Saturday, May 21, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


“To the artist is sometimes granted a sudden, transient insight which serves in this manner for experience. A flash, and where previously the brain held a dead fact, the soul grasps a living truth! At moments we are all artists.” Arnold Bennett, journal entry (March 18, 1897), in The Journals of Arnold Bennett (1932) 

Featured Cultural Offering:

While music fans will be spending two days soaking in the sounds of the 80/35 Music Festival in the Western Gateway, the Iowa Events Center will host AnimeIowa. This is the oldest Anime Convention (since 1997), which celebrates Anime and Japanese culture. Attendees from the Midwest and beyond will descend upon Des Moines Jul 12-14. Check out the website for complete details. 

More Cultural Considerations:

  1. Disney’s Newsies The Broadway Musical opens Fri Jul 12 at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, running through Aug 4. This smash hit Broadway musical, based on the 1992 film, is inspired by the New York newsboys’ strike of 1899. Publishing giants Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the expense of the delivery boys, Jack Kelly and friends, all teenage “newsies.” As Jack dreams of leaving the city to escape his orphaned and poverty-stricken life he meets Katherine Plumber, the young reporter interested in getting an exclusive for the Sun,who join together to fight for what’s right. Filled with high-energy action and dance numbers, this musical comedy-drama is fun for the whole family. 
  2. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre closes its 2018-2019 season with 13 the Musical. This coming-of-age story is delivered by an age-appropriate cast, a sure winner for young people to enjoy the music and story of this award-winning show. Evan Goldman is plucked from his fast-paced, preteen New York City life and plopped into a sleepy Indiana town following his parents’ divorce. Surrounded by an array of simpleminded middle school students, he needs to establish his place in the popularity pecking order. With his bar mitzvah just around the corner, can he find his place at his new school, adjust to his new normal and throw a legendary party?  
  3. Storyteller Teresa Zilk presents “Stories to Tell My Daughter” Sun Jul 21 at Grand View University’s Viking Theater. 4:00 PM.
  4. Des Moines Metro Opera continues its season with Candide,La Boheme, and Wozzeck. Experience the majesty of opera at this nationally recognized program well into July…but, get tickets as soon as you can, as these shows sell out.
  5. Polk County Heritage Gallery’s Iowa Exhibited XXXIV, the 34th edition of our juried art show. Jun 24 – Sep 6, 2019. 

Auditions and other Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Sunday, July 28, 6:00 PM

DMYAT Studios at Franklin Jr. High

  1. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre will hold auditions for Lost Girl Sun Jul 28 at 6:00 at their Franklin Jr. High office/rehearsal location (48th & Franklin, Des Moines) Cast: 12 actors, age 15+.
  2. Back Alley Gallery: Call for Mural Artists.The Ames Community Arts Council, in cooperation with Morning Bell Coffee Roasters and the Iowa State Center, is seeking artists to create the inaugural murals of the Back Alley Gallery. These one-of-a-kind, large-scale pieces are intended to demonstrate the creative spirit of the Ames community, while showcasing the talents of local and regional artists. Both individual artists and teams of artists are eligible to apply. The first site, Morning Bell Coffee Roasters, at 111 Main St., Ames is 20’x20’. Morning Bell is hoping that the mural on the building will be colorful, eye-catching, inspiring, and urban. The second site, project (both murals) is $5,320, based on a stipend of $7 per square foot. This budget is intended to cover the artist’s stipend, materials, and rental equipment. The application deadline is Wednesday, July 31, with the selected artist or artists to be notified by Friday, August 30, 2019. It is hoped that the mural, either finished or in progress, can be celebrated with the community during the 2019 Ames Artists’ Studio Tour on October 12 – 13, 2019. For a full timeline and other details, please visit The Back Alley Gallery is being coordinated by the Ames Community Arts Council and made possible with the support of the City of Ames Commission on the Arts [COTA]. If you would like to participate as an artist or discuss having a mural created for your business, please contact the Ames Community Arts Council by e-mailing, visiting the website at, or calling 515-259-2494.

Greater Des Moines Music Tip:

This weekly tip is brought to you by Steve Vasquez of the Central Iowa Blues Society –, for full calendar of live music in our region.

Heath Alan, Fri Jul 12 @5pm, The Riverwalk Hub, 215 Water St., Des Moines.

Worth the drive:

The Faulconer Gallery in Grinnell at Grinnell College is a wondrous destination and less than an 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. Now open through Jul 20 is Fiber Artists of Iowa, an exceptional show that highlights the wide variety of expertise, imagination, and fiber techniques of 23 artists residing in Iowa. Also on view is Summer Gems, presented by the Jewel Box Quilters Guild, through Jul 27. 

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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