"We Built Sioux City" civic pride video

My eyes burn, yet I cannot look away. "It's like 'Waiting for Guffman' for Sioux City," says Gabe Adiv.


  1. But, Iowa is a cool place to live. NOOOOOOOOOO.

    I can now never make the “We built this city on wheat and ore” joke in Catan ever again. Curse you Sioux City.

  2. Shitastic. Produced and edited to test audience endurance. Take note, Tim & Eric.

  3. OK. Either a tax service hired a 40-year-old to make their ad. And in Sioux City, that 40 year old that knew no one else had ever seen any American pressings of records by the Buzzcocks, English Beat, Lords of the New Church, GoGos, Squeeze, or the Cramps.
    Maybe Sioux City is really that awesome and built on Rock and Roll.
    Maybe in a place like Sioux City people still read newspapers and major indie record labels still run ads in them.
    Please see evidence at 1:56 where there is a clearly visible I.R.S. Records Logo – in an ad – in the newspaper – in 2010!

    1. Know what? I’m over 40. By a good bit. And crap that bad is usually made by kids in their 20’s.

      You’ve got a lot to learn.

      1. The 40-year-old reference was about the stolen record label artwork that appears in a Tax service ad in a newspaper someone is holding at 1:56 in the video.
        A joyful and learned observation by someone who is obviously old enough to have noticed it.

    2. I didn’t watch the video for more than 30 seconds, but that is an IRS logo at 1:56. It’s not an IRS ad, though, it seems to be an ad for an accountant. Either somebody had a funny sense of humor, or somebody just did a Google image search for “IRS”.

  4. I’m a graphic designer struggling to master Final Cut in a hurry as my boss needs a video edited in a hurry. This gives me quite a boost because no matter what I do. It will never be this bad. – Why is every audio drop in at least a beat behind?

  5. Other than the ham-handed audio editing, I don’t think it’s that bad. The fact that most of the people involved were amateurs who were having some fun is charming, IMO. Not terribly different from a bunch of New Yorkers singing along to “Hey Jude” (http://boingboing.net/2010/03/07/hey-jude-times-squar.html), except this is Sioux City, which presumably is on the “not cool” list.

  6. Sure it’s awful, but it beats that “club a baby seal in Council Bluffs” campaign a few years back.


    Laugh at the video, but I live in Iowa with people like those. They’re generally nice and have a good sense of humor (obviously).

  7. Just wondering if they paid for the synch rights to the song…and if so-how much were they. Just wondering.

  8. Yes, it’s pretty silly, but c’mon… we all did embarrassing things back in the 80s, didn’t we?

    Um… this was filmed back in the 80s, right?

  9. Yes, it is cheesy, but it made me happy — in part, perhaps, because my mom grew up there and I’ve visited many times. I think I could handle a few more cities taking themselves less seriously.

  10. The people of Sioux City could not have done a better job of capturing the spirit of their community.

    SUX, indeed.

  11. Sioux City’s a great, friendly town, but that video’s too deep in the hoopla for my taste.
    Reminds me of Grace Slick selling out, too. I thought I’d forgotten about THAT.

  12. Well it finally took a weird video from my hometown to make me register.


    Where to start. I’m surprised that nobody in SC thought of that sooner, to be honest. It’s strange seeing my old high school, and an old job site (radio station), and realizing that they have essentially frozen in time. That’s not to put them down. Sioux City may never have been hip, but it was usually a good place to live. I don’t know that a ringing endorsement from Brett Michaels makes me all that comfortable, though. It’s good to see that even though technology has advanced, the homemade commercials from my town are still embarrassingly bad. They were almost exactly the same growing up. It makes me cringe a bit, not because I’m ashamed of where I come from, but because this just gives the Hipster crowd more ammunition about everything in “flyover country” being worthless.

    Anyone else remember that we were the “Home Office” for Letterman’s Top 10 list right after the first Leno fiasco? Just because the local CBS wanted to run the original Star Trek in reruns…. I watched a lot of Shatner back then.

