Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Misson Creek 2012 announcement

Earlier this week, the coordinators of the Iowa City Mission Creek Festival announced the dates of the 2012 event.

When: March 27-April 1, 2012
Where: venues and art spaces in downtown Iowa City
Featuring: The Magnetic Fields, David Cross, Sharon Van Etten, & Bowerbirds

The DI Arts staff talked with Mission Creek's founder Andre Perry about what visitors can expect at the 2012 festival.

Perry said the upcoming festival will include some new additions including food appreciation and an artist-in-residency series.

The artist in residence series was started by Mission Creek producer Christopher Wiersema in an effort to get visiting acts more involved with the community and the culture of Iowa City. Perry said that some of the performing artists with collaborate with local, Luke Tweedy to record music in Iowa City during their visits. They will record in Tweedy's Flat Black studios. Perry confirmed that at least three of the acts coming this spring will record music in Iowa City while they are here. One of these bands is Dirty Beaches who will complete a split release with local band, Wet Hair. Perry said this is a way for musicians to commemorate their experience in Iowa City for the Mission Creek Festival.

Perry said that Mission Creek is a special event in the Iowa City arts scene because it runs a wide spectrum of performances, appeals to various demographics of festival-goers from students to residents, and takes advantage of local geography to engage artists with the community.

All-Access Passes ($115) can be purchased online at Midwestix and the Englert Theatre Box Office.

More information about performing acts and venues will be available in January 2012. Check back with the Daily Iowan at for festival updates.

-by Hannah Kramer

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa likes gingerbread, I swear!

When I was a little girl, I used to set out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. As usual, we would have tins upon tins upon tins filled with homemade cookies that my mother so lovingly baked with her four little monsters, or Christmas elves as I liked to think.

Choosing what to leave out for Santa was always a struggle! Does he like sugar? gingerbread? almond crescents? or my Dad's famous "birds nests"...

Well one year I left out Gingerbread boys and when I came down in the middle of the night to see if Santa arrived...he had! and he left a note! There was hay all over my front walkway from the reindeer, a note from the Jolly old fella and a BRAND NEW BIKE under the tree.

So, in my experience Santa loves gingerbread! Leave him a taste and you might be extra surprised this holiday!

Here are the two most scrumptious cookie recipes for the holidays to share with your family and friends.



  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg

  • Royal Icing (recipe follows)
    • 1 pound (4 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
    • 2 tablespoons dried egg-white powder
    • 6 tablespoons water
    • Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter and vegetable shorteninguntil well-combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart. Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk. Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out more cookies.

Bake, switching the positions of the cookies from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely. Decorate with Royal Icing. (The cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.)

Have a safe and happy holiday season and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Fashion Don't

After watching the Victoria Secret fashion show last night, it made me realize that I probably shouldn't go for that second piece of chocolate that I'd been eye balling all night.

It made me sick to my stomach to watch this year's Angels walk the runaway, and yes unlike them I actually do have a stomach. While all the girls watching this are commenting on how unhealthily skinny all of the models look, the guys watching the show can't keep their eyes off of their chest. It shouldn't surprise me I know, but if that's what girls have to look like in order to get some attention, then count me out. I wouldn't be surprised if every one of those girls had some type of eating disorder. It's one thing to be in shape, but the Angels were scary skinny. I'd hate to see what happened to those of them who might have gained two pounds over Thanksgiving.

Aside from the girls bodies, the costumes were interesting this year. It seemed like super heroes and angel wings were the most consistent costumes throughout the show. They were gorgeous don't get me wrong, but it wasn't exactly the typical lingerie that someone would buy at Victoria Secret. Obviously, these were strictly for the runway.

Musical performances by Maroon 5, Nicki Minaj, and the duo of Jay-Z and Kanye West added some more entertainment to the show.

It was worth taking an hour out of my night just to see what these girls looked like, but can someone please get them a hamburger?

-Sam Gentry

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good eats for Turkey Day

Every Thanksgiving the calorie counts, fad diets, and concern for looking thin are put on hold for the annual holiday when we give thanks by stuffing our faces - how becoming of American society.

