Saturday, November 27, 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
“The primary benefit of practicing any art, whether well or badly, is that it enables one’s soul to grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) American writer. Dropped out of Cornell College in 1943, enlisted in the Army, deployed to Europe, captured at Battle of the Bulge. Interred to Dresden, survived bombing of that city by hiding in the meat locker of a slaughterhouse, where he was imprisoned. In the early 1960s, on the verge of abandoning writing, offered a teaching job at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Shortly thereafter, his novel “Cat’s Cradle” became a bestseller, and he began “Slaughterhouse-Five.”
“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. Get on Cherry’s mailing list and receive random updates about “popup” dining opportunities… even take a meal home.

Jan 29 MENU OFFERINGS, orders due by TUE JAN 26
Pick-up OR delivery on FRIDAY JANUARY 29 between 2 and 3 pm
Tangerine is pleased to announce a WEEKLY MEAL PLAN – Five healthy, low calorie meals for one great price, $70.
-Chipotle Roasted Chicken Drumsticks/Succotash Salsa/Potatoes (400 calories)
-Apricot Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin/Potatoes/Snap Peas (400 calories)
-Herb Crusted Cod/Zucchini & Carrot Noodles/Couscous (375 calories)
-Black Bean and Tofu Enchiladas/Spanish Rice (550 calories)
-Ratatouille Casserole/Turkey Meatballs (300 calories)
            Bonus: Thai Butternut Squash Soup – 1 cup soup = @300 calories – ($14/quart a la carte)
Please note: calorie counts are approximate. With the meal plan ($70) you will receive all the
above packed as individual meals (5) plus the soup. No substitutions.
Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. Nickel and Dimed by Joan Holden. The next Fresh Produce Concert Reading by Theatre Midwest, free online event Jan 30 (7:30 PM with Talk-back to follow), Jan 31 (2:00 PM). Register in advance.
  2. Mainframe Studios FIRST FRIDAY Feb 5, 4:00-8:00 PM. Standard masks and social distancing required, plus making a reservation (See below, plus link), but that hasn’t stopped many from enjoying the artists and atmosphere of this incredible monthly happening. Something new each month. Cards, candies, hand lettering experts & stamps will be on hand to send out your personal Valentines during our open studio event. Let Mainframe and its artists help you send letters to the ones you care for. Plus, food and drink, and open artist studios.

This event is free, family-friendly and open to the public. Due to Covid, we ask everyone to RSVP for a timeslot and wear a mask.

  1. Des Moines Performing Arts Announces New Virtual Performances for Wellmark Family Series – Families Invited to Enjoy Three Creative Journeys as part of the organization’s popular Wellmark Family Series. The three virtual experiences are designed to be interactive and encourage families to learn together while safely at home. The programs were developed within the last ten months in response to the needs of children and families to have joyful, arts-based interactions during the pandemic. “Quarantine has tested us all, especially families with young children,” said DMPA Education Manager, Karoline Myers. “The Wellmark Family Series has always been about providing opportunities for families to spend quality time together and to create lasting memories. These innovative virtual experiences, brought to us from artists around the world, continue that tradition while meeting the unique needs of families at this moment.” Visit to learn more.

VIRTUAL MAGIC ACADEMY with THE AMAZING MAX: Episode 2. Sat Feb 6 – 11 AM (LIVE). Tickets start at $20 per device. Back by popular demand! The Amazing Max returns with all new tricks for young magicians to learn! No previous magic experience required. 
MOUNTAIN GOAT MOUNTAIN. Sat Feb 20 – Sunday, March 7, 2021 (any time of your family’s choosing). Tickets start at $10 per device. Families are invited to enjoy a screen-free, virtual theater adventure direct from Australia.
Hour-Long performances at 10 AM, 10:30 AM, 11 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM, 2 PM, 2:30 PM and 3 PM. Tickets start at $10 per device. Hogwarts meets virtual escape room in this interactive, visually-stunning Zoom performanceThe University of Wonder & Imagination, presented by Belfast based theatre company Cahoots NI, is now enrolling students of all ages and magical abilities. The decisions made by the audience during the event will shape each unique experience.

  1. Stephens Auditorium, managed by VenuWorks, is presenting SLEEP SQUAD, a family-friendly, interactive, virtual theater experience that turns your home into a rocket ship to launch kids into their dreams. Featuring brand new, unique, kid-driven comedy and music, this world premiere on-demand production creates a new kind of bedtime ritual for kids age 4-12.  

Virtual show dates are Feb 4-21, 2021.  Performances are available starting at 6pm Central for the show date purchased and can be viewed any number of times for 14 days thereafter. On demand family passes will be available to the general public at
SLEEP SQUAD is brought to you by the “masterfully hilarious” Story Pirates, “some of the best creators and performers in kids’ media today” (Sirius XM). And it’s more than an on-demand evening of entertainment; it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that leaps off the screen to create performance-like, immersive family fun right at home.

Prep Iowa
  1. Leaving Iowa and Stuart Little are the next two shows to be presented in repertory by the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Beginning Feb 19, these shows will be presented in the spacious confines, employing masking and social distancing, of the mainstage theater. The shows also will be offered streaming.
  1. Iowa Stage Theatre Company, central Iowa’s home for award-winning theater that inspires, enlightens and entertains, is announcing a three-show virtual season in the spring of 2021. Three shows will be presented on the streaming platform Broadway On Demand. They are:

Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield (March) is the story of the relationship between two women that spans love, children, skydiving and illness, told in a creative and fluid style that keeps the audience guessing.
The Agitators by Mat Smart (April) tells the story of the decades long friendship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, their partnership and falling out.
Exit Strategy by Ike Holter (May) looks at the faculty and staff of an inner-city high school as they fight the system and each other to keep it open.
Full information at

  1. The Des Moines Symphony is committed to bringing a continuous schedule of performance opportunities, virtually, as they weather the pandemic while continuing to enhance our community through world-class, award-winning programming. Check out the lineup at

Love triangles! Storms! Disguises! Riverside’s “Will Power” educational tour is now a YouTube series that dives into Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night. Made for middle schoolers — but suitable for scholars of any age — this is Shakespeare as it was meant to be: vital, occasionally raucous, and for the “now”.
Today’s episode is an overview of Twelfth Night, featuring stop motion animation and a lesson on masked entrances! Written and performed by Crystal Marie Stewart and Christina Farrell, with video production by Dominick Shults. New episodes will be released weekly through April 5.
Crafted to incorporate Iowa Core Reading Literature Standards while delivering information in a fun and accessible way, these webisodes bring Shakespeare to life in 2021 like never before. Please subscribe on Riverside Education’s new YouTube Channel and share with young scholars and aspiring thespians!
Sharks, money and great advice –

“Build Wealth Like a Shark” launches today, and crosses all financial boundaries, the newest book from Jeff Busbee with Kevin Harrington. Why is this book so important? Kevin Harrington, an original Shark on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” and billionaire entrepreneur, invited just 30 top financial planners from North America to provide insightful chapters in this resource. Jeff Busbee is the only Iowa contributor, and his savvy and advice are great for anyone desiring a better handle on finances. Today you have an opportunity to attain this Life Resource book at a special price. Jeff Busbee’s offer: “As a Launch Special, we will reduce the price to $0.99 for a few hours. If you grab the Kindle version for 99 cents, I’ll be happy to send you a signed hard cover copy of the book.” BUILD Wealth Like a Shark – $0.99 Kindle version

Contact him directly at Busbee Wealth Strategies, Media contacts to this address, also.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –
11:00 AM – Dr. Mark Klein pens a brilliant debut novel in “Franklin Rock.” This inspiring tale will captivate, and Mark shares glimpses into the creative process for this gem.
“Franklin Rock is the New Age Candide!” —  Jane Stanton Hitchcock, 2020 Hammett Prize winner for Bluff
11:20 AM – Invited back to continue the dialogue started last June, Helio Fred Garcia has written one of the most insightful and helpful books of modern times, “Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It.” With all that has happened in America these past few months, now is the time for Fred to share updates for this country’s success.

