I am starting a new category with the above title to document the random and frequent mentions of Iowa in non-Iowa media.
I find it interesting that Iowa often is perceived as “fly over country” and “the middle of nowhere,” when actually it has become an iconic image of Americana through Hollywood portrayals of the state and its people. There’s the little town in Iowa where Julia Roberts’ character in “Sleeping With the Enemy” relocates to escape her abusive husband. It’s the site of a ballfield where Kevin Costner answers to a groggy baseball player ghost’s “Is this heaven?” “No, It’s Iowa.” That would be “Field of Dreams.” It’s the romantic, pastoral setting where Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood heated up old farm houses and claw-foot bathtubs in “The Bridges of Madison County.” And, it’s the premiere campaign stop during the early primary season every four years.
This ongoing list I compile helps illuminate just how much the non-Iowa world actually thinks of, not ignores, Iowa.
June 29, 2009
Southridge Mall, Des Moines, Iowa. (84 percent; $168). The 2007 arrival of Steve & Barry’s was supposed to mark a revival for this 34-year-old complex on Des Moines’s South Side, which has been losing shoppers to more gentrified suburban malls. Then the discounter went bankrupt and closed its stores. The mall’s owners have been trying to sell the property, and city officials have been working on ways to revitalize the entire area. They better hurry: At $168 per square foot, Southridge’s sales are among the lowest for big malls.