N.S.F.W: How to write a sex scene


From the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award to the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, sex in literature—and the ways it can go terribly, terribly wrong—is being talked about a lot these days. But sex in fiction is hardly a new trend. Some writers, especially writers just starting out, tend to balk […]

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El-P Interview: Lucy in the sky with dizzle

Last year, Killer Mike and El-P steamrolled their musical competition with their respective albums R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure. Both artists have garnered plenty of attention over the years—Killer Mike made his initial splash on Outkast’s 2000 album, Stankonia, and El-P began in the early 1990s with the late, great Company Flow. But in 2012, their profiles skyrocketed. The outstanding Cancer 4 Cure further developed the producer and MC’s singularly dark, claustrophobic musical vision, but El’s production work on R.A.P. Music was the knockout punch. […]

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IC History: Iowa City’s early crossroads

IC History

Before interstates, before pavement and even before concrete, Iowa City was becoming a major crossroads–for both the state and the nation. It began in 1839 when the Old Military Road–which got its name from the Iowa Dragoons that briefly used the thoroughfare–was built from Dubuque to Iowa City, the new territorial capitol. This first road […]

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Art City: Holy places

Art City

Art, like people, often fragments mysteriously, like light into a prism. And that prism can be a little trickier to observe in a place like Iowa City, with its rich art scene that at times can feel equally rich in its inaccessibility to the general public. Where can definite lines of meaning be drawn, if […]

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N.S.F.W: Should you nom de plume?


When I decided to write erotica, I approached a professor who was openly known for both his literary and erotic fiction. I had been dabbling in the genre for a while, and wanted to begin to submit stories around, but first I had to establish the answer to an important question: to pseudonym or not […]

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Prairie Pop: An interview with Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo’s brand of drone-rock is certainly hypnotic—narcotizing even—but their live shows are never boring. That has much to do with this threesome’s restless desire to switch up their act with each tour. I’ve seen them stage a variety show with comedians, perform straight-up rock shows in clubs, use a spinning wheel that lets […]

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Screenshot: Late to the block party


I have a friend who is somewhat obsessed with a particular writer, but hasn’t read what is widely considered this author’s masterpiece, as he’s intentionally saving it for a particular moment. After I accidentally spoiled part of the novel for him this week, I teased him for being the only person I knew who was […]

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N.S.F.W: Take it outside


By the time you read this, the first of May will likely have passed, but that’s okay because it probably would have been too cold to fuck outside anyway. But let’s assume that by the time you read this it is warm enough, and you’re feeling frisky. The first of May is a magical day. […]

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IC History: Changing the channel

River Walk

Most Iowa Citians don’t know how the Iowa River between the Burlington Street Bridge and northern part of City Park came to look as it does, nor that the channel once followed a very different course through the city. Would one know what was underfoot while walking along its banks or viewing it from afar? Who remembers the islands in the river, the quarries along its banks or the changes in 1939 that made them disappear? […]

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Prairie Pop: The story of Quirk


When Too Much Joy frontman Tim Quirk played Riverfest in the early-1990s, things didn’t go well. Mother Nature unleashed a shitstorm of epic proportions, so after a long delay, the gig was relocated to a club downtown. Adam Sandler, the opener, was the first to face the out-of-control audience… […]

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