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
“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”
― Albert Einstein (1879-1955) theoretical physicist
Connecting with one of Iowa’s premier magazines for its next unveiling
Deidre DeJear, Karla Walsh and our friends at Hy-Vee and NCMIC April 29 at 7 p.m. for a dsm dinner party and the launch of the May/June issue of dsm. NCMIC, our host for the evening, is celebrating its 75th anniversary by offering diners a gift basket with a bottle of Seyval Blanc, a dry white wine from Covered Bridges Winery, along with commemorative Riedel wine glasses. Hy-Vee will serve an assortment of freshly prepared, high-end charcuterie items carefully selected by the store’s culinary team. The feast will be paired with sparkling wine. You’ll also receive the latest issue of dsm magazine when you pick up your dinner, which will be from 4 to 6 p.m. that same night at the Mills Civic Hy-Vee (555 S. 51st St, West Des Moines).
Great Iowa musician takes the stage in East Village
Bonne Finken Friday – the FULL BAND is playing at Wooly’s 4/16 (catch this week’s recent Culture Buzz interview with Bonne, and how she coped with the pandemic). https://www.bonnefinken.com/live
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. traveliowa.com
Cultural exploration opportunities

  • The Des Moines Community Playhouse opens the second of its current duo of shows, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” Fri Apr 16. “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein” continues on alternating weeks. For more info and tickets, go to www.dmplayhouse.com
  • Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre returns to the performing realm with a virtual experience unlike any they have previously produced. She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms is an online theatrical experience that tells the story of Agnes Evans, a high schooler in Ohio who thinks of herself as the world’s most average teenager—until her little sister Tilly suddenly dies. Apr 22-25. Ticket info and reservations at https://www.dmyat.org/she-kills-monsters
  • Ankeny Community Theatre presents Amber Waves by James Stills in our next Readers Virtual Theater! The rehearsed reading is presented and live streamed with permission from Concorde Theatricals. Join us on Sunday April 25 at 6:30 PM! Get your reservation – free.
  • Visit iowastage.org 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 ‘patreon.com/iowastage’ to access our Scriptease Audio Drama Catalogue, featuring our first three audio dramas from “Love, for Short”.
  • DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts continues Apr 14 and 22 with authors providing virtual presentations, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. https://dmacc.edu/departments/english/Pages/events-detail.aspx
  • 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.
  • Civic Music Association presents the next offering in its Play On Series. This livestream happens at 7:00 PM, and is sponsored by G. David (dec.) & Trudy Holman Hurd. https://civicmusic.org/play-on/
  • The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater. www.cjc-dsm.org


  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. https://www.museums.iastate.edu/visit/brunnier-art-museum
  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. https://www.desmoinesartcenter.org/exhibitions/current
  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, wrightl@grinnell.edu. Also contact Lesley Wright if you want to come with a group. https://www.grinnell.edu/life-grinnell/arts-culture/museum/exhibitions
  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. tangerinefoodco.square.site.
  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. https://farmher.com/

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. https://www.jjgaffers.com/classes
This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz – 
11:00 AM – Mike Bond is a multi-faceted and very talented writer, having established himself as “the master of the existential thriller.” Add a recently published poetry collection, it’s no surprise that he launches a new series, “America” (Volume 1). Mike shares glimpses into this new realm, beginning in The Sixties, a time “that shook the foundation of America.” This is the first of his seven-volume historical novel series capturing the victories and heartbreaks of the last 70 years.
“One of the 21st Century’s most exciting authors.” -The Washington Post
11:17 AM – Iowa author Joseph LeValley, building on his growing national reputation as a thriller writer, chats about his newest novel. “The Third Side of Murder” brings the next Tony Harrington thriller.
“(Joseph) LeValley gives us a wonderful new protagonist through which we will savor each delectable page of his adventures. Tony Harrington has an appeal that draws readers into this newest novel, ‘The Third Side of Murder,’ as LeValley takes us on global adventures.” 
11:33 AM – With exceptional flair and appeal, author Cate Holahan’s new novel, “Her Three Lives,” quickly draws the reader into her latest offering. An award-winning writer of domestic suspense novels, Cate shares insights into another adventure she crafts with her usual richly detailed characters, settings, and suspense.
“In this tempestuous thriller…the couple’s relationship deteriorates as their respective stories unfold in alternating sections, tension and paranoia mounting in tandem…[The] abundant drama and escalating stakes rivet.” — “Publishers Weekly”
11:45 AM – G. Wayne Miller, author of “The Toy Wars,” “Kid Number One” and “Blue Hill,” returns to lead an engaging chat, anchored by his experienced perspective on the recent Mr. Potato Head brouhaha. Wayne brings a lively viewpoint to this conversation, adding some other great news about other cultural contributions he is making through his “Story in the Public Square” on PBS.
“G. Wayne Miller brings a Renaissance diversification to any project in which he’s engaged, whether a new book, a television series, a film, or a stimulating discourse on pop culture. Thoughtful and detailed in his work, anyone who connects with it will benefit.”
 – The Culture Buzz
12:00 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.
12:11 PM – At Wooly’s in Des Moines Fri Apr 16. 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


12:29 PM – Ed Hajim’s path to personal discovery and success is uncommon, yet filled with a bounty of inspiration and wisdom we all can benefit from. In his new book, “On the Road Less Traveled: An Unlikely Journey from the Orphanage to the Boardroom,” Ed shares his life path while clearly defining key factors that anyone can use.
“On the Road Less Traveled is a moving personal history that demonstrates the importance of being faithful to one’s core values – a roadmap for a life well lived.” – Renée Fleming
12:47 PM – The Iowa International Center takes its first steps toward the next Passport to Prosperity celebration and recognition by seeking nominations for this year’s honorees. Kassi Bailey shares information about the process, plus some background about this exceptional organization. https://iowainternationalcenter.org/passport-to-prosperity-2020-information-tickets/passport-to-prosperity-nomination/
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. 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. 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 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. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.dmplayhouse.com/volunteer/audition/
  2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. You can add your name to their audition notice list at https://www.iowastage.org/audition
  3. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.theatremidwest.org/auditions.html
  4. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.dmyat.org/

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/
  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 traveliowa.com.

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. Dog-eared Books, Ames. https://dogearedbooksames.com/
  4. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events), http://www.artisangallery218.com/
  5. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown. https://read-a-book-nook.business.site/
  6. Book Vault, Oskaloosa. https://bookvault.indielite.org/
  7. 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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