Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


The pandemic persists. Be safe. Be considerate. Be compassionate. Continue to be creative. Find ways to safely celebrate your thankfulness with family, friends and others.
– John Busbee for The Culture Buzz
2014 Iowa Governor’s Award for Partnership & Collaboration in the Art

Quote of the Week

“Life is like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger) D.65 AD, a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work, satirist, from the post-Augustan age of Latin literature.

Newsletter content:

  1. Guests on this week’s Wednesday edition
  2. Cultural exploration opportunities (Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  3. Exhibitions, Tours, Visual Artists (mostly Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  4. Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities
  5. Planning ahead
  6. Author events (Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  7. Callista Gould shares another bit of Culture & Manners wisdom
  8. Best-sellers, life resources, Greater Des Moines performing arts organizations, Central Iowa indie book stores, cultural exploration resources, health & welfare resources

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  • 11:00 AM – As part of the Iowa Artist Series, Kelsey Bigelow joins the show to share news of her latest milestone: her first CD of spoken word art, Depression Holders & Secret Keepers. Kelsey is part of a national network of fellow spoken word artists seeking to elevate the status of this special form of performance art. “(Kelsey) Bigelow’s passion radiates from her writings, which expand to her audiences through their power of the spoken word. Her album, Depression Holders & Secret Keepers, will be hailed as a major breakthrough in elevating this under-represented performance art form.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:15 AM – Diane Wald’s stunning venture into her second novel is a revelatory experience as her writing experience and gifts as a poet deliver a masterfully crafted story. Diane provides glimpses into her captivating book, My Famous Brain, during this engaging conversation. “Wald’s evocative novel manages to deftly capture the mood and myriad voices of the academic world; however, it also narrows its focus to delve deeply into the sensitive mind of its introspective protagonist…(Wald is) a writer who understands timing as much as she does a beautifully crafted sentence. A sensitive and moody take on personal connections between loved ones.” – Kirkus Reviews
  • 11:27 AM – Mary Potter Kenyon, previous guest and author of the award-winning Called to Be Creative: A Guide for Reigniting Your Creativity, shares news about her upcoming events Nov 4, 5, & 6 on grief. Mary has been a dynamic force in helping others process grief, and offers a series of opportunities for those experiencing it as well as caretakers. Two of these sessions are being offering virtually, the other in Dubuque at the Shalom Center. Mary and the Shalom Center have been offering support for years through their programming, and this is another excellent chance to help more in the grieving process.
  • 11:39 AM – The founder of Vagrant Fear Theater, David Detlefs, shares insights into one of Iowa’s newest theatre companies. Through their development process, they will be producing the world premiere of The Mirror at the Civic Center’s Stoner Theater Oct 22 & 23.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/VagrantFear/  or
  • 11:53 AM – A favorite on The Culture Buzz and the world stage, Susan Werner sings “Iowa” from her groundbreaking and beloved album, HAYSEED.
  • 12:00 PM – Thomas Hischak is the playwright who wrote Escaping the Labyrinth, which will make its world premiere Oct 15 at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Learn about Tom’s source material and inspiration as he gives us generous glimpses into this captivating and unique romantic comedy.
  • 12:11 PM – Giving an author’s presentation on Fri Oct 15 is Ben McDougal. With an aura that exudes confidence, success and inspiration, tech founder, multimedia marketer and caffeinated ecosystem builder Ben truly feeds off of the success of others he helps. His You Don’t Need This Book: Entrepreneurship in the Connected Era was a path for Ben to multiply himself and reach as many people as possible. “Jam packed with hard-earned tips, tactics and approaches for entrepreneurs of all stripes.” – Seth Godin
  • 12:25 PM – The Des Moines Community Playhouse will soon present a world premiere on its stage, and Katy Merriman, Playhouse Artist Director and Director for Escaping the Labyrinth, gives some insights into such a unique experience for her, the Playhouse crew and audiences.
  • 12:34 PM – Jamie Beck adds another illustrious feather to her writing cap with The Happy Accidents, another deliciously irresistible dive into relationships, people with major flaws, and totally drawing us through to another satisfying conclusion. Listen as Jamie provides tantalizing peeks into her newest novel, another gem. “Beck spins a poignant, multigenerational coming-of-age tale as these three women navigate their identities, dreams, and love lives. Complex and introspective, this is by turns heart-wrenching and infectiously hopeful.” – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, STARRED REVIEW
  • 12:49 PM – Passed through generations in her family, the story the Mary R. Christopher has so eloquently captured is one for many others to cherish. Adding a special perspective to life in the rugged plains of the 19th century, Our Friend Sitting Bull: The True Story of a Pioneer Couple’s Friendship with the Famous Lakota Chief expands our understanding of how relationships from bygone times were more complex and often more positive than the simplistic distillation of the ‘easy, biased history’ that has often stereotyped different peoples of those times. “Mary Christopher’s Our Friend Sitting Bull is a remarkable true story pulled from her own family’s history about a surprising friendship in the pioneer era, one  that portrays a fresh and interesting perspective of a famous historical figure. With engaging facts and a glossary for support, readers will be both entertained and educated by this fascinating tale.” —Kali White VanBaale, author and creative writing professor

