‘Coming out’ again: The Real MainStream brighter, better, and reinvented

Read about how The Real MainStream is reworking itself to better serve Iowa and Illinois. Whenever I run across one of my keepsake copies of the first 13 editions of The Real MainStream, published before the current worldwide pandemic, I feel awash in memories and sensations. “We’ll never give up the handshake!” joked a customer and I in early March. Mere days later, he and dozens of others in our circulation area announced they were saying “no” to not only handshakes, but all in-store traffic for a few months.  Back…

Cedar Rapids models success of the ‘peaceful protest’

The protests in 1,700-plus American communities since George Floyd’s May 25 murder have ranged from violent, to peaceful, to showy, to subdued. That includes the protests in Iowa. In Des Moines, clashes between police and demonstrators have been tense. In Iowa City, a mostly youthful protest group opted for more “in your face” tactics like shutting down interstates and marching to council members’ homes. The Quad Cities is dealing with deaths related to random violence that occurred after and near peaceful protest sites. Tiny towns like Fairfield, Washington, and West…

The pagan holiday of Beltane holds meaning for everyone

In this time of coronavirus, money can be tight. More than ever, as a modern world, we are focusing on the things we purchase, collect and forage (can you say toilet paper) to fulfill our own personal needs and desires. But amid this frenzy, we can still find rituals that help us recognize things like the hope in the busy work of the bees, the budding trees, and the songs of the birds.  Paganism and wicca are filled with these kinds of rituals, that guide us to honor the Earth…

Honor 50th annual Earth Day online this year

Today is the 50th celebration of Earth Day, and as I researched through the cancelled events, I felt a sadness that this historic day could not be celebrated in the way it deserves. But even though we are sheltering in place and can’t get together for Earth Day, this is a great chance to reflect on how we as individuals can reduce harm on the planet.  What are you doing from inside your own home to push for change this Earth Day? What will you to do to ensure clean…

“Pass that virtual blunt!”

Those of us old enough to remember “Pass that virtual blunt” on our flip phones probably have also participated in 4/20 in many ways: perhaps going over to a combustion connoisseur’s house, or using acrylic gas mask bongs, or passing around ornate glass pieces, or rolling up whether or not it could smoke. Growing up in Iowa, 4/20 was a day of driving around back roads, visiting nature, and gathering in groups.  Today, as we all adjust to the coronavirus crisis, celebrating 4/20 needs to be more solitary — and…

PrideCon, coming Feb. 29, offers fun and learning to Iowa LGBTQ youth

IOWA CITY — The sixth annual PrideCon for LGBTQ youth is coming Feb. 29, with new workshops, expanded art offerings, and another year of educational activities for parents, too. About 80 kids have already registered for this free daylong conference coordinated by United Action for Youth. That tops last year’s record-breaking attendance of 75 youth from throughout Iowa for the day of education, networking, socializing, art, and food. Registration is encouraged right up until the day of the event by clicking www.unitedactionforyouth.org/pridecon. The event is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.…

Black History Month events in Iowa, Illinois, top TRM’s Best Bets

Looking for ways to honor Black History Month? Here’s a rundown of events throughout Iowa and Illinois. You can also find our monthly Best Bets for progressive events in the areas of spirituality, spoken word, personal development, LGBTQ-oriented events, and women-focused events throughout February. This list is compiled by Cheryl Weatherford and Christine Hawes. Sat.– Sun. Feb. 8-9, Black Arts & Music Festival,  Artistic and cultural contributions of African and African American visual/performing artists. 10am-4:30pm, Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave, Ames IA Sat., Feb. 8 and every Saturday through…

ICE raids inspire new Mount Pleasant PFLAG

MOUNT PLEASANT — The greatest inspiration for a new PFLAG chapter in Mount Pleasant, a town of less than 8,700, was not an LGBTQ-related incident. Bob Mueller, founder of Mount Pleasant PFLAG, says ICE raids that led to the arrest of 32 people in March 2018 inspired him. “Back in Illinois, the LGBTQ+ and immigrant rights groups often worked together as we had many of the same issues,” said Mueller, who moved to Mount Pleasant from Westmont, about 20 miles outside of Chicago. Mueller said he felt called to stand…

Why stay in Iowa if you identify as progressive? Here’s why

When I first moved back to Iowa in late December 2016, I left behind Florida’s 88-degree weather and endlessly green lawns to plunge into Iowa’s deep winter chill and tip-toe on its ice-covered sidewalks. A stream of “why in the world would you do that” had started a few months before from those who learned of my planned move, and splashed me anew here in Iowa every time I shared my recent move. Just the other day, I heard the comment again from an out-of-state visitor. In a town like…

Landmarks October 2019: News About TRM Advertisers

Check out “Trick or Trivia,” a benefit for the Emma Goldman Clinic, coming Oct. 27. It’s a night of trivia, games, prizes food and fun at The Mill, 120 E. Burlington Ave. Admission is $5 per person and benefits the Emma Goldman Clinic’s services of sexual, mental, and reproductive health. Shakespeare’s Pub & Grill at 819 S. 1st Ave. has expanded its menu with items including the vegan Impossible Burger. This favorite bar/restaurant/live music/events venue will also hold a Halloween Karaoke Party 9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 2. Go to www.shakespearespubandgrill.com…