Little Village Eastern Iowa Issue 313: Best of the CRANDIC

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ISSUE 313 D E c E mb E r 2022 ALWAYS FREE TAKE ONE!
Explore Independent Iowa: 50 Hawkeye State highlights, from great entertainers to strange sights. P. 19 PLUS! B est of the CRANDIC winners ! P. 42
Peak Iowa

Fifty Nifty

Who needs first-in-the-nation status?! Iowa’s got cool stuff from Council Bluffs to Lansing.

42 category Is...

Best of the CRANDIC! Little Village presents the winners of the 2022 reader survey.

Little Village (ISSN 2328-3351) is an independent, community-supported news and culture publication based in Iowa City, published monthly by Little Village, LLC, 623 S Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA 52240. Through journalism, essays and events, we work to improve our community according to core values: environmental sustainability, affordability and access, economic and labor justice, racial justice, gender equity, quality healthcare, quality education and critical culture. Letters to the editor(s) are always welcome. We reserve the right to fact check and edit for length and clarity. Please send letters, comments or corrections to editor@littlevillagemag.com. Subscriptions: lv@littlevillagemag.com. The US annual subscription price is $120. All rights reserved, reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. If you would like to reprint or collaborate on new content, reach us at lv@ littlevillagemag.com. To browse back issues, visit us online at issuu.com/littlevillage.

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December contributors

Audrey Brock, John Busbee, Tony Dehner, Sean Dengler, Dana James, Tiffani Green, Avery Gregurich, John MacDougall, Jr., Shelly Melton

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meet this month’s contributors:

Audrey brock wrote the humor column Brock About Town for Little Village from February 2019 to November 2022. She will seek new adventures outside of Iowa in 2023.

John busbee works as an independent voice for Iowa’s cultural scene, including producing a weekly KFMG radio show, The Culture Buzz, since 2007.

Sean Dengler is an Urbandalebased writer interested in food, arts and agriculture. He has written a column for the North Tama Telegraph/Traer Star-Clipper for more than six years.

Issue 313 , Volume 32 December 2022

cover

by Shelly melton

The view of Mt. Trashmore from the Cedar Rapids Public Library. Bob Dorr’s rock show. The world’s largest strawberry. Iowa’s hilliest hike. Explore 50 statewide gems picked by LV. Plus: The winners of the 2022 Best of the CRANDIC survey, revealed!

Dana James is founder of Black Iowa News. blackiowanews.bulletin.com, @blackiowanews

Tiffani Green is an Iowa Citybased writer and Little Village columnist. Her food column, The Takeaway, features reviews of local take-out restaurants.

Avery Gregurich is a writer living and writing at the edge of the Iowa River in Marengo.

Shelly melton is a Japanese artist from Iowa City. She enjoys drawing for friends and running her cat’s Instagram page.

Culture writers, food reviewers and columnists, email: editor@littlevillagemag.com

Illustrators, photographers and comic artists, email: jordan@littlevillagemag.com

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Top Stories

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

Why three longtime downtown Iowa city business owners decided to make a change in 2022 by mike Kuhlenbeck, Nov. 7

It’s hard not to notice that three successful, locally owned businesses—Yotopia, Beadology and Active Endeavors— decided to sell or relocate in the past year rather than remain in the Iowa City Downtown District. COVID-19, supply chain issues, parking, new ownership and higher costs were all considerations, owners say.

Iowa city roller derby athletes show new batch of beginners how to roll (and fall) by Adria carpenter, Nov. 14

After two years off the flat track because of the pandemic, the Old Capitol City Roller Derby program is in a “rebuilding phase.” They have around 20 skaters on the team, excluding the beginner skaters. Bootcamp lasts through November, but it can take up to six months before new skaters are ready to compete.

man who drove his truck into abortion rights protesters in cedar rapids wants assault charge dismissed and trial moved out of Linn county by Paul brennan, Nov. 26

The man who drove his pickup truck into protesters crossing a street in Cedar Rapids in June pleaded not guilty to both crimes with which he has been charged. Several weeks after the incident, David Huston of Swisher was charged with Assault While Displaying a Dangerous Weapon and Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident.

Nov. 30

One of Iowa City’s favorite homegrown musicians, Elizabeth Moen, performed to a full house upstairs at Gabe’s on Saturday, Nov. 26. Moen and her former Iowa City band, consisting of Dan Padley, Blake Shaw and David Hurlin, reunited for the evening on stage to celebrate the release of Moen’s new album Wherever You Aren’t

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La Wine Bar & Restaurant (12)

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Nearwood Winery (16)

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Nodo (61)

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Paul Clark’s Hare Parlor (25)

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Short’s (61)

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The Eddie Bowles Project (17)

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University of Iowa Department of Theatre (25)

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art (2, 17)

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Little Village magazine print readership 25,000—40,000 per issue LittleVillagemag.com 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%

AVerAGe NUmber OF cHILDreN 1.85

meDIAN PerSONAL INcOme: $50k 23.4%: $40k—60k 20.9%: $60k—80k 15.8%: $100k+ 12%: $20k—40k 15.8%: <$20k 12%: $80k—$100k

GeNDer

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

eDUcATION

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

AVerAGe

NUmber OF YeArS LIVING IN eASTerN IOWA 27

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Letters & Interactions

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

Excerpt from “The Caretaker,” a Christmas story submitted by Tom Gingerich

The old man was on his knees busily mulching one of Oakland’s expansive flower beds when he noticed the SUV approaching in the brisk, early November air. Slowly negotiating the narrow, winding roads traversing the hillside, it pulled up near him. A young man emerged, a leather-bound notebook in his hand, and began walking toward him. The older man slowly stood and tossed his hand spade into a nearby wheelbarrow.

“Caretaker,” the old man volunteered, touching his chest, moving forward. “Michael Thoreau. May I help you?”

The young man smiled at him and offered his hand in the early morning chill. “Good to meet

you, Michael. I’m Craig Summerhill,” he said. They shook. The old man’s hand was callused and hardened from working long hours. Craig wondered how a man of his age (he looked to be in his seventies) could have such a strong grip and still be working at such a physical job. His scruffy beard and tattered jacket and jeans showed his dedication to the landscape.

“I’ll bet you know quite a bit about this ceme tery and its history, don’t you?” he asked. “How long have you been working here, Mr. Thoreau?”

“Call me Michael,” he said, turning to his right and scanning Oakland’s vast expanse, a content ed look on his weathered face. Craig followed his gaze and saw the green, peaceful hillside fall ing far away to the east, densely covered with towering oaks, maples and white pines—with

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hundreds of tombstones scattered throughout.

“Forever,” he replied, wearing a devoted expression. “Started right out of high school. Worked the summers here for several years be fore that. Never really wanted to do anything else as strange as that seems to some folks. Fell in love with the place and never left.”

Craig shifted the notebook to his other hand and withdrew a pen from his shirt pocket. “Could you spare some time to fill me in about the place, Michael? Some of the history—your memories about working here?” he asked. “I work for the press. Doing a feature about the place.”

“Me?” Michael responded.

“Sounds like you’re the guy I should be talking to,” Craig said. “Could you set aside a few minutes sometime?”

The old man smiled. He turned, and gestured toward a large, vine-covered wooden pergo la nearby with several benches beneath. “How about now?” he offered. “I was about to take a break anyway.”

Read the full story at littlevillagemag.com.

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 11
FUTILE WRATH SAM LOCKE WARD

INTERACTIONS

Fong’s Pizza in cedar rapids is closing (Oct. 28)

I will keep my Fong’s refriger ator menu magnet proudly.

—Charles W.

brock About Town: So long, Iowa city (Nov. 2)

Thanks Audrey for all you brought to IC! Have a wonder ful life with excellent adven tures! —Richelle

Why three longtime down town Iowa city business own ers decided to make a change in 2022 (Nov. 7)

Barkalow’s reasoning “not all landlords are rich” sounds pretty ridiculous. If you buy way above market value, you’re not a good business person at all. You can’t com plain about having to pay a mortgage payment that you directly inflated the cost of.

—Steven G.

“I think Iowa City should be

more restaurants, bars, enter tainment and nightlife…” said no one ever who cares about downtown Iowa City. Diversity of businesses and uses is the key to any thriving downtown.

—Karen E.

There are needs for retail, if he thinks so or not. Not all younger people have the finances to support all the restaurants and bar hopping he alludes to. —Judy A.

The businesses leaving Iowa City has nothing to do with me. They leave because of the parking or lack of Downtown as well as the problem with Homeless people harassing people and other issues. … And Iowa River Landing has a multi story parking ramp right beside the retail stores. IRL is a lot more simple and easier in and out with a car vs. Downtown Iowa City. Those are facts. I know we have the local Iowa City folks that will never like Coralville no matter what is said and that’s fine

MOMBOY LAUREN HALDEMAN

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too! Everyone can have their opinions, we are never going to fully agree on every thing! —Tracy Barkalow

Those buildings are just going to sit va cant like they have been for months. And as someone who works downtown the ri diculous complaints about homelessness are unfounded. —Armand T.W.M.

We could have fixed it a long time ago locally, but state law says municipalities cannot put any price control or limits on what landlords can charge. So here we are. —Randy P.

Unhoused as a teen, Tracy belle now rehabilitates Iowa birds, coyotes, raccoons and more through her nonprofit, Wildthunder W.A.r.S. (Nov. 8)

I love you so much. You’re not a victim, not a survivor. You’re a f$#%ing warrior and show others of us who were home less and unstable the way it’s done to rebuild a life worth living. Love you so very much!! —Cyn M.

Awesome article, you are my hero… thank you for all you do for the animals. —Robin

STRESS FRACTURES

T.G.

Iowans overwhelmingly approve con stitutional amendment that ‘prohibits current and future common-sense gun laws’ (Nov. 9)

The wording was totally misleading. —N.W.V.

I don’t know which is worse: That they were fooled by the wording, or they weren’t fooled by the wording!

—Wendy P.

Even police officers voiced concerns over this amendment. It will make their jobs more dangerous and harder. This terrifies me as a parent when it comes to school shootings. I just don’t understand Iowa anymore. —Brook E.

It’s up to us to make sure that every murderer who should never have been allowed a gun in the first place is made famous alongside the politicians who all but put the loaded gun in their hands. —Erin M.

Election 2022: Johnson county remains

a Democratic stronghold, as republicans sweep to victories statewide (Nov. 9)

Bright spot? What good is your “oasis” if none of the “marginalized” people that you base your vote on can even afford to live in your county!!!! —Jessica P.

JOHN MARTINEK

Paul Pate always finds enough votes out in the sticks at the end of the night.

—John C.

A day when Garrett Gobble and Jake Chapman are sent packing is a day with at least two positives. —Patrick M.

Polk County has at least one bright spot with Kimberly Graham for County Attorney. —Stephanie

Iowa will not receive $30 million in federal aid for child care (Iowa capital Dispatch, Nov. 10)

Another reason why young families move out of state. —Hung

Turns out, when your state is run by Republicans it turns into a shithole pretty fast. —Randy K.

They likely forgot to apply and are taking a defensive posture to hide their f*ck up.

—Dave D.

14 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 INTERACTIONS
How do you feel about your hometown? /LittleVillage READER POLL: Grown to appreciate it 27.3% Love it! Still live there 18.2% Left and not looking back 48.5% Trapped here, send help 6.1%
LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 15 By sponsoring a Little Village rack, you can: show the community that your business supports local media help increase Little Village’s presence in the area be honored with a permanent sponsor recognition plaque get a shout-out to our social media followers and email list help us brighten up the CRANDIC, one street corner at a time! Sponsor a rack! Little Village is distributed free of charge in the following areas: • Iowa city/coralville/North Liberty • cedar rapids/marion • cedar Falls/Waterloo • Solon/mt Vernon • West Liberty/West branch • Hills/Washington • riverside/Fairfield • Quad cities To request copies in your area, or to add your business as a distribution location, contact distro@littlevillagemag.com today! Copies of Little Village are available at more than 400 locations in Eastern Iowa. Check out the live map of all our locations to find your neighborhood rack: cONTAcT: ads@littlevillagemag.com Where is your Little Village?

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INTERACTIONS

If only the state could find 3M to match it! Like, in that 1B+ surplus … —Shelley R.

It’s $3M in lost future tax cuts for the wealthiest Iowans. That’s where the cur rent $1B+ surplus will end up going too.

—Gale K.

If Iowa Democrats were in charge during Covid the children would be behind an other year and the economy would be in tatters. Sick of the bull crap.

—Edward L.C.S.

Why is the governor so hateful to low income Iowans? —Emily C.E.

That’s what the oligarchy is like. “If you’re rich it’s because you’re a good person, if you’re poor it’s because you’re bad.” —John F.M.

But she decreased the age limits of day care providers and increased how many kids they can care for. She “fixed” the issue already. —Nicole D.C.

PERSONALS

Five-year-old pittie with asymmetrical ears seeks white picket fence life. People person. Puppy at heart. Plays well with fellow dogs, but looking to grow old with a loving human companion. Seasonal allergies mean she gets itchy skin and ears, but what gorgeous ears they are! Could Peta be your humidifier-side snuggle buddy this winter? Inquire with the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center: 319356-5295, icanimalcenter@iowa-city.org.

Send your personals for consideration to editor@littlevillagemag.com with subject line “Personals.”

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INTERACTIONS

The cruelty isn’t a bug of our Republican government, it’s a feature. —Donald B.

The scary thing about politics sometimes is not the people you don’t know. It’s the one’s that you know exist and the things you know about them that they got away with.

—Soultru

‘I am my sister’s keeper’: Trans femmes in central Iowa share home and resources through the Trans Housing Project (Nov. 15)

Love Em and Zoie!! These communities de serve legs, longevity, rest, and respect from city govt housing policies that develop and capitalize faster than most residents can typically manage alternatives. Power to the people! Trans solidarity.

—@kataclysmcntral on Twitter

man who drove his truck into abortion rights protesters in cedar rapids wants as sault charge dismissed and trial moved out of Linn county (Nov. 22)

Move it to Johnson County then.

—Michelle H.

Does he have a job!? Wow. He should go to jail. —Kristin K.

Worse, he owns a business… this place is completely backwards. —Miski

Please please please, Iowans, find this man guilty. Don’t let this behavior go unpunished. That man needs to understand his actions have consequences.

—Michael G.

How the hell do you “unfairly describe the intentions” of somebody plowing their truck into a crowd of pedestrians? His guilt is evi dent. —D.L.S.

Don’t forget Kim signed a law (Senate File 342) giving immunity to some drivers who hit and injure protesters just before this loon did what he did. —Dustin M.

managers fired by Tyson for cOVID-19 betting pool at Waterloo plant sue company (Nov. 29)

This whole thing is so horribly dark. But glad there is great independent reporting in Iowa from @LittleVillage. —@jnszmk on Twitter

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Independent Iowa Awards

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 19 INDEPENDENT IOWA AWARDS LittleVillageMag.com
Little Village celebrates the places, people and businesses that define our state.

50 Ways to Explore Your State

best town? boring. best restaurant? Hackneyed. best tourist attraction? Nah.

Little Village staff and contributors would like to draw your attention to these truly Iowa-y sites, stories and experiences. Some are recommendations, others cautionary tales, but all make our godforsaken state just a little more amazing. Introducing, the Independent Iowa Awards

A Tribute to 12 Black Lawyers

Down the street from the golden dome of the Iowa Capitol sits a 30-foot-tall testament to the defiance, brilliance and legacy of 12 Black law yers who founded the National Bar Association in Des Moines in 1925. They formed the associa tion after some members were denied admittance to the American Bar Association because of their race.

In 2018, artist Kerry James Marshall created the immense black manganese ironspot brick sculpture, inspired by the talking drums of West Africa—and much more.

“The large-scale sculpture embodies the no tion of communication among diverse peoples and a legal system that—though not perfect— strives to be balanced,” according to the Des Moines Public Art Foundation.

The Black founders from Iowa include a who’s who in Iowa history: George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, Gertrude E. Rush, James B. Morris and Charles P. Howard, Sr. The base of the sculpture bears the names of all of the founders, although their stories and the sculpture itself aren’t as well-known as they ought to be.

The next time you’re in Des Moines, stop by the sculpture at Hansen Triangle Park, Grand and 2nd Avenues, and marvel at the artistry. Learn more about the Black trailblazers and their quest to make Iowa more equitable.

Elwood’s Giant Concrete Gnome

With a stout body, a kind face and a pointy red hat, Elwood is the gnome Reiman Gardens deserves. Standing 15 feet tall (hat in cluded) he’s a good size for the 17-acre gardens on ISU’s campus. He also gives Ames a claim on a world record, as long as that record is carefully defined.

As soon as Elwood was erected in 2010, he became the World’s Tallest Concrete Garden Gnome. “Concrete” is the key word here. Soluś is an 18foot tall garden gnome in Nowa Sól, Poland, but he’s made of fiberglass. And Guinness World Records bestows the title of World’s Largest Garden Gnome on Harold, a Canadian piece of work that’s one inch shy of 26 feet. Harold, who has an oddly proportioned body and disturbing face, started life as an attraction at a small amusement

park on Vancouver Island and is made largely of scrap metal and, judging by photos, children’s nightmares.

Before Elwood, Gnome Chomsky of Kerhonkson, New York, held the concrete title.

After Elwood, the 13.5-foot-tall gnome’s owners rebranded him as “The Original World’s Tallest Concrete Garden Gnome.”

Council Bluff’s Giant Concrete Phallus

Ask any film buff what was the great est year for Hollywood films and the answer is inevitably 1939. The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and sever al other notable films were released that year. So was Union Pacific

20 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
Kerry James marshall’s monument to 12 black Lawyers in Des moines. Courtesy of Dana James
INDEPENDENT IOWA AWARDS
Courtesy of Reiman Gardens

A fictional tale of square-jawed good vs. das tardly evil as the titular railroad heads from its eastern terminus in Omaha to Utah, ads for the movie promised “the greatest train wreck ever filmed.” Director Cecil B. DeMille specialized in such spectacles. He also specialized in self-pro motion. DeMille combined the two as he staged the film’s world premiere in Omaha in April 1939, just a few days ahead of the 70th anniver sary of the golden spike ceremony in Promontory Summit, Utah, that marked the linking of the Union Pacific with the Central Pacific Railroad.

Omaha was an obvious choice for a special premiere. It’s the starting point of the Union Pacific in the movie, even though President Lincoln designated Council Bluffs as its eastern terminus in 1863. So, Council Bluffs staked its claim to movieland glamor with a 56-foot tall concrete replica of the golden spike unveiled in conjunction with the movie premiere across the Missouri River.

The giant concrete spike wasn’t part of DeMille’s premiere plan, but there were photog raphers at the unveiling, so he attended and made a speech. The Union Pacific Railroad designated the site near its passenger terminal in Council Bluffs “Mile Zero,” as part of the unveiling.

These days, if Council Bluffians want to catch a train they have to go to the Amtrak station in Omaha. But the golden spike monument, 100 times the size of the original spike and impres sively phallic, remains.

