Thursday, October 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
I think asking whether these long-gone figures such as [John] Muir could have known better is asking whether the past itself could have been better. It could have been better, but now it can’t; it’s done and gone. But the future can be better, and we in the present are making that future now. And part of making a better future involves reexamining the past and trying to repair what was broken and hear who was silenced then.” Rebecca Solnit, American writer, author of “Recollections of My Nonexistence (Marchc 2021), “Unfinished Business: John Muir in Native America,” Sierra (Mar/Apr 2021)
Callista Gould’s “The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career” Tip of the Week – Give Them Something to Talk About
Many college students take their resume and transcribe it into their Linkedin profile. And there it sits… looking very resume-like. What a huge, missed opportunity – for students, or anybody, really. Linkedin is a chance to bring your resume or your business to life – to add energy, vitality… and maybe a little sparkle. (Okay, sparkle’s not for everyone.) How? By posting photos. Visualize ways you can take your current activities, classes, projects, internships, volunteer work, hobbies, interests or travels and put photos to it.
– From Callista Gould, Author and Certified Etiquette Instructor
Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. Iowa Stage Theatre Company’s production of Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield will be available on demand through Mar 14, online. This 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.
  2. Ankeny Community Theatre continues its Readers Virtual Theatre in March with two productions: March 14 is Loving by Peter Manoa and March 28 is Triffles by Susan Glaspell.
  3. Comedian John Bush and pal Patrick Albanese from ‘Triple Espresso’ Wed, March 10, 2021/ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST. Surety Hotel, 206 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309
  4. The Ames Community Arts Council’s March Gathering of Artists will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, March 16 at 6 p.m. Join us to learn about the Ames History Museum. This event is free and open to everyone. or email for registration information.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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. Visit to learn more.
  8. Des Moines Metro Opera’s (DMMO) Virtual Concert Series continues next month with Zachary James on Broadway, which premieres Friday, March 19 at 7:30pm (CST). or by calling the DMMO Box Office at (515) 961-6221.
  9. Des Moines Performing Arts. UNIVERSITY OF WONDER & IMAGINATION. Fri, Mar 19 – Sun Mar 21, 2021 (LIVE) 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. Visit to learn more. 


  1. “Compelling Ground: Landscapes, Environments, and Peoples of Iowa” is open now through July 23 at the Brunnier Art Museum in Ames, IA. Exhibition features art and installations from nineteen artists inspired by Iowa’s landscape.
  2. Des Moines Art Center, in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery through May 23, 2021. The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art is the first survey and major scholarly assessment of this groundbreaking artist’s 37-year career. Human/Nature: An Exhibition Inspired by the Art of Judith Schaechter, in the John Brady Print Gallery. Artist Judith Schaechter worked with Curatorial Manager Laura Burkhalter to choose work from the Art Center’s collection by artists who inspire her or which contains thematic connections to her masterful glass constructions.
  3. The Grinnell College Museum of Art is open by appointment, Tue thru Sat, noon to 5 pm. Visitors who need to schedule a visit on Mondays or mornings, please Director Lesley Wright, Also contact Lesley Wright if you want to come with a group.
  4. Terrace Hill Opens for Tours, are available by reservation. Tours are at 10:30 and 12:00, Tuesday – Saturday. Please call 515-242-5841 to make a reservation.

“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.
  3. FarmHer is an incredibly creative enterprise, Iowa-based and woman-owned. Marji offers a way to enjoy her messages, products and cause, while cloaking yourself in unique casual wear. “We love Women’s History Month, and to celebrate we’re are giving all FarmHer babes 15% off long sleeves. Use promo code BABE15 at checkout to receive 15% off all your cozy favorites like this black camo pullover jacket. The sale ends March 22.”

