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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 29, 2006

Author Tom Lutz Appears On UI Radios Stations Sept. 8 And 12

Author Tom Lutz will discuss his latest book and perform with his band Blue Tuna at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8, during the weekly broadcast of "Talk of Iowa Live from the Java House."

Blue Tuna features original tunes and standards from the West Coast blues scene of the 1940s and '50s. The program, hosted by Ben Kieffer, will be broadcast live from the Java House at 211 E. Washington in Iowa City. Heard statewide on five public radio stations, the program originates from WSUI-AM 910, the University of Iowa's public radio station.

During his visit to Iowa City, Lutz will also read from his new book, "Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on UI radio station WSUI-AM 910.

Both programs can be heard in streaming audio at

A former professor of English at the UI, Lutz is also the author of "Crying: A Natural and Cultural History of Tears"; "American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History"; and "Cosmopolitan Vistas: American Regionalism and Literary Value."

In his latest book, Lutz has written an entertaining examination of an American soul divided between a Calvinist work ethic and a love of the easy life.

A Publishers Weekly starred review stated, "Lutz eases readers into this sparkling cultural history of stylish American torpor with an anecdote about his 18-year-old son, Cody, moving into his house and bivouacking on the couch -- perhaps indefinitely. Lutz himself spent a decade before college "wandering here and abroad," so his intense anger at Cody surprised him -- and inspired him to write this book about the crashing fault lines between Anglo-America's vaunted Calvinist work ethic and its skulking, shrugging love of idling."

"Lutz has a gimlet eye for the ironies of modern loafing: that the 'flaming youth' of the 1920s were intensely industrious; that our most celebrated slackers (Jack Kerouac, Richard Linklater) have been closet workaholics; that our most outspoken Puritans (Benjamin Franklin, George W. Bush) have been notorious layabouts. Lutz's diligent research on a range of lazy and slovenly subjects, from French flaneurs to New York bohos, ultimately leads him to side with the bums."

Dave Barry, writing in the New York Times Book review, found Lutz "a thoughtful and very thorough author. . . . ['Doing Nothing'] left me with a deeper appreciation for the value of not working. In fact, I wish I could do more of it."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

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