Saturday, June 3, 2023

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The Culture Buzz

The Culture Buzz


There is a diverse and appealing array of cultural indulgences awaiting the Cultural Adventurer in Central Iowa. Leave the personal devices behind and savor the rich offerings that performing arts, exhibitions and more offer. Sally forth and reward yourself.

Featured Cultural Offering:        

Noce is proud to extend its hours into the afternoon! Beginning Wednesday, April 3rd, the club will open at 3pm Wed through Sat for a free happy hour program. Music will be provided by Max Wellman & a cast of guest performers. Additionally, mixologist Karli Sandos (Proof, Des Moines Social Club) has prepared a new happy hour specialty cocktail menu of delicious drinks that will be sold for $6 apiece. The Cheese Shop is preparing new snacks on order for Noce & house wine will be available for $5/glass. There will be no cover charge at the door. Happy Hour w/ Max Wellman will occur Wed through Sat from 3 to 6pm. Doors for 7:00 shows at Noce will now open at 6:30. These changes will take place the first week of April. 

Other Cultural Considerations:

1.       Mainframe Studio’s First Friday on Apr 5, features two of this cultural destination’s artists, Jay Vigon and Margo NahasJay Vigon Creative presents a cast of characters and fun products. Jay has a globally impressive list of credits that include iconic record albums, film studio work and much more. Good food, cocktails and a lot of art provide the foundation for a great creative exploration of Mainframe Studios, from 5:00-8:00 PM.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 2)CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 1)

2.       Gruesome Playground Injuries opens Fri Apr 5, produced by Iowa Stage Theatre Company, at the Kum & Go Theater and runs through Apr 14. Over the course of 30 years, the lives of Kayleen and Doug intersect at the most bizarre intervals, leading the two childhood friends to compare scars and the physical calamities that keep drawing them together. The New York Times calls playwright Rajiv Joseph “an artist of original talent.” Variety says “This wondrous and strange two-hander finds as much humor as horror in the play’s bizarre events.”

3.       Kiss Me Kate open Fri Apr 5 at Ankeny Community Theatre and runs through Apr 14. This musical has a captivating show-within-a-show story line sure to please.

4.       Eat Your Heart Out runs through Apr 14 for Tallgrass Theatre Company. Alice and Gabe are desperate to adopt a child. Nance, a single mom just starting to date, struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, Evie. And Evie wishes her best friend, Colin, could fall for her rather than just trying to fix things. With both humor and aching insight, these lives are woven together in a tale of parental hopes and fears, and of hearts consumed by longing.

5.       The Wallace Centers of Iowa features Chef Katie, who takes our farm produce, adds protein from other Iowa farms, and transforms them into satisfying dishes. Each week’s menu includes a selection of favorites, plus a special appetizer, entree, and dessert inspired by the farm. Thursdays beginning Apr 4 at the Wallace House, 756-16th Street, Des Moines, in historic Sherman Hill. Entree prices range from $15 to $22. BYOB. Reservations required: 515.243.7063.

6. Closer presented by Open Door Rep Apr 11-20 at Mainframe Studios. This provocative story about lust and long features a quartet of some of the region’s best performing artists, Emily Davis, Megan Helmers, Charlie Reese, and Josh Visnapuu. Open Door has built a strong reputation for provocative material in “found space” settings, creating a unique theatrical experience for its audiences.

7.       Spectrum, presented by Gateway Dance Theatre, Apr 11-13, at Grand View University’s Viking Theater. 10-minute plays, excerpt from Gateway’s “Water Lilies” and performance by Des Moines Jazz Hall of Famer, Tina Haase Findlay. 7:30 PM, Free and open to the public.

8.       Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus runs through Apr 14 at the Temple Theater. This Off-Broadway hit comedy is a one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up, and is a light-hearted theatrical comedy based on the New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray.

9.       Catch Me If You Can runs through Apr 14 at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. This fast-paced musical is brought to lively appeal on stage as the Playhouse continues its celebration of its 100th anniversary season.

10.    ‘One of Iowa’s great unique events, Greenfield’s Iowa Aviation Museum holds its 22nd annual “Chili Fly-In/Drive-In” at one of the state’s most fascinating immersions into aerial history. The food is fun, the flying is fantastic and the memories are priceless. Come support this cultural treasure while enjoying the welcoming warmth of Iowa at its best. Sat Apr 6 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, serving “Buffalo & Chicken” Chili, Homemade bars, hot cider and coffee, the cost is a mere $7.50/adults, $4/children under 12. This dedicated museum board even offers “chili to go.” Located on Hwy 25 just on the north side of Greenfield at 2251 Airport Road, this destination is an easy under-an-hour drive from Des Moines. Check out the short video on their website’s home page featuring Iowa’s Paul Berge (who hosted a travel series on Iowa Public Television).

Auditions and Other Participation Opportunities:

1.         Auditions for The Diary of Anne Frank, Sat Apr 6 at 1PMSun Apr 7 at 6PM at Ankeny Community Theatre. Performances: June 7-16.

2.     7th Annual Ankeny Authors Fair will be Sat Apr 13, 9:30 A – 12:30 P at the Kirkendall Public Library, 1210 NW Prairie Ridge Drive, Ankeny. Dozens of authors from across Iowa will be on hand to talk about their writing, and sell and sign their books.  The authors will be located all throughout the library’s adult area. Please come and meet authors from all over the state. We will have authors of picture books, poems, mystery, romance and more. There will be something for everyone in our community! Light refreshments will be provided while they last. For more information, contact Justin at 515-965-6458.

Worth the Drive:

The Uptown Theatre in Mt. Vernon (just north of Iowa City) is a wonderful destination concert hall specializing in national usually not performing elsewhere in the larger region. This Fri Apr 5, the driving force behind these marvelous musical experiences, Nancy Emrich, LilFest presents The Malvinas, a folk trio of incomparable talents and allure. This group is described as a feminist FOLK trio with a seriously original sound. They are Gina Forsyth, Lisa Markley, and Beth Cahill. Each a solo artist, they play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo. They rock with killer harmonies and a veritable smorgasbord of contemporary and traditional compositions that have you coming back for more. 

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.     Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny.

3.     Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola.

4.     Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events), 

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.     Center Stage – John Busbee writes this Cityview monthly column. See what is happening on Central Iowa’s stages. Distributed throughout the region and available online.

2.     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.

3.     A Gentle Guide to Des Moines Theatre is Central Iowa’s source for knowing what productions by which companies are available when. In short, you can know what’s playing before it happens rather than after the fact. Timothy Rose created this site with its comprehensive theatre calendar for you, the cultural consumer. He includes articles and more, making this a worthy destination when curious about what’s happening in Central Iowa’s theatre scene.

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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