Saturday, October 23, 2021

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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:

Spring Gallery Night in Historic Valley Junction, Fri Apr 12 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Historic Valley Junction, 5th Street West Des Moines. Historic Valley Junction’s Spring Gallery Night will feature seven galleries, showcasing fine artwork, jewelry, and one-of-a-kind objects by local and international artists. Always a fun evening full of art, friends, and fun on 5th Street! Free and open to the public.


Prep Iowa

More Cultural Considerations:

1.       Hello, Dolly! runs through Sun Apr 14 at Des Moines Performing Arts. Stepping into the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi will be understudies Jessica Sheridan and Beth Kirkpatrick. Jessica is well-known to Des Moines audiences after appearing in the National Tour launch of The Bridges of Madison County held at the Civic Center Nov 28–Dec 5, 2015.

2.       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.

3.       Gruesome Playground Injuries, produced by Iowa Stage Theatre Company at the Kum & Go Theater, 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.”

4.       Kiss Me Kate, Ankeny Community Theatre, runs through Apr 14. This Cole Porter musical has a captivating show-within-a-show story line sure to please.

5.       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.

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.       Arts Marketing Shark Tank. 6-8 p.m. Tue Apr 16 at The State Historical Building, 600 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA. Note: The building’s Locust Street entrance will be closed, so please use the Grand Avenue entrance across the street from free parking in the ramp. The professional development event is co-presented by the Iowa Arts Council and Art Week Des Moines to help artists sharpen their promotional hooks — and marketing skills — for this year’s Art Week, slated for June 21-28.

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public. MORE INFO:

Auditions and Other Participation Opportunities:

1.     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.

2.     Art Beacon Digital Residency. Through Art Beacon’s Instagram, this advocacy and promotion group grants Iowa-connected artists and 1-2 week residency. Residents share their work and inspirations in daily posts. Artists are invited or selected from call submissions. Interested artists should contact:

Worth the Drive:

The Faulconer Gallery in Grinnell at Grinnell College is a wonderous destination and less than a hour to the east of Greater Des Moines. Anchoring the Bucksbaum Fine Arts Center, this gallery, under the masterful guidance of Director Lesley Wright, is an ever-changing exploration of visual arts and great presentations.

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.

Creatively yours, John Busbee

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