Public Art in the Capital City

Iowa has a lovely natural landscape, but its cul tural landscape is equally impressive. A glance at public art in Des Moines shows a wealth of pho togenic colors, styles and historical influences.

Begin with the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines’ Western Gateway. Masterfully landscaped, this collection represents the most significant donation of artwork ever made to the Des Moines Art Center. Twenty-five works of art, with room for additional pieces, are fea tured in an accessible 4.4-acre park. This pedes trian-friendly entry greets eastbound travelers into the downtown area with an awe-inspiring welcome. Top photo ops include Jaume Plensa’s Nomade, Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin Large, and Robert Indiana’s Love

Connecting New York City and San Diego is one third of Andy Goldsworthy’s Three Cairns behind the Des Moines Art Center in Ashworth Park.

Overlooking downtown Des Moines from the east, just outside the stately Judicial Branch Building, is James Ellwanger’s Shattering Silence, powerfully depicting breaking the si lence of inequality, beginning with the land mark 1839 Iowa Territorial Supreme Court rul ing that prohibited former enslaved man Ralph Montgomery from being extradited back to Missouri as a runaway slave.

Hundreds of Iowa bridges serve as functional

public art, as well. Take High Trestle Trail Bridge, the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge and the bridges of Madison County, to name a few.

Davenport’s Favorite Shapes

Stone fortresses erected in the aftermath of the War of 1812. Mansions built by Mississippi lum ber barons. Queen Anne style buildings with all the asymmetry, pointy roofs, dormers and deco rative porches. Bridges with steel arches, stitch ing together the Iowa and Illinois sides of the Quad Cities.

The region’s distinctive silhouettes inspired Davenport’s odd little Architectural Sculpture Park in Lower Lindsay Park, located near the trailhead of the gorgeous Riverfront Recreation Trail. The concrete, wood and limestone shapes debuted in 1999.

“Nearly 50 area historic preservationists, busi nesspeople, recreation enthusiasts, and river ac tivists came together over a two-year period to develop the community-built project,” according to the River Cities’ Reader.

Lower Lindsay got another collection of in triguing objects this fall: Sunday in the Park, a public art piece that brings to life the 1860s Georges Seurat masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte in 12 striking fiberglass figures.

“The sculptures were made by Thom Gleich of Davenport, with the help of Davenport Central and Augustana students who painted them with [Ted] McElhiney and Ben Sunday, using tech niques that were similar to Seurat’s pointillism,” the Quad Cities Times reports.

After a restoration by retired art teacher Jean Downey, the figures floated down the river—or

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Yayoi Kusuma’s Pumpkin Large in the Pappajohn Sculture Park in Des moines. Courtney Guein / Little Village
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perhaps they scootered down the Mississippi River Trail—from Credit Island this November, where they were originally placed in 2000 due to the island’s similarity to Paris’s La Grande Jatte. While Sunday in the Park is more accessible at Lindsay Park, it’s a loss for Credit Island, a his toric and somewhat spooky recreation area hid ing a rad red pedestrian bridge.

absent laws like the CROWN Act, which seeks to end race-based hair discrimination at school and at work, Black people can be penalized for hairstyles that represent their culture, like braids, locs, twists and Bantu knots. Think Black hair hate isn’t real? Even former first lady Michelle Obama wanted to wear her hair in braids, but straightened it instead because she felt it would be too much for the American people. Let that sink in.

Black Renaissance is towering and resplen dent. Black, Indigenious and people of color will see themselves reflected in the mural’s magnif icence and braids and feel a connection to this time and place. Representation is everything. Even the mural’s name projects a rebirth—and maybe a bold new world where Black hair is cel ebrated and hair discrimination is a disgraceful footnote in the past.

God and Hollywood on Mays Island

Cedar Rapids got its monument in April 1957, but by then DeMille had lost interest in the mon uments. A few weeks earlier, the even more starstuffed Around the World in 80 Days had won the Oscar for Best Picture, and DeMille wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. There were no Hollywood celebrities present when the granite monument was erected in Cedar Rapids.

The Eagles kept the monument program go ing until 2006, and according to a site dedicated to tracking the granite blocks, they eventually placed 196 monuments around the country, in cluding four in Iowa. After Cedar Rapids, monu ments were placed in Iowa City and Burlington. The whereabouts of the fourth monument is uncertain, according to the site. It was original ly in Des Moines, but was last seen in the Story County town of Maxwell. The site asks anyone who knows its current location to get in touch.

The

Dogtown Mural Black Renaissance

Murals by Black artists and murals depicting Black people have popped up all over Des Moines in recent years. The vibrant murals with bold themes add some flavor and raise the vis ibility of people who sometimes operate in the margins of their own city. With a million things competing for a motorists’ attention, in flashes, the murals command attention away from the mundanity of driving to larger-than-life depic tions of Black home ownership, Black achieve ment and Black joy.

East of Drake University in Dogtown, Black Renaissance, a mural by artist Jill Wells, a Drake alumna, is a visually stunning representation of BIPOC culture, featuring a songstress with long black braids at the center. The mural is located south of 24th Street and University Avenue at the music venue xBk Live. Wells said, “The Lotus flowers and foliage symbolize resilience, the black butterflies symbolize transition and renew al and the mural’s moody ombre color palette of blue, black, purple and pink represent royalty and dignity.” The mural’s design captures the spirit of music, Black entrepreneurship and com munity success, she said.

Hairstyles have served as an important part of Black culture for hundreds of years. Today,

Visitors to Mays Island in Cedar Rapids may wonder why there’s a Ten Commandments mon ument in Plaza Park. Religious zeal? Not really. Some connection between Mount Trashmore and Mount Sinai (where Moses received the com mandments, according to Exodus)? Nope. It’s more a tribute to the promotional skills of Cecil B. DeMille, a major producer and director in Hollywood’s Golden Age.

In 1956, DeMille had been a successful pro ducer/director for over 40 years, but he’d never won an Oscar and he was bitter about it. His new film, The Ten Commandments, was a Technicolor remake of his 1923 film of the same name. Stuffed with stars, trading on the prestige of an all-American version of the Bible enjoyed in the Eisenhower era, it was designed to be Oscar bait. DeMille even came up with a unique way to pro mote the film.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles had been distributing paper scrolls featuring the Ten Commandments to schools and courthouses around the country since 1953, in hopes of im proving the morals of Americans. DeMille saw a chance for a big publicity boost. He tried to talk the Eagles into upgrading their commandments from paper scrolls to bronze monuments in ma jor cities to be unveiled in conjunction with his film opening in those cities. The Eagles opted for granite instead, and agreed to pay for creation and placement of the 1,600-pound monuments. DeMille agreed to provide stars from his movies for the monument unveilings.

Majestic

Mount Trashmore

It’s difficult for me to choose a favorite thing about Iowa, because I’m about to leave it, and that sort of thing has a tendency to make you all misty-eyed about things you might have once considered unremarkable. However, one thing I know for a fact I’ll miss like a limb is the view from my office’s break room window. Every af ternoon, when I grow weary of the indignities of customer service, I make myself a cup of coffee and sit in one of the plasticky industrial armchairs and look out at Mount Trashmore, a former Cedar Rapids landfill turned state-of-theart, mixed-elevation recreation area. It is a grand, sun-dappled peak, on which children gleefully sled in the winter and young couples picnic in the summer. Its beauty makes my heart skip a beat. It is also, like, 90 percent actual garbage. How’s that for a metaphor?

Iowa’s Coolest Bicycle Co-op

It can be a little bit intimidating to start fixing your bike, but there’s a place you can go to learn how to do it in the company of a bunch of dum mies who are learning bicycle competency just like yourself. The Iowa City Bike Library, found ed in 2004, has settled into its relatively new Highland Court location and truly come into its own. There are five available work stations, a ton

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of resale bike gear, an endless pool of tools and supplies, dozens of refurbished bikes for sale in the $100-500 range (and more in the back wait ing to be fixed), as well as community outreach programs, Women/Trans/Femme nights, group rides, multilingual access and outreach, and just a ton of good vibes in the Library. You can go there to repair your ride, sign up to volunteer, buy some cool used gear, or maybe even just have a beer and sit on a work table to chat if you’re not in the mood to get dirty. It’s a load of fun and increasingly one of the most important resources this community has to offer. 10/10 would recom mend! Fix yo’ bike!

So Many Taps, It’s Nuts

The appeal of The Cellar Peanut Pub in Pella and Newton is simple: lots of beer and lots of nuts. They serve more than 50 craft beers on tap at any given time from all around Iowa, and an unlim ited source of peanuts. Owned by beer fan Marty Duffy V since 2002 and staffed by knowledge able “pubtenders” ready to preach the craft beer gospel, this is one of those friendly neighborhood spots great for a quick drink, all-day hangout, and everything in between.

History, Jazz and a Rad Jukebox

The Greenwood Lounge is a Des Moines in stitution. Need proof? The Greenwood opened the year that Prohibition ended: 1933. It has all the features and mystic dive bars aspire to. Constance Depler-style booze hounds hold court on the walls above the “stage,” watching over the goings-on. The “stage” is really just the place on the floor where the tables have been pulled to the side. The felt on the pool table has its very own topography, giving a great advantage to the many who have spent decades playing on it. Their jukebox selection is unrivaled, except maybe, just maybe, by The Alpine Tap down the street. But the plug is pulled on it around 8 p.m. nearly every night of the week because that is when the music starts.

There’s jazz jams and cover bands every week, as well as countless up-and-coming local acts and regular sets from Iowa music legends like

Dave Zollo, Bob Pace, and The Soul Searchers. There is usually no cover, but tips are encour aged, collected in a plastic beer pitcher by the front of the speakers. Be sure and tip Bill too, and thank him. He’ll be behind the bar, saying very little and probably wiping a glass. But know that he’s been the one holding the whole Greenwood scene together for many years behind now, and hopefully many more to come.

Ames’ Homiest Book Store

Tucked into Main Street in downtown Ames, between a supply store and a kitchen store, sits a cozy book shop with a selection of previously loved and newly released books, curated to serve readers of many languages, ages and interests. Dog-Eared Books hosts eight separate book clubs (from Thrills & Chills to the Good Trouble Book Club for Middle School Students), two lit-cen tric podcasts, the “Off the Leash” blog, an ISU Emerging Writers’ Series, trivia and other events that reflect their philsophy, which is in part: “We believe reading and storytelling make us better humans, connecting us and allowing us to bet ter care for one another.” From personal experi ence, I can say that they’ve upheld this mission statement. Not only do they have sections based on pop culture (including BookTok) and clas sics, they’re ready to uplift local authors. Book

submissions, author signings and book launches are all part of their business. I can’t think of a cuter place to gather books for the winter.

Cedar Rapids Wins at Pizza

Across this Iowan landscape there stands a little known hill. A hill that I would die upon. A hill called Cedar Rapids is the Best Pizza Town in the State.

“Balderdash; _____ has the best pizza!” you may have just exclaimed. But allow me to pres ent three exemplary Cedar Rapidian pizzerias: Starting with Zoey’s… OK, yes, Zoey’s is in Marion, but “Marion” is still basically Cedar Rapids (please send your complaints to edi tor@littlevillagemag.com). Let’s just move on: Zoey’s first opened its doors in 1991 and across these decades has been making some of the fin est Chicago-style pizza outside of the Windy City and furthermore, having eaten at many of Chicago’s best, I would dare assert Zoey’s can go toe-to-toe with any of them. Sure, they also do a thin crust and it’s great, but CR has a lot of that. I go to Zoey’s because the next best thing is a 4+-hour drive.

Next up is Tomaso’s (on Center Point Road near the co-op). Like Zoey’s, Tomaso’s also does an exceptional Chicago deep dish and a New York thin crust, but you go to Tomaso’s for their

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The beloved jukebox at the Greenwood Lounge in Des moines. Courtney Guein / Little Village
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Detroit. Before I get into that—we need to talk Tomaso’ses. There are several in the area (plus a semi-related spot called Rosco’s) and they’re all good, but I am specifically talking about the original location, which is independent from the rest. Got it? Good. As I was saying, the Detroitstyle pizza is a thing of beauty. Imagine, if you will, a deep-dish pizza whose cheese is taken all the way out to the far edges where it perfectly caramelizes. If I had to pick an all-time favorite pizza, or just favorite food, this is it. Tomaso’s: subjectively and objectively great.

Let us finish with Need Pizza. If the deep-dish stylings of Chicago and Detroit aren’t to your lik ing (because, I don’t know, maybe you lack taste. Please send your complaints to editor@littlevil lagemag.com), then this one’s for you. Need makes New Haven-style pizza, which is like a cousin to the classic New York ’za but lighter on cheese and with a thinner, chewy/charred crust that’s a bit bagel’ish.

At Need, you order your pizza either red, white or plain. Red is with the usual tomato sauce with mozzarella. White is sauceless with olive oil (not a white sauce), garlic and mozzarella. Plain has the red sauce but lacks the mozzarella and is instead sprinkled with parmesan. You’ll figure it out and it will be delicious however you choose to build it. Incredible pizza aside, Need also puts as much attention towards their beer selection as they do their food, which is a thing that many places (pizza joints especially) could learn from.

A special shout-out to the new Czech Village spot Hospoda, with great Neapolitan-style pizza

and on-point draft selection where one can enjoy a proper Pilsner. Cowabunga!

Drink a Manhattan in Cedar Falls

If spending a night in the Cedar Valley, make a trip to Montage on the beautiful Cedar Falls Main Street. Whether it is a date night or a friend’s night, Montage provides a laid-back ex perience at one of the best restaurants in Iowa. Start the night with one of their specialty drinks such as an Old Fashioned, margarita, martini or an Iowa Manhattan.

Once seated under the mood lighting, order a mouthwatering meal such as a flatbread or pasta dish. My recommendation is the Thai chicken pasta. Cooked with chicken, green and red pep pers, green onions and carrots tossed in a rich peanut sauce on Campanelle pasta, all the ingre dients blend to make a perfectly made meal.

Read, Tan, Maury

The front door of Book Trader Tan America in downtown Newton holds an ancient poster of a bikini-clad model advertising some by now equally ancient tanning lotion. Once inside, a stark divide forms. To the left, there is one of the better selections of well-organized used books in the entire state, including everything from

Tomaso’s Detroit-style pizza is a thing of magnificent beauty. Joseph Servey / Little Village

romance pulp to the classics. And to the right, there is a salon made up of six tanning beds.

As the name suggests, Book Trader Tan America operates both as a bookstore and a tan ning salon. This isn’t some designed gimmick either: As this is their 23rd year of business, they seem to have something figured out. Along with their impressive and constantly changing inven tory of books, they also have a large selection of horror DVDs, mid-’90s CDs, and board games. Also, a TV is always tuned into that legendary Wheel of Fortune/Maury lineup throughout the afternoon and plays at a decent volume to accom pany your book browsing or tanning experience. They have various sales and specials throughout the week, both on books and tanning session packages, so keep a look out for whatever it is you are after. Book Trader Tan America doesn’t judge and aims to please. Get off the interstate and check it out. You will never see anything like it again. I promise.

A Froth-Loving Introvert’s Escape

I might be the only journalist that doesn’t drink coffee, despite the proselytizing of friends, pro fessors and editors. But as a card-carrying in trovert, I love the atmosphere of a sunless café, encased by coffee scents, odd books and tungsten lamps. For years, hot chocolate was my coffee substitute, but not every cafe does it right.

For a good atmosphere and good cocoa, I rou tinely go to Prairie Lights Café in Iowa City. The chocolate/cream ratio is balanced, and the milk frothy. Especially on rainy days, I’ll sit by the windows above South Dubuque Street, and read, write, edit photos or people watch.

The Tastiest Southeast Asian Dining on Ingersoll

Whenever I’m spending a few days home in Des Moines, I make a point to hit Lucky Lotus, a cozy Southeast Asian eatery on Ingersoll Street. The restaurant’s aesthetic is too good. As you walk in, you’re greeted by bright neon lights, lanterns hanging on the ceiling and an abundance of plants. There’s also a giant vintage-y Des

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Moines Asian Foods sign in the back of the space along with old framed family photographs of the Chens, the family behind LL. Brothers Kevin and Souriyno opened LL in 2019 and are the chil dren of the couple who once owned Café Fuzion, a former restaurant on the East Side.

Let me assure you that anything that you or der off of LL’s seasonally rotating menu will be excellent. I like to order their Thai rolls as an appetizer, which are colorful and almost too beautiful to eat, stuffed with veggies and ver micelli noodles, and served with peanut sauce. I’ll be honest, I usually keep it real simple and order the pad thai with tofu (the greatest pad thai in Iowa, IMHO) with a little spice. Next time I visit, I’d like to try the Tom Kha, a hearty coco nut milk soup with lemongrass and veggies, the Green Curry, or maybe the Sweet Potato Panang. All sound like perfect options to grab on a cold winter night in good ol’ DSM.

A Wrestling-Themed Restaurant with a Fandom

Professional wrestling is always playing on the TVs inside of The Flying Elbow, a gourmet ham burger and hot dog restaurant located in down town Marshalltown. This place leans hard into their wrestling lore, from the myriad of plastic action figures sprinkled around the dining room to the names of the dishes on the menu. There’s

their version of a roided-out Big Mac, the George the Animal. And there’s the 24-inch Python Burger, complete with grilled red and yellow peppers, nacho cheese and Cheeto dust.

Owner Garrett Goodman started The Flying Elbow as a food truck in 2017, and within a year had been able to move into a brick-and-mortar building. In the years since, Goodman has grap pled with everything that’s been thrown at him. First, the tornado that tore through Marshalltown in July of 2018 also destroyed their building and shuttered their business. Then, as he was work ing on securing a new location, the pandemic be gan. They finally reopened in their new location in September of last year. This May, they were voted the #1 Burger in Iowa for 2022 by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. And they weren’t even on the list of restaurants to choose from: their many fans, or “Elbowmaniacs” wrote them in. Who doesn’t love an underdog story?

Best Annual Outdoor Festival

Dedicated to Food

The DSM World Food & Music Festival has been around since 2005 and has only grown! It first started in the Historic East Village, moved over onto the downtown bridges, and now exists at Western Gateway Park. This past September, over 50 food vendors, representing 27 countries

lined the streets of Locust and Grand between 10th and 13th streets. Each year, the festival also kicks off the event with a Naturalization Ceremony, brings a diverse lineup of music and performances to the main stage, and organiz es cooking demonstrations and workshops. Pro tip: bring cash, specifically dollars with you to the festival. Each food vendor offers dollar-taste items that lets festival-goers try many different cultures’ cuisine.

eNTerTAINING FOLKS

The End of an Era in Iowa Radio

“Thirty-seven years and four months, but who’s counting?”

That’s how long Iowa blues icon Bob Dorr has been hosting his rock and roll history show, Backtracks—a mainstay of Iowa Public Radio’s top-notch music programming. But on New Year’s Eve 2022, that all comes to an end. Dorr isn’t retiring, thankfully: The voice that brought Iowa its very first rock and roll public radio show (even further back, in 1972) will continue bring ing us the Beatles Medley and Blue Avenue. But he is stepping away from his three-hour weekly deep dive into the obscure and delightful details of rock music’s past.

