when you need to. Pull over if you’re crying while driving. • Be aware of thoughts and try to shift your mindset: “I’m so annoyed to have three bikes in my kitchen” versus “I’m so glad I was able to rescue our three bikes and keep them safe.” • Look for ways to adapt. (My garage became hazardous so any garage item I saved was organized into a shelving unit in my basement. I used an empty shoe box to store things from my fridge that didn’t necessarily require refrigeration. I can’t put my garbage container where it normally goes so I found a new, convenient location to keep it.) Small adjustments can be empowering when working to stabilize your circumstances. • Trust the process. Restoration experts will show up. Volunteer help will arrive. Insurance will apply. Work will get done. Trust that there are structures in place that are meant specifically to accompany you on this journey. You are not alone. • Give yourself a recovery curfew. For example, once it’s 6 p.m., try to enjoy normal activities. Eating, reading, walking, visiting someone, watering a plant, etc. • Pray. —Jenny Wagner

Little Village asked: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your family and/or community in the wake of the storm? Cleaning up the damage and repair of damaged homes (i.e., roofs, siding, windows, etc.). —Anonymous, Coralville (Aug. 12) 8 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286

My wife works in CR and they don’t know when the office will have power again. With no internet at home she also can’t work remotely. That’s the biggest current stumbling block though others in the community have it worse. —Anonymous, Iowa City (Aug. 12)

Misinformation. —Katie, Iowa City (Aug. 14) We struggled to get utility companies to listen to what was going on/what caused our outages. We are still without power and no end in sight. —Anonymous, Iowa City (Aug. 14)


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Uprooted and broken trees from the Aug. 10 derecho in downtown Cedar Rapids’ Greene Square Park. Jason Smith / Little Village

Clean-up and restoring power. We have friends who still don’t have power or phone service. Other friends have significant damage to their property and may be displaced while repairs are made. Keeping people safe in the midst of a pandemic will make everything more difficult. —Ann D., University Heights (Aug. 14)

Relying on power/internet in the home for work, especially with the pandemic--I can’t exactly go hang out in a coffee shop or the library to work online instead. —J., Iowa City (Aug. 15)

Dealing with no power on top of COVID and hot weather; getting the governor to do her job; getting the rest of the country to notice what happened. —Megan K., Iowa City (Aug. 16)

Loss of crops and homes for the second consecutive year. —Erica S., Williamsburg (Aug. 15)

I don’t worry about my family so much as the folks in cheaply built apartments that were destroyed. I don’t LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 9


INTERACTIONS

41,000+

Linn Co. residents without power one week after the storm

65%

of Cedar Rapids’ tree cover lost

7 DAYS until a federal emergency aid request was filed by Governor Kim Reynolds

S T R E S S F R A C T U R E S

2,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters

JOHN

ZERO Neighborhoods visited by the president

MARTINEK

know how much longer we won’t have power, but we still have a roof and beds and windows. —Anonymous, Cedar Rapids (Aug. 17) The biggest challenge was meeting basic needs (showering, eating, etc.) with a long duration of power outage especially since I still had to work. —Anonymous, Coralville (Aug. 17) The financial impact—we are a poor neighborhood to start with, and most folks don’t have money saved up for things like this. —Noel M.,Cedar Rapids (Aug. 17) Reynolds: Bars in Johnson and Linn County must shut down due to COVID-19 spike (Aug. 27) WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This must be super serious for her to actually shut bars down in IC! I’m stunned and elated! I can’t believe I agree with her on something! WOW. —Jamie E.

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How to find us these days ... TO ENCOURAGE CONTINUED SOCIAL DISTANCING Print editions of Little Village will only be available online and in the following locations until further notice:

OUTDOOR RACKS IN IOWA CITY: • Little Village HQ 623 S Dubuque St • Dubuque & Washington NW & SE corners • Clinton & Washington NW corner and inside at the north and east entrances of the Old Capitol Mall • Ped Mall playground • Van Buren & Washington NE Corner • 110 S Linn St • Market & Linn NW Corner

OUTDOOR RACKS IN CEDAR RAPIDS: • 1100 3rd St SE By the entrance to NewBo City Market

• 3rd St SE & 11th Ave SE By Raygun • 120 3rd Ave SW By Dash

ORDER CURBSIDE OR DELIVERY from one of these local restaurants and get a copy delivered free. (While supplies last) • Brewhemia Cedar Rapids • Marco’s Iowa City • Pop’s Iowa City • Trumpet Blossom Iowa City • The Wedge Iowa City • Iowa City Farmer’s Market • with your Chomp order

Little Village was one of four Iowa news outlets recognized for its COVID-19 coverage in the Local Media Association/Facebook Journalism Project’s first round of grants. Help us continue to expand our coverage by making a voluntary cash contribution: LittleVillageMag.com/support.


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First Thursday

Gallery Reception September 3rd @ 6:00 PM

The Parking Lot A Drive-In show by Mirrorbox Theatre

September 18th - 26th 1103 3rd St SE Cedar Rapids (319) 364-1580 www.cspshall.org

WE DO CURBSIDE & CARRYOUT! 1/2 PRICE PIZZAS EVERY SUNDAY ALL 27 TAP BEERS AVAILABLE TO GO! SANCTUARYPUB.COM /ORDER-ONLINE (319) 351-5692 • 405 S GILBERT ST, IOWA CITY

INTERACTIONS Too little too late. Shut down campus and send students home. —Megan R.

Record Collector adapts to the new normal, prepares for three Record Store Days (Aug. 27)

Judge orders Linn County to void 50,000 absentee ballot request forms (Aug. 27)

I have to shout-out Record Collector and Bobby Larson for doing a STELLAR job during this time. I had a really wonderful shopping experience there a few weeks ago. I made a private appointment (seems like now they’re open for more) and appreciated the gloves, sanitizer, and friendliness of the staff. RC has always been

For once my tendency to procrastinate saved me a step. But this is absolute bullshit. —Tiffani G.

BROCK ABOUT TOWN

AU D R E Y B R O C K

It’s that time of the year again. As a long-term resident of Iowa City, the return of our town’s student population fills me with mixed emotions. There’s nostalgia for a time when I, too, was young and hopeful and thought intramural ultimate frisbee sounded fun, and irritation about the fact that the line at Chipotle is now four times longer. Of course, now, there’s also the fear of contagion. Unless you’re living under a coronavirus-proof rock, you’re probably slightly alarmed about the fact that the peaceful streets of our idyllic city are now swarming with 18-to-22-year-olds from all over the country, or indeed maybe even other ones. Youths, prone to hanging out in large groups and hooking up with strangers and taking sips from the wrong can of White Claw, now make up about half of our town’s population. If you’re one of these students, contrary to the tone of everything I just said, I’m not blaming you for this. I understand that you need to get your education. Hopefully, by the time you read this, you’ll be doing so from the safety of your living room, and this whole issue will seem like a distant memory, the way you currently think of Australia burning to the ground. (Yeah, that was like eight months ago.) If you’re back in a western suburb of Chicago right now, count your lucky stars you’re quarantined in a place with good takeout. On the off chance you’re still in class, here are some tips for doing it safely: Work within your budget. Who among us can afford a massive, John Travoltastyle plastic bubble to roll to class in? Not me, that’s for sure. Instead, try wrapping your head with bubble wrap before you go out. Sure, it’ll be a little hard to see the chalkboard and there’s always the chance you might suffocate, but remember: This community’s health is 100 percent down to your personal choices. We all need to make sacrifices. Come up with creative solutions. Essential parts of the college experience, like going to office hours for help with your classwork, are made more complicated by the pandemic. Instead, try tossing rocks at your TA’s hospital room window until they open up and answer your question about the weekly quiz. It’s so much more personal than an email! Maintain your distance from other students. This can be especially difficult for students living on campus, many of whom share a bathroom with about 60 other unwashed miscreants. This little hack will help you stay healthy and give you a little more privacy than the dorm showers. Just go jump in the river! Sure, you smell slightly worse after your bath than you did before it, but adversity builds character, and we’re all in this together. Good luck with midterms!


CORTADO

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ra una tarde del mes de junio y por aquel tiempo yo trabajaba en la cocina de un restaurante de Iowa City. Por entonces todos estábamos cocinando con relativa calma—ellos un steak jugoso, un salmón blando y unos roasted potatoes, y yo una exuberante hamburguesa de 8 oz. Usualmente en la cocina de un restaurante los minutos y las horas transcurren de modo particular, como si esta tuviera su propio reloj, cuya unidad de medida sería la temperatura de cocción de un steak o una hamburguesa (rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, well done), la textura blanda y jugosa de unos champiñones o el color dorado de unos aros de cebolla cubierto por un batido de leche y harina (onion haystack). No obstante esto, todo tiene que servirse rápido a la mesa de los comensales, por lo que no hay mucho tiempo para las reflexiones gastronómicas. Una equivocación, por más ínfima que sea, aquí sí altera el orden del producto («¡¡¡Hey, el BLT lo quieren con la mayonesa al lado!!!», recuerdo que una vez me dijo un mesero, por lo que tuve que rehacer el pedido). Pero con la declaratoria de emergencia por el Covid-19 en Iowa, el ritmo de trabajo cambió radicalmente. En estos tiempos pareciera que el correr de las horas sí coincide con el reloj habitual, en el sentido que todo es más lento que antes, pues no hay mucha clientela en muchos restaurantes. Y en medio de este ambiente de pesadumbre no faltó en mi antiguo trabajo quien atribuyera la responsabilidad de esta situación, además de la pandemia, al movimiento Black Lives Matter, («Primero la pandemia, ahora las protestas»). Tampoco faltó la pregunta provocadora: «¿Y por qué no salen a marchar cuando muere un latino a manos de la policía?». Creo que la baja afluencia de público en los restaurantes no es tan negativa como parece; por el contrario, es una buena medida para evitar la propagación del Covid-19. Además, siempre está disponible la alternativa de comida para llevar. Pero aquella pregunta provocadora iba dirigida hacia mí, pues había compartido con mis aún compañeros de trabajo mi impresión sobre las dos marchas del movimiento Black Lives Matter a las que asistí aquí en Iowa City. Les dije que allí vi a más personas usando mascarillas que en el downtown. También que en toda la jornada de protesta el comportamiento de los manifestantes había sido pacífico, incluso con el medioambiente (había una joven que con mucha paciencia recolectaba los desperdicios de los demás en una caja de cartón, corriendo de un lado a otro lado). Todo este tiempo (más de un mes) la pregunta me ha intrigado. Tanto así que me ha perseguido hasta mi nuevo trabajo. Y la única respuesta que he encontrado es otra pregunta: ¿esa represión policial que mató a George Floyd acaso no afecta también a la población latina que vive en los Estados Unidos? La respuesta es: sí nos afecta. Y, en el supuesto que no nos afectara, la forma (asfixia) y la circunstancia (intervención policial) en la que murió Floyd despierta una indignación que excede cualquier tipo de diferencia –cultural, sexual, religiosa, condición socioeconómica– que pueda haber entre nosotros y los demás. Entonces, he aquí otra razón más para salir a las calles. Las protestas contra el racismo, el machismo, el cambio climático, la discriminación contra grupos minoritarios, por solo citar algunos ejemplos, son una invitación para abandonar nuestro lado individual y en su lugar apostar por el trabajo colectivo, con el único propósito de hacer escuchar nuestras voces ante los que toman las principales decisiones políticas y policiales. Dichas voces son también de algún modo la de George Floyd o la de algún latino, cuyas vidas ya no existen a causa del abuso policial. ––W. Alex Choquemamani