Performance Arts

  1. Taste of Norway returns, Sat Oct 16, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, at Immanuel United Methodist Church, 2900-49th St. Taste of Norway is presented by Daughters of Norway – Eva Nansen Lodge #46. The event features pre-packaged Scandinavian baked goods and work by local artisans. Due to current situations, the popular lefse demonstration and breakfast and lunch café will not be part of this year’s activities. Masks are required and entry will be limited as needed to allow guests, vendors, and volunteers to maintain safe distances.
  2. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre presents Disney’s Descendants: The Musical Oct 8-17 at the Stoner Theater.
  3. The Des Moines Symphony fills its Civic Center concert hall with Jonathan Sturm, Julie Sturm, and Nicholas Roth feature in Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto, plus Walker’s Lyric for Strings and Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Fourth Symphony. Tchaikovsky’s blazing Fourth Symphony was composed in direct response to Beethoven’s Fifth. His battles with fate are vividly realized in dreamlike, lyrical passages punctuated with cosmic joy and dramatic spectacle. Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto features the intertwining melodies of Concertmaster Jonathan Sturm, Principal Cellist Julie Sturm, and pianist Nicholas Roth. But first, the Orchestra plays Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American composer George Walker’s serene Lyric for Strings.
  4. Central Iowa Wind Ensemble (CIWE) will be performing their first concert of the 21-22 Season on Sunday, October 10 at 3:00 p.m. at the Franklin Junior High. CIWE believes in the power of music to positively impact people and that is why their performances are always free. The theme for their first concert is “Spark” – People, places, and things are the at the center of each of the pieces performed.
  5. Des Moines Performing Arts THE BAND’S VISIT Oct 12 – 17, 2021. Spend an evening in the company of unforgettable strangers at The Band’s Visit—now one of the most celebrated musicals ever. Winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/events/the-bands-visit/
  6. The 2021 Ames Artists’ Studio Tour will be held on Saturday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this free, self-guided tour, patrons may choose to visit any number of the 11 participating artists and discover the original art – paintings, glass, jewelry, ceramics, and so much more – created in their studios and workspaces. Participating artists will demonstrate their craft, share techniques, and discuss what inspires their work. Visitors are welcome to ask questions and purchase artwork. Visit the artists in any order you please! Find a full map of participating artists here: http://www.amesart.org/ames-artists-studio-tour.html. The Ames Artists’ Studio Tour is headquartered at Morning Bell Coffee Roasters (111 Main St., Ames).
  7. Des Moines Community Playhouse presents a world premiere, Escaping the Labyrinth, Oct. 15-24, 2021. Selected through the American Association of Community Theatre’s national competition, NewPlayFest, the Playhouse makes its debut as a presenter in this exceptional program.
  8. Gateway Dance Theatre (GDT) will offer a virtual presentation of SPECTRUM along with a pre-show and after-show discussion Oct 15 and 16. SPECTRUM is a showcase of the arts including ten-minute plays, poetry, visual arts, dance, and music. With this performance, GDT aims to not only spotlight the arts, but also invite audience reflection. https://www.gatewaydance.org/
  9. Vagrant Fear Productions, a new Central Iowa theatre company, presents The Mirror at the Stoner Theater Oct 22 & 23 at 7:30 PM. https://www.facebook.com/groups/VagrantFear https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/events/the-mirror/
  10. Class Act Productions (CAP) Theatre presents The Addams Family Young@Part Oct 29 – Nov 14. (Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 2pm and 7pm, Sunday at 2pm). http://www.captheatre.org/main/2021addamsfamily/
  11. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s summer music series concludes this week! Presented by EMC Insurance Companies, the 15-week series, Music in the Garden, wraps up a stellar weekly presentation of great music this Thu Sep 30 from 6 to 9 p.m.! Food, drink and fun, family-friendly activities will be available at all events!
  12. The Community Jazz Center presents its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.

