Little Village Eastern Iowa issue 310: September Arts Preview

Page 1

ISSUE 310 September 2022



The Johnny Gosch disappearance, 40 years later PLUS:

P. 24

SEPT. 29

Paul Engle Prize ceremony with winner Rebecca Solnit, in conversation with Lyz Lenz 7 p.m., Coralville Public Library

Schedule highlights include:

SEPT. 28

Anthony Doerr, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All The Light We Cannot See and the new Cloud Cuckoo Land 7 p.m., Englert Theatre (ticketed event in partnership with Prairie Lights)

SEPT. 30

Randall Munroe, author of What If? and the XKCD webcomic. 7 p.m, First United Methodist Church (ticketed event in partnership with Prairie Lights)

OCT. 3

UI Professor Beth Livingston discusses her book, Shared Sisterhood: How to Take Collective Action for Racial and Gender Equity at Work 7 p.m., Iowa City Public Library

OCT. 6

OCT. 7

Books (co-presented by the UI Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing)

7 p.m., Pappajohn Business Building (in partnership with the UI Center for Human Rights)

Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana, discusses her new book, How Not To Drown in A Glass of Water 7 p.m., Prairie Lights

One Community One Book author Alex Kotlowitz discusses An American Summer

SEPT. 28-OCT. 13, 2022 A celebration of Books and Ideas in the City of Literature (all events free and open to the public unless noted otherwise)

Find the full schedule at

OCT. 8

Readings, panel discussions, book fair and more throughout the day, featuring Sarah Kendzior, Victor Ray, Elizabeth McCracken, PsalmOne (pictured) and International Writing Program participants

OCT. 12

Literary Legends event with UI Writers’ Workshop Director Lan Samantha Chang, in conversation with Charity Nebbe 7:30 p.m., Englert Theatre (co-presented by the UI Center for Advancement and UI Lecture Committee)







A vibrant weekend of film and festivities celebrating the art of adaptation curated and hosted by FilmScene, Iowa City’s nonprofit cinema.



RRRRRRR SSSSSS in conversation with





Mon-Th: 10 am - 7 pm Fri: 10 am - 6 pm Sat: 10 am - 4 pm Sun: 12 - 4 pm

We have no overdue fines!

(*Except for hotspots and laptops.) Charges for lost or damaged items still apply.

Stop by to check out a book from our banned book display


pick up beginning Sept 7

CRAFT TO GO FOR ADULTS pick up beginning Sept 21

While supplies last.

1401 Fifth St. Coralville, IA 319-248-1850

Novel Conversations SEPT 15 THURSDAY 7:00 PM ONLINE

It’s a Mystery! Book Group SEPTEMBER 14 WEDNESDAY 10:00 AM ROOM A

Free Adult Movie Night SEPT 22 THURSDAY 10:00 AM ROOM A


8 Top Stories 10 Advertising Partners 12 Letters & Interactions 18 Brock About Town 22 UR Here 24 Johnny Gosch 32 Bread & Butter 36 Fall Arts Preview 36 Events Calendar 63 Dear Kiki 65 Astrology 67 Album Reviews 71 Book Reviews Collage by Jordan Sellergren / Little Village

75 Crossword






The Johnny Gosch case continues

Where to get your pinball (and

Fests, shows, venues and releases

40 Years Missing

to stupefy Iowans—and the world.

Play the Silver Ball

pizza) fix in eastern Iowa.

Fall Arts Preview

you’ll want on your radar.

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Facebook @LittleVillageMag

Issue 310, Volume 31

Arts Editor

Instagram @LittleVillageMag

September 2022

Genevieve Trainor

Twitter @LittleVillage

Cover by Ali Hval PRODUCTION

Managing Editor

Digital Director

New to town or townie, we can’t

Emma McClatchey

Drew Bulman

wait to tell you everything going

on this fall. Take a tour through

News Director


weirdness on display in eastern

Paul Brennan

Jason Smith

Iowa. Also in this issue: The Johnny

Gosch mystery endures after four

Art Director

Marketing Analytics

Jordan Sellergren


Malcolm MacDougall

all the art, music, poetry and

decades of fear and speculation. Multimedia Journalist

Meet this month’s contributors: Ali Hval is an avid muralist and

Kembrew McLeod is a founding

Adria Carpenter


interdisciplinary artist in Iowa

Little Village columnist and the

President, Little Village, LLC

City, combining ceramic, fabric,

chair of Communications Studies

Matthew Steele

installation, and painting.

at the University of Iowa.

Events Editor, Design Assistant Amanda Panda is a connoisseur

Kent Williams lives, works, writes


of Eastern Iowa’s underbelly. You

and complains in Iowa City.

Matthew Steele

never know where you might find

her lurking and twerking.

Creative Services

Andrea Truitt is an arts

writing for Little Village he blogs

Website design, Email market-

administrator by day and her


Lily DeTaeye

ing, E-commerce, Videography

dog’s personal assistant by

night. She is trained as an art

Sarah Elgatian is a writer, activist

and architectural historian and

and educator living in Iowa. She

Sid Peterson Staff Writers

Michael Roeder is a self-declared

Courtney Guein

Music Savant. When he isn’t

Spanish Language Editor


loves a good visual art experience

likes dark coffee, bright colors

Spenser Santos

Distribution Manager

on the streets or in museums.

and long sentences. She dislikes

Joseph Servey

Turn-offs: saltboxes and Northern


Renaissance paintings.


Chris DeLine is a music writer

theater maker and hospice


Bill Rogers, Huxley Maxwell, Joe

living in Cedar Rapids. He also


Roth, Joey Leaming, Justin Comer,

curates playlists at

Calendar/Event Listings

Saunia Powell is a queer ex-

Thomas Dean lives, writes and

Sam Standish September Contributors

Ali Hval, Amanda Panda, Andrea

Dana Telsrow is a musician-cum-

belongs in Iowa City. His column,

artist specializing in diet prog and

UR Here, has run in Little Village since 2001.

Truitt, Anneliese Varaldiev, Au-


gently elongated portraiture in

drey Brock, Chris DeLine, Dana

Little Village

Iowa City.

Telsrow, Emma Gray, Joe Tingle,

623 S Dubuque St

John Martinek, Kembrew McLeod,

Iowa City, IA 52240

Kent Williams, Lauren Haldeman, Lev Cantoral, Lindsay Thomas,

Little Village Creative Services

Michael Roeder, Sam Locke Ward,

623 S Dubuque St

Sarah Elgatian, Saunia Powell,

Iowa City, IA 52240

Thomas Dean, Tom Tomorrow, Zak Neumann


Send us a pitch!

You could see your bio here.

Culture writers, food reviewers and columnists, email: Illustrators, photographers and comic artists, email:


Top Stories Catch up on Little Village’s most-viewed headlines from last month. Read more at

Iowa City leaders weigh truth, justice and hurt feelings

Iowa Republican leaders line up behind Trump after FBI

as TRC chair Amel Ali is suspended over offensive

raid: ‘We’ve got a right 2b skeptical’


By Paul Brennan, Aug. 9

By Adria Carpenter, Aug. 5

Iowa’s leading Republicans once again followed Donald

Iowa City’s Ad Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Trump’s lead and used social media to suggest corruption

(TRC) voted 7-0 to temporarily remove Amel Ali as its chair during the

led to FBI agents executing a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

commission’s regular meeting. The vote came the same day the Iowa

property. The Iowa Republican Party tweeted out a blunt claim that

City Council held a special session to consider removing Ali, but voted to

“Democrats are using the Department of Justice to go after their political

defer the matter until their Aug. 16 formal meeting.


Amid ‘the most altered landscape in America,’ this 100-

VIDEO: Opening day at the Stanley Museum of Art

acre plot in Johnson County remains rich and wild

Video by Jason Smith, photos by Adria Carpenter;

By Adria Carpenter, Aug. 10

Aug. 30

“To find land in Iowa, open land, that has never been

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art officially

plowed, is like finding a needle in a haystack,” Larry

opened on Friday, Aug. 26, more than 14 years after UI’s

Gullett, the executive director of the Johnson County Conservation

previous art museum was rendered uninhabitable by the flood of 2008.

Board, said about the Reilly preserve. “All of those soils, and the bacteria

The $50 million building has three floors, a light well in the center and

and microorganisms associated with soil that grow prairie plants, are still

two terraces.


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THANK YOU TO THIS ISSUE’S ADVERTISING PARTNERS This issue of Little Village is supported by: Adamantine Spine Moving (12) Arnott & Kirk (48) Artifacts (16) Brides by Jessa (14) Collins Community Credit Union (16) CommUnity Crisis Services (29) Corridor Entertainment Group (6) Crowded Closet (68) Des Moines Music Coalition (66) Downtown Iowa City (70) Eddie Bowles Project (68) FilmScene (19) Firmstone Real Estate (70) Goodfellow Printing, Inc. (72) Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (18) Grinnell College Museum of Art (18) Hancher Auditorium (41, 47) Honeybee Hair Parlor (66) Independent Iowa Downtown Iowa City (62-63) - Record Collector - Yotopia - Merge

- Fix! - Alebrije - Revival - Critical Hit Games - Beadology - Release Body Modification Independent Iowa New Bohemia & Czech VIllage Village (61) - NewBoCo - Rare Bird Soap Shop - Next Page Books - The Bohemian - Parlor City Pub & Eatery - The Daisy - Chrome Horse - Goldfinch Cyclery - Iowa Running Company Independent Iowa Northside Marketplace (64) - John’s Grocery - George’s - The Haunted Bookshop - High Ground - Dodge St. Tire - Russ’ Northside Service - Hamburg Inn No. 2 - Pagliai’s Pizza

- R.S.V.P. Iowa Children’s Museum (29) Iowa City Book Festival (2) Iowa City Burger Haul (16) Iowa City Communications Deptartment (20) Iowa City Public Library (39) Iowa City Public Library (4) Iowa Department of Public Health (16, 70) Iowa Public Radio (39) Johnson County Public Health (23) KCCK Jazz 88.3 (49) KRUI 89.7 FM (66) Kim Schillig, REALTOR (72) Leash on Life (25) MYEP (68) Mailboxes of Iowa City (72) Martin Construction (31) Mic Check Poetry Fest (44) Micky’s Irish Pub (66) Mirrorbox Theatre (19) Muscatine Art Center (25) Musician’s Pro Shop (72)

New Pioneer Food Co-op (53) Nodo (49) Oasis Falafel (43) Obermann Center (25) Orchestra Iowa (26) Perez Family Tacos (74) Phoebe Martin, REALTOR (19) Prairie Lights (74) Press Coffee (74) PromptPress (49) Public Space One (55) Raygun (51) ReFocous Film Festival (3) Riverside Theatre (28) Shakespeare’s Pub & Grill (72) Summer of the Arts (76) The Club Car (72) The Englert Theatre (9) The Highlander (34) University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art (59) Vino Vérité (57) West Music (68) White Rabbit (74) Wig & Pen (21) Willow & Stock (30) World of Bikes (43)

Little Village magazine print readership 25,000—40,000 per issue readership 200,000 monthly article views 74,000 unique monthly visitors

RECENT READER SURVEY DATA MEDIAN AGE: 37 18-24: 14% 25-34: 20% 35-44: 21% 45-54: 17% 55-64: 14% 65+: 10%


MEDIAN PERSONAL INCOME: $50k 23.4%: $40k—60k 20.9%: $60k—80k 15.8%: $100k+ 12%: $20k—40k 15.8%: <$20k 12%: $80k—$100k


EDUCATION Masters: 35.8% Bachelors: 38.5% Ph.D: 12.3% Some college: 7.8% Associates: 4.5%


Female: 69.6% Male: 27.8% Nonbinary/other: 2.5%


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Letters & Interactions LV encourages community members, including candidates for office, to submit letters to To be considered for print publication, letters should be under 500 words. Preference is given to letters that have not been published elsewhere. The Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department recommends closing the Robert A. Lee (RAL) pool, but their recommendation is inconsistent with goals, data, and community feedback included in reports posted online this summer.

high priorities. It identifies “aquatics programs” as a “growth opportunity,” noting that “75% of ‘high priority’ pool programs involve forms of aquatic exercise.”

Iowa City values aquatics: The July 13 re-

pool is low attendance. However, attendance charts undercount pool users by listing the number of lap swimmers seen through a security camera that shows partial views of the pool. Aquacisers, water walkers, swim-lessons, family swims, Red Cross training sessions, special event participants, and deep-water pool users are excluded from daily counts. The six-lane pool often accommodates as many as 23 users at a time. Clearly, RAL pool is actively used by a wide variety of community members, many of whom simply aren’t counted.

port shows that Iowa Citians place a “high value on aquatics.” In addition, RAL’s “downtown/ central location” is “preferred” and “more accessible.” Aquatics account for 56 percent of the department’s programs, more than all the other programs combined. In the Aug. 10 report, survey respondents ranked indoor aquatics as one of the most important places to invest in future facilities, listing water fitness classes/water aerobics, lap swimming, senior aquatic programs, and swim lessons as

Robust use: One reason cited for closing RAL



HAVE AN OPINION? Better write about it! Send letters to:

Location matters: Survey respondents do not want to shift all aquatics to the Mercer Aquatics Center (68 percent unfavorable), a location far from Iowa City’s center. Such a move would also contradict the Master Plan’s “overarching goal” “to prioritize resources to provide aquatic and recreation facilities that are equitable, accessible … and responsive to the Iowa City community.” RAL’s centrally located, warm-water pool already provides what citizens want. Repairs cost less than a new pool: The

July 13 report says the life of the RAL pool could be extended for many years by repairing the pool, for $471,000, and pool enclosure, for $108,000 (together $579,000). These estimates are far lower than the $4.5-$5 million figure cited to repair the RAL pool. Pool renovations make far more sense than adding a smaller, less-versatile, $8-$9 million warm-water pool at Mercer, at more than twice the price. Reports do not recommend closure of RAL’s pool; instead, these data and community-informed responses are powerful indicators of what Iowa City needs and RAL provides: a downtown

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 13

LETTER S & INTERACTIONS pool in a central location, accessible to all, with diverse programming and opportunities for aquatics growth. In 1968, Iowa City determined it needed two indoor public pools. Since then, Iowa City’s population has grown by 60 percent and continues to increase. The recommendation to close RAL pool contradicts data and citizen’s priorities. Please join our efforts to save this valuable and well-utilized community resource. Send an email to council@ and ask city councilors to approve repairs for and prevent closure of the RAL pool. Mark Cannon Carin Crain Jill Fishbaugh Justin Fishbaugh Amy Kretkowski Susan Mellecker Mitzi Read Anne Stapleton


Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowa continues to lead the nation in puppy-mill violators (Aug. 4) Iowa will continue to lead the nation in animal abuse because animal abuse is Iowa’s primary industry. It’s hard to write legislation to protect dogs that doesn’t scare the hell out of hog farmers, and it’s their money that buys all the politicians. —Bruce B. ‘Rats with hooves’: Iowa City Council’s deer management program is under fire as population grows (Aug. 9) Let them be and adjust our ways. Maybe start growing native plants for them to eat in our yards, instead of grass sprinkled with poisons? Would be beneficial for pollinators too. No need to cull the deer population. —Katya B. Where are they supposed to go? They are losing all of their


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“It’s just the most Iowan thing. And I don’t love Iowa most of the time. But this is just the epitome of Iowa to me. The people you meet, literally listening to bird calls, learning the history of the whole fair. It’s the top thing I love about Iowa.” —Iowa State Fair megafan Caroline Stump

habitat due to development. They have as much right to live as we do. —Terry K.

“Transparency brings accountability & if the FBI & DOJ aren’t transparent about raiding a former presidents home they risk further damaging their credibility I’ve already raised issues from whistleblowers abt political bias in investigations so we’ve got a right 2b skeptical.” —A skeptical tweet from Sen. Chuck Grassley in the aftermath of the Mar-A-Lago raid

Samm Yu

“Right now, it’s kind of the goal with my work to show that communities of color exist here [in Iowa]. That they are thriving, that they are beautiful, that they’re alive.” —Samm Yu, a Chinese-American photographer and UI student

“Despite the call by the mayor and others to have me resign, I can’t walk away and turn my back on the trust, hope and responsibilities entrusted to all of us on this commission. I truly believe in the notion that forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” —Amel Ali addresses the Iowa City Council after controversial comments she made during a podcast interview came to light. The Ad-Hoc Truth and Reconciliation Commission voted to temporarily suspend her as chair. “BURST OF TELEPATHIC ENERGY TELLING HIM SOMETHING IS HAPPENING AT THIS ADDRESS.” —Iowa City Police Log (@IC_ ActivityLog on Twitter) 16 September 2022=

Shame on the DNR for forcing this ineffective plan on Iowa City. I have lived in my east side Iowa City home for 35 years and the deer (long legged rats I call them) are the worst in all that time. There are no nonlethal methods that work any more that the bow hunting. Science, people. —Susan C. Here’s an idea: get urban sprawl under control. I much prefer the deer to having anymore human neighbors. —Blaidd D. I have no solution, however I’m really not a fan of amateur bow hunting and ‘sharpshooters’ within city limits. —Georgia C. This isn’t an all-or-nothing scenario. I sat on the volunteer deer management committee (required by the NRC for the city to consider sharpshooting) in 2018; we held diverse views and did not agree on some fundamental principles, but learned

a lot from each other and from White Buffalo about the factors influencing deer population and management. —Laura G. Deer are NOT rats with hooves. They are thrivers in an artificial urban area. Humans are the problem. (Having said that, I am for managed shoots to keep the population down and healthy).