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 13


INTERACTIONS a favorite spot, but this cemented my love for the entire operation. THANK YOU! —Emily R.C. COVID-19: Iowa City ranks high on list of surging U.S. cities as more than 500 UI students report testing positive (Aug. 28) When your incompetent governor and your arrogant university president refuse to address the situation with any kind of meaningful leadership, this is the result. Passing off responsibility for containing the spread of an extremely contagious virus onto the shoulders of 19-23 year old college students is the epitome of recklessness. Reynolds and Harreld were literally the two responsible adults who could have at the very least greatly mitigated the spread of the virus. Instead they chose to do just the bare minimum, maybe less. Yes, the bar owners and managers who allowed overcrowded conditions with no mask usage bear a good portion of the responsibility, but they were also following the lead of the governor who decided through the use of her “metrics” that opening back up with no appreciable direction from Des Moines was the thing to do. This is your mess, Kim Reynolds and Bruce Harreld, it’s time to finally take some responsibility for your lack of leadership. —Dean A.

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University of Iowa cuts swimming and diving programs, men’s gymnastics and tennis, citing COVID-19 losses Blame lies with Gary Barta, Bruce Harreld and Coach Long. These three individuals repeatedly made terrible decisions for over a decade after the new facility was built. The athletes and alumni and those of us who put in hours helping as volunteers for that program deserved better. It’s tragic that other options were not being explored. Irving B. Weber is rolling in his grave right now. —Donald P.S.


MALE IN THE CLOSET YELLINGEDITH

THE IOWA CITY POLICE HER HUSLOG BAND

IS FINE. SHE SAID SHE WOULD CALL

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OUR THANKS TO THE GENEROUS READERS WHO DONATED OVER $7,000 FOR STORM RELIEF IN LINN COUNTY DURING OUR WEEKEND DRIVE: Alex Ackerman Jennifer Bedet Merce Bern-Klug Kenn Bowen Carolyn Buckingham M&D Connell Olivia Croskey Dan & Laurie Cummins Alison Currie Kimberly Datchuk Jovana Davidovic Julia DeSpain Karin Dietsch Deb Dunn Cynthia Eckhoff Kathryn Edel Karen Eldridge Dani Elgas Adrianne Forrestor Leena Fry Lisa Gardinier Kelly Garrett Meggie Gates Abby Good Mary Gravitt Robert Hamilton Holly Hart Sayuri Hemann Deb Hide Amanda Hilger Lydia Hocker Carrie Hough Emma Keeshin Peter Kemble Phil Kerr Casey Kohrt Katherine Kunau Aubrianna Lantrip David Larsen Priya Larson

Lisa Lasch Elisabeth Leach Emily Levins Rhomberg Sara Linski Kaylen Luttenegger David Maier John Martinek Lindsay Mattock Emma McClatchey Julie Meirick Forrest Meyer Sam Mitchell Suzanne Moore Jillian Moore Kerri Morrison Brittany Noethen Mark Nolte Kirstyn O’Connor Phillip Ochs Marc Paltrineri Lori Panther Jana Parrigon Benjamin Partridge Luc Puis Kathleen Renquist Elizabeth Richards Marnie Saeugling Sarah Schaefer Diana Smith Paul Sorenson Angela Street Nasreen Syed Deb V Tim Venable Angela Ward Paul Waterman Dorothy Whiston Joe Whitsitt Laura Winkel Davisson & Son Millwork

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UR Here

Running Out the Clock Yeah, 2020 sucks … but is that idea part of the problem? BY THOMAS DEAN

H

ere’s a wacky idea: Our concept of a “year” is blocking our effectiveness in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. OK, bear with me. One of the most common expressions I’ve seen and heard—on social media and in real-live conversations— is that 2020 sucks. In a lot of ways that of course is true, with suck culprit number-one being COVID-19. But every time something horrible happens—a derecho that has destroyed so much in our own part of the world, fire tornadoes amidst the California wildfires, etc.—a common refrain is, “Man, I thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse.” Of course, none of these calamities—and many more that have made 2020 suck—has absolutely anything to do with an arbitrary division of time. I know for many of us this is shorthand, and many of the 2020 references are jokes (“Who had murder hornets for May?”)—gallows humor can build social solidarity—but I fear we may be inadvertently (or perhaps deliberately?) giving too much agency to the idea of a year. My friends, 2021 will be no better than 2020, and it will likely be worse. If we are harboring an idea, even in the remotest corner

Blair Gauntt / Little Village

of what is causing the problems and our part in them. The cause of our calamities, to various degrees, is us. Quick Google searches will give you plenty of solid evidence that deforestation and loss of wildlife habitat are major

exacerbated by, and likely caused by, a heating world. Unprecedented fires in the Arctic—that’s a no-brainer. And even our recent derecho should give us pause. While I have heard some meteorologists saying climate disruption would be more likely to send derechos northward rather than increasing their intensity, MY FRIENDS, 2021 WILL BE NO BETTER THAN 2020, AND IT WILL LIKELY the historic severity and wide swath of our Aug. 10 BE WORSE. IF WE ARE HARBORING AN IDEA, EVEN IN THE REMOTEST storm gives me pause when CORNER OF OUR MIND, THAT IF WE SOMEHOW “GET THROUGH 2020,” LIFE those same meteorologists WILL GET BETTER, WE’RE CAPITULATING TO A KIND OF NONSENSICAL also say climate disruption causes more frequent and PASSIVITY THAT IN ITSELF IS SURE TO CONTRIBUTE TO A DARKER FUTURE. more intense “weather events.” The recently reported 140 mph maximum of our mind, that if we somehow “get through promoters of human pandemic. When we wind gust in Cedar Rapids already exceeds destroy the wild for our own rapacious con2020,” life will get better, we’re capitulating the standard derecho definition, which tops to a kind of nonsensical passivity that in itself sumption, we bring wild animals in desperout at 130 mph. ately close proximity to humans, increasing is sure to contribute to a darker future. “Year One positive thing that the pandemic has 2020” is doing absolutely nothing to us. What the likelihood of animal-to-human disease shown the world is that slowing down our transmission. There can be little doubt that will get us out of these horrors—or at least constant movement and our voracious conCalifornia’s wildfires—spawning such apocmitigate them, for I’m afraid it’s too late to sumption of resources actually does have alyptic phenomena as fire tornadoes—are eliminate many of them—is acknowledgment positive environmental benefits (as if proof 16 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286


SHARE FACTS ABOUT COVID-19 AND HIV FACT

1

For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. As with other viral respiratory infections, the risk for people with HIV getting very sick is greatest in:

FEVER

• People with a low CD4 cell count • People not on HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy or ART) FACT

2

There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash • Insure that you refill and take all of your medications as prescribed • Stay home as much as possible FACT

3

You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms.

• Fever • Cough • Shortness of breath Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. FACT

4

COUGH

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, care for yourself and help protect other people in your home and community.

• Call ahead before visiting your doctor • Avoid public transportation • Stay home and away from others

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

• Establish a plan for remote clinical care • Try to establish a telemedicine link through your HIV care provider’s online portal • If telemedicine is not available to you, make sure you can communicate with your provider by phone or text

cdc.gov/COVID-19 CS 315446-A 03/16/2020

D1-AT200818_082656


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a blog post by the Long Now Foundation were needed). Air was cleaner and CO2 emissions declined during the early pandemic (which is building a 10,000-year clock), whose purpose is “to provide a counterpoint shutdowns. to today’s accelerating culture and help make The stickier issue is the state of our global long-term thinking more common,” accordeconomy, and the changes to how many of us ing to their website, longnow.org. “We hope conduct our lives. As we go back to our old to foster responsibility in the framework of ways, the fact remains that only a reduction the next 10,000 years.” That’s a key conof our current consumption practices will cept—“responsibility”—and our current calwork to alter the doomsday course of climate endar thinking may interfere with that. catastrophe, let alone increasing numbers of Responsibility is also the concept that pandemics. The turn of a calendar and wishunderlies another great example of longful thinking will do absolutely nothing. At term thinking: the seventh-generation worst, it may even blunt our resolve to enact principle enshrined in the Great Law of the needed change. Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] Confederacy, Recently, I read a Wired article (“Want which emphasizes that decisions we make toto Slow Down Time? Use a Really Slow day need to account for their effects on those Clock,” July 20, 2020), focusing on artist seven generaScott Thrift, tions into the whose projAS WE GO BACK TO OUR OLD WAYS, future. ects challenge So far, our our concepTHE FACT REMAINS THAT ONLY A time concepts tion of time. REDUCTION OF OUR CURRENT have not He has created worked to adCONSUMPTION PRACTICES WILL clocks that dress the climove differWORK TO ALTER THE DOOMSDAY mate catastroently from our COURSE OF CLIMATE CATASTROPHE, phe. Posting current hour/ year-oriented minute/secLET ALONE INCREASING NUMBERS dates such as ond devices, OF PANDEMICS. THE TURN OF A 2030 or 2050 including a CALENDAR AND WISHFUL THINKING as “deadlines” clock in which for change one revolution WILL DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. AT have done encompasses WORST, IT MAY EVEN BLUNT OUR nothing to a year, another RESOLVE TO ENACT NEEDED CHANGE. alter our bethat moves havior. I’m according to not sure such moon phases deadline-oriented thinking has interfered with (i.e., monthly), and a 24-hour clock that has change, but it is certainly an “on-time” rather only one hand (no second and minute hands). than “in-time” phenomenon, and maybe, With these clocks, “the passage of time is given the way we think, it has inadvertently measured with gradual, imperceptible changcaused too many of us to think we can put off es. Impractical? Yes, but that’s also the point. action until later. That’s absolutely not true. ‘We already have timepieces that show us For every action, we should think of the sevhow to be on time,’ Thrift says. ‘These are enth generation. timepieces that show us how to be in time.’” Yeah, 2020 sucks, and we all make jokes I like that idea of being “in time” rather and post memes about it. But, of course, 2020 than “on time.” And if we extend the idea is just a number, not some nefarious force. from clocks to calendars, we might rescue We are victims of nothing less than our own ourselves from thinking that maybe a particshort-term thinking, and we cannot pin hope ular year is “doing something to us.” Thrift on the passage of time to heal our wounds. also says, “Right now we’re living in the If we want “2021,” “2022,” “2023,” etc. to long-term effects of short-term thinking. I be better, we need to be “in time,” enter into don’t think it’s possible really for us to comthe “long now,” and take action for radical monly think long term if the way that we change today. tell time is with a short-term device that just shows the seconds, minutes, and hours. We’re Thomas Dean has not purchased a 2021 precluded to seeing things in the short term.” calendar. I was directed to the Wired article from


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LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 19


BREAD & BUTTER

’Q for a Cause A Cedar Rapids barbecue master plans to keep giving out food “until everyone’s back on their feet.”

