Sunday, September 26, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


The Covid-19 pandemic persists. Be safe. Be considerate. Be compassionate. But, continue to be creative. Find ways to celebrate your thankfulness safely with family and friends.
– John Busbee for The Culture Buzz
Quote of the Week
“All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song. What we play is life.”
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) American trumpeter, composer, vocalist, and actor who was among the most influential figures in jazz
“Support a Local Business” tips of the week:

  1. 6 ways to support small businesses: Write a positive review; tell your friends & family; follow them on social media; engage with their posts; give them a shout out; sign up for their newsletter. Cost to do this: $0.00.
  2. Tangerine Foods at Mainframe Studios. A great local business ready to give you more time with your family and friends. Currently offering: Christmas/Holiday for pick-up/delivery on Dec 24. Check out their new online store;
  3. Mainframe Studios Shopping Event. Sat Dec 19, 11 AM – 5 PM. Mainframe Studios is Iowa’s premier artists studios destination. Over 75 open artist studios to explore, featuring local art and artists of all kinds. Ceramics, jewelry, painting, hand blown glass, custom clothing, scarves, and blankets. Find the perfect gift for a loved one, art to fill your home, or just something cozy to make you smile! Two special events will happen during this open studio time: Live Painting by Amy O’Brien (4th Floor) and Live Music by Caleb Hans (1st Floor). Link to RSVP
Support an Iowa consumable provider.
A recent interview with the incomparable and inspirational Darcy Maulsby recently yielded a great sidebar conversation. She shared a short-list of great Iowa small food providers that will make taste buds salivate. Give the gift of Iowa farm fresh foods awaits the culinary gifter. Here is a list from Iowa’s Storyteller, a self-proclaimed ‘farm girl’ who loves sharing such information with others:

  1. Feddersen USA Wagyu beef. What makes a superior steak? The Feddersen family of Anthon, Iowa, keeps their cattle on feed for two years, significantly longer than traditional cattle production, to produce extraordinary marbling. In the hierarchy of beef, Wagyu’s superior marbling/ “Our goal is to produce the best-tasting, 100% Wagyu beef,” said Brad Feddersen, who has raised Wagyu cattle with his family since 1997.
  2. Pammel Park Coffee. Matt and Naomi Hupton from Madison County have been roasting small batches of exceptional coffees since 2018 on their Century Farm southwest of Winterset, just down the road from Pammel State Park. Every batch is prepared with precision to showcase each coffee’s unique attributes and flavor profile, honoring Madison County attractions, such as the Roseman Bridge Blend.
  3. Maytag Blue Cheese. Iowa’s dairy industry boasts one of America’s distinctive cheeses. The Maytag Dairy Farm near Newton started making blue cheese in October 1941 and has built a national following ever since.
  4. Deal’s Orchard Hard Cider. The Deal family from Jefferson hand picks and selects a special blend of apples from their orchards to press into cider. The fresh cider is then fermented. The keg or hand bottle hard cider comes in flavors which include Original, Blackberry, Raspberry, Peach, and Limited-Edition Pear.
  5. Early Morning Harvest grains and flours. When you’re ready to bake, why not use Iowa-grown grains and flour? Early Morning Harvest near Panora is a small, diversified, family farm that sells flours made from certified organic cereal grains (wheat, rye, buckwheat, and corn meal) raised on their farm. Earl Hafner, his son, Jeff, and their team also grow vegetables in an aquaponics greenhouse and raise pastured poultry for egg production. “Our highest priority is caring for our land and animals so that the food we grow and offer to our community is fresh and healthy,” says Earl Hafner, who received the prestigious 2018 Practical Farmers of Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award.

Virtual cultural exploration opportunity

  1. Reading: “Christmas — 1931,” Gangster in Our Midst, winner of a 2019 Notable 100 Indie Book Award from Shelf Unbound book review magazine. 7:30-8:00 – Discussion. Gangster in Our Midst tells the chilling story of an Italian-American gangster who works for Chicago Kingpin Alphonse Capone, and shows up on main street of a small midwestern town (Fairbank, Iowa) in the 1920s—where he remains off and on for the next sixty years. RSVP: (watch for the Zoom video conferencing link that will be sent to your email address). 6:45 – Click on the Zoom link on Dec 17, 7:00
  2. Ames Town & Gown presents The Mertz Trio for its final concert of 2020, produced at Boston’s Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory. Wed Dec 16-Fri Dec 18, all day and evening. Free to the public. In lieu of their concert originally scheduled to take place here in Ames, the Trio has created a special program, beautifully video-recorded in the New England Conservatory’s renowned and historic Jordan Hall. For the link to this concert, visit