—Carol H. Amid ‘the most altered landscape in America,’ this 100-acre plot in Johnson County remains rich and wild (Aug. 10) I’ve heard Iowa didn’t have much public land, but this is a whole new level. In all seriousness, though, this is really cool and I hope the project is a huge success. … As someone who just moved to Iowa from Arizona, I’m spoiled. This is reassuring. Now if we can just get some real campsites around here. —Brian I am still advocating for a Prairie National Park in Iowa. Thanks! —Jim M.

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Summer is drawing to its close. The students have returned, shattering the temporary illusion of peace and quiet, and the very first signs of fall have appeared in the form of days with a humidity index below 80 percent. That can mean only one thing—football season is upon us once more. For many University of Iowa alumni, the kind who can be said to possess “school spirit,” football season is a time of excitement and nostalgia for their glory days, which they spent majoring in accounting and accumulating liver damage. For the rest of us, it’s akin to a very boring zombie apocalypse, in that the highway is at a complete standstill and you’re suddenly surrounded by shells of human beings that make unintelligible noises in unison. I’ve survived nine football seasons in this town, and I’ve been to exactly one football game. Below are my tips for the football averse: • Get out of town. Seriously, this is the best way to handle this. I’m spending the Iowa-Iowa State game at a cabin in Clear Lake. I realize you can’t do that every weekend, but a college football game is like your friends’ breakup; it’s better to just not be around for it than to get sucked into it. If you leave on Saturday morning, the road out of town should be clear for miles. • Stock up on the essentials beforehand. And by essentials, I mean alcohol. Trust me when I tell you, you’re not going to want to be in any bar with a TV, which is all of them. (The Foxhead usually uses theirs to blast TCM, so they might be a safer bet, but I digress.) Should you, against your training and better judgment, choose to go out, you will be fighting for barstools with girls in black-and-gold-striped overalls and their dads, who, despite being in late middle age, have still not figured out how to have fun without getting three sheets to the wind and trying to beat up the bartender for not calling them “sir.” It’s not worth it. • Don’t be a crank. Yes, football as a sport is plagued by ethical issues, and yes, in the Midwest, it has become emblematic of a certain type of masculinity that not many men can or even want to live up to, and yes, to many of us, it just sort of looks like a bunch of dudes in tights rolling around together on a lawn. However, when you loudly complain about those things in order to redirect the conversation towards a topic that you know a lot about, you are, in fact, the one who looks like a brain-damaged Neanderthal. • -If you see the Beer Band, turn in the opposite direction and run for your life.



Johnson County is so fortunate to have such a passionate, hardworking group of visionaries on the JCCC team trying to preserve our piece of the planet. Thank you all. —Dave C. Letter to the editor: I dodged a bullet (an abortion story) (Aug. 11) It’s brave of you to share your deeply personal story. I’m so sorry for both of your losses and hope like crazy we can protect and respect women in our state. —Genie M. It’s not a heart at 6 weeks. It’s a cluster of less than 50 cells with an electrical charge that causes the cells to “wiggle”. No brain, no limbs no lungs. —Connie F. Studio Visit: Claudia McGehee sketches and scratches her favorite parts of nature (Aug. 17) Wonderful. I love the story of Tibbles. I love your work. I spent several years doing scratchboard art for publishing back in the 90’s, and it’s not easy to do but you make it look easy. I love your animals and your drawing/cutting style and colorizing! —Ursula R. Wonderful that Little Village took a tour and a behind the scenes look at Claudia’s art and studio! She is one of the most talented artists in Iowa City, and the impact of her work and imagination reverberates all over Iowa. —Melissa A. Dana James: State rankings lists are out once again. Here’s where Iowa (actually) stands. (Aug. 18) Seriously, can’t you just be proud for a second? The entire country is messed up, but Iowa is a great place to live, relatively speaking. —Megan R. That really just isn’t true for a lot of people who live here and that’s exactly what the

18 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

I N T E R AC T I O N S writer addressed. I’ve lived here my entire life and it’s always been *fine* but now that’s not even the case depending on where you live and what kind of person you are. It is not a universally welcoming or even safe state for non white and non straight people to live. You have to find pockets where you feel your presence will be tolerated and those are becoming fewer and further between. Insisting that we be proud no matter what is why things never improve. —Tiffani G. You can feel very lucky that that is your experience of Iowa. For many others, (think: single, LGBTQIA, elderly, non-white, non-Christian, to name a few) we don’t have that experience. —Ash L.H. Iowa’s decline is sad but hardly unpredictable. I grew up in rural Iowa in the 70s/80s, and most of the pieces were there already for right-wing populism. It just needed decades of right-wing talk radio, Fox “News,” and social media to stoke it. Iowa City was “sin city,” a place you should never send your kids. Degrading nicknames, often based on racial/ethic characteristics, were common. Gossip was omnipresent as a means of social control. Outsiders were suspect. Etc. Add to that genuine economic catastrophes for agriculture and the decline of small towns, stir in an unhealthy dose of agitation, and you get what you got. —Jim P. Could not agree more. On the surface, there’s…surface. But if you live deeper, you start to feel a different reality. —Tania D. I call bullshit on “Iowa Nice”. I’ve seen all sorts of horrible things here that are not. —Michelle A.

20 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310






W W W.V I S I T M U S C AT I N E . C O M

September 27–December 10, 2022 PAPER TRAILS: MODERN INDIAN WORKS ON PAPER FROM THE GAUR COLLECTION Above: Anupam Sud (Indian, b.1944), Your Huddled Masses, 1990. Multiple plate etching, 18 1/4 × 23 3/4 in. Courtesy the Gaur Collection.

REVERENT ORNAMENT: ART FROM THE ISLAMIC WORLD Visit GCMoA’s website for updated information about events, as well as the latest health guidelines before you visit.

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 21

Adria Carpenter / Little Village


The Art of Ritual ...and the ritual of art.



few years ago, the Englert Theatre and FilmScene initiated a campaign to make Iowa City “the Greatest Small City for the Arts.” And that title is justified. Not only do our local arts organizations bring us incredible performances, but we also boast a highly talented home-grown community of artists and performers. As the fall season opens before us, we see all this on full display—in arts festivals such as the Witching Hour, in the return of the full complement of university arts programs and much more. As the leaves fall, the arts programs available to us just keep increasing after the richness of our Summer of the Arts festivals. But what makes Iowa City a “great” arts community is not just the content. Yes, the performances themselves and the rich array of venues are primary. There is no art without art. But our wonderful world of the arts offers us something else fundamental to our community: ritual. The repeated patterns of ritual provide us with a coherent framework to enact two of the most significant aspects of human experience: reverence and belonging. Whether it’s in a religious service or a rite of passage ceremony (the two types of rituals most of us today are likely familiar with), the ultimate message is the same: “This is what we honor and value. This is who we are. This is how you are a part of us.” Rituals are defined in part by recurrence. Yet despite their repetitive nature, they are very special, even sacred. Entering into ritual requires 22 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

the high school bands and combos, the Silver Swing Band (our over-50 ensemble who perform thanks to the Senior Center, UI music programs and West Music), and local legends such as Saul Lubaroff. These performances have brought me into reverence of the art realm but also, more than others, have affirmed my belonging to this place. Granted, sometimes the ritual—or even the art space itself—should or must change. The flood of 2008 fated the original Hancher Auditorium and Voxman Music Building to demolition, and the original UI Museum of Art building to repurposing. But it didn’t take long for the new Hancher to become beloved once again. The new Voxman Concert Hall was also new, but what never changed was, for example, the universal, timeless protocol of the UI Symphony Orchestra members entering the stage and tuning up, the concertmaster’s quieting of the instruments, the pregnant silent pause, the onstage arrival of the conductor, our collective applause, the ensemble leader’s gesture for the entire orchestra to rise— it all tells us exactly where we are and why we are there, and does so whether we’re in Voxman or New York’s Kennedy Center. And just this past month, our community joyfully gathered for the dedication ceremony and opening of the new UI Stanley Museum of Art, 14 years in the making. Our pilgrimage to Pollock’s Mural and to the Stanley’s collection THE REPEATED PATTERNS OF RITUAL PROVIDE US of African Art will WITH A COHERENT FRAMEWORK TO ENACT TWO require a new path OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ASPECTS OF HUMAN and the “temple” will be different, EXPERIENCE: REVERENCE AND BELONGING. but we will become Sherburne or another FilmScene stalwart pre- accustomed to our altered ritual space quickly. It pares you in a similar way for your arrival into won’t take long to know that, yes, this is a significant place of community belonging for all of us. the magical realm of the motion picture arts. No doubt, ritual can be put to bad, even danThe communal experience of a very special visitor’s art is the core of the ritual of a live per- gerous, uses, most insidiously for control and exformance, but art is often most meaningful when clusion. (And yes, that can happen in the world you are awash in the joy of your friends, neigh- of the arts, too.) But ritual’s higher purposes of bors and children sharing their talents with you reverence and belonging cannot be denied and and the rest of the community. Some of my most must be nurtured and honored. So as the Witching memorable Englert experiences have been the Hour series approaches, as the fall concert season Corridor Jazz Project concerts that my kids and raises its curtains, as our homes for the visual arts their fellow area students performed in, as well are renewed and reopened, remember to intenas the old “Festival of Carols” holiday concert tionally participate in the ritual in order to strive when a broad swath of our community’s talents ever closer to the apotheosis of “This is what we honor and value. This is who we are. This is how helped us celebrate the season. Similarly (although the prelude to any act you are a part of us.” The greatness of our small we’re about to enjoy at Jazz Fest is crossing the city of the arts lies in our shared reverence for Clinton Street barricades, processing through creative expression and collective building of the the local vendor tents and gathering along our community to which we all belong. city center streets or on the Pentacrest lawn), the highest calling for me is to the stages with Thomas Dean lives, writes and belongs in Iowa City. that we cross a threshold into a numinous space and time that simultaneously grounds us in our place and elevates us to an extraordinary realm. And this is what happens when we fully enter into a live performance. So it’s crucial that we cultivate and participate in these ritualistic elements of the arts experience. These elements can be simple, such as settling in at “your” spot on the Ped Mall for a summer Friday night concert or following your habit of visiting your favorite mural during each downtown visit. But ritual experiences can also be more complex. Granted, for a night at the Englert, I’m really looking forward to enjoying the talents of Trombone Shorty, Joan Baez or Paula Poundstone. But essential to entering that art space is crossing the threshold with Kent Smith, dapperly attired in his beautiful long maroon coat, holding the theater door open and saying gently and respectfully, “Good evening. Welcome to the Englert.” And once having reentered the century-old performance space and jovially greeting familiar fellow community members, you await the appearance of the Englert’s Katie Roche on stage to perform the invocation: to affirm the community purpose of this nonprofit organization, to “bless” your presence through a sincere thank-you, and to call forth the art that is about to unfold. A couple blocks away, a different invocation is likely happening as Andrew


Chasing Shadows Forty years after the disappearance of Johnny Gosch, the case remains a constant source of speculation— and a reminder that America’s “predator panic” never ended.



n Sept. 20, 1984, President Ronald Reagan gave a reelection campaign speech in Cedar Rapids. In it, he pledged his “full support in the search” for Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin, Des Moines-area paperboys who had gone missing in the past two years. “We must continue cracking down on crime,” Reagan said. “We say with no hesitation, yes, there are such things as right and wrong. And yes, for hardened criminals preying on our society, punishment must be swift and sure.” Despite the support of Reagan, the formation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 1984, FBI involvement, the hiring of private investigators, five America’s Most Wanted episodes on the Gosch disappearance, countless news segments and editorials, hundreds of called-in leads, thousands of letters mailed to elected officials, hundreds of thousands of fliers and milk cartons distributed featuring the boys’ faces and a 2014 documentary on Gosch, the cases remain unsolved. With his speech, Reagan tapped into—and perpetuated—a feeling very real to Iowa’s overwhelmingly white populace in the 1980s: fear. “Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin epitomized boyhood innocence and vulnerability,” writes historian Paul M. Renfro in his 2020 book Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, which began as his history dissertation at the University of Iowa. “Their disappearances symbolized not just physical losses but also the losses of innocence, childhood, whiteness, middle-classness, and midwesternness.” Over the past four decades, names of missing children like Gosch were attached to legislation that continues to shape the U.S. justice system, popular culture, political movements and notions of what (and who) are considered threats to the American way of life. Every president since Reagan has found ways to uphold and expand policies passed in the name of child safety, from mandatory sex offender registries to survelliance programs to laws restoring voting rights to formerly

24 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

Jordan Sellergren / Little Village

THE MORE SENSATIONAL A THEORY WAS, THE QUICKER IT SPREAD, ESPECIALLY ONCE BLOGS AND CHAT ROOMS ENTERED THE SCENE. SINCE THERE WAS NO PERSON TO CONVICT, IOWANS BLAMED WHATEVER VAGUE CULTURAL ILLS THEY FELT MOTIVATED THE ABDUCTIONS. incarcerated citizens that specifically exclude those convicted of sex crimes. These laws are broadly popular, but “given the low recidivism rates of sex offenders,” Renfro notes, “these daunting mechanisms and the culture of fear that enables them demand reevaluation.” True crime podcasters, populist politicians and QAnon influencers have made a meal of Iowa’s milk carton kids, muddying the waters between established fact and speculation. Noreen Gosch, who is convinced her son is still alive, has both

seeded and embraced conspiracy theories regarding Johnny’s disappearance.

Johnny Gosch was 12 years old. He enjoyed the outdoors, the Iowa State Fair and buying loved ones the perfect gift, his parents said. He took a job delivering newspapers for the Des Moines Register to save up for a dirt bike. Just before 6 a.m. on Sept. 5, 1982, Johnny

departed his home in suburban West Des Moines to begin his Sunday morning paper route, accompanied by his dachshund Gretchen. He collected his papers in the parking lot of a neighborhood church with fellow paperboys, who say a man in a blue car stopped to ask the boys for directions. “Witnesses disagreed on what happened next,” according to Renfro. “Some insisted that a man followed Johnny around a street corner before snatching him. Others claimed they heard a car door slam and tires screech before watching a vehicle run a stop sign and travel northbound towards Interstate 235 ‘at a high rate of speed.’ In addition to the blue vehicle, another witness recalled seeing a silver Ford Fairmont around the time of the disappearance.” But there was little physical evidence to be found, apart from the ominous image of Johnny’s red wagon full of rolled-up newspapers, abandoned two blocks from home, Gretchen left behind. News coverage at the time reported 25 to 30 law enforcement officials joined a search for Johnny in the immediate hours after he vanished. Within days, dozens of officers from the West Des Moines Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Department and Iowa State Patrol were part of searches, as well as an estimated 1,000 volunteers, combing local parks, woods, fields, lots and buildings. Police set up checkpoints on streets where Johnny was last seen. “They are working overtime like I’ve never seen anybody in my life work before,” Johnny’s dad John Gosch Sr. told the Register in praise of the police. The confidence wouldn’t last. In TV appearances and letters to the editor, Noreen and John Gosch became critical of law enforcement’s failure to locate either of the vehicles suspected in the abduction. Moreover, they resented being asked to submit to a polygraph test. But investigators said they had little to work with. Leads fizzled, and those coming in from callers across the nation proved bogus. West Des Moines’ Police Chief Orval Cooney made matters worse by antagonizing the Goschs in the press, specifically Johnny’s mother. “I really don’t give a damn what Noreen Gosch has to say,” he complained to the Register. “I really don’t give a damn what she thinks. I’m interested in the boy and what we can do to find him. I’m kind of sick of her.” To Noreen, such pushback represented a lack of concern for Johnny systemwide, despite the fact multiple local, state and federal agencies were investigating. “You can almost become catatonic. You can almost go into a state of mind where you don’t want to talk to anybody ever again, not trust




Lawn at Brucemore Saturday, September 17 Gates open at 5:30 pm Concert at 7 pm Experience the magic of Brucemorchestra! Broadway star Melissa Errico shares personal stories, poignant moments, and hilarious memories of her time shared with Sondheim and his music. Backed by the power of Orchestra Iowa, iconic and beloved selections will delight audiences of all ages!

For tickets scan the code, go to, or call 319.366.8203. 17 and under FREE with a paid adult. Contact the Ticket Office for more information. ASL services with designated seating available on request.

