Little Village’s best videos of 2022

Video still: Hundreds rally in protest of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the federal right to an abortion in the United States on Friday, June 24, 2022. The demonstration was perhaps the largest in Iowa City since the summer of 2020. — Jason Smith/Little Village

In November, Little Village bid a fond farewell to our beloved and super-talented staff videographer Jason Smith, who accepted a position with the University of Iowa Center for Advancement as a multimedia specialist.

We plan to spend the holidays misty-eyed while rewatching the wonderful videos he created over five years at LV, from insightful studio visits to vivid event coverage to powerful collaborations.

Some of Jason’s best work was published in the last 12 months. As 2022 wraps, let’s take a look at a year of fun gatherings, bittersweet endings and new beginnings.

Remembering The Mill

The iconic Iowa City venue The Mill closed in 2020 after 58 years of hosting music, literary readings, political events and more. With the building set for demolition, videographer Jason Smith compiled clips to remember The Mill in its prime. (Watch on Facebook)

The Mill was brought down by construction crews on Jan. 27, 2022.


Hot to Pot at Iowa City’s Szechuan House

Few things beat sharing a meal with friends and family, but doing it gathered around a simmering chili-infused broth does spice things up. Little Village asked Aaron Pang, a writer and foodie who grew up on hot pot and has recently relocated to Iowa City from San Francisco, to invite some friends for dinner at Szechuan House and talk about their experience with this treasured tradition in Chinese cuisine. (Watch on Facebook)


Jen Knights serves as sinew connecting Iowa City-area creatives

Jen Knights is familiar to many for her work with Mission Creek Festival and at the University of Iowa School of Social Work.

“When people talk about love they often say ‘love is a verb.’ And I feel that way about community, too,” Knights says. “Community is something that you do together. It’s a daily choice to engage with other people, to consider the needs of other people and to make sure that everybody is included at the table.”

“While I’m often not in a super visible role on the stage or at the podium, I like to make sure that everybody knows what’s going on and people who are doing cool stuff are connected to each other. It’s really important to me to be the sinew between the bones to help that structure of community hold up.” (Watch on Facebook)


Pullman, The Webster among the winners at Top Chef: Downtown Iowa City 2022

Top Chef: Downtown Iowa City returned Monday night as 26 local restaurants competed for Best Entrée, Best Dessert and Best Mixology. The event was back in-person after last year’s at-home experience, and tickets were completely sold out. Continue reading…


Pupusas, plantains and fish make for ‘the perfect winter meal’ at El Gustito

From the pupusas to the fried plantains, the fish entree to the rice and beans on the side, El Gustito Pupuseria y Restaurant in Coralville served up a well-balanced spread for foodie Aaron Pang and his friend Cathryn Klusmeier.

“This is the perfect winter meal — it’s really warming, really comforting,” said Klusmeier, a commercial fisherman. “It’s really gross outside and icy, and this meal solves that for me.” (Watch on Facebook)


Katie Roche interviewing William Elliott Whitmore

Ahead of his March show at the Englert Theatre, his first there since pre-COVID days, William Elliott Whitmore sat down with Englert Development Director and Awful Purdies accordionist Katie Roche for a wide-ranging conversation about kids, lyrics and Iowa roots.

“I love coming [to the Englert],” Whitmore said. “It’s like family, it’s people that we know so well.” (Watch on Facebook)


Hundreds protest Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Iowa City

“I want to encourage you to gain strength and purpose from this collective body here today,” Francine Thompson, executive director of the Emma Goldman Clinic, told the hundred gathered at the Pentacrest on Friday night, June 24. “Because we have a long, hard fight ahead of us.”

The protest in response to the Republican-appointed majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and stripping Americans of the federal right to an abortion was the largest in Iowa City since the protests against racial injustice and police violence in 2020. Continue reading…


Emma Goldman Clinic’s founding mothers reflect on ‘the beauty of choice,’ half a century of Roe and the future of abortion care

When Roe was decided on Jan. 22, 1973, it didn’t have an immediate impact in Iowa City. At the time, Nye worked at the Abortion Referral Service of the Women’s Research Center at UI. She started calling local doctors and asking, “When can we start referring to you?” Most of them hung up the phone. Others said they weren’t interested or told her to send people to New York.

