Monday, February 25, 2008

It's confirmed: Book Signing Junkie

Crazy book nut! Last fall I wrote a little first-person piece on my obsession with book signings. It ran today on the back page of Publishers Weekly in the magazine's Soapbox Column. I've been waiting all my life for a soapbox to stand on!

I hope Paul Ingram over at Prairie Lights doesn't mind the shout out. I really do love that guy. The editor at PW cut a lot of good stuff for space, including the part where I wrote of Paul as being like a Mexican jumping bean.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Putting the CIALIS back in SoCIALISm

I don't normally read Fort Dodge Today -- it's just not a site on my regular troll through the interweb. So you'll have to thank my friend Eric for alerting me to this hilarious comments page connected to an otherwise sad economic blurb on the layoffs of 78 production workers at Electrolux. The jobs are going to Mexico.

A commenter calling himself "booknerd" mentioned Sweden's social market economy and the word "socialism" got starred out. Nazism, fascism, and marxism all got through.

We blame the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis for keeping socialism out of public discourse. SoCIALISm.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

But how cold is it?

It is so cold in Iowa that you can leave a few pieces of La Quercia's green label artisan-cured prosciutto americano in your car by accident for a week and it is still good!

It is snowing again: giant flocks that are falling almost sideways. I am just emerging from about 13 days of some kind of super rhino flu that's been going around the UI campus. So I am relishing in the pleasures of hearth and home, which has included finally tasting La Querica's prosciutto, which is made on a farm south of Des Moines. My friend Nick visited the owners Herb and Kathy Eckhouse a while back for a story he wrote as part of his master's project. He has been raising a pig on a farm near Iowa City since last summer and will finally slaughter her on February 28th. I want everyone to know that date because if everyone knows, then he actually has to do it.

If you haven't checked out his blog Death of a Pig, in which he talks about his project, blogs on food, and waxes poetic about the long and venerable tradition of literary pigs, you should. Good luck Nick!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Rural Incident

Last summer, Sarah Clunis, former curator of African Art at the University of Iowa Museum of Art and Katie Roche, cultural animator extraordinaire and all-around culture vulture started a series of art events in Oxford, Iowa called "The Rural Incident." In her academic work, Clunis studies rituals and their portrayal in art. She decided to host her own art salon in her town of 800 as a way to celebrate local art and also display the works of artists who might not otherwise see their works exhibited in eastern Iowa. Let's face it. There's a lot of people making art out here and what actually gets shown is generally pretty crappy. My profile of Clunis just ran in ArtScene Iowa. Beware -- it's a pdf and you have to scroll through the mag to find it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Robert Wilson is not an actual human being

Robert Wilson's VOOM: Portraits just opened at the UI Museum of Art. The museum paid an estimated $150,000 to bring the exhibition here, about three times what it normally pays for its big shows. And is this show big. To mount it, they had to take the museum's whole permanent collection out and put it in storage. I'd had to be the person traveling to Iowa City from Chicago to see the museum's Pollock only to find out that there is a video portrait of Robert Downey Jr. on a cadaver table in its place. It would be really easy to take a cynical view of this show, after all, it was commissioned by a HDTV company. The whole thing could function as the sexiest tv commercial you've ever seen. But it's probably one of the most exciting things to happen in Iowa since I've been here. Nothing really goes on in the portraits, but there is something happening that compels you to stand and watch.

Oh, and now heard Robert Wilson tell the same three stories about four times -- the one about being in the Berlin zoo and listening to the wolves with his body, the one about his deaf son Raymond, the one about filming the panther that appears in the show. He used the same exact words every time. I'm pretty sure every human interaction is a performance for him.