26 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

anybody ever again,” she told reporters. The Goschs papered Iowa with fliers, made dozens of TV appearances and partnered up with politicians and national figures like America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh. When someone suggested to the Des Moines dairy AndersonErickson that they help in the search, Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin became the first missing children’s images printed on milk cartons in 1984. Within two months of Johnny’s disappearance, the Goschs established the Help Find Johnny Gosch Foundation, holding fundraisers to hire private investigators, leading letter-writing campaigns to elected officials and giving talks around the region focused on a central message: This can happen to you. FBI special agent Herb Hawkins said drawing intense publicity to the case, as the Goschs had, is not generally advised. Too much attention can cause an abductor to panic, endangering the child. It can also make inside information that can be used to narrow down suspects part of the public narrative. But the Goschs (who divorced in 1993) had other advisors telling them the opposite. In a rare interview in 2018, John Gosch Sr. recalled that researcher Kenneth Wooden, who was in the area to deliver a lecture at Iowa State University on missing and murdered children, told Noreen, “Whatever you have to do to keep the story alive, do it, because if you don’t, law enforcement will move on with their lives and go on their merry way.” “She really latched onto that,” John told podcaster Sarah DiMeo. Subsequent disappearances seemed to support the notion of a child kidnapping epidemic. Almost two years after Gosch went missing, another Register paperboy, 13-year-old Des Moines resident Eugene Martin, vanished as well, followed two years later by the disappearance of another Des Moines 13-year-old, Marc Allen. Allen was not a paperboy, but the circumstances were similar to the others. Still, investigators had no physical evidence tying the cases together, no serious suspects and no idea of the motives. The climate of frustration, fear and speculation created by the cases and the massive media coverage surrounding them yielding the perfect conditions for conspiracy theorizing. “We live in a sick and rotten society that is getting sicker and rottener every day,” an Iowa state senator proclaimed as legislators debated a bill named for Johnny Gosch. “I don’t know what’s happened to the United States, but it has become more animalistic, not more humanistic in recent years.”

The Johnny Gosch Bill, co-written by Noreen, was signed into law by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in July 1984. The bill bars police from enforcing a waiting period before investigating a report of a missing child. (Despite claims from the bill’s supporters, such waiting periods were not part of the protocol for WDPD, nor state or federal agencies, and were rare on the local level.) Similar laws were subsequently adopted by eight other states. Noreen took an offer from Ted Gunderson to conduct a private investigation into the vanishings. Gunderson, who died in 2011, was a retired FBI agent and far-right figure who helped perpetuate the infamous allegations of satanic ritual abuse at the McMartin preschool in California, perhaps the definitive case of the satanic panic. Like Infowars’ Alex Jones, Gunderson believed government mind control and anti-Christian New World Order forces are behind America’s most deadly terrorism events. In the pages of the Des Moines Register, Iowans lamented the “stain” the child disappearances left on the region—that a “once-quiet, ‘great-place-toraise-kids’ city may become the crime capital of the world.” “That was the most bothersome thing,” one Register interviewee said, “was that this kind of stole our innocence from us.” “God is speaking through [Noreen] to alert us of the growing operation of molesters and abductors,” a Story City woman wrote to Gov. Terry Branstad. “I have never heard of any incidents of this nature in Story City. Could it possibly be that this never happens here? I doubt it.” Midwestern moms and dads found themselves researching Anton LeVey, subliminal messaging and satanic holidays. The more sensational a theory was, the quicker it spread, especially once blogs and chat rooms entered the scene. Since there was no person to convict, Iowans blamed whatever vague cultural ills they felt motivated the abductions. “Another child has been snatched from our streets. Why? We are obsessed with sex!” wrote a Sioux City resident in a letter to the Register. “Nothing pinpoints its vulgarities and sadist pleasure more than porno material.” The Register’s executive editor James Gannon published his own editorial proclaiming to be “mad as hell” about the spate of disappearances. He directed his anger at bureaucrats and liberalism, the antithesis to what he saw as the all-American Midwestern family, complete with a handsome paperboy son. “I didn’t move my family to Des Moines to live in fear behind locked doors. I do not cede the night to shadowy figures who hide by day. … The sun should never set on freedom and personal






D AT E !

Bread & Butter Wednesday,

Release Party!

Sept. 21, 5-7 P.M. Riverside Theatre in Iowa City

security.” Stranger-danger fears wormed their way into the American consciousness. A 1987 NBC survey of children found 76 percent were “very concerned” about kidnapping, more than nuclear war or HIV/AIDS. In a 1997 Newsweek poll of parents, the majority viewed abduction and murder as greater threats to their family than illness or accidents. “Disinformation,” Renfro writes in his 2020 book, “grew out of unfathomable devastation and uncertainty, as the parents of missing and exploited children generally had no sense of where to turn following their respective losses.” Runaway or “thrownaway” children comprise the overwhelming majority of missing youths, and kids in poverty, kids of color and those who identify as LGBTQ are far more vulnerable to predation—particularly after cuts to social services and increased community policing. Yet they are far less likely to be portrayed as victims in the media. Systematic violence is overshadowed by crimes seen as more meaningful—signals of cultural, moral decay. “Perhaps by transferring blame onto a faceless monster like a child prostitution ring or a religious cult operating outside the Midwest, Iowans could absolve their communities, their state, and their region,” Renfro continued. As online conspiracy theories festered and thrived during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Johnny Gosch mystery reentered the public consciousness anew. Today, Noreen corresponds directly with followers in a private Facebook group of 3,500 members, Official Johnny Gosch Group. Ahead of the 40th anniversary of her son’s disappearance, Noreen agreed to the ultimate AMA: trying to answer 1,000 questions from the group before Sept. 5. It appears Noreen’s perspective on the case has not shifted much since she published her book in 2000, Why Johnny Can’t Come Home: Kidnapped While Delivering Newspapers…… Forced into Pornography, Prostitution, Mind Control, Espionage. “Yes I do believe it is linked to the large pedophile network in the U.S., Satanic abuse, MKUltra, all of these or a combination is at their finger tips [sic]. I was on the right track with my investigation from Day 1,” she declared in early August. The Facebook group’s main moderator has posted Benghazi conspiracy theories, blamed “liberal agitators” for the Jan. 6 insurrection, and called the media “corrupt” on his personal Facebook page. At least a few members of the Official Johnny Gosch Group give credence to





September is National Suicide Prevention Month Trained crisis counselors are available to provide free, confidential support to people experiencing thoughts of suicide or in need of emotional support. Text or call 988, or chat online at To have mobile crisis counselors dispatched to any location in Johnson or Iowa County, call 1-855-581-8111 and ask for mobile crisis.




Don't hesitate to reach out. You are not alone.


QAnon, one proclaiming that, “Q helped wake me up.” Noreen has expressed belief in the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and has recommended the work of QAnon influencer Liz Crokin and prominent British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who sees 5G and COVID-19 as weapons designed by reptilian overlords. To her credit, Noreen has never tied her son’s case to a specific political movement, and doesn’t advocate vigilantism. But she frequently shows her ignorance on the science of pedophilia, claiming the death penalty is the only way to stop a sex criminal from reoffending, when in fact sex offenders have notably lower recidivism rates than other offenses, especially when an individual receives treatment during their incarceration. Her narrative gives Johnny’s case the importance it feels like a missing child’s case should have. It is a convincing (enough) answer for many; secret pedophile organizations, however elite or satanic, are in many ways less frightening than the relatives, guardians, care providers and friendly neighbors on the local news arrested for harming a child who trusted them—much less the sacred, all-American institutions we know protected even the most prolific abusers, from Larry Nassar to Catholic clergy. Plus, in Noreen’s reality, Johnny is alive. We haven’t seen or heard from him because he isn’t safe out in the open, but according to his mother, he’s out there somewhere, safe in hiding. “I have a friend who said to me once through all of this ‘you are lucky,’” Noreen replied to a question about the role faith has played in her activism. “I asked why she would say that and she replied ‘You know what your purpose is for being here.’”

The missing-person cases of Johnny Gosch, Eugene Martin and Marc Allen remain unsolved. Their faces continued to grace milk cartons until the practice fizzled out around 1990, after too many parents complained it was scaring their kids at the breakfast table. (Milk carton campaigns weren’t especially effective anyway, it turns out, and the AMBER Alert system took over in 1996.) “In the ideal world [Johnny Gosch] is alive and he comes home and everybody’s happy,” WDPD Lt. Jeff Miller told WHO-TV in 2010. “But in the real world more than likely our best lead will come when his body is found. And at that point it becomes a crime scene.” In the conclusion to Stranger Danger, Renfro paints a portrait of a nation that has shed its boogeymen—where every child is looked after. “If American adults wish to ‘save our children’ ... they will instruct children and adolescents not to fear strangers but to maintain a healthy skepticism of those they do not know—and those they do. They will care about young people as much when they are nonwhite as when they are white; as much when they are homely as when they are adorable; as much when they are born as when they are unborn; as much when they are found as when they are missing.” Emma McClatchey was born in Iowa City in 1993. She can’t remember not knowing the name “Johnny Gosch.” Visit to read a longer version of this article that delves deeper into the conspiracy theories surrounding the Gosch case.

30 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

Bread & Butter

Got a hankerin’ for some pinball?

Joseph Servey / Little Village

Find machines throughout the CRANDIC!

Cedar Rapids

Quarter Barrel 616 2nd Ave SE, 319-200-4140, The Bohemian 1029 3rd St SE, 319-213-2051, Jason Smith / Little Village

Green Gable Inn 1227 J Ave NE, 319-366-4640

LV Recommends

Lancer Lanes Bowling Center 3203 6th St SW, 319-364-

Tap Tap | Double Tap Beercade


121 E College St, 319-855-5230,


he people of Iowa City love a good ball game, as we all know, and there’s a new practitioner in town—a peddler of parlor games, pinball and pizzas. Double Tap is located at 121 1/2 E College St, in the Ped Mall of downtown Iowa City, right between construction and corruption. If you squint and peek, you’re sure to see some spectral remnants in the underground tunnels, but that’s part of the adventure! It’s hard to play a good game of arcade-anything above ground and the semi-hauntedness of Ped Malllocked College Street lends itself well to the recently reclaimed space. Double Tap’s fresh take on beercadia has the momentum and vision to thrive, plus, pizza! (This reporter was encouraged to mention the specialty pizzas for their extra deliciousness, by trusted sources.) The manager, Paul Sager, was generous and willing to answer my inquiries regarding this underground funhouse. So here you go→

Westside Lounge 325 Edgewood Rd NW, 319-396-9548 First Turn Games 3645 1st Ave SE, 319-826-1289, Pedaler’s Fork 2010 Sylvia Ave NE, 319-826-2490, Collins Road Theatre 1462 Twixt Town Rd, 319-377-4555, Cedar Rapids Bowling Center 265 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, 319377-9481, Big Shots Bar & Grill 1803 6th Ave, Marion, 319-200-1117 Brogan’s Pub & Grub 806 1st St, Palo, 319-851-3278 Dance-Mor Ballroom 77 2nd St SE, Swisher, 319-784-8208,

Iowa City

Gabe’s 330 E Washington St, Joystick Comedy Arcade 13 S Linn St,


SpareMe Bowl & Arcade 407 E Washington St, 319-519-

• Monday: Half off pizza & $4 Jameson pours


• Tuesday: $3 domestics & $4 draft pours

Deadwood Tavern 6 S Dubuque St, 319-351-9417

(which this reporter can attest are well-curated, craft options)

Tap Tap | Double Tap Beercade 121 E College St, 319-855-

• Wednesday: BOGO well drinks


• Thursday: $4 vodka Red Bulls, $2 Pink Whitney vodka lemonades

Grizzly’s South Side Pub & Grill 1210 Highland Ct, 319-337-7536

• Friday: $3 rum & $2 off craft cocktails until 8 p.m.

2 Dogs Pub 1705 S 1st Ave, 319-408-8238, Colonial Lanes 2253 Old Hwy 218 S, 319-338-1573,

The highlights of this lowdown: Come for Guitar Hero, two-player Mario Kart and Pong, and four-player Pac-Man; stay for the good times and an escape from the rest of it all. Nothing beats the kindness of underground beercades. Like, literally, nothing. P.S. There were whispers in the air regarding the formation of leagues. So, if you crave to compete, please don’t hesitate to form a posse and to start an underground world of your own around ice ball, pinball, whatever floats your boat. There are many willing adversaries for various levels of play. For more details, contact P.P.S. No champagne, no gain. ––Amanda Panda 32 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 Quail Creek Golf Course 700 Club House Rd, North Liberty, 319-626-2281, The Leaderboard Sports Bar 680 Meade Dr, North Liberty, 319-289-0152, Source: Pinball Map, an open source, crowdsourced worldwide map of public pinball machines


Eatery &Bar FROM OUR MENU Shares // Fondue, Charcuterie Street Tacos // Korean Beef, Baja Fish Sliders // Tenderloin & Waffles, Cheeseburger Stonefire Flats // Classic Pepperoni, Spicy Chicken Bowls // Buddha, Strawberry Spinach At the junction of I-80 and Dodge St. Open noon to 10 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year





36 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310



The art of data



September 2022

oughly every five years, Americans for the Arts, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit founded in 1960, conducts a nationwide LEARN MORE impact study on how individual communities are affected economically by the arts programs they foster and support. This year, the sixth of the study, Englert Theatre Development Director Katie Roche made sure that Johnson County would be part of it. The Englert is leaning into the process, folding administration of the Arts & Economic Prosperity study (AEP6) into Roche’s job duties (they also received a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs that allows for a paid intern to support Roche’s work, Coe College student Alex Tomes). The information gleaned from this study will help arts organizations like the Englert, and people in Roche’s role both locally and across the country, build talking points and snapshots that show how vital the arts are to local economies, leading to better chances at grant funding and more leverage for lobbyists to drive legislative change. As you attend events in Johnson County this fall, including many of those featured in this issue, please take a moment to fill out the survey if it’s handed to you. It’s a small way to deepen the vibrancy of your community! Roche spoke to Little Village via email about the survey and its potential impact. people about their spending is challenging during a time where many are experiencing economic What have you learned of value from crisis, and situations where organizations are just previous AEP surveys? In what ways will trying to dig back out and re-establish their annuJohnson County data be valuable to simal operations and don’t have the capacity to look ilar communities across the nation? I’ve used the metrics from prior AEP studies in my that far forward. This tool will help all arts orgs work as an arts advocate and encouraged other to inspire supporters to give generously, can inarts organizations to reference the studies in their fluence government appropriations, and can give advocacy. The economic impact number was a our community a sense of pride for the ways in key metric for making the case for the Englert which arts and culture make our communities a and FilmScene’s Strengthen Grow Evolve cam- great place to live. paign by benchmarking how our current economic impact would be expanded by the investments “I JOKE THAT DATA SINGS TO the campaign would make in our facilities and ME, BUT TRULY, I’VE SEEN program. In the past I’d used their general formula to calculate impact. With our county-wide DATA INFORM DECISIONS participation we’ll have numbers that directly THAT CHANGE PEOPLES LIVES reflect the impact of our local arts community. All of the communities that participate across AND OUR COMMUNITY FOR the country will have added value of that direct THE BETTER.” impact and the ability to compare themselves to similar communities.

participation in AEP6 my hope is that our county will participate in the future AEP7, in order to gain a deeper understanding of how arts and cultural organizations truly impact our economy. This is definitely a challenging time to administer a study, asking organizations that are even more under-resourced than they were before the pandemic to volunteer to take on survey collection at some of their events ... We’ve been met with concerns of not having enough staff or volunteers, feelings that asking

Ali Hval / Little Village


Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. David Bromberg Quintet, Englert Theatre, Iowa City, $15-39 Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Texas Hippie Coalition, Wildwood Saloon, Iowa City, $20-30 Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. Brotherhood Tour Featuring Kevin Burt and Ken Valdez, James Theater, Iowa City, $20 Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. Local Rock Showcase: Knubby, Maaaze and The Funky Prettys, Moco Game Room & Hot Dog Bar, Cedar Rapids Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. The Feralings, CSPS Hall, Cedar Rapids, $10-13 Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. Music on the Move with Dave Zollo, Cardigan Park, Iowa City, Free Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Live from the Artisan Studio: Matt and Kristin Brooks, Brucemore, Cedar Rapids, $10-15 Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Goo Goo Dolls, McGrath Amphitheatre, Cedar Rapids,

What excites you most about this, personally? Do you enjoy nerding out on data or are you interested only in the human impact of the results? I am someone

who can look at a spreadsheet and see a story. I joke that data sings to me, but truly, I’ve seen data inform decisions that change peoples lives and our community for the better. Making informed decisions helps under-resourced organizations to conserve resources in ways where they can have the most impact. I’m most excited to see how we can harness the power of these results to improve funding for the arts and expand service to underserved and marginalized people. Arts access is why I go to work every day because I believe in the power of the arts to transform people’s lives for the better. —Genevieve Trainor

$32.00 - $126.00 Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Haley Reinhart w/Charlotte Blu, Englert Theatre, $20-40

Joe Tingle

Aside from the impact of the pandemic, what do you see as the biggest shift between now and 2017 that will drive differences in findings between AEP5 and AEP6? By establishing a benchmark with our

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 Please check venue listing in case details have changed.

