Sunday, October 17, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.” Vincent van Gogh, Dutch artist, died of self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 29, 1890

Are you curious about where I find these quotes? Dr. Mardy Grothe is considered the foremost authority on quotations, and offers a 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. I’ll be interviewing Mardy soon about his forthcoming new book, “Deconstructing Trump.” 

Featured Cultural Offering

Mainframe Studio’s First Friday – August 2, 5:00-9:00 PM (open an extra hour). Free, public encouraged to attend. This month’s open studio/house event features: 60 FPS Gaming Expo. Adults and youth unite on the topic of gaming this Friday for our 2nd annual 60 FPS festival! Come experience virtual reality environments. Try your hand at new tabletop boardgames. Sit in on Capital City Drink & Draw session with Cosplays. Test out one-of-a-kind arcade games.

We are thrilled to be working with Josh Larson of award-winning Numinous Games again on this exciting expo that showcases game developers in our region who are pushing the envelope on what gaming can do for our community.

Prep Iowa

Guest Gamers include:
Exalted Guy Interactive
Meticulous Monster
Steven Reed
Diverted Dream Studios
Glib Games
Substrate Games
And, of course, Numinous Games!

>>Photo Giveaway // Come view images of Iceland by Mirza Kudic and enter to win one of his coveted fireworks prints!
>> Nacho Bar // Tangerine Food Co is preparing a massive nacho bar to help stave off game-related hunger pains!
>> Artists Everywhere // While you’re here, explore our three floors of over 70 studios filled with talented artists and arts nonprofits!
>> Extended Hours // We’re open an extra hour to make sure you have time to play all the games your heart desires!

More Cultural Considerations:

          1. Paintpushers – Our group show called “MoveMent” is almost here! 18 artists’ artworks will be on        display.  Ankeny Art Center reception, Aug 1, 5-7pm.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 through Aug 4. 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.
  3. Class Act Productions (Altoona) presents their summer in the park performance. Much Ado About Nothingis one of the most popular comedic plays by William Shakespeare about misunderstandings, love and deception. Benedick, Claudio and Don Pedro arrive at Leonato’s house in Messina. Beatrice and Benedick bicker with each other and Claudio, a soldier, falls in love with Leonato’s daughter, Hero. Don John, who is Don Pedro’s evil half-brother, tricks Claudio into believing that he has seen Hero being unfaithful. Meanwhile, Don Pedro and others plot to bring Benedick and Beatrice together. Claudio accuses Hero of infidelity and refuses to marry her. Leonato is persuaded to pretend that she is dead. Hero’s innocence is proven and Claudio repents. He agrees to accept Antonio’s daughter in marriage and she turns out to be Hero after all! The trick to make Benedick and Beatrice fall in love succeeds and he proposes to her at the end of the play. Haines Park Ampitheatre, 711 3rd Avenue SE, Altoona IA 50009
  4. Polk County Heritage Gallery’s Iowa Exhibited XXXIV, the 34th edition of their celebrated juried art show. Awards reception on Thu Aug 29. Exhibit closes Sep 6, 2019.
  5. Ames Community Arts Council Fundraiser. Ames, Iowa – Join the Ames Community Arts Council for a Hot Night for a Cool Fundraiseron 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 Area Community Arts Council by calling 515-259-0494, e-mailing, or visiting the website, 

Auditions and other Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

  1. 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.

Kevin Burt. Fri Aug 2 @ 5pm -7pm. The Riverwalk Hub, 215 Water St. DSM, IA. No cover. Kevin Burt, representing the Central Iowa Blues Society, picked up three awards: First Place Solo/Duo, Best Solo/Duo Guitarist, and the Lee Oskar Award for Best Harmonica Player at the 2018 International Blues Challenge. 

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. 

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. 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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