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –
11:00 AM – The new issue of Iowa History Journal has just hit mailboxes, as well as newsstands in HyVee, Fareway, and Beaverdale Books. This issue features a marvelous cover story by Barbara Lounsberry as she takes readers on a rest-of-the-story journey deeper than even Paul Harvey could do as she shares the reality behind the writer of so many Nancy Drew mysteries and other series books, Mildred Augustine.
11:19 AM – Timothy Smith MD shares medical breakthrough news in his book, “Reversing Alzeimer’s: How to Prevent Dementia and Revitalize Your Brain.” With parallels to the incredible breakthroughs in fighting cancer many decades ago, the fight to solve the mysteries and effects of Alzeimer’s is being won. Listen as Tim shares great news for any and all impacted by this disease.
“It is the dawn of the era of treatable Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s—after more than a century of failure, reports are appearing documenting success after success. Reversing Alzheimer’s by Dr. Timothy Smith provides clear explanations of the disease mechanisms and a practical, useful approach to combat this scourge. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.”
—Dale Bredesen, MD, author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Alzheimer’s
11:31 AM – Tara Lush brings a wealth of writing experience as her muse takes her to new realms as she releases her debut mystery, “Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery). Tara livens up the conversation, sharing her inspirations as she takes us behind the scenes in the making of this great story – one to curl up with and simply savor every page.
“It doesn’t matter if you like your coffee hot or cold, you’ll love Grounds for Murder. Tara Lush brings the quirky town of Devil’s Beach to life. You can almost smell the coffee and feel the heat. A sure winner!” — Joyce Tremel, author of the Brewing Trouble mysteries
11:43 AM – In the captivating psychological true crime thriller, Phyllis Chesler’s “Requiem for a Female Serial Killer” explores how Aileen Wuornos’ life path brought her to such a complicated and deadly outcome. Phyllis has a deeply researched context to this story, bringing a greater understanding about his unique persona and the motivations behind her crimes.
“Aileen Wuornos—female serial killer? Feminist folk-hero? A broken woman betrayed her entire life by a system that should have protected her? Perhaps all of the above, in one volatile package. In this amazing book, Phyllis Chesler takes you on a mind-bending journey through a story you thought you knew. Chesler sets out to write a book to make you question everything and succeeds.” —Gregg Olsen, author, If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
12:00 PM – Author and historian Rachelle Chase returns with a sequel to her exceptional first book on the legacy of Buxton with “Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa.” Rachelle takes us deep into the times and events leading up to the creation of the huge unincorporated coal-mining town of Buxton in SE Iowa where more than 5000 people resided, worked and lived in harmony, most of them black. Fascinating and detailed in its content, this is a major chapter in American history that Rachelle has brilliantly captured.
“Rachelle Chase has a deep knowledge and understanding of a great American story, the legacy of Buxton, Iowa. Her unparalleled research and imagery of this incredible time is captured in her well-researched books, as she brings a modern relevance to this legacy.” -The Culture Buzz
12:17 PM – Iowa native and international traveler and author John Shors shares insights into his critically hailed fantasy trilogy, The Demon Seekers.
“Shors is an amazing talent.” -Amy Tan
12:29 PM – Artistic Director Matt McIver shares information about Iowa Stage Theatre Company’s collaboration with Iowa Public Broadcasting as they present the televised production, “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” Dec 19, 20, 24. This show was presented to packed houses a couple of seasons ago, and fans of the production are joyously awaiting its return.
“This production captures all of the heart and soul of the original Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart classic film. It will bring an eye-moistening sentimental rush at the end, a visceral reward for allowing oneself to follow Clarence the Angel in his quest to save George Bailey.” – The Culture Buzz
12:43 PM – Mary Potter Kenyon is a multi-talented creative, and shares her experience and understanding with others seeking their own paths to creativity…at whatever time in their lives they are. “Called to Be Creative: A Guide to Reigniting Your Creativity” is an encouraging guidebook to help find the inner stirrings that simply are awaiting to be fanned into fiery productivity. This book is now in audio format, and recently received an award.
“I devoured this book. Each chapter is filled with encouragement and inspiration. If you’re looking for something to feed your creative soul, this is it.” Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Cultural nuggets –

  1. The Des Moines Community Playhouse prepares for its holiday show, the next live theatre, socially distanced and with COVID protocols in place production, “Miracle on 34th Street.” This play, from Valentine Davies book by the same name, was adapted by Executive Director David Kilpatrick as a radio theatre performance with a live audience, harkening back to the days when this was commonly done. This show opens Dec 4.
  2. Des Moines Metro Opera to present Virtual Holiday Concert on 12/18
    The Merry & Bright Holiday Concert premieres online on Fri Dec 18 at 7pm (CST) and streams through Dec 31. This concert features 14 DMMO audience-favorite artists and members of the Heartland Youth Choir performing a selection of holiday tunes with an interactive online reception following the program. or by calling the DMMO Box Office at (515) 961-6221
  3. It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Adapted by Joe Landry, Directed by Matthew McIver. 7:00 PM, Dec 19, 2:00 PM, Dec 20, 8:00 PM, Dec 24. Broadcast on Iowa Public Television. This collaboration between Iowa Stage Theatre Company and Iowa Public Television brings a critically acclaimed performance from 2018 back to audiences for an eagerly anticipated return.
  4. Ames, Iowa – The Ames Community Arts Council’s December Gathering of Artists will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, December 15 from 6 – 8 p.m., and will feature Reiman Gardens’ RG Express holiday train. This event is free and open to everyone. Participants will need to pre-register for the event to attend. Please visit our website [] or email for registration information.
  5. Check out the Month of Sundays posts at this Facebook site. Thanks to Covid Recovery Iowa, a program with a wealth of ways to help, you will find resources, inspiration and more.