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 37

FA L L A R T S P R E V I E W Prairie Pop

Life Cult

38 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

Dana Telsrow / Little Village


n a magical summer evening in 1986, after a fiery performance by the Cult, the sun refused to set. The band’s shows radiated a mystical quality that could realign heavenly bodies, though this anomaly of nature occurred because Finland’s Provinssirock Festival took place north of the Arctic Circle. “You have this strange situation where it still feels like daytime during high summer,” frontman Ian Astbury said, “even at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. I remember walking around the grounds and just observing everybody at the festival. The whole town had been taken over by mostly young people who were attending Provinssirock, and everybody was dressed in a way that expressed a real sense of individualism, connectedness and intimacy.” Astbury was also struck by the fresh flowers covering the edge of the stage. It’s a visual impression that remains with him four decades later. “It’s one of those lived experiences that you carry with you that helps shape your character and form your worldview,” Astbury told me. “Because it’s such a rich moment, and I could still access that feeling through that memory, it still rings in the essence of my core.” That touchstone moment directly influenced the title track of the Cult’s new record, Under the Midnight Sun, which is anchored by a quiet acoustic guitar and a lush cinematic string arrangement that swirls around Astbury as he croons, “Under the midnight sun / with creatures of the wild.” “The festival was a really beautiful experience coming from where we had been, because we came out of punk rock, which was definitely much more volatile, violent, frenetic, urban and gritty—and this experience was far more transcendent and liberating.” The Cult got its start after Astbury, who had formed the Southern Death Cult in 1981, began collaborating with Billy Duffy a couple years later. After a brief stint as the Death Cult, which released an EP in 1983, Duffy and Astbury shortened their name to the Cult by the time the band released its gothic post-punk debut, Dreamtime, the following year. Their follow up, Love, earned them more visibility after the international success of “She Sells Sanctuary,” a majestic single that the Cult performed at Provinssirock, where the blackclad band stood out in the summer sun. Astbury

cut a particularly dramatic figure with his long black hair and French Revolution-era aristocratic clothes that consisted of a long black dress coat with tails and a ruffled white lace Jabot collar, like something a rock-and-roll Napoleon would wear. Musically, the past four decades have found the band shifting stylistic gears in ways that made it hard to sustain mainstream success (though they continue to cultivate a large, devoted audience). “I’ve never arrived at a moment where I think, ‘Eureka, we have a formula!’ It was always about building it, destroying it, rebuilding, destroying,” Astbury said. “I’m talking about scorched earth.

The Cult, Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines, Saturday, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m., $70-$320

era—that period in the mid-’80s—in terms of self-expression and the cultivation of consciousness. We were living through the Cold War, and we were very much in harmony with environmentalist organizations like Greenpeace. ... You can draw so many correlative and connective lines that run through those frequencies.” With Under the Midnight Sun, the Cult tap into that cosmic form of networked communication by simultaneously peering in the rearview

“I DON’T CARRY THE COFFIN OF MY YOUTH AROUND WITH ME.” Burn it to the ground, forget everything and look at what’s coming. Let’s immerse ourselves in this moment, our environment and its frequencies. I don’t carry the coffin of my youth around with me. I don’t weep for those earlier periods in my life, though sometimes you can look back to those touchstones and respond to its echoes.” In 2022, Astbury exudes the vibe of a hippiegoth-punk elder who speaks of frequencies that can open the doors of perception and liberate humankind—an invisible cultural web that permeates everything and links us all together. “One of the wonderful things about live music is that you’re right there in that moment, and then it’s gone,” he said. “But that experience at the Provinssirock Festival is something I can access through memory. It was a really beautiful

mirror and steadily marching forward to the beat of their own drum. “I try to be the best version of myself right now, and as a group we are so connected and the performances have been particularly intense,” Astbury said. “We don’t do a ‘concert.’ We don’t do a ‘performance’—we create an environment. We’re creating cathedrals, creating spaces for expression and connection to a community. Unfortunately, the essence of that Provinssirock Festival experience is sadly lacking in today’s hyper-commercial, hyper-commodified world.” Kembrew McLeod navigates the psychic frequencies and comes in contact with outer entities, to paraphrase Blondie’s “(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear.”

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A Cymbal-ic Centennial Season


asting 100 years is clearly something for any arts organization to celebrate. “It gives an illusion of permanence,” says Orchestra Iowa music director Timothy Hankewich. “But nowhere is it written that a community will have a symphony orchestra.” In recent decades, many orchestras have folded in the United States. The continuous existence of Orchestra Iowa (known as the Cedar Rapids Symphony for much of its existence) deserves to be lauded as a remarkable achievement, the aggregate work of many people down through the years. Full disclosure: my father, Richard Williams, was the music director from 1970 through 1981. There were previous directors: Joseph Kitchen (1923-1952) and Henry Denecke (1952-1970). Christian Tiemeyer (1981-2006) succeeded my father. Hankewich has been director since 2006. When it began, Maestro Kitchen and the orchestra members were unpaid volunteers. It wasn’t until Denecke took over as director that it became a professional orchestra. The Cedar Rapids Symphony performed its first concert on April 13, 1923, in Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium, and continued there for over 50 years. In 1975, the newly restored Paramount Theatre became the orchestra’s permanent home. The symphony started out with just a few concerts each year before the arrival of Richard Williams. In 1970, the orchestra’s board of directors hired Williams to fulfill their ambitious plans for expansion. During Williams’ tenure as conductor, the orchestra grew its season to a series of eight pairs of concerts on Friday and Saturday nights. “The community has decided to pursue a course of professionalism,” Hankewich said of that transition. This changed the nature of the orchestra as a business. “It becomes a mathematical problem to solve because tickets that audience members will purchase will only cover perhaps 20 to 30 percent of the actual expense.” The Paramount’s sale to the city and subsequent restoration was funded in large part by

40 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

Conor Hanick, who grew up in Iowa City, will perform with Orchestra Iowa in November. Anneliese Varaldiev

donations from businessman and philanthropist Peter Bezanson. But things have changed since the ’70s. Financial support for Orchestra Iowa, the name the organization adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 flood, has become more diffuse. “Switching from a donor base of a few high profile patrons and benefactors to a much more broad based support system from our audience and supporters has been probably the biggest change in our financial planning since my tenure,” Hankewich said. The centennial season, which kicks off Sept.

Orchestra Iowa Masterworks II, Homecoming, featuring Conor Hanick, Piano Saturday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $17+; Sunday, Nov. 20, 2 p.m., Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, $17+

“He was a terrific pianist then,” Hankewich said, “but to see him go on and perform with the New York Philharmonic … and to perform with great artists like Pierre Boulez—it’s neat to see how the investment a community has made in its local talent has paid off and to celebrate “HE WAS A TERRIFIC PIANIST THEN, BUT their achievements by bringing them back.” TO SEE HIM GO ON AND PERFORM WITH The audience for classical THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC...IT’S music has been largely white NEAT TO SEE HOW THE INVESTMENT over the years, but Orchestra Iowa is trying to change that. A COMMUNITY HAS MADE IN ITS “Our audiences have seen LOCAL TALENT HAS PAID OFF AND TO soloists of color way more CELEBRATE THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS BY often than they have in the past,” Hankewich said. “We BRINGING THEM BACK.” have presented new music of composers of color as well as a lot more diversity and sort of 17 with Brucemorchestra, includes three world gender representation in the music that we play.” premieres by composers with Iowa ties: UNI After enduring and flourishing for a century, Professor Nancy Hill Cobb, Dubuque native Orchestra Iowa’s future seems secure. Michael Gilbertson, and Coe College’s Jerry “I am very grateful and very honored and very Owen. The anniversary season will also include thrilled that our orchestra has not only survived pianist Conor Hanick, who grew up in Iowa City. for 100 years,” Hankewich said, “ but we also Hanick’s first performance with the symphony live in a community that loves its orchestra.” was in the wake of the 2008 Cedar Rapids flood. —Kent Williams


Photo: Tony Duran

Photo: Justin Torner

HANCHER AUDITORIUM 50 Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein September 14 – SOLD OUT Leslie Odom, Jr. September 24 Soweto Gospel Choir September 29

Photo: Gas Photographic

Aaron Diehl and Brandon Patrick George, Songs of Black America October 14

Leslie Odom, Jr.

All Rise – Symphony No. 1 (Marsalis) Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis October 22 Brentano String Quartet and Dawn Upshaw October 25 UI DEPARTMENT OF DANCE

Dance Gala 2022 November 11–12

Soweto Gospel Choir

YEARS 1972–2022

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis Photo: Whitney Thomas

Annie November 14–16 Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis November 19 Cantus December 1 Patti LaBelle, Celebrate the Season December 9



Patti LaBelle, Celebrate the Season



STOMP January 21 Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti January 29 Pilobolus, Big Five-Oh! February 4 Kronos Quartet, At War With Ourselves – 400 Years of You February 11 Photo: Lawrence Sumulong


American Ballet Theatre



Dan + Claudia Zanes, Let Love Be Your Guide February 18 Academy of St Martin in the Fields March 2 CLUB HANCHER

Alexa Tarantino Band March 8 CLUB HANCHER

Isaiah J. Thompson Quartet March 23

Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott


Vuyo Sotashe Group March 25

Photo: © Jeff Goldberg / Esto

Scene from ZigZag. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.


Isaiah J. Thompson Quartet

Pilobolus, Big Five-Oh!

Photo: Mark Mann


Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott March 28 Conor Hanick with Keir GoGwilt and Jay Campbell April 14 Emerson String Quartet April 21 American Ballet Theatre May 6

Order online Call (319) 335-1160 or 800-HANCHER


Accessibility Services (319) 335-1160

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Hancher in advance at (319) 335-1160.



Friday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Monuments w/Essenger, Gabe’s, Iowa City, $20 Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. WH: Debit, James Theater, $10-23

The hip-hop horizon

via the artist

Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. Mary Gauthier, CSPS Hall, $15-25 Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. Qwanqwa, CSPS Hall, $10-12 Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Englert Theatre, $20-55 Monday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Dawes & Bahamas, Englert Theatre, $20-49.50 Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Jake Shimabukuro, Englert Theatre, $20-35 Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Black Opry Revue, Englert Theatre, $10-20 Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24 Soul & Blues Festival, Downtown Iowa City, Free Friday, Sept 23 at 7:30 p.m. Three Dog Night, Paramount Theatre, $49-99 Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Leslie Odom, Jr., Hancher, $40-95 Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Bear’s Den, Englert Theatre, $20-33 Saturday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. Critical Mass w/Ill Omen, Dolliver, Fishbait, Gabe’s, $10 Sunday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Joe Purdy, Englert Theatre, $10-28 Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Lucinda Williams and Her Band, Englert Theatre, $20-53 42 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310


his fall will see a wide range of releases from Iowan artists spanning the diverse rap and hip-hop spectrum. While this is far from a comprehensive list of what’s on tap for the next several months, here’s a cross-section looking at five releases from young, up-andcoming artists who have new projects on the way. Up first in early September is the debut album from XManjin, titled Hate Me. XManjin self-produced roughly half of the tracks, and the release will be rounded out by several features including the likes of DRXCULV (whose own album, Antiporn, is also being readied for release). Thematically, Hate Me looks to serve as an outlet for the 20-year-old rapper and producer to challenge the glorification of drug-culture within music, following his own challenges with substance abuse. “I just want to look at it in a negative way so people stop glorifying it,” he told Little Village. Later in September, Shaky Shawn999 will issue an expanded deluxe edition of his Before I Die EP. Born in Chicago, the 21-year-old framed his intention behind his music as influenced by an aesthetic rather than specific style. “Punk is just anything opposite of a square,” he told Little Village. “That’s exactly what it is.” Blending beats, vocals and raps, the upcoming album will also feature work from teenage producer TB.

“The shit that he does at his age is mind blowing,” Shawn said. Bridging September and October are a pair of releases from Quan Draper, titled Viice and Viirtue. Piggybacking off his original Virtue (2018) and Vice (2019) EPs, the rapper and vocalist said the music will find him trying out new sounds and experimenting with songwriting conventions. “[2021 full-length] Snowfall was very introspective and expressive,” Draper said, whereas “you’ll get two sides of me with these next EPs: the fun, light side” with Viirtue, and the “harsh, competitive side” with Viice. Expanding on Shaky Shawn999’s conceptual bridge between rap and punk will be the new EP from Antiluv, titled Anti-Pop Rockstar, which more literally connects the two genres. It will see a stylistic split, with one half bearing a vocal and beat-propelled sound and the other leaning into instrumentally driven pop-punk. The tracks were recorded at Carousel Studios in Des Moines, where Antiluv also serves as an audio engineer, and individual songs will see a staggered release before the full collection drops as a unit sometime around Halloween. Out of Iowa City, TheZeffster will be returning this November with a new release combining a series of new recordings with several re-mastered and re-released songs. With production from Lugi Beats, the stillto-be titled EP is being recorded and released through Hit Island Studios in Chicago. Calling his brand of sound “ascension music,” TheZeffster told Little Village his focus with the upcoming collection is to help promote progression in himself and his listeners. “I make music that puts you in high spirits,” he said. —Chris DeLine

TheZeffster, Emma Gray / Little Village

Dana Telsrow / Little Village


t’s never too early to start planning your halloweekend. Halloween Cover Show Trumpet Blossom Cafe, Halloween officially lands on Thursday, Oct. 27, 8:30 p.m. Monday this year, so the fun’s starting early. On Thursday, Oct. 27, performHalloween Benefit for RVAP Trumpet Blossom Cafe, ers––amateur and professional Saturday, Oct. 29, donations alike––can sign up to cover 1-3 songs at Trumpet Blossom Cafe. The evening will be hosted by the House Stark Band, a merry group of reanimated Game of Thrones cosplayers performing Grateful Dead tunes. Here’s your chance to get creative – they’re giving you more than a month’s notice to sign up! If you want to play, you must wear a costume and sign up in advance. PA, drum kit, two mics, bass and guitar amp will be provided. Already getting a band together and eager to sign up? Email Jordan at (Little Village’s art director) to reserve your spot. On Saturday, Oct. 29, there’s a benefit show that you don’t want to miss. All proceeds of door donations will be donated to the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP). Come costumed and ready to watch four acts hit the stage. The lineup for the show will include four local acts: Cactus 5, Tomato Boy, Trophy Wives, and Bryn Lovitt. Each act is planning on dressing up as an indie artist; plan on seeing fits resembling the Strokes, St. Vincent, Hole and Angel Olsen. No promises, but right now, Kane Edwards, the organizer of the event, is considering dressing as the famous pro-wrestler Glenn Jacobs, AKA Kane. Due to Trumpet Blossom’s small capacity, if you’re interested in either of these delightful events, commit sooner rather than later. Spots for the House Stark Band’s cover show are filling up fast, and a limited number of tickets will be available soon for the show on Saturday. ––Sid Peterson OT H E R O C C U LT I S H O C C A S I O N S Morbid Curiosities & Mabbott

Wine with the Witch,

Poe, University of Iowa Libraries,

Bloomsbury Farm, Atkins,

Iowa City, Monday, Oct. 10

Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m., $49.95

at 6:30 p.m., Free

Dark Harvest Halloween Parade,

Misery, Theatre Cedar Rapids,

NewBo/Czech Village,

Oct. 14-29, $15-27

Cedar Rapids, Saturday, Oct. 22

The Weir, Riverside Theatre,

at 6:30 p.m.

Iowa City, Oct. 14-30, $15-35

Crooked Path Theatre Presents:

Knight of 1,000 Papercuts: a

Creepy Campfire Cabaret,

Knights of the Round Pasties

Country Camp Farm, Iowa City,

Halloween and Anniversary

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29-30,

burlesque show, CSPS, Cedar

$10-15; Saturday ticket holders

Rapids, Saturday, Oct. 15 at

are invited to stay for the Creepy

8 p.m., $15-20

Campfire Ball after the show LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 43


Come Back Swingin’

A cool new saloon will open this fall in an historic Cedar Rapids space.


nce on the brink of demolition, a building constructed over 100 years ago is about to be reborn as Cedar Rapids’ newest bar and music venue. First opening as the Ideal Theatre over a century ago, the building at 213 16th Ave SE will start a new chapter of its story, written by its new owners, when it reopens as the Ideal Theater & Bar this October. Located between Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village and New Bohemia districts, the property was once on the brink of demolition before being purchased in 2014 and developed into the Ideal Social Hall three years later. After serving as an event space for the past several years, the property changed hands again this spring when local business owner Jon Jelinek sold the building. “I sold him my vision for it,” new owner Kenyon Thorp told Little Village. “And I took it back to its original name, the Ideal Theater, because I won’t be showing movies, but it will be a theater of music.” While the renovated Social Hall helped usher the Ideal back to life, Thorp’s vision for the building is one based around the concept of restoration. “I think that history is extremely important,” Thorp said. “And it was extremely important for me, not only to keep the name, but to do an entire build-out that did justice to the history of the building.”

Kenyon Thorpe at Ideal Theater Malcolm MacDougall / Little Village

This includes offsetting its original tin ceiling with a beautiful, newly constructed wooden bar that runs the entire length of the venue. While Thorp partnered with her father and sister to invest in the building as a team in March, she alone will be responsible for the management of the venue. A long-time bartender with consultation and management experience, Thorp’s vision for the new Ideal is one with a social emphasis that nevertheless strives to remain clear of any pretense of exclusivity. “In Cedar Rapids you either have fine dining or you have sports bars. There’s really no place right up that middle lane where you can dress nicely and come to and hang out without having to buy an expensive meal or anything like that. And that is exactly what I aim to be here at the Ideal.” With an estimated standing capacity of around 150, the Ideal aims to showcase what Thorp cals “high-quality music.”

