Let the Hollywood elites have their Sundance, what with its Robert Redford and mountain vistas and weird cowboys eating pudding, and embrace the heartland's own Landlocked Film Festival, scenic trip west across I-80 to Iowa City. Here's a rundown of how to best allocate your time
Of course, there are films: The dozens of entries run from documentaries like The Entertainers, which chronicles the world championships of old-timey piano playing (for real), or Ronal The Barbarian about a scrawny tribesman who becomes an unlikely hero when his village is attacked hopefully by something as cool as serpent James Earl Jones.
But you need a place to stay: Assuming you haven't been tricked into thinking a Holiday Inn Express will turn you into a hyper-competent genius, Hotel Vetro's got a metropolitan boutique feel, an intimate lobby wine bar, and is riding the green wave with touches like biodegradable keys made from corn byproducts
And food: Shorts Burger & Shine has a lineup of nearly 30 burgers made from Iowa beef sourced less than 30 miles away, plus an all-Iowa draft beer lineup
Now that you're fat, time to ogle Iowa co-eds: The Union Bar touts itself to be the biggest in the Big 10, and recently found itself in hot water for allegedly discriminating against an overweight female customer. Fear not, they have no track record of being against fat dudes from Bucktown
They did not find you charming, time to get fatter: Pizza on Dubuque has you covered with a slice of cheeseburger pizza and a carefully curated soundtrack so no one overhears you recounting your humiliation at The Union
Before you bid Iowa adieu: Hit the Bluebird Diner for a platter of biscuits and gravy with housemade sausage, or some cinnamon roll French toast, so that on your next trip you literally won't be able to get into The Union