Celebrate Iowa’s History Month this March
Iowa’s Department of Cultural Affairs celebrates wide-ranging themes in the state’s history, from the Iowa History 101 series (include Inkpaduta, Emir Abd El-Kader, The Cherry Sisters, and Donna Reed), the Iowa History Book Club featuring legendary historian Dorothy Schwieder’s “Iowa: The Middle Land,” and a new exhibition exploring more than 13,000 years of history with artifacts. Information is available at
Cultural Lifelong Learning
JJ Gaffers – Award-winning hot glass artist Jesse Bogenrief leads COVID-safe workshops for those interested in learning about glass blowing. This studio is conveniently located in Mainfram Studios, 900 Keo Way, Des Moines. Jesse’s expertise encourages students from 7 to 87 to expand their creative horizons.
This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –
11:00 AM – After a long absence, gifted writer Marj Charlier returns with a dynamic historical novel, “The Rebel Nun.” Listen as Marj provides some peeks into this powerful story she has captured.
”Vividly imagines one of the most fascinating events to occur in sixth-century Gaul, bringing into focus the complexity of the early centuries of Western Christianity as the Church struggled to define its positions on clerical celibacy, the role of women, pre-Christian traditions, and its relationship to secular power. Scholars have long been fascinated with Gregory of Tours’s account of how a rebellion of nuns from the monastery of the Holy Cross in Poitiers supposedly resulted in acts of murder, plunder, and unplanned pregnancies. It is a moment that has been calling out for a writer to do it justice in a work of historical fiction, but which feat no one has dared to attempt — until now. Marj Charlier’s The Rebel Nun brings the sights, sounds, and smells of this event and its aftermath to life in a richly imagined story that is firmly rooted in equal parts rigorous historical research and inspired, creative imagination.” —Dorsey Armstrong, PhD, professor of English/medieval studies at Purdue University, and lecturer for The Great Courses (”The Medieval World,” ”The Black Death,” and others)
11:18 AM – He’s an anthropologist, archeologist, avid bicycler, veteran writer and much more, and Michael McCoy infuses his wealth of experience and knowledge into a powerful debut novel, ”Sleeping  Dogs Don’t Lie.” Listen as Mike shares the origins of this spellbinding story, introducing us to a marvelous hero, Clifford Gustafson.
“A high-energy romp of a story peopled with memorable and original characters and a lively dose of murder and mystery. Michael McCoy’s debut novel begs for an encore.” – Ann Hillerman, author of the award-winning Leaphorn-Chee-Manuelito mysteries
11:34 AM – 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
“It is refreshing to be present when an author takes a step in a new direction, and John Shors once again proves he is a master of his craft. This is an exceptional novel, one that pleads to become cinematic.” – San Francisco Review of Books
11:48 AM – Poet Diane Glass shares insights about her new collection, “The Heart Hungers for Wildness.” This collection is masterfully conceived, crafted and delivered, and a very worthy addition to anyone’s collection of poetry.
“…here is a well of generosity of spirit in these poems to feed the wild hearts of all readers.”
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg – Kansas Poet Laureate Emerita
12:00 PM – The new issue of Iowa History Journal is available – subscriptions are highly recommended – as John Pregler chats about the first of his two-part series on Abraham Lincoln, “Locating Lincoln.” This story reveals nine days of Lincoln’s life that historians previously had not accounted for, and much time in Iowa was part of that time.
12:14 PM – 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
12:26 PM – Chad Elliott releases his newest album, “Tangle with the Ghost,” and it is another gem, filled with evocative tracks that will take its listeners on more musical and lyrical adventures with Iowa’s Renaissance Man.
“Chad Elliott fills his songs with rich, complex elements that somehow resonate with his audiences with a bonding clarity. To include as much of Elliott’s music in your life as possible is to enrich your life.” – The Culture Buzz
12:42 PM – New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson shares fascinating glimpses into his newest book, the captivating “The Splendid and the Vile.” Erik talks about what inspired him to focus on a very specific time in England’s history, the beginning of WW II when London was experiencing the wrath of Germany’s bombing raids. Anchored by Erik’s masterful penchant for history-based storytelling, this is an exceptionally appealing read.
“Through the remarkably skillful use of intimate diaries as well as public documents, some newly released, Larson has transformed the well-known record of 12 turbulent months, stretching from May of 1940 through May of 1941, into a book that is fresh, fast and deeply moving.”—Candice Millard, The New York Times Book Review
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. The Heart Hungers for Wildness, Diane Glass*
2. Coach Maury John’s Journey to the Pinnacle of College Hoops, Kris Kesterson*
3. The Boundless Compassion Journal, Joyce Rupp*
4. The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah
5. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
6. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, Heather McGhee
7. Hidden Valley Road, Robert Kolker
8. Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, Ibram X. Kendi
9. The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri
10. The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
*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

Prep Iowa
  1. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. You can add your name to their audition notice list at
  3. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  4. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. 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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