    1. I don’t know that a ringing endorsement from Brett Michaels makes me all that comfortable, though.

      Bret Michaels represents all that is good and right about America.

  13. This video has content from Sony Music Entertainement. It is not available in your country.

  14. Sioux City is definitely frozen in time, and definitely been on a slow downward spiral ever since Gateway computers stopped doing so well. ‘The Siouxer’ or ‘Siouxicide City’ as many of my friends fondly call it, is just the same kind of complicated large town to live in as many places are. It’s very much the kind of place that anyone with any desire for culture would leave as soon as they were able to, but it does have some badass elements that encouraged a genuine underground music scene (King’s Court? Cattle Club??)and also was a fairly nice place to grow up in. Mainly it was that kind of town that just made you ambitious to do so much more with your life than what you saw going on around you.

    I’m sorry that this video just encouraged everyone to mock it, obviously this wasn’t their intention.

    1. Well, I can tell you this: I’ve been to Pineda and their tacos and burritos (and other stuff) rock the house. You can keep the rest of WSP, though.

  15. at 3:16 that looks like the demolition of the KB station, pretty much the coolest place between the missouri and mississippi rivers.

  16. The difference between this and Waiting for Guffman is that the characters in the movie really needed Guffman to give them confirmation that their lives were okay; the folks in this bit are very happy with where they are in the world, thank you very much.

  17. They really should have changed the lyrics, because if you listen to them, they don’t give a ringing endorsement of said city.

  18. 50 seconds,
    that’s all I could last.

    At first I was enthralled at how bad that song actually is without the “Sioux City!” additions, but then I had an epiphany and realized that if I commented, the “music” would stop…

  19. I wish it wasn’t this song. One of the worst ever. These people look like they’re having fun at least..

  20. It is GREAT that all you fine folks are so above yourselves that you feel the need to trash basically very good people simply because they are not “like” you.

    Sioux City is a small, Midwest town that cares about it’s people. You walk down the street and people smile and say “hi”. Sure this video is corny, so what? So the people aren’t perfect; so they are not up on the hottest, latest, greatest “thing”. So the life in Sioux City is slower than in New York or San Francisco, how does that automatically make it BAD? I see stupid videos like this all the time from large metro areas; do stupid things actually turn “good” just because you live somewhere else?

    I don’t live in Sioux City but I do live in the Midwest and I can tell you I sleep well at night knowing I don’t have to worry about being murdered in my sleep by some psycho-crazed idiot that the justice system (or lack thereof) decided was “cured” and let loose. Terrorist attacks sadden me, but I don’t worry that I’ll be the next victim. I don’t wait in line at the post office for an hour just to send a CD to a friend. And I actually enjoy going out to eat because (as a rule) the wait staff are friendly and actually interested in whether I enjoy myself. I can’t say the same about living in a metropolitan area, which I did for more than a decade before moving back to the Midwest.

    Why people from big cities seem to think folks from the Midwest “backward” just because we cherish life over material things and money I will just never figure out, but it does prove one thing; we certainly know where the shallowest end of the pool is, and amazingly it resides where the fish are more populated.

    1. Unfortunately, I can say with authority that Sioux City is a cultural backwash and a rank meth-infested rathole. I was sentenced to a few years there in my youth and I could not wait to escape. Where were all these “good people?” They must have been hiding out with the decent record stores (Uncle John’s sucks) venues (Cattle Club gone) or anything else that might have possibly contributed to a halfway cool place to live. I mostly saw a bunch of chubby white people cruising around in Buick LeSabres. I live in a community now that isn’t much larger, so that’s not really the issue. It’s the inescapable, endemic shit-kickin’ Midwestern close-mindedness/ignorance,…. meh, you know what, forget it, why bother? If you really think SUX is a great place there’s obviously no reasoning with you. Try traveling. Or, better yet, just live in some grey dump like that for the rest of your life. That’ll teach them gall dern ol’ hipsters!

      To whomever mentioned it, though, KD Station was pretty rad. I used to skip high school to get stoned and go bowling down in the belly of that weird old rotting slab of iron. Turning a defunct, ruined slaughter house into a family fun center = maximum creepiness factor.

      1. What ‘authority’ would you possibly have? Living in Iowa for a few meager years in your youth? Ha, you’ve got nothing.

        Sioux City is a great place to be and live. This video is meant to show how we as a community like to have fun in our own way. SO what if its 80’s music!? Would you have rather they used a Lady Gaga song??? Or some Hip-hop? Oh, please tell me you wanted a Justin Beiber song instead!!
        “We Built this City” by Starship is timeless and fun for any generation! It doesn’t hate nor discriminate, but lets everyone know they can have fun in their own way!

        Here in Iowa, we are notoriously known for our kindness, our ability to help in times of need, and for our strong hearts. You will never find a bunch of people as willing to help out a fellow man or woman in need than you will find in Iowa.

        AS for my authority, I’m a Northwest Iowan who knows the goods and the bads of our dear state but knows that it all is worth it compared to the crappiness of most other states.

        We DON’T have to worry about Drive-by shootings, Street Muggings and Murders. Doors don’t have to be locked and kids can play outside without a worry. We care about our neighbors, even strangers we may never seen again.
        But…apparently since you were a stoner burnout with no brains for school, there’s no reasoning with you either.
        If you can’t appreciate the better things of life from the way that the rest of us view Iowa, then stay the hell out.
        Its people like you that bring the meth-trade into our state and then allege that its our fault.

  21. I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m over 50, and maybe it’s because I’ve always liked Grace Slick’s voice…but I don’t hate the song. I never listen to the lyrics, but the beat kinda makes me feel good.

    And the TV newspeople in the video were pretty cool. I’m glad I’m a left-coaster, though…

  22. I moved to Iowa a couple years ago from one of the biggest cities in the midwest and I love it here. I was shocked how much I loved it. I expected it to be a backwards hickish place, but it’s actually quite progressive. I am sorry that the town could not have found something from this century to get goofy about, but Iowa does have some very hip spots to it and the people are really, unbelievably cool.

  23. Ok, so the video is low-budget, but they got to point across – Sioux City is a place with lots of entertainment, sights to see, and friendly people who like to have fun! Go Sioux City!

  24. It was the extra touches of the Monkees walk and the ZZ Top arm swing thingy that did it for me. I wanna visit Sioux City now!

  25. Everyone here needs to know that this video was made by one single person – not a professional, tv station, or ad agency – and it was made for fun, just for the city of SC, around the fact that RAGBRAI is coming. It was never meant to be a tourism video, and it does not air on TV.

    Does that help? I used to hate Sioux City as well, swore, after growing up and going to college in the outlying areas, that I’d NEVER live here. Guess what? I moved to CA (loved it and miss it) and then chose to come back to get married and raise my family. I love it here (it’s a LOT better than it was 15 years ago) and I think this video is hilarious and fun (not perfect, definitely, but fun).

  26. I live in Sioux City and LOVE the video. You all are just jealous you didn’t think of this first. How can you knock people for having fun?

  27. Yep, that’s home. Or anyway it was, for many years.

    It’s hard to characterize such a large place as good or bad. There are some very nice things about it, and there are some pretty crappy things about it.

    For me, having left there in high school for a much larger city, the nostalgia is probably the best part.

  28. That’s funny, I always thought Sioux City was built on the corpses of the native american tribe of the same name that settlers slaughtered in their haste to create a strategic outpost at the head of the Missouri River.

    I stand corrected.

  29. I was born and raised in the Tri-State area and thought it was pretty cool to see a lot of the faces in the video that help make our community what it is today. I thought it was cute and fun and makes me proud to be a Sioux City resident!

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