Sunday, January 23, 2022

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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

“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. In mid-1960s suburban Cape Cod, Kurt Vonnegut—whose ink sketches and signed monographs now command up to $5,000 each—was unknown and his books were out of print. “I was rescued by Paul Engle’s Writers’ Workshop in the mid 1960s,” Vonnegut recalled, “and he didn’t know me, and I don’t think he had ever heard of me. He didn’t read that kind of crap.” (From “How the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Saved Kurt Vonnegut’s Fledgling Career,”

Iowa awaits all cultural adventurers
Iowa’s Tourism office invites Iowans and visitors to ‘Travel Iowa’ and explore the many wonders awaiting cultural adventurers. Their website is filled with easy to navigate, helpful information, tools and much more to help anyone plan visits to great destinations from border to border, and river to river. You can even order your hard copy of the new travel guide.
Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. The Des Moines Community Playhouse prepares to launch its next duo of shows, “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein” (opening Apr 9) and “The Velveteen Rabbit” (opening Apr 16). These two shows will continue their successful presentation format of repertory (each show every other week). More info and tickets, go to
  2. See how one family holds up under the pressures of 24-7 togetherness! Laugh with us as Ankeny Community Theatrepresents Stuck at Home by Bryan Starchman on Sun Apr 11 at 6:30 pm!
  3. Visit for more information on Scriptease, and visit Iowa Stage Theatre Youtube page for their latest audio drama. Audio dramas are released every two weeks. Our latest is Chekov’s The Ninny, from our series “Love, for Short“. You can also subscribe to our patreon at ‘’ to access our Scriptease Audio Drama Catalogue, featuring our first three audio dramas from “Love, for Short”.
  4. DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts continues Apr 7, 14, and 22 with three more authors providing virtual presentations 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
  5. Teachers, parents, and schools across the country will gain access to Des Moines Metro Opera’s Virtual Opera Curriculum, an online music education series offered as part of the organization’s OPERA Iowa programming. This engaging virtual curriculum teaches students the basics of opera, culminating with a professional, filmed performance of the children’s opera, Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid. The curriculum series will be available for classroom use through July 2, 2021, and includes short informational videos like “What is Opera?” and “How Do You Sing Like That?” as well as related activities, worksheets and games to increase engagement with students and to check for understanding.
  6. Civic Music Association presents the next offering in its Play On Series. Enjoy the same strong benefits of great music, as they have presented for almost a century. Sat Mar 27, enjoy the free concert of The Real Ambassadors in the Louis Armstrong House, New York City. This livestream happens at 7:00 PM, and is sponsored by G. David (dec.) & Trudy Holman Hurd.
  7. The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions Sun Apr 11 (due to first Sunday being Easter), when May will mark the actual first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


  1. Sneak a peek at Moberg Gallery of Chris Vance’s 2021 exhibit and become a VIP for presales and exclusive offers with a click on the link.
  2. “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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 – Jessica O’Riley shares resources and ideas for exploring Iowa, and offers to send a free Travel Iowa tour guide to anyone wanting an exceptional magazine describing the bounty of cultural, natural, heritage, festival and other adventures awaiting anyone across this state.
11:14 AM – A marvelously articulate and energized speaker, researcher and author, Rachelle Chase shares news of her new nonprofit, Uniting Through History. With several engaging programs and initiatives, Rachelle is a cultural catalyst who will continue making a positive impact through her vision that understanding and exploring history will help us today and into the future.
“Rachelle Chase has a powerful penchant for researching and sharing the power of history into the modern context and importance. Her mission is to inform, enlighten and engage all people into a better understanding of how history, with all of its diversity, can make us a stronger, better world today.” – The Culture Buzz
11:28 AM – Writer, historian and artist Gary Kelley has brought his diverse talents together to create a memorable historical graphic novel, “Moon of the Snow-Blind (Spirit Lake),” a powerful and shared perspective of what Iowa schools have taught as the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre. Gary describes his long relationship with this chapter in Iowa/America history, and how he wanted to provide the added perspective from Inkpaduta’s view.
“Growing up in Storm Lake, about 60 miles south of Okoboji, we learned the Abby Gardner version of the Spirit Lake massacre. Gary Kelley gives us a fuller picture of a Native people hunted and starved by encroaching White brigades. School children today, and adults, should read Kelley’s book that puts you in the scene and gives a fairer account of an important chapter in North American history.” —Art Cullen, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The Storm Lake Times and author of the book, Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland
11:44 AM – Children’s book author and illustrator Wendy Rouillard shares news about her newest Barnaby Bear gem “Where, Oh Where, Is Barnaby Bear?” Wendy tells us about the development of her lovable hero, and how Barnaby exemplifies great character traits he shares with those young readers, and the adults who lead the reading.
“Wendy Rouillard’s gift of visual and text magic manifest again in her newest offering, ‘Where, Oh Where, Is Barnaby Bear?’ Adults will delight in sharing the reading journey, the imagination of the mind, as they bring young minds to the gentle literary hugs that Barnaby and his adventures deliver. Valuable life lessons are artfully tucked into its content, adding rare developmental value to Rouillard’s series.” – The Culture Buzz
11:58 AM – Poet Jennifer Perrine reads her “If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade.”
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 – A preview conversation about the Des Moines Playhouse’s next production, “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein.” One of Des Moines’ most talented musical theatre performers returns to Iowa from a decade of success in New York City, including national tours and much more. Amy Burgmaier shares news about her professional life as a Broadway performer, how her career path was altered from the pandemic, and the glories of being part of this production, opening Fri Apr 9.
12:42 PM – Opening Fri Apr 16, the other half of the new repertory duo at the Des Moines Playhouse is “The Velveteen Rabbit,” the classic children’s book delightfully adapted to stage as a Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show. Director Charissa Hamel shares insights about this production as we chat about the magic of bringing a popular children’s story to life on the stage.

12:53 PM – The Hot Sardines track, ‘Your Feet’s Too Big,” is a raucous, delightful toe-tapper.

12:57 PM – In addition to being recognized as one of the world’s best existential thriller writers, Mike Bond also has successfully dipped his creative quill into the poet’s inkwell. Here he reads the title poem from his collection “The Drum That Beats Within Us.”
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 Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
2. Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
3. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, Walter Isaacson
4. Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage, Anne Lamott
5. We Are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom
6. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
7. California Calling, Martin McGrane*
8. Hidden Valley Road, Robert Kolker
9. The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah
10. The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
*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. 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.
  4. Always changing, always beckoning, Iowa is a wonderland of cultural, natural and culinary delights. For your guide book, contact the Iowa Tourism office, visit their website, and get a hard coy of the new travel guide at

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. Dog-eared Books, Ames.
  4. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events),
  5. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown.
  6. Book Vault, Oskaloosa.
  7. 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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