“I have a very, very unique perspective in that I have lived through every rock and roll era,” Dorr said of hosting the show. “If you say that rock and roll started in 1954 or five, well—I was

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The 2022 DSm World Food & music Festival Sid Peterson / Little Village Bob Dorr in the IPR studio just before Backtracks, Dec. 3. Tony Dehner
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only 2 or 3, so I didn’t really have any real per ception of that. But I have lived through every year.”

For Dorr, rock history is a social studies les son. He points to the significance of Elvis, rather than Chuck Berry, carrying the mantle of “King of Rock and Roll” (“... in 1956, in 1957, America was not going to name a Black guy king of any thing”) and the intertwining of music and the an ti-war movement of the 1960s.

“Every era has its own social implications. So it goes deeper than the notes, you know: where the music comes from, the writers. It has a real impact on our own socialization and our own re alization of how we should act, I think. Maybe that’s glorifying rock and roll beyond what it re ally is. But oh, my goodness, it has been a major part of my life forever.”

For more than 50 years, Dorr—who turns 71 in January and started in radio at age 19—has done the impossible of sustaining himself with work in the music industry. And between his ra dio work, his record label (Hot Fudge Music), the bands he’s played with and led (including Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree The Blue Band) and various other entreprises, he’s had a hand in just about every aspect of the business.

To anyone else trying to do the same, he ad vises: “Get some really good caffeinated coffee. And understand that it really is all about the hus tle, no matter what.” The hardest part, he says, is accepting that it’s going to be really hard. That the work won’t stop. And obviously he believes it’s worth it.

However, “In the end,” he said, “you really only have your time. … What you do with your time is the whole thing. You can make music, you can make love, you can make money but in the end, you only get your time. And the older you get the more you understand that there’s a finite amount of time.”

Iowans, make sure you use three hours of your finite amount of time to catch Dorr’s last Backtracks show.

has improv shows, Karaoke Night, Bad B*tch Bingo night and so much more. Come for the comedy, stay for the entertainment. And if you love craft beer over national brands, good news: Teehee’s “support local” ethos extends to their beer menu.

The City of Five Seasons could not let Des Moines facilitate an Iowa comedy renaissance alone. After Penguin’s Comedy Club closed, Cedar Rapids comedy needed a new home, and found it at The Lucky Cat. With shows on the weekend and a Tuesday open mic, The Lucky Cat also has trivia nights, improv shows and oth er events to keep those in the I-380 corridor busy.

No one need travel out of state to see great comedy. The Hawkeye State’s got you.

Eastern Iowa’s Best

Small-Town Day Trip

One of the most charming small towns in Eastern Iowa, Mt. Vernon, is only a 30-minute car ride up from Iowa City, and just outside Cedar Rapids. If you like antique shopping and really good pizza, maybe you ought to escape to MV for a day.

Start by heading to First Street Community Center, a former middle school/high school east of Main Street. There are a couple of great upscale thrift shops tucked on the second floor of the building, like the Green Door and Room 222 Antiques. If you have time to poke around, also check out the Robert Schueler Art Library, a space filled with antique art books and prints (also on the second floor). Lincoln Wine Bar, also on First/Main Street, is another spot to hit. They have a large selection of tasty woodfired pizzas and wine, plus live local music from time to time.

Moondog also operates an impressive head shop, sells a whole line of disc golf equipment, and peddles a small selection of rare books, in cluding some works by the Beats, Bukowski and a few collections of underground comics. They will also guide shoppers if they are in the mar ket for high-end turntables and receivers. Don’t sleep on their exquisite selection of bumper stickers, either. They have the usual fare, sure, but also stock some real philosophical deep cuts to stump fellow motorists. It’s either a reason for rejoicing or an indictment of our times that Moondog Music is book-ended by a Coldstone Creamery and an Advance Auto Parts store. For the last few decades, they have been holding out and holding strong in good ol’ Dubuque, and we should all be glad for that.

Movers and Shakers

(But Mostly Shakers)

Have you ever sat at a restaurant table and thought, “These salt and pepper shakers are too bland”? Well, you will after a visit to the Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery. Check out over 16,000 salt and pepper shaker sets in all sizes and shapes, ranging from chickens and owls to cu cumbers, onions or grapes.

Jokes

Corny State, Clever

Iowa comedy is thriving. Don’t take my word for it—check out Teehee’s Comedy Club, tucked away near the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines.

This independently owned club brings in both up-and-comers and the best Iowa and Midwest comedians around, every weekend. Teehee’s also

A Moondog Daydream in Dubuque

Out in the strip mall world that comprises the outskirts of Dubuque, Moondog Music sticks out like a Bernie sticker on a farm truck. Wandering along the crowded aisles and dodging the hang ing tapestries, music heads will find a huge se lection of new and used vinyl, CDs, cassettes and DVDs. Truly, their new LP and CD selection is among the best in the Midwest, and they are a registered vendor for all Record Store Day re leases.

Longtime Traer resident Ruth Rasmussen had been keeping her extensive shaker collection in a pair of sheds before the city purchased it in 2008, fundraising to build a permanent home where they could be preserved and enjoyed by the public.

Shaker enthusiast or not, this gallery is one of those niche Iowa gems worth pulling over for. This small building tucked on the outskirts of downtown Traer may look like a quick visit, but you’ll want to stick around for a while.

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Courtesy of the Traer Salt and Pepper Shaker Gallery

Coolest Annual Conference for Musicians

Each year, the Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC) hosts a conference specifically for the Iowa music community. The event’s geared to ward musicians and all interested in the music in dustry. Participants can attend workshops, listen to local and national speakers and network. This year’s workshops included one about copyright and royalties, another about building a career as an independent artist, and another focused on Iowa music venues with a promoter roundtable. Music University is always free and takes place at Drake University. Make sure to follow DMMC on Instagram for details on next year’s confer ence.

Baby Goat Therapy

Personally, I believe goats are the cutest animals. They’re one of my favorites due to their mischie vous nature, their sass and energy.

The Pygmy Patch in Van Meter, Iowa is a most wholesome goat-centric experience. It was formed in 2019 by two farm owners and a yoga instructor to provide an interactive experience for themselves and guests. At the Pygmy Patch guests are welcome to sign up for yoga classes where baby goats roam around and hop on you. You’ll also have time at the end of the class to cuddle and play with the goats. They offer class es open for the public or private classes for birth day parties or special events.

Black Iowa History You Weren’t Taught in School

Growing up Black in Iowa, I’ve often won dered how Blacks ended up living in towns like Newton, Keokuk and other Iowa cities. How and when did they get there? Why did they stay? What were the contributions they made—not taught in Iowa classrooms?

Iowa’s people and places? Sign up for the we binar series. With nearly 70 webinars available on a variety of topics, some hidden gem of Iowa history awaits. Maybe you’ll see your own fam ily history reflected in ways you haven’t thought about before, and learn something new about the state you call home.

Best Copy of a Real Fake Giant

Best Place to Find a Crinoid

What did you think the Crinoid Capitol of the World stored in those big, beautiful bluffs? 500 million years ago, Burlington, Iowa sprawled beneath a warm bath of salt water filled with various evolving creatures, including a con centration of crinoids––sweetly nicknamed sea lilies––a simple Mississipian marine animal for which the town is now celebrated. And do not fret, you don’t have to excavate a 200-foot hill overlooking the river to find one; just take a walk and you’ll spot little stone tubes and discs within the limestone architectural details all around town.

The Iowa History 101 Series does a tremen dous job answering those questions and uncov ering hidden Iowa history in an engaging way. The 60-minute webinars over Zoom debut on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month and approach Iowa history with a cultural lens.

Black Civil War veterans shaped Iowa cities and fought for equality in communities across the state, like in Newton and Keokuk.

Black and white Iowans in the early 1900s cel ebrated Juneteenth.

Redlining played a role in how the city of Des Moines (and Iowa) was shaped and why its neighborhoods look the way they do.

The nation’s first Black troops trained to be officers during WWI at the 17th Provisional Training Regiment and Medical Officer Training Camp in 1917 at Fort Des Moines on the city’s south side.

Want a more complete understanding of

George Hull lied when he arrived in Fort Dodge in July 1868. He said the giant block of stone he had quarried out of the acre lot he’d bought by Gypsum Creek was for a statue of Abraham Lincoln. It wasn’t.

Hull, a cigar maker from upstate New York, was on a mission to prove it was foolish to be lieve in the literal truth of the Bible, especially passages like Genesis 6:4, “There were giants in the earth in those days…” He’d come to Fort Dodge because the area’s gypsum was known for its blue streaks, which might resemble veins to those willing to believe if the gypsum was carved to look like a body. The five-ton block was shipped to Chicago, where two stone cutters were waiting. The finished product was trans ported in secret to the farm near Cardiff, New York, owned by a relative of Hull, and buried.

On Oct. 16, 1869, two unsuspecting workers were sent to dig a well where the carved stone was buried. Newspapers, eager to make a buck, made the discovery of the “petrified remains”

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The cardiff Giant at the Farmers’ museum in cooperstown. Martin Lewison / Creative Commons

of a 10-foot-tall giant into a national sensation. Ministers, eager to believe, declared it proof the Bible was right about giants. Scientists said it was a fake. P.T. Barnum knew a fake when he saw it, but was eager to muke a buck off people eager to believe. After his offer to buy the Cardiff Giant was rejected, Barnum made his own.

Others did too, and soon there were a dozen giants touring the country. By then, everyone knew the Cardiff Giant was a fake. Eventually, people stopped paying to see the fake fossils, and the original giant is now in the Farmer’s Museum of Cooperstown, New York. Barnum’s is in Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Michigan.

A century after news of the Cardiff Giant transfixed the nation, the Fort Dodge Museum and Frontier Village decided it had a 10-foot hole in its collection. That hole was filled in 1980, when Iowa sculptor Cliff Carlson carved a block of local gypsum into an authentic copy of the fake giant. The copy is still on display, commem orating Fort Dodge’s contribution to one of the great hoaxes of the 19th century.

George R.R. Martin’s Three Years in Dubuque

The man whose mind sprang forth the heart and soul of Tyrion Lannister once taught print jour nalism, freshman composition and science fiction lit at Clark University, at the time an all-women’s Catholic college in Dubuque.

In the 1970s, A Song of Ice and Fire au thor George R.R. Martin owned an 1880s brick Italianate in the area between the bluff and the river

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G.R.R.M.’s 1970’s residence in Dubuque. ©2022 Google Music Video Cable Television Station Shirt (creme, Purple): $23 LittleVillageMag.com

north of downtown. Martin has said his favorite historic Dubuque landmark was the Fenelon Place Elevator, a funicular railway that he depicted in his werewolf novella The Skin Trade—published in the 1989 horror fiction collection Dark Visions, also featuring Stephen King and Dan Simmons— set in a fictional town inspired by Martin’s time in Dubuque and Chicago.

There’s Always An Iowa Connection

The State Historical Society of Iowa is a top destination and most assuredly is not your grand father’s museum. It has transformed the old concept of “things in glass cases” to interactive, engaging exhibits, offering an enticing variety of themes sure to captivate. Besides, it’s a rite of passage for every young person to hear the trum peting call of the wooly mammoth just inside the south entrance.

What has become one of the most popular exhibits is “Hollywood in the Heartland.” This special exhibit is filled with titillating memora bilia capturing the stories of Iowa celebrities and business leaders who contributed to history and lore. Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman is featured, as is Brandon Routh (a.k.a. Superman). Norman Lear wrote and directed Cold Turkey, which was filmed in Greenfield. Other memo rable films have special behind-the-scene sto ries, including Field of Dreams and Bridges of Madison County. Visitors can discover AfricanAmerican filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s Iowa connection, and how Iowa screenwriters influ enced many of the feature films that dot many “top” lists.

Historical exploration happens at other ven ues, too, such as Hoyt Sherman Place. The home of a Des Moines founding father has been trans formed, housing the first art gallery west of the Mississippi. Visits are encouraged, admission is free—even to see the multi-million-dollar mas terpiece painting in their collection.

Iowa’s Only Impeached Civil War Hero

Iowa was a bulwark of the Union in the Civil War, with more of its citizens joining the U.S. Army than any other state per capita. Over 13,000 Iowans gave their lives to defeat the

Confederacy. Many veterans went on to politics or government service, but none achieved the du bious fame of William W. Belknap.

Born in New York, Belknap moved to Iowa in 1851 after graduating from law school and set up practice in Keokuk. He became involved in politics and served one term in the Iowa House (1858-60). When the war came in 1861, he was appointed as captain of the local militia, the Keokuk Rifles.

In 1862, he joined the Army as a major in the newly organized 15th Iowa Infantry. Belknap compiled a distinguished war record from Shiloh and Corinth through Sherman’s March to the Sea. In 1869, President Grant appointed him Secretary of War. Belknap was an able admin istrator, but not an honest one. Within a year, he was accepting bribes.

By 1876, the corruption was too obvious to ig nore. (Belknap issued signed receipts for some of the bribes.) The U.S. House began an impeach ment inquiry. Belknap immediately resigned, The House unanimously voted to impeach him anyway. The Senate didn’t convict, but 23 of the 25 senators who voted to acquit publicly stated they were sure he’d taken the bribes.

After months living in Philadelphia, Belknap briefly returned to Keokuk. He soon moved back to D.C., where he resumed his legal prac tice. Belknap died in 1890, and was buried in Arlington Cemetery. Despite his disgrace as secretary of war, Belknap was still admired by many of the men who served under him in the war. They collected money to raise a monument to him, and a year later a six-foot-tall granite headstone with a bronze relief bust of Belknap in his dress uniform was placed at his grave.

The Highest-Flyin’ Iowan, George Nissen

Ever mangled a childhood ankle by slipping through the springs of a trampoline on a bad bounce? Well, send your letters to George Nissen of Cedar Rapids, because he’s the one who in vented ‘em.

An avid and accomplished gymnast, Nissen was inspired by circus performers, who would do tricks on a trapeze and land safely on a net be low. He created the Nissen Trampoline Co., with a factory on Ellis Blvd in 1946, and would go on to become the finest name in hurling children and adults (even Air Force trainees, which I pic ture as the most whimsical iteration of Full Metal Jacket) for many years. In 1977, Nissen hauled a trampoline to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza and bounced on it as part of a promotion to the Egyptian Gymnastics Federation.

Trampolining would become a worldwide phenomenon, and even an Olympic sport in 2000. Nissen was given the honor of testing out the Olympic trampoline at age 86, the culmina tion of a life dedicated to the bounce.

Best Turn-of-theCentury Scapegoat

If you haven’t heard of the Van Meter Visitor un til this very moment, it’s possible that’s because the Van Meter Visitor burned itself from your memory with its ungodly stench. This lu ciferian winged creature was allegedly spotted in 1903 by multiple witnesses (all reputable townsmen!!) in sleepy Van Meter, just southwest of Des Moines along the Raccoon River.

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The Notorious William W. Belknap, Library of Congress Emma McClatchey, from Kevin Lee Nelson’s sketch

Looking like an alien pterodactyl in a sketch by cryptid researcher Kevin Lee Nelson, the Visitor was said to have robbed, stolen, terror ized, shot lasers from its fore-horn and released stenches that would erase human minds of all thoughts, and soared above town before descend ing back into its home—an abandoned mine at the edge of Van Meter—where it was eventually sealed for eternity by the town mob.

Ride the Rails in Boone

If you’ve ever wanted the views that come with hiking while skipping the “hiking” part, then rail biking in Boone, Iowa is the activity for you. You’ll still get a workout, but steel wheels on steel tracks make for an easier time.

hills, and those lucky enough to drive through the area are taken on a tour of some of the most diverse and beautiful geography the state has to offer (cell phone service not guaranteed).

For those who take the trip to Lansing, the view from Mount Hosmer stands above all, of fering an incredible view of the Mississippi and the nearby Black Hawk Bridge, which spans over 1,600 feet across the river and on into Wisconsin. A winding paved road offers both cars and pe destrians access to Mount Hosmer’s summit, with memorial plaques, overlooks and various park amenities along the way. After taking in the view, visitors can look to Shep’s Riverside Bar and Grill for food and drinks while overlooking the Mississippi (albeit at a lower elevation), or head to the Driftless Area Education and Visitors center down the road for an interactive look of the history of the driftless region, including countless artifacts used by the area’s indigenous population long before the arrival of Europeans.

The Magic of a Suspended Canvas Parabola

Spend a Day on the Trail

It might be getting too chilly to bike for some, but once the weather warms I invite you all to share the joy I had in October 2022 on a warm, windy, sunny Saturday when there was nothing else pressing to do but ride my bicycle between Solon and Cedar Rapids.

Jump on the Cedar River Trail in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village or on the six-mile stretch of trail parallel to Hwy 382 in Solon, and head toward Ely. Then keep going till you hit Solon or Cedar Rapids, depending on where you start ed. Get yourself a drink and then head back in the other direction for home for the second half of a 30-total-mile ride. It’s a 99-percent paved, mostly flat joyride of rural Iowa beauty capped by places to eat and drink. Up the ante and climb Mt. Trashmore, then take the mountain bike trail back down. —Jordan Sellergren

The 12.5-mile trail takes you from open farm land to the Des Moines River on a rail explorer, which is a pedal-powered vehicle that rides on railroad tracks (don’t worry—no trains ride these rails). Riders have the choice between a two seat or four seat for their ride. This allows couples, groups of friends and families to enjoy the tour together. They operate rain or shine and allow people of all ages to join. There’s something spe cial about breathing in fresh air, getting the wind through your hair and laughing with friends.

Iowa’s Most Mountainous Town

Sitting alongside downtown Lansing, Iowa in Allamakee County lies Mount Hosmer, a bluff just over a thousand feet that rises over the Mississippi River. Located in the Driftless re gion of Northeast Iowa—an area spared from the many glaciers that would eventually flatten the state and turn it into a hotspot for agriculture— Lansing and its surrounding area looks and feels like a different state altogether, far removed from the flat expanses typically associated with Iowa. Deep valleys wind through rock and tree-covered

I’m suspended between a sappy evergreen and a light pole, several feet above the grass, gently swaying with the wind in College Green Park. I have a book, water bottle and snacks—ket tle-cooked chips, some variety of carbonated fruit juice, or whatever else I can find at the coop. Is there anything better than hammocking?

College Green is the closest green space to my apartment, but it isn’t my favorite hammocking spot in Iowa City. The trek there takes me past the Old Capitol, through Hubbard Park, around the Iowa Memorial Union Amphitheater and across the green pedestrian bridge. Off to the left are two trees near the railroad crossings. I string up my hammock there, overlooking the Iowa River. As the sun sets, the water becomes a mir ror, reflecting lights from the Memorial Union and Advanced Tech Lab. Once a family of deer strolled past, and I watched them munch on the tall, banked grass.

