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
2014 Iowa Governor’s Award for Partnership & Collaboration in the Arts
Quote of the Week
“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.” – Brooks Atkinson (1894-1984) American theatre critic
“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.

Virtual cultural exploration opportunity

  1. Nocé brings another jazzy entry into the new year. Celebrate New Year’s Eve & Noce’s 5th anniversary with an evening of culinary & musical revelry. The evening will kick off with a cocktail hour featuring Noce’s signature menu & music from Nate Sparks & Co. Following a 9PM three-course dinner provided by Aposto, a stellar band led by Jason Danielson & featuring an 8-piece band will accompany Max Wellman along with guest appearances by Gina GedlerTina Haase Findlay, & Fred Gazzo to bring the party through to 2021.
  2. Science Center of Iowa – Noon Year’s Eve 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Family event. Don’t forget that the SUE the T. rex exhibit is there only through Jan 10, 2021.
  3. Des Moines Symphony continues its New Year’s Eve Pops tradition, albeit virtually, with what promises to be a uniquely memorable evening.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz – 
11:00 AM – Jim Miller of the Czech & Slovak Museum & Library returns to the show to share a couple of enticing exhibits that make a day or overnight road trip to Cedar Rapids a must-do. Listen as Jim shares some details about two captivating exhibits currently running.
“Iowa’s only Smithsonian affiliate museum – and very deserving of this honor.” – The Culture Buzz
11:15 AM – In this special interview with one of his era’s most iconic artists, Peter Max talks about his book, “The Universe of Peter Max,” a colorful journey through the very recognizable artwork of a true American pop culture icon.
“In this intimate visual memoir, artist Peter Max details his life journey as an artist, providing a stirring account of himself as a young boy and as a successful artist eager to return to the days of wonderment and inspiration found only in dreams and childhood.”
11:32 AM – Versatile writer G. Wayne Miller returns with his newest book, a captivating thriller, “Blue Hill.” Wayne shares insights into this novel’s making as he masterfully entwines threads of history from the dawn of the explosive beginnings of the personal computer age.
“Blue Hill” is a story of seduction by a time and a technology, a painful story of narcissism, compromise, and redemption. G. Wayne Miller helps us to see ourselves as we are, not as who we want to be, and to see a time (1997) and a culture for what it was.  In this hard to put down novel, G. Wayne Miller helps us understand who we become, and even better, who we might be if we take the time to think, look at ourselves in the mirror, and remember what matters. 
– Michael Fine, author of “Health Care Revolt,” “Abundance” and “The Bull and Other Stories.”
11:48 AM – Iowa women’s historian Cheryl Mullenbach returns with her newest offering, a marvelously enticing exploration of “Stagecoach Women.” Cheryl plies her masterful combination of researching the stories that are “hiding in the historical weeds,” and brings them to vibrant life for our enjoyment. Be sure to get her new book, available through Beaverdale Books and other fine bookstores.
“(Cheryl) Mullenbach has a rare gift to not just delve into history and present stories that have often been overlooked, but she finds relevant stories, especially of women in our past, and helps to create a stronger understanding of our shared history.” -The Culture Buzz
12:00 PM – Melanie Dale has infused her latest ‘life resource’ gem, “Calm the H*ck Down: How to Let Go and Lighten Up About Parenting,” with a bounty of experience, wisdom and witty writing sure to help any and all wanting to provide children with a positive environment during these challenging times.
“I don’t like parenting books. Am I allowed to say that in an endorsement for a parenting book? But [Calm the H*ck Down] is not only hilarious. This book is practical, touching at times, and oh-so-reassuring. If there’s anything we need as parents, it’s for someone to sidle up alongside us, put their arm around our shoulder, and simply say, ‘Yeah, I feel that way too.’ Melanie is the parenting companion we all need.” – Shawn Smucker, author of The Day the Angels Fell
12:16 PM – Comedian, actor and entrepreneur John Bush was drawn to Des Moines years ago to perform in a Temple Theatre opening show, Triple Espresso. John sunk deep roots, eventually earning the title, ‘Iowan,’ and has been a vibrant and popular force in stand-up comedy, traveling from his home base. The COVID-19 situation, as with so many creatives, forced new paths. John spends a few minutes to share an update on The Culture Buzz.
12:31 PM – Director of Marketing & Public Relations Megan Helmers shares updates and easy-to-connect information about how we can still savor the symphonic grandeur of the Des Moines Symphony. Their virtual programming continues, with many opportunities for behind-the-scenes revelations from Maestro Giunta. Get the information on how patrons can easily connect for a DM Symphony experience, even easy-to-follow tutorials about how to route their performances through your large screen TV for a maximum musical delight.
12:43 PM – Songwriter, musician, performer, producer – these are just some of the many hats this gifted and multi-faceted artist wears. Bonne Finken takes time to share how she has been finding new creative outlets from the forced isolation of the pandemic, and the world benefits from her creative production. Listen as Bonne shares some recent parts of her artistic journey.

“The sound of someone not only embracing the future, but creating it.” 


Prep Iowa
Cultural nuggets – 

  1. 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 –; Facebook: 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

  1. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Virtual auditions will be held for the next two COVID-19 protocol live productions, which will be run in repertory. Audition videos must be submitted to the Playhouse by Mon Jan 4, 2021, 6:00 PM (auditions may be submitted prior to this date). Full instructions on their website. Stuart Little performance dates Feb 26 – Mar 14, 2021. Cast needs: 1-2 M, 1-2 W, 1-2 B, 1-2 G. Leaving Iowaperformance dates Feb. 19-Mar. 21, 2021. Cast Needs: 3 M ages 18-60, 3 W ages 18-60.
  2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. No auditions are currently scheduled, but you can add your name to their audition notice list at
  3. Theatre Midwest. No auditions are currently scheduled, but you can check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at

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.

  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. dsm Magazine – Central Iowa’s gateway to arts, culture and more in a stunning, visual format. dsm’s CultureCast podcast features interviews with cultural leaders, artists and musicians.
  5. ia Magazine – Built upon the success of its Central Iowa counterpart, this annual gem brings enticing cultural news from across the state.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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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