Strong, sexy, busting stereotypes: “From My Lips to Yours” explores kink and leather

bettie rage cover adjusted

The lightbulb moment. We’ve all had them, and mine was when a man walked up to me 21 years ago and asked to lick my boots. I have many loves and passions. Flowers (they are so beautiful, and bring a smile to my soul). Horror movies (can we please get some scary ones? come on!).  Make-up (I own enough of it to make you laugh or cry). Oh… and I am a Leather Woman that loves to play. In fact, I’m your current Ms. Iowa Leather. I’m an educator, and…

Read More

Pride in Iowa expands to 70-plus events; artists are honored (Community Briefs-Iowa, June 4)

comm briefs 6 4 1

IOWA — With communities like Monticello and Humboldt joining the Pride momentum, and events of all kinds proliferating to more than 70 now, Pride Month in Iowa continues to expand. Big events coming up in the next three days include a Comedy Night and Scavenger Hunt by Capital City Pride in Des Moines; Pride at Bass Street Landing in the Quad Cities, with drag performances, live music and education workshops Friday and Saturday; and a burst of events in Sioux City. Go to the Pride in Iowa link to see…

Read More

Pride Season in Iowa: the definitive list of events

iowa pride events 2

IOWA — Des Moines and Dubuque are leading the way this year for Pride celebrations in Iowa, helping to fill out a Pride Season calendar of at least 70 online or in-person events hosted by an Iowa entity. Capital City Pride in Des Moines is hosting “30 Days of Pride” covering everything from the arts, to exercise and health, to dance and disco, to thoughtful discussions. Key City Pride in Dubuque has a week of events starting June 19 and is also collaborating with nearby communities in Illinois and Wisconsin.…

Read More

Coralville artist returns to Eldon hometown for massive “American Gothic” mural

eldon mural 1 2

ELDON, IA — It doesn’t get much better than this for a budding artist — or for a humble small town with a renowned American feature. Katlynne Hummell Underhill is painting the largest outdoor mural of her career (20 feet tall by 30 feet wide), featuring an iconic art image (the farmhouse from Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting), with the support of a revered arts organization (The Grant Wood Art Colony), in her hometown (Eldon, Ia.). And, her resourceful technique will likely help preserve her work longer and better. “I…

Read More

TRM Blog: Race, gender and religion? Or ego, pride and control? Real-life intersectionality in Grinnell

TRM blog 4 4 21

GRINNELL, IA — The straight white male history teacher could not have been more repentant. “I drew incorrect conclusions …. I misinterpreted … I did not paint an accurate picture,” he said of an attack letter he wrote about efforts to make Grinnell-Newburg’s public school curriculum more diverse and welcoming. “I failed to reach out… failed to take the time …. misinterpreted… had preconceived notions,” said Kent Kastendick. On he went, in at least 17 different ways, trying to pull back the wave of anger, suspicion and fear he inspired…

Read More

LGBTQ sports leagues thrive in Des Moines, Iowa City

dirty divas team

Two LGBTQ-identified sports leagues are increasing their presence in central and eastern Iowa, each in their own ways. In central Iowa, the Pride Sports League is seeking to grow this year beyond its outreach of about 900 recreational players in about a half-dozen sports annually, says board chair Tyler Pettit. The League is seeking to reach more deeply into Ames and the Cedar Valley area. The Iowa City-based Lambda Softball Association (LSA) aims to expand into eastern Iowa communities such as Fairfield, Washington, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities for…

Read More

To step into your writer self, read your own story

66320539 319212662346559 9036752593992286208 n e1565530764652

I constantly have conversations with people who commend me for being a writer and within the same breath, assure me that they could never be one. Here’s a story about one of those people. A student of mine, we’ll call her June, regularly attends the weekly IC Speaks workshops at her school, and it’s undeniable–nearly contagious–how excited she is about writing and performing.  One week, she brought a friend (or more accurately, dragged her friend) into the workshop by the wrist, amidst groans and protests.  When I asked our visitor…

Read More

Writers are pushed to write more through NaNoWriMo

A6Oox8l scaled

At least 50,000 words written in thirty days. Such is the insanity I undertake every November, along with hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. November was NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and according to NaNoWriMo.org, over 400,000 people participated last year in over 655 regions on six continents. I was one of them. I have participated in NaNoWriMo since November 2015. That first year, I was enormously pregnant with my youngest, who was born eight days after NaNo finished.  But I actually won. I wrote those 50,000…

Read More

Toxic masculinity can affect victims, too

masculinity scaled

When I was a child, bullying was part of my existence. I had buck teeth and a stutter, making me a target for all kinds of bullies. I was called names, hit, kicked, spit on, etc. I had my possessions taken and destroyed. I dreaded going to school. As a sixth-grader, I remember playing shirts and skins basketball and noticing I had bruises going up and down my arms from being punched. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of kids – up to 77 percent of…

Read More

TNR takes off throughout Iowa

15584669311

There’s a common scene Chris Whitmore encounters as animal control coordinator for Iowa City. A family, often from a rural homestead or tiny town, brings in a six-week-old kitten to the shelter for adoption. “Where’s the mother?” Whitmore or her staff will ask. “We don’t know where she went,” they’ll answer. “Well, would you like to try to live-trap her so she can be spayed?” they’re asked. “No, not really,” is usually their answer. “And they just keep the cycle going of bringing kittens in to us year after year,”…

Read More