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Winter arts & entertainment guide


It’s cold. It’s damn cold. Fortunately, in Iowa we can get pretty inventive in finding ways to keep warm (hence Templeton Rye whiskey). But contrary to coastal belief, there is much more to do in Iowa than get drunk and chew gum — from movies to music, theatre to sports.

In this year’s winter art and entertainment edition, we bring you a few of our picks of things to do that are sure to motivate you off the couch and into the wild. So find that other sock that’s probably buried deep in the abyss of pillows and blankets swallowed by the sofa, grab your boots and coat and shake off that cabin fever. Spring is a glimmering light at the end of a dark, frigid tunnel. Follow the light. Find your friends. Make some memories, Des Moines.



By Cady Colosimo

CNA - Stop HIV/U=U (September #1)CNA - Substance Use (Sept 2023)


Passion Pit

Hilton Coliseum

Thursday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m., $32-39


Can’t get enough indie music? The genre is growing as a trend, and so are its event dates around Des Moines. Passion Pit’s dreamy musical composition combined with Michael Angelakos’ high-pitched vocals make for great dance music. The band’s show at the classic Ames venue is the perfect way to get your fix with college co-eds, as Passion Pit comes to Hilton Coliseum with supporting acts, two-piece treat Matt and Kim and Indie powerhouse Icona Pop. Make sure to get there on time for a double dose of some of today’s hottest indie music.


G. Love and Special Sauce


Wednesday, March 20, 8:30 p.m., $20-25


Take a trip down memory lane and let your high school inner bro flourish at this concert. Anyone who listens to G. Love and Special Sauce or has been to one of the concerts can tell you the band’s sound is hard to categorize, and that alone makes it cool. The unique, laid back vibe is a flawless blend of blues, rock, pop and even hip-hop. Don’t miss this performance, as the often solo performer, G. Love, is bringing with him that Special Sauce that puts him at his best. This one is sure to sell out, so go buy yourself a new Polo shirt and Sperry topsider on your way to pick up your tickets.


Bon Jovi

Wells Fargo Arena

Sunday, April 14, 7:30 p.m., $49-1,000+


Time and tenacity — and 130 million records sold — has proven this band to be one with timeless relevance and staying-power. After 30 years Bon Jovi is set to release and tour behind its 12th studio album, “What About Now?” Jon Bon Jovi has shouted to the heart of everyone this year, performing benefit concerts in support of Hurricane Sandy victims and even campaigning for Barack Obama right here in Des Moines. Don’t miss out on this chance to see one of the year’s top bands, sans the politics this time, please.


Tech N9ne

Val Air Ballroom

Friday, May 10, 8 p.m., $30-35


It’s that time of year again; Tech N9ne is making his annual pilgrimage to Des Moines. The Kansas City, Mo.-based rapper loves Iowa, and we love him right back. Tech N9ne continues to draw a crowd at every show. As a performer, he’s is the real deal, with a resume of collaborations with the likes of B.O.B. and Lil Wayne. His concerts prove to be high-energy with a crowd that antes up.


Halestorm is among the bands in the Lazerfest lineup this year. Photo by Dan Hodges

Halestorm is among the bands in the Lazerfest lineup this year. Photo by Dan Hodges


Central Iowa Expo, Boone

Friday, May 10, $35


Metal heads rejoice. Lazerfest is returning to Boone with another great line-up featuring Alice In Chains, Papa Roach, Volbeat, Sick Puppies, Halestrom, Device, All That Remains, Asking Alexandria, Young Guns and Thousand Foot Krutch. Bands like this are sure to put on great performances, but perhaps just as entertaining are the hardcore fans who corral into the gates of this outdoor venue, rain or shine, like a modern-day Woodstock.


Willie Nelson

The Civic Center

Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 p.m., $50+


Good ol’ Willie: singer, songwriter, man, legend and the one guy in America who should legally be allowed to smoke weed. He’s on the road again, and as per this legendary performer’s tradition since the days of Farm Aid, Nelson will be ambling through Iowa. If you’ve never caught up with this old picker, it’s time to check one off the bucket list. Nelson has recorded numerous classics and influenced countless artists of every genre and generation. Just a month past his 80th birthday, Nelson will prove to Des Moines once again that those old fingers still got fire — and we’re not talking arthritis. Here’s a fun show you can just kick back and enjoy.




By David Rowley


‘Stand Up Guys’

Al Pacino stars in “Stand Up Guys.”

Al Pacino stars in “Stand Up Guys.”

Feb. 1, Rated R, 94 minutes

Directed by Fisher Stevens

Starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin

Led by a trio of Oscar-winning actors, “Stand Up Guys” will bring in the crowds no matter what’s been said about it. The story follows Val (Pacino) who has been released from prison after nearly 30 years. His friend, Doc (Walken), takes Val wherever he wants to go. But, as the night progresses, it becomes clear Doc has been sent to kill Val. You don’t get much better than these three when it comes to acting, and as the tagline for the film reads: They don’t make ’em like they used to.


