Monday, May 16, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


Quote of the Week

Re-examine all that you have been told…dismiss that which insults your soul.”

-Walt Whitman 

Featured Cultural Offering


CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

519 Park Street | Des Moines, IA 50309

Presented By: Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Location: Scottish Rite Consistory

Phone: (515) 281-5111

Start/End Time: 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Price: $125 or ($100 for young professionals 40 or younger)

PERFORMNG & VISUAL ARTS plus Other Cultural Considerations:

  1. A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas opens Fri Dec 13 for a two-week run at the Stoner Theater. This is a new adaptation to Central Iowa audiences, anchored by the classic Dickens story line with a new vision in its presentation. Iowa Stage Theatre Company delivers this as a long-standing tradition for Greater Des Moines audiences.
  2. A Christmas Story: The Musical opens at the Des Moines Community Playhouse Fri Dec 6 and runs through Dec 23. NOTE: this Family Holiday Classic show runs Thursdays and Fridays at 7:00 PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 and 5:00 PM, with a special Christmas Eve Eve show on Mon Dec 23. Experience the classic Jean Shepherd story complete with great musical production numbers and a stellar cast of musical theater performers.
  3. A Christmas Story, the play version, at Ankeny Community Theatre runs through Dec 15. Jean Shepherd pulls from his memoir book, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” to create one of the most iconic Christmas time comedies of all time. Show times are Thu, Fri, Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:00 PM.
  4. Patrick Hazell returns to the Temple Theater with a new show, Patrick Hazell’s Permanent Record running through Sun Dec 22. What happens when a comedy writer/performer takes a deep internet dive into what information is online about him? Pat’s dive is filled with much more than comedy – he even folds in the ongoing crossing of paths with Iowa’s own blues musician, Patrick Hazell.
  5. Cultural Reminder: The Des Moines Art Center, nationally and internationally renowned, is open throughout the year, no admission, a great destination to escape the daily grind, and savor the rich diversity of its collections, exhibits and peaceful ambiance. Check out what is being offered, and what the hours are…then, put this destination on your calendar. 

AUDITIONS and Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

  1. Singin’ in the Rain audition workshops 6-8 PM Dec 11, 10AