Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


The Covid-19 pandemic persists. Be safe. Be considerate. Be compassionate.
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
“Integrity has no need of rules.” – Albert Camus (1913-1960) French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957,The Myth of Sysyphus (1942)
Community Wellness connection
Project developer Courageous Fire offers an important event, “Birth through Ascension,” livestreaming on Feb 20. Courageous shares her insights into why the problems of domestic violence have profound impacts on every part of a community, and why we all need to be informed and proactive. Her voice comes from overcoming her own challenges, bringing a vital understanding to this issue.
“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. tangerinefoodco.square.site.

Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. OPENING THIS FRIDAY: Leaving Iowa and Stuart Little (opens Feb 26) are the next two shows to be presented in repertory by the Des Moines Community Playhouse. 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. https://www.dmplayhouse.com/
  2. OPENING THIS SATURDAY: 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. Visit DMPA.org to learn more.
  3. The 32nd Annual (first virtual) AMES TOWN & GOWN MUSICALE. Sat Feb 20, 2021 at 7:30 pm (Central Time). FREE TO THE PUBLIC. View through our website – www.amestownandgown.org. The Ames Town & Gown Musicale, a special event featuring some of the most talented and generous musicians of central Iowa. Town & Gown’s artistic director Paula Forrest produced the first Musicale in 1990 to highlight and celebrate the exceptional talent of our community. The Musicale is now a beloved yearly tradition.
  4. 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 through Feb 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 https://www.stellartickets.com/events/sleep-squad-and-stephens-auditorium/a-virtual-theatre-experience.
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.

  1. Civic Music Association provides the same strong threads of great music as thy have for almost a century, just now through virtual means. Enjoy their upcoming offerings through the new Play On Series. https://civicmusic.org/play-on/
  1. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre pairs experienced performers with emerging performers for a unique performance experience that will also raise funds for their programming and operations. “Duets” matches one rising star with one veteran performer, a slate of duos sure to captivate and inspire. This event, under the musical direction of Francine Griffith and direction of Charissa Hamel, airs Fri Feb 26 through DMYAT.org and DMYAT’s social platforms. https://www.dmyat.org/duets-2021
  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 https://www.iowastage.org/post/iowa-stage-theatre-company-presents-virtual-season

  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 https://www.dmsymphony.org/concerts-events/
  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 DMPA.org to learn more.

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.
This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz – 
11:00 AM – Jennifer Brockpahler of the Ames Community Arts Council shares information about their first virtual “Business of Art Conference.” Previous conferences have received praise from participating artists as they build their ancillary skills to better support their core business: their artistry. Check out the slate of excellent presenters awaiting creatives seeking to enhance their chances for success.
11:11 AM – Callista Gould (The Exceptional Professional) returns to again share wisdom and safe advice for anyone to better navigate the waters of business, social and communication waters. The topic today is how to become better at ‘story getting’ and why it’s an important skill to develop. Her book is a must have for anyone – whether just graduating, or desiring to make themselves better in their work, community and world.
11:23 AM – nature of the dream holds much promise as a revolutionary performance arts experience. Listen as Miriam Randolph (director/producer) and Kierra Lewis (assistant director/producer) shares glimpses into this unique blend of expressive disciplines into an enlightening, bold cinematic project, done in collaboration with the Des Moines Community Playhouse and encouraged by Pyramid Theatre Company.
11:36 AM – Briana Cole is a multi-faceted creative who infuses her writing with her enthusiasm and bounty of artistic experiences. Preferring ‘relationship novels’ to ‘romance novels,’ her latest offering, “The Marriage Pass,” gives romance readers all they could ask for while expanding its audiences for those drawn to non-traditional literary license. Briana shares glimpses into her newest, compelling work, as well as the process in bringing it to completion.
11:49 AM – Much more than just a musician, Chad Elliott – Iowa’s Renaissance Man – recently published a collection of his poetry in “Rumble and Flash.” Here he reads “Epitaph” from that book.
11:50 AM – Mary Potter Kenyon leverages the power of being virtual to present The Faith Writers online writer’s conference will be Feb 19 & 20th. The keynote speaker for the conference is literary agent and author Cynthia Ruchti. Mary has developed events such as this that have received high praise for content, energy and connections – this promises to be another such gem.
11:59 AM – Another gem from Chad Elliott’s “Rumble and Flash.” This is “Ringgold County.”
12:00 PM – The leading authority on researching, writing and bringing modern relevance to an incredible chapter in Iowans and American history, Rachelle Chase provides an update on her work on the Buxton Legacy. Rachelle has authored two books on this incredible time in SE Iowa, and has developed extensive programming and presentations that will lead into expanding awareness and understanding of a time that should be celebrated and reflected today.
12:17 PM – Previewing the next Des Moines Playhouse live performance, director Peter Dean chats about the delightful road trip comedy, “Leaving Iowa,” opening Fri Feb 19. Peter shares a little bit about the production, sure to be a perfect escape as we slog our ways out of winter. Social distancing and masks in the theatre, with a virtual option available. Either way, enjoy.
12:28 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. She will be conducting a virtual author’s presentation through Beaverdale Books on Mon Feb 22. Mary’s book, “Called to Be Creative: A Guide to Reigniting Your Creativity,” anchors much of her work, and 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
12:35 PM – Writer/director Charlie Griak and star Megan Hensley take a moment from their busy post-production schedule to share insights into their feature film, “Nina of the Woods.” Getting plenty of attention in major film festivals, Charlie and Megan share insights about the process, and the special bond established by crew and cast to create this masterful supernatural thriller. Check out the movie’s trailer on their website, and discover where you can rent this film.
“An actress’ role becomes an unexplained adventure into Mother Nature’s Abyss.”
12:55 PM – Susan Werner’s wit, talents and musicianship are on a level few achieve, but countless cherish. Here, she presents “City Kids,” from her iconic album HAYSEED. If you don’t have Susan’s music as a cornerstone of your music collection, your collection is missing a vital component.
Cultural nuggets – 