Because plain old turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie are getting a bit dull after 22 years, I thought I would offer some new (and healthier) recipe ideas for readers to try this year.

Use these tasty new ideas to surprise your families this year. I'm sure the "ooo's" and "yumms" will make you smile (or annoy the crap out of you when they never end.)

-Hannah Kramer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things I’ve Decided I Need for the Cold Weather Months

1. A Cape

Because, why not? I will feel like the ravishing and mysterious heroine of a beautiful and tragic French film. I will probably start wearing a lot of red lipstick and berets. Although, first I will need to learn how to place the beret in a jauntily askew way on top of my head. I don’t know how. And it will keep me toasty and be roomy, so even when I’m bloaty, I can still be ravishing and mysterious.

2. Furry Earmuffs

I’m thinking grey because for some reason I feel like that makes them less obnoxious.

It doesn’t really though. These do have headphones inside though, so maybe that gives them some cred...

3. A Cool Mug

I just realized that the only cool mug I own is my plastic Queen Amidala mug, and you can’t put plastic in the microwave.

I have a couple of mugs that I’ve painted at paint-your-own-pottery places, but they have sentimental value, so I don’t want to use them.

Maybe something like this:

To keep my drinks tough and toasty.

4. Roller Skates

This has nothing to do with the cold weather, but maybe winter is the perfect time to start training, so I can finally realize my dream of being a roller derby all-star.

Look for me roller skating around Iowa City in my cape and earmuffs, sipping coffee from my brass knuckle mug. I don't think I'll be too hard to find.

-Julia Jessen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What about the turkey?

With Halloween behind us, it only makes sense that people start their preparation for the next holiday in line. But I think the real question is, what holiday really comes next?

While in CVS today, life size Santas with rosy cheeks and button noses were on display outside of the store. Inside, however, was a different story. No matter where you looked down the holiday aisle stockings, garland, and Christmas lights were the only thing you could see.

But the Christmas madness didn't seem to stop at CVS. While picking up my morning coffee at Starbucks I was filled with the familiar aroma of peppermint white mocha. Is it possible that Christmas flavors are out already? How can we so quickly change from pumpkin spice to peppermint mocha? Shouldn't there be something in between?

It seems that Iowa City isn't the only town rushing the season. Back home, Schaumburg, IL, Woodfield Mall has already but up their Christmas decorations and the famous snow globe is already awaiting Santa's arrival. The local radio station, 93.9 The Lite, has even already started blasting everyones favorite holiday tunes through the airwaves.

While I too am one to love the joys of the holiday season, I can't help but think, what about Thanksgiving?! Aren't we all forgetting the Pilgrims and Indians and giving thanks? Aren't we forgetting the turkey, stuffing, and gravy?

There's a holiday in between Halloween and Christmas, but I feel like every year Thanksgiving is getting more and more neglected. It's only November 1st, but already people are in the Christmas spirit. So my question is, will this Christmas chaos ever stop? And can we share some of the love with Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haunted Houses and Attractions near IC

It’s about to be Halloween weekend in Iowa City, a time when the girls are looking a little extra freaky and the guys a little too creepy.

While bobbing for apples (or beers in our case) can be a good time, if your feeling extra spirited its always a great time to check out some local haunted houses.

In case you didn’t know, Iowa is home to hundreds of haunted houses and other spooky attractions that are open all weekend long. I’ve done some research and found the two spookiest, most bone chilling places to check out.

Circle of Ash Haunted Attraction

412 7th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, Open weekends 8-12 pm out this promo video!

This place has one of the freakiest websites I have come across. Think Saw meets Silence of the Lambs meets the Joker. This is a self-guided tour through an indoor haunted house maze. They encourage you to walk extra slow so you don’t miss any of the hidden features. Eeeeekk! They recommend you go in groups no larger than 5 people because of space and group interaction. They say they don’t touch you by surprise but they do ask you to interact with set pieces and other cast members.

