‘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…

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Beadology “beadazzles” with masks, fun craft stations, no-touch sanitizer station, more

“Beadology”-themed face masks that help support women’s and LGBTQ health, crafting stations with fun names, and a no-contact hand sanitizer station are among the new features at Beadology iowa, one of the state’s last remaining bead shops. As part of its ongoing effort to adjust to the coronavirus crisis, Beadology is also ensuring all of its arts, crafts, jewelry-making and beading classes are socially-distanced with work stations six feet or more apart, says co-owner Karen Kubby. Many classes limited to four or six slots. Masks are required of all staff…

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Shakespeare’s focuses on coming through with comfort food during coronavirus

Building on its historic strength of providing comfort food at an affordable price has been the focus of Iowa City’s Shakespeare’s Pub & Grill since mid-March when the coronavirus crisis first began. Throughout an unpredictable four months that included 11 weeks of being shut down to in-restaurant dining, Shakespeare’s has found ways to expand on its specialty of fun food. It was among the first restaurants in Iowa City to begin offering no-touch curbside service, and has bolstered its marketing of delivery through Chomp. Shakespeare’s also offers daily specials every…

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Fairfield store stands proud with LGBTQ Pride, Black Lives Matter message

FAIRFIELD — A few years ago, Paul Praither saw a headline that wrenched his heart: a teenager that worked for him at Everybody’s Whole Foods, who was undergoing a transition from one gender to another, had chosen to end his life. “He was a really nice kid. I wish he would have said something. I wish I would have said something,” Praither said. The tragedy inspired Praither to lead an LGBTQ renaissance at Everybody’s — a visual explosion of acceptance, equality and diversity that has blossomed this summer into a…

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Des Moines’ history of systemic racism said to be built around housing restrictions

The city of Des Moines intentionally undertook policies in the 1930s and 1960s to limit housing options for Black residents, writes a University of Iowa student. In addition, writes Ross Clowser, the city’s failure to clean up areas deemed by the EPA to be contaminated with toxins have hit Des Moines’ Black residents harder than the general population. As a result, living in Des Moines can be as hard for a Black person as living in some of the nation’s most segregated communities, Clowser writes in a 2018 paper he…

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Old Capitol Screen Printers stands up for face masks, nonprofits

IOWA CITY — Old Capitol Screen Printers, known for supporting nonprofit groups with free or discounted T-shirt printing, is helping to raise money for the Coralville Community Food Pantry with a themed tote bag. It also created and printed themed T-shirts for Johnson County Ambulance workers to wear during protests through the streets of Iowa City Thursday night. Old Capitol is also helping to raise money for Summer of the Arts, which is cancelled this year, by selling a specially-themed T-shirt (Keep the Arts Alive) From June 7 to 17. The…

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ReAlive Metaphysical connects anew with COVID-19 precautions

MARION — “No-touch air hugs,” new hours, and a plexiglass barrier between staff and customers are part of the changes you’ll find at ReAlive Metaphysical & Repurposing since the coronavirus crisis. ReAlive is now open noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 2 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. ReAlive will offer curbside pick-up and private in-store shopping by appointment. Additional changes include: Hand sanitizer in the front and back of the store, to be used by customers upon entering and leaving  Floor markers showing six-foot distances…

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Velvet Lotus Tattoo cautiously approaches reopening Friday

IOWA CITY — Velvet Lotus Tattoo plans to re-open Friday with a new way of operating that includes masks, disinfecting resources, and focused scheduling that is also more flexible, says owner Michelle Balhan. The shop is open Friday and Saturday noon to 7 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday noon to 6 p.m., with flexibility to stay open later if needed.  The goal is an environment that follows guidelines to prevent disease transmission, and to keep staff and clients safe, Balhan said.   Here are the changes you can expect to find…

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Toyota of Iowa City offers virtual shopping, home delivery/pick-up

IOWA CITY – Home pick-up and delivery for maintenance, car interiors covered with plastic during service, and virtual shopping are all part of the new strategies Toyota of Iowa City is enacting to promote health and safety during the coronavirus crisis that began in mid-March. “Right now, people are being told to stay home, and typically the goal of a dealership is to try and get people in the doors,” says Brandi Kohl, marketing representative for Toyota of Iowa City. “So we’re faced with trying to find a whole new…

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