Tubing in the Driftless

If you need a good warm weather activity, head to the Driftless Area and tube down the Upper Iowa River. The beautiful landscape of northeast

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Lookin’ out upon the mississippi from Lansing, Iowa. Drew Bulman / Little Village

Iowa provides a breathtaking view as you float down the river. This part of the state looks like nowhere else in Iowa, and is perfect to look at during the slow pace of a float, especially with a few drinks along the way. The rugged, tree-cov ered bluffs with valleys in between make for a remarkable sight. Unlike the rest of the state, which is organized into cities or square miles of farmland, Mother Nature divided up the Driftless Area. Homes dot the landscape where she left a bit of hospitable land, and she pushes floaters down the river at her will to witness the beauty of what she made. This area is the most breathtak ing part of the Hawkeye State.

Tame Hike, Killer Views

I’ve had out-of-state friends tell me there are no good hiking trails in Iowa. Well, Squire Point in North Liberty proves them all wrong. Don’t let the hidden opening and steep hill leading down to the entrance deter you. If anything, let it en courage you. This beautiful trail wraps around the Coralville reservoir and it’s perfect for hik ing with your family, friends, dog, etc. Along the path there is workout equipment to play on or include in your hike if you’re there to get a work out in. Regardless of the season, the path offers great views. In the summer, the wind from the lake cools you; in the fall, you’re surround ed by warm golds, oranges and reds. In winter, the snow clinging to the trees and ground below your feet feels like a wonderland, and the plants flourishing in the spring remind you of new be ginnings. I highly recommend.

Best Small Town Ruled Over by a Giant Fruit

My first-ever no-parents road trip in high school took my friends and I through Strawberry Point, and it’s held a special place in my imagination ever since. The 15-foot-tall fiberglass straw berry atop a pole outside of the city hall/police station is an obvious attraction—a 1960s town marketing ploy that has certainly paid off in the Instagram age—but the community over which it looms is pleasant as well.

One can wake up, grab coffee, do a little shop ping, eat all three meals and go to bed again all within the walls of the quaint and historic

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Franklin Hotel/coffee shop/restaurant. I’d rec ommend stepping outside, however, and into the spacious intersection of Mission Street and Commercial/Elkader during the Friday Night Farmers Market season to hear some music and shop a broader range of local crafts, baked goods, flowers and produce. (Note: you are obligated to tithe 10 percent of your strawberry purchases to The World’s Largest Strawberry down the road.) The evening market was founded in 2021 to pro vide an open-air venue for vendors and live mu sic amid COVID spread, but is likely to outlast the pandemic.

Once you’ve collected enough snacks to con stitute a trail mix, consider venturing outside of The Great Fruit’s gaze. Strawberry Point is adja cent to Iowa’s oldest state park, Backbone State Park (est. 1919), full of the Driftless Region’s signature steep ridges, thick forests, ancient dolomite walls, trout streams and 21 miles of rugged trails for adventurous hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers to conquer in the name of the One True Berry.

The Divine Superposition of Shoefiti

I’ve long been captivated by “shoefiti,” the cus tom of throwing a pair of shoes tied by the laces over telephone wires. In high school, classmates

told me that hanging shoes signified gang terri tory, drug hotspots, or were used to memorialize dead members, but it’s hard to believe my small Southern town had such a strong gang presence. Maybe they’re tossed for good luck, as a cele bration, as a prank, or just because they can be.

The best shoefiti in Iowa City is outside the Little Village office. I call them the Dubuque Street Sky Shoes. They have a counterpart, the North Dubuque Street Sky Shoes, which are near the Emma Goldman Clinic. I spotted the East Court Soles while biking home one night, and I think the Burlington Power Shoes are still sus pended, though I haven’t found them since my initial encounter.

It’s the mystery of shoefiti that fascinates me. And I don’t really want to know the answer. I want to watch them dangle, framed by the sky, clouds and buildings, and wonder who wore them, and why they’re there. Maybe I’ll toss my shoes one night and find out what the fuss is about.

The Highest Place to Get High

Iowa has a range of cornside attractions, from the Field of Dreams in Dyersville to the Buddy Holly Crash site in Clear Lake (if you’re new to Iowa—yes, the spot where the music died is a tourist destination).

One you might not expect to find on flat

The fiberglass fruit of someone’s labor towers over the town of Strawberry Point. ©2022 Google

farmland is Hawkeye Point, Iowa’s highest point of elevation. Within four miles of the Iowa/ Minnesota border, about 30 miles west of Spirit Lake and Okoboji in Osceola County, Hawkeye Point—a whopping 1,670 feet above sea lev el—is marked by a kitschy sign and flat circular mosaic depicting the state of Iowa. Visitors can wander the area, taking in street signs that point to far-flung destinations around the world, a bul letin board of license plates, an American Gothic photo stand-in, boulders, benches and a nearby historic silo.

Want to stick around a while? Check if the Hawkeye Point campsite is open for reserva tions. I’m not saying you legally can or should take advantage of the remoteness of the location and the one-third-of-a-mile-high altitudes to get as stoned as Coloradan, but in theory one could

Iowa’s 100th County

Ah, Bloom County. The reason my Gen Z-cusp mind sees the ’80s primarily as black-andwhite pen illustrations. Comic creator Berkeley Breathed famously lived in Iowa City for four years, so as is the grand Iowa tradition, he’s ours forever. This is, however, cemented by the fact that the boarding house in which Opus, Bill the Cat and a variety of other Bloom County char acters live is based on Iowa City’s most chaot ically aesthetically mangled house, the Linsay/ Lindsay/Bloom County house on E College Street. If you’re in the mood to relive a childhood Sunday spent on the floor of your folks’ living room looking through the Sunday funnies, pop on down to your local library and get out a col lection or two!

Most Popular Four Letters in Iowa

If you’re from Iowa, then you have undoubtedly encountered an ICON.

To University of Iowa students and profes sors, that’s the Iowa Courses Online course management system. For the nerds in the room, it’s the Mindbridge Foundation’s Iowa Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. Art lovers will

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be familiar with Fairfield’s ICON Gallery: Iowa Contemporary Art. In Central Iowa, there’s Iowa Confluence Water Trails. In the northeastern part of the state, you’ll find ICON Donuts, with loca tions in Cedar Falls and Waterloo. If you work with the prison system, you’ll have encountered the one real acronym of the bunch: the Iowa Corrections Offender Network. And perhaps the newest instance is found at ICON Arts Academy, now auditioning for the 2023-24 school year.

That’s a lot of ICONs.

The oldest by far is the ICON Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, established in 1975. The Mindbridge Foundation (which is also responsi ble for AnimeIowa and Gamicon) held the 47th ICON in October 2022. Alternating locations between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City/Coralville, ICON carries the prestige of being the oldest sci ence fiction convention in Iowa. More than that, it’s a damned good time. It’s the perfect mix of welcoming and close-knit, with ample opportu nities to volunteer and a track record of fasci nating guests, starting with inaugural Guest of Honor Roger Zelaney in ICON’s first year. (I met Cory Doctorow there in 2010 and still get that geeky buzz when I think back on it.)

Iowa Contemporary Art came next, establish ing a nonprofit in 2003 and opening its gallery space in 2007. In 2016, the master plan for the Iowa Confluence Water Trails was adopted, working toward education in conservation, wa ter safety and more by increasing access to 150 miles of rivers and creeks across Central Iowa. ICON Donuts & Sweetery was established in Waterloo in 2018, opening its Cedar Falls loca tion just last year, in November 2021. ICON Arts Academy, intensive arts education for students 14-19, is just getting off the ground, building a new home for dance, theater, music and design students in Iowa City.

Of course, we would be remiss not to mention our own dear, departed Icon: Iowa City’s 19932001 alt weekly whose staff went on to found Little Village

Iowa’s Best NonCommercially Viable Native Fruit

Though Iowa’s not quite the tropical fruit cap ital of the USA, it’s a native home to one of the most distinct and little-known fruits of the northern states, the pawpaw. With a collection of folksy names—Hoosier banana, custard ap ple, banango—and a taste that’s reminiscent of

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mango, banana and a slight overtone of yeast, it’s just waiting to be the hottest new trend in craft beers. It’s not commercially viable since it bruis es easily and doesn’t transport well, but thanks to dedicated fans ’cross the Midwest, you can get your own pawpaws to plant and enjoy right in your backyard for cheap. Iowa’s one of the worst states for biodiversity, so planting native flora like the pawpaw tree is one small way you can help Iowa be that little more ecologically diverse.

Hooray! for the State’s Tastiest Tap Water

Your drinking water has to be pretty top notch in order to get mentioned in a song like “Hooray! For Ames Water” by Smiling Stone Soup. But lucky for Ames, it’s just that good.

Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Lyle Hammes says that good drinking water starts with a good water source. “We’re sitting on a very good aquifer here in Ames,” he explained. “It’s an alluvial aquifer. It’s very plentiful in wa ter and it has good water quality that we get to start with. There are some deeper aquifers that have more minerals and dissolved gasses in them and we don’t have to deal with that. Other places have to use surface water from rivers and lakes that has more organic material in it that can con tribute to taste and odors that we don’t have.”

Ames also has a top-notch water treatment facility. Updating the water treatment plant was a $52.5 million project completed in August of 2017. Since then, the plant has been provid ing great tasting drinking water to over 18,000 homes and businesses, the Iowa State University campus, the National Centers for Animal Health and the Xenia Rural Water District.

Good things are born out of hard work and that’s certainly true for the Ames Water Treatment Plant. According to Hammes, the plant is staffed 24/7 to make sure that operations are running smoothly.

“We need to make sure the water keeps run ning for the citizens,” Hammes said. “And we have a very good track record of good tasting and very reliable water supply.”

Most Interesting DSM Neighborhood to Watch Grow

In the past few years, some of my favor ite new local businesses have sprouted up in HPOP, Highland Park/Oak Park. Des Moines Mercantile, a modern general store that opened in 2020, is incredibly fun to browse through. They have the coolest coffee table books, such as one I bought about music festivals around the world. Next door is The Slow Down Coffee Co, a coffee shop and community gathering place

that also opened in 2020, and it’s worth check ing out. They frequently host LGBTQIA+ game nights, artist meetups, book clubs, and so many other fun events. (Tip: follow their Instagram @ slowdowndsm to find these events!) In the past month, a new vintage shop, the Divine Times Vintage, opened on Euclid, and I’m excited to check it out! They have multiple vintage vendors in the space and a great mix of clothing, home goods and furniture.

Best Local Tributes to American Gothic

After moving to Iowa last year, I was surprised to learn that American Gothic was an Iowan ar tifact. I recognized the painting, but couldn’t tell you much about it, and could tell you even less about Iowa. So, I visited the Grant Wood collec tion at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and af ter examining a few paintings I thought, “Wait, was he gay?” That was my second surprise, and my third was learning that the painting itself was in Chicago, not Iowa.

Perhaps as a consolation prize, or to inform oblivious outsiders like me that Iowa exists, Iowans across the state have made their own American Gothics, from eye-catching recre ations to chuckle-worthy parodies.

Last year, I spotted the American Gothic Barn near the entrance to Palisades-Kepler State Park. It’s hard to miss and exactly what it sounds like: a barn-sized version of Wood’s masterpiece, paint ed by middle school art teacher, Mark Benesh.

The Grant Wood Rest Stop is also impressive. Outside, it features rolling hills, covered picnic wagons, themed windowpanes, and inside, corn row tiled-floors, mosaic restroom artwork, and cutouts of the farmer and daughter (my third surprise was learning they weren’t married). I encountered another mosaic rendition in the women’s restroom at the Eastern Iowa Airport. It’s cute.

But my personal favorite is a low-effort, blackand-white sign on Highway 1. The front reads, “You’re keeping up with the Joneses – You’re in Jones County, Iowa!” beside the farmer and daughter. The other side reads, “You’ve kept up with the Joneses – You’re been in Jones County!” and shows their backs. On both sides, the figures are on the right, so they don’t actually align. It’s so lazy that it’s endearing. —Adria Carpenter

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Ames’ top-notch water treatment facility. Courtesy of the City of Ames

A Burgeoning Film Festival Scene

Seventeen film festivals are scattered through out the state and calendar, offering a seductive dive into the world of indie filmmaking. At io waculture.gov/media, Produce Iowa provides a list with links to fests of all stripes, including Ottumwa’s horror-filled Halloweenapalooza, Iowa City’s newly minted, lit-centric ReFocus Film Festival and Des Moines’ 48 Hour Film Project and Latino Film Festival.

Most fests have a mix of short, animated, stu dent and documentary films, anchored with some features. The appeal lies not in the slick block buster allure of major studio projects, but in experiencing the raw testing ground for emerg ing filmmakers. Often, recognizable stars will work on small indie films as “passion projects,” sometimes to keep the creative juices flowing in this elemental world of indie filmmaking, or to produce a small project that wouldn’t even be looked at by major studios or distributors.

A top benefit of attending film festivals is direct contact with many of the filmmakers.

Festivals will feature panel discussions, giving film fans firsthand glimpses into the processes and challenges of filmmaking, along with the rewards. For longtime attendees of festivals, they capture their own tales of seeing a career launched, or a rising star in their nascent stages. All is grounded in making films for the aesthet ic rewards it brings—and, for some, the outside chance that scouts at festivals may see a film that catches their attention, and finds a fast track to distribution. Lights, camera, action.

Iowa’s Influence on Nouvelle Cuisine

While reading through a copy of The French Menu Cookbook by Richard Olney—a book to be pondered as much as followed, with wonder fully evocative writing and a delightful explo ration of French food techniques—I noted the author made a surprising amount of references to Iowa, in particular Des Moines. A quick Google turned up that Olney (1927-99) was born in the

northwestern Iowa town of Marathon. He attended college at the University of Iowa before becom ing a food writer in France, where he was a contemporary of Simone Beck and Julia Child. Olney was one of the strongest voices in the push for seasonal menus and locally sourced foods in the ’70s; Chez Panisse owner and farmto-table activist Alice Waters considered Olney a major influence on her career and approach to food, as did sommelier Kermit Lynch.

After being out of print for a while, the French Menu Cookbook is back in a new edition, so I highly recommend picking it up, stopping by a local farm or signing up for a CSA, and taking a stab at a pot au feu, a duck-leg confit or possibly, if you’re feeling extra bold, some calf’s brains and tripe.

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Best of the CRANDIC

Nearly 100 years after the CRANDIC train route first started running between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Little Village pres ents the fifth annual reader-select ed Best of the CRANDIC awards, celebrating the best of the region.

Little Village readers cast their votes in 100 categories from Aug. 1–Sept. 30. They were also given the opportunity to explain why their choice is best; some of those answers are included in this section.

Now let’s reveal the winners!

Food & Drink

BEST WINE SELECTION

brix cheese Shop and Wine bar 209 N Linn St, Iowa City brixcheeseshop.com

Runner-up: John’s Grocery

BEST BEER SELECTION big Grove brewery 101 W Main St, Solon 1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City

They don’t just do IPAs. They have a good brown and other darker ales. —Michelle K.

Summer Jam is my new jam. —Brian D.

Runner-up: John’s Grocery

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN/ MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE OR MARKET

Oasis Falafel

206 N Linn St, Iowa City 319-358-7342, oasisfalafel.com

That hummus and its undeniable tastiness… #homersimpsondrool ing —Andrea T.

Runner-up: Cortado

BEST WINE SELECTION

brix cheese Shop and Wine bar

BEST SOUTH ASIAN CUISINE OR MARKET (INDIA, PAKISTAN, ETC.) masala Indian cuisine 9 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-338-6199 masalaindiancuisine.site

Runner-up: Exotic India

BEST ATMOSPHERE Goosetown 203 N Linn St, Iowa City 319-351-1924, goosetownic.com

Runner-up: Rodina

MOST INNOVATIVE MENU rodina

1507 C St SW, Cedar Rapids 319-200-2515, rodinaiowa.com

Everything that can possibly be sourced within 25 miles of the restaurant...is. —Seth R.

Love taking my parents there be cause dad always whines about the food naming and my bonus mom loves how fresh things are. It’s also a nice place to treat my mom to as it’s still pretty afford able for the quality of food provid ed. —Kayla M.

Runner-up: The Webster

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE rodina

Runner-up: Pullman Bar & Diner

BEST BARBECUE mosley’s barbecue and Provisions

525 S Gilbert St, Iowa City (loca tion closing)

125 E Zeller St, North Liberty

Runner-up: Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack

BEST SUSHI

MOST INNOVATIVE MENU, BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE rodina

Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse

5350 Council St NE F, Cedar Rapids, 319-832-1800 oyamasushi.com

Runner-up: Soseki

BEST EAST/SOUTHEAST ASIAN

CUISINE OR MARKET (CHINA, JAPAN, THAILAND, VIETNAM, ETC.)

Thai Flavors

340 E Burlington St, Iowa City 319-339-8900, thaiflavors.net

Wide range of spice levels, great service, and consistent dishes!

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—Nolan P.
Zak Neumann / Little Village

Fast, consistent, amazing and *leftovers*. —Alice V.

Runner-up: Thai Spice

BEST PRODUCE New Pioneer co-op 1101 2nd St, Coralville 319-358-5513, newpi.coop

22 S Van Buren St, Iowa City 319-338-9441

3338 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-2632

Super clean with a great selection of curated products. Shopping here is always quick and easy.

—Kelly S.

Runner-up: Buffalo Ridge Orchard

BEST LATE-NIGHT FOOD burgers from George’s buffet 17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-351-9614

Runner-up: Marco’s Grilled Cheese

BEST RESTAURANT TO CURE YOUR HANGOVER bluebird cafe 650 W Cherry St #9, North Liberty 319-626-2603, bluebird.cafe

112 E Main St, Solon, 319-624-2031

bluebird Diner 330 E Market St, Iowa City 319-351-1470

Runner-up: Hamburg Inn

BEST BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Dandy Lion

111 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-358-6400, thedandylionic.com

Most consistently crispy hash browns in the area. —Adam Z.

The Lodger Special! The cakes! —Andrea T.

Runner-up: Bluebird Cafe

BEST PUB FOOD mickey’s Irish Pub 11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-338-6860, mickysirishpub.com

720 Pacha Pkwy #8, North Liberty 319-626-2201

Those pretzel bites tho. —Madde H.

Runner-up: Shakespeare’s

BEST GROCERY STORE

New Pioneer co-op Runner-up: John’s Grocery

BEST CSA (COMMUNITYSUPPORTED AGRICULTURE) rainbow roots Farm 3167 Rapid Creek Trail NE, Iowa City, rainbowrootsfarm.com

Serving both Iowa City & Cedar Rapids, Corbin [Scholz] and her crew utilize sustainable farming practices to grow a great variety

BEST BREAKFAST/BRUNCH Dandy Lion

Breakfast is perhaps the humblest meal, but also one of the most universally loved. And when it comes to restaurants, both greasy spoons and high-end cafes can deliver the goods.

The Dandy Lion is already a favorite place of mine; I’ve taken my daughter there for lunch dates, stopped in for a golden latte or a glass of wine when hanging out downtown and been enticed by the specials listed on the chalkboard outside the door. Open 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday through Monday, Dandy Lion’s menu features everything from your standard stack of buttermilk pancakes to a charcuterie sand wich.