Nightmare Manor

525 H St. SW, Cedar Rapids,

This 100-year-old creepy riverfront warehouse is full of nightmares. It has boarded up windows and has several deaths that have been said to occur there. Homeless Tom “Jackson” Howard was a man that did odd jobs for the hotel in trade for a place to sleep. After a while he got uncomfortable and left, but always showed up for Halloween season. His old living space was below the electric chair and he would count how many “executions” took place each night. In 2003, Tom became ill and hallucinatory and on fall evening the landlord found him dead. No one claimed Tom’s body and so the landlord has his ashes hanging out on the mantle, until they scatter them someday. This house is known as a “too scary to complete” haunted house. Paranormal investigators have seen some action around his ashes and even heard voices and seen strange movements.

Hope you all make it out to a haunted house, have a little liquor courage, wear your sexy costume and maybe shit you pants too!

-Carly Hurwitz

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artsy Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again. You carved the pumpkins, the candy is by the door, and now the only thing left to do is find the perfect costume. If you’re tired of your usual naughty woodland creature getup, try one of these artsy ideas instead.

Have a classy Halloween!

Vincent Van Gogh

For this look, wear a bright blue shirt and a straw hat. If you are already a redhead with a beard then you’re golden. But if you’re not, try drawing on a beard with a reddish brown eyebrow pencil or get a fake stick-on beard.

What you really need to do to make the costume recognizable is use some gauze to bandage your left ear. Then get a fake rubber prop ear (you might be able to find one in a costume shop or magic shop, or just make your own out of Sculpey clay and bake it) and give it to people throughout the night. You will make so many friends.

You could also get a large frame and take the glass and backing off and rig it up with straps so you could wear it around like a self-portrait.

Crayola Crayon

If you are a girl get a simple tank dress in the color of crayon you want to be. If you are a guy, try using pillowcases in your chosen color or dye them. To keep the pillowcase up, wear a shirt in the same color underneath and pin the pillowcase onto it. If the pillowcase is too small, use two, cutting them open and pinning them together.

Next using black felt, construction paper, or duct tape, create long rectangles that can go around your upper torso and upper thigh area. In the middle of the rectangle cut out a wavy line. Then cut out a long oval big enough to fit the word crayola, and cut out the letters. Then attach it vertically to your stomache.

For the crayon point, you could use construction paper in the same color as your outfit and roll it into a cone shape, securing it to your head with string. Or try using a gas funnel and spray-painting it the color you want.


So you want to be Mozart? You need a white ruffled shirt, preferably with ruffles at the end of the cuffs, black shorts that hit below the knee, a black coat (the fancier the better), knee high socks tucked into the shorts, and loafers on your feet.

For the hair, curl it and fluff it up with lots of volume. You could either do the tight rolled up curls pinned on the sides with the top straight or leave it all in big curls and secure with a black ribbon at the back of your neck in a ponytail. To make it white you could probably find some sort of a spray at a costume shop or experiment with baby powder. Of course if all that sounds too hard, just get a white wig.

You could even add a child's keyboard with a strap attached and carry it around with you.

Audrey Hepburn

For this look you need a very classy black, sort of retro, sheath dress. Add long black gloves, a few layered strands of pearls, oversized round sunglasses, one of those long cigarette holders (you can find them pretty cheap on, and a black hat with a large, wide brim.

Sweep your hair up in a high chignon and a tuck a small tiara comb in the top.

Now go get some candy.

-Julia Jessen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reading List

I am always disappointed with the lack of time I can find to read books for fun. Between reading for classes, doing assignments for classes, and trying to have a tiny bit of a life outside of classes, reading tends to fall by the wayside.

But I’ve decided to try to make a little more time for reading. In honor of my efforts I’ve made this short list of a few books that I really enjoyed and a couple that I’m looking forward to beginning.

The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

I read this book while on vacation with my family this summer, and I became completely engrossed by it. I read it before I saw the movie, and I enjoyed both. It’s always a pleasant surprise when a movie based on a book is actually almost as good as the book. I cried at the end of both.

The book, set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, tells the interwoven story of two maids, Aibileen and Minny, and a budding journalist, Skeeter, as they expose what it’s really like to work for a white family in the 60’s.

The Passage

By Justin Cronin

Not your typical vampire novel, this book by Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, Justin Cronin, takes you into a bleak apocalyptic future filled with strange violent creatures, and a few people trying to save the world.

