IC’s Luther Bangert surprised to find himself the subject of Lagunitas marketing campaign

Luther Bangert Beer Coaster -- Photo by Steven Weven
Luther Bangert Beer Coaster — Photo by Steven Weven

So a juggler walks into a bar and orders a beer, and the bartender pours him one, but he’s astonished by what he sees at the bottom of his glass — there on the coaster is the image of a man juggling beers while swallowing a sword, a man well-known to most eastern Iowans: Luther Bangert. Many Iowa City residents may remember when the Montrose, Iowa native broke the Guinness World Record in the Ped Mall by juggling the most objects (six) while simultaneously swallowing a sword.

The juggler in this true-story was Steven Weven, the bar was Mad Duck Craft Brewing Company in Fresno California, the beer was a Lagunitas and when Weven shared the image with Bangert, the world record holder was more than surprised.

“My friend Steven, old time juggler buddy who I know from the west coast scene, had posted a photo of something that had an image of me, swallowing a sword and juggling four IPA bottles, which I could distinctively recognize as Lagunitas,” said Bangert, who is currently performing in Scotland. “At first I thought it was a very well done sketch but then realized it was far too lifelike and must be taken from an actual photo; at least, most of it … I was instantly flattered but, also quite curious about the whole thing as no one ever asked me permission for use of the image.”

The likeness of Bangert is being used by the Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, CA as part of a promotional campaign for their “Beer Circus” festivals in Asuza, Petaluma, Brooklyn and Chicago. Little Village reached out to Lagunita’s marketing and events director David Green this week, but as of the time of publication no response has been offered by Green.

However, 4 years ago, while on tour with Wanderlust Circus, Bangert did perform at the Beer Circus at the Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma.

“I remember doing a short photo shoot in the brewery aside from performing but not signing off so that these images were to be used anywhere. So, it may just be a simple misunderstanding, but I do feel some recompense would be just,” said Bangert.

Editor’s Note:
We believe it is essential to support those who make art for a living, for entertainment or personal joy. In that spirit, we are stoked to mention that the American Federation of Musicians Local 450 (Iowa City) will be hosting a fund-raiser at The Mill, this Sunday from 2 until 7 p.m. The event will feature local artists Soul Friends, Sweet Cacophony, Back Porch Swing, Dick Watson Group, Classical String Quartet, Threshold, Ray Kung Quartet and the Riverbank Jazz Band. There is a suggested donation of $8 and kids under 10 are admitted for free.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »



Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.