W

illie Fairley’s phone has not stopped ringing. Fairley told Little Village he’s gotten calls from “all over the world” letting him know they appreciate the work he’s doing and asking how they can support him. Fairley, owner of Willie Ray’s Q Shack in Cedar Rapids, has been making hundreds of free meals for people impacted by the Aug. 10 derecho. “No one has power, everybody’s cleaning, trying to do the best they could,” Fairley recalled after the storm. “I just got on my bike and started going around letting a few people know, ‘Hey, we got food if you need it.’” Word of mouth and social media posts highlighting Fairley’s generosity quickly spread. In the most desperate days after the derecho, he was giving out more than 400 meals every day. More than two weeks later, Fairley said he’s still distributing around 300 meals a day. “It’s been a journey,” Fairley said. Fairley, who was born and raised in Mississippi, has been in Cedar Rapids for 18 years. Wanting to be his own boss, he launched Willie Ray’s Q Shack in July 2019, utilizing the barbecue expertise he’d honed over the years. “I’m not necessarily sure if I can consider myself a master, but I like to think I am,” Fairley said. His barbecue restaurant, located at 288 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, serves

Courtesy of Willie Ray’s Q Shack

Izabela Zaluska / Little Village

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food through its drive-up and walk-up windows. Various smoked meats and sides are on the menu, along with daily specials. In the backdrop of Cedar Rapids’ derecho disaster is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which Fairley said didn’t impact his business too much, beyond raising the costs of food supplies (prompting him to charge a little more for his brisket). “We made it through, and it’s sad that it’s still here, and then you get a storm on top of it,” Fairley said. “It’s like a double whammy. That shouldn’t have been a lottery that we should have won.” News of Fairley’s food relief efforts led to interviews by local media, as well as CNN. He was featured on the Instagram account GoodNews_ Movemement, which was then shared by Khloe Kardashian on her Instagram Story. Many in the community have also nominated Fairley for Discover’s Eat it Forward program, which is giving $5 million to Black-owned restaurants. A total of 200 restaurants will be selected to receive $25,000. The extra attention isn’t making Fairley feel any different. “I’m still the same,” he said. “I’m just doing what I would do anyways.” Fairley said he plans to give out the free meals for three to four more weeks “until everyone’s back on their feet.” If people are still in need after that, he said he’ll make sure they get food. Meals are distributed at the Blairs Ferry Road location and pick-up typically begins at noon. There are daily updates posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Many have also been supporting Fairley’s efforts by donating to the Venmo account WillieRaysQShack. “I love doing this,” Fairley added. “You see some people come in with tears in their eyes and you put a smile on their face. I’ve just never been in a position to be able to do that for someone, and it’s just such a great feeling on the inside.” —Izabela Zaluska

Courtesy of Christopher B.’s family

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Willie Ray’s Q Shack 319-206-3806, willieraysqshack.com

Christopher is an 11-year-old Cedar Rapids resident who has been volunteering, fundraising and organizing clean-up efforts in the city following the Aug. 10 derecho. When he heard that Willie Ray’s Q Shack, his favorite barbecue restaurant, was feeding families for free, Christopher used his allowance to buy charcoal to donate to the restaurant.

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like going there because they have really good service. It’s the best barbecue ever and they always add extra sauce and bread. I like the smell of the food because the grill just does something to it. Every time we go they give me an extra pop or drumstick. It’s worth buying. It’s five-stars rating, and I want to work there one day because they have good food and they always help people even when they aren’t as busy. I want them to have charcoal so people can eat his food and be happy like it’s a holiday. You know, during a holiday people eat and laugh and are happy. Now people are sad and lost homes, cars, video games. If they eat Willie’s food today then they will be happy. ––Christopher B.

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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village. Rotary telephone by Kornelia und Hartmut Häfele / Wikipedia. Cloud forest by John Leszczynski / Flickr

Felicidad en una imagen borrosa POR LEONOR MÁRQUEZ PONCE

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ara los que hemos dejado nuestros lugares de origen y que ahora vivimos en Estados Unidos, el Otro Lado, el uso de las redes de comunicación es una necesidad—acortamos distancias y seguimos presentes. En mi caso, el mantener una comunicación constante con mi familia ha sido una experiencia complicada. Crecí en una pequeña comunidad en México, llamada Rincón de Piedra Blanca, rodeada de montañas—un bosque de niebla con encinos centenarios. Es una reserva natural que forma parte de la Sierra Gorda de Querétaro. Hoy en día, las señales de telefonía y de internet han penetrado la sierra para convertirse en un privilegio. En el año 2009, cuando vine a Estados Unidos por primera vez pasé dos años sin poder ver a mi familia. En aquel entonces, la tecnología existía, pero no en mi comunidad. Para poder hablar con mi familia era necesario que se trasladaran a otro pueblo en el que había una caseta telefónica. El tener teléfonos fijos en las tiendas era un negocio importante ya que la mayoría de las familias en las comunidades tienen familiares en el Otro Lado. El plan era el siguiente: cada quince días los sábados a las diez de la mañana mi familia viajaba media hora a esperar mi llamada. Muchas veces no logré hablar con ellos, la persona encargada de la caseta me decía, “el clima está feo, los aguaceros no paran, seguramente hoy no vendrán.” Otras veces, la señal de mi llamada se perdía entre los profundos cañones de la sierra. Soy la mayor de siete hermanos y cuando vine al Otro Lado, eran unos niños, cuando regresé dos de ellos eran adolescentes. La voz de mi hermano cambió y, lo noté durante las pocas veces que hablamos. A mi hermana la dejé jugando con sus muñequitas y a mi regreso como dicen era toda una señorita. El tiempo se reflejaba en ellos. En la actualidad, sé lo valioso que es el acceso a la tecnología y poder intercambiar fotos y videos con mi familia. Me siento afortunada el día que puedo hablar con mis padres, y más aún el día que logro conectarme

22 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286

por videollamada. “¡No se escucha!”, “¡te llamo otra vez!”, “¡no te entiendo!” y “¡se congelo el video!” son frases constantes en nuestras conversaciones. Es frustrante, pero soy feliz el día que puedo verlos, sin importar que sea una videollamada borrosa. Me llena de alegría que mi hijo de tres años pueda interactuar con sus abuelitos. “¿Dónde están las borregas? les pregunta, al escuchar el constante balear. También, le gusta ver a los pollitos y a el gallo que persiguió cuando visitamos la última vez. El próximo mes, mi familia planea instalar un teléfono fijo; reconozco que para los estándares de Estados Unidos es algo casi obsoleto, pero en mi casa será un lujó. El otro día me di cuenta de que tenía una llamada perdida de mi hermana en WhatsApp, cuando eso pasa me da coraje y tristeza, porque sé lo difícil que es que es obtener buena señal. Regresé la llamada a los cinco minutos, ya no entró ¡Así de rápido se fue el internet! Más tarde recibí una llamada de un número desconocido, era mi mamá, usaba el teléfono de una vecina. Después, de los típicos saludos y, de preguntar cómo estaba, la llamada se cortó abruptamente. Intenté regresar la llamada, estoy acostumbrada a hacer esto varias veces cada vez que hablo con mi familia. Esta vez la llamada nunca entró. “El número que usted marcó se encuentra fuera de servicio”, decía un mensaje automático. Al siguiente día por la tarde me llegó un mensaje de texto de mi hermana, “Lo siento, ayer se cortó la llamada. ¡Se fue la luz!”

Finding Happiness in a Blurry Image

BY LEONOR MÁRQUEZ PONCE

T

he use of social networks is a necessity for those of us who have left our home countries and now live in the United States, El Otro Lado. Social networks shorten distances and allow people to be present. In my case, maintaining constant communication with my family has been a complicated experience. I grew up in a small village in Mexico called Rincón de Piedra Blanca, surrounded by mountains—a cloud forest with centennial oaks. It is a natural reserve in the Sierra Gorda mountains in the state of Queretaro. Phone signals and internet are now accessible on the mountain range, but remain a privilege. In 2009, when I first came to the United States, I spent two years without seeing my family. Although modern communication technology existed, it hadn’t reached my village. In order to talk to my family, they had to travel to a town to use a phone booth. For village shops, owning a phone booth was an important business since most families in a village have a family member living in El Otro Lado.


