Have I mentioned that I love the second coming of Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City? Opened a few years ago to replace the old Hancher that was knocked out by floodwaters, the new auditorium is more intimate and comfortable. I could sit in its plush but sturdy well-upholstered seats for hours. Especially if I was watching dancers like those in American Ballet Theatre’s performance of Whipped Cream as we did last night. The place was packed with well-dressed young children (boys too, I was pleased to see) for good reason – the ballet, a surrealist fantasy about a little boy who O.D.s on whipped cream, had terrific dancing and choreography (by the star choreographer Alexei Ratmansky); otherworldly sets and atmospherics; fabulous costumes. Such a treat to see a world renown ballet company in the middle of Iowa. For future reference: the restaurant in Hancher — with great views of Iowa City – looks worth a try pre-performance.
The weather was suddenly spring like and the downtown ped mall in Iowa City was packed with students and locals and visitors, including those enjoying the Mission Creek Festival. We stopped, as always, at Prairie Lights, where we try to buy at least one thing. It’s the least we can do. Also did some graduation gift shopping at the cool design store AKAR (gift-of-the-times: reusable, sustainable plastic bags and wrapping for food). And we tried Brix cheese and wine, where we had a not particularly interesting cheese and dried meat board. (The Cheese Bar in Des Moines does it better.)