4. Writers' Workshop: With literary heavyweights like Raymond Carver, Kurt Vonnegut, and Flannery O’Connor topping its impressive list of alumni, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop is like the MIT of American prose.
5. Slipknot: A stretch, we know, but we’ve seen the alternatives Midwestern youth have to showing their allegiance to this nu-metal powerhouse by getting barcode tattoos on their necks, wearing weird masks, and banging on trash cans. They include cow-tipping, going to church, or, even worse, devoting their lives to Insane Clown Posse (thanks, Michigan!), so their rabid devotion to this masked band of weirdos seems tame in comparison. Plus, when they’re in town, your city is virtually void of their fans for a few hours. Thank them later.