Visual Arts

  1. Olson-Larsen Galleries is proud to present “Redefine”, on view Oct 8 thru Nov 27t with an opening reception to be held Fri Oct 8 from 5 pm to 7 pm. “Redefine” is an exhibition conceived through the collaboration of research-based artist and guest curator, Donté K. Hayes and Olson-Larsen Galleries. The show will feature artists selected by Donté, from the Olson-Larsen Galleries’ artist roster in combination with invited artists outside of the gallery’s representation. Olson-Larsen Galleries is excited to introduce their patrons and collectors to emerging and established artists in a new context.  The goal of this presentation is to show artwork that is created with intention.
  2. Greater Des Moines Exhibited XXVIII at the Polk County Heritage Gallery. Oct 25 – Dec 17. AWARDS SHOW – Thu Oct 28 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. http://www.polkcountyheritagegallery.org/
  3. JUSTIN FAVELA: CENTRAL AMERICAN. THRU OCT 24, 2021, ANNA K. MEREDITH GALLERY AND MEIER ATRIUM. ORGANIZED BY CURATORIAL MANAGER LAURA BURKHALTER. Justin Favela’s exuberant art is inspired by Latinx culture, art history, and food rendered in layer upon layer of vibrant strips of paper. Favela’s technique recalls piñatas and party decorations — ephemeral forms that signify joy and celebration.
  4. The Grinnell College Museum of Art is open by appointment, Tue thru Sat, noon to 5 pm. Visitors need to schedule a visit on Mondays or mornings. https://www.grinnell.edu/life-grinnell/arts-culture/museum/exhibitions
  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.

 Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

  1. Gateway Dance Theatre will hold auditions for A NEW DAY/UN NUEVO DÍA, a Holiday Musical. No experience necessary – actors, dancers, musicians needed. Main roles over 16+. Fiesta dancers all ages 5 and above. Mon-Wed Oct 18 – 20. 4:30-6:30 PM. Interested in auditioning! Please submit an audition form.
    Performances Fri and Sat Dec 10 and 11, 2021. A New Day/Un Nuevo Dia is a timeless Nativity Story, interpreted through migrant workers Maria and José who embark on a long journey in the south, along the way portraying certain notable events that occur.
  2. Des Moines Playhouse – check for upcoming audition opportunities.
  3. Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites those interested to sign up to receive notices of future auditions.
  4. Class Act Productions (CAP) Theatre in Altoona is preparing to begin live performances again. Check out the audition/performance process information, and check this newsletter for specific information.
  5. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  6. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.dmyat.org/

Planning ahead
Make plans, as these national shows may sell out quickly, or appeal to a bit of micro-traveling.

