Friday, September 17, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts


There is a diverse and appealing array of cultural indulgences awaiting the Cultural Adventurer in Central Iowa. Leave the personal devices behind and savor the rich offerings that performing arts, exhibitions and more offer. Sally forth and reward yourself.


Featured Cultural Offering:

Valley Junction Spring Arts Festival draws a wide and diverse array of artists and activities on Sun May 19 in one of the region’s most enticing special events of the Spring. Food music, activities and, of course, blocks and blocks of fine artists offering a wide range of appealing artwork to enhance your life. 

More Cultural Considerations:

Prep Iowa

1. Disgraced runs through May 19 in the Kum & Go Theatre, the latest show from Iowa Stage Theatre Company. This Pulitzer Prize winning play promises a thought-provoking evening. For this production, there will be cast/audience talk-backs after all shows except opening and closing performances.

2. Ella Enchanted the Musical at the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre (Des Moines Community Playhouse) continues through May 19.

3. Second City It’s Not You, It’s Me continues its uproarious show through May 19 at the Temple Theater. Join the memorable fun with this iconic comedy factory’s mix of famous sketches, music and improv.

Auditions and Other Participation Opportunities:

1.     Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre auditions for the musical 13, Sat May 18, 1:00 PM. 13 features an unforgettable rock score from multiple Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County, Parade, Last Five Years). Seeking 20 actors of all backgrounds, ages 12-15. All auditions are open to the public; no one is precast. If you are unable to attend the scheduled audition, please email David A. VanCleave to arrange an alternative time.

2.     Class Act Productions auditions for actors entering 7th grade in the fall up to age 21. Sat May 18 at 1:00 PM for the summer Shakespeare production of Much Ado About Nothing. Check our website in May for audition form to download.

3.     Art Beacon Digital Residency. Through Art Beacon’s Instagram, this advocacy and promotion group grants Iowa-connected artists and 1-2 week residency. Residents share their work and inspirations in daily posts. Artists are invited or selected from call submissions. Interested artists should contact: 

Greater Des Moines Music Tip:

This addition to the weekly newsletter will be a suggested musician or band to catch. This tip is brought to you by Steve Vasquez of the Central Iowa Blues Society –, for full calendar of live music.

Rob Lumbard at Kelly’s Little Nipper, 1701 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines. 7:00 PM. 

Worth the Drive:

The Faulconer Gallery in Grinnell at Grinnell College is a wonderous destination and less than a hour to the east of Greater Des Moines. Anchoring the Bucksbaum Fine Arts Center, this gallery, under the masterful guidance of Director Lesley Wright, is an ever-changing exploration of visual arts and great presentations. 

Greater Des Moines Independent Book Store Happenings:

The Culture Buzz shares many authors and their books with its audiences. We encourage you to visit your local independent book store regularly. The folks at these destination locations know books, and welcome the chance to help anyone connect with titles and subjects they seek. Check these sites, as their calendars are always filled with enticing activities and news.

  1. Beaverdale Books, Des Moines.
  2. Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny.
  3. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola.
  4. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events), 

Cultural Exploration Resources:

The Culture Buzz will begin including carefully vetted but comprehensive listings where you can do some advance online exploration before scheduling destinations in the region. These are two great websites to know about:

  1. Center Stage – John Busbee writes this Cityview monthly column. See what is happening on Central Iowa’s stages. Distributed throughout the region and available online.
  2. Art Beacon Des Moines is Central Iowa’s home for promoting the visual arts. Our calendar of events highlights exhibitions, art talks and calls for art. Subscribe to the Art Beacon Weekly, our online newsletter filled with links to the latest art happenings. Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  3. A Gentle Guide to Des Moines Theatre is Central Iowa’s source for knowing what productions by which companies are available when. In short, you can know what’s playing before it happens rather than after the fact. Timothy Rose created this site with its comprehensive theatre calendar for you, the cultural consumer. He includes articles and more, making this a worthy destination when curious about what’s happening in Central Iowa’s theatre scene.

As always, I appreciate news and information from you out there in the cultural trenches and am ready and willing to pursue a story or interview to share with my audiences.

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