The Dandy Lion is located in the Ped Mall in a space that former ly housed Forbidden Planet and before that, the Tobacco Bowl. It is co-owned by Tommy Connolly, who was also one of the owners of Forbidden Planet, and Lindsay Chastain, and opened in 2018 after the partnership behind Forbidden Planet dissolved.

This time, I was looking for something sufficiently hearty but not too heavy. I ordered the salmon toast, whose modest name belies its true nature. It was essentially an open-faced sandwich layered with smoked salmon, chèvre cheese and two poached eggs. It also came with a generous side of hashbrowns.

To say that it was tasty would be an understatement. This was one of those breakfasts that elevates the form. The flavors were delicious: the chèvre was mildly tangy and perfectly complemented the brine and salt of the salmon and it was also a harmonious marriage of textures. The thick slice of focaccia provided a sturdy base for the flaky salmon, crunchy radishes, creamy chèvre and poached eggs with perfect jam my yolks inside them. The hashbrowns were crunchy, salty and perfect for mopping up egg yolk that went astray. The whole meal literally melted in the mouth.

My partner ordered the chicken biscuit, which again was somewhat deceptively named as it was huge. It consisted of a breaded chicken thigh seasoned with hot sauce and maple syrup between two halves of a buttermilk biscuit. It was accompanied by hashbrowns and a couple orange slices. In the name of journalistic integrity, I took a few bites of this sandwich as well and it was every bit as delicious as my meal. The biscuit was flaky and the chicken was perfectly breaded and moist. The maple syrup/hot sauce combo was balanced and so, so tasty.

Both of our meals were so large that we were able to eat the left overs for dinner later.

This was just another in a long chain of meals from the Dandy Lion that have exceeded my expectations. With great ingredients that are deftly executed, the Dandy Lion absolutely lives up to its clever moniker. —Tiffani Green

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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village Jordan Sellergren / Little Village BEST CSA rainbow roots Farm
littlevillagemag.com
Courtesy of Corbin Scholz

In summer, there’s raspberries and strawberries, cherries and to matoes, apples and blueberries. The apple season carries over into fall, along with pumpkins and blooming flowers. From above, the lines of orchards and plantings crisscross over 90 acres.

Wilson’s Orchard and Farm, a short trip off Hwy 1 north of Iowa City, is a “you-pick” orchard with a growing event space, featuring Thursday Night Farm Sessions (with musicians like Little Village’s art director Jordan Sellergren), yoga nights and weddings. There are sun flower festivals, tulip festivals and pumpkin festivals.

Next year, Wilson’s will expand beyond Iowa City, adding a new 115-acre location in Des Moines, owner Paul Rasch announced in October. Like its Iowa City counterpart, the new Wilson’s will have a seasonal farm market, bakery, cider bar and restaurant. But these build ings will be combined into one facility with a large indoor and outdoor seating area, and it will also produce hard cider.

The farm will have familiar fruits, flowers and vegetables, and they’ll dedicate 30 acres to pasture livestock, including sheep, pigs and chicken. Wilson’s broke ground at the new location in November and plans to open for the strawberry season in 2023.

The new location is coming to Iowa’s first agrihood, a 900-acre de velopment that integrates agriculture with mixed residential, retail and commercial priorities. The $800 million project, called Middlebrook, will have a small farm, barn, parks, townhomes and a town center. Over the next decade, Middlebrook plans to build 1,500 homes. Wilson’s will border the development, connected by a series of trails.

Wilson’s Orchard has roots stretching back to the 1800s, when two German immigrants, Leonhard and Catherine Degen Brack, bought the land and started growing their family. It passed down to their son, Peter, who sold it to James Krall in March of 1900. The Krall family managed the farm until 1980, when Robert and Joyce Wilson bought the property. The Wilsons soon started planting an apple orchard.

In 2009, Rasch and Sara Goering became the new owners. They built a new barn and expansions to the farm market, then began reno vating the orchard. The Ciderhouse and Venue, a restaurant and event space, was built in 2016. By 2020, the farm diversified their crops and renewed sustainability efforts.

The Des Moines farm will continue advancing sustainability to im prove soil and water quality, reduce erosion, sequester carbon and use integrated pest management to reduce reliance on pesticides.

of produce every week—including the tastiest tomatoes and melons I’ve ever had. They also partner with Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids to provide produce to local food pantries. —Bridget W.

Their produce is always excellent and the workers are easy to work with. Whenever we have a ques tion it is answered with knowledge and patience. They are the best! —Maureen W.

Rainbow Roots is growing food with sustainable farming methods and is women-owned! —Darrow C.

I can’t say no to this big veg ener gy. —Clarity G.

Real organic and beautiful gener ous CSA shares! —Beth B.

Sustainable practices, wonderful produce, women owned and wom en make up the crew. —Lynn G.

Runner-up: Echollective

BEST PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH

Pullman bar and Diner

17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-338-1808, pullmandiner.com

I really feel like Pullman’s was the one that started the big Iowa City restaurant revival. —Melanie M.

This is always my first choice for brunch due to the great vibes, hospitality, and the mimosas!!

—Vanessa C.

Pot stickers. Enough said. —Dylan P.

Pot stickers are to die for. —Riley O.

Runner-up: Goosetown

BEST SEAFOOD

St. burch Tavern 127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City 319-341-7700 saintburchtavern.com

Runner-up: Rodina

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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village BEST AFRICAN CUISINE OR MARKET I Love Fufu Adria Carpenter / Little Village
Best of the CRANDIC 2022
BEST LOCAL FARM Wilson’s Orchard and Farm

BEST FARMERS MARKET VENDOR

Over the moon Farm and Flowers

Delaware County overthemoonfarmandflowers.com

Shae and Anna run a fabulous farm. They provide top-class prod ucts that are locally grown for their community. They really care for their livestock and make sure the farm-to-table can remain a local option. —Christine S.

They go the extra extra mile to de liver their incredible products from beautiful flowers to their beef, pork and poultry. They are quite Over the Moon!! —Roger H.

The meat is fantastic and the flow ers are beautiful and fresh! The owners are amazing women!

—Denise H.

This local couple brings gorgeous flowers, produce and happy ani mals to the local scene.

—Phoebe C.

Runner-up: Feedwell Kitchen and Bakery

BEST COLD TREATS

Heyn’s Ice cream 25 E Cherry St, North Liberty 319-665-2249, heynsicecream.com

811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City 319-354-1981

Runner-up: Yotopia

BEST LIQUOR STORE

John’s Grocery 401 E Market St, Iowa City 319-337-2183, johnsgrocery.com

The best selection I’ve ever seen, and I just moved here from Phoenix. —Brian D.

Everyone is helpful and not creepy or pretentious. —Alice V.

Runner-up: Benz Beverage Depot

BEST RESTAURANT STAFF Pullman bar and Diner

Simple. I can personally vouch that everyone there has a passion for what they do. Supporting each other and ensuring the best possi ble service and establishing a new standard in the restaurant industry for service and a knowledgeable staff. —Riley O.

Never a bad experience, friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, passionate about their job. —Tami K.

Runner-up: The Webster

BEST LATIN/SOUTH AMERICAN CUISINE OR MARKET

La regia Taqueria 436 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City 319-341-8226, laregiaia.com

Fish tacos with your choice of hot sauces. Si si! —Dan D.

Runner-up: Mesa 503

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DELIVERY/ TAKEOUT

Thai Flavors

Runner-up: Blue Elephant

BEST CRAFT BREWERY big Grove brewery

Runner-up: Lion Bridge Brewing Company

BEST VEGAN OPTIONS

Trumpet blossom cafe 310 E Prentiss St, Iowa City 319-248-0077 trumpetblossom.com

Trumpet Blossom never fails to deliver amazing vegan foods to a city which needs more of them. Nearly everyone I bring there (vegan or not) demands to go back a few weeks later. The com bination of flavorful, unique dishes with stellar cocktails is truly a game-changer. —Kyle B.

I dream of those sweet potato fries with their maple cayenne aioli.... —Bridget W.

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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village BEST BARTENDER
littlevillagemag.com
Nancy Persoon, Joystick comedy Arcade

First place we ate the day we ar rived. Always excellent. —Brian D.

That patio with the sound of the creek and the beautiful mural by Thomas Argan. **Chefs kiss** Reuben me. —Jessica S.

Runner-up: Oasis Falafel

BEST SOUL FOOD

Vivian’s Soul Food 2925 Williams Pkwy SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-396-2229 vivianssoulfoodcr.com

Runner-up: Sugapeach Chicken and Fish Fry

BEST CHICKEN WINGS

Pullman bar and Diner Runner-up: The Vine

BEST PIZZA

A & A Pagliai’s Pizza 302 E Bloomington St, Iowa City 319-351-5073, pagliaisic.com

Consistently wonderful food and service. —Lori M.

Runner-up: Wig and Pen

BEST BURGER

Short’s burgers 521 Westbury Dr, Iowa City 319-338-7743 eastside.shortsburger.com

Runner-up: Pullman Bar and Diner

BEST DOUGHNUTS Donutland

1681 S 1st Ave, Iowa City 319-338-1429

Classic donuts that don’t need a million toppings to hit the spot. —Kelly S. Runner-up: Hurts Donuts

BEST APPETIZERS/SMALL PLATES

Goosetown Runner-up: Rodina

BEST EUROPEAN CUISINE OR MARKET

baroncini ristorante Italiano 104 S Linn St, Iowa City 319-337-2048, baroncinirestaurant.com

Runner-up: Basta

BEST GLUTEN-FREEFRIENDLY OPTIONS

Trumpet blossom cafe Runner-up: Monica’s

BEST BARTENDER Nancy Persoon

Runners-up: Roxie Mess, Carlos at Deadwood

BEST LOCAL FARM

Wilson’s Orchard and Farm 4823 Dingleberry Rd NE #1, Iowa City, 319-354-5651 wilsonsorchard.com

This place is gorgeous, has great food and cider! —Autymn O.

Runner-up: Rainbow Roots Farm

BEST COCKTAIL MENU Pullman bar and Diner

customers are #1. Very knowl edgeable in the drinks being served. —Tami K.

Runner-up: Rodina

BEST PATIO/OUTDOOR DINING

big Grove brewery, Iowa city Runner-up: Northside Iowa City

BEST BAKERY

Deluxe cakes and Pastries 812 S Summit St, Iowa City 319-338-5000, deluxeiowa.com

Best cakes, amazing croissants and sandwiches! —Anne G.

Their baguettes and croissants are outstanding! Very authentic. —Melanie M.

Runner-up: Local Crumb Bakery

BEST AFRICAN CUISINE OR MARKET

I Love Fufu 230 E Benton St, Iowa City 319-499-8189 ilovefufuiowacity.com

Runner-up: Tee’s Liberian Dish (closed)

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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village
Best of the CRANDIC 2022 littlevillagemag.com
BEST STORE FOR GIFT SHOPPING White rabbit BEST DOUGHNUTS Donutland Genevieve Trainor / Little Village

BEST TACOS

La regia Taqueria

436 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City 319-341-8226, laregiaia.com

Runner-up: Perez Family Tacos

BEST RESTAURANT TO

TAKE YOUR PARENTS TO

Pullman bar and Diner

Runner-up: Rodina

BEST CATERING

Oasis Falafel

Runner-up: Feedwell Kitchen and Bakery

BEST USE OF LOCAL INGREDIENTS

Trumpet blossom cafe

Runner-up: Rodina

BEST FRIES

Oasis Falafel

Runners-up: Nodo, Big Grove Brewery

BEST CHEF

Sam charles at rodina

Runner-up: Matthew Prince

BEST FOOD-SCENE GAME-CHANGER

The Webster 202 N Linn St, Iowa City 319-800-0720, thewebsteric.com

The best fine dining and feel in Iowa City. Amazing local sourcing and awesome food! Rian has the most incredible knowledge and collection of wine! —Ryan W.

Inventive, but not fringe. Delicious, but not predictable. High end, but not arrogant. [The staff are] Queer, quality, quirky queens—the lot of them. Enjoyed every time I’ve stepped foot in that space.

—Nolan P.

Two patios. . . . TWO PATIOS. —Katie F. Runner-up: Cortado

BEST DIVE BAR George’s buffet

The horseradish sting you can’t get anywhere else. —Adam Z.

A true classic. —Phoebe C.

Runner-up: Deadwood

Goods & Services

BEST BOOKSTORE

Runner-up: Rodina

BEST COFFEEHOUSE

Press coffee

1120 N Dodge St, Iowa City 319-887-1500, presscoffeeco.com

Always quality drinks and the folks who work there seem to want to be there. :) —Michelle K.

Prairie Lights books 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-337-2681, prairielights.com

The recommendations. That new book smell. A coffee shop! Infinite little gifts. The portrait postcards! The street view. Prairie Lights is the bookstore of my dreams. —Katrina A.

Runner-up: Haunted Bookshop

BEST LOCALLY MADE PRODUCT Oasis Street Food hummus oasisstreetfood.com

Runner-up: Old Capitol Tofu

BEST VINTAGE OR CONSIGNMENT STORE

Found + Formed 65 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids 319-438-2727 foundandformedshop.com

Best selection, coolest folks, big, big love!! —Phoebe C.

Runner-up: Revival

BEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE

West music 1212 5th St, Coralville 319-351-2000, westmusic.com

1398 Twixt Town Rd, Marion 319-377-9100

Does anybody else even sell clari nets? —Jason S.

West Music has the best customer service and best musical accesso ry selection in Iowa! —Sue O.

Their knowledgeable staff and ex tensive inventory are suitable for both the novice and experienced performer. —Lori M.

Runner-up: Iowa City Musician’s Pro Shop

BEST STORE TO SPLURGE ON YOURSELF AT revival 117 E College St, Iowa City 319-337-4511, revivaliowacity.com

Runner-up: White Rabbit

BEST ANTIQUE STORE Artifacts

331 E Market St, Iowa City 319-358-9617 artifacts-iowacity.com

Hole-in-the-wall gem filled with excellent finds. —Erin N.

A wide variety of antiques at a range of prices. Great selection of art, furniture, decor, clothing, and more! —Autymn O.

Not only is the staff great (love Emma) but the finds are UNREAL!

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BEST RETAIL STAFF crowded closet Thrift Shop
LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 49

You can find something niche and silly, or you can find functional everyday needs! —Brooke T.

Runner-up: Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

BEST HAIR SALON

Hare Parlor

217 N Gilbert St, Iowa City 319-351-4383 hareparlor.com

Runner-up: Honeybee Hair Parlor

BEST STORE FOR GIFT SHOPPING

White rabbit 112 S Linn St, Iowa City 319-358-9557 white-rabbit-shop.myshopify.com

Always has fun items with plenty of local artist goods! —Kailyn C.

Never fail to find something inter esting, clever or out-of-the ordi nary. —Kelly S.

These folks have been at it awhile now and it just keeps getting bet ter! —Jessica S.

Runner-up: Prairie Kitchen Store

BEST RETAIL STAFF

crowded closet Thrift Shop 851 Hwy 6 E, Unit 101, Iowa City 319-337-5924, crowdedcloset.org

Everyone is super nice, and they welcome everyone. —Ivy M.

BEST PODCAST rock Hard caucus

Fun experience to volunteer! —Connie S.

Great people to work with! It pro vides a great service/need locally while also helping those in need worldwide. Not many organiza tions can do that. —Rebecca B.M.

Neatest, cleanest, cheapest and most friendly of all thrift shops. —Norma R.

So clean and beautifully arranged/ displayed. Does NOT look like a thrift store. —Vi G.

Never know what you might find; it’s a treasure! —Marv R.

Runner-up: Revival

MOST UNIQUE SHOP

critical Hit Games 115 S Linn St, Iowa City 319-333-1260, criticalhitgames.net

We have a very welcoming com munity! I started playing MtG again to make friends and find a community, and I’m glad I found Critical Hit Games! —Caio B.

This shop is so many things for so many different people. It’s easily one of the best additions to Iowa City. It’s a place for people to hang out, play games, buy goods. They even have snacks and drinks for sale. There are a plethora of things to purchase as well. From trading cards to video games and board games, they have so much. They even have an arcade for patrons to use. Chance, the owner of the store is awesome. He’s funny, nice and he makes you want to spend all the time in the world there. It’s always been a safe place for me to go and hangout, and it really shaped my childhood. They de serve this recognition! —Elianno B.

Runner-up: Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

BEST NEW BUSINESS OPENED IN THE LAST YEAR

Joystick comedy Arcade

13 S Linn St, Iowa City playatjoystick.com

Runners-up: Indigo River & Co, The Green House

Arts & Entertainment

BEST PLACE FOR A CHEAP DATE

Joystick comedy Arcade 13 S Linn St, Iowa City playatjoystick.com

Runner-up: George’s Buffet

BEST LOCAL PODCAST Rock Hard Caucus rockhardcauc.us

Runners-up: Best Show Ever, Aloe Mean’s Green Room

BEST FREE FUN

Joystick comedy Arcade’s Open mic monday

Runner-up: Friday Night Concert Series

BEST LOCAL ARTIST Orlando Hammond, DJ at eDeN Lounge

Always welcoming to make the party get started! —Sebastian A.

He brings a lot of energy during his sets, keeps me dancin’, and has a good mix of songs in his arsenal.

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—Austin S.
Best of the CRANDIC 2022 BEST VINTAGE OR CONSIGNMENT STORE Found + Formed John MacDougall, Jr.
Courtesy of Justin Comer

Runner-up: Kevin Burt

BEST LOCAL BAND

The Dandelion Stompers dandelionstompers.com

Runner-up: The Awful Purdies

BEST LOCAL AUTHOR rachel Yoder racheljyoder.com

Her novel Nightbitch is a dark com edy with smart commentary on the struggles and expectations of motherhood. Slated to become a movie featuring Amy Adams, I feel pride that such a sharp, original story came from Iowa. —Emily M.

Tracing the transition from artist to mother to canis with all the tendrils of love, blood, fear, ten derness, and viscera attached.

—Christopher W.

Runner-up: Chuy Renteria

BEST POET/SPOKEN WORD ARTIST caleb “The Negro Artist” rainey thenegroartist.com

Runner-up: Margaret Yapp

BEST LOCAL THEATER COMPANY

riverside Theatre 119 E College St, Iowa City 319-259-7099, riversidetheatre.org

Runner-up: Willow Creek Theatre Company

BEST LOCAL STAND-UP COMEDIAN Travis coltrain

Always loose and prepared to be witty on the fly, even improv.

—Orlando H.

Goes crazy at comedy. —Heath V.

He’s hilarious, he’s all over Iowa City and a real supporter of the arts. He’s also a poet, a writer, a playwright, actor and a graduate of UI. Represents the best of IC.

—Joanne R.

Runner-up: Megan Gogerty

BEST MOVIE THEATER

FilmScene at The chauncey 404 E College St #100, Iowa City 319-358-2555, icfilmscene.org

FilmScene on the Ped mall 118 E College St, Iowa City

Not just in Iowa City, but in the country, probably the world. —Chris W.