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COMMUNIDAD The plan was as follows: Every other Saturday at 10 in the morning my family traveled 30 minutes to wait for my call. There were many times in which I couldn’t talk to them; the owner of the store would say, “The weather is bad; it’s been storming a lot. Your family will not come.” Other times my call would get lost in the depths of the canyons between the mountain range. I am the oldest of seven children, and when I left, my siblings were children; when I returned, two of them were teenagers. My brother’s voice had changed. I noticed it during the few calls we had. I left my sister playing with dolls and when I returned, she had become a señorita. The passing of time was reflected in their faces. Today, I can share pictures and videos with my family. I appreciate the value of technology. I feel fortunate on days when I can have video calls with my parents, even if they aren’t always perfect. “I can’t hear!”, “I will call again!”, “I can’t understand!” and “The video is frozen!” are just a few phrases typical of our conversations. It’s frustrating, but I feel happy when I can see my family, even if it is just a blurry image. Seeing my 3-year-old son interacting with his grandparents fills me with joy. “Where are the sheep?” he asks when he hears bleats in the background. He wants to see the chickens and the rooster that he chased in our last visit. My family is planning to install a home phone next month. Home phones in the United States are becoming almost obsolete; however, for my home it will be a luxury. The other day I noticed a missed call from my sister on WhatsApp. When this happens it disappoints me, because I know how hard it is to get a proper phone signal. I called back five minutes later, but my call never went through. That is how fast the internet cuts off! Later the same day, I received a call from an unknown number. It was my mother, using a neighbor’s home phone. After the typical greetings and asking how she was doing, the call stopped abruptly. I tried to call back; I am used to returning the call several times when talking to my family. This time the call never went through. I received the automatic “Out of Service Message.” The next evening, I received a text message from my sister, “I am sorry, we didn’t mean to hang up yesterday. The power went out!” Leonor Márquez Ponce lives in Iowa City and is a Ph.D. student and a T.A. at the University of Iowa. She enjoys cooking and gardening.


L E F LA

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COMMUNITY

Dreams Deferred The Mill has been saved before, but “the birthplace of the Iowa City music scene” has never faced a challenge like 2020. BY MIKE KUHLENBECK

I

f three months into Iowa’s COVID-19 pandemic there were some locals who still hoped life might return to normal someday, the announcement that The Mill restaurant and music venue was being sold off was likely a wake-up call. The Mill, 120 E Burlington St, was a stomping ground for generations of townies and a destination for visitors. Having set up shop in three different locations and survived a myriad of challenges over the course of nearly six decades, it seemed that if any local business could outlast the pandemic, it’d be the Mill. But on June 18, a Facebook post on the Mill’s page announced it was time for the owners to “step away” and for the restaurant and entertainment venue to close its doors. “We hope that someone else wants to take over the mission to preserve the institution,” the post read. “It’s a cool place and important to a lot of people.” Indeed, hundreds of people, devastated by the news, set to work right away. Two campaigns were formed—Refounders of The Mill and Save The Mill–A Living Landmark— both with different approaches to preserving this piece of Iowa City’s soul. *

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he Mill first opened its doors in 1962 as a coffeehouse and restaurant called The Coffee Mill. Founded by Keith Dempster (a Grinnell native who passed away in 2013), a fire forced the building to move into the former Old Carvutos Restaurant space on Burlington Street. In 1972, it moved to its current location at 120 E Burlington St, between Dubuque and Clinton. This is where the Mill became a bona fide institution. “The Mill has been pretty much my go-to place for food and entertainment since I was a journalism undergrad at the [University of Iowa],” said Todd Kimm, a co-founder of Little Village. “I can’t count the number of great live music shows I’ve

28 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286

Matthew Steele / Little Village

seen there over the years.” Kimm, now a writer and editor based in Louisville, Kentucky, said if there was ever a bronze plaque or monument built to commemorate the Mill, it would have the follow-

“One of my parents had a lot of contacts in the local folk music scene, so we’d stop by there for meals and the occasional early evening show,” Sterling said. “Over the years I could stay later for the occasional punk and

“THE PHOTOS ON THE WALLS ARE JUST A GLIMPSE OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE PLAYED THERE. ITS IMPORTANCE AS A HOME BASE AND INCUBATOR FOR LOCAL, INTERNATIONALLY TREASURED FOLK MUSICIANS LIKE GREG BROWN, DAVE MOORE AND PIETA BROWN IS UNFATHOMABLE.” —TODD KIMM ing words engraved upon it: “The birthplace of the Iowa City music scene.” “The photos on the walls are just a glimpse of all the people who have played there,” he said. “Its importance as a home base and incubator for local, internationally treasured folk musicians like Greg Brown, Dave Moore and Pieta Brown is unfathomable. That’s music-scene heritage up there with Greenwich Village in the 1960s and Athens, Georgia in the ’80s.” David Sterling, 28, works as an office clerk and cashier at City Hall. They have been going to the Mill for the last 18 years.

jazz shows, too. Knowing a lot of these people were friends in my parent’s community was foundational for me. As an activist in my adult years, it’s been a terrific spot for bringing people together; I think the spirit of grassroots music isn’t too different from grassroots organizing.” By June 2003, Keith and his wife Pam Dempster decided to close the Mill due to Keith’s ailing health, also selling their Coralville farm on Dempster Drive. Marty Christensen, 56, is a musician and entrepreneur who played at the Mill in the ’90s and 2000s, performing with bands like


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Dave Zollo, Bo Ramsey, Dennis McMurrin, Catfish Keith and Shame Train, just to name a few. “I got to know the owners Pam and Keith pretty well,” Christensen said, “and I really loved playing that room. It was a really special room for music. When I heard that Keith had decided to close it, I drove down to his place and began to try to convince him to sell it to me. He finally agreed, but I couldn’t tell anyone until he had his last day of business.” *

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n June 19, 2003, the Mill was back in business under the ownership of Christensen and Dan Ouverson. While the venue mostly catered to the traditions of blues and folk music under Dempster’s ownership, Christensen and Ouverson extended their invitation to artists across the creative spectrum, including those with local roots and others from outside the state. “We started with a $60K investment and a five-year lease,” Christensen said. “We never

got a renewal and it was month-to-month for the last 12 years. It was stressful for me most of the time. The owners didn’t make much money, and I was rarely there during business hours, but I hear a lot of people had a really good time. I’m glad they did.” While the pandemic complicated matters, problems had been brewing at the venue long before that. Besides the Mill, Ouverson had opened three other restaurants and Christensen had a full-time job and “a lot of projects going on.” “I really couldn’t spend the time there that I needed to,” Christensen said. “When the bank came down next door it had a huge negative impact on business, and at the same time a large number of new bars and restaurants opened up.” Christensen and Ouverson had already considered selling the Mill in late 2019, even discussing the prospect with potential investors and buyers. Then came the pandemic, which “couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Christensen said, resulting in a full shutdown of the business on May 2. “We tried to do carryout and delivery for

a while, but we weren’t covering labor, and were buried by the rent and other overhead,” Christensen said. “I just didn’t have the stomach for massive debt and starting all over in the hole. I already did that once when I was a lot younger.” Fans of the Mill were shocked to learn the owners were selling the business, and they grieved once again when it was announced on Aug. 23 that they were auctioning off some of the business’s belongings. But the items offered at the auction, which is being conducted by Backes Auctioneers & Realty (based in Raymond, Iowa), are just “common” kitchen and bar equipment such as seating, glassware and dishes, according to Christensen, not the Mill’s more iconic features. “The ‘look and feel’ of the Mill, the PA [power amplifier], and other key parts will go into storage,” he said, “and when the pandemic passes we hope someone will be interested in buying it to open it back up.” *

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LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 29


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hristensen and Ouverson control the LLC that owns the restaurant, and while Christensen said he hopes someone will want to restart the Mill, it’s proven to be a difficult sell. Twelve potential buyers dwindled to one offer too low for them to accept. “That’s a small fraction of the debt we have right now,” Christensen said. “It was beyond insulting. I have no doubt COVID is the reason we didn’t get any serious offers. I also believe that a whole lot more bars, restaurants and venues might close in the next six months. Many of those will be the small and special places with soul. It’s really sad. But when the pandemic really tapers off there will be a lot of opportunity, and in that climate the Mill could happen again.” Members and supporters of the groups Refounders of The Mill and Save The Mill–A Living Landmark are hoping for just that. The Refounders want to move the venue to a more “family-accessible” location near or within the downtown area, and “transform” the business model “into a worker-owned business cooperative, which will facilitate an equal opportunity for all employees to be paid a fair wage while also having a stake in the company’s success.” Sterling is a co-founder and organizer of Refounders of The Mill. Along with creating the initial group, the founders put down capital to help kick off the fundraising and have been managing the group’s social media and building contacts for guidance and direction. “I’d joked with a lot of activist friends about purchasing the Mill before,” Sterling said, “but when news broke about it closing, I knew I had to fire a shot in the dark.” “To me, the core of this undertaking is making sure the culture surrounding the Mill can be preserved as best as possible. Beyond the food, the shows and even the building it’s known most for, the people the Mill caters to are particularly active in the community. Those people include the workers the venue relies on to operate, so I believe they can be best supported in this time by helping them purchase the venue with funding from the community. A workers’ cooperative will allow a democratic say in how the organization is run, while enriching the community’s access to decision-makers and collaboration.” Refounders launched a GoFundMe campaign on July 22 with a goal of raising $50,000 to help reopen the venue in accordance to their vision. Save The Mill was launched on Facebook in July and currently has over 2,700 30 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286

Matthew Steele / Little Village

members. Founded by former Mill server Carrie Meyer, Save The Mill organizers petitioned the building’s owner, Marc Moen, to support the nomination to designate the structure a historical landmark in an application to

Save The Mill administrator Carrie Guenther posted an update on the situation on Aug. 19. According to Guenther, they “reached out to the building owner to work out what options are available for the build-

“TO ME, THE CORE OF THIS UNDERTAKING IS MAKING SURE THE CULTURE SURROUNDING THE MILL CAN BE PRESERVED AS BEST AS POSSIBLE. BEYOND THE FOOD, THE SHOWS AND EVEN THE BUILDING IT’S KNOWN MOST FOR, THE PEOPLE THE MILL CATERS TO ARE PARTICULARLY ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY.” —DAVID STERLING the Historic Preservation Commission. Meyer told KGAN, “It just seemed like it would be a loss to Iowa City for it to disappear.” Along with their efforts to preserve the building as a historic landmark, the group’s administrators are encouraging people to share their photos and stories about the Mill to enlighten and educate others on the important role the establishment has played in the community.

ing and the business, but as nothing solid has been decided or offered, we haven’t had anything definite to share with the group.” The group has also met with Refounders of The Mill organizers “to see what options there are for making both groups’ goals a reality.” “The only thing we can ask for regarding support at this time,” the post continues, “is that you continue sharing photos and events that happened at the Mill, and that we try to


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C

hristensen said he has “deep respect” for what the two Mill preservation groups are trying to do, but added they may be fighting a losing battle. “I personally feel the Mill has no future in that building,” he said. In a sort of eulogy for the Mill shared with Little Village, former Mill employee and longtime Iowa City resident Chris Wiersema lovingly but critically reflected on the internal culture of the business, describing it as messy and ultimately untenable. “In my tenure, the soundpeople were often either angry, purposely inept or drunk—but never all three at once. They were also asked to work 12-hour days which their pay in no way reflected, with electricity that forever audibly haunted the PA, and with condescending bands whose size of talent and size of ego would have been better served switching places. The shows went on, sometimes with people in the audience, a few times with them spilling out the sides and the doors and screaming,” he recalled. “The staff of servers, bartenders and kitchen where all the stunning, lean, bright young things (and Paul, an institution in his own right) that you find in locally owned business: under-paid, overworked, dizzyingly altruistic and tortured (sometimes purposely) by constant rumors of closure. ... They were all consumed by what happened in those four walls with a roof that leaked on to the stage.” Whether they felt the Mill’s closure was surprising or inevitable, everyone Little Village reached out to expressed hope that the venue would survive. “It is a cultural crossroads, mostly musical, that needs to be saved and kept going,” Kimm said. Mike Kuhlenbeck is a journalist based in Des Moines, Iowa.


