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Posts Tagged ‘Denison’

The book that inspired Bruce Springsteen to write the song Youngstown on his The Ghost of Tom Joad album is Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass. The book was written by Dale Maharidge with photography by Michael Williamson. The book was out of print when the album came out in 1995, but the publishers reprinted the book with an intro by Springsteen who wrote, “I read it in one sitting and I lay awake frightened by its implications.”

The book has also inspired a film being developed by writer/director Aaron J. Wiederspahn at either/or films called Someplace Like America. My path crossed with Wiederspahn years going when we both lived in Orlando. Wiederspahn now lives in New Hampshire and his first film was The Sensation of Sight starring David Strathairn. He’s doing his part to make films outside the Hollywood norm.

There is also a documentary being produced called Finding Someplace Like America that retraces with Maharidge and Williamson the places they first visited 25 years ago as they looked at the homeless and disenfranchised in America. As our economy struggles in this country for the past year or so it’s sobering to look at an area that’s been in a recession for about 30 years.

Maharidge and Williamson also have a book that looks at the social economic issues closer to my home,  Denison, Iowa: Searching for the Soul of America Through the Secrets of a Midwest Town.

Scott W. Smith

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When I was taking photos of this house just a few blocks from my own house on Christmas eve three different vehicles pulled up and people went inside. One child yelled “grandpa” as an older man opened the door.  A slice of Bedford Falls (It’s Wonderful Life) right here in Cedar Falls.

Speaking of Bedford Falls & Iowa…did you know that the Academy Award-winning actress Donna Reed was born on a farm near Denison, Iowa?  She played  Mary Bailey, Jimmy Stewart’s wife in It’s a Wonderful Life. While that film had a weak run at the box office after it was first released it is now considered a Christmas classic and named by AFI has one of the best 100 American films ever made and number one  on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time.

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