“Language is power, and powerful. It can uplift, or harm. Helio Fred Garcia is an astute student of language and communication. This book offers historic examples, keen insights and valuable advice on recognizing patterns of language that can harm or lead to violence.” – David Lapan, Colonel, USMC (ret), Former Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security spokesman
11:33 AM – 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. She will be conducting a virtual Faith Writers online writer’s conference will be February 19 & 20. To register, learn more about the wonderful panel of participating writers and become connected, go to Mary’s book anchors much of her work, and “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.
“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
11:41 AM – A licensed therapist and counselor, Sandra Ingerman also is a world-renowned teacher of Shamanism. She folds her experience and teachings into a wonderful new children’s book, “The Hidden Worlds,” co-authored with Katherine Wood. Listen as Sandra provides insights into the creation of this exceptional book, which provides the engaging storytelling similar to Madeleine L’Engle’s. Revolving around four main characters, each of whom has their own Power Animals, adults will want to give this to the children in their lives – and, to save time to read it themselves.
“Sandra Ingerman weaves a powerful story, inspiring young people to soar, regardless of their circumstances. Ingerman and co-author Katherine Wood conjure four uniquely different lead characters, weave in vivid forces through their Power Animals, and find ways to bond and save they day. Young readers will love this story.” -The Culture Buzz
11:57 AM – Poet Kyle McCord reads “Poem for Rude Birds.” This award-winning poet and Drake University professor can often be found reading and organizing poetry events in Central Iowa.
12:00 PM – Theatre Midwest continues its Fresh Produce series this weekend with “Nickel and Dimed,” a powerful performance work that will keep its audiences reflecting on its content well beyond the final scene. This virtual show is available for free, but registration is required. Director Ann Woldt and Communications Director Erin Tracy bring glimpses about this show to the conversation, as we learn more about Theatre Midwest’s proclivity towards radical hospitality.
12:11 PM – Jim Autry chats about one of his latest books, also his debut novel, “The Cold Warrior: When Flying Was Dangerous and Sex Was Safe.” Jim freely pulls from his experiences as a fighter pilot stationed in France in the 1950s, crafting a story which draws the reader willingly into the wonderful journey he spins.
“Through this novel, readers are reminded of the extent and depth of (James) Autry’s talent. This bold story is imbued with poetic and informative elements, while the story captures and shares the essence of a Cold War jet fighter’s experiences.” -The Culture Buzz
12:31 PM – Katherine Wintsch returns to the show following the heralded launch of her hard cover book, “Slay Like a Mother: How to Destroy What’s Holding You Back so You Can Live the Life You Want.” Katherine boldly exposes her own journey of understanding and empowerment through this exceptional book.
“Nothing short of LIFE-CHANGING.” -Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times brstselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life and Only Love Today.
12:45 PM – “The Jane Austen Society,” Natalie Jenner’s debut novel rightfully receiving high praise, shares the journey of her book coming into existence. Her writing is exquisite, her content masterful. This is a book that will make the hearts of any Jane Austen fan beat a little faster, while drawing all others into a world that remains relevant today, thanks to Natalie.

The #1 National Bestseller

A USA Today, LA Times, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Publishers Weekly, Vancouver Sun & Indie Bestseller

One of People Magazine’s Best New Books of the Week

Starred Reviews – Library Journal  & Booklist
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. Updated hours: Sun/Mon: CLOSED; Tue – Fri: 10:00 – 5:30; 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. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
3. The Heart Hungers for Wildness, Diane Glass*
4. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
5. The Vanishing Half, Britt Bennett
6. The White Man Who Stayed, James A. Autry *
7. Classic Restaurants of Des Moines and Their Recipes, Darcy Dougherty Maulsby*
8. The Best of Me, David Sedaris
9. Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline
10. Daylight, David Baldacci
*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 Iowa performance 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.
  10. Bryan Farland, for many years, single handedly puts together the most comprehensive list of live and streaming music in Iowa. Bryan reaches out two ways, and

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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