Prep Iowa
  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. https://www.facebook.com/covidrecoveryIowa

Beaverdale Books offers curbside service, or delivery service. Updated hours: Sun/Mon: CLOSED; Tue – Fri: 10:00 – 5:30; Sat: 10:00 – 5:00
http://beaverdalebooks.com/      515-279-5400
Top Ten sellers in our store last month – see what everyone’s reading!
1. Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age, Sanjay Gupta
2. Coach Maury John’s Journey to the Pinnacle of College Hoops, Kris Kesterson*
3. California Calling, Martin McGrane*
4. Bess the Barn, Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia*
5. Classic Restaurants of Des Moines and Their Recipes, Darcy Dougherty Maulsby*
6. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
7. The Heart Hungers for Wildness, Diane Glass*
8. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
9. A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection, Steve Martin
10. This Is Your Time, Ruby Bridges
*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 https://cultureandmanners.com/ 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 – www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com; Facebook: Ankeny Community Theatre
Carousel Theatre of Indianola – www.carouseltheatre.org; Facebook: Carousel Theatre Indianola
Class Act Productions – www.captheatre.org; Facebook: CAPTheatre
Des Moines Community Playhouse/Kate Goldman Theatre – www.dmplayhouse.com; Facebook: DMPlayhouse
Des Moines Performing Arts/Temple Theater – www.desmoinesperformingarts.org; Facebook: Des Moines Performing Arts
Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre – www.dmyat.org; Facebook: DM Young Artists Theatre
Iowa Shakespeare Experience – www.iowashakespeare.org; Facebook: Iowa Shakespeare Experience
Iowa Stage Theatre Company – www.iowastage.org; Facebook: Iowa Stage Theatre Company
Pyramid Theatre Company – www.pyramidtheatre.org; Facebook: Pyramid Theatre Company
Tallgrass Theatre Company – www.tallgrasstheatre.org; Facebook: Tallgrass Theatre Company
TheatreMidwest – www.theatremidwest.org; Facebook: TheatreMidwest
Urbandale Community Theatre – www.urbandaletheatre.com; Facebook: Urbandale Community Theatre

  1. Des Moines Community Playhouse. No auditions are currently scheduled. https://www.dmplayhouse.com/volunteer/audition/
  2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. No auditions are currently scheduled, but you can add your name to their audition notice list at https://www.iowastage.org/audition
  3. Theatre Midwest. No auditions are currently scheduled, but you can check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.theatremidwest.org/auditions.html

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. https://www.nocedsm.com/
  2. Civic Music Association announces its 2020-2021 Season. Check it out. https://civicmusic.org/concerts/
  3. The Des Moines Symphony will present an appealing series of concert experiences. Check for details. https://www.dmsymphony.org/

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. http://www.beaverdalebooks.com/
  2. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola. http://www.pageturnersbookstore.com/
  3. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events), http://www.artisangallery218.com/
  4. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown. https://read-a-book-nook.business.site/
  5. Book Vault, Oskaloosa. https://bookvault.indielite.org/
  6. Prairie Lights Books & Cafe, Iowa City. https://www.prairielights.com/

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. http://www.TheCultureBuzz.com/
  2. Center Stage – This Cityview monthly column provides insights into Central Iowa’s theatre. Distributed throughout the region and available online. Current column: http://www.dmcityview.com/center-stage
  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. http://www.dmcityview.com/
  4. dsm Magazine – Central Iowa’s gateway to arts, culture and more in a stunning, visual format. https://dsmmagazine.com/ dsm’s CultureCast podcast features interviews with cultural leaders, artists and musicians. https://dsmmagazine.com/culturecast/
  5. ia Magazine – Built upon the success of its Central Iowa counterpart, this annual gem brings enticing cultural news from across the state. https://iapublication.com/
  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. http://artbeacondesmoines.com/
  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. https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/900views-pat-boddy-RCELj1xc7Wh/
  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. http://dmcommunityjazzcenter.org/
  9. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues. www.cibs.org
  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, https://www.facebook.com/TheListDSM and farlanbr@dsmlivemusic.com

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

  •  1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org
    United Way 211: Dial 211, text ZIP code to 898211 or visit 211iowa.org
    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: dmpcc.org
    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: iowacrisischat.org
    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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