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Thread summary:

22 year old singer/songwriter looking for area close to big city to play occasional show in coffee shops, bars, possibly Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, employment opportunities/job market

Old 03-08-2007, 08:26 PM
14 posts, read 111,703 times
Reputation: 25


Ok, here's my story. I'll try to keep it short, but also try to give you enough info so you can help me.

I graduated from college last year. I'm 22, and I'm a singer-songwriter. I've lived in my hometown my entire life, including college, and I'm looking to get away for a few months. At first I wanted to go to a bigger city, (Chicago, NY, etc.), but now I'm thinking about moving to a smaller city that's a couple of hours away from a big city. I think a small town might be nice to just "veg" out for a little while, write some music, record it, maybe play in some coffee shops, but be driving distance from Chicago so I can play some bigger shows there on the weekends.

One of my friends suggest I look into Iowa, (Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids to be exact). She said they have a lot of college kids and she liked both places when she visited.

Ideally, I'd like to get a job that can pay the bills, live in a quiet place where I can collect my thoughts. It would help if there were at least a couple coffee shops or bars where I can play a show every once in a while.

So what do you think? Is it a horrible idea? What's the normal cost of living in these places for someone like me, i.e, a one bedroom or studio apartment, or renting a room in someone's house?

Anything will help!

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Old 03-09-2007, 06:16 AM
196 posts, read 758,026 times
Reputation: 94
Iowa City would be a good choice for you. It is the best college town in Iowa and has a very good arts scene. It has a metro of about 150,000.

The best larger city in Iowa is Des Moines (metro: 520,000) if you want to drive a couple hours further west. It has a growing arts scene in an area called "East Village" near the state capitol building. There are a lot of condos and lofts there, along with coffee shops, etc. Trendy by Iowa standards.

DM also has one of the top 5 arts festivals in the nation, it is a regular stop for Broadway plays, and has a Farmer's Market that is, despite the name, a very cool event every week from May through October.

Every weekend, 20,000 people descend on downtown at the Farmer's Market where there is shopping, entertainment and other stuff. The atmosphere is similar to outdoor markets in European cities. It would be a good place for you to perform your music. Go to absolutedsm.com for more info on Des Moines.

Anyway, you can't go wrong with either IC or DM. You'll see Des Moines bashers on this board, but don't believe them. Most of the growth in Iowa is in Des Moines (metro) and there are people that resent that.

Best of luck!!!

Last edited by DSMGuy; 03-09-2007 at 06:18 AM.. Reason: added Good Luck!
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:54 PM
1,910 posts, read 3,623,909 times
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If you want to go shopping for gourds and squash...then the farmers market is definitely the place for you, and there is about as much activity as a telethon going on in the "DSM East Village". Des Moines in general is not somewhere young people move for excitement. That's not to say that is bad...it's a place people move to settle down although there has been a fanatical push lately to define it as "exciting" by many. Des Moines does not even have a public university, that is one thing that holds it back for young people, but as long as it keeps getting new strip malls the locals will be super-excited.

You'll probably like Iowa City a lot more, there's actual nightlife there for one, and you'll meet people from all over the country opposed to small-towns in Iowa, which is almost all of what DSM's growth is. Also, if you're interested in grad school, UI is one of the best in the Big 10. It's much easier to meet people in Iowa City as well, Des Moines has that small-town "if I don't know you...don't talk to me" attitude going strong.

Put it this way, you won't hear a thing about Des Moines living in Iowa City, but in Des Moines you'll hear something about Iowa City everyday (if you're around younger people that is).

It's much closer to Chicago too, you can be to downtown Chicago in just under 3 hours if you don't hit traffic in the suburbs.
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:58 PM
196 posts, read 758,026 times
Reputation: 94
Just as predicted... basher.

Hmmm... to get 20,000 people to go dt every weekend, there might be a few more things to look at than gourds. I suggest you try it.

DM used to be mostly small town Iowans. It still is to some degree, but seeing more from larger midwest cities and some from the coasts. You are being a bit stereotypical. We get a lot of corporate transfers in and out of here. Iowa City is mostly native Iowa students, and Chicagoans that come there temporarily.

We hear about the Hawkeyes here in DM fairly regularly, but it is not shoved down your throat like in Iowa City. I have no interest in the Hawkeyes. Even though I like Iowa City, if you are not part of the Hawkeye herd mentality out there, you will probably be left out. That is the nice thing about DM, there are people from enough different places that people don't have a one track mind.
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Old 03-09-2007, 05:55 PM
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Come on DSMGUY. It is childish to call someone a "basher" because their view of DSM isn't in line with yours. You have a right to your opinion that DSM is the greatest place on earth as I have to think it is just a regular city that tries to act big but is obviously not. That doesn't mean I hate it. You constantly use the word "basher" as a defense mechanism, please don't be so childish.

