Iowa City Weekender: August 6-10

Wednesday, August 6

A Community of Writers: Creative Writing at The University of Iowa
Old Capitol Museum, Pentacrest
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cities aren’t born cities of literature–they’re made. Check out “A Community of Writers: Creative Writing at The University of Iowa” today or any day until October 12. This exhibit shows the 100-year history of writing at The University of Iowa, the history that supports the assertion of Iowa City as a city of literature. Perhaps there are some glimpses into the community of writers Vonnegut worked with while crafting Slaughterhouse-Five. Perhaps it can show us just why the Iowa’s Translation Workshop matters. Or perhaps it’s worth it just to have a reason to enter the building with the most photographed dome in Iowa City.

Songwriters in Residence
The Mill Restaurant
120 E. Burlington St.
Iowa City, Iowa
7 – 10 p.m.

To get to know the more lyrical experiences of Iowa City’s literary pursuits, check out tonight’s Songwriters in Residence program at the Mill. This week features Iowa City music staples Scotty Cochran and Sam Knutson, two musicians that shouldn’t be missed if you’re new to town and want to blend in with the locals.

Thursday, August 7

Bijou Theater
Lecture Hall 2, Van Allen Hall
Entrance at Iowa and Linn streets
Iowa City, Iowa
7 and 9 p.m.

Scott Samuelson reviewed this film for Little Village’s July issue and it still looks good. Check out his review here, and take advantage of the final chance to view this film on the big screen Thursday. For doc lovers, it’s a must.

Friday, August 8

Karaoke Night
American Legion, Post No. 17
3016 Muscatine Ave.
Iowa City, Iowa

Whiskey + bouncing ball + old townie burnt-out alcoholics = Iowa City’s new cultural diversity district. Come for the cheap beer and liberating karaoke, stay for the wife-swapping and back-room drug deals. Where the ironic hipsters and American Apparel wearers are few, the American Legion stands sturdy with its addictions inspired by a tonic stronger than Elliot Smith. It’s a place to go when you want to get away from campus and the less experienced drunks.

Don’t feel like going out? Then be sure to turn to KWWL Channel 7 for THE OPENING OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES!!!! Take bets on how many activists will try to shout “Free Tibet!” and how much Chinese authorities will restrain themselves under the world media eye. Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. And if you hunger for some non-mainstream American sports, you can watch Olympic badminton online at 8. For more details, visit

Take advantage of gas prices dipping to $3.69 this weekend and do some traveling. Yup, that’s right, oil has dropped to under $120 a barrel, and though it’s probably still not environmentally conscientious to take advantage of this slight reprieve, it does mean saving a coupla bucks on weekend entertainment.

Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fairgrounds (East 30th Street and East University Avenue, 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines)
August 7 – August 17
All Day
Ticket information

Some artists think there’s a fine line between art and butter. Others, like Sarah Pratt of West Des Moines, would disagree. Pratt has become the Iowa State Fair’s fourth butter sculptor and has wielded her tools on this year’s butter cow, which weighs about 600 pounds and could butter nearly 20,000 pieces of toast. Will a pic do it justice? See if for yourself “live” and in person at the Iowa State Fair, any day between Thursday, August 7 and Sunday, August 17.

Saturday, August 9

IMHO, the perfect Saturday schedule at the Iowa State Fair would look like this:
– Start the day off with some soul by checking out the Glory Road Gospel Quartet at 9 a.m.
– Try to catch the petting zoo at 9:30!!
– Wander around looking at maps and schedules, checking out that butter cow and wondering if 20,000 people could be gathered to collectively enjoy toast without someone asking for a soy margarine cow
– Visit Bob the Builder’s 11 a.m. performance of “Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!” to search for hidden Obama-isms and messages about how steamrollers and forklifts can help change American politics
– Reptiles and amphibians of the Midwest at 1 p.m.! Been zoo-deprived since moving here.
– Explore barbed wire art at 3:30 before learning about cooking with Iowa fruits and veggies at 4
– and at 5 p.m.??? ROBOT COMBAT!!!

But there’s plenty to do and see at the state fair for those who have other tastes. Check out the website for full details.

Sunday, August 10

The Community of True Inspiration: Pacifism and Patriotism
Amana Heritage Museum
4310 220th Trail
Amana, Iowa
Noon – 4 p.m.
$7 for 18+

More state fair? Or something more serious? Again for the history lovers, an experience for those looking deep into war and religious resistance, this exhibit endures as a place to learn about the triumphs of peace practitioners in Eastern Iowa. Pacifism as patriotic is a delightful idea right now.

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