Toomey brings relatable “in your face” comedy to Floodwater Friday night

Alyssa Limperis headlines tomorrow night’s showcase of Floodwater, which features more than 75 comedians over three days at five Iowa City venues. IOWA CITY – Kristen Toomey revels in defiance, isn’t really interested in being “agreeable,” and loves to connect directly with her audience. “I’m sort of trying to observe things, and not agree with anyone fully, which is really hard to navigate,” she says. “I want to come up with my own mixture of everything instead of just buying in to one side of anything.” Toomey brings her “in…

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Your Words: “He”

Due to popular demand, we are adding a new feature in The Real MainStream: “Your Words,” featuring poetry and prose submitted by our readers. Our debut poet: Coralville resident Katie James, pictured here with her son Ro. “Basically, I am a gay mom who is also raising a 13-year-old trans guy. Being the parent of a trans kid is a unique experience, but seeing your child bloom into exactly the person they were meant to be is one of the most rewarding things any parent can witness. There are so…

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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.…

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‘Kinky Boots’ enlightens

ROCK ISLAND – Brett Hitchcock calls it one of the “edgiest” shows the Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse has ever put on in its 43-year history, comparable only to “The Full Monty.” “Kinky Boots,” the award-winning creation of Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein, is on stage four to five shows weekly through March 14. The story features a quartet of drag queens who join to support their leader, Lola, as she helps a shoe designer create a line of erotic footwear to save his factory. “The message of the show is…

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Coming out after age 40 today brings unique challenges

Coming out is a long and individual process at any age. When you’re coming out after the age of 40, you have a unique set of challenges. You may have a history of being in a heterosexual marriage. You grew up and discovered your sexuality under oppressive policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or the “Defense of Marriage Act.” (which I’ll explain later for you younger readers). Older LGBTQ people of color have it the worst. They face discrimination both as a queer person and someone who isn’t white, and…

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A Positive Way to Set Start-of-Year Goals

Thank god we’ve made it through another January. It’s my least favorite month, with December and February following closely behind. The snow. The long, dark months of cold. The post-holiday trauma from curt conversations with family. The influx of patrons overcrowding my local gym. And New Year’s resolutions. This time of year (and even into February), advertisements and social media bombard us with messages that we have to do better than we did last year. Most resolution messaging also focuses on weight loss and health — which leaves a bitter…

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The Project aims for health equity in the Quad Cities

QUAD CITIES – During a recent visit to a local shelter for people experiencing homelessness, staff members of The Project of the Quad Cities (TPQC) encountered a person who tested positive for HIV. Within days, TPQC diagnosed and treated the client, said Tomika Abram, case management program manager. The Project also helped the person sign up for insurance and find a home. “If we couldn’t meet people where they are, this would not have happened,” she says. That philosophy, of meeting people where they are, is at the heart of…

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Time again to gut-check your unacknowledged Trumpism

With the Democratic presidential contest heating up, along with Donald Trump’s rhetoric, now is an important time to revisit a difficult truth: we all need to continuously purge ourselves of unacknowledged Trumpism. Trumpism is built around a few key hurtful tenets: • that it’s OK to present information out of context if it gets you what you need or want • that self-glorification, self-protection and self-interest are more important than self-dignity, self-examination and self-reflection • that all of life must be seen through a lens of constant victimization, always counter-punching,…

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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…

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Cedar Rapids Roller Girls aim to support Tanager Place’s LGBTQ Center with Feb. 28 ball

The team will donate a portion of its proceeds from its 2nd Annual Black & Blue Ball Feb. 28 to the center, which serves about 400 teens a year and aims to serve even more. CEDAR RAPIDS — Two years ago, the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls cancelled an entire season because they were so direly in need of rebuilding their team and organization. What a difference it made: today, the Roller Girls are back up to full-squad strength and have 25 regular participants. And, they’re hosting their second annual Black…

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