Monday, September 20, 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
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” —Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) American aviation pioneer and author
Connecting with one of Iowa’s premier magazines for its next launch
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).
Big step forward for a Central Iowa literary destination.
Beaverdale Books survived the pandemic, thanks to its loyal fans. Now some great news:
They opened their doors to browsing! “Great news, everyone!  We are planning to re-open for browsing tomorrow!  We’ve been getting vaccinated and preparing the store and can’t wait to see you! Of course, a few guidelines are necessary, the first being MASKS ARE REQUIRED for everyone over two years old.  We’ll be wearing our masks as well, and we’ll have extras available if you need one.  We also need to limit the number of customers in the store at any one time to allow for social distancing. That means six customers at a time; family bubbles will count as one. We’ll have hand sanitizer available, and will be wiping high-touch areas down frequently. If anyone wants to sign up for contact tracing, you’ll be able to leave your phone number and date of visit with us. We’ll be keeping our limited hours for the time being: Tuesday through Friday 10:00 – 5:30; Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
Curbside pickup will still be available. We are beyond excited and grateful to welcome you back!  It’s been a long 13 months, and your support and patience over that time has made this possible.  This is the first step; we may have to make some adjustments, but we hope it won’t be too long until we are fully operational again.”
Cultural exploration opportunities

  • 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
  • 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.
  • The Des Moines Community Playhouse continues its current duo of shows, “The Velveteen Rabbit” (through May 2) and “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein” (through May 9) on alternating weeks. For more info and tickets, go to
  • 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”.
  • 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.
  • The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


  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.

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 – 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.
11:13 AM – Des Moines Metro Opera’s Michael Egel (General and Artistic Director) provides an update on one of the most successful cultural organizations not only in Iowa, but in America.
“For the past 45 years, the Des Moines Metro Opera has produced an annual festival that is among the oldest and most enterprising summer opera fests in the nation.” – Chicago Tribune
11:33 AM – Jason Haglund of COVID Recovery Iowa provides an update about the wealth of services it provides Iowans during this ever-changing pandemic landscape.
11:45 AM – Iowa Stage Theatre Company prepares for its next tour de force production, “The Agitators.” Artistic Director Matt McIver is joined by one of this show’s two actors, Alissa Tschetter-Seidschlaw, to share glimpses into this history powerhouse that documents the friendship and often conflicted relationship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. This production will be presented virtually.
“In Mat Smart’s powerful telling, what goes down between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass goes way beyond bio-rama. Here we see two noble seekers of equality and hear heartstrings of the history they left unfinished.” – DC Metro Theater Arts
12:00 PM – Director Stephanie Schneider and assistant director Tony Tandeski provide insights into the Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre production, “She Kills Monsters.” This production will be available virtually Apr 22-25.
12:13 PM – Iowa author Erica Spiller brings all the loose ends of history together in covering an almost two-century span in “Iowa Women’s Corrections: A History.” Erica shares fascinating information about how Iowa handled its women prisoners, and the story is amazing.
12:25 PM – Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts, author, historian and filmmaker, co-authored the brilliant deep dive into one of the greatest artists of the 20thcentury in “The Dalí Legacy: How an Eccentric Genius Changed the Art World and Created a Lasting Legacy.” Jean-Pierre provides glimpses into the profound cultural impact Salvador Dalí had not only in the art world, but the times in which he lived and thrived. This book will draw all readers in, a beautiful tome filled with a bounty of photographs and images and written in a captivating style.
“A well-researched skeleton key with which to unlock some of Dalí’s many mysteries.”
 —Kirkus Review
12:43 PM – 10,201 miles on a bicycle. That is the journey that Sara Dykman made to follow a 3-country journey to follow the Monarch butterfly migration. Sara enthusiastically shares some of her amazing back story and love for this incredible airborne insect in a book that gives us the joy of experiencing her biking pilgrimage without having to peddle over 10,000 miles to do it.
“An extraordinary story in which Dykman seamlessly weaves together science, a real love of nature and the adventure and hazards of biking with butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back.” – Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & U.N. Messenger of Peace
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

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.
  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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