Follow to stay up to date as shows are booked

“My focus will be blues, funk, soul; I’d love to get some big band swing bands in here,” Thorp said. “Stuff that people can really really dance to.” Thorp is aiming for one event per week once the venue goes live, and the plan is for the Ideal to remain open seven days a week as a bar. While she’s a lifelong music fan, this is the aspect of the business which really brings the excitement out of Thorp as she expounds on her passion for bartending. “I love hearing the stories, meeting the characters, watching the rise and fall of love stories,” she said. “I come from a long line of whiskey drinkers and saloon goers,” Thorp added. “My great-grandmother bartended until she was 84. It runs in my blood, I guess.” —Chris DeLine



44 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

GIVE GUIDE A local holiday nonprofit and retail spotlight issue COMING NOVEMBER 2022 Contact LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 45



Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Soweto

Iowa’s Dance Gala, Hancher

Gospel Choir, Hancher, $10-50

Auditorium, Nov. 11

via Soweto Gospel Choir

& 12, 8 p.m., $6-24

Lindsay Thomas

Friday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Englert Theatre, $10-27 Friday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. Harbour w/ America Part Two & Kelsey Bou, Gabe’s, $12 Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Little Feat, Englert Theatre, $25-99 Sunday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Carnifex w/ Spite, Oceano, Wildwood Saloon, $25 Sunday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Les Filles de

via Les Filles de Illighadad

Illighadad, Gabe’s, $15-20

Sunday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. WH: Nakatani Gong Orchestra, Englert Theatre, $10-20


Tuesdays, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27 at 7 p.m. Open Mic Comedy, Lucky Cat Comedy, Cedar Rapids, Free Opening Friday, Sept. 9 Chipmunk’d, Riverside Theatre, Iowa City, $15-35 Friday-Saturday, Sept. 9-10 Chicago Comedy Takeover, Joystick Comedy Arcade, Iowa City, $5 Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Lions Variety Show, CSPS Hall, Cedar Rapids, Free-$15 Closing Sunday, Sept. 11 Once, Brucemore, $23 Friday-Saturday, Sept. 16-17 POOL, James Theater, Iowa City, $35 Opening Friday, Sept. 16 Little Shop of Horrors, Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, $17-30 Opening Friday, Sept. 16 Yellow, Giving Tree Theater, Marion, $23 46 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

Birds of a feather


he University of Iowa’s Dance Gala is still months away, (mark your calendar for Nov. 11 and 12!) but we’re already eager to attend one of the two shows at Hancher. As always, Gala-goers can expect to spend the evening watching dancers perform faculty members’ new, innovative choreography. This year, they’ll also be introduced to FLOCK, a co-choreography dance company consisting of Alice Klock and Florian Lochner. (FLOCK is both the duo’s names combined and their dance philosophy: representing the idea that their work is always expanding and including new artists). The two originally met as choreographic fellows at Hubbard Street in Chicago. While dancing for the company, they began experimenting and creating choreography together in their free time. After years of creating dances together, they committed to FLOCK full-time in 2019 and have been performing original work and working with international collaborators for film and stage. They’re also choreographers for dance companies, universities and cultural institutions. Storytelling is an important part of Klock and Lochner’s styles as choreographers. They strive to create routines that bring their audiences into a different world, where daily lives are forgotten for a moment. And they’re excited to incorporate this mentality into their teaching this fall, challenging students to explore their voices while creating work for the Gala. This isn’t FLOCK’s first time as guest choreographers at the UI; they worked with students in the 2020-21 school year. In an email to LV, Klock described UI’s dance program as “multilayered” and “unique in its broad and open approach to dance.” FLOCK became acquainted with Armando Duarte, UI’s contemporary dance professor, at a Hubbard Street dance show and the three hit it off right away. The duo appreciates Duarte’s desire to build a platform at Iowa for future voices in dance. This year will be their first time creating a piece for the Dance Gala with students. “We’re very excited for this creation and plan on making an energetic piece that really celebrates the individuality of each of the dancers while also emphasizing the power of the collective,” Klock noted. In addition to collaborating with the UI, FLOCK is involved in many other projects this fall. They’ll be working for an emerging dance company in the U.K., holding a dance intensive in Los Angeles and preparing for their upcoming tour in the spring. For more information on FLOCK and their upcoming whereabouts, be sure to check out their Instagram: @flocks. They have a following of 84.2K and post dance videos frequently. —Sid Peterson

Photo: Gas Photographic





TICKETS Adults $30 / $40 / $50 College Students $10 / $10 / $40 Youth $10 / $10 / $40

Thursday, September 29, 7:30 pm HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming commemorates and celebrates South Africa’s Freedom Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The incomparable voices of this three-time Grammy Award-winning choir will once again bring joy and inspiration to the Hancher audience as they sing songs of liberation and justice that have moved generations of those invested in fairness and freedom.

Order online Call (319) 335-1160 or 800-HANCHER Accessibility Services (319) 335-1160


Loretta Angerer Dale and Linda Baker Norma and David Carlson

Michael S. and Renee Favo Kris Jones

Chuck Peters Mary Ann Peters

HANCHER AUDITORIUM 50 Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Hancher in advance at (319) 335-1160.

YEARS 1972–2022

Sid Peterson / Little VIllage


Perfectly Crooked


t can be hard to keep up with the absolute explosion of theater happening in the corridor. Talent and passion keep sprouting in this fertile Iowan soil, and “so much theater” is an incredibly delightful (and coveted) problem for any town to have. Not new, but positively blossoming this fall is one company you may or may not be familiar with: Crooked Path Theatre. What started as a side/seed project of long-time local theater artists Patrick Du Laney and Chris Okiishi, now brings its first full season of shows to Iowa City, from straight plays to musical cabarets. Crooked Path kicked off that season in August. At its home base of the James Theater, Crooked Path produced a one-woman musical written and starring a performer and costume designer with deep ties to Iowa City, Jill Van Brussel. This first show, Why Do I Own a Thong? (And Other

Existential Questions), provided a peak into what Crooked Path is all about and a promise of what is to come: In turns serious and funny, personal and communal, this big-hearted production brought a great talent back home, while including more than a dozen local performers who burst into the final song with a flourish of sass and joy. It seems that Crooked Path is looking to expand the borders of the corridor’s theater scene until its magic spills into all the margins and dark alleys that persistently lurk around the usual spotlights. Champions of the small musical, scrappy play and gutsy venue, Okiishi and Du Laney love to upend the expected theater experience. “There are more and more reasons to stay home now,” Du Laney said. “Between the pandemic and the ubiquity of what’s available on TV, you need to give an audience something they can’t get from Netflix, something immersive, unexpected and, we hope, thrilling.” Their first endeavor together in 2015, when Crooked Path was still just a twinkle in its fathers’ eyes, was a production of the Sondheim musical Company staged at the Northridge Pavilion in Coralville. The audience was included as partygoers, attending the lead character’s birthday party. Okiishi remembers it as “a magical, all-star production.” Their next full production was in 2017; Sense and Sensibility was performed in Jan Finlayson’s Iowa City design store, Luxe Interiors. The next year, they produced Marjorie Prime, a play about loss and technology-assisted grief, staged at the Iowa City Recycling Center. These brilliant pairings of location with production became Crooked Path’s calling card. That leads to their season’s first October offering. Ghost-Writer, by Michael Hollinger, centers on a prolific author in the 1930s. Audiences will find this riveting piece of theater at the same location they might, on another night, attend a

Iowa City Book Festival and Crooked Path Theatre Present: Beowulf, James Theater, Iowa City, Friday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m., $20

(not fictional) author reading their more current work: Prairie Lights Bookstore’s second floor. Note that you will only have two chances to be in the audience of Ghost-Writer—Oct. 22 and 23. The very next weekend is Crooked Path’s Creepy Campfire Cabaret at Janet Schlapkohl’s farm. And rest assured that Crooked Path’s annual holiday cabaret will be rocking mid-December at the James Theater, with more fun and thoughtful projects coming in 2023 (including a February production of Well, by Lisa Kron). But first, don’t miss this month’s “fierce retelling” of a millennium-old epic poem and experience a thoroughly performative aspect of the annual Iowa City Book Festival. In collaboration with Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, Crooked Path will bring a new Beowulf, adapted by Charlie Bethel and starring Minneapolis actor John Heimbuch, to the James Theater stage Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. When asked what it’s like to work together as a couple, Okiishi replied, “We have a tremendous respect for the other person and their abilities, and we respect each other enough to be able to say when we know we can do better. We constantly strive to hold each other to a loving but rigorous standard.” I can’t help but think this response translates well to Crooked Path’s relationship with Iowa City theater. Du Laney and Okiishi’s deep love and respect for this community shows in how and why they continue to do theater here, and specifically why they are committing to produce theater in earnest here. And the corridor is all the richer for their love of community and magic making. —Saunia Powell


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48 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

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Opening Friday, Sept. 16 Stupid Fucking Bird, Dreamwell Theatre, Artifactory, Iowa City, $10-15 Opening Friday, Sept. 16 Dogfight! Iowa City Community Theatre, $14-22 Friday, Sept. 16 at 9:30 p.m. Best of Iowa Comedy Show, Joystick Comedy Arcade, $5 Friday-Saturday, Sept. 16-17 at 7 p.m. Brent Terhune, Lucky Cat Comedy, $15-20 Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24 Jessica Misra, Joystick Comedy Arcade, $5 Drive, Mirrorbox Theatre, Cedar Rapids, Nov. 3-20, $20 Zak Neumann / Little Village

Batman Returns Returns, Mirrorbox Theatre, Dec. 14-18, $20

Artistic Director Caven Hallman at Mirrorbox Theatre Malcolm MacDougall / Little Village

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25 Titanic The Musical, Theatre Cedar Rapids, $22-46 Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Anastasia, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids, $55-85 Friday, Sept. 30 at 9:30 p.m. Roast of Travis Coltrain, Joystick Comedy Arcade, $5 Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 ICBF: BEOWULF, James Theater, $20 Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. GTT Comedy Night: Andy Hendrickson, Giving Tree Theater, $23 Sunday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. Bread & Puppet: Our Domestic Resurrection Circus, Mercer Park, Iowa City, Free


Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. Adria Bernardi with Katie Runde and Louisa Hall, Online, Prairie Lights, Free Mondays and Wednesdays, Sept. 7, 12,

Keep on Trucking


hen the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mirrorbox Theatre’s founder and artistic director Cavan Hallman brought together local and national performers for a Zoom reading series, Out the Box, creating community while hewing to the theater’s mission to present Iowa premieres. Now, that community is giving back, in support of their first physical space, a building in Cedar Rapids’ Time Check neighborhood renovated into an intimate black box theater. They’ve got an outdoor seating permit for the space, are applying for their liquor license and are excited to partner with area food trucks to establish a true destination for an evening out, when weather permits. Hallman spoke to Little Village about the exciting path forward for the company.

space? The number-one factor in choosing a play is, do I love it? You know? And I love this play. Drive ... primarily takes place in a bar, in a small, generalized town in the shadow of the I-80 World’s Largest Truck Stop. ... And it is about a cross section of the Iowa population, a variety of people who are all working in the trucking industry, and who have almost all just lost their jobs to automation. ... I didn’t know until I started diving a little further into the world of this play, that truckers make up … the largest segment of the Iowa workforce. If and when automation takes over this industry, it’s going to displace a huge number of people; it’s going to have a huge impact on our state and our country. As a company that focuses on these new plays, how many plays do you personally read in a month? Or in a week? Oh, gosh,

you know, there, there are seasons of work, right? … But I will say that in a given year, I probably read about 200 plays in total, like actually read the full play. And let’s say at least 100 or 200 more where, you know, you get 10 pages in and it’s just not going to be.

14, 19, 21, 26, 28 Fall Storytime, Sidekick Coffee & Books, Iowa City, Free Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. Belinda Huijuan Tang and Sanjena Sathian, Prairie Lights, Online, Free Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. Edward Carey, Prairie Lights, Free Sunday, Sept. 11, 18, 25 and Oct. 2

What are you most excited about? You know, what I’m really excited about is that we are able to extend the runs of our shows, to really let the work flow in the way that these new plays deserve. … I think that having that extra bit of time is really going to be important for letting the work breathe and be introduced to new people.

International Writing Program Sunday Reading Series, Prairie Lights, Free

50 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

What can you tell me about Drive? What can folks expect? And why did you choose that for your first new play in the

And is that typically, just in terms of spatial fit, casting fit? Or is there a trigger that you look for, that tells you that, you know, it’s just not a piece for you? I think

it’s less of a thing that I see that says no; it’s more of the absence of surprise. … whether it is a character whose perspective I’ve never heard before, whether it’s an environment that I’ve never seen staged before … there are a million ways for it to occur. But I’m looking for something that has that element of surprise. —Genevieve Trainor


Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 3-5, Various Iowa City Locations Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Lubomyr Melnyk, Joe Rainey & more

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University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art hours: Mon., closed; Tue., Wed., Fri., Sat., 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Thu, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun., 12–4:30

Jason Smith / Little Village


and very personal painting.” —Barbara McFadden, docent

Alma Thomas, Spring Embraces Yellow “You should look at Spring

Besides the Mural Stanley insiders tell us what to look for on a visit to the museum


Abdoulaye Konate, Rouge Kente et Monde

Embraces Yellow [accession num-

“It is a gorgeous textile located in

your soul. Alma Thomas’ works

Gallery 13. I would urge visitors to

are vibrant and inspiring; they can

simply stand before it and take in

brighten up the dreariest of days.”

the intense colors of the vertical

—Kathryn Reuter, Academic

strips of ribbons in red (blood),

Outreach Coordinator

black (earth) and white (spirits).

space, a very different type of

Hervé Youmbi, BamilékéDogon Ku’ngang Mask, Series: Visages de masques (VI)

presence than the paint equiva-

“This work is visually powerful,

lents. The textile is a total WOW!”

conceptually disruptive and it

—Pat Hanick, docent

highlights the vitality of contem-

To me the three-dimensional fab-

ure, Mural represents a breakthrough, American ascendency in the art world. Yeah, yeah, it has its own documentary film. And sure, the new University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art where it’s housed is gorgeous, sexing up Burlington Street like the Voxman before it. But what else should you look for in the Stanley’s collections? I asked museum staff, interns and docents to provide their personal favorites and must-see objects. You may have already gotten some of these recommendations from the museum’s recent social media posts, but here are a few more. All of the works are from the 20th or 21st century, and some are recent additions, acquired in the last five years. We’ve listed objects in alphabetical order by the artist’s last name, because we felt like it. A reminder that the museum is free of charge, so please take advantage of this old/new cultural resource in Iowa City.

ber 1975. 103] because it will warm

rics feel intensely present in the

porary artistic practice in Africa. It

Simone Leigh, #103 (Face Jug Series)

also complements the strength of

“Her work honors Black women

museum collection.”

and connects art from central

—Cory Gundlach, Curator of

Africa brought by slaves to the

African Art

historical masks from Africa in the

U.S. and interpreted by Leigh in an curators have placed it in conver-

Earthenware, Stoneware and Ceramics Collection

sation with a Grant Wood portrait

“I recommend UI Stanley Museum

and a Gordon Parks photograph.”

of Art visitors view the museum’s

—Laurie Zaiger, docent

earthenware, stoneware and ce-

exquisite sculpture/portrait. The

Eric Adjetey Anang’s Fantasy Coffins

Elizabeth Catlett, Glory (Glorie)

“[They have] a rich history from

“This 1981 bronze bust exhibits

the country of Ghana. These

[Catlett’s] ability to celebrate

Mark Rothko, Untitled

and Fieselmann Galleries (Galleries

coffins, sometimes referred to

the strength and beauty of Black

“I’d recommend people spend

3 and 4). Each individual vessel

as “receptacles of proverbs,” are

women. Glory Van Scott was a

time with smaller works … My

is a gorgeous masterpiece on its

figurative coffins that relate to the

performer and educator well-

favorite is probably the small un-

own, and the wall arrangement of

life of its inhabitant; in many ways

known for her work as a principal

titled Mark Rothko painting we

all of them together is absolutely

it is a final tribute to the lives lived,

dancer with several dance compa-

have—I love it because it’s a bit

stunning. It took my breath away

because of the images carved in

nies in the latter half of the 20th

funky and enigmatic (you don’t

when I saw it.” —Anne Welsh

the wooden receptacle.”

century.” —David Duer, docent

have to “get” everything you

ramic art collection in the Savin

look at!). It’s also an interesting

“You should follow one of our

Sam Gilliam, Red April

counterpart/precursor to more

self-guided tours! They’ve been

“These hand carved coffins have

“I feel something strong each

abstract works like Mural or the

thoughtfully designed for guests

several meanings. The fish coffin

time I am near it. You’ll see the

works that later defined Rothko’s

to explore objects as they relate

would be utilized traditionally for

amazing, rich texture achieved

own career. And I think, on a larger

to the tour themes. A fun and new

a fisher person, fishmonger or, in

by the innovative way Gilliam

scale, too, that’s what’s so great

way of experiencing the Stanley

a social awareness context, British

handled the canvas before it was

about [current museum exhibit]

collection. My favorite is Color

colonial authority in Ghana and

stretched—folding and painting

Homecoming—seeing all these

Tour – Red. Color tours focus on

the rules for burial forced upon

and saturating, then applying

works in conversation with one

the significance of particular hues

the Ga peoples. Eric is using a

additional elements as the canvas

another really helps you make

across time and cultures. The fea-

traditional art form that is part of

was stretched. The painting com-

interesting connections between

tured color changes periodically.”

his family’s legacy to make state-

memorates the pain and strife of

artists, mediums and cultures!”

