Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


“It is the end of art to inoculate men (and women) with the love of nature.” Henry Ward Beecher, in Star Papers, or, Experiences of Art and Nature (1855) – NOTE: parenthetical addition mine

Featured Cultural Offering:

ARTS in Central Iowa abound. From the Des Moines Arts Festival in the Western Gateway to Art Week Des Moines throughout downtown Des Moines to ArtFest Midwest at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, there is a wealth of creative exploration to immerse yourself into. Of special interest, within the Des Moines Arts Festival, is the Interrobang Film Festival, offering arts patrons the opportunity to sit and relax and indulge in the cinematic creativity of independent filmmaking.

More Cultural Considerations:

1.     The Play that Goes Wrong runs Jun 25-30 at Des Moines Performing Arts’ Civic Center performing hall. What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You’d get THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Broadway & London’s award-winning smash comedy! Called “A GUT-BUSTING HIT” (The New York Times) and “THE FUNNIEST PLAY BROADWAY HAS EVER SEEN” (HuffPost), this classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania delivering “A RIOTOUS EXPLOSION OF COMEDY” (Daily Beast).

Prep Iowa

2.     Des Moines Metro Opera begins its seasons with Candide and La Boheme, adding its third production presented in repertory, Wozzeck, next week. Experience the majesty of opera at this nationally recognized program well into July…but, get tickets as soon as you can, as these shows sell out.

3.     Polk County Heritage Gallery’s Iowa Exhibited XXXIV, the 34th edition of our juried art show. Jun 24 – Sep 6, 2019.

Auditions and other Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

1.     Audition Call: A Doll’s House & A Doll’s House Part 2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company (ISTC) is holding auditions their fall productions of A Doll’s House and A Doll’s House Part 2. Sat Jun 29 from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Callbacks on Jun 30 as needed Actors who cannot make this time can schedule a time BEFORE this date to be seen, or may self-tape (see general info below). Iowa Stage Rehearsal Space: 111-11th Street (between Cherry and Mulberry; two blocks from the Des Moines Social Club). To Schedule: Please contact Lauren Dursky at to schedule an audition.

2.     Interrobang Film Festival during the Des Moines Arts Festival. Independent films from around the world deliver a diversity of cinematic magic. Listen to interview provided by Australian filmmaker Jimmy Trash (“Hard Enough: A Speedway Family” Sat Jun 29 11:30 AM, Room B) in this week’s show.

Greater Des Moines Music Tip:

This weekly tip is brought to you by Steve Vasquez of the Central Iowa Blues Society –, for full calendar of live music in our region.

Sun Jun 30. Doors @ 5pm / Show @ 6pm $25 ($20 for Central Iowa Blues Society Members), Noce, 1326 Walnut St. Des Moines, IA. The Bel Aires / Doug Deming and The Jewel Tones. DOUBLE BILL show with the best traditional blues and jump / swing blues.

Worth the drive:

The Faulconer Gallery in Grinnell at Grinnell College is a wondrous destination and less than an 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. Now open through Jul 20 is Fiber Artists of Iowa, an exceptional show that highlights the wide variety of expertise, imagination, and fiber techniques of 23 artists residing in Iowa. Also on view is Summer Gems, presented by the Jewel Box Quilters Guild, through Jul 27.

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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