I remember when I first told my Miami friends that I was moving to Minnesota.
They were unified in their horror, but mostly because they thought I was moving to some desolate, backwoods place.
They were totally thinking about Iowa.
I recently took a trip to visit my friend Bryan in Iowa City.
The drive is uneventful, but pretty in its own way.
The drive was very long, and I was blasting trap music the entire way down. I wasn’t paying close enough attention to my speed however, and totally got slapped with a speeding ticket by Trooper McDreamy of Bumblewood County.
By the time I passed through Waterloo I was shocked to see buildings.
People actually live here!
Iowa City is actually a rather cute college town. The city is dominated by the massive University of Iowa and has a nice downtown area. I did have a strange feeling of always being on campus though…
Oh, and it happened to be Gay Pride weekend!
The Iowa City Gay Pride parade was the saddest four minute thing.
But hey, they tried.
The silence was the strangest part of the parade – none of the cars or floats played music. It made the block-long procession feel even smaller.
This was the most extravagant float in the parade:
It’s from Studio 13, the only gay bar. Iowa’s finest.
And again, no music.
The underwhelmed crowd drifted toward the pedestrian mall after the parade ended. The mall was lined with booths but there was no music there either.
Not even the restaurants with outdoor seating had music.
It was odd, but amusing.
As with any pride, there was a great cross-section of the community: young, old, black, white, tan, punk, prep, etc. Oh! And there were these crazies holding up anti-gay signs:
One girl decided to make her own sign and followed them around for about 20 minutes.
“Sodomy is an abominable sin” / “But it feels so good!”
This sparked another faux-protest.
There was a stage set up in the pedestrian mall. Everyone congregated there and things picked up once the performances and drag shows started.
The Iowa City drag shows were entertaining and surprisingly good, but most of the girls are from the same drag family and interchangeable.
We went to Studio 13 both nights and I was again surprised by the quality of the drag.
They also had a special guest:
Alaska Thunderfuck from Drag Race! Hiiiiii!
Studio 13 is small but just like any other gay bar – aggressive hair, strong cologne, and at least three people face-planting on the floor.
I had a lot of fun, but I’m sure the $3 long islands helped.
We ended up going to several other douchey college bars so it was a long drive home on Sunday…but I had a great time that weekend and will definitely visit Iowa again.
I think my next adventure is dancing in Des Moines!