I’ve heard that this book is set to become a movie, which will be very exciting, and hopefully a good movie. I’m also excited about the second book in the series, which will come out in 2012.

Postcards from Europe

By Rick Steves

I love Rick Steves. He is kind of my old man crush. Rick Steves is a guidebook author, travel writer, and he hosts the public television program, “Rick Steves’ Europe”. This book provides a more anecdotal look at his travels, sharing adventures from years of traveling that are funny, beautiful, and inspiring. This book is one of my favorites in my Rick Steves collection.

One Day

By David Nicholls

I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s sitting on my desk right now waiting for the moment when I have a sliver of time to crack it open.

The book takes place during a single day each year for twenty years, showing the interaction of the lives of Dex and Emma.

I would also like to see the movie version of the book, which stars Anne Hathaway, but I hear it’s not very good. I have a feeling I’ll probably like it anyway.

Chuck Close: Life

By Christopher Finch

I recently picked this up from the Haunted Bookstore, and it is now sitting on my desk with One Day, also waiting to be read.

This is a biography looking at the life of Chuck Close, an amazing painter (some of his pieces look exactly like photographs of the person they’re depicting), who suffered a spinal stroke, which caused him temporary quadriplegia. His story sounds amazing, and I know his work is incredible, so I can’t wait to read about him.

-Julia Jessen

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alexa Meade: Painting on People

I love it when art plays with your expectations, completely catching you off guard and ripping away what you thought you knew. I think one of the best examples of this can be found in Alexa Meade.

I first found out about Alexa in an issue of Nylon magazine last year. Completely amazed by the pictures of her work that accompanied the article, I could not stop looking at them.

"Alexa Split in Two"
This piece gives you an idea of how awesome and breathtaking her style is.

The 25 year old artist paints directly on her subjects, creating 2 dimensional representations of the person on their own 3 dimensional form. Her website describes her work as lying at "the intersection of painting, photography, performance, and installation.

When she paints somebody, she will often also paint the background, completely involving the atmosphere in the painting.

It blows my mind that this is an actual man sitting here. Way too cool, no?

Sometimes she will also take her subject and place them as an installation in an everyday place.


What would you do if you saw a painted old man on the subway? I love the juxtaposition here of the surrealism of the man and the realism of the world around him .

I think that Alexa Meade is really unique and that her style is fresh and innovative. If you're looking for a new artist crush, definitely check her out.

-Julia Jessen

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rakin' in the new albums

The music biz usually releases new albums by their biggest acts during the fall, just in time for the holidays. This year is no different. We’ve scoured the world wide web and have found (so far) 20 albums yet to be this in Autumn.

The Fall lineup is…

Rock n’ Roll-

Nirvana, “Nevermind” (a anniversary rerelease) (Oct. 25)

Tom Waits, “Bad as Me” (Oct. 4)

Björk, “Biophilia” (Oct. 11)

Coldplay, “Mylo Xyloto” (Oct. 24) – Stay tuned for my album review after its release

Lou Reed and Metallica, “Lulu” (Nov. 1)

U2, “Achtung Baby (Super Deluxe Edition)” (Nov. 1)

Beach Boys, “The Smile Sessions Box” (Nov. 1)

The Who, “Quadrophenia: The Director’s Cut” (Nov. 15)


Rodney Atkins, “Take a Long Road” (Oct. 4)

Scotty McCreery, “Clear as Day” (Oct. 4)

Hank Williams Sr., “The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams” (Oct. 4)

Martina McBride, “Eleven” (Oct. 11)

Toby Keith, “Clancy’s Tavern” (Oct. 24)

Miranda Lambert, “Four the Record” (Nov. 1)


Feist, “Metals” (Oct. 4)

Susan Boyle, “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Nov. 1)

Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger” (Oct. 25)


DJ Shadow, “The Less You Know, The Better” (Oct. 4)

Drake, “Take Care” (Oct. 24)

Mary J. Blige, “My Life II … The Journey Continues (Act I)” (November)

-Jordan Montgomery (will not be releasing an album this fall)