MASK UP

IOWA CITY We want to go back to the movies soon, but the health and safety of staa is paramount to us, so we remain closed to the public. In the meantime, you can host a private Movie Party with us—you choose the film, you choose the crowd, we provide the big screen experience. Visit ICFILMSCENE.ORG/RENT or email RENTALS @ ICFILMSCENE.ORG for more information. And remember, mask up, wash your hands and keep your distance—the movies and our health depend on it.

THEATER 1 • 16 GUESTS

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THEATER 3 • 10 GUESTS

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LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 33


CULTURE A-List

The Perfect Pair

Cedar Rapids’ on-and-off stage power couple bring in-person theater back to Mirrorbox. BY GENEVIEVE TRAINOR

34 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286

Courtesy of Scot and Marcia Hughes

G

iven the speed with which new theater companies crop up in Eastern Iowa, Scot and Marcia Hughes can perhaps be forgiven for not having shared their talents with absolutely all of them. But the number missing from their resumes is remarkably small. “Since moving here,” Scot said in an email (the couple arrived in Cedar Rapids in 1991), “I’ve performed at Theatre Cedar Rapids, Riverside Theatre, City Circle Theatre Company, Iowa City Community Theatre, RHCR Theatre, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Giving Tree Theatre and Classics at Brucemore, as well as a virtual performance with Old Creamery Theatre Company this past spring.” Marcia’s list is nearly identical: Her Brucemore experience is with the Children’s Summer Theatre rather than the Classics series, and she has yet to add RHCR—but she has one up on Scot, having performed several times with Mirrorbox Theatre. This September, Scot will make his Mirrorbox debut alongside his wife of nearly 32 years in that theater’s (and the Hughes’) first foray back into in-person performance since COVID-19 hit: The Parking Lot, by Adam Szymkowicz. “We were still in the first month of the pandemic when I saw an image on Instagram where a set designer sketched out their idea for a parking lot stage surrounded by cars, and I just knew we had to try anything at our disposal to make theatre in a way that’s safe,” Mirrorbox founder and The Parking Lot director Cavan Hallman said in an email. Mirrorbox has performed work by Szymkowicz before. His The Wooden Heart was part of their renowned Out the Box online series in late May. The theater worked closely with him on that reading, and when he finished up The Parking Lot in mid-July, he reached out “to gauge our interest,” Hallman said. “When Adam shared his script with us, it was apparent that this was the direction we needed to go and that we couldn’t miss an opportunity to present the work of such an acclaimed writer.” The play is written specifically to allow

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: ‘The Parking Lot,’ opens Fri., Sept. 18, CSPS Legion Arts parking lot, 7:30 p.m.,

the cast, crew and audience to remain safe in pandemic times. It’s set in a parking lot, allowing for drive-in viewers (for the Mirrorbox production, taking place in the CSPS Hall parking lot, audiences will tune in over FM radio to listen to the actors, with vehicle windows open no more than 3″). And the characters—a married couple contemplating divorce—are intended to be cast as actors who live together, minimizing risk to the performers. Although Marcia and Scot met through theater (cast as Chelsea and Bill in a production of On Golden Pond in Ottumwa, Iowa), they have “have rarely enjoyed the opportunity to work together on stage,” they said. They’ve only shared the stage/screen four times in Eastern Iowa. “While our children were growing up we generally ‘took turns’ in order to make sure one of us was available for child care needs,” they said. Also, Marcia tends toward musicals (some of her most memorable

$40/vehicle

recent roles include Miss Hannigan in Annie and Sara Jane Moore in Assassins) while Scot leans more toward plays (with favorite roles including Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird and Col. Nathan Jessep in A Few Good Men). It was November 2019 when Marcia last performed before a live audience (Orange Julius, Mirrorbox) and since August 2019 for Scot (The Mousetrap, Giving Tree Theater). Although they’ve been active virtually, those are long stretches for actors who have been performing most of their lives. Scot looks began his career with church Christmas pageants as a child in Selma, Iowa, and Marcia has been acting since childhood as well. “I have always embraced opportunities to connect with an audience from stage,” she said. The Parking Lot offers the perfect opportunity for the couple to make their return, albeit


Thank You

LittleVillageMag.com

with significant differences. Since they’re already in each other’s “bubble,” they’re able to rehearse and perform together unmasked while in-scene. But offstage, all cast and crew will maintain a strict 6-foot distance and wear personal protective equipment (provided by the theater). Before each rehearsal and performance, there will be temperature checks (anyone over 100.4 degrees will be sent home) and all props and contact surfaces will be disinfected. Prior to starting in-person rehearsals, though, preparation for the show was rather routine for Scot and Marcia. “Living together makes it safer for actors to do a show in this time of COVID-19 but we’re each maintaining our usual routines for line work and preparation,” Marcia said. Scot added, “I have been trying to do the bulk of my memorization work on my own. That’s the way I typically have done it; I didn’t see a reason to change that method just because I live with the other performer in the show.” Of course, in a struggle shared by many in the community, they were thwarted even in those gestures toward normalcy by the August derecho that savaged Cedar Rapids, having to manage the stress of 10 days without power or internet and with downed trees in their yard. Even in the effort to return to what’s recognizable, though, there is a gesturing toward the future. Things that are happening in theater now are not merely placeholders, but will need to be incorporated into the new normal going forward. “I don’t believe that we will again be able to experience the energy of a crowded theatre or concert hall on opening night until a proven vaccine has been widely administered,” Marcia said. “But artists and audiences will always find a way to come together because we have to feed our souls with art! And during this time when it hasn’t been safe to be closely together physically, we’ve found new ways to make and present art.” “Many companies are looking for creative solutions to make art, even if it isn’t quite theater as we know it, during the pandemic,” Hallman said. “And while nothing can or should replace live in-person performance, there are some wonderful benefits to presenting work in new ways, namely accessibility.” He also pointed to a passion for new work that has been solidified in the community. “It really seemed at the beginning of the pandemic there was a huge amount

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CULTURE

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of enthusiasm for the opportunity to watch archived productions from big institutions like the National Theatre. But the programs that have maintained momentum are the ones that are focusing on new work.” Hallman Courtesy of Scot and Marcia Hughes hopes that those silver linings become new hallmarks of theater. “People need art,” Scot said. “They need that emotional outlet, that experience of seeing other people’s lives and experiences and struggles and triumphs played out in front of them. Not to mention music! People need songs and singing and music as part of performance art—we can’t go on as humanity without that in some way, shape or form. It just can’t happen.” Marcia agreed. “Continuing to support the arts now—both organizations and the individuals—is critical,” she said. Genevieve Trainor, arts editor at Little Village, is excited about the future of theater. “Yesterday was plain awful, but that’s not now, that’s then.”

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15 South Dubuque St., Iowa City, Iowa • 319-337-2681 www.prairielights.com 36 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286


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EDITORS’ PICKS PRESENTED BY WORLD OF BIKES

CALENDAR SEPT. 2-OCT. 6, 2020

Planning an event? Submit event info to calendar@littlevillagemag.com. Include event name, date, time, venue, street address, admission price and a brief description (no all-caps, exclamation points or advertising verbiage, please). To find more events, visit littlevillagemag.com/ calendar. Please check venue listing in case details have changed.

NOTE! We are listing only ONLINE and OUTDOOR events in this calendar at the moment. “Locations” listed for online events reference the presenting institution. Please visit our online calendar for links, or check the organizations’ websites and Facebook pages.

Wed., Sept. 2 Virtual 1 Million Cups Iowa City: Startup Space, 1 Million Cups Iowa City (@1MillionCupsIC), 9 a.m., Free Grand Larson-y: The Short Plays of Duane Larson, Night Four, Our Virtual Stage (@Our-VirtualStage-103214031478421), 7 p.m., Free Critical Conversations, Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success (@theacademysps), 7 p.m., Free Internet Watch Party: ‘Future Justice,’ Late Shift at the Grindhouse (@ICgrindhouse), 10 p.m., Free

Thu., Sept. 3 No Touching Sessions // Doc Miller + Vanek/ Yager, Threshold Apprehension Sound (@Threshold. Apprehension.Sound, thresholdappsound.com), 8 p.m., Free

Fri., Sept. 4 Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@ BackyardAbundance), 10:30 a.m., Free Online! Friday Night Concert Series: Brass Tower, Summer of the Arts (@summeroftheARTS), 7 p.m., Free


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EDITORS’ PICKS Out the Box Weekly Reading Series:

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

Fri., Sept. 11

‘The Violet Sisters,’ Mirrorbox Theatre (@

BackyardAbundance), 4:30 p.m., Free

‘Buyer & Cellar,’ Riverside Theatre (riversidetheatre.

MirrorboxTheatre), 8 p.m., Free (registration required)

org), 7:30 p.m., $10-15 (available to view through Sept.

Sat., Sept. 5

If Not a Luxury: A Workshop in Poetry & Vision

Africana Hemispheric Performance, Actions,

com), 6 p.m., $75/series

20)

(three-week class), Iowa City Poetry (iowacitypoetry.