‘Identity Thief’

Feb. 8, Rated R, 85 minutes

Directed by Seth Gordon

Starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet, John Cho, Eric Stonestreet

“Identity Thief” has a lot of potential. Director Seth Gordon worked with Bateman on last year’s “Horrible Bosses,” and McCarthy is riding high after the well-deserved success of “Bridesmaids.” Bateman’s character is the victim of identity theft and must track down the culprit played by McCarthy. An impressive collection of character actors, such as Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) and John Cho (“Harold and Kumar”), help ensure this comedy will keep the laughs coming.


‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’

March 14, Rated R, 86 minutes

Directed by Roman Coppola

Starring Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray

Anyone who is a fan of Wes Anderson is sure to have heard of Roman Coppola. The son of Francis Ford Coppola takes on his sophomore feature with “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swann III.” The ensemble cast includes Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore”) and his beard and the always funny, Bill Murray. Charlie Sheen astutely plays the title character that is probably not a stretch from playing his actual self: a man-child who is half-heartedly trying to grow up. Drifting in and out of dreamlike sequences, this film takes pleasure in exploring the mind’s absurd passing thoughts. And Charlie Sheen is back on the big screen. That alone is worth a watch.


‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

March 29, Rated R, 140 minutes

Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta

In a story told in three acts, audiences are presented with a look at the importance of paternal responsibility and what it means for a father to be there for his child. Ryan Gosling is back as a stunt driver but this time with a softer side than his character in 2011’s “Drive.” He finds out his last one-night stand resulted in a child. In order to provide for his baby and the mother, he begins robbing banks for extra cash. Bradley Cooper plays the rookie cop on Gosling’s trail. As these two battle back and forth their children begin to form a relationship, ignorant of their fathers’ connection. Director Derek Cianfrance depicts genuine emotion through his characters in this action/drama. “The Place Beyond the Pines” is an unflinching look at the often tumultuous relationship men have with their boys, other men and themselves.



April 12, Rated PG-13

Directed by Brian Helgeland

Starring Harrison Ford, Chadwick Boseman, Alan Tudyk, Lucas Black, Christopher Meloni

The only thing Americans may like more than baseball is the story of triumph over adversity. As Major League Baseball begins its season, celebrate with Brian Helgeland’s “42,” the story of Jackie Robinson’s legendary rise to fame. This looks to be your typical bio-pic that will no doubt garner the attention of the Academy down the road. Expect Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential,” “Mystic River” and “Man on Fire”) to bring a script filled with creative liberties while staying true to the real story.




By Amber Williams

“Shrek the Musical” comes to Stephens Auditorium for one night only on Feb. 13.

“Shrek the Musical” comes to Stephens Auditorium for one night only on Feb. 13.

‘Shrek the Musical’

Stephens Auditorium, Ames

Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

$49-$53 adults; $28 for 18 and under; $25 ISU Students


Here’s one for the lads and lasses. “Shrek” characters warmed the hearts of kids and their parents in the big screen movie series, so it’s sure to melt the heart into warm goo as a theatrical musical. DreamWorks Theatricals and NETworks Presentations, LLC, are bringing the song-and-dance team of characters from William Steig’s book “Shrek!” together again. Fall in love all over again with the beastly ogre who has a teddy-bear heart; the unconventional princess with a mean right hook and the smart-ass sidekick Donkey, with book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori.              

“Shrek the Musical” follows the swamp-dwelling ogre, Shrek (Perry Sook), on a life-changing adventure through a land of fairytales and mythical creatures that will lead him to find love in Princess Fiona (Whitney Winfield), and friendship in Donkey (Jeremy Gasto), as they battle the smaller-than-life villain, Lord Farquaad (Christian Marriner). Expect other favorites from the movie to make an appearance on stage as well.


Tracy Morgan: Excuse My French

Hoyt Sherman Place

March 15 at 7 p.m.


Looking for a night of laughs in a chill, sit-down atmosphere? Leave the kids at home, and check out Tracy Morgan’s “Excuse My French” stand-up comedy act coming to the historic Hoyt Sherman Place. Best known for his goofball characters created on “Saturday Night Live,” Morgan is making time from his co-starring role on NBC’s “30 Rock,” (where he appears opposite Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin as Tracy Jordan) to visit Des Moines for one night only. This one is for mature audiences only, although Morgan might be as immature as a comedian gets. Check your morals at the door.


‘Rock of Ages’

Civic Center

April 26-27



Tease the hair, slip on the tiger-striped tights and pull up those hot pink leg-warmers — that goes for you ladies, too — and prepare for some serious ’80s rock hitting Des Moines this April. “Rock of Ages” features everyone’s favorite tunes from the era, including hit songs from iconic rockers Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake — pretty much every band you might see on Joe Dirt’s T-shirts.                

It’s the story of an unlikely love affair forming around an epic decade of rock music. A small-town girl meets a big-city dreamer on the Sunset Strip in 1987 L.A. Rumor has it that this five-time Tony-nominated musical has a star-studded motion picture in the works, so check out the musical before the movie hits the big screen. But be warned that this one’s likely to sell out.




