Friday, May 20, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


Quote of the Week

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”     -Mary Oliver, poet, National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize (1935-2019)

Featured Cultural Offering

 BEAST VILLAGE COMEDY FESTIVAL. 2307 University/4050 Merle Hay Road/1501 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309. Presented By: Lefty’s Live Music/Felix & Oscar’s/Gas Lamp. Oct 3-6, 2019. Recurring daily. Locations: Lefty’s Live Music, Felix & Oscar’s & Gas Lamp.

THEATRE & Other Cultural Considerations:

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1.    A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen continues through Oct 12 at the Stoner Theater. Iowa Stage Theatre Company will present this classic drama over the next three weeks, in repertory with the recent Broadway success, A Doll’s House 2, by Lucas Hnath, which opens the following weekend. Check the schedule, as many theatre folks are planning on catching both shows.

2.     Mom’s Gift continues through Oct 6 at Ankeny Community Theatre. In this comedy with a heart, Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission.

3.     Neil Simon’s classic farcical comedy, Rumors, takes the stage at Central College this weekend. Enjoy the timeless humor of Simon in this crazy whirlwind show. Wed-Sat Oct 2-5.

4.     The very gifted Karen Cheong from Hawaii will be with us the first week of October.

If you are looking for answers to the challenges you have been going through recently be sure to check her out. FREE EVENT:  Special Meditation Around Town: Pure Land of Iowa Oct 2nd at 6 PM (No Registration Required). FREE EVENT: Common Thread: Plymouth Church Oct 3rd at 7 PM (No Registration Required).

Group Healing Presentation $15: Unity Church Oct 4th at 7 PM ( Register on Karen’s website: )

Karen will also be conducting a class on Saturday and Sunday. (Register on her website at )W

5.      West Des Moines Kiwanis Teen Film Festival. Sun Oct 6 afternoon @ Staplin Performing Arts Center, WDM Valley High School. This festival is open to 9-12 grade students to submit short films in three categories: animated, documentary, narrative. Winners will be announced at this public screening of qualifying films. This project is a major fundraiser for WDM Kiwanis, raising thousands of dollars for WDM Human Services.

6.        Fall Gallery Night in Historic Valley Junction. Fri Oct 11, 5:00-9:00 PM. Many galleries will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring new artwork by regional, national, and international artists. This event is free and open to the public. In addition to the galleries, many other Valley Junction shops and restaurants are open extended hours for the event. 

AUDITIONS and Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

  1. AuditionsThe Manic Monologues. Wed Oct 2 & Thu Oct 3 @ 6:00pm. Open Door Rep is holding open auditions for The Manic Monologues by Zachary Burton and Elisa Hofmeister. Directed by Susan Irish. Auditions will be conducted in 10-minute increments by appointment. Please register for a time at opendoorrep.comor directly via this link:

• If there are issues, please contact
• Audition form, sides and location will be sent via email to those who sign up, beginning 9/26
• You may be asked to perform a cold reading from the script as well
• Resumes and headshots are not required but are welcome. Please bring the audition form along with your list of all conflicts to the audition time.
First read through/cast meeting – Sun Oct 6 @ 1p.m. Performances – Fri/Sat Nov 15/16 @ 8 p.m. Sun Nov 17 @ 2 p.m.
From the Artistic Director, Josh Visnapuu: The Manic Monologues is a brand new work, developed at Stanford University, and Open Door Rep has secured the rights to the second ever performance. In the vein of The Vagina Monologues, this script takes on the stigma and taboo of mental illness, telling real stories that will challenge the audience’s assumptions on what it means to live with mental illness in today’s society.
We have a truly open audition for this – there are no presumptions in casting and welcome all ages, races, genders and sexual orientations. You will not see character descriptions/actor “types” needed on this notice: mental illness is non-discriminatory in its affliction, and we hope to be able to reflect that in the casting as best we can. It is also important to note that while we very much believe in sharing any financial benefit with our casts and crews, all profits from this show will be donated to NAMI of Greater Des Moines (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
We hope you can help us tell the story and push the conversation on this crisis forward.

More Info:

  1. Auditions – A Christmas Story (the play) Held at the Ankeny Community Theatre building Sat Oct 5 @ 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM. More Info:
  2. Family Halloween. Oct 17-20 and 24-27. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thur, Fri, Sun; 3:30-8:30 p.m. Sat. Too old for trick-or-treating, but still love it? This is the perfect excuse to dress up and hand out candy.

Relive Halloweens past by volunteering at Living History Farms during Family Halloween. Volunteers are needed for a variety of positions on the evenings of October 17-20 and October 24-27. The event runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night with the exception of Saturdays when doors open early at 3:30 p.m.

Activities include assisting kids with Halloween-themed games like witch broom races and pumpkin bowling, handing out treats, assisting with wagon rides, directing traffic and more.

In addition to adults, this is an excellent volunteer opportunity for children and teens. We welcome families with children as young as 10, teens who are 16+ and, groups such as churches, scouts or Silver Cord members.

View available shifts and sign up on Volunteer Local:, or contact Jan Milroy ( or 515-645-9818).

LIVE MUSIC – 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.

SAT OCT 5, 2019 @ 10:30AM. Crossroads: A Journey With The Blues – Malcolm Wells
Franklin Ave Library, 5000 Franklin Ave, DM

SAT OCT 5, 2019 @ 1:30PM. Crossroads: A Journey With The Blues – Heath Alan & Chad Elliott
Forest Ave Library, 1326 Forest Ave, DM

ROAD TRIP – Worth the drive:

ª    “WELCOME TO IOWA CITY! The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization is proud to offer you several days of literary programming as part of the 2019 Iowa City Book Festival. Iowa City is a City of Literature for many reasons: The wonderful writing programs at the University of Iowa, our small presses and magazines, our wonderful libraries, our bookstores, and amenities like the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk. While you are here, we encourage you to explore all of this and more, to fully immerse yourself in our rich literary culture. October 1-6, 2019. 

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), 

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. The Culture Buzz – John Busbee and associates have re-launched the website for The Culture Buzz, providing cultural adventurers a comprehensive overview of what The Culture Buzz provides. Included in this new site, by popular demand, is an archive library of favorite interviews and a new section of theatre reviews for Greater Des Moines theatre companies.
  2. 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:
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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