—Amanda Lensing, Senior

ments about current events.”

the assassination of Martin Luther

—Allie Torkarski, Assistant Curator

Living Communities Program

—Eliza Rose, docent

King. It is a rich, deep, enigmatic

of Student Engagement


—Ann Donahue, docent

52 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

–Andrea Truitt



Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. Racial Reckoning and Social Justice Through Comics, Iowa City Public Library, Free Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Anthony Marra, Prairie Lights, Free Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. Sarah Derbew and Nell Irvin Painter, Online, Prairie Lights, Free Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. William Kent Krueger, Prairie Lights, Free Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. Joe Meno, Prairie Lights, Free Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Tom Montgomery Fate, Prairie Lights, Free Byron Burford, Untitled (Carnival scene)

Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. Ama Codjoe, Donika Kelly, Evie Shockley, Online, Prairie Lights, Free Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. Yiyun Li and Lan Samantha Chang, Prairie Lights, Free Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. ICBF: An Evening With Anthony Doerr, The Englert Theatre, Iowa City, $25 Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. ICBF: The Paul Engle Award Ceremony with Rebecca Solnit and Lyz Lenz, Coralville Public Library, Free Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. ICBF: Randall Munroe, First United Methodist Church, Iowa City, $30 Monday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. ICBF: Beth Livingston, Iowa City Public Library, Free


Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. Late Shift at the Grindhouse: The Children, FilmScene— Chauncey, Iowa City, $7 Friday-Thursday, Sept. 9-15 Unshakeable Belief: The Dr. Christine Grant Story, FilmScene—Chauncey, $8.41-12 Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Akira, FilmScene—The Ped Mall, Iowa City, $15 Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Pride at FilmScene: Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story, FilmScene—Chauncey, $9.50-12 Friday to Wednesday, Sept. 16-21 Three Colors: Blue, FilmScene—The Ped Mall, $9.50-10.50 Friday-Thursday, Sept. 16-22 Three Colors: White, FilmScene—The Ped Mall, $9.50-12 Friday, Sept. 16 at 10 p.m. Late Shift at the Grindhouse: Thrust! FilmScene—Chauncey, $7 Saturday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. How (Not) To Build a School in Haiti, FilmScene— Chauncey, $10

54 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

The Ringmaster


yron Burford: Ringmaster” is an exhibition opening on Nov. 19 at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA). The artist (1920-2011) was a fixture in Iowa City since 1938, when he came from Jackson, Mississippi to the University of Iowa to study art under Grant Wood, Emil Ganso and Philip Guston. After four years of service in the Air Force during World War II, he came back for his MFA and joined the faculty. “Ringmaster,” as the name suggests, is focused on his prolific imagery of circuses and circus performers. CRMA Curator Kate Kunau wrote that all works in this show are from the museum’s permanent collection: “Some of the most vibrant Burford works in the CRMA’s collection are circus-related and this exhibition celebrates the artist’s great enthusiasm and facility for this imagery.” The artist had a lifelong love of the circus, and it is one of Burford’s central themes of his long career. “When he was growing up in Greenville,

Byron Burford: Ringmaster, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, opens Saturday, Nov. 19

Mississippi, his father, director of the local Y.M.C.A., booked the circuses and carnivals that came to town. Byron Jr. combined his artistic talent with a fascination with those unusual performers and, at 14, went on the road with the Tom Mix Circus,” Kunau wrote. “Later in his career when he was teaching at the University of Iowa, Burford spent many summers on the road with traveling circuses, playing drums in the band and, of course, painting.” I had the good fortune about a year and a half ago to see Burford’s work at Art Mission, a gallery and framing service in Iowa City. The canvases were large and his treatment of his subjects thoughtful, as he observed and developed relationships with performers over seasons and years. The works draw viewers in because the subject matter is both exotic and mundane, a reminder that temporary events and ordinary people are extraordinary. The vernacular is where it’s at, everywhere, all the time. In the meantime, stop by the Iowa City Public Library to see one of his works on the second floor. Homage á Court hangs just outside of the Business Office, in the northeast corner of the building. Look for the blue tigers. —Andrea Truitt


owa City Poetry’s Mic Check Poetry Festival will return Nov. 11-12 after organizers Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey and Lisa Roberts received what Rainey called a “phenomenal showing” of support and enthusiasm last year. The November festival will be only two days this year instead of three, but it will include expanded offerings and an entirely new line up of performers and instructors. This year’s festival features two headliners: Patricia Smith and Ebony Stewart. Both artists are award-winning interdisciplinary spoken word poets who will perform their work in a Showcase at the Englert Theater, participate in a Q + A, and present two workshops—a free workshop for youth aged 18 and younger and an all-ages workshop for $25 each. A new event for 2022 is SlamOVision, during which an international Slam will take place in UNESCO Cities of Literature throughout the world and will be broadcast Saturday night after the Showcase event and before Mic Check’s final event, the Slam. All events are concentrated in downtown Iowa City with several local businesses and venues hosting events. Friday’s highlights include Poetry In Motion, a multi-genre performance of poets and a live band, and a panel on the intersection and divergence of spoken word poetry and academia featuring Iowa Writers’ Workshop faculty Tracie Morris and alum Steven Willis. “We are in a moment where the elitism [of poetry] is starting to break down,” Rainey stated. Roberts added, “There’s a niche in the City of Literature to bring living, breathing, sweating spoken word to the prime stage.” Rainey said he moved to Iowa City as a spoken word artist, hoping to find connections and be immersed in literature, only to find a dearth of options for the performance poet. He and Roberts agreed that a major catalyst for the work they do

via Ebony Stewart

via Patricia Smith

Poems for The People

PS1’s Art-a-Thon is back!

MIC CHECK POETRY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE Friday 5:30 p.m. Spoken word panel, Prairie Lights 7:30 p.m. Poetry in Motion, The James Theater Saturday 11 a.m. Youth and Adult Workshops, MERGE and Iowa City Public Library 1:30 p.m. Youth and Adult Workshops, MERGE and Iowa City Public Library 4 pm. p.m. Showcase, Englert Theatre 6 p.m. Q & A with Headliners, Englert Theatre 8 p.m. SlamOVision International, MERGE 9 p.m. Slam, Riverside Theatre

is to create the world they once needed. As such, they both hold accessibility as a priority for the festival and will maintain a hybrid format and mostly free programming. One of their goals in producing the festival is to break barriers for potential poets. “In the festival itself there are a lot of points of entry,” Roberts said, referencing the many public events, the affordable (and free for youth) programming, and the approachability of spoken word poetry. Newcomers to the form are encouraged to come, Rainey stated, and in the end, “the humanity of the form becomes the entry point.” While both Rainey and Roberts believe that poetry is for everyone, they hope to see established poetry lovers at the festival in addition to laymen. “For folks who have a background with poetry,” Roberts said, “this is revivifying.” Rainey and Roberts also view themselves as students of the craft. Both work in literature planning and attending workshops frequently, coming to art to learn and to express. This is why they want everyone who is able to participate in the poetry festival. “This art form makes better people,” Rainey said. “It demands empathy, it demands connection.” “It demands,” Roberts added, “self-reflection.” —Sarah Elgatian

September 24-25 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 55


Down-to-earth verse

Theatre, Iowa City, Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m., Free

Dictation From a Tree (Removed) BY MACKIE GARRETT

Dear Humans, There were wide arms I stretched, a roof above your roof and hurried heads. I was a barrier between you and raw sun, a cool spot, a breath untaken. Watch me bear these last climbers, their spiked shoes, ropes and hot saws tied to their ascent. They lift a crane to catch my mass and hold it for flight? No, down, dropping me gently in pieces on your changing ground.

Sarah Neary


hile the current political landscape tries to frame so much of what I once considered common sense in environmental discourse as radicalism, young people are still rising up to the challenge of protecting this place we call home. In 2018, Shannon Nolan, a student at the University of Iowa, developed a senior creative capstone project with her instructor, David Gould, aimed at eliciting creative responses to the environment. Gould got Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman involved, and the resulting piece that she wrote became the Prompt for the Planet. Four years later, Gould, Prompt Press and the Lena Project are returning to the beginning. They’ve decided the time is ripe for a new prompt. Following a massive gathering effort, community members engaged with Gorman’s prompt, resulting in responses that will be shared in a publication from Prompt Press and on the Englert stage at a celebratory event. At that same event, the new prompt will be revealed, and people will once again be asked to raise their artistic voices in defense of the only home we have. “This project looks at art as down-to-earth, messy, and rhizomatic—not coming from on high, but grown from communities of people

Prompt for the Planet: Community Creates, Englert

working at all levels of experience,” Prompt Press founder Jennifer Coville said in an email to Little Village. “Every time a person shares a response, it’s like they’re shooting out a little tendril of energy for others to latch onto, or draw from. The project shows how art like nature is always in collaborative flux.” Coville says the program “hope[s] to spread shoots of interconnection” by involving a wide variety of community members, including respondents from Oaknoll, Shelter House, preschool classrooms, the Diversity Market and more. “We hope people from different stages and situations of life will look at their work archived on-line or come to the show and find delight in how others have responded to the same prompt.” —Genevieve Trainor

Hockeyland, FilmScene, Iowa City, opens

from ‘Hockeyland’

Friday, Sept. 23

Mighty Pucks


t’s been 17 years since Minnesota-born filmmakers Tommy Haines, JT Haines and Andrew Sherburne founded their independent production company, Northland Films, with a focus on nonfiction storytelling. In that time, they’ve produced, directed and released six film projects—all while Sherburne was busy founding and expanding Iowa City’s 56 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

nonprofit cinema FilmScene. Their best-known documentary to date, Saving Brinton (2017), follows an Iowa man’s attempts to preserve a rare and fragile film collection from the first decades of moving pictures. Northland’s latest release harkens back to its first—2008’s Pond Hockey, which ESPN commentator John Buccigross dubbed the “best and purest hockey movie ever.” Hockeyland, directed by Tommy Haines, has already enjoyed screenings at DOC NYC, Big Sky and other

national documentary festivals. But thanks to being picked up by independent distribution company Greenwich Entertainment (Free Solo), it will make its way to theaters starting Sept. 9 in Minnesota and Sept. 16 nationwide. In the North Country region of Minnesota, hockey is as central to life as football is to Alabama and Texas. Part slick sports doc, part small-town coming-of-age story, Hockeyland follows two rival high school hockey teams as they prepare to face off in a state championship game that will define their legacy at home and, with potential NHL contracts at stake, in the annals of hockey history. And for those hoping Haines and Sherburne will turn their lenses Iowa-ward again, never fear—Northland Films is currently in production on The Workshop, a documentary promising to offer an intimate portrait of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Release date, TBA. ––Emma McClatchey


Vino Vérité is a series of thought-provoking, chance-taking, and visually-arresting films paired with hand-selected wines and dessert. In Hidden Letters, two women in modern China keep alive the secret Nushu language, used for thousands of years by women who were often forbidden to read or write.


Director Violet Du Feng joins us in person! Ticket includes film, reception and handpicked wine.


A Lit New Film Festival


owa City’s literary history casts a long shadow. It’s the first UNESCO City of Literature in the country, home to the Iowas Writers’ Workshop. But next month, Iowa City will enter the film festival world with FilmScene’s long awaited ReFocus Film Festival, an event dedicated to the relationship between literature and film. Andrew Sherburne, executive director and co-founder of FilmScene, always imagined holding an annual film festival. Conversations began nearly six years ago, but now with the theater’s Chauncey and Ped Mall locations, FilmScene’s blueprints are ready. “We’ve got five screens, two blocks apart. We’ve got this vibrant downtown area that surrounds us. It’s just begging for a film festival,” Sherburne said. The festival, however, is two years late. FilmScene originally announced ReFocus for September 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic stretched throughout the summer, the festival was delayed until 2021, and then again until 2022. But ReFocus is less of an inaugural film festival, and more of a revival. From 1965 to 1979, the University of Iowa held Refocus, which spotlighted student photography and filmmaking. That festival, sponsored by the Student Union Board, presented UI student films and those from other universities, as well as still photography exhibits. “We are happy to light the torch again, and reimagine Refocus as a festival that examines the relationship of film with other art forms, especially literature,” Sherburne said. FilmScene wanted a unique festival that contributed to the national and international festival landscape. They started with Iowa City’s literary history and its growing film culture. But while ReFocus continues the UI festival’s tradition of medium mixing, it broadens the scope. The festival will feature adaptations from any medium: podcasts, poetry, plays, comedy shows, archival material and so on. “ReFocus Film Festival is a celebration of the relationship between art forms, and it’s a festival tailor made for a City of Literature, examining the origin of films and how they come from the 58 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

Author Lizzy Goodman will appear with the documentary Meet Me In The Bathroom (2022), based on her oral history which details the rebirth of the New York rock scene in the 2000s.

page, or other art forms,” Sherburne said. “But you know, we want to also bend the rules as much as possible.” FilmScene will have artists and entertainers to fill the festival ambience as festival go-ers walk between theaters. Before the lights dim, patrons can listen to musicians like Dan Padley and watch slideshows from local artists. ReFocus will purposefully coincide with the Iowa City Book Festival, encouraging each atmosphere to seep into one another. FilmScene will pair special guests from the book festival and ReFocus to have conversations about different art forms and how they interact. Sherburne is always excited to see how films adapt stories from other mediums. “Sometimes a good adaptation might be incredibly faithful to the original source material or might do something incredibly new with it,” he said. He’s recently been reading Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic memoir about her life in Iran and Austria during the Islamic Revolution. Sherburne watched the 2007 film adaptation first, which is faithful in story and artstyle. But the live motion elevates the original text, he said. Ben Delgado, FilmScene’s programming director, thinks an adaptation has to know what to keep and what to change. A standout movie for him is White Knights, the 1957 Fyodor Dostoevsky adaptation, transported to Italy from the original Russian setting. Delgado thinks the festival will elevate small films that people might not see otherwise. Many of the films in ReFocus are only available on the

Refocus Film Festival, FilmScene, Thursday, Oct. 6–Sunday, Oct. 9, $12–230

festival circuit. He hopes people will take chances on movies they don’t know. “Most of these films are going to be that way, films that people haven’t heard of, from directors who they haven’t heard, and actors they don’t know,” Delgado said. “But all of that is just part of the fun.” ReFocus will also help educate people about film festivals and how they work. Delgado and Sherburne recommend newcomers show up early, stay hydrated and eat snacks, bring a friend but also talk to strangers, watch a movie you know nothing about and stay for the Q&A. Festival passes are available online or at the FilmScene box office. There are three different levels available: an all access pass, a nine film pass and a five film pass. Passholders have first choice of movies, and higher passholders have more access to the parties, happy hours and artist conversations. ReFocus will also have free events, including a VR Showcase, where people can watch a short film in virtual reality. Some conversations and other events will also be free. The full slate of films, conversations and events will be available in mid-September. “It’s a film festival, right? So there’s we’re putting two things together: a lot of films, some really great films, and then we’re making it festive,” Sherburne said. —Adria Carpenter

Always free and open to all


Homecoming is supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Glory, 1981 Museum purchase with support from the Joyce P. Summerwill Art Fund, 2022.1 Elizabeth Catlett ©2022 Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA at Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY.



Saturday-Thursday, Sept. 17-22 Three Colors: Red, FilmScene—The Ped Mall, $9.50-10.50 Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:15 p.m. North by Northwest, FilmScene in the Park, Free Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Inhabitants: Indigenous Perspectives on Restoring our World, FilmScene—Chauncey, $10 video still from ‘Last Night at the Mill’

Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Last Night at the Mill, Englert Theatre, $10-20 Saturday, Sept. 24 at 10 p.m. Dog Day Afternoon, FilmScene—Chauncey, Free-$7 Sunday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Boogie Nights, FilmScene—The Ped Mall, $15 Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. The Spanish Dancer, FilmScene—Chauncey, $8.41-12 Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, FilmScene— Chauncey, Free-$7


Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. An Evening with Gabby Douglas, Hancher, Iowa City, Free Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1:15 p.m. Eco-Themed Joy March, PS1, Free Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Prompt for the Planet: Community Creates, Englert Theatre, Iowa City, Free Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m. Taste & Tour, North Liberty Community Pantry, Free Friday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. Artists at SUI: Closing Reception, PS1 Close House, Iowa City, Free Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 a.m. Cedar Rapids Farmer’s Market, Greene Square Park, Free Saturday, Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. Color Experience w/Jimmy Miracle, PS1 Close House, $10-60 Sunday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. Festival Latino, McGrath Amphitheatre, Cedar Rapids, Free Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. Public Space One Art Market, Big Grove Brewery, Iowa City, Free Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. The Impact of Schools on Mental Health, Online, Obermann Center, Iowa City, Free Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24 Kalona Fall Festival, Kalona Historical Village, Free-$6 Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 a.m. Kids Market, Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp, Iowa City, Free Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 24-25 Art-a-Thon, Public Space One, Free Sunday, Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m. Farm Cycle, Iowa City Bike Library, $45-55 Thursday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. Opening Reception: Dreamscape and Collector’s Eye, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Free 60 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310

A Venue for the Ages


or those still mourning the loss of Iowa City’s beloved, iconic venue the Mill, this one’s for you! Come out to the Englert on Friday, Sept. 23 to sit back and reminisce on the venue that impacted so many. There’s going to be a screening of the Last Night at the Mill, a concert film created by filmmaker Dave Olive in 2003, and a showing of University of Iowa students Daniel Huyer and Grace Keber’s short film, Remembering the Mill. The Mill’s history begins in the 1960s, originally opening as a coffee shop in 1962. Ten years later, it moved to its well-known spot on Burlington Street. In the early days, the venue was a folk music club that allowed primarily bluegrass and acoustic artists to play. As time went on, the Mill expanded to booking a variety of genres and began to host non-music-related events such as literary readings and political meet-ups. It’s also been a popular festival venue, hosting acts for Mission Creek, the Floodwater Comedy Festival and more. Throughout the years, the ownership changed only once, in 2003. Keith Dempster retired and Marty Christensen and Dan Ouverson became the new owners. Olive’s film captures the Mill’s 40th anniversary and Dempster’s retirement celebration. That evening, musicians Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Rick Cicalo and Dave Zollo came together for an intimate performance. Olive described his film as primarily a music documentary, capturing “a very vibrant performance.” He frequented the Mill in the ’70s when he was a student at the UI. “My film