Socially Public Participations, Rituals, and

Online! Friday Night Concert Series: Dave Zollo, Summer of the Arts (@summeroftheARTS), 7 p.m., Free

Ceremonies, Center for Afrofuturist Studies (@

LITtalks: W. Joseph Campbell on ‘Lost in

afrofuturiststudies), 5 p.m., Free

a Gallup,’ Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature

Out the Box Weekly Reading Series, Mirrorbox

Sun., Sept. 6

(iowacityofliterature.org), 7 p.m., Free

Theatre (@MirrorboxTheatre), 8 p.m., Free (registration

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

Step Afrika! Virtual Premiere: Stono, Hancher

BackyardAbundance), 3 p.m., Free

(hancher.uiowa.edu), 7 p.m., Free (reservations

Sat., Sept. 12

recommended)

Saturdays at the Stanley: “Follow Her

required)

Lead” Exhibition Talk, Stanley Museum of Art

Crumbs, Crumbs w/ RyJo & BriJo (@crumbstheshow), 4 p.m. ‘Milliken’s Bend’ w/ the Riverbottom Ramblers, Middle Amana Community Park, 6:30 p.m., Free

Critical Conversations, Academy for Scholastic and

(stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu), 2 p.m., Free

Personal Success (@theacademysps), 7 p.m., Free

Sun., Sept. 13

Thu., Sept. 10

Crumbs, Crumbs w/ RyJo & BriJo (@crumbstheshow),

Wed., Sept. 9

No Touching Sessions // Dog Dave, Threshold

4 p.m.

Apprehension Sound (@Threshold.Apprehension.

Virtual 1 Million Cups Iowa City: Omni Digital

Sound, thresholdappsound.com), 8 p.m., Free

Wed., Sept. 16

Group, 1 Million Cups Iowa City (@1MillionCupsIC),

Virtual 1 Million Cups Iowa City: (TBD), 1 Million

9 a.m., Free

Cups Iowa City (@1MillionCupsIC), 9 a.m., Free

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CALENDAR.LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM Chat from the Old Cap—Stanley Museum

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: The Parking Lot,

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: The Parking Lot,

Edition, Stanley Museum of Art (stanleymuseum.

CSPS Legion Arts Hall Parking Lot, Cedar Rapids, 7:30

CSPS Legion Arts Hall Parking Lot, Cedar Rapids, 7:30

uiowa.edu), 3:30 p.m., Free

p.m., $40/vehicle

p.m., $40/vehicle

If Not a Luxury: A Workshop in Poetry & Vision

Sat., Sept. 19

Wed., Sept. 23

(three-week class), Iowa City Poetry (iowacitypoetry.

PS1 Autumnal Equinox 24 Hour Art-a-thon

Virtual 1 Million Cups Iowa City: (TBD), 1 Million

com), 6 p.m., $75/series

Fundraiser, Public Space One (publicspaceone.com),

Cups Iowa City (@1MillionCupsIC), 9 a.m., Free

12 p.m. Critical Conversations, Academy for Scholastic and

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

Personal Success (@theacademysps), 7 p.m., Free

Immigrant Foodways: Svíčková na Smetaně,

Thu., Sept. 17

National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library (ncsml.org), 2:30 p.m., $20-115 (registration

If Not a Luxury: A Workshop in Poetry & Vision

No Touching Sessions // Alec Lang, Threshold

required)

(three-week class), Iowa City Poetry (iowacitypoetry.

BackyardAbundance), 4:30 p.m., Free

com), 6 p.m., $75/series

Apprehension Sound (@Threshold.Apprehension. Sound, thresholdappsound.com), 8 p.m., Free

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: The Parking Lot,

Fri., Sept. 18

CSPS Legion Arts Hall Parking Lot, Cedar Rapids, 7:30

Critical Conversations, Academy for Scholastic and

p.m., $40/vehicle

Personal Success (@theacademysps), 7 p.m., Free

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

Sun., Sept. 20

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: The Parking Lot,

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

CSPS Legion Arts Hall Parking Lot, Cedar Rapids, 7:30

BackyardAbundance), 3 p.m., Free

p.m., $40/vehicle

Crumbs, Crumbs w/ RyJo & BriJo (@crumbstheshow),

Thu., Sept. 24

4 p.m.

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: The Parking Lot,

BackyardAbundance), 10:30 a.m., Free smART talks: “Welcome to Afro City” with Donté Hayes, Stanley Museum of Art (stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu), 11 a.m., Free

CSPS Legion Arts Hall Parking Lot, Cedar Rapids, 7:30 p.m., $40/vehicle

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 41


EDITORS’ PICKS No Touching Sessions // Sean Tyler, Threshold

Wed., Sept. 30

Songs for a New World—A Virtual Concert, City

Apprehension Sound (@Threshold.Apprehension.

Virtual 1 Million Cups Iowa City: Espresso

Circle (coralvillearts.org), 7:30 p.m., $10-20

Sound, thresholdappsound.com), 8 p.m., Free

Week!, 1 Million Cups Iowa City (@1MillionCupsIC), 9

Fri., Sept. 25

a.m., Free

Dear Broadway... A Love Letter in Concert,

Immigrant Foodways: Buchty, National Czech and

required)

Theatre Cedar Rapids (theatrecr.org), 7:30 p.m., $25

Slovak Museum and Library (ncsml.org), 6 p.m., $20-

Sat., Sept. 26

115 (registration required)

Sat., Oct. 3

Stanley Creates: Elizabeth Catlett-

Critical Conversations, Academy for Scholastic &

Better,’ Theatre Cedar Rapids (theatrecr.org/), 7:30

inspired monoprinting, Stanley Museum of Art

Personal Success (@theacademysps), 7 p.m., Free

p.m., $25

(stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu), 2 p.m., Free

Thu., Oct. 1

Songs for a New World—A Virtual Concert, City

Dear Broadway... A Love Letter in Concert,

Walking the Wire: In Media Res, Riverside Theatre

Circle (coralvillearts.org), 7:30 p.m., $10-20

Theatre Cedar Rapids (theatrecr.org), 7:30 p.m., $25

(riversidetheatre.org/walkingthewire), 9 a.m. (weekdays

Out the Box Weekly Reading Series, Mirrorbox Theatre (@MirrorboxTheatre), 8 p.m., Free (registration

World Premiere: Megan Gogerty’s ‘Feel

through Oct. 30)

Sun., Oct. 4

CSPS Legion Arts Hall Parking Lot, Cedar Rapids,

No Touching Sessions // TBD, Threshold

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

7:30 p.m., $40/vehicle

Apprehension Sound (@Threshold.Apprehension.Sound,

BackyardAbundance), 3 p.m., Free

Sun., Sept. 27

thresholdappsound.com), 8 p.m., Free

Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: The Parking Lot,

Crumbs, Crumbs w/ RyJo & BriJo (@crumbstheshow),

Crumbs, Crumbs w/ RyJo & BriJo (@crumbstheshow),

Fri., Oct. 2

4 p.m.

Garden Guru, Backyard Abundance (@

4 p.m.

BackyardAbundance), 10:30 a.m., Free Scenes on Sundays—‘Blood Dries Brown,’ Oneoff Theatrical Productions (@oneoffqc), 6:30 p.m.,

World Premiere: Megan Gogerty’s ‘Feel Better,’

Free

Theatre Cedar Rapids (theatrecr.org/), 7:30 p.m., $25

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DEAR KIKI

D

ear Kiki, I’m protective of my alone time for a host of reasons and have gotten backlash for this in my blended family. My S.O.’s kids will regularly be dropped off at our house earlier than they’re picked up to be with their other parent. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme, but it can add up to a point where I feel disrespected and taken advantage of. I’ve found that if I don’t establish boundaries, I get walked on, and if I do, I’m considered hostile. Really, I’m just protective over time I’d established in my calendar as “mine.” What’s the right stance here when flexibility leads to being taken advantage of and clear boundaries make me a witch? I want to express that for the most part, everyone involved is reasonable, but I don’t think anyone really understands why this time might be important to me. —Boundary Witch

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LittleVillageMag.com/DearKiki

necessary to the goal of protecting your time. For that, you really do just need to set those boundaries. In order to convince yourself to set firm boundaries, especially if you’re a person who’s a “pleaser” or who just isn’t comfortable being seen as “a witch,” you need to remember that those boundaries don’t just benefit you, they benefit everyone. If a line is not clear, no one can know when it is crossed, and hostilities can blossom out of control. We all feel that brief glow of freedom when it seems like there is nothing governing our actions—but it quickly evolves into anxiety when we realize that consequences still exist, we just can’t predict them. The key to trust begins with expectations that circumscribe our relationships with clarity. And it should go without saying that, in establishing these boundaries for yourself, you are setting a valuable example for all of

WE ALL FEEL THAT BRIEF GLOW OF FREEDOM WHEN IT SEEMS LIKE THERE IS NOTHING GOVERNING OUR ACTIONS—BUT IT QUICKLY EVOLVES INTO ANXIETY WHEN WE REALIZE THAT CONSEQUENCES STILL EXIST, WE JUST CAN’T PREDICT THEM.

Dear Boundary Witch, There’s no doubt that setting firm boundaries will get you in trouble with those who don’t want to respect them. So if your main concern is not rocking the boat, then I’m afraid to say you’re out of luck. It’s a beautiful and healthy thing that you are aware of your needs. That’s the first step toward success. The next step is defending them, and that’s not so easy. You’re very gracious to say that “everyone involved is reasonable.” But I’m not certain you’re correct. Respect doesn’t require understanding—if they were reasonable people who truly respected you, then it wouldn’t be necessary for them to understand why you value your time. They would simply trust your judgment. If you want to have a conversation with all parties about this, that might be a place to start: “You have shown that you do not trust my judgment on which aspects of our agreement are important.” However, that’s a relationship-building thing. It would be a gracious gesture on your part and would likely strengthen communication with your S.O.’s co-parent. But it’s not

the children in the scenario. Remember that clear boundaries don’t preclude flexibility—they allow for it. A tree can only bend in the wind if its roots are firm. Once a pattern is established, you can consider deviations on a case-by-case basis. But until your blended family acknowledges your rules, they have no right asking you to break them. xoxo, Kiki

KIKI WANTS QUESTIONS! Questions about love and sex in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area can be submitted to dearkiki@littlevillagemag.com, or anonymously at littlevillagemag.com/ dearkiki. Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online at littlevillagemag.com. LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 47


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Magic the Gathering. Video Games. Warhammer. Warmachine. RPGs. Board Games. X-Wing. Dice. LotR. HeroClix. Miniatures. GoT. Blood Bowl. L5R. Pokemon. Yu-Gi-Oh. Kidrobot Vinyl. Retro toys. Pop vinyl & plushies. Gaming & collectible supplies. Huge Magic singles inventory plus we buy/trade MtG cards. Weekly drafts, FNM, league play, and frequent tourneys. Now buying/selling/trading video games & toys! Bring in your Nintendo Gameboy, NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Sega, WiiU, Xbox 360, PS1-2-3, & other used games, consoles, action figures, and toys for cash or trade credit! Fun atmosphere and great customer service!