  1. Hoyt Sherman Place and Right Angle Entertainment are delighted to announce tickets for FRIENDS! The Musical Parody, the New York City Off-Broadway hit, will play at Hoyt Sherman Place on Sat Oct 16 at 7:30PM. FRIENDS! The Musical Parody is the comedic musical that lovingly pokes fun at TV’s Friends, celebrating the adventures of your favorite group of 20-something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan.
  2. David Sedaris – The Best-Selling Author, Humorist and Contributor to This American Life, Live at the Hoyt Sherman Place. Although the evening show already is sold out, David added another show Sat Dec 4, 2021 at 3PM – Added by Demand. Iowa Public Radio presents An Evening with David Sedaris. This is a unique opportunity to see the best-selling humorist in an intimate setting. As always, Sedaris will be offering a selection of all-new readings and recollections, as well as a Q&A session and book signing.

Between the covers — author events worth noting:

  • Oct 12 (Beaverdale Books) – The Night We Landed on the Moon & Sacrament of Bodies. Debra Marquart & Romeo Oriogun

Beaverdale Books provides their Top Ten sellers list, updated each month. 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. Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
  2. Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult, Kyle McCord*
  3. Owl’s Head: A Hidden Gem, Sondra Ashmore* and Christine Guzzo Vickery (Illustrated by Sharon Larson)
  4. Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead
  5. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho
  6. The Soul of the Family Tree, Lori Erickson*
  7. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer
  8. Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney
  9. Bewilderment, Richard Powers
  10. Matrix, Lauren Groff

* Iowa author

Callista Gould wisdom – Check out her listing in “VIII. Life Resources”

A favorite story I often tell at Etiquette Dinners when I am walking people through table manners, is about two professors interviewing a PhD candidate for a position at a university. During lunch, the candidate took a fork and plunged it into a chicken breast, turned it upside down and started taking bites out of it, like it was food on a stick at the State Fair. One of the interviewers said, “I didn’t know what to ask next.”

Who cares how we eat? Why can’t we pick up the chicken breast with our hands and gnaw on it if we want to?

Because we’re not just representing ourselves. Sometimes we’re representing an organization, a profession or a community. We have a responsibility to represent others well.

The second interviewer said what many employers tell me: “We didn’t want someone who would embarrass us.”

Whether you’re an intern or CEO, a salesperson on a sales call or purchasing agent visiting with a vendor, it’s good to ask yourself, “Am I representing my organization well?” In your first impressions, speech, dress, emails, social media, the way you treat others… are you an asset or an embarrassment?

Life Resource books worth your consideration:

  1. The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career is an info-packed gem from Callista Gould. https://cultureandmanners.com/ 
  2. You Are What You Click: How Being Selective, Positive, and Creative Can Transform Your Social Media Experience helps us navigate the challenges of social media to our advantage. Brian A. Primack MD PhD.
  3. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals helps anyone regain focus in their life. Oliver Burkeman packs this resource liberally. https://www.oliverburkeman.com/

Check out The Culture Buzz insightful interviews for these and other authors’ interviews at https://archive.org/details/@the_culture_buzz 

Performing Arts Organizations:
Please check in advance regarding any scheduled performances, exhibitions, museum visits, etc.

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: https://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. https://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/
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: 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
  • 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
  • Instead of 911 – Des Moines area
    Domestic Violence: 515.286.3600
       Polk County Crisis & Advocacy
    Poison Control: 800.222.1222
    Mental Health Crisis: 515.282.5752
       Broadlawns Crisis Team
    LGBTQ+ Abuse: 866.488.7386
    Sexual Assault: 515.243.7386
       Children & Families of Iowa
    Veteran Crisis: 800.273.8255 press1
       Veterans & Their Families Health Crisis Line
    Child Abuse/Neglect: 800.422.4453
       National US Child Abuse Hotline
    Animal Abuse/Neglect: 515.284.6905
       Des Moines Animal Control
    *open 24/7
    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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