Tag: Iowa

  • Gladbrook, Iowa: Where Buildings Keep Burning But Matchsticks Remain

    Gladbrook, Iowa has just under a thousand residents and no stop light. Besides the thin, white windmills, there is little to mark the divide between land and sky. If you stand in the middle of the town’s main street you can see a cornfield just a couple of blocks away in any direction. There is […]

  • Tension and Violins Adorn The Bridges of Madison County

    A smoldering drifter darkens the door of a 1960s Iowa housewife. Passions ignite. Francesca, an Italian immigrant who pines for her native Mediterranean home, must make her choice: run with the love of her life, or stay and honor another kind of love — for her family. The Bridges of Madison County, a new musical […]

  • We All Hate Obama — Hank Williams, Jr., Just Had to Remind Us

    After today’s news that Paul Ryan is a huge Rage Against the Machine fan, we are continuing into the weird vortex of politics and music. And what a strange place it always tends to be. Yesterday was the Iowa State Fair and, headlining the Midwestern fun in the infamous caucus state, Hank Williams, Jr., was […]

  • Stephen Colbert Has His Own ‘Cheap Cornography’ to Sway Iowa Voters

    Stephen Colbert has debuted his own Super PAC ads in Iowa to get voters to cast their ballots for Rick Parry (that’s Parry with an “A” for “America,” as opposed to Rick Perry, the Texas governor). And if his rival Super PACs can do it, why shouldn’t he, too, resort to “cheap cornography“?  

  • Sarah Palin, Flawless, in The Undefeated

    “You missed the beginning where everybody’s cussin’ about her,” the volunteer at the table outside the “leaders only” screening of the new Sarah Palin documentary, The Undefeated, told me last month, shaking his head in disbelief. “It’s pretty harsh.” That’s about the only harshness you’ll find in the The Undefeated, which opens this week in […]

  • Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead: Weighed Down With Doc Cliches

    Virtually every documentary cliché from the past decade finds its way into this account of director Joe Cross’s weight-loss odyssey, a retread-reversal of Super Size Me right down to the cheesy animation. An earnest, likable Aussie day-trader with money to burn, Cross traverses the United States for two months in the company of a camera […]

  • Why Are There So Many Mormons in Mexico?

    Dear Mexican: I heard Mormonism is a quickly spreading religion down in ye olde Mexico. What is it about this religion that a lot of Mexicans find so fascinating? —Jack Mormón Dear Wab: Historically? Mexico has long had the second-largest community of Mormons in the world after the United States—official LDS figures estimate 1.2 million […]


    Proving that small-town America is not as quaint and charming as it’s perhaps believed to be, journalist Nick Reding lived on and off in Oelwein, Iowa, for four years to examine how the people of this once pleasant rural town had fallen prey to crystal meth, one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. […]

  • Loser Lit: John McNally’s After the Workshop, Peter Bognanni’s The House of Tomorrow, and James Greer’s The Failure

    Jack Hercules Sheahan, the deadbeat protagonist of John McNally’s After the Workshop, is a guy with an MFA, an ex-fiancée, a car without a muffler, and a novel in a box on the shelf—that familiar fixture of every college town ever. He’s the special kind of elite failure that only the Iowa Writers’ Workshop can […]

  • Slipping Stomps Into Young, Gay Iowa

    Adolescence is a good subject for the same reason it’s a bad subject: It’s basically the same for everyone. Take, for example, the adolescence of Eli (Seth Numrich) in Daniel Talbott’s Slipping. Gay, fatherless, brilliant, and borderline suicidal, Eli is categorically “different.” Nevertheless, growing up in Iowa, he still encounters the same teenage problems as […]