No, I’m not in Iowa, but I’ve never covered it before, and today seems like as good a day as any. Here goes:
1. Painter: Grant Wood. Here is an interpretative take on American Gothic. It’s not by the way man and wife in the picture, but rather Wood’s sister standing next to the local dentist.
2. Novelist: I draw a blank, sorry people…Does it count that Joe Haldeman (The Forever War) was a product of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop? There must be other examples as well.
3. Hero: Norman Borlaug.
4. Actor: John Wayne is from Iowa, but I can’t call him a favorite. I guess he is my favorite version of…John Wayne. If that. Can one call Johnny Carson an actor? I never took to him either.
5. Jazz musician: Yes there is one, Bix Beiderbecke. Art Farmer too, and also Charlie Haden. Yet how rarely one hears of the “Iowa jazz tradition.”
The bottom line: Who would have thought “jazz musician” would be the strongest category here? Those Iowans are so busy with their jazz, it is amazing they have time to lobby for their ethanol subsidies.