Thursday, September 23, 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
“My father taught me that you can you read a hundred books on wisdom and write a hundred books on wisdom, but unless you apply what you learned then its only words on a page. Life is not lived with intentions, but action.”Shannon Alder, an inspirational author and therapist
Three chances to experience a ‘Dance Into Spring’
Ballet Des Moines and the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, two recipients of the Iowa Arts & Culture Recovery Grants, are teaming up to present a trio of free outdoor performances to celebrate the season’s spirit of renewal. Savor a uniquely expressive experience as the artists and its public share a return to live performing.
7:30 p.m. April 30 – Water Works Park in Des Moines
7:30 p.m. May 1 – Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City
5:30 p.m. May 2 – Riverside Park in Muscatine
dsm Magazine presents another important conversation
Caring for Your Parents on May 20, we will hear from three accomplished guest experts. This will be a virtual talk-show -style event, with dsm contributor and Iowa business leader Deidre DeJear leading candid conversations with mental health leaders, who will respond to questions from viewers. Please join us from 12-1 p.m.
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.”
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 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
  2. 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”.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 – Jon Biemer shares encouragement and insight through his book, “Our Environmental Handprints: Recover the Land, Reverse Global Warming, Reclaim the Future.” Jon’s welcoming messages invite people on the individual level to find ways to contribute to the saving of our environment for future generations.
“The Handprint—what a beautiful and elegant metaphor and example for respectfully and lovingly saving our planet from the ravages of climate change and environmental degradation!” 
—Thom Hartmann, author of “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight” and “Unequal Protection”
11:13 AM – One of Iowa’s most collaborative and diverse creatives used the pandemic to finish a dream project that started many years ago: his first album. Mark Heggen’s album “Poptop” is filled with joy, whimsy and wonderfully appealing music.
“Infused in the music, the lyrics, and the very storytelling of Mark Heggen and his debut album gem, “Poptop,” is his diverse creative career. Heggen shares his survivalist’s joy through music for others to similarly experience.” –The Culture Buzz
11:25 AM – Iowa poet John D. Thompson talks about his new collection, “Iowa Poems 175,” celebrating Iowa’s 175th year since statehood. John shares how this collection came into being, and, thorugh his obvious passion for poetry and Iowa, we are drawn to another exceptional collection celebrating our home state.
11:36 AM – Iowa poet John D. Thompson reads “Railroad Expansion in Iowa: Is Everybody in Iowa on Board with This?” from his new collection, “Iowa Poems 175” celebrating Iowa’s 175th year since statehood.
11:39 AM – Rick and Jim Autry co-authored an impressive book, “Everyday Virtues: Classic Tales to Read with Kids.” His lively conversation covers the history and development of this book, a rare treat for sharing with young and emerging readers. Thoroughly researched and meticulously crafted, the Autrys have forged a modern classic sure to become a dog-eared regular read for parents and grandparents with their young charges.
“What a wonderful way to introduce and open a conversation on the essential elements of good character. Well done.” -Kathleen Turner, actor and activist
11:57 AM – Poet Salvatore Marici reads “Appetizer for Two” from his collection, “Swish Swirl Sniff.”
12:00 PM – 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
12:14 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.
12:27 PM – 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
12:48 PM – Jason Haglund of COVID Recovery Iowa provides an update about the wealth of services it provides Iowans during this ever-changing pandemic landscape.
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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