New DSM is probably made up of about 90 - 95% small-town Iowans, and a lot of people from cities like Waterloo and Sioux City (which don't add much culture themselves). Same goes for people from DSM originally. Maybe some of the older people are from other parts of the country, but older people don't add excitement to a city, regardless of where they're from.

If you aren't part of the "DSM is such a huge city" herd, you will probably be left out as well. People will hate you. Chicagoans are going to add much more flavor & variety to a location than small-town Iowans. Most people in Iowa would take that as an insult, when it really shouldn't be. You have the influence of a major metropolitan area, of course it is going to be more exciting. That should be logical.

With that said, if you aren't part of the University, Iowa City might be a little odd for you at first, that is obvious, but for someone in their early 20's there's a lot more excitement to be had out there, and again, it is much closer to Chicago, which seems to be of importance to her.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:36 PM
Status: "Right here right now" (set 11 days ago)
6,571 posts, read 15,925,382 times
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I agree, Iowa City would be the best choice for a 20-something. You can "veg-out" there if you want, but there's aslo lots of activity when you want it. The University dominates the coty, but that's why you'll find so many interesting people from all over the world living there. And yes, there are great coffee shops, especially downtown IC.
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:08 AM
196 posts, read 758,026 times
Reputation: 94
You are a basher, Style. You were banned at absolutedsm for your truth-challenged negative posts about DM.

Your 90-95% total is "slightly" high on the small townies in DM. Also, does it help that a good portion of these small townies have been "sanitized" by living in large cities outside Iowa before moving back??

I have no problem with someone living in Iowa City (which appears to be where you are from) but since you continually diss DM, I will say get ready to don the black and gold and talk about "them Hawkeyes."

Obviously having Chicagoans is the litmus test for having culture, I'll get busy recruiting them.
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:13 AM
196 posts, read 758,026 times
Reputation: 94
Okay, a final thought on this. I have no illusions about DM. It is 7 times smaller than the Twin Cities and 16 times smaller than Chicago, it is no major city or metro. I know where it stands relative to other cities.

BUT, if you are looking at moving to Iowa to escape traffic and crowds, but want some of the amenities you had in your major metro, then DM is a great choice. We have all of those things, albeit at a AAA level (ie. baseball, hockey, arena football, basketball, etc.) and our cultural attractions (zoo, events, science center, etc) are not on major city levels, but if you can live with that and place a higher priority on the short commutes and lack of crowds, then DM is the best choice if you are looking at Iowa.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:07 PM
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Again, calling someone a "basher" is plain childish. Of course Des Moines has its high points, like anywhere else. It moves at a slower pace, clean city overall, not hard to get around, and there is never bad traffic, and you can find most of what you need. Some people prefer that lifestyle. You can really make your life anywhere as long as you have a grocery store, house, job, schools, and a hospital within a few hours of you. While not being a small-town, there are still strong overtones of a small-town in Des Moines (everyone knows everyone and seems to have ties to Iowa originally), I don't understand how that constitutes bashing in any way.

"Obviously having Chicagoans is the litmus test for having culture, I'll get busy recruiting them."

I never said Chicago was the litmus test for culture, but lets be honest, there is a lot more culture there than anywhere else in the midwest. If New York or LA was in the same spot as Chicago, you wouldn't have said that. It is a typical midwestern thing to only look at those two cities as a way of defining everything "cultural". There is also Miami, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, etc. I am not saying Chicago is either NY or LA, but it is way ahead of the rest of its region. I've lived in both Des Moines and Iowa City and there are differences regarding nightlife which is a big deal to younger people. The nightlife in Iowa City is more like what you'd encounter in a big city (music, style of dress, even vernacular is slightly different) and the majority of people there are still drunk college kids. There is an obvious Chicago influence there. For a younger person, Iowa City is going to be the more exciting place, again, I am not sure how that is "bashing". If she was 30 and had two kids, I'd be telling her that suburban Des Moines is probably the better place, or that it doesn't matter.

What you are reverting in your last paragraph is the classic "It may not be a real big city, but it pretty much is" argument, only once you've realized you were starting to sound ridiculous. I think we already know we are on different sides of the fence here and should just leave it at that.

Last edited by tollfree; 03-10-2007 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 03-10-2007, 06:26 PM
18 posts, read 87,838 times
Reputation: 14
I must say...I totally enjoyed listening to both debates (RonnieJonez's and DSMGuy's). Obviously there's two perpectives depending on what type of person you, how old and how simple of exciting you are looking to make your life. I really enjoyed this because I've been thinking about Iowa as a place to live and now I seem to know a little bit more about both places. I'm glad about that because for my age and what I'm looking for Des Moines would be ideal for me unlike Iowa City which sounds likes "been there done that". So thank you both for expressing your opionions. More people should be like you.
Rhode Islander
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