Saturday, May 21, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


“Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.” Matthew Arnold, in Preface to Literature and Dogma (1873)

Are you curious about where the quotes I find originate? If you are like me and relish an excellent source from where to find accurate quotes, often with the back stories, then I encourage you to visit and get registered for his weekly newsletter (free, quick read, always great content) and use his online “Dr. Mardy’s Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations” to search for topic-referenced quotes. Watch for a forthcoming announcement of my next interview with Mardy about his forthcoming new book, “Deconstructing Trump.” 

Featured Cultural Offering

The Science Center of Iowa is the place to be this weekend for some special programming to celebrate America’s 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. Note that this week’s edition of the show features an interview with Rod Blocksome of the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association as he shares plenty of back story into the history of the Collins vital role in this historic event as well as the documentary to be screened on Sat Jul 20, “Live from the Moon.”

  • July 19, 2019 – Mixology Night: Moon Landing (5:30-9:00 pm)
    Celebrate the anniversary at this adults-only night at SCI. (21+ event) Activities are included with Mixology admission ($7 per person).
  • July 20, 2019 – Apollo 50 Anniversary Celebration (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)
    Activities are included with SCI general admission.Details below!
  • July 20, 2019 – Film Premiere: “Live From the Moon” (5:30-7:00 pm)
    Discover how Iowa’s own Collins Radio Company, now Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, played a vital role in the communications, telemetry and navigation systems that were used during Apollo 11 and the following missions. Film will be screened in the John Deere Adventure Theater. Tickets are $5 per person.
  • July 20, 2019 – Star Party at SCI (8:00-10:00 pm)
    Gaze through telescopes as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Event is free and open to the public.


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More Cultural Considerations:

  1. Storyteller Teresa Zilk presents “Stories to Tell My Daughter” Sun Jul 21 at Grand View University’s Viking Theater. 4:00 PM.
  1. Kingman Row Entertainment presents Private Passage by Louise Bylicki and James Serpento, Jul 24-26 at the Kum & Go Theater. There will be a special half-price ticket preview night on Jul 23. Twenty-something Drew is on the cusp of professional success. When she becomes pregnant, she must confront the painful memories of her sister, Phoebe, who became pregnant as a teenager, and whose thwarted search for an abortion brought catastrophic results to their entire family. Private Passage was commissioned and first produced by Chicago’s Odyssey Theatre Company in 1991, in which actresses Robin Kersey and Deanna Dunagan earned Joseph Jefferson Award nominations (Ms. Dunagan would go on to win the Tony Award for August: Osage County). The play was revived in 2000 by Chicago’s Stage Left Theatre Company, and underwent substantial revision, in a production directed by Jessi D. Hill.  The Chicago Reader’s Adam Langer described Private Passage as “part straightforward play, part theatrical collage, and part factual discourse. . . . a play that tries appealing to both emotion and reason. And it succeeds.”
  2. Disney’s Newsies The Broadway Musical continues 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. 
  3. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre closes its 2018-2019 season with 13 the Musical. This production will be presented at the Stoner Studio Theater at Des Moines Performing Arts beginning Jul 26This 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?  
  4. 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 their celebrated juried art show. Through Sep 6, 2019.

Ames Community Arts Council Fundraiser. Ames, Iowa – Join the Ames Community Arts Council for a Hot Night for a Cool Fundraiser on Sat Aug 3, 2019 on the Stephens Auditorium Patio. The event will begin with a social hour and silent auction from 6 – 7:30 p.m., and conclude with a little jazz music from the Heath Alan Trio in the Goldfinch Room (inside Stephens Auditorium) at 7:45 p.m. 

Individual tickets are $50 for social hour and silent auction, $25 for the Goldfinch Room with the Heath Alan Trio, or $65 for both events. Two tickets are $80 for social hour and auction, $40 for the Goldfinch Room, or $110 for both events. Tickets for the social hour and silent auction include hot and cold appetizers and one free sangria. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are available online:

Proceeds from the event will be used to support the Back Alley Gallery murals, the Business of Art conference, and other programming and administrative needs. Ames Community Arts Council Director, Jennifer Brockpahler says, “The Ames Community Arts Council is working hard to boost our impact in the community and offer high quality opportunities for our local artists and supporters of the arts. We’re hoping the fundraiser will not only be a fun event for everyone as summer draws to a close, but also help us to secure some funds that will allow us to continue not only to grow, but also to thrive.”

If you would like more information, or have questions about the event, please contact the Ames Community Arts Council by calling 515-259-0494, e-mailing, or visiting the website, 

Auditions and other Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

  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.

James Harman and Bruce Katz, Sun Jul 21 @ 6pm. Noce, 1326 Walnut St. DSM, IA. Doors at 5pm / Show at 6pm. $25 (Central Iowa Blues Society Members $20.

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.
  1. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola.
  2. 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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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