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48 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286

115 S. Linn Street (by the Public Library), Iowa City Tel: 319-333-1260; Email: chg@criticalhitgames.net www.criticalhitgames.net @criticalhitgamesiowacity


ASTROLOGY

BY ROB BREZSNEY

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Like any art, the creation of self is both natural and seemingly impossible,” says singer-songwriter Holly Near. “It requires training as well as magic.” How are you doing on that score, Virgo? Now is a favorable time to intensify your long-term art project of creating the healthiest, smartest version of yourself. I think it will feel quite natural and not-atall impossible. In the coming weeks, you’ll have a finely tuned intuitive sense of how to proceed with flair. Start by imagining the Most Beautiful You. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I propose we resurrect the old English word “museful.” First used in the 17th century but then forgotten, it meant “deeply thoughtful; pensive.” In our newly coined use, it refers to a condition wherein a person is abundantly inspired by the presence of the muse. I further suggest that we invoke this term to apply to you Libras in the coming weeks. You potentially have a high likelihood of intense communion with your muses. There’s also a good chance you’ll engage with a new muse or two. What will you do with all of this illumination and stimulation? SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Each of us has a “soul’s code”: a metaphorical blueprint of the beautiful person we could become by fulfilling our destiny. If our soul’s code remains largely dormant, it will agitate and disorient us. If, on the other hand, we perfectly actualize our soul’s code, we will feel at home in the world; all our experiences will feel meaningful. The practical fact is that most of us have made some progress in manifesting our soul’s code, but still have a way to go before we fully actualize it. Here’s the good news: You Scorpios are in a phase of your cycle when you could make dramatic advances in this glorious work. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Life is the only game in which the object of the game is to learn the rules,” observes Sagittarian author Ashleigh Brilliant. According to my research, you have made excellent progress in this quest during the last few weeks—and will continue your good work in the next six weeks. Give yourself an award! Buy yourself a trophy! You have discovered at least two rules that were previously unknown to you, and you have also ripened your understanding of another rule that had previously been barely comprehensible. Be alert for more breakthroughs. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “If you’re not lost, you’re not much of an explorer,” said rambunctious activist and author John Perry Barlow. Adding to his formulation, I’ll say that if you want to be a successful explorer, it’s crucial to get lost on some occasions. And according to my analysis, now is just such a time for you Capricorns. The new territory you have been brave enough to reconnoiter should be richly unfamiliar. The possibilities you have been daring enough to consider should be provocatively unpredictable. Keep going, my dear! That’s the best way to become un-lost. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “Dreams really tell you about yourself more than anything else in this world could ever tell you,” said psychic Sylvia Browne. She was referring to the mysterious stories that unfold in our minds as we sleep. I agree with her assessment of dreams’ power to show us who we really are all the way down to the core of our souls. What Browne didn’t mention, however, is that it takes knowledge and training to become proficient in deciphering dreams’ revelations. Their mode of communication is unique—and unlike every other source of teaching. I bring this up, Aquarius, because the coming months will be a favorable time for you to become more skilled in understanding your dreams. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In June 1876, warriors from three American Indian tribes defeated U.S. troops led by General George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana. It was an iconic victory in what was ultimately a losing battle to prevent conquest by the ever-expanding American empire. One of the tribes that fought that day was the Northern Cheyenne. Out

of fear of punishment by the U.S. government, its leaders waited 130 years to tell its side of the story about what happened. New evidence emerged then, such as the fact that the only woman warrior in the fight, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, killed Custer. I offer this tale as an inspiration for you Pisceans to tell your story about events that you’ve kept silent about for too long. ARIES (March 21-April 19): “A new idea is rarely born like Venus attended by graces. More commonly it’s modeled of baling wire and acne. More commonly it wheezes and tips over.” Those words were written by Aries author Marge Piercy, who has been a fount of good new ideas in the course of her career. I regard her as an expert in generating wheezy, fragile breakthroughs and ultimately turning them into shiny, solid beacons of revelation. Your assignment in the coming weeks, Aries, is to do as Piercy has done so well. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Every day I discover even more beautiful things,” said painter Claude Monet. “It is intoxicating me, and I want to paint it all. My head is bursting.” That might seem like an extreme state to many of us. But Monet was a specialist in the art of seeing. He trained himself to be alert for exquisite sights. So his receptivity to the constant flow of loveliness came naturally to him. I bring this to your attention, Taurus, because I think that in the coming weeks, you could rise closer to a Monet-like level of sensitivity to beauty. Would that be interesting to you? If so, unleash yourself! Make it a priority to look for charm, elegance, grace, delight and dazzlement. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Author Renata Adler describes a time in her life when she began to notice blue triangles on her feet. She was wracked with fear that they were a symptom of leukemia. But after a period of intense anxiety, she realized one fine day that they had a different cause. She writes: “Whenever I, walking barefoot, put out the garbage on the landing, I held the apartment door open, bending over from the rear. The door would cross a bit over the tops of my feet”—leaving triangular bruises. Upon realizing this very good news, she says, “I took a celebrational nap.” From what I can tell, Gemini, you’re due for a series of celebrational naps—both because of worries that turn out to be unfounded and because you need a concentrated period of recharging your energy reserves. CANCER (June 21-July 22): “I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak,” proclaimed Cancerian author Lillian Hellman. I feel the same way. So often people have nothing interesting or important to say, but say it anyway. I’ve done that myself! The uninteresting and unimportant words I have uttered are too numerous to count. The good news for me and all of my fellow Cancerians is that in the coming weeks we are far more likely than usual to not speak until we are ready to speak. According to my analysis of the astrological potentials, we are poised to express ourselves with clarity, authenticity and maximum impact. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Of all the mournful impacts the pandemic has had, one of the most devastating is that it has diminished our opportunities to touch and be touched by other humans. Many of us are starved of the routine, regular contact we had previously taken for granted. I look forward to the time when we can again feel uninhibited about shaking hands, hugging and patting friends on the arm or shoulder. In the meantime, how can you cope? This issue is extra crucial for you Leos to meditate on right now. Can you massage yourself? Seek extra tactile contact with animals? Hug trees? Figure out how to physically connect with people while wearing hazmat suits, gloves, masks and face shields? What else? LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 49


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LOCAL ALBUMS

Vanek/Yager Ghost Actions WILLYAGER.BANDCAMP.COM

No Touching Sessions // Doc Miller + Vanek/Yager, Thu., Sept. 3, Threshold Apprehension Sound (@Threshold. Apprehension.Sound, thresholdappsound.com), 8 p.m., Free

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hat can you do during quarantine, when nothing you read or hear seems to suit the mood that hovers around the margins of panic? Something like this. What happens when ASMR stops working, and you need to give a voice to the strange background anxiety that bubbles from the margins of the newspaper, once patriots stop screaming about freedoms and accept that they’re terrified? Something like this. What happens when you want to hear the silence revealed in the skies after the storm: Something like this. Released before the derecho, Ghost Actions almost presciently provides a glimpse of the beauty available in a maelstrom, despite the devastation. Just as the torn trees tossed in Cedar Rapids streets retained an almost sculpted look in the cracked limbs and uprooted ground, so also do the textures within the four track album. “Ichor,” the first track, announces itself as an almost jazzbased improv, with Yager’s bass skills foregrounded in ways both bowed and plucked. Vanek’s bassoon hovers above these lower notes, accentuating them from a register inadequately featured. “Crowhound” provides the

Submit albums for review: Little Village, 623 S Dubuque St., IC, IA 52240

descent into chaos: Yager plugs in and relishes the feedback, augmented (one presumes) by Vanek’s prowess at sonic manipulation at an electronic level. The song slowly silences from its introductory storm, descending into a slighter sonic texture, inviting listeners toward nuance. Once “Shadow Work” arrives, the first songs—good on their own—suddenly seem like appetizers to the main course. The song provides slight sounds of tapping, the muted bass notes, the slow evocation of filled space. The minimalist approach works well. It suggests all that was intensely overpowering in “Crowhound,” but in ways that allow space for the listener to engage. The scant six minutes spent in this song feel like a photonegative. There’s no mystery about where “Arcane Hunger” begins, with its squealing feedback and reverberations announcing the presence of something new. The instruments here are less played than invited to summon some entity who lingers through the texture of the sound that sustains it. The sense of lack made present, invoked by the title, aptly captures the experience of the song— the continuation of the sound, pulsing, is a gnawing need that searches for its own cessation. It could easily serve as soundtrack to a story by Lovecraft as “The Music of Erich Zann” lingers behind it: touched, not named. This album is an experience. It is worth finding headphones and a quiet room, falling into the wordless world created by the musicians. Those not used to experimental music—or instrumental music—may find moments of it jarring, but its overall effect is cathartic. As summer dries into an autumn beyond anticipation, as levels of grief, trauma and crisis compound, this album provides a space of empathy for the thoughts few of us frequently confront. —Daniel Boscaljon

Johnnie Cluney Love Is Law DIMSTONES.BANDCAMP.COM

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ohnnie Cluney’s album Love Is Law includes two sound montages titled “New Years Prayer,” made up of pitch-shifting snippets of instruments, including a chord organ and random percussion. On cassette (clearly the way Cluney would prefer the album be experienced) these are something of an amuse bouche for each side. As a stream or download they serve to provide both intro and callback, so the album is still split, emulating the cassette experience. Cluney said on a Facebook post that he recorded the album at home on a 4-track and this bit of experimentation gives us a peek at the process of creating the album and the perspective he’s gained in six years. In chat he told me, “I’m at the most relaxed I’ve ever been about my music… I’m in the phase of life and music where I’m just doing whatever I want with zero thoughts of success or anything like that.” Even though it’s been six years since his last record, No Déjà Vu, with his band Bedroom Shrine, the latest songs pick up where he left off. Love Is Law delivers similar narratives finished in spectacular lo-fi patina. The songs are largely anchored by repeating chords strummed and picked on acoustic guitar with dubbed electric swirls of feedback and the distant heat shimmer of thuds and jangles of percussion.

