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Roast This Town!


Greetings Iowa City! The deadline has almost arrived and we’ve received some terrific submissions thus far. We thought we’d share the following roast by Tom Dean to help keep those creative juices flowing. Yes, the deadline is right around the corner, but should you need a little extra time to hone your literary masterpiece, we’ll still consider late submissions. Are we not benevolent?

Iowa City Headlines from the Future
by Tom Dean

It’s July, so we’re roasting here in Iowa City. But this month Little Village has given us all a chance to do some of the roasting instead of being roasted. Of course, I’m talking about the “Roast This Town” Writing Contest. I hope you got your submission in by the deadline. And I hope to see a lot of you at “Live from Prairie Lights” at 3:00 p.m. on July 18.

Show us your chops

Is life in the City of Literature more grit than glamour?

Cry us a river!
(er, stream. Please limit roasts to 1,000 words or less)

Is poking fun the only way you know how to show your affection?
Roast IC in Iambic Pentameter!

love this town?
Yeah, we do too, and isn’t it a funny, funny place?

Nah. It’s you.
You’re funny. Write it down, send it in!

The rules

Formats: Prose, sonnet, video, audio, Flash or HTML file for those who want to dabble in electronic literature.

Prose Roasts: 1,000 words or less
Sonnet: English/Shakespearean only
Electronic: most of the usual formats are accepted – email us your questions (roast@littlevillagemag.com) if you aren’t sure.

Can I do it as a song? Heck yeah! Check out this video of Dave Moore roasting ol’ Coralville!

The roast will take place at 3:00 p.m. on July 18. Deadline for submissions: June 30, 2010

Submit to: Roast@LittleVillageMag.com

The Prize

A panel of LV editors will read the roasts anonymously, pick the wittiest among them, and invite the authors to come read their roasts in a special edition of Live from Prairie Lights.

Have a laugh, raise a glass!

The roast will take place, of course, at Prairie Lights Bookstore, and in the Times Club, where you’ll be able to find a decadent array of fine finger foods, wine and coffee.

This event is free and open to the public as part of The Iowa City Book Festival (July 16-18, 2010). More details are soon to come (exact time during the ICBF, for example!). For updates, keep an eye on this page, follow @LittleVillage or add us on Facebook.

Iowa City mostly prefers to see itself as the proverbial “Athens of the Midwest.” We need to be the “Borscht Belt of the Midwest” now and then and pop a few of those over-inflated ego balloons. We need to tap into our inner Rodney Dangerfields and realize that maybe, sometimes, we gotta admit we get (and maybe deserve) no respect! I’m grateful to Our Mag for providing a venue for some good-hearted but reality-checking ribbing. If we can’t laugh at ourselves . . . wait a minute, do Iowa Citians ever laugh, period? Didn’t I hear that the city was replacing the “No Humor Zone” signs at the city entrances?

I love this town more than any other place I’ve ever lived. And I also often think it’s the most ridiculous. Those two things probably go hand in hand in some way. So here’s my little contribution to the roast. I’ve swiped from Conan O’Brien (who is still MIA from the airwaves) and his “In the Year 2000” bit. I’ve adapted his shtick as my own “Headlines from the Future.”

So let the roasting begin – ya hockey puck!

  • Vatican Nixes Plan to Relocate to Downtown Iowa City; Says City Won’t Budge on Requiring First-Floor Retail or Office Space
  • Dale Helling Retires after 18 Years as Interim City Manager
  • No-Sticking-Your-Tongue-Out-at-People-on-the-Ped-Mall Ordinance Takes Effect
  • Iowa City Fends Off Another Annexation Attempt by Coralville
  • Co-op Says New Iowa City Store Imminent in 2030; Last Surviving Original Member Vows to Barricade Self in Van Buren Street Building with 50-Pound Bags of Kamut He’s Saved Since 1970
  • Iowa’s Largest Mall to Open in New Tiffin Liberty; HyVee to Take Over Empty Coral Ridge Building
  • Iowa City Claims Another Pulitzer; Winner Confirms He Remembers Passing by Herbert Hoover Highway Exit on I-80 Once on Way to Colorado
  • Large Group Protests Changing Clinton Street to One Way at City Council Meeting; Claim that Constitutional Right to Go Any Direction They Want Would Be Violated
  • North Liberty Prepares for First Heritage Festival, But No One Remembers Anything before 1995
  • First Press-Citizen Online Commenters Ice Cream Social Disbands after Five Minutes Because of Obscene Name-Calling and Racist Diatribes; Organizers Blame “Socialist Obama” and “Nanny-State City Council” for Event’s Failure
  • Press-Citizen to Go from Twice- to Once-a-Week Publication; Page Count Will Increase from One to Two
  • Coralville Demolishes Last House in Newly Annexed City of Hills, Ready to Break Ground on Coral Hills Theme Park and Health Care Clinic
  • Many Iowa City Restaurants Contemplate Closure after National Restaurant Association Outlaws Overused Menu Terms; List Includes “Infused,” “Ganache,” “Confit,” “Medallions,” “Rubbed,” “Chevre”
  • School Board Promises Third High School in 2040-2045 Strategic Plan; Not Sure of Funding Sources
  • UNESCO Approves Iowa City’s Application as “City of Cool Coffee Shop Cup Designs”
  • Summer of the Arts Launches New Annual “Floating Globs of Foam on the Iowa River Festival”
  • University Files Lawsuit Against Local Bumblebees for Trademark Violation
  • Iowa City Refuses Rezoning for World’s First Fast-Food-Chain-Megaplex; Coralville Offers TIF to Developer
  • Republican for U.S. House Wins in Johnson County for First Time in Over a Century; Election Nullified with Proof that Candidate Possessed by Ghost of George McGovern
  • Iowa City Celebrates Being on the List of “Top Ten Cities That Think They Deserve to Be on the Most Top Ten Lists”



Thomas Dean Thinks He’s Funny; Little Village Editors Respond, “Now, THAT’S Funny.”


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