“After that happened, we were kinda sitting there being disappointed, and we said, ‘Well you know, looks like we’re gonna have to do this ourselves,’” Nye said. Continue reading…


Dan Padley, perhaps Iowa City’s most versatile guitarist, has a passion for improv (and cooking eggs)

If you’ve seen an Iowa City band perform in the past few years, odds are you’ve heard Dan Padley on guitar. Trained in jazz at the University of Iowa, Padley’s specialty is improvisation — creating “mini sonic universes” of sound, whether he’s soloing at a rock concert or twanging it up at a country show.

In this edition of Studio Visit, Padley describes Iowa City’s music scene, his own personal style and why cooking breakfast food is kind of like songwriting. (Watch on Facebook)

Watch: Dan Padley at the Englert

Interview with Sara Terry, director of ‘A Decent Home’

The new documentary A Decent Home tells the story of mobile home park residents, including those in North Liberty’s Golfview, as they try to preserve their communities and their homes after the parks are bought by private equity funds and other investors determined to maximize profits at their expense. Ahead of its sold-out screening at FilmScene, director Sara Terry sat down with Little Village to discuss A Decent Home, and what she learned during the six-and-a-half years she worked on the film.

Read more about ‘A Decent Home’ and the Golfview neighborhood

With pixels and paint, Stacia Rain Stonerook brings both the familiar and alien to colorful life

Stacia Rain Stonerook has painted a Ped Mall bench, manages graphics and marketing at FilmScene, designs a literary magazine and, in her free time, is transposing downtown Iowa City into a pixel art world, and inventing a universe of alien flora.

“If I had to use three words to describe my work I’d probably say it’s organic, imaginative [and] hopefully weird,” she tells Little Village in the latest Studio Visit. “I love when you can look at a piece and your eyeballs are happy.” (Watch on Facebook)


Lyz Lenz interviews Deidre DeJear

During an interview with journalist and author Lyz Lenz at a campaign event in Iowa City on Thursday, Democratic nominee for governor Deidre DeJear discussed issues facing the LGBTQ community and union labor, and Gov. Kim Reynolds’ willingness to stoke racist fear in an effort to distract from her administration’s education policies.

“They have the tendency on the other side right now to create problems that really don’t exist, rather than addressing the problems that do exist,” DeJear said. (Watch on Facebook)

Read more about the July 24 fundraiser at The Chauncey


Amid ‘the most altered landscape in America,’ this 100-acre plot in Johnson County remains rich and wild

“In Iowa, we have the most altered landscape in America. The face of the landscape has changed more than any other state in the nation, due to agriculture and urbanization,” said Larry Gullett, the executive director of the Johnson County Conservation Board (JCCB). “Primarily due to agriculture.”

When Gullett moved to Iowa City in 2013, JCCB staff and board members quickly told him about a 100-acre plot of land north of Solon. Then-owners Malinda and John Reilly had never plowed the land.

“To find land in Iowa, open land, that has never been plowed, is like finding a needle in a haystack,” Gullett said. “All of those soils, and the bacteria and microorganisms associated with soil that grow prairie plants, are still intact.” Continue reading…


Claudia McGehee sketches and scratches her favorite parts of nature

Claudia McGehee’s scratchboard illustrations for children’s books, business logos, Java House cups and other freelance projects have garnered buzz. But the Iowa City artist’s ultimate goal is to reflect the beauty — and vulnerability — of the environment through her work.

“I think it’s important that artists are also activists as well,” she said.

“You get more flies with honey than vinegar. Seeing a beautiful illustration of an indigo bunting is going to make you want to care about that bunting.” (Watch on Facebook)


Opening day at the Stanley Museum of Art

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art officially opened on Friday, Aug. 26, more than 14 years after the university’s previous art museum was rendered uninhabitable by the flood of 2008. The $50 million building has three floors, a light well in the center and two terraces. Continue reading…

(Watch on Facebook)

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