Saturday, October 23, 2021

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


Quote of the week:

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.” – Phillip Pullman, from his presentation for the tenth anniversary of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2012

Are you curious about where I find these quotes? My primary source is Dr. Mardy Grothe, considered the foremost authority on quotations, who also offers a weekly newsletter (free, quick read, always great content). I use his online “Dr. Mardy’s Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations” to search for topic-referenced quotes. The Culture Buzz will be interviewing Mardy soon about his forthcoming book, “Deconstructing Trump.” 

Featured Cultural Offering

Join the Iowa Jewish Historical Society for Two Exciting and Memorable Free Events Featuring Auschwitz Survivor Michael Bornstein and his daughter Debbie Bornstein Holinstat.

Prep Iowa

Sun Sep 15 – 2 p.m. Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School

Mon Sep 16 – 7 p.m. – Ames Middle School, 3915 Mortenson Road, Ames, IA 50014

FREE ADMISSION First come, First Seated. Book Signings will follow both events

More Cultural Considerations:

1.     A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is playing at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. This award-winning Broadway musical runs through Sep 29. What is a person to do when his claim to the family fortune has nine other heirs preceding him? The breath-taking pace at which the answer to this question unfolds will leave its audiences gasping for breath between all the laughing and cheering.

2.     Dolores Huerta, legendary American labor leader, civil rights activist, prominent feminist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, will be in Des Moines Fri Sep 20 as the keynote speaker for the Chrysalis Foundation’s Fundraiser luncheon. Born in 1930 in the mountains of New Mexico, Huerta learned early that women could be a dominant force in the world. She was so moved by witnessing the struggles of migrant families, she committed to a life of activism and an equal partner in founding the American Farm Workers Union with Cesar Chavez. It was Huerta who coined the phrase Si Se Puede! (Yes, We Can!) Details at

A documentary on Dolores, “Dolores: Rebel, Activist, Feminist, Mother,” will screen on Sep 11. Details:

3.     Kitten Bomb Comedy – Off Script: Scenic Route. Sat Sep 14 @ 7:30 PM, Stoner Theatre, Civic Center of Des Moines.

4.     Years after returning from Neverland, Wendy Darling decides she must find Peter in order to reclaim her kiss and move on with her life.  Along the way, she encounters other girls who went to Neverland and learns she is not alone. A coming-of-age exploration of first love and lasting loss, Lost Girl continues J.M. Barrie’s beloved character as she learns to stand in the center of her own story instead of the shadow of someone else’s. DMYAT is proud to present one of the first productions of this bold new script that the Austin Chronicle says “sparkles with wit & magic.” Opening Sep 20. More Info:

5.     Paintpushers & The Des Moines Camera Club, exhibiting at the Ankeny Art Center through Sep 26.

6.     HomeDitty Concert Series at Salisbury House. Our next concert will be on Sun Sep 15, 2019 with The Well Pennies! Proceeds from the concert will benefit Salisbury House educational and cultural programming. This will be an intimate show plus a meet and greet with the band! Doors open at 6:00 PM; 6:00-7:00 PM Social Hour. 7:00-9:00 PM Show

Where: The Salisbury House Common Room (indoor show), 4025 Tonawanda Drive, Des Moines. $25 per person (purchase through Salisbury House website)

Set Schedule: Two 45-minute sets + intermission

Beer, wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase at the show.

7.     Kellie Kramer is with Ben Hagen and 4 others. Kelli delivers a no-holds-barred cabaret show, “All Good Men Are Gay,” in the intimate confines of Noce. As Kelli says, “Wanna hear a story? I’ve got one to tell. Some talented people are helping me tell it.” Fri Sep 27 at Noce. Come!…/ 

Auditions and other Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

1.     More Info: Seedlings Fall Workshops for Kids Ages 8–13 – Registration is Now Open! Visit WDM Parks & Recreation Programs or click on the links below to register. All workshops are $35/child and will be held at the Valley Junction Activity Center (217 5th St). Contact with questions.

2.     Fall classes at Des Moines Community Playhouse. For full listing of the myriad of opportunities available for all ages please visit

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.

Honey Island Swamp Band!! Sep 16, 7:00 PM. At Flying Mango. Get your tickets now at

Worth the drive:

War and Human Experience Event –

Harold Kasimow: Memories of a Child Holocaust Survivor

Thu Sep 19, 2019, DMACC Carroll Campus, Main Building. 1:00-2:00 PM

Harold Kasimow’s earliest memories are of living in total darkness and silence, with no room to move and very little to eat. Kasimow, his parents, and his two sisters spent 19 months and 5 days hiding from the Nazis in a hole dug in the floor of a cattle barn, covered over with boards and straw. He was 4 years old when they went into hiding in the hole, in a small village near Vilnius, then part of Poland. In this powerful presentation, he’ll reflect on that experience, and its lasting influence on his life as a scholar and interfaith pioneer.

Make plans to visit the new exhibit at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library’s “Medieval to Metal: The Evolution of the Guitar” opening Oct 5 in Cedar Rapids. This touring exhibition organized by the National GUITAR Museum celebrates the artistic development of the guitar.  As the guitar’s ancestors evolved over centuries from the earliest ouds and lutes, guitar makers experimented with shapes, materials, and accessories, seeking the perfect blend of beauty and sound. The show features 40 iconic stringed instruments, ranging from an intricately inlaid Moorish oud, a six-foot long Renaissance theorbo, to guitars displaying the modern Italian design of the Eko and one with a stunning transparent acrylic body from California’s BC Rich guitars. Spanning centuries of design and craftsmanship, the exhibition takes visitors through the history of an object that is one of the most recognizable items on the planet.

Dining, lodging, attraction tips to make a mini-retreat weekend: 

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. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola.
  3. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events), 

Life Resource News:

This is a new, occasional offering to inform you about noteworthy events, books, resources to enhance your life.

  1. “Health Literacy:  The Secret to Being a Power Patient!” Sep 17. A 3-hour seminar hosted by the Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation, Ames IA, on the fundamentals of being an empowered patient. Learn how to access the information you need to make medical decisions, from choosing a doctor to designing a treatment plan. 

For details and to register:  “Prime Time Alive” at 

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. Current column:
  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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