Saturday, October 16, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


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:

Kitten Bomb Comedy returns with their newest full-length improv show: Off Script – In Space! This talented group’s last show sold out, so get your tickets quickly to experience improv at its best. This show will be presented Fri Jun 7 at the Kum & Go Theater. Details and tickets: 

More Cultural Considerations:

  1. Silent Sky opens at the Des Moines Community Playhouse Fri May 31, and runs through Jun Lauren Gunderson’s 2015 play centers around the untold stories of female astronomers through the eyes of a real scientist Henrietta Leavitt, a female “computer” at Harvard College Observatory.

Leavitt is joined by her capable co-workers at the observatory, Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming, who were restricted from the equipment used by the males. The women were required to settle in a cramped workroom, computing and cataloging distant stars and galaxies founded by male astronomers.

Prep Iowa

This true story of the 19th-century astronomers, “Silent Sky” explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications.

  1. Pyramid Theatre honors Rosemary Parsons and Renee Hardman at Noce. Broadway’s Chester Gregory (Motown, Hairspray, Sister Act) and rising NYC based star Antonio Woodard (Pyramid’s The Amen Corner) come to Des Moines for a night of music from the Motown era. Under the creative direction of Madison Ray Pyramid Theatre Company presents a night of entertainment and fun to honor community pillars Renee Hardman and Rosemary Parson. Fri May 31 7:30-9:30 PM.
  2. Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards Mon Jun 3 at the Des Moines Performing Arts Civic Center. Feel the energy of hundreds of amazing student performers representing 77 participating Iowa high schools, as they share highlights from their award-winning school musicals!
  1. Celebration of Life at the Des Moines Community Playhouse Tue Jun 4 for one of Iowa’s great performing arts contributors, Jeanne Hopson, who took her final bow in May of this year. Come share the camaraderie the Jeanne inspired, through her steadfast dedication to the power of theatre in the lives of others. “…thank you, Jeanne Hopson, for changing my life and the lives of so many others.” -Peter Hedges, Academy Award-winning screenwriter who, while still a student in Des Moines, was one of Jeanne’s students.
Auditions and Other Participation Opportunities:

1.       To all artists based in Iowa! Gain recognition in the Iowa Art Scene by entering the Polk County Heritage Gallery’s Iowa Exhibited XXXIV, the 34th edition of our juried art show. Don’t wait to submit your artwork. The call for artists’ entries is open from May 20 to Jun 7. Your artworks will be evaluated for inclusion in the upcoming exhibition. The jurors will be revealed in a few days! If you are fortunate, you can win a monetary award and the chance to be exhibited in the gallery from Jun 24 – Sep 6, 2019. Eligibility: To enter in the show, submitting artists must live in Iowa. Awards:  1 Best of Show – $350; 3 Merit Awards – $125 each; 3 Honorable Mention Awards – $75 each. Fees: -1 or 2 entries – $30; 3 entries – $40. ENTRY DEADLINE: Jun 7. 

Greater Des Moines Music Tip:

This addition to the weekly newsletter will be a suggested musician or band to catch. This tip is brought to you by Steve Vasquez of the Central Iowa Blues Society –, for full calendar of live music.

Lisa Mann Trio / Avey Grouws Band. Hosted by Central Iowa Blues Society and 3 others. Sat Jun 1, 8:00-11:00 PM at Lefty’s Live Music, 2307 University Avenue, Des Moines. 

Worth the Drive:

Cedar Falls – The J. Murray: Color Poem Collages 2000-2018 – The Hearst Center is announcing an upcoming exhibition, J. Murray: Color Poem Collages, on view in Dresser-Robinson gallery through Jul 7, 2019. An artist reception will be held Thursday, June 20 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. including a gallery talk with J. Murray at 6:00 p.m.

Artist, traveler, and teacher J. Murray became enamored with poems specifically poems about color during his formative years making art and studying poetry with James Hearst. Inspired by musical harmonies, color theory and autobiography, Murray relies on scraps of paper, fabric and string to create highly structured canvases. The artist invites you to use both visual and tactile senses in the gallery; his works are meant to be picked up and read, like newspapers.

List of works include VioletRedOrangeYellowBlueBlackGrey and Brown in collage medium dating between 2000-2018.

About the Hearst Center for the Arts
The James & Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts is located at 304 West Seerley Boulevard in Cedar Falls. More information on the Hearst Center and its programs is available at, by calling the Hearst Center at (319) 273-8641, or follow us on Facebook. The Hearst Center is free and open to the public. 

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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