Last Night at the Mill, Englert Theatre, Friday, Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m., $10–20

doesn’t really deal with the Mill being torn down or anything like that,” Olive said. “I was focusing on the music, which I thought was really good.” When Olive approached the Englert asking if they’d like to do a showing of the film, it was around the same time that the building was being demolished. Brian Johannesen, a local musician and the senior programming manager at the Englert, said the film does an excellent job highlighting the fact the Mill was always more than just a music venue. “Even though this film takes place long before I ever moved to Iowa City,” Johannesen said, “that same vibe of community, respect and love that I experienced at the Mill is alive in the film.” In addition to Olive’s doc, a short film produced last spring by students at the Daily Iowan will be presented. Remembering the Mill highlights the venue’s history and stories from community members. It was created in 2022 in response to the Mill’s closure during the pandemic. The DI’s film, which features archival footage and interviews, complements and gives context to Olive’s concert film. Presented together, the two films will undoubtedly honor the Mill one last time—showing its impact on the Iowa City arts community and perhaps even offering closure to audience members. —Sid Peterson


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ear Kiki, Do you think having sex with a man on the first date/encounter with him ruins the chances of a future relationship ever working out? —Legs and Fingers Crossed

discover that they affect your perspective more than is obvious on the surface. The bottom line is: Sex doesn’t determine the worth of a relationship. No doubt you’re familiar with the nauseating common axiom, “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?” Ask yourself, Crossed: Do you want to be bought? ear Crossed, I’m going to be blunt here and say Do you want to be owned? Or do you want to there are far, far too many variables be in equal partnership with someone who trusts for me to possibly offer a conclusive answer to your ability to make decisions about your own this query. It depends on the man, of course. It body? Remember, you’re always giving the milk for free, even depends on your if someone “buys own views on the the cow”—marital matter (are you I FEEL LIKE WHAT YOU’RE rape has only been all-in, eager-butillegal in the U.S. still-guilty, or do ASKING HERE REALLY since … (double you feel pressured BOILS DOWN TO, “DO checks) (dies a litinto sex?). It deASSHOLES EXIST?” AND tle inside) 1993! pends on what you You need to mean by “working YES, CROSSED. YES, THEY make the call for out” (a lifetime DEFINITELY DO. THERE ARE what you want out together, a good PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO of any given situfew years; how do ation. If you find you—both—deTHINK THAT SOMEONE WHO someone who is fine success?). ENTHUSIASTICALLY ENJOYS compatible with However, I can AND SEEKS OUT SEX ISN’T you on an ethical say, unequivocallevel, and if you’re ly, that if you both WORTH SETTLING DOWN forthright with enter the encounWITH. WHICH, OK, I GUESS. one another, then ter rarin’ to go enjoying yourself and then he bolts? THAT’S THEIR PREROGATIVE. shouldn’t be a Good riddance. drawback. If you See, I feel like don’t share a basewhat you’re asking here really boils down to, “Do assholes line understanding of right and wrong, or if you exist?” And yes, Crossed. Yes, they definitely find that you’re not able to communicate openly, do. There are people out there who think that then the relationship won’t have much of a fusomeone who enthusiastically enjoys and seeks ture, first encounters aside. —xoxo, Kiki out sex isn’t worth settling down with. Which, OK, I guess. That’s their prerogative. But any potential partner has the responsibility to make that known at the outset. Radical sincerity, radical honesty, radical self-awareness: These are what correlate with longevity in any relationship. It’s not the specific choices you make, but how you make them and how you communicate about them. If you’re cool with diving in bits first, if you’re not going to hold it against either your partner or yourself, then you can trust that there Submit questions anonymously are others who feel the same way. Failure is not at inevitabile along this path. or non-anonymously to But, Crossed, if you’re asking because you’ve been receiving warnings along those lines from Questions may be edited for clarity and family, you might want to re-examine your own length, and may appear either in print or biases—when you’re raised with certain valonline at ues imbued in you since childhood, you might



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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?” Virgo-born Mary Oliver asks that question to start one of her poems. She spends the rest of the poem speculating on possible answers. At the end, she concludes she mostly longs to be an “empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.” Such a state of being might work well for a poet with lots of time on her hands, but I don’t recommend it for you in the coming weeks. Instead, I hope you’ll be profuse, active, busy, experimental, and expressive. That’s the best way to celebrate the fact that you are now freer to be yourself than you have been in a while. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In her book Tales From Earthsea, Libra-born Ursula K. Le Guin wrote, “What goes too long unchanged destroys itself. The forest is forever because it dies and dies and so lives.” I trust you’re embodying those truths right now. You’re in a phase of your cycle when you can’t afford to remain unchanged. You need to enthusiastically and purposefully engage in dissolutions that will prepare the way for your rebirth in the weeks after your birthday. The process might sometimes feel strenuous, but it should ultimately be great fun. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As a Scorpio, novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky was rarely guilty of oversimplification. Like any intelligent person, he could hold contradictory ideas in his mind without feeling compelled to seek more superficial truths. He wrote, “The causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.” I hope you will draw inspiration from his example in the coming weeks, dear Scorpio. I trust you will resist the temptation to reduce colorful mysteries to straightforward explanations. There will always be at least three sides to every story. I invite you to relish glorious paradoxes and fertile enigmas. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Author Zadie Smith praised Sagittarian writer Joan Didion. She says, “I remain grateful for the day I picked up Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem and realized that a woman could speak without hedging her bets, without hemming and hawing, without making nice, without sounding pleasant or sweet, without deference, and even without doubt.” I encourage Sagittarians of every gender to be inspired by Didion in the coming weeks. It’s a favorable time to claim more of the authority you have earned. Speak your kaleidoscopic wisdom without apology or dilution. More fiercely than ever before, embody your high ideals and show how well they work in the rhythms of daily life. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn novelist Marcia Douglas writes books about the history of her people in Jamaica. In one passage, she writes, “My grandmother used to tell stories about women that change into birds and lizards. One day, a church-going man dared to laugh at her; he said it was too much for him to swallow. My grandmother looked at him and said, ‘I bet you believe Jesus turned water into wine.’” My purpose in telling you this, Capricorn, is to encourage you to nurture and celebrate your own fantastic tales. Life isn’t all about reasonableness and pragmatism. You need myth and magic to thrive. You require the gifts of imagination and art and lyrical flights of fancy. This is especially true now. To paraphrase David Byrne, now is a perfect time to refrain from making too much sense. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): To be the best Aquarius you can be in the coming weeks, I suggest the following: 1. Zig when others zag. Zag when others zig. 2. Play with the fantasy that you’re an extraterrestrial who’s engaged in an experiment on planet Earth. 3. Be a hopeful cynic and a cheerful skeptic. 4. Do things that inspire people to tell you, “Just when I thought I had you figured out, you do something unexpected to confound me.” 5. Just for fun, walk backward every now and then. 6. Fall in love with everything and everyone: a D-List celebrity, an oak tree, a neon sign, a feral cat.

By Rob Brezsny

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A blogger who calls herself HellFresh writes, “Open and raw communication with your partners and allies may be uncomfortable and feel awkward and vulnerable, but it solves so many problems that can’t be solved any other way.” Having spent years studying the demanding arts of intimate relationships, I agree with her. She adds, “The idea that was sold to us is ‘love is effortless and you should communicate telepathically with your partner.’ That’s false.” I propose, Pisces, that you fortify yourself with these truths as you enter the Reinvent Your Relationships Phase of your astrological cycle. ARIES (March 21-April 19): In his poem “Autobiographia Literaria,” Aries-born Frank O’Hara wrote, “When I was a child, I played in a corner of the schoolyard all alone. If anyone was looking for me, I hid behind a tree and cried out, ‘I am an orphan.’” Over the years, though, O’Hara underwent a marvelous transformation. This is how his poem ends: “And here I am, the center of all beauty! Writing these poems! Imagine!” In the coming months, Aries, I suspect that you, too, will have the potency to outgrow and transcend a sadness or awkwardness from your own past. The shadow of an old source of suffering may not disappear completely, but I bet it will lose much of its power to diminish you. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In his poem “Auguries of Innocence,” William Blake (1757–1827) championed the ability “to see a World in a Grain of Sand. And a Heaven in a Wild Flower. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand.” According to my reading of the astrological omens, Taurus, you are primed to do just that in the coming days. You have the power to discern the sacred in the midst of mundane events. The magic and mystery of life will shine from every little thing you encounter. So I will love it if you deliver the following message to a person you care for: “Now I see that the beauty I had not been able to find in the world is in you.” GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time,” said philosopher Bertrand Russell. I will add that the time you enjoy wasting is often essential to your well-being. For the sake of your sanity and health, you periodically need to temporarily shed your ambitions and avoid as many of your responsibilities as you safely can. During these interludes of refreshing emptiness, you recharge your precious life energy. You become like a fallow field allowing fertile nutrients to regenerate. In my astrological opinion, now is one of these revitalizing phases for you. CANCER (June 21-July 22): “My own curiosity and interest are insatiable,” wrote Cancerian author Emma Lazarus (1849– 1887). Inspired by the wealth of influences she absorbed, she created an array of poetry, plays, novels, essays and translations—including the famous poem that graces the pedestal of America’s Statue of Liberty. I recommend her as a role model for you in the coming weeks, Cancerian. I think you’re ripe for an expansion and deepening of your curiosity. You will benefit from cultivating an enthusiastic quest for new information and fresh influences. Here’s a mantra for you: “I am wildly innocent as I vivify my soul’s education.” LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Blogger Scott Williams writes, “There are two kinds of magic. One comes from the heroic leap, the upward surge of energy, the explosive arc that burns bright across the sky. The other kind is the slow accretion of effort: the water-onstone method, the soft root of the plant that splits the sidewalk, the constant wind that scours the mountain clean.” Can you guess which type of magic will be your specialty in the coming weeks, Leo? It will be the laborious, slow accretion of effort. And that is precisely what will work best for the tasks that are most important for you to accomplish. LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 65

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he album opener to The I & I by Teller Bank$ finds the Des Moines-based rapper reflecting on the practical value of processing his trauma through his art. In “Friends,” he comments on the market forces which encourage work that perpetuates negative stereotypes: “I had to swing my sword before I use my pen / I had to use my pain to go and make me a profit / ‘til we get our reparations that’s the least they can offer.” Bank$ is thinking out loud here, asking what he’s supposed to do as he continues to grow as an artist and human. Does he abandon references to his past when doing so jeopardizes the financial and social rewards that come from wearing his trauma for all to see? Many of the album’s 14 tracks pursue similar avenues, provoking questions surrounding identity and integrity, revealing a human trying to reconcile his escape from inhuman conditions. The I & I is the third in a trilogy of releases produced by Indianabased Ed Glorious, and it marks the eighth full length album from Teller Bank$ in the last year and a half alone. Despite this prolific output, the release is neither flush with filler nor stylistically incohesive, remaining musically consistent due in large part to the quality of soulful boom bap served up by Glorious. The album is rounded out with features from Aakeem Eshú, AJ Suede

and Iowa’s own Rent Money (fka rom “Friends,” can you clarify a lyric for me? You say, H the Prodigy), but whether it’s “I had to swing my sword before I use my pen, I had Bank$ or one of his collaborators to use my pain to go and make me a profit.” A concept on the mic, the album remains rich that I address a lot throughout the album is, Black people are taught and with creative wordplay throughout. conditioned to wear our trauma. Any kind of trauma that we experience “Pages” showcases a lyrical style becomes a badge of honor. It becomes what makes us special, what akin to classic Method Man, utilizmakes us important, especially when you think about the history of ing syncopated vocals to create a America, all of our biggest accomplishments are escaping something, counterbeat within AJ Suede’s flow. right? Escaping slavery, making it out of civil rights, avoiding the poThis isn’t the only callback to midlice, all of these different things that our value is based in the negative ’90s rap, with Bank$ incorporating that has been done to us at the hands of America and other people. We a few bars from Busta Rhymes on haven’t gotten any reparations for any of the pain and trauma or stuff “Cain & Abel” and a lyrical hat tip that we’ve endured at the hands of America, right? But we do routinely to LL Cool J in “Finders Keepers.” make fortunes out of parading our pain or selling our trauma. Beyond its lyrical playfulness, however, the WHAT EVEN IS “BLACK CULTURE,” RIGHT? BLACK CULTURE track also focusIS ALL THESE SPECIFIC THINGS THAT BLOCK YOU IN AND IF es on balancing the responsibilYOU’RE NOT THAT THEN YOU’RE NOT BLACK. BUT IF YOU ASK ities of fatherSOMEBODY “WHAT IS WHITE CULTURE,” NOBODY KNOWS. hood with a lifestyle of hustling, illuminating an internal struggle of a man being What even is “Black culture,” right? Black culture is all these specifpulled by opposing forces. ic things that block you in and if you’re not that then you’re not Black. “Hollywood” finds Bank$ asBut if you ask somebody “what is white culture,” nobody knows. suming a darker tone, with lyrics Where that’s not the same as for Black people, where it’s seen as Black further reflecting an unbalanced culture is a box and if you’re not inside then you’re not living the true mind. “Demons” acknowledges an authentic Black experience that people want to buy and have sold to ever-present threat of violence in them. his past, while also speaking to the ongoing impact trauma has long afAs you related it to trauma and having to wear that trauma ter attempting to move beyond it. A on your sleeve, that makes full sense. It’s like, if you come determination to do better for himfrom too privileged of a background, that’s somehow not self remains clear in these tracks, enough to be a “true” Black experience. Right, and the Black but the rapper also emphasizes that experience is defined by how it can be commodified and sold to other it’s the unconditional love of his people, because that’s always been where our art is valued. Right? Not children which continues to aid him even the value that we put on it, but that’s what people wanted. in combating these demons from What’s bought and consumed by white people, for the majority, is his past. going to be of a certain brand. It’s going to be 12 Years a Slave, it’s While the title The I & I is adgoing to be Precious, it’s going to be Moonlight, even Boyz N The opted from a Rastafarian concept Hood back when that first came out. It’s going to be those stories that that God is within all people, it can are seen as “Wow, those are so moving and meaningful.” That’s what also represent a duality between we’re about, and so we’ve adopted that as a survival [mechanism]. separate parts of the self. For some Where it’s like any type of trauma—whether it’s poverty, not having lacking a cohesion between their a father, all of these different things—we wear that as a badge that intention and actions, this can rewe wear and people look at it and go “Oh, wow, he grew up on the sult in an I against I scenario. For South Side of Chicago with a single mom and gang banged and got Bank$, however, his own I and I shot twice and here are paintings that he does. What an amazing story.” appear to be drawing near, with his And they’ll gravitate toward that, whereas if you’re just a regular dude work helping him usher in a new [who paints] people are going to look at it like, “This is lacking.” You life while making sense of an inknow what I mean? creasingly distant past. We perpetuate it now, as well, but it’s also something that’s put upon us. And breaking out of it is hard because of how much of it is imposed from the outside and the inside. —Chris DeLine

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Allegra Hernandez Album Release w/ Haploid, Double Dice, xBk Live, Des Moines, Friday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m., $15-20


usician, guitarist and educator Allegra Hernandez returned to Des Moines in 2018 after their stint at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota was cut short when the school closed. That time afforded them a solid basis in music theory and performances at Twin Cities venues like the venerable 7th Street Entry. Hernandez finished this education online at Berklee, all the while also teaching music at Des Moines institutions like School of Rock and Girls Rock!. In 2020, Hernandez released a three-track EP titled Pearl, which unfortunately wallowed in obscurity as they were unable to bring these songs to audiences during the lockdown. On their new album, Gift Exchange, which comes out Nov. 4, they sing “I wrote a song it’s two years long / So please know that I’m here yes I’m here yes I’m here / I just take a long time to respond.” Gift Exchange, while much more accomplished and polished, picks up where Pearl left off and is a suitable bookend to it—beautiful vocal harmonies and melodies ensconced in fantastic guitar work delivering first-person vignettes like pages ripped from a diary. That two-yearlong song clearly resulted in some serious chops.

Q&A This album is a perfect example of how strong songwriting and vocals can be paired with exceptional guitar skills. The fatigue from flashy guitar histrionics common during the hair metal and grunge eras makes Hernandez’s approach novel and fresh—supporting the melodies and harmonies while also allowing the guitar to speak as part of the architecture of the songs. They don’t shy away from big chunky distortion and searing leads, which are used effectively where they appear. The lead track, “Time and Surface,” opens with a few bars of a deliciously slinky four chord motif decorated with harmonics that echo the verse. There’s violence and hurt alluded to. When we return post-chorus, the song leans somewhat “djent,” with crunch and bombast punctuated with halts filled with ringing dissonant guitar chords and siren notes, reminding us of the “angry fists / making the dents.” A perfect marriage of music and theme. The track likely to get the most attention on Gift Exchange is the anthemic protest tune “Use My Fkn Pronouns.” Delivered with super-catchy, hook-filled energy, I found myself singing along. “And how many times does it take for you / To address me in the right way? / (It’s) just as important as my name”—a message couldn’t be delivered more effectively than this rallying cry in a song. And the message doesn’t supersede the music here— the skanking bridge with bouncing and sliding bass could have been ripped from a Red Hot Chili Peppers album. There’s a lot to discover and digest on Allegra Hernandez’s debut album. In many ways they have a unique voice—delivered with earnestly uncompromising songwriting. Hernandez summed it up best in an email to me about Gift Exchange, “My music is for anyone to listen to and enjoy but is dedicated to the communities that I come from and where I am celebrated, especially for queer people.”