As a recent graduate, I’m always telling my partner that if we move away from IC, I will miss FilmScene the most! It is truly an IC gem! We love going for date nights and ev ery movie I’ve seen has exceeded my expectations. We love feeling the energy and friendliness of the workers too. —Vanessa C.

State-of-the-art and independent, but not afraid to show Top Gun —Shuck C.

Runner-up: Collins Road Theater

BEST RADIO STATION

KrUI 89.7 Fm Based in Iowa City, krui.fm

Hey, the students know how to choose music. —Melanie M.

Runner-up: KCCK 88.3 FM

BEST ARTS PRESENTER (ORGANIZA TION, VENUE OR INDIVIDUAL)

The englert Theatre 221 E Washington St, Iowa City 319-688-2653, englert.org

A wide variety of arts, entertain ment and community educa tion-based programming. —Chris R.

Wide range of entertainment pro vided in a venue that allows you to feel connected to the performers.

—Peggy D.

Consistency, baby. —Alyssa B.

Runner-up: Public Space One

This year’s Best Stand-Up champ graduated from the University of Iowa in 2021, where he took Megan Gogerty’s stand-up com edy course and worked as a DJ at student radio station (and fel low CRANDIC winner) KRUI. These days, he teaches preschool and works as the booker at Joystick Comedy Arcade (formerly The Yacht Club), where he first cut his teeth as a comedian.

Did your years at KrUI shape your competence as a speaker or comedian? Definitely. It kind of prepares you to bomb in a sense because when you’re speaking as a radio host, you have absolutely no idea if people are enjoying what you’re doing at the moment. It definitely helped me gain that confidence.

How would you describe your approach to comedy? My approach to comedy is honestly looking at my life within the last two weeks, and that’s usually what my jokes are about. I think when you watch me on stage, you’re like, “OK, I know who that dude is.”

Honestly, it feels very much like how I am when I teach to my pre schoolers—I’m just a lot more vulgar. When I go on stage I just like to have fun so I’m just being myself. Teaching preschoolers is like bomb ing a stand-up set over and over and over again until finally one joke hits.

How has comedy changed at Joystick since it was the Yacht club? I think the biggest thing is there’s more than one opportunity; there’s two, sometimes three opportunities a week where you can do it. We generally have larger crowds and there’s just such a good stand-up comedy community in Iowa City that’s kind of always been here. I think that part still exists if you know it as Joystick or if you remember it as Yacht Club.

Is there a show this year that stands out to you? I think there were two. The most fun one that I did was when Megan Gogerty headlined because it was her and all her students, and just being able to see the amount of growth that all of us have been through, opening for Megan—it was just a huge thing for all of us. Probably the best show that we’ve had this year [was] when Jessica Misra came down. Jessica is from Iowa City, originally started here, and she kills it every time.

Is there anything coming up that you’re excited about? Floodwater Comedy Festival is making a big return in Iowa City. I’m working with quite a few amazing comedians, directors and producers on it. I don’t know a fun way of saying that; “The flood of laughter is coming back to Iowa City!” I don’t know. —Emma McClatchey

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BEST LOCAL STAND-UP COMEDIAN Travis coltrain
littlevillagemag.com
Jordan Sellergren / Little Village

It’s been a big year for Iowa City author Rachel Yoder. This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the re lease of Yoder’s debut novel, Nightbitch, and production on a film adaptation starring Amy Adams began in the fall. As of 2022, Nightbitch has been translat ed into 13 languages. And, of course, Yoder has been voted Little Village’s Best Local Author in the CRANDIC.

LV caught up with Yoder to ask a few ques tions about her busy year and what’s to come.

good readers of your work, but then also to just have this community that supports what you’re doing and understands it and values it, it’s just absolutely incredible.

Yeah, I can’t think of a better place to live and be a writer.

Nightbitch came out on paperback this year. Did that feel like a celebratory moment? It’s pretty standard for, you know, a year after it comes out in hardcover, it’ll come out in paper back. That’s just sort of a publishing standard. It just felt like it had been much longer than a year since the book was released, just because of all the wonderful things that have happened. It’s been a big year.

Nightbitch is getting adapted into a movie, and it’s being billed as a horror movie. Is that an ac curate description of the book? Or do you shy away from genre in your work? I believe that they came up with a new term called “neo hor ror,” which no one’s really sure what that means. Does it mean elevated horror, sort of like what A24 has become famous for? I mean, I think it definitely is drawing from the horror genre, with the whole transforming-into-a-monster motif. But I wouldn’t categorize it as a horror book. I think it’s, I say horror-adjacent, usually. But it’s really dealing with a very realistic situation, and then sort of playing with horror motifs.

What is it like to be an author in Iowa city? It’s wonderful being an author here, because it’s really a small town, but with this incredible liter ary community where people really value and re spect what you’re doing. I don’t know where else you can sort of find that. I mean, you can go to New York, but that’s a huge city. And here, it just feels like you’re able not only to work with oth er writers and have people who could be really

What is it like to have your work translated into different languages? How much of a role do you have in it? I actually have had pretty much no role in it. Which has been surprising. I thought I would talk with the translators more. But my role has been really minimal. And I have to trust the publishers that I’ve gone with to pick the best translators and so that’s really why having good translators is so important.

Even the word “bitch” in different cultures has different connotations. For instance, in Spanish in Spain, “bitch” has a much more sexual conno tation than it does here. I was recently in Spain and I got some questions from reporters about sort of the sexual nature of Nightbitch, and I didn’t know what they were talking about until someone explained the translation to me.

What’s coming up next for you? What are you working on? I’ve just been working on some shorter stuff, finishing up some essays I had start ed. I’m trying to finish up a short story collection right now, before I hop into another long project, but yeah, just a lot of fun, new opportunities. And I’m trying to get back to the work. Now there’s a lot more emails in my inbox. —Lily DeTaeye

52 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
BEST LOCAL AUTHOR rachel Yoder
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Jordan Sellergren / Little Village

BEST CULTURAL EVENT

Iowa Arts Festival

Iowa City, June 3-5 summerofthearts.org

Art is the heartbeat of Iowa City, and this festival always takes place on a beautiful June weekend. —Sharon F.

Showcases the best downtown Iowa City has to offer. —Ken D.

Runner-up: Mission Creek Festival

BEST OVERALL MUSICIAN Kevin burt Kevinburtmusic.com

In addition to his incredible talent, Kevin Burt is a true member of the community. He displays a firm commitment that ensures both his music and his message are acces sible to all people. —Lori M.

I remember the days when Kevin Burt would play on the corner of Dubuque and Washington every Friday afternoon. Now we have to plan a bit more to hear his amaz ing music! —Hannah S.

Runner-up: Blake Shaw

BEST COMMUNITY (I.E. NON-PRO FESSIONAL) MUSIC OR THEATER GROUP

Theatre cedar rapids 102 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids 319-366-8591, theatrecr.org

They have excellent play selec tions and the actors are always very good. —Karen P.

Runner-up: Willow Creek Theatre Company

BEST PLACE TO SEE LOCAL MUSIC Gabe’s 330 E Washington St, Iowa City 319-351-9175, icgabes.com

Runner-up: Trumpet Blossom Cafe

Health & Recreation

BEST MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES PROVIDER commUnity crisis Services and Food bank 1121 S Gilbert Ct, Iowa City 319-351-2726 builtbycommunity.org

Always rewarding to interact with clients, and the staff and volun teers are all awesome!!! —Jane K.

Easy to volunteer, and an obvious immediate impact to our commu nity. —Sharon F.

Runner-up: University of Iowa Health Care

BEST DOG PARK

Thornberry Off-leash Dog Park 1867 Foster Rd, Iowa City

Runner-up: Red Fern Dog Park

BEST BIKE SHOP

World of bikes 723 S Gilbert St, Iowa City 319-351-8337, worldofbikes.com

Runners-up: Goldfinch Cyclery, Iowa City Bike Library

BEST CHIROPRACTOR black and Gold chiropractic and Wellness 401 S Gilbert St, Iowa City 319-337-6000 blackandgoldchiropractic.com

Amazing chiropractic practice. Both Dr. Jess and Dr. Jake are the best! —Sharon L.

Very friendly doctors that put in the effort to make sure that you walk out feeling better than you did coming in. Very thoughtful and thorough with explaining to their patients and work well with their time to make sure they get back to full optimal health! —Ezuego N.

Runner-up: McDonald Chiropractic

Deb Nye was 23 when she heard the news: The Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade had just affirmed a person’s right to choose to have an abortion.

“We ran over there within moments of hearing the decision,” Nye recalled. “I remember running through the law school lounge, you know, just screaming. And the other gals that were with me were screaming, ‘This is just great!’”

Nye and other advocates founded the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City on Sept. 1, 1973. It was the first abortion clinic to open east of California, and the fifth to open nationwide, Nye said.

“Just sitting down with a group of women and saying, ‘Let’s do this, and how are we going to do this?’ And getting it done, and then running the clinic, I mean, that was a trip. And it stays with you,” said Barb Yates, one of the founding mothers.

For the past 49 years, the clinic has provided reproductive health care services for thousands throughout the Midwest—and intends to continue doing so, despite the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in June.

“We’re going to continue to be here in some form, providing the care that we do to the folks in this state,” Executive Director Francine Thompson said. “We’re going to have to work if abortion becomes il legal in Iowa, and it might take a while until we turn that back around.”

The clinic saw approximately 600 people for abortion services in 2021. The number of patients fluctuates from year to year, as circum stances change, but the clinic has never served fewer than 400 patients during the course of a year.

Most abortion procedures at Emma Goldman are non-surgical. A patient takes medicine, like mifepristone and misoprostol, which blocks progesterone and induces cramping and bleeding. This type of abortion is performed during the first trimester of a pregnancy. The clinic also offers contraceptives, gynecology services, STI testing, transgender healthcare and more, for all gender identities.

“The beauty of choice is that somebody who thinks abortion is wrong or immoral, they don’t have to do it when they’re faced with that situation,” Nye said. “But those who face it and think it’s the right decision can do it. With this opinion coming down, it’s like there’s only one choice.”

“I had an illegal abortion back before Roe v. Wade. I know what that meant. It doesn’t stop abortion. It stops safe abortion,” she continued. “The feelings of shame, and guilt, and ‘Nobody supports me,’ and that kind of thing. I lived through that, and that’s a terrible, terrible thing for anybody.” —Adria Carpenter

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 53
littlevillagemag.com
EMMA GOLDMAN CLINIC Winner: best Sexual Health clinic Adria Carpenter / Little Village

BEST PICNIC SPOT

Hickory Hill Park 1439 E Bloomington St, Iowa City

Runner-up: Macbride Nature Recreation Area

BEST YOGA STUDIO

Hot House Yoga 224 S Clinton St, Iowa City 319-351-9642, hothouseyoga.com

Very knowledgeable instruction, great workshops. —Lauren V.

Runner-up: Muddy Feet Yoga

SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC emma Goldman clinic 227 N Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-337-2111, emmagoldman.com

Runner-up: Planned Parenthood

BEST PLACE TO EXPERIENCE NATURE

Hickory Hill Park Iowa City

Runner-up: Bur Oak Land Trust

Community

BEST PLACE TO VOLUNTEER commUnity crisis Services and Food bank 1121 S Gilbert Ct, Iowa City 319-351-2726, builtbycommunity.org

Runner-up: Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

BEST ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL

JUSTICE

Angie Jordan Executive director, South District SSMID

President and founder, South District Neighborhood Association

Runner-up: Amel Ali

BEST ELECTED OFFICIAL Iowa city mayor bruce Teague

He attends a lot of community

events and cares about the city. —Clarity G.

Runner-up: Iowa City Councilmember Laura Bergus

BEST LIBRARY

Iowa city Public Library 123 S Linn St 319-356-5200, icpl.org

Don’t take for granted our city’s friendly hub for all kinds of free fun and community building. —Nathan K.

Welcoming and rich space with the opportunity to bring the fun home with you! —Valerie D.

I come here at least once a week and it has become my weekly selfcare treat. It’s clean, organized, and the staff is always ready to help. —Vanessa C.

Shoutout to Phil for fulfilling my ILL requests! —Andrea T.

Runner-up: LGBTQ Iowa Archives & Library

BEST MUSEUM

UI Stanley museum of Art 160 W Burlington St, Iowa City 319-335-1727 stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu

When was the last time you saw a line to look at art? Too long the cul tural spoils of Iowa’s fine arts legacy remained hidden from the public. The Stanley literally moved earth to bring it back to us. —Chris W.

Runner-up: University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

HARDEST FIGHTIN’ UNION cOGS Ue Local 896 Representing University of Iowa graduate student workers

Runner-up: BCTGM Local 100 (Ingredion)

BEST ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

Angie Jordan

BEST ARTS NONPROFIT Public Space One 538 S Gilbert St, Iowa City 319-855-1985, publicspaceone.com Moshing in a mansion?? C’monnnn. —Brooke T.

PS1 shows a diverse range of art and makes it accessible. They pro vide tons of opportunities for local artists and bring in interesting artists from all over. —Desiree D. Runner-up: The Englert Theatre

BEST SHOPPING DISTRICT Downtown Iowa city

Shops, food, entertainment, festi vals, programming, FUN! —Jessica S.

Textiles, Glassando, Prairie Lights, Om: some of my personal favor ites! —Andrea T.

Runner-up: The District: Czech Village & New Bohemia

BEST NONPROFIT DIRECTOR Sarah Nelson CEO, CommUnity Crisis Services

Runner-up: Carey Miller, Crowded Closet

BEST YOUTH NONPROFIT United Action for Youth 1700 S 1st Ave #14, Iowa City 319-338-7518 unitedactionforyouth.org

A safe space for young people to express and be themselves. —Felicia N.

Runner-up: Girls Rock! Iowa City

BEST PUBLIC RESTROOM Iowa city Public Library

Almost always clean and stocked. And the children’s room toilets are tiny. :) —Rachael C.

Runner-up: Old Capitol Museum

54 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
Adria Carpenter / Little Village
Best of the CRANDIC 2022

Sarah Nelson is a graduate of Iowa City West High and the University of Iowa. She led Foundation 2 in Cedar Rapids before taking over as CommUnity Crisis Services’ CEO in 2021, and can now say she’s over seen the only two National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) centers in the state.

At CommUnity—winner of Best Nonprofit Organization in the 2022 Best of the CRANDIC survey—Nelson has focused on meet ing an unprecedented need for food assistance in Johnson County, ensuring staff are supported and launching Iowa’s 988 helpline.

There are food pantries in eastern Iowa, and there are crisis lifelines. but commUnity is both of those things, and more. How do you balance these services? We know that people need their basic needs met if we’re going to help stabilize their mental health or address a mental health crisis, so being able to have those services under the umbrella of one organization works really well for clients and for meeting people’s needs.

I am constantly balancing because they are very different programs in terms of how they’re funded and how they operate. For example, our food bank and financial support and work enabling programs, almost 93 percent of the funding comes from individual donations, which means without local community support, those programs could not serve our community at the level that they do.

How has the monitoring of the 988 lifeline changed the way you operate your crisis ser vices? It’s changed everything. I mean, it truly has. A year and a half ago we barely had any funding for the crisis health line program, and then we were awarded the national backup contract as well as the state contract. It became a $7 million program, which doubled our entire agency budget. So we went from a staff of 80 to a staff of 200 in less than six months.

When you’re doing a service that is is dealing with people with high-acuity issues like being suicidal, quality obviously needs to be a huge focus—not just the number of chats and texts and calls that we answer, but how effective we’re able to be. My staff has done an amazing job at quality assurance. We received significant oversight from NSPL to monitor quality and consistently receive the highest quality ratings in the entire national network … The second month after the 988 launch, our quality rating was higher than it was before, which was just astounding to me.

Is there anything else you want the community to know? I always like to say that regard less of the current situation people are in, there’s hope. And that’s something that we really try to provide, that support and that hope, whether that’s through financial support, mobile crisis or 988, and we want people to reach out if they are struggling in any of those areas of their life. —Emma McClatchey

Voter SHOUT-OUTS!

Jason Taylor, bur Oak Land Trust

Jason’s passion for Iowa conservation is contagious and inspiring. His lead ership is building a path for volunteers to make an impact on the local envi ronment and for young people to get started in their natural resources careers. —Meredith R.

Jason has brought new life to the Bur Oak Land Trust and has transformed this nonprofit so it is suc cessful and thriving. Bur Oak is attracting many new adventures, and being creative among its services. Jason leads a team with purpose and provides flexibility for future growth. —Kate G.

South Side

secondhand stores

For variety and econo my you can’t beat used goods. They take pressure off landfills. Think of the resources and energy used in producing and transporting new goods. Crowded Closet, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Stuff, all within a few blocks on the south side of Iowa City provide a vast and ever changing menagerie of bargains. The first three also serve the needy, here and abroad. —Dan D.

Kane Edwards

Kane is always booking and organizing cool events around town! From shows at Gabes and Trumpet Blossom, DJing events at Joystick and Gabes, and even a fashion show, he’s always busy keep the town entertained. —Marissa D.

bcTGm Local 100

The workers in BCTGM Local 100 have been fight ing hard as hell against the bosses at Ingredion in Cedar Rapids. —Grant M.

Feed me Weird Things

Just some of the best mu sic out there, period, not just locally, not nationally, period. Got the chance to see acts that I love from as far away as Australia that I never thought I would ever get to see in my entire life, let alone in a small city like Iowa City. Just a great alternative to the bland middling NPR-core.

—Tobin H.

Gary Sanders (nominated for best Elected Official)

No one elected him, but rain or shine he is at the Iowa City Farmers market keeping dogs away from the produce and holding court in his folding chair. If dog catcher were on the ballot, I’d vote for Gary.

University of Iowa museum of Natural History Rusty the Giant Sloth, Dunky the Dunkleosteus, the Laysan Island

Cyclorama, Mammal Hall... love the exhibits, love the programming, love the staff! This place has been free to the public for more than 160 years. Our community owes it a little favoritism. —Jessica S.

Old capitol museum restrooms

Where else can you find a massive chaise lounge in an almost 200-year-old building? Very clean, very updated. —Erin N.

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 55
BEST
NONPROFIT DIRECTOR
Sarah Nelson
commUnity’s Top 10 Donation Needs 1. Financial donations 2. Hygiene products 3. Toilet paper 4. canned meat 5. baby diapers and wipes 6. baby formula 7. rice and pasta 8. Hearty soups and stews 9. Peanut butter 10. Laundry detergent
Jordan Sellergren / Little Village
littlevillagemag.com

EVENTS: DEcEmbEr

DECEMBER 2022

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

What’cha Reading Book Club & Holiday Party,

Craft’d, Cedar Rapids,

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m., Free If you’re looking for a low pressure, no assigned reading book club then we’d recommend checking out Swamp Fox Bookstore’s monthly meet-up at Craft’d. Swamp Fox’s book club encourages folks to read and come share what they’ve been loving recently. At this month’s meet-up, individ- uals are encouraged to bring a wrapped copy of their favorite book for a White Elephant Book Exchange, if their budget allows.