Iowa Energy

Wells Fargo Arena, price varies


It hasn’t been the best season for the Iowa Energy, but that’s all the more reason to go cheer them on. Some of these NBA D-League players come with impressive college basketball backgrounds from top-notch schools such as Kentucky and Syracuse. So there’s always a chance that one might advance to the pros. Regardless, the games are good, clean, family fun. The Energy is constantly having promotional and theme events such as ’70s night, bring your dog to the game night and the wallet-saver $1 beer night. There is no shortage of reasons to cheer on the team, and who knows? It could be your support that is the medicine needed to turn the season around.

Iowa Energy remaining home schedule. All games played at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Feb. 1 – vs. Springfield Armor

Feb. 2 vs. – Springfield Armor

Feb. 7 vs. – Texas Legends, 10:30 a.m.

Feb. 9 vs. – Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Feb. 10 vs. – Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 4 p.m.

Feb. 21 vs. – Austin Toros,

Feb. 22 vs. – Austin Toros

March 3 vs. – Idaho Stampede, 4 p.m.

March 10 vs. – Tulsa 66ers, 4 p.m.

March 15 vs. – Sioux Falls Skyforce

March 16 vs. – Sioux Falls Skyforce

March 28 vs. – Fort Wayne Mad Ants

March 30 vs. – Reno Bighorns

April 4 vs. – Tulsa 66ers

April 6 vs. – Sioux Falls Skyforce


Des Moines Buccaneers

Price varies, Buccaneer Arena


The Des Moines Buccaneers has one of the most loyal fan followings this city has ever seen. Currently standing at 18-19 in the Western Conference (as of presstime), the Bucs are poised to go either way. Aside from the excessive beer-drinking in the stands and the full-contact action on the ice, this Des Moines favorite plays host to all sorts of charitable and family-friendly activities throughout the year, such as the second annual Animal Rescue League Doxie Dash on Saturday, Feb. 23, during the first intermission of the game that night.

Des Moines Buccaneers remaining home schedule. (All games played at 7:05 p.m. unless otherwise noted.)

Feb. 8 vs. – Omaha Lancers

Feb. 15 vs. – Lincoln Stars

Feb. 22 vs. – Green Bay Gamblers

Feb. 23 vs. – Chicago Steel

March 3 vs. – Dubuque at 5:05 p.m.

March 8 vs. – Sioux Falls Stampede

March 9 vs. – Sioux City Musketeers

March 23 vs. – Sioux City Musketeers

March 29 vs. – Fargo Force

March 30 vs. – Tri-City Storm

April 13 vs. – Dubuque


Bike Ride Rippey is a 24-mile roundtrip ride.

Bike Ride Rippey is a 24-mile roundtrip ride.

BRR (Bike Ride Rippey)

Feb. 2, 10 a.m., Perry

If you’ve never tried to ride a bike in what might possibly be the coldest day of the year, an abusive blizzard, a pelting rain or an uncharacteristically beautiful sunshiny day, BRR might be the adventure you’re looking for. Whether your camel pack offers quality H2-O or a more euphoric elixir, you’re going to need it, because this one is not for the weary. However, it is a great event to get the blood pumping, whether you’re a hardcore cyclist or an off-the-couch kind of rider. The casual 24-mile roundtrip ride — not a race — includes fun stops along the otherwise desolate back highways of Dallas and Greene Counties between Perry and Rippey.                

Farmhouses along the way offer hot chocolate, coffee and other treats, a beer tent in Rippey is an oasis of warmth, beer and music, and the downtown district of Perry turns into a block party, as many participants reward themselves with a night of drinking when the ride is over. Registration details can be found at www.bikeiowa.com.


Red Flannel Run

Feb. 16, at 9 a.m.

Riverfront YMCA, 101 Locust St.


Grandpa loved to wear those old, raggedy red flannels in the winter… but Grandpa didn’t do much running. Borrow the old man’s shirt, or get one of your own, and join more than 2,000 others on the Red Flannel Run to kick off the running season in Des Moines. This three- or five-mile run is being held in memory of Luke Almix Simmons this year. Simmons was an adventure-seeking athlete who was fatally struck by lightning in Colorado in 2007. More runners mean more body heat at the starting line, so all are welcome. Find registration details and prices at the YMCA website. Proceeds go toward the Riverfront YMCA YPartners Campaign, helping to make the YMCA accessible to all.


NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships

March 21-23, Wells Fargo Arena


Whether you are a fan of college wrestling or not, you better be ready for an influx of short, stocky guys with ugly ears to arrive in the metro in support of one of this state’s most popular sports. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship is coming to Des Moines for the first time, and this is a major coup for the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines area businesses. Fans from across this nation and the world travel to this homecoming of sorts to cheer on their teams and reunite with those in the wrestling community. Much food will be served. Many beers will be poured. And Des Moines has the opportunity to showcase itself as a community that can satisfy large crowds for NCAA events.


Other notable events

CIRREM Gravel Road Race

Feb. 23, Cumming



Girls High School State Basketball Tournament

Feb. 24 – March 2, Wells Fargo Arena



Iowa Deer Classic

March 1-3, Wells Fargo Arena



Boys High School State Basketball Tournament

March 4-9, Wells Fargo Arena

www.iowaeventscenter.com CV

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