Cluney’s melancholy delivery carries dusty vignettes of underlying darkness and unease. He’s a troubadour fashioning his folk tradition built of songs of existential doubt. “Someone told me the meaning of life,” he sings on the title track, “but I forgot.” “Bad Dog” describes not meeting the expectation of another. “Where a dog belongs / when you tell me how to beg / Give up what you love / love yourself again,” Cluney sings. And, “Here comes your friend, he’s a slow train / watch what you say, he’s a lot like me: we’re good for nothing, when nothing is good.” On “Men Are Helpless” (joined beautifully by Jolie Holland on harmonies) he takes on toxic masculinity: “It’s hard to know / we play the role / and with no defense / for anything we do / men are helpless / and women want the truth.” The rhythm and pace of the songs are measured and intimate. The stripped down approach of the recordings leads the listener to lean in and try to gather meaning, like so many pieces of a puzzle left scattered on a table: You don’t know what is missing until you try to complete it. Lyrically, Cluney doesn’t give the listener much context. He doesn’t have to give the listener anything, of course, but I frequently found myself filling in that missing context. The Portugese language has a word to describe a feeling of incompleteness for something that might never return or never have happened: saudade. It’s a romantically tragic idea that one pines for the lack of something. As the listener tries to fill in those pieces on Love Is Law, it becomes clear that Cluney is also searching for meaning. That combination makes it too compelling to turn away. We can pause here while reels turn until we have to get up and flip the tape over to start it again. —Michael Roeder

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 51


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LOCAL BOOKS

Barry Phipps Driving a Table Down UNIVERSITY OF IOWA PRESS

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ecently, I did one of those frivolous lists one makes on social media—“My Ten Favorite Things You May Not Know About Me”—and I listed “dreaming and planning of road trips.” Like many, I had resentfully cancelled my 2020 holiday plans as the COVID-19 pandemic stretched further than anyone imagined. Barry Phipps’ book of road trip photographs from Iowa to Florida seems more than relevant for a year such as this. Austere, yet richly plucked from hidden gems still standing, Phipps’ work has a sophisticated aesthetic that is both delicious and satisfying. Phipps’ journey south in September 2018 was an extension of his photographic work primarily in Iowa, combined with a practical purpose: taking his mother and her table from Missouri to his Aunt Diane in Florida. “Most of the trips I have taken throughout my life center around a task at hand … a functional vacation,” Phipps wrote. Whenever he travels, he said, he seeks an authentic regional experience, drawn to discover what is both geographically and culturally unique in that place. Like a bowerbird, Phipps is looking for something. He is drawn to signage. Textures of unfinished painted surfaces, particularly if they are blue. Wry humor and the dignity of a place that used to mean something, as well as its fragility, and whether it will still be there tomorrow. It is a common secret among those who habitually crisscross the country by car that the unexpected discoveries bring the most joy, forging memories that cannot be planned on an expensive flight itinerary:

Submit books for review: Little Village, 623 S Dubuque St., IC, IA 52240

tucked away places that used to be tourist attractions long ago, visits to relatives who live in “ordinary places” and the connection to deceased ancestors and the relics they left behind. Phipps was concerned that placing his family in the photographs would seem self-indulgent, but I found their fleeting presence endearing, and it perfectly complemented the other work that stood solely on elements of architecture and scenery. Whether his mother was peeking through a corner window of the car or beaming happily at her favorite fish restaurant in her hometown, this is the joy of family and road trips that we can relate to. Other characters, like his brother Scott with his vintage tour bus or the folk art paintings of his deceased grandfather C.A. Carmack and the church he built, express something quintessentially American. The work is strong with the chosen subject matter and composition, forming a narrative as the book progresses. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of paired photographs such as Murphy Barber Shop and Peggy’s Beauty Shop, hinting at a relationship by association. Church buildings stood near disparate signs—“Foxy Lady Sarasota” sitting next to a Lutheran church in Florida, in contrast to the golden arches of McDonald’s featuring the breakfast special, next to a Lutheran church in Arkansas. Rusted unreadable tourist placards next to an industrial location lead one to wonder what on earth could have needed a permanent marker for the history of this place? Did developers win and erase something we will never see? I could sense Phipps’ delight in his photograph “Aunt Diane (and signage graveyard)” in Sarasota, Florida. Clearly this is Phipps’ happy place: large, colorful block letters that were once on businesses and warehouses, now forming scrambled alphabet mounds in a junkyard. It could be an eerie metaphor for our economy and the sad plight of devastation to businesses Phipps had no way of predicting. —Sonja Strathearn

Cindy Hadish Marking Time: A History of Drum & Bugle Corps in Cedar Rapids, Iowa IOWA MUSIC & ARTS ASSOCIATION

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remember with joy the first DCI (Drum Corps International) tournament that I attended. It was a DCI East Championship, I believe, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, sometime in the mid 1990s. I admired from afar, a huge fan of participating in marching band but, as a clarinetist, having no inroad to the drums, color guard or brass that make up a drum corps team. But as a spectator, I was hooked. And I was chuffed when I first moved to Cedar Rapids in the early 2000s and saw the Emerald Knights corps hall on 2nd Avenue (now the central fire station). The pageantry and spectacle of a drum corps show is impossible to fully express if you haven’t experienced it. But a new spectacle of a book from the Iowa Music & Arts Association goes a long way toward making that impossibility a reality. Cindy Hadish, an alum of both Emerald Knights and Phantom Regiment (and recent Little Village contributor) is author on Marking Time: A History of Drum & Bugle Corps in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a comprehensive look at the evolution of Cedar Rapids’ place in the world of drum corps. Hadish dedicated countless hours of research to this exhaustive and deeply personal history. Her love of the subject matter can be felt throughout, and one imagines it would have been impossible for any writer less intimately

connected to have drawn out the stories and memories of other alums in this book. The book itself is a gorgeous piece. Designed by David Miessler-Kubanek of DMK Creative, LLC, it weaves together a treasure trove of esoterica— membership rosters, show programs, music books and more— with myriad photos gathered from the collections of past members of the many corps that have called Cedar Rapids home. At times, the space between the comprehensive captions and the text of the book is not as distinct as I’d have liked, visually. Dropping the font size a bit or using italics might have given the needed assist to the font difference (captions are in sans serif font; text is in serif). But that’s a minor distraction. In her preface, Hadish writes of the book’s title, “‘Marking time’ has special meaning to drum corps veterans, who understand it as terminology for marching in place, and in the case of this book, the term has added significance as we observe the passage of time.” It’s a poignant thought, especially as the release of the book was twice delayed: once, when the 2020 Tournament of Drums was canceled due to COVID-19; again when the first plans for a distanced distribution were scuttled because of the derecho (the book was finally distributed on Aug. 29; it’s available now exclusively on the Association’s website). But it’s also incomplete. In addition to the physical act of marching and the observance of time’s passage, marking time in my marching band experience also served as a way to hold space—not just time passing, but a pause with the expectation of a new beginning. That’s how this book feels, also: not just the memory of the corps’ past, but holding space as we wait for the corps’ history in Cedar Rapids to begin again. —Genevieve Trainor

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV286 Sept. 2–Oct. 6, 2020 53


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name is in the past tense 46. “If you ask this texter ...” 47. Frankness 49. Business as usual, often 50. Tejano star with one of the best-selling celebrity makeup brands in cosmetics history 52. Zany 53. Antacid option 55. In the ’90s it sounded something like “EEEEEEOOOOBEE

PBOPBEEPBOPBOO OOOOKKKKJJJJJJK KKKKREEEE” 56. Snick-snack 58. Childish ___ 61. Mozart’s “___ fan tutte” 62. “___ Ben Jonson”: literary epitaph 64. “Summertime” composer 66. Embarrass 69. Heavy wts. 71. Janis ___ (Mean Girls character named after the

“At Seventeen” singer) 72. Ask and ask and ask 73. Six-stanza poem 75. McDaniel who was the first Black Oscar winner for her role in Gone With the Wind 78. Mini goldendoodle, for one 79. Bouncing from club to club, perhaps, and this puzzle’s theme 83. Spotted wildcat 84. Totally absorbed by 85. What combines do 86. Like a frat guy’s breath, perhaps 87. Biblical birthright seller

millennials have been criticized for squandering their retirement money on 25. People of lore 28. Redundantly large 31. Did some weeding 32. Instant noodle brand 34. Heads out 37. Book-marketing words 39. Nap, say 40. Condition in a sitcom trope 41. Full of froth 43. Cry bitterly 45. FDR or AOC 48. Latvian capital 51. Ness, e.g. 54 Magna ___ 57 Like some Star Trek species 59 Partner of 2-Down 60 Public speaking ability 63 Horny animals 65 Takes a little off the top, say 66 Piece of fancy neckwear 67 Dipping spot 68 Actor Ed of Up 70 ___ spiral 74 Belg. neighbor 76 French weapon 77 French weapon 79 Chest protector 80 Fingers 81 Long in films 82 Animal that migrates with zebras and gazelles

DOWN 1. Black-and-white alert, for short 2. Partner of 59-Down 3. Cycle starter 4. Figs. being frequently pushed back or canceled, in spring 2020 5. Trade for the latest model 6. Rick coming out of retirement for a new Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie 7. Yours, in Tours 8. ___ cold fox 9. One of Beethoven’s nine: Abbr. 10. Either blank in “mi ___ es su ___” 11. Geronimo’s tribe LV285 ANSWERS 12. Caldera’s A CME S S L A B I S L E precursor D L I N E I S SO M I E S 13. Jumbles L O T T A L A I R H T T P 14. Kept going I N T E RN E T F AMOU S (and going) B E E RC A N X A N A DU 15. Reznor who is S S N H I T CH RO T OR I MA F OO L R E I N Nine Inch Nails V E S T E D I N T E R E S T S 17. Insurer owned A RCH S L E E V E D by CVS CROA T MY L E S B F A 22. Bird bed SOP P E D S E CUR E S R E P E A T B U S I N E S S 23. Metonym for a A L OE T OR I N I E T O certain valley NOUN UN I T DO Z E R 24. Toast topper AG T S MEME S N E R T

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Profile for Little Village Magazine

Little Village magazine issue 286: Sept. 2 - Oct. 6, 2020  

Little Village | The Iowa City and Cedar Rapids Area's News and Culture Magazine

Little Village magazine issue 286: Sept. 2 - Oct. 6, 2020  

Little Village | The Iowa City and Cedar Rapids Area's News and Culture Magazine

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