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our bio mentions a couple of stints at colleges of music—were you able to work on this style of music there or was that more heavily focused on theory? Music edu-

cation was something I have always valued growing up. ... In high school, that was when I decided to pursue going to college for music. Throughout high school, I seriously focused on playing guitar and writing songs all the time, taking lessons and learning from other music mentors. When I was in 11th grade, [Mary Anne Sims, director of City Voices, a non-profit music education program based in Des Moines] saw a video of me playing guitar and encouraged me to apply to colleges such as Berklee and other contemporary music colleges … Interestingly for me, what I learned in college doesn’t always directly apply to my own style of playing. In college, there was a big focus on jazz, blues, funk and of course some rock. The focus for me was applied music theory for the guitar, technique, sight-reading and other guitar-based classes ... What influenced my playing was the bands and shows that I got gig experience from in the music scene and my own influences beforehand.

“WHAT I LEARNED IN COLLEGE DOESN’T ALWAYS DIRECTLY APPLY TO MY OWN STYLE OF PLAYING...WHAT INFLUENCED MY PLAYING WAS THE BANDS AND SHOWS THAT I GOT GIG EXPERIENCE FROM IN THE MUSIC SCENE AND MY OWN INFLUENCES BEFOREHAND. With the education I received, I am a more well-rounded guitarist who knows the fretboard in detail and understands not just how to play but knows what I’m playing. ... I don’t use very advanced theory in my writing process but since I have that knowledge, I can actually dissect and understand fully what I’m playing. I wondered if working with students in Girls Rock! and School of Rock on their instruments has paid off in helping you sharpen your playing. As an instructor at School of Rock, I have to learn or

at least familiarize myself with dozens of songs every few months. … I can learn songs quickly and efficiently, chart out songs for my students, etc. I have sharpened a lot of my fundamental skills on guitar from a beginner to an advanced level. I have students as young as 6, teens and also some adult students of all ages ... I have to meet my students where they’re at and take into account their learning styles. If I can successfully teach them concepts, that confirms how well I know it myself and fortifies that skill. … As a younger guitar instructor (24) and being the person I am (being non-binary/queer) I find that I don’t see a lot of guitar/bass/drum instructors like me ... I never had the chance to study under a non-male guitar instructor growing up and I feel passionate about teaching and inspiring girls and LGBTQ+ youth to play music, which is why I’m so passionate about Girls Rock! Des Moines. ... Girls Rock! has been so important in my growth as a young adult navigating the music industry. GR!DSM is … so much more than music—it centers around empowerment, identity, social awareness/social justice and a place where you can unequivocally be your authentic self. There are very few places in the world like Girls Rock, where you are constantly celebrated and uplifted. Your identity and expression are honored every day and brought to the forefront. —Michael Roeder LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 69




70 September 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310



Q&A spirituality, relationships and the self. Fate reminds us persistently that the journey itself is the destination; home is not a place, but a feeling. And while these are cliches every reader has heard once or twice, Fate contextualizes them in a very personal way that is accessible, especially to those of us who share his midwestern roots. Fate’s stories take place throughout different periods of his life, from childhood to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a long time frame is necessary to frame the complex themes that are being discussed here. But there are times when conversations about life, meaning and prayer are accompanied by conversations about the


here are a lot of very big topics at play in The Long Way Home. How many of these discoveries happened as you were writing the book? Well, you know, this is a

memoir in essays. When memoirs became bestsellers all of a sudden, people understood that a memoir was not an autobiography, but looking through some aspect of your life, through the lens of that experience. It could be a birth memoir, cancer memoir, whatever. And so, for me, the challenge is always trying to figure out how to thematically link the disparate pieces. And travel, which is a pretty big frame, allowed me to connect these together. And the idea of journey, or journeying of course, is another huge idea. So journey can be internal, external; travel can be internal, external. And so that idea kind of made more sense to me as I worked on the book. That would be the thematic unifier.

One of the most interesting parts to me was your experiences in the Benedictine abbeys. Would you ever go again?

Yeah, I would. In the academic world, there’s a lot of negativity about religion, almost as if you’re stupid or diminished because you haven’t Sept. 20 at 7 p.m., Free gotten over that yet. And of course, I’m thinking of Kathleen Norris and Wendell Berry and all the writers who still haven’t gotten over it yet. But one thing I’m trying to do in this book is to open up the idea o be born in the Midwest is to of religion a little become acutely aware of the bit. Yes, there are term “flyover country.” And once right-wing nuts. you are aware of it, you must decide WHEN YOU GO TO ANOTHER CULTURE, WHAT IS IT? WHAT One of them was whether or not you’ll embrace your IS PRIVACY? HOW DO PEOPLE LISTEN HERE? WHAT DOES president, who life here regardless or denounce it IT MEAN TO BE COURTEOUS? WHAT’S A LINE? WHAT’S A used religion as a and move somewhere else, somemarketing tool and where more conventionally beautiCLEAN BATHROOM? WHAT’S PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? read the Bible like ful and wild. HOW DO PARENTS RELATE TO CHILDREN? it was an instrucMaybe, if you’ve chosen the fortion manual rather mer, you might harbor some guilt, than a work of art. fed by backhanded comments from The benefit of going to the abbey for me is a kind of intellectual and people who have left or people who pandemic, politics and social mespiritual discipline. are aiming to leave. But if you find dia. These are the only moments a little bit of beauty in where you when the 160-page book edges on are regardless, or if you’re trying to, preachy and decentralized. There In your book, you mention feeling like a tourist or out of Tom Montgomery Fate just wrote is a world where all of these topics place in some of your travels. What do you think is valuable fit together cohesively, but in such the perfect book for you. about that discomfort? So, it’s a lens on your own culture. When The Long Way Home is a memoir a small sample size, these parts you go to another culture, what is it? What is privacy? How do people that does not follow the rules of a feel like a lot to chew on. listen here? What does it mean to be courteous? What’s a line? What’s Regardless, I found a lot of traditional narrative. Rather, it coma clean bathroom? What’s public transportation? How do parents relate bines themes of prayer, belonging peace in Fate’s new release. It’s to children? So I mean, it’s hard because everything’s new. But again, it and fishing into essay-style chap- clear by the end that the only thing teaches you what all of those ideas mean in your own culture. ters anchored by Fate’s experiences Fate is advocating for is for readers to slow down: physically, mentaltraveling across the globe. What was the process like to get this book to where it is Each bite-sized essay reflects on ly, spiritually—and give ourselves now? Well, the process I used to go through is, I used to write a a different journey Fate embarked over to the epiphanies that we 400-word essay. I used to call those framed moments. There’s some on: from a writing residency at H.J. only find with time and presence. charged moment that I see in memory or see in front of me, and I get it Experimental Forest in Oregon, to a Considering his incredible experidown. And then I’d go from those 400-word snapshots to about 1,000revolution in Managua, Nicaragua, ences across the globe accompaword essays, which I would try to publish in the Chicago Tribune or to a sabbatical at a Benedictine ab- nied by his honest self-reflection, Christian Century or other places that typically take my work. And bey in Maquoketa, Iowa. Through I think it just might be worth a try. then from there, when I got a sabbatical, a few years later, I would flesh The Long Way Home is the Iowa each chapter, readers ponder the all that stuff out to 2,000 to 3,000-word chapters. relationship between life and native’s fourth release. It is availSo there was a systematic lengthening, from an emotionally charged death, prayer and fact, religion and able now on Ice Cube Press. moment to a complicated, more developed essay over time. With this book, I would say it was more going from the 1,000-word essay in the Submit books for review: Tribune, which a lot of these pieces are from originally, to the longer Little Village, 623 S Dubuque St., IC, IA 52240 chapter. But I sit with these pieces for years. —Lily DeTaeye Tom Montgomery Fate, Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Tuesday,


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hen I started reading All This Could Be Different (Viking, 2022) by Sarah Thankham Mathews, I was nervous about the passive voice, tonally similar to other books I’ve recently read which I felt lacked substance. But this is intentional. Our narrator, Sneha, is apathetic, barely teasing interest, she merely exists for the first part of her own story. When Sneha does express something early in the book it’s haunting and familiar: “This is what my parents wanted for me, what everybody wanted. To be a dish laid out before a man’s hunger. To be taken, to be quiet. Disappear into hair and parts. Disappear, in time, into marriage and motherhood.” Subtly, cleverly, as Sneha gains interest in her own life, her voice changes, the book becomes harder to put down, her interests not just alluding to a future in which she has something to say but finally saying things. Mathews gives an expertly crafted example of how to write character growth. Sneha may be the most multi-dimensional character I’ve read in recent years. Her coming-of-age is (like it is for many of us) framed as a love story, but is far more about finding out what love is than holding on to romance. It is heartwarming and challenging. All This Could Be Different deals with trauma and coming-of-age, the relationships we have and reject as

Q&A we find ourselves as young adults, but while we follow Sneha through her revelations and crises, we are not forced to endure any of those horrors. Mathews saves us the trigger warning by showing impact instead of its catalyst. Sneha’s opacity and malleability challenged me to look inward—it felt like learning a funhouse mirror was not at all warped—in moments when she was honest with herself: “I did not know how to explain this stubborn love for my parents that I staggered under, iridescent and gigantic and veined with a terrible grief, grief for the ways their lives had been compost for my own.” For a book that could be difficult and dated (it takes place in 2013), Mathews has created something universal and lingering. We have all experienced the feeling of being alone with ourselves and longing for something else. We have all been surprised by love. Sneha “felt dizzied by all of it, by how in my hands her hips felt like the time I found an animal’s skull in the underbrush of my family’s home when I was a child and lifted it into the air: this hard, breakable, animal thing.” It is a fast read with a satisfying ending. The shift in Sneha’s ideologies,


ou wrote a novel before ATCBD. How were those two writing experiences different? I wrote All This Could Be

Different, in a fever dream, mostly over the summer and fall of 2020, after working for seven years on a completely different project, after having written nearly 800 pages of attempt at it. That project ended up feeling bloated with too many characters, digressions and themes. I felt determined to put every lesson of failure from that previous project to use when writing ATCBD, which felt in many ways like my second round in the ring. I left the characters and setting and premise of that previous project behind, thanking them for what they’d taught me. “Keep it tight and propulsive this time around,” I warned myself. ‘Seduce the reader; first withhold and then give them something good, again and again. Make them laugh. Pay attention to structure. Only one year of time will be covered in this novel. No more than four important characters at any point. Separate yourself emotionally from the protagonist. Everything that happens has to have a downstream effect or it gets cut.’ Sneha’s development as a person changes the shape and tone of the narrative. I wanted to show this young person growing up and becoming themselves. In order to do that, you have to show change. I wanted to show a self being formed through other people, write a novel of interdependence and, if you will, a compound love story. I believe that the sentences and the thematic choices have to be in a happy marriage, as a novel. I would watch YouTube timelapse videos of plants blooming over months, and it supplied me with an effect I tried to recreate for the reader: petal by petal, this prickly, compressed narrator opens up, to her world, but also us, the readers.

Did you intend to write about othering / trauma / identity or was it a consequence of the story you ended up telling?

I wanted to write a novel where the main characters were as deeply imagined as I could pull off. Sometimes, for me, there is a flattening, overly causal quality to centering trauma in literary narratives. I prefer to think about it through the lens of personal history: What is the sum total of this person’s past, and how do they relate to the different pieces of the past, with denial or acceptance or nursing of wounds or something else entirely? Sneha does not cherish the fact of her trauma—she denies it. She’s a proud, “BOOKS SAVED ME AGAIN pained, spiky, multifaceted character who sometimes hurts, sometimes gets hurt, and I saw my job as repreAND AGAIN WHEN I WAS senting the intricacies of her full self, as she navigates the YOUNG AND LONELY. I painful, glorious journey of what it means to find a home WOULD LIKE TO DO THAT FOR and make a life.


prejudices and self-image as she comes to live outside of her head is slow and raw and palpable. That’s one of the things that makes the shape of Sneha’s story so powerful: it could be a day in the life but it is, instead, an evolution.

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

Has your work in mutual aid influenced your writing? Has your writing influenced your work in mutual aid? Ultimately both deal in stories we tell

ourselves about who has worth and who has power. And the fact that the world as it is is a made thing, and by that logic can be remade. I think that’s a quiet throughline that runs through ATCBD. Why do you write? Books saved me again and again when I was young and lonely. I would like to do that for somebody else, someday. I think doing language is what makes us human, is one of the greatest measures of us as a species, the closest thing I have found to a “meaning of life.” I write to think through what’s difficult to me, to address and commune with people I’ve never met and to give myself to the future. ––Sarah Elgatian LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV310 September 2022 73
















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ACROSS 1. Main offices, briefly 4. The Dakar Rally, for example 8. American Street author Zoboi 11. One-time vehicle for Rudolph? 14. Relative of a yap or a yelp 15. Weird Al song that parodies “I Want It That Way” 16. Critter that might utter a 14-Across 17. Struck with a dessert 19. Filmdom’s Caesar, for one








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20. Cane product with a crunchy texture 23. Hybrid fitness system popular in the ’90s 25. Shake 26. Cynthia who portrayed Harriet Tubman 27. ___ list 28. Hip hop subgenre 29. Supped, say 31. ___ faire (event with jousting) 32. Be out of left field 36. Moonlight actor Sanders 38. Simple dwelling 39. Basketball sitch also known as 1v1


40. See 75-Across 41. Hog parlor 43. Stretch between rest stops, or something stretched at a rest stop 45. 1960s TV role for Ron 49. Breathable footwear item 52. Bits of text that describe what’s on a webpage 55. Rear end, in Bath 56. “Letter From Birmingham Jail” author, familiarly 58. Cured bagel topping 59. Guest verse, perhaps

60. “___ are not endorsements” 63. Twelfthto-last word in “The StarSpangled Banner” 65. Be gentle 67. Chance to slow down 72. Ypsilanti school whose mascot is (sadly) a different bird 73. Mot de refus 74. Reminders to get boosted, e.g. 75. “If you are caught on a ___ course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.” (40-Across Trevino quip) 78. Put on, as

foundation 80. Genre for N.K. Jemisin 82. Happen regularly, as a nightmare 83. Language teacher’s prompt ... and a feature of five answers in this puzzle 86. “i c it this way ...” 87. Qamutiik or toboggan 88. System in which Alireza Firouzja is 2800-rated 89. Jeannie (and Jeannie II!) portrayer Barbara 90. Exams on a 5-pt. scale 91. 2nd and 3rd, often, but rarely 1st: Abbr. 92. Legendary guitarist Paul

93. “___ Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston hit) 94. Solution for a pretzel baker than not 47. Alternatives to Krogers 48. The Jimmy V Award, for one 50. Location often marked with a star 51. North Carolina university 53. Some Shakespeare costumes 54. Nerve cell part that can be up to a meter long 57. “I don’t need that back” 61. Tony-winning actress Pinkins seen on Gotham and Fear the Walking Dead 62. Lead-in to Caps or Cats 64. Google Reader (RIP) fodder 66. “___ of Seventeen” 67. Signs of stress, perhaps 68. Galvanizes 69. Animal, for example 70. Discounted 71. Suggestion from a stylist 76. Like a mattress that needs upgrading 77. Boozy brunch portmanteau (in warmer weather) 79. Parts of some menorah sweaters 81. Lettuce heads? 82. Budget line that really is too damn high 84. Number that might include an ext. 85. Welcome precipitation in a 1982 hit

DOWN 1. ___ Regency 2. Wedding dress traditionally made with red fabric 3. Game whose only difference from the standard version is that we lose faster 4. Ctrl+Y command 5. Former PM Shinzo 6. Citizen journalist’s tool 7. Mascara target 8. Tablet you can FaceTime from 9. Chest of drawers 10. Hoppy beer initials 11. Stimulate 12. Hand-pressed sushi 13. Ditches 18. Harmonizing bagpipe note, often 21. Drag queen who co-starred in But I’m a Cheerleader 22. Oozes 24. ___ disk (computer recovery aid) 28. Lowest point-earning position in a Formula 1 race 30. Swim-bike-run competition, for short 33. Purported natural navigation aid that you should not rely on AUGUST ANSWERS 34. Vertical part of a B A YON E T NOMA D quarter note I SO T OP E BOD I C E N E U T R A L L AME N T S 35. Source S A B E S E F T S E E K 36. ___ mater E R E C O D EWO R D S J U T S B A R D EM 37. Cassandra or UNC C A S E D A NGS T Laocoön DUH T H A T SOB V I OU S 42. Hebrew “day” OMA H A S I NC E E NO A F L GOS T S K S 44. Manicure option F A I R F I GH T H A S 46. Like your relaE D S KO T B A R T I E ROA S T E D E C S T A S Y tionship with the MRMOON N A T A L I E host of your favorite I NU S E DR Y N E S S podcast, more likely

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