Archive for September, 2008

The Return of CSPS!

September 29, 2008

I have mentioned before that one of the saddest things for me in the flooding of Cedar Rapids was the loss of CSPS/Legion Arts (Legion Arts is the organization; CSPS is the building). This organization is really the shining cultural light in Eastern Iowa. Here is how they describe themselves:
Based at CSPS, a restored landmark building on the edge of downtown Cedar Rapids, Legion Arts presents cutting edge art, music, theatre, film and other events at a variety of venues; supports young artists, experimental art forms and new ideas; and works to involve artists and the arts in the processes of community development and neighborhood building.
The building is in the midst of the New Bohemia Arts Center and the edge of the Czech village. Both areas were hard hit and much of them will be plowed under probably not to be rebuilt. CSPS, though, should be able to survive, and I’m happy to say that over the last month it has been re-emerging. Plans were under way for the Landmark festival before the flood, and with a lot of hard work, it was still able to go on, featuring music from around the globe. Most of the concerts were held in Greene Square Park in downtown Cedar Rapids, then the final few shows were held in the CSPS space, an exciting sign without a doubt. Here is there line-up of the event:

Thu Sept 11 Plastic People of the Universe (Czech Rep)
Thu Sept 18 Rachel Unthank (England), Little Cow (Hungary)
Fri Sept 19 Ray Blue (USA/Germany)
Sun Sept 21 17 Hippies (Germany)
Mon Sept 22 Munnelly (Ireland)
Tue Sept 23 Vieux Farka Touré (Mali), Chiwoniso (Zimbabwe)
Wed Sept 24 Lo Còr de la Plana (France)
Fri Sept 26 José Curbelo (Uruguay), Son de Madera (Mexico)

Sun Sept 28 Old Blind Dogs (Scotland)
Mon Sept 29 Waltz With Me Quartet (Norway/Sweden/ USA)

I saw Vieux Farke Toure and Chiwoniso, an excellent show despite Farke Toure’s being quite ill. I usually wouldn’t mention someone’s parents (as if that’s what makes someone famous) but this is the son of legendary Ali Farke Toure and he has embraced his father’s heritage, continuing Mali’s musical tradition. Chiwoniso was also a fine show, full of energy. They spoke a bit about the political situation of Zimbabwe and shared in Cedar Rapids pain, but the show was all energy and celebration. A good time, and a good sign for things to come. Welcome back Legion Arts!!

Late Summer Flurry

September 2, 2008

The summer slipped by far too fast. Things kept getting in the way and I really didn’t manage to do half of the fun things I was planning on. I got the work side of things done, but the fun parts seemed to disappear. Didn’t get to saint louis. Didn’t get to minneapolis. Didn’t go camping or canoeing. Etc. We were planning a long labor day trip to minneapolis but a million republicans made that hard to do. We managed, though, a quick trip to see CBD and Erin and Madelyn. Always a treat to see them, and while this also was too quick of a trip, we had a great time. The weather was perfect for a nice cookout and homemade ice cream and beer late into the starry night. You can see Bradley’s beer line up here. I especially enjoyed the Lagunitas Gnarly Wine. I’m not always a barley wine fan. It’s a challenging beer to have any sense of balance. When it’s good, wow, but when it’s not it’s a difficult beer to drink. This Lagunitas is excellent though. A strong roast flavor balanced with a bit of fruitiness and a dry hoppy finish with a warming alcohol flavor. Lagunitas is currently one of my favorite breweries and this didn’t disappoint. We added a few nice beers to the mix, including the Double Wide IPA and a limited release Stone, the Vertical Epic Ale 08-08-08. The epic ale I thought was amazing, powerful yeast and spice flavors with just a touch of hops. The flavors were intense and really lingered.

I also managed to keep up my feverish late-summer brewing last night and brewed a hybrid oktoberfest/steam beer. I’d mentioned earlier that I wanted an oktoberfest but couldn’t use a traditional yeast at this point. I think the steam yeast will still bring out the full malt flavor that I want in this brew:

1 lb Caramunich, steeped in a gallon 150 degree water
Sparge with a gallon of 170 degree water
Add enough water to bring to 6 gallons and boil
9 lbs. of Northern Brewer Pilsen malt extract
1 oz. Sterling hops, 6%, in boil for 60 minutes
1 oz. Hersbrucker Hallertauer, 3.3%, in boil for 45 minutes
1/2 oz. Sterling hops, 6%, in boil for 10 minutes
Chill to 75%
Add starter culture of wyeast california lager yeast

I’ll repitch the yeast for my next brew which will be a dry-hopped steam beer. (I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to say “california common.” I love the Anchor brewery as much as anyone, but I have trouble with them trademarking the name of a style that preceded them. California common sounds so boring compared to steam. Fritz Maytag: release the rights of the name!) So, at this point I have three beers in line to brew: the dry-hopped steam, a russian imperial stout, and a strong winter warmer, then I’ll shut the brewery down for awhile as duty calls and life gets too hectic again.