Literature lovers everywhere tingle when they hear the words Lit Crawl. There’s no exception for Iowa City’s reader savy inhabitants. This year for Mission Creek Festival sixteen publishers staked claim at nine different locations in downtown Iowa City. This is event was less about the publishers, however, and more about the writers they represent.
Typically five or more authors read poems or a snipit from their books or, in some cases, even blog posts. I broke down the three separate places I went to listen to the readings in highlights.
The first place I went to was NoDo, a small but cozy restaurant on S Dubuque Street. The two publishers were Hubart and A Strange Object.
Terry Ashkinos was one of the authors reading. He is the lead singer of Fake Your Own Death and writes a lot about music. “Rock and roll was the only thing that didn’t ignore you,” Ashkinos read. He read from his book Headphones, which included a story about how he ended up in a DUI class.
Other interesting happenings consisted of a story about a physic toaster in Japan, an author who announced he was drunk before he read, and a character who fought Vladimir Putin in judo.
The reading at White Rabbit clothing store was an exceptionally cool happening put on by Rag’s Revue and HTMLGIANT. They were online magazine publishers and very animated about how “internet is the future!” There was a sign that said “suck it, print” attached to the microphone stand.
Eric Sundermann read from his phone a post called “I Went To a Drake Concert By Myself in New Jersey” and it was a hilarious account of going to a Drake concert alone. He contemplated how Drake gets away with being Drake and why people like relatable artists like Drake and Taylor Swift. Sundermann went to the University of Iowa as an undergrad.
Another interesting writer was Russell Jaffe, who read an amazingly intelligent and funny satire. At one point he sang his satire on America in the tune of America the Beautiful and it was beyond witty.
In addition, Josh Wheeler read from a story about embarrassingly looking for sex pills and trying to perfect sexy stubble.
At one of the oldest bars in Iowa City, Curbside Splendor and Artifice books represented another slew of writers. It was dimly lit and a bit hard to see the speakers, but there were at least one spectacular reading.
Russ Woods read a collection of poems from his book Wolf Doctors. They were delightfully quirky, some laugh out loud funny and others layered with heavy emotions.
Other readings included a story about a phony blues musician and a collection of poems about a woman terrorist in a neo-Soviet Russia.
One thing that was very apparent from this Mission Creek event was performances aren’t just in music and theater. How people read their writing made a huge difference in whether or not their stories or poems were brought to life in the listeners’ ears. This years Lit Crawl proved once again Iowa City’s love for literature is alive and well in the writers who come here and the people who appreciate their words.