Beaverdale Books offers curbside service, or delivery service. Our new hours starting Sun Nov 1:
Sun: Noon – 4:00; Mon-Fri: – 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sat: 10:00 – 5:00.      515-279-5400
Top Ten sellers in our store last month – see what everyone’s reading!
1. A Promised Land, Barack Obama
2. Benny’s True Colors, Norene Paulson*
3. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
4. The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook, Marcus Samuelsson
5. The White Man Who Stayed, James A. Autry*
6. Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship 1920-2020, Rebecca Conard*
7. Classic Restaurants of Des Moines and Their Recipes, Darcy Dougherty Maulsby*
8. One Life, Megan Rapinoe
9. The Heart Hungers for Wildness, Diane Glass*
10. Hello Iowa, Mary Gordon*
*Iowa Author!
Ongoing conversations with Callista Gould always deliver useful information. So much any merging or established professional could use is in her book, which, as she says, is “Best. Graduation Gift. Ever.” The book, The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career, is the perfect gift for that graduating daughter, son, grandchild, niece, nephew or good friend’s or neighbor’s child who never writes a thank you note. Check out to get a copy for someone you care about.
PERFORMING & VISUAL ARTS plus Other Cultural Consideration
Please check in advance regarding any scheduled performances, exhibitions, museum visits, etc.
Ankeny Community Theatre –; Facebook: Ankeny Community Theatre
Carousel Theatre of Indianola –; Faceook: Carousel Theatre Indianola
Class Act Productions –; Facebook: CAPTheatre
Des Moines Community Playhouse/Kate Goldman Theatre –; Facebook: DMPlayhouse
Des Moines Performing Arts/Temple Theater –; Facebook: Des Moines Performing Arts
Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre –; Facebook: DM Young Artists Theatre
Iowa Shakespeare Experience –; Facebook: Iowa Shakespeare Experience
Iowa Stage Theatre Company –; Facebook: Iowa Stage Theatre Company
Pyramid Theatre Company –; Facebook: Pyramid Theatre Company
Tallgrass Theatre Company –; Facebook: Tallgrass Theatre Company
TheatreMidwest –; Facebook: TheatreMidwest
Urbandale Community Theatre –; Facebook: Urbandale Community Theatre
AUDITIONS and Cultural Engagement Opportunities:
Check with galleries, organizations, destinations you frequented before the pandemic. Many are producing creative and unique ways to engage again…get your cultural fix.

Prep Iowa
  1. Nocé has instigated strict COVID protocols while launching live music at its destination-worthy venue – check out the schedule and find a time to savor the sublime setting and national-caliber music.
  2. Civic Music Association announces its 2020-2021 Season. Check it out.
  3. The Des Moines Symphony will present an appealing series of concert experiences. Check for details.

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. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola.
  3. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events),
  4. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown.
  5. Book Vault, Oskaloosa.
  6. Prairie Lights Books & Cafe, Iowa City.

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. The Culture Buzz – John Busbee and associates encourage cultural adventures with a comprehensive overview of what The Culture Buzz delivers. Included is an archive library of favorite interviews.
  2. Center Stage – This Cityview monthly column provides insights into Central Iowa’s theatre. Distributed throughout the region and available online. Current column:
  3. Cityview – Central Iowa’s monthly printed and continually updated online resource to all things happening in your community, from arts & culture, to music, to civic and political discourse, to fascinating columnists and stories. Cityview is the reliable source for keeping you informed and engaged in the Greater Des Moines community and beyond.
  4. 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.
  5. 900Views Podcast. An exploration of arts and community with Host Pat Boddy. Based out of Mainframe Studios in downtown Des Moines, 900Views provides a platform for glimpsing the creative work and lives of the Midwest’s cultural producers and influencers.
  6. Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center is this region’s source for a decades-established advocacy group for jazz, and established jazz professionals guiding and nurturing next generations of jazz musicians and fans.
  7. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues.

Resources to help, support and guide during any challenges you or someone you care about may be experiencing:
COVID Iowa Recovery: 800-775-9276

  •  1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or
    United Way 211: Dial 211, text ZIP code to 898211 or visit
    CICIL: #CICILServes COVID-19 Hotline: (866) 44-CICIL
    Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
    LGBT National Youth Talkline: (800) 246-7743
    LGBT National Talkline: (888) 843-4564
    Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center:
    Broadlawns 24/7 Crisis Team: (515) 282-5752
    Your Life Iowa Help Line: (855) 581-8111
    Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    Broadlawns Psychiatric Urgent Care: (515) 282-2200
    Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to be connected to crisis counseling
    Online Mental Health Crisis Chat:
    MercyOne Des Moines Behavioral Health Clinic: 515-643-9030.
    Prelude Behavioral Services (substance treatment): 515-262-0349

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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