Literary Luxuries

Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. Fritz McDonald and Thomas C. Jackson, Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. Submit to Me: Demystifying the Submission Process to Literary Journals (Workshop), Iowa City Poetry, Online, $25

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Michelle Edwards, Prairie Lights, Free

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. Aprille Clarke, Prairie Lights, Free

Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. Create Copy That Converts, The James Theater, Iowa City, Free

Thursday, Dec. 29 at 10:30 a.m. Dance Me A Story: The Nutcracker w/the Ballet Quad Cities, Iowa City Public Library, Free

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/CALENDAR
Public Domain

Nutcracker Ballet STEM Workshop, Cedar Rapids

Downtown Library, Friday, Dec. 9

at 12 p.m., Free Join the Cedar Rapids Downtown Library and Iowa State University for a special STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) workshop celebrating the Nutcracker Ballet. The workshop is designed for elementary aged youth (in particular grades 2-5). Participants will first watch the 45-minute live streamed performance of the Nutcracker that’ll be happening in Ames. Then, participants will take part in hands-on, in-person STEAM activities such as a circuit lesson & DIY circuit cards, a costume design team challenge, and a costume showcase at the end. The workshop is free but requires registration online.

Theatrical Thrills

Opening Friday, Dec. 9. Elf, Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, $17-30

Opening Friday, Dec. 9. Rent, Iowa City Community Theatre, $14-22

Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Larry Smith, Lucky Cat Comedy & Events, Cedar Rapids, $15

Friday, Dec. 9 at 9:30 p.m. Evan Hull, Joystick Comedy Arcade, Iowa City, $5

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Plaid Tidings, Revival Theatre Company, Hilton Doubletree Hotel, Cedar Rapids, $75

closing Sunday, Dec. 11. The Flick, Riverside Theatre, Iowa City, $15-35

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Wilder Hill Holiday Performance, Stanley Museum of Art, Iowa City, Free

Opening Wednesday, Dec. 14. Batman Returns Returns, Mirrorbox Theatre, Cedar Rapids, $20

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Christmas Magic Show, Tin Roost, North Liberty, Free

Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Dec. 15, 16, 18. Shaken and Stirred: A Crooked Cabaret, The James Theater, Iowa City, $10

closing Sunday, Dec. 18. Meet Me in St. Louis, Theatre Cedar Rapids, $18-53

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. National Theatre Live: The Seagull, FilmScene–Ped Mall, $15-18

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Musical Marvels

Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Patti LaBelle, Hancher Auditorium, Iowa City, $48-80

Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Mill Revival Series: Ben Schmidt & Ryan Bernemann, LA Wine Bar & Restaurant, Iowa City, Free

Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. Carnage the Executioner, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, $10-15

Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. Alex Williams & Wapsi River Ramblers, Wildwood Saloon, Iowa City, $15

Friday, Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. Primitive Broadcast Series w/Critical Mass, Fishbait, Lou Sherry, Gabe’s, Iowa City, $10

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. Christmas with Jim McDonough and His Orchestra, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids, $58-68

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Glass Leaf Company Album Release Show w/Ultraviolet Sunrise and Craig Erickson, Ideal Theater & Bar, Cedar Rapids, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Mill Revival Series: Pigs & Clover w/ Illnois John Fever, LA Wine Bar & Restaurant, Iowa City, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Bill Frisell and Petra Haden, Englert Theatre, Iowa City, $20-42.50

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Quire Presents: Multitudes—A Queer Celebration, Opstad Auditorium, City High School, Iowa City, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. The Blake Shaw Big(ish) Band, CSPS, $25-30

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 p.m. Sean Tyler and Christine Burke, Trumpet Blossom Cafe, Iowa City, $10

Local

Showcase

Series: PSYOP, YXNG RASKAL and Aseethe, Englert Theatre, Iowa City, Saturday, Dec. 17 at

7:30 p.m., $10-15

The first show of the Englert’s new three-part local show case series kicks off in December. Each performance in this series was curated by members of the Englert staff with the intent to feature Iowa City’s brightest emerging artists. As you head out to this first show, expect to see many new faces and some familiar ones, too, as PSYOP, YXNG RASKAL and Assethe take the stage at the historic venue. PYSOP is a hardcore punk group formed in 2021 and YXNG Raskal is the recent musical project of Harry Manaligod. Aseethe’s been playing in Iowa City since 2007 and they’ll also be hitting the stage with their slow crushing doom metal at the end of the evening. Individual tickets range from $10-15. Or, grab a series pass that’ll get you into all three shows in the series for $30.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Festival of Carols, Englert Theatre, Free

Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. FMWT: The Stein/Smith/Shead Trio, Trumpet Blossom Cafe, $10-15

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. A Carol Christmas, CSPS, $30-34

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Winterland, Englert Theatre, $1020

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Mill Revival Series: Scott Cochran, LA Wine Bar & Restaurant, Iowa City, Free

Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. Sophie Mitchell w/Penny Peach and Ryan Radig, Gabe’s, $10

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 16-18 Orchestra Iowa Holiday Spectacular, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids, $18-59

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Mill

Revival Series: Dave Zollo, LA Wine Bar & Restaurant, Iowa City, Free

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Benefit Show for CommUnity Crisis Food Bank w/Dolliver, Death Kill Overdrive, Soup Riot, Trumpet Blossom Cafe, $10 minimum donation

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. Near Misses, In The Attic, Funkatude, Gabe’s, $10

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. Platinum Rock Legends, Ideal Theater & Bar, $10

Saturday, Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. Blues Xmas with Kevin Burt, Daddy-O & Dan Johnson, Whiskey Jo’s, Cedar Rapids, Free

58 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022 PRESENTED BY THINK IOWA CITY AROUND THE CRANDIC Aseethe, Zak Neumann / Little Village
59 Pre-order our debut album today!

Big Bash with the Heartlanders! Friday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m., Xtream Arena, Coralville,

$35-125 Support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County with an evening out at the rink! This second annual event sees the Iowa Heartlanders hockey team take on the Kalamazoo Wings. All ticket sales benefit one-on-one mentoring for the young people of Johnson County through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Choose from VIP seats at $125, which in clude complimentary refreshments and a post-game meet-and-greet, the Ice Level Party Deck for $75 ($60 for children under 12) or standard $50 ($35 child) economy tickets. And don’t forget to buy your chance for a shot on goal! For $5 per puck or three/$10, you can take a shot at winning $10,000. In the 2020-2021 year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County provided more than 18,000 hours of mentoring to nearly 300 children in the region. Hometown hockey is a fantastic way to support that work!

Community Connections

Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. PS1 Art Market, Big Grove Brewery, Iowa City, Free

Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. Reception for Chunghi Choo: Master at Work and Byron Burford: Ringmaster, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Free

Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. Ho Ho Ho in NewBo, NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids, Free

Friday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. Free Community Meal, Coralville Rec Center, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m Make Me A Holiday, Iowa City Fab Lab, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. Young Entrepreneurs Market, NewBo City Market, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. Corridor Running Ugly “Sweat” er Social and Fun Run, Big Grove Brewery, Iowa City, Free

Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 17 at 11:30 a.m. Santa Saturdays, FilmScene–The Chauncey, Iowa City, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Dada Prom, PS1 Close House, Iowa City, $25-100

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. Iowa City Flea Holiday Crawl, Brix, Heim & Tru Coffee, Free

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. Surreal House Family Day, PS1, Iowa City, Free

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. Aisle of Lights, S.T. Morrison Park, Coralville, Free

Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 14-17. ICPC Holiday Ephemera Extravaganza, PS1, $20-50

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Bike Li brary Fiesta, Iowa City Bike Library, Free

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 a.m. Holiday Market, Robert A. Lee Rec reation Center, Iowa City, Free

Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Joy March Goes Dark, PS1, Free

Thursday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. Ugly Sweater Party, NewBo City Market, Free

Be famous. (Kinda.)

Little Village is looking for writers. Contact: Editor@LittleVillageMag.com

60 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022 PRESENTED BY THINK IOWA CITY AROUND THE CRANDIC
Courtesy of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County

Films In Focus

Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. Chunky Shrapnel , FilmScene–The Chauncey, $9.50-12

Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 10 p.m. Late Shift at the Grindhouse: The Human Tornado, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $7

Thursday and Sunday, Dec 8 and 11. Amélie, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $9.50-12

Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, Dec 10, 11, 15. Paddington, FilmScene–The Chauncey, Free$5

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Yeah, Baby! The Complete Austin Powers, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $22.12

Tuesday and Thursday, Dec 13 and 15 at 7 p.m. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $9.50-12

Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. Late Shift at the Grindhouse: Don’t Open Till Christmas, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $7

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. At the Heart of Gold Film Screening & Q&A w/Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, Englert Theatre, Iowa City, Free

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. Pride at FilmScene: Carol, FilmScene–Ped Mall, $9.50-12

Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 17, 20 The Nightmare Before Christmas, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $9.50-10.50

Friday, monday, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 19, 21 Die Hard, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $8.41-12

Home Alone, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday,

Dec. 17, 19, 21

& 22, FilmScene–The Chauncey,

Iowa City, $9.50-10.50 It’s one of the most quintessential holiday movies of all time and it’s playing on the big screen four times at FilmScene. Do yourself a favor and just go see Home Alone, you’ll thank us later! And if you don’t fancy Home Alone, no worries; you can still retreat to the theater to catch one of the five other festive favorites offered. There’s screenings for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Die Hard, It’s A Wonderful Life, Fanny and Alexander and Tokyo Godfathers throughout December as well.

Sunday and Thursday, Dec. 18 and 22. Fanny and Alexander, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $9.50-10.50

Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 20, 21. Tokyo Godfathers, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $8.41-12

Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Dec. 17, 18, 21, 22. It’s A Wonderful Life, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $9.50-12

Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 10 p.m. Cannibal Claus, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $7

Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 10 p.m. Terror Train, FilmScene–The Chauncey, $7

62 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022 PRESENTED BY THINK IOWA CITY AROUND THE CRANDIC
‘Home Alone’ Still
‘Carol,’ The Weinstein Company
Still from
from

Out with the Old

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 11:30 a.m.

Noon New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop, Robert E. Lee Community Center, Iowa City, $10

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 6:30 p.m. Pottery Peepshow: New Year’s Eve Edition, Five Monkeys Inc, West Des Moines, $50

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. NYE Party w/Pianopalooza and The June Bugs, Wooly’s, Des Moines, $15-100

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve Masquerade, Koru Aro nia Berry Farm, Homestead, $75

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m Lvvmaking for the New Year, xBk Live, Des Moines, $15

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Great Gatsby’s New Year’s Eve Ball, Ideal Theater & Bar, Cedar Rapids, $25

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. New Year’s Eve Pops: Frank & The Great Ladies, Des Moines Symphony, Des Moines Civic Center, $40-95

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Amy Friedl Stoner’s New Year’s Eve, Paramount Theatre, Cedar Rapids, $38-48

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. The Wild Party: NYE Celebration, Noce, Des Moines, $110-190

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 8:30 p.m. Bringing in 2023, Jameson’s Public House & Restaurant, Waterloo, Free

Diplomats of Solid Sound,

Saturday, Dec. 31

at 9 p.m., Wildwood Saloon,

Iowa City, $20-40 If you’re in Eastern Iowa for New Year’s, ring in 2023 listening and dancing to a great local lineup of live music at Wildwood! The members of Diplomats of Solid Sound are reuniting in Iowa City for one-night-only at their NYE show. They’ll be playing from a discography created over 20 years: a mix of Americana, old school funk, soul and blues tunes. Arrive on time, as Jordan Sellergren, a songwriter and artist from Iowa City (and Little Village staffer) delivers a brooding Americana set kicking off the night. $20 for advance tickets, $40 for a reserved table.

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve w/Mr. Softheart, Antho ny Worden & Joel Sires, Octopus, Cedar Falls, $15

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. Dip lomats of Solid Sound w/Jordan Sellergren, Wildwood Saloon, Iowa City, $20-40

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve w/Dustin Sheridan and Casa Bonita, Platform, Des Moines, $10-40

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve w/Richie Lee and the Fabulous 50’s, Back Berner Bar & Grill, Tiffin, Free

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9:30 p.m.

Comedy Kickback: NYE Black Iowa Streams Comedy Show, Teehee’s Comedy Club, Des Moines, $15-20

64 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022 PRESENTED BY THINK IOWA CITY NEW YEARS’ EVE OPEN 11-2AM DAILY TRY OUR BREADED TENDERLOIN! SERVING FOOD UNTIL 1AM DAILY DAILY LUNCH SPECIALS 11-2 M-F BREAKFAST DAILY UNTIL 11A 819 S. 1ST AVENUE, IOWA CITY PUB & GRILL CHECK OUT OUR BEER GARDEN!
Courtesy of Diplomats of Solid Sound Mr. Softheart. Alyssa Leicht

Ugly Sweater Winter Party,

xBk Live, Des Moines, Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m., $10-15 Celebrate the beginning of the winter season by throwing on your ugliest sweater and heading out to xBk. They’re hosting a big party with performances from local performers Coco Chanel, Big Smoke Sp, Tony Guns and Static Soul. Several vendors will also be popped up in the venue: SiriCasso, Indigo Moore, Cie Cie’s Sweet Treeats will be at xBk for the evening. There’s a prize for the best sweater of the night, so dress accordingly!

Dynamic DSM

Thursdays, Dec. 8, 15, 22 at 4 p.m. Free Gift Wrapping, Confluence Brewing Co., Des Moines, Free

Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. Art Noir Holiday Studio, Des Moines Art Center, $20

Thursday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Black Cat Comedy: Stand-Up, Teehee’s Comedy Club, Des Moines, Free

Fridays, Dec. 9 and 16 at 5 p.m. Holiday Promenade, Historic East Village, Des Moines, Free

Friday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus Winter Concert Preview, Des Moines Art Center, Free

Opening Friday, Dec. 9. A Christmas Carol, Stoner Theater, Des Moines, $25-40

Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. Jinnouchi Power w/ Good Morning Midnight and Pleasants, xBk Live, $10

Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. Avi Kaplan w/Maddie Poppe, Wooly’s, Des Moines, $20-22

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. Peppermint Trail, The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand & Roos evelt Cultural District, Des Moines, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 12 p.m. The Pollinate Holiday Market, The Firehouse, Des Moines, Free

Saturday and Sunday, Dec 10 and 11. The Nutcracker, Stephens Auditorium, Ames, $30

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. Iowa Asian Alliance Pho King Cook-Off, The River Center, Des Moines, $40-60

Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Final Ensemble: Holiday Broadcast to the Troops 1943, Des Moines Community Playhouse, $10

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Matt Banwart: Album Recording, Teehee’s Comedy Club, $15-20

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Us Vs Them, xBk Live, $15

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. Makers, Bakers & Brews Holiday Market, Peace Tree Brewing, Des Moines, Free

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. Wheel Haus, Reli able Street, Ames, Free

Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. Holiday Spectac ular, Central Iowa Wind Ensemble, Franklin Jr. High, Des Moines, Free

closing Sunday, Dec. 18. Rodgers & Ham merstein’s Cinderella, Des Moines Community Playhouse, $29-53

Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. A Miserable Holiday Cabaret, xBk Live, $30-50

Thursday, Dec. 22 at 2 and 7 p.m. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical Des Moines Civic Center, $31-65

Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. Puzzlepalooza Jigsaw Puzzle Competition, Peace Tree Brew ing, $40

Opening Tuesday, Jan. 3. Cats, Des Moines Civic Center, $40-125

66 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022
Coco Chanel. Cat Dooley
LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 67 NEXT PAGE BOOKS NEXT PAGE BOOKS 319.247.2665 | npb.newbo@gmail.com 1105 Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401 Come work with us JOHN@NEWBO.CO • (319) 382-5128 INDEPENDENT New Bohemia & Czech Village main Street District Visit the District www.the-district.org Visit us! 1201 3rd Street SE Cedar Rapids, Iowa 319-200-4440 chromehorsesaloon.com December Events Fri, Dec. 9: Fair Warning Sat, Dec. 10: Rolling Thunder Sun, Dec 11: Brunch w/Santa! Fri, Dec 16: Unbalanced Sat, Dec 17: Four Day Creep Fri, Dec. 23: Slap-N-Tickle XXX-Mas Party Fri, Dec. 30: Well Lit Sat, Dec. 31: Crazy Delicious Bring in the New Year Annual Party!

Frightmare Before

Christmas, Factory of Fear,

Moline, Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. (fi-

nal entry at 9:30 p.m.), $30 Factory of Fear, the largest and longest-running haunted attraction in the Quad Cities, has two haunts for one price on Dec. 9. The award-winning site has a fresh, Christmas-themed event featuring Kraumpus, Twitch Klaus, the Grinchman and other twists on classic holiday characters. Tours last roughly 30 minutes. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Quintessential QC

Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m.

Time Traveler Cinema: The Peanut Butter Solution, Rozz-Tox, Rock Island, Free

Thursday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m.

Learn & Explore Night, Midwest Technical Institute, Moline, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m.

Quad Con Christmas Comic & Toy Show, North Park Mall, Davenport, Free

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

SHINE ON Quad Cities, Eldridge Community Center, Eldridge, $3065, Table $520

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m.

Ballet Quad Cities: The Nutcracker, The Adler Theater, Davenport, $1836

Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Opera QC, Moline Public Library, Moline, Free

via Factory of Fear

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

RCC presents Screaming Females w/ Dead Rest, Half Catholic, Blist Her, Skylark QC, Rock Island, $10-15

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Film Screening: Drive My Car, Fig ge Art Museum, Davenport, Free

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. A

Very Very Special Rozz-Tox Ha nukkah & Xmas Pageant, Rozz-Tox, Rock Island, $5

Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The Last Ever Late Nite Show, Hybrid/ Black Box Theater, Moline, $10

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m.

Dinosaur Discoveries, East Moline Public Library, East Moline, Free

Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.

Teen DIY: Lazy Egg Ornament, Davenport Public Library Main Branch, Davenport, Free

Thursday, Dec. 22 at 8-10 p.m. Open Mic Night, Zeke’s Island Cafe, Daven port, Free

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 12 p.m. Noon

Year’s Eve, Family Museum, Bet tendorf, $5-10

68 December 2022 LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313
EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022 QUAD CITIES Curated by Sarah Elgatian Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. Petite Picassos, Rock Island Public Library Southwest Branch, Rock Island, Free

Carnage the Executioner w/Terrance

Banks, Octopus College Hill, Cedar Falls, Saturday, Dec. 10 at

9 p.m., $10 Minneapolis-based hip hop artist Carnage the Executioner will be performing at the Octopus this month. Terrell Woods, the sole force behind Carnage the Executioner, is a multifaceted musi cian with skills in rapping, producing, teaching and beatboxing. Terrance Banks, a.k.a. Soultru, a soul acoustic artist from Davenport, is opening for Carnage the Executioner.

Wildest W’loo + more!

Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 8-10. Some Pardoned, Some Punished UNI Interpreters Theatre, Cedar Falls, Free

Thursdays, Dec. 8, 15, 22. San ta’s Workshop and Trolley Rides, River Place Plaza, Cedar Falls, Free

Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. The Rumours, 404 & 3 Finger Betty, Octopus, Cedar Falls, $10

closing Sunday, Dec. 11. Miracle on 34th Street, Cedar Falls Community Theatre, $10-25

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Hol iday Concert w/Bel Canto Cedar Valley, Hearst Center For the Arts, Cedar Falls, Free

Sunday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. 10th Anniversary Beer Dinner, Single Speed Brewing Co., Waterloo, $70

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Trivia Night, Second State Brewing, Cedar Falls, $10

Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. Katie & The Honky Tonks, Octopus, $10

Saturday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. Film Screening: Santa Clause, Ce dar Falls Community Theatre, Free

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 69 EDITORS’ PICKS: DECEMBER 2022 CEDAR FALLS/WATERLOO
via Octopus College Hill

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Dear Kiki, I can’t stop escaping into a fantasy land. I’m pretty happy and don’t think there’s anything I really need or want to escape from (though there has been stuff in the past and I think I started doing this as a child for pretty understandable reasons), but the temptation to enter into a world of fantasy is just too much for me to resist sometimes. So nice in here! << echo >> I’ve done this my whole life and it’s been great fodder for art, but I don’t think it’s healthy and I don’t really know how to stop. I need to get grounded and am looking for advice so I can reenter the real world.

escape from precisely because you indulge your fantasies on a regular basis, and that keeps you steadied and better able to competently evaluate threats.

LOOK ArOUND YOUrSELF, FIrST. THE WOrLD HAS A WAY OF GETTING INSIDE OUr HEADS AbOUT WHAT’S “HEALTHY” AND WHAT’S NOT.

Of course, if you do that close self-eval and determine that actual harm is coming from this habit (neglecting responsibilities, dissociating while operating heavy machinery, losing track of what’s real), then you’re right to try to mitigate things. Meditation is one way: There’s a balanced feeling that comes from engaging and holding still simultaneously, from hearing the world around you and letting go, rather than blocking it out. But mindfulness is a practice. It is worth while for many rea sons, but it will likely take up just as much of your time as the fanta sizing you trade for it.

DON’T LET SHAmE TAKE AWAY SOmETHING

FrOm YOU THAT, bY ALL APPEArANcES, IS WOrKING FINE. THErE IS NOTHING INHErENTLY UNHEALTHY AbOUT DrIFTING OFF INTO FANTASY, WHETHEr IT’S DAYDrEAmING, rOLE PLAYING Or FULL ImAGINATIVE ImmErSION.

Dear Sweet, Sweet Fantasy, Let’s start at the top. This is a life long coping skill that has advanced your artistic practice and landed you in a spot in life where you feel confident saying “I’m pret ty happy,” and that there’s nothing you “need or want to escape from.” That sounds fantastic, tbh. So, why do you want to let go? Is this fan tasizing impacting your life in some way? Are you finding that it takes time from your family or your work or other things you’d rather priori tize? What leads you to the decision that it’s not healthy?

Look around yourself, first. The world has a way of getting inside our heads about what’s “healthy” and what’s not. Don’t let shame take away something from you that, by all appearanc es, is working fine. There is nothing inherently unhealthy about drifting off into fantasy, whether it’s daydreaming, role playing or full imaginative immersion. If spending time in a fantasy land doesn’t harm yourself or others, then maybe re evaluate your definition of “healthy.”

You point out that you’re not necessarily es caping “from” anything. That’s fine! Many of our coping mechanisms are there not just to triage but to help us maintain. It may well be that you don’t see anything in your life that you need to

Gratitude lists are another way of keeping a check on yourself. Instead of focusing on what you may or may not want to es cape from, center your thoughts each day on the reasons you have to stay. Reminding your self of the things and people you value can help you choose to be fully present for them.

Every different means of controlling our minds, from runner’s high to beer goggles, is a form of escaping into fantasy. Some people be come so engrossed in a book that they feel like they’re waking up when interrupted. Humans crave fantasy, or else storytelling would never have been invented. It’s one of the most basic parts of who we are. Don’t let it control you, but don’t devalue it completely. —xoxo, Kiki

KIKI WANTS QUESTIONS!

Submit questions anonymously at littlevillagemag.com/dearkiki or non-anonymously to dearkiki@littlevillagemag.com.

Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online at littlevillagemag.com.

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LittleVillageMag.com/DearKiki DEAR KIKI
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SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian comedian Margaret Cho dealt with floods of ignorant criticism while growing up. She testifies, “Being called ugly and fat and disgusting from the time I could barely understand what the words meant has scarred me so deep inside that I have learned to hunt, stalk, claim, own and defend my own loveliness.” You may not have ever experienced such extreme forms of disapproval, Sagittarius, but—like all of us—you have on some occasions been berated or undervalued simply for being who you are. The good news is that the coming months will be a favorable time to do what Cho has done: hunt, stalk, claim, own and defend your own loveliness. It’s time to intensify your efforts in this noble project.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The bad news: In 1998, Shon Hopwood was sentenced to 12 years in prison for committing bank robberies. The good news: While incarcerated, he studied law and helped a number of his fellow prisoners win their legal cases—including one heard by the US Supreme Court. After his release, he became a full-fledged lawyer, and is now a profes sor of law at Georgetown University. Your current trouble isn’t anywhere as severe as Hopwood’s was, Capricorn, but I expect your current kerfuffle could motivate you to accomplish a very fine redemption.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “I stopped going to therapy be cause I knew my therapist was right, and I wanted to keep being wrong,” writes poet Clementine von Radics. “I wanted to keep my bad habits like charms on a bracelet. I did not want to be brave.” Dear Aquarius, I hope you will do the opposite of her in the coming weeks. You are, I suspect, very near to a major heal ing. You’re on the verge of at least partially fixing a problem that has plagued you for a while. So please keep calling on whatever help you’ve been receiving. Maybe ask for even more support and inspiration from the influences that have been contributing to your slow, steady progress.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): As you have roused your person al power to defeat your fears in the past, what methods and approaches have worked best for you? Are there brave people who have inspired you? Are there stories and symbols that have taught you useful tricks? I urge you to survey all you have learned about the art of summoning extra courage. In the com ing weeks, you will be glad you have this information to draw on. I don’t mean to imply that your challenges will be scarier or more daunting than usual. My point is that you will have un precedented opportunities to create vigorous new trends in your life if you are as bold and audacious as you can be.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Journalist Hadley Freeman inter viewed Aries actor William Shatner when he was 90. She was surprised to find that the man who played Star Trek’s Captain Kirk looked 30 years younger than his actual age. “How do you account for your robustness?” she asked him. “I ride a lot of horses, and I’m into the bewilderment of the world,” said Shatner. “I open my heart and head into the curiosity of how things work.” I suggest you adopt Shatner’s approach in the coming weeks, Aries. Be intoxicated with the emotional richness of mysteries and perplexities. Feel the joy of how unknowable and unpredictable everything is. Bask in the blessings of the beautiful and bountiful questions that life sends your way.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Of all the objects on earth, which is most likely to be carelessly cast away and turned into litter? Cigarette butts, of course. That’s why an Indian entrepreneur named Naman Guota is such a revolutionary. Thus far, he has recycled and transformed over 300 million butts into mosquito repellant, toys, keyrings and compost, which he and his com pany have sold for over a million dollars. I predict that in the coming weeks, you will have a comparable genius for converting debris and scraps into useful, valuable stuff. You will be skilled

at recycling dross. Meditate on how you might accomplish this metaphorically and psychologically.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Tips on how to be the best Gemini you can be in the coming weeks: 1. Think laterally or in spirals rather than straight lines. 2. Gleefully solve problems in your daydreams. 3. Try not to hurt anyone accidentally. Maybe go overboard in being sensitive and kind. 4. Cultivate even more variety than usual in the influences you surround yourself with. 5. Speak the diplomatic truth to people who truly need to hear it. 6. Make creative use of your mostly hidden side. 7. Never let people figure you out completely.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): In my dream, I gathered with my five favorite astrologers to ruminate on your immediate future. After much discussion, we decided the following advice would be helpful for you in December. 1. Make the most useful and in spirational errors you’ve dared in a long time. 2. Try experiments that teach you interesting lessons even if they aren’t completely successful. 3. Identify and honor the blessings in every mess.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “All possible feelings do not yet exist,” writes Leo novelist Nicole Krauss in her book The History of Love. “There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written, or something else impossible to predict, fathom, or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.” I suspect that some of these novel moods will soon be welling up in you, Leo. I’m confident your heart will absorb the influx with intelligence and fascination.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgo author Jeanette Winterson writes, “I have always tried to make a home for myself, but I have not felt at home in myself. I have worked hard at being the hero of my own life, but every time I checked the register of displaced persons, I was still on it. I didn’t know how to be long. Longing? Yes. Belonging? No.” Let’s unpack Winterson’s complex testimony as it relates to you right now. I think you are closer than ever before to feeling at home in yourself—maybe not perfectly so, but more than in the past. I also suspect you have a greater-than-usual capacity for belonging. That’s why I invite you to be clear about what or whom you want to belong to and what your belonging will feel like. One more thing: You now have extraordinary power to learn more about what it means to be the hero of your own life.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It’s tempting for you to entertain balanced views about every subject. You might prefer to never come to definitive conclusions about anything, because it’s so much fun basking in the pretty glow of prismatic ambiguity. You LOVE there being five sides to every story. I’m not here to scold you about this predilection. As a person with three Libran planets in my chart, I understand the appeal of considering all options. But I will advise you to take a brief break from this tendency. If you avoid making decisions in the coming weeks, they will be made for you by others. I don’t recommend that. Be proactive.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio poet David Whyte makes the surprising statement that “anger is the deepest form of compassion.” What does he mean? As long as it doesn’t result in violence, he says, “anger is the purest form of care. The in ternal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect, and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for.” Invoking Whyte’s definition, I will urge you to sa vor your anger in the coming days. I will invite you to honor and celebrate your anger, and use it to guide your constructive ef forts to fix some problem or ease some hurt. (Read more: tinyurl. com/AngerCompassion)

LITTLEVILLAGEMAG.COM/LV313 December 2022 73
ASTROLOGY By Rob Brezsny

110 YEARS OF COMMUNITY ARTS

THE ENGLERT SUPPORT

For the last 110 years, The Englert has existed at the will of our community. Carried onward through fire, flood, pandemic, and countless other challenges, we have ceaselessly worked to achieve our mission: to inspire and activate positive community growth through the arts.

With the generous support of our Friends of the Englert (members who donate $10 or more a month), we are currently able to employ over 60 people while investing in programs and outreach that make our community a great place to live and visit.

Will you continue to sustain the Arts by contributing today?

.Will you INVEST IN OUR FUTURE TODAY?

As our thank you to donors, all membership gifts come with great benefits (outlined on our website below). Of course, the more you give, the more you get! Who doesn’t love early access and exclusive deals to your favorite shows?

Whether

BECOME A FRIEND! ENGLERT.ORG/FRIENDS
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you’re a donor or ticket buyer, we’re grateful for your support.

is a collection of pieces improvised over two days in Chicago by Brian Penkrot, Justin Comer and Jason Palamara. is more noisy and chaotic than Comer’s last release; it com bines violin, clarinet, laptop syn thesis, sampled sound, hand percus sion and drums in polyrhythms that

These pieces aren’t that far Metal Machine —but this trio brings a differ ent skill set to bear. Reed produced that work solo, setting up feedback loops between multiple guitars and amps. The interplay of three musi a more in teractive experience. The listener hears the musicians listening and responding to each other. And the listener is challenged to find the coherent whole in what seems like a collection of tattered, smashed

Comer has a Masters in Composition, and Palamara is a professor of Music Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University, but they haven’t let their academic experience limit the music they make. Jason and Justin are part of the latest wave of people coming to Iowa City to study and finding a community of like-minded players.

The BCJsPS trio play outside regular ideas of form and inten tionality embedded in conventional music, finding a new, improvised structure made possible by achiev ing a technical peak without think

“My Favorite Little Prayer”

combines a recitation of a poem by Thea Brown with a slow, unsteady collection of isolated sounds. The chaotic drumming and Comer’s clarinet glissandos, combined with stuttering instruments and voices, interact with delay effects to build an echoing dub space. The saxophone “melodies”—sometimes three notes spaced out over 30 seconds—echo 1950s noir detective movie jazz soundtracks, but chopped up like confetti and thrown up in the air to see how it lands.

“Compline” is the most “Metal Machine Music” piece on Myth Arc: a continuous drone from wind instruments and what sounds like slide guitar combined with drunken glissandos. Sheets of hard-to-iden tify sounds weave in and out. Palamara’s amplified violin recalls John Cale’s viola on the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin.” This mu sic is more for surrendering to than listening to.

“Zebra” combines polyrhythmic drumming with scronky violin and clarinet outbursts. It’s anti-jazz. It deliberately avoids finding any groove and replaces sophisticated harmony with atonal fragments. Yet it has formal structure, where each phrase is led off by drums, followed by violin and clarinet playing short phrases. It has a start-stop rhythm. After every phrase, they pause be fore inventing a new atonal outburst that ends as arbitrarily as it begins.

“Manners” samples what sounds like a 1950s educational film-strip about good manners, but structural ly it’s a succession of rude interrup tions. It devolves into an argument between fluttering drone notes, an ti-rhythmic drums and harsh ampli fied violin drones. As chaotic and dense as “Manners” is, it still has a constant through line. At around 3 minutes 30 seconds, Palamara introduces a triumphant melodic figure on the violin. Very much like Indian Raga the three players stay on the major scale with a pedal tone on the root note. In the end it fades away with an acousmatic flutter of processed voices or instruments.

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am a Holocaust survivor, and every survival story is unique. What makes mine unique is that I was fortunate enough to be on ‘Schindler’s List.’”

These are the words of Celina Karp Biniaz, one of youngest to be included on Schindler’s List and among the last of the remaining survivors.

The story of how Oskar Schindler’s list saved over a thou sand Jewish prisoners from death at the hands of the Nazi regime was generally unknown until the publication of Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally in 1982.

The list, according to author William B. Friedricks, director of the Iowa History Center at Simpson College, “was actually several lists, and it referred to a compilation of nearly eleven-hundred names of Jewish prisoners designated to work at businessman Oskar Schindler’s new armament factory in Brünnlitz, Czechoslovakia. Inclusion on its list was essentially a passport to safety and kept the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews) from being sent to the Nazi death camps.”

In the first chapter, Friedricks introduces readers to Celina at the age of 8 with her aunt gifting her a white puppy in 1939. This snap shot of her “wonderful childhood” in Poland provides a devastatingly stark contrast to the horrors that awaited them after the Nazis invad ed her homeland that year.

When Celina and her parents

arrived in Iowa in 1947, most peo ple were not interested in hearing about their painful experiences during the war. They decided to keep the past to themselves, live in the moment and look to the future.

Celina excelled in her studies, graduating from North High School and Grinnell College before earn ing a Master’s degree at Columbia University. She started a family of her own and fulfilled her calling as an educator, teaching elemen tary school students for 25 years. For decades, she kept her wartime memories “bottled up, hidden be neath the veneer of her picture-per fect suburban life.”

Then, in 1993, director Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List debuted on the big screen, creating a global stage for people to confront the har rowing realities of the Holocaust, allowing survivors to tell their sto ries to a public now willing to lis ten.

Breaking her “wall of silence,” Celina started a new chapter of her life, captivating audiences around the country with her story of struggle and survival, which is chronicled in remarkable detail in Friedricks’ Saved By Schindler: The Life of Celina Karp Biniaz.

Friedricks first heard Celina speak in 2017. Approximately two years later, he was invited by the Iowa Jewish Historical Society to discuss writing a book about Celina’s life, a massive undertak ing which proved even more diffi cult as the world was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friedricks was scheduled to meet Celina in March 2020, but the trip was canceled. Social distancing protocols prohibited in-person in terviews and restricted access to libraries and archive centers. As ev idenced in these pages, the urgency to share Celina’s story triumphs in the end.

Blending scholarly focus with passionate storytelling, this inspira tional biography celebrates Celina’s life and the resilience of the human heart in the darkest of times.

––Mike Kuhlenbeck

Iwon’t lie to you. I wasn’t going to read Love and Potato Salad until I read the press quotes on the back of the book. Riddled with jokes but also, quite possibly, real exclamations from shocked readers (“‘Your novel is extremely offensive. Any further attempts to contact any members of our staff for any reason, and we will be forced to inform the proper author ities’ - Todays Women Christian Faith Magazine”), I knew that I had to find out what this shit show was all about.

SmITH HAS cOmbINED POTATO SALAD, DrUG cArTELS, ALIENS & THE FAmILIAr PASSIVE AGGrESSION OF YOUr AVErAGE mIDWESTErN FAmILY INTO ONE NOVEL.

I was surprised to find that not only did I genuinely enjoy the absurdity of this book, I found it intelligent as well.

Jason Thomas Smith’s self-pub lished 2022 release is the unrequit ed love story of the beautiful Sally Jones and the tragic Sparky Ganja. Much like a Shakespearean tragedy, we know the ending right at the be ginning. There is a terrible event that takes Sparky Ganja’s life at the Jones Family Barbecue—we just need to figure out how it happens. And we do that by following Chip, an interdi mensional omniscient narrator with a whole slew of addictions but a gentle heart.

Through time-travel, meet-cutes and astute, if flawed, narration by Chip, readers are able to absorb every angle of the story. In what was a fan tastic choice on Smith’s part, Chip’s all-knowing commentary allows readers to feel as if they’re floating above the plotline much like the alien spaceships that eventually make their appearance. Yes. Alien spaceships.

As you can probably already tell, this novel is filled with ridiculous situations. Somehow, Smith has combined potato salad, drug cartels, aliens, and the familiar passive ag gression of your average Midwestern family into one novel, but it never feels disjointed. Rather, Smith’s en grossing prose assures the reader that everything will become connected by the end of the book. And he does not disappoint. It’s a wild ride, but it’s a pleasurable one.

And not only does Smith connect the dots, he also manages to deliver airtight commentary on fate and inev itability. Set against the chaotic back drop of impending doom to Sparky Ganja, these moments of existential reflection are refreshing and help us contextualize the chaos.

But Love and Potato Salad is not for the faint of heart. While we are able to level with Chip and the oth er characters in this book in a human way, we also see their very human “flaws.” Sex addiction, binge drink ing, drugs, and rough language are the hinges many jokes rely on. While they get easier to forgive as the narra tive unfolds, this book may not be fit for squeamish readers.

But raunchy humor aside, Love and Potato Salad feels folky even in its modernity. Smith has created a well-balanced tale of love, heartbreak and fate, even if he relies on potato salad more than your average author. If you’re a fan of Chuck Palahniuk or Thomas Pynchon, you might just like this one. Bonus points if you’ve studied English in college and can pick up on the subtle literary jabs sprinkled throughout. And I can only imagine this book becomes a whole new experience if you spark up a little ganja to go with it.

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