I worked early yesterday morning and enjoyed a stroll through an empty downtown Iowa City with my camera. So let’s continue our tour of the “new” things in town.
1. No. 18. The site of the pre-tornado Happy Joe’s Pizza is now the home of one of the typical high-rises shooting up all over town. On the ground floor is No. 18. I initially thought the store front was a tanning place due to all the tiny rooms with individual doors. Turns out it’s not for tanning at all (Like we need another one of those)! It’s a karaoke place!!! According to this Patch article, the creation of this Chinese-style karaoke business was intended for the volume of Chinese students here in town, but it’s gaining popularity with Americans as well. It’s also an alcohol-free zone for those who are sick of the bar scene. Check them out if you want to get friends together for karaoke without all the humiliation of singing in public.
2. Veggies at the Iowa City Public Library. I am really pleased to see that somebody’s garden is doing well in this unforgiving heat. The ICPL has utilized the dirt that, in past summers, was habitat to flowers for producing food. The children’s garden is lush and full and sits right in the middle of the Ped Mall, across from the Bread Garden(not a real garden at all). The real garden is packed and proof that it doesn’t take much space to produce healthy, chemical-free food. It’s also a good illustration of how successful a raised bed garden can be. Do YOU have a garden? If so, why not?
3. While we’re on the subject of the Ped Mall, I wanted to give a quick shout out to the artists adding to the interestingness of the downtown area. Many of you may have noticed the giant mural on the parking ramp at the corner of Burlington and Linn Streets. It’s huge, abstract and is already being defaced by assholes. Someone wrote, in chalk along the bottom, “I am a monstrosity”. I took that as it applies to the defacer, not the artwork itself. If you live somewhere that is lucky enough to have street art – don’t be a dick. If you don’t like something, you have the right to speak out, but don’t do it ON the art after someone has been commissioned to spend hours in the sun painting the side of a building. It says more about your character than their artwork.
4. And on the subject of art/new art that has already been defaced, all the benches in the Ped Mall along College Street have been getting makeovers over the last several weeks. I think it’s great to live in a city that is paying people to do something artful, interesting and unusual. I took photos of the benches for the purpose of “laundry listing” them here. Some are cooler than others, and some have already been messed up by people (possibly kids, since the obviously defaced one is by the playground- though I don’t think a kid would rip a paper dolphin’s face off). Again, I say that people who deface public art suck. I’d like to see what superior art they could create….and if they can, why are they not? Are they worried someone will tear it up. Hmmm? Anyway, enough bitching about defacement. Take a peek at the designs. Which is your favorite?