The Biggest Little Venue on Two Continents

Rio de Janeiro, London, Berlin, and Rock Island. All of these places have something in common: venues that consistently host international artists and cultural virtuosos. Rozz-Tox QC is the only intimate Midwestern venue (outside of a few spots in Chicago and Minneapolis) that consistently brings in acts from all over the world. Every continent is…

HortiCulture, Or: How to Grow Shit

I feel guilty. I set out to make a blog celebrating the art&culture(&pork) of Iowa, yet I’ve neglected a significant element of the Iowa experience. No, I’m not talking about farming. Those days are all but gone. Most farms are now operated like factories and owned by mega-corporations. It is rare to find a family…

Women’s Art Collective Offers Rare Glimpse

“This house has its own following,” Michele says as we stand on her sunny back porch overlooking the Mississippi River. “People often recognize the address.” Michele’s home has a long, varied history. When construction started in 1879, it was to be one of the grandest homes around. Henry F. Petersen – of the famous Petersen’s Sons’…

Record Store Day at Ragged

Bob Herington is a cool dude with a cool job and cool glasses. He’s like a much better version of John Cusack in High Fidelity. Like, you actually want to spend time with him and never get the urge to kick him in the liver. Bob’s already proven his good musical taste many times over, so you…

On The Saint Elizabeth’s Fire

There’s a tiny cemetery in the yard of the hospital where I was born. A statue of Mary watches over sixteen plain stone crosses. Mary gazes down, palms outward. She is missing a finger on her right hand. Her brow is relaxed, but her mouth is folded in sorrowful indignation. She gestures to the crosses…

Karen Meat Says ‘You’re An Ugly Person’ And That’s Okay

Did you know Blondie and Joan Jett had a baby? I didn’t, either. They raised her on hot dogs and DaDa and they named her Karen Meat. In what may or may not be her final form, Karen Meat is Arin Eaton and usually Dana Telcrow and also sometimes some other dudes. Yeah, she’s complicated,…

Lavender Daughter’s Moline Club Baptism

On Sunday night, I texted my best friend: “I’m lost in an abandoned country club, and I just found keg half-full of beer.” Because I like to send her tidbits from my life with little to no context. There were a couple of things wrong with the text, though – excluding the fact that, yes,…

Chuckie’s Wild Ride and Posthumous Exhibition

The details of Charles Knudsen IV’s death will be up for debate for years to come. For example, the medical consensus is that he suffered a myocardial infarction, which is consistent with what he’d previously told me about his heart health. A popular belief among his many friends and admirers, however, is that Chuck died…

Awful or Awesome?: Quad City-style Pizza

Update, Mar. 13, 16:22. I just realized this can go in the Awful-Awesome series, which I wanted to be a thing for a while but then fizzled out. Thus, I have retitled this post and added an additional closing paragraph. Enjoy! I was in my twenties before I stumbled upon this term on Wikipedia. That…

A Dying Man’s Final Words

First, the thing; the weird, spooky thing that no one’s really sure what it is (besides R-rated): Some very talented people helped make this thing. Producer Andrew Barkau spent hours searching through sound files for the effects I wanted. Voice actors Mike Steele and Jeff Tady read brilliantly from a script that was deliberately obtuse….

Kweku Collins is Coming to Save Us

In a fog of existential collapse, Kweku Collins is a beacon. He’s a good artist to find when you’ve been beaten down so hard by loss, pain, and despair that you can hardly move. He’ll get you to move – whether it’s through dance, creative inspiration, or just enough psychic energy for you to take one more blind swipe at joy.

Case in point: the title of this post. It makes the corner of my mouth turn up just a bit, and I’d hope a lyrically inventive rapper – with an experimental streak – like Collins would appreciate it.