DNR Writer Dances Through Town

Jeremy Aldrich -- July 19th, 2010

For Heather Bowser, driving on every street in town has been a lifetime project.  And it’s one she’s (almost) finished.

Bowser, a feature writer at the Daily News-Record, has been working on a series of exploits she calls the “Bowser Bucket List” since last November. In addition to providing fodder for her articles, she’s also been posting YouTube videos.  Her most recent accomplishment, driving every street in Harrisonburg, has resulted in her “most favorite/embarrassing video…so far”, she posted to her Facebook fan page earlier today.

Bowser says she was inspired by the Internet sensation “Where the hell is Matt?” to add an additional pièce de resistance to her most recent video entry.  Not only did she visit dozens of landmarks around town; she also danced in front of them. Although other parts of the video were filmed (in HD) over several months, the dancing was all done last Saturday.

Some of her favorite spots in town were Summit Avenue, Blue Stone Hills,  Paul Street (which she filmed during three different seasons), and Hillcrest Drive (she says: “There’s a parking lot there and lots of room to hang out at the top of the hill. I think it would be a tragedy for someone to live in Harrisonburg and never to have visited that spot.”).

However, even with photographic evidence of her visits to most areas of the city, Bowser confesses she still has some more to do:

Today, I called Ken Knight, streets superintendent for the city, to get a list of any roads that had been built since my map was printed (there were 8). Tomorrow night, I’ll finish those eight roads plus the remaining 40 or so. I finished the movie before I finished the actual item, which is a little backward I admit, but that’s just how it worked out.

Check out her video below:

23 Responses to “DNR Writer Dances Through Town”

  1. Deb SF says:

    It’s a love letter to the city.

  2. Renee says:

    Very nice, Heather! Wow :)

  3. Hello HPD there is a young lady dancing crazy in front of the City water supply. I think it’s one of those hippies about to put LSD in our water supply – Cort warned us about them!

  4. Brooke says:

    Really, really cool!!

  5. Jenni says:

    that was absolutely adorable! and extremely well done… congrats on such a fun and sweet tribute to such a lovely little city!

  6. MC Moore says:

    “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.” (Mark Twain)- Admirable, adorable, unforgettable!

  7. Lisa says:


  8. MC Moore;
    That quote isn’t from Sam Clemens, it was from William Purkey, the great teacher and UVa alum. I believe he is still alive and still being quoted. He used to close his lectures with the quote:
    “You’ve gotta’ dance like there’s nobody watching,
    Love like you’ll never be hurt,
    Sing like there’s nobody listening,
    And live like it’s heaven on earth.
    (And speak from the heart to be heard.)”

    I’ve heard it plagiarized in CW songs too.

    It really doesn’t have the same style as Clemen’s writing.

  9. Chad Gusler says:

    Hey Heather. That’s my house you’re dancing in front of! Come over and take a look around if you’d like.

  10. Wow, thanks guys! I had a wonderful time making this video and I hope it showed. The view count on this one is approaching 700, which is SUPER cool for me. It’s the second most viewed video I’ve made since beginning the project in November. (The most popular one is No. 2: Kill Something And Eat It http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8oei5u4wUU)

    Naturally, I’m already working on a new movie. Yesterday, I completed BBL No. 19: Operate the DN-R Press; Print My Own Column. Here’s a little teaser movie I whipped up last night.


    Thanks for your support and keep following the last 101 days of the BBL! Lots of love,

  11. mikekeane says:

    i think she should attempt to wrestle, kill and eat the deer at 1:16. Or better yet much larger big buck.

  12. Jamie Smith says:

    I’m sorry. I haven’t seen “dancing” like this since Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. Frankly, I’ll be glad to see this self promotion marathon go away along with Jim Bishop’s family news every Saturday.

    • Brooke says:

      Wow. That was kind of mean, Jamie.

    • blondiesez says:

      I have to say I’m with Jamie on Heather’s ‘bucket list’ series. I’ve never met Heather — and I’m sure, Heather, if you’re reading these, that you’re a very nice person —

      but seriously: a ‘bucket list’ to complete before you turn the archaic age of . . . . 30? And having a year’s worth of columns about it?

      Some of the ideas/experiences have been entertaining. But week, after week, after week . . . . ? I suppose it’s the DNR’s attempt at a lighthearted local look at life when so much of what else is in print is serious (or, in the case of the op-ed pages, mindless rantings). But to me — and again, I’m sure there are those out there who won’t agree (and be sure to tell me so!) — it’s all been a bit too self-indulgent for my journalistic tastes.

      • Emmy says:

        Well personally, I think having a list like this before you turn 30 is great. Imagine how much she’ll have done in her life if she does lists like these frequently.

        As for printing it. Well, I guess that’s the decision of the higher-ups at the DNR and if people aren’t happy reading it, I would assume they could contact them and let them know.

        • Shannon says:

          The column runs in the DNR’s lifestyle section which, frankly, never has many “lifestyle” articles worth reading. In that respect the column at least fits with its surrounding content.

      • Bazrik says:

        “for my journalistic tastes”?? Wow everyone’s a critic. It’s weird world when “blondiesez” gets to rip your work… oh well.

        • blondiesez says:

          Bazrik, I wasn’t ‘ripping her work’ — simply stating my opinion about the concept/need of the series itself. And yes, everyone IS a critic in some way, shape, or form these days.

          Emmy, if I were to let the editors at the DNR know everytime I didn’t like something in the paper, I wouldn’t have time to do much else. :-) I tend to express my valuation of the paper’s worth through my hard-earned dollars — which is why I don’t hold a subscription anymore and only buy the Saturday edition.

          • Bazrik says:

            Mmmm, actually “self-indulgent” is pretty much a rip, I’d say. And, since the “series itself” you were ripping was HER series, then yes – it’s HER work you were ripping. Which is fine! Go ahead, feel free – but call a spade a spade, at least.

            And yep, I’m about at the same place as you are with the DNR. :)

    • Shannon says:

      “Self-promotion marathon” = couldn’t have said it better myself.

  13. Deb SF says:

    I think that Heather is defining something of a niche for herself, especially as she moved from news reporting to other kinds of stuff. She seems like she’s having a good time and she’s getting paid to do it, which is a good definition of a great job (and writers have to self promote, unless they’re independently rich). She’s doing a kind of participatory journalism, and reminds me just a teeny little bit of George Plimpton (dating myself so damn much here).

    Most of the stuff she’s doing mirrors the kinds of experiences we often have in our 20’s, just doing a lot of different things, exploring, sometime random and sometimes focused, some a ordinary, some scary, some silly, some real mistakes.

    I kind of hope she moves away a bit from writing and filming about what she does and begins to think and write about what these things *mean*. She may, in a couple of years, find that the BBL was a pretty meaningless and insignificant way to spend a good chunk of her 20’s. Or she may discover that it was about the most fun she’s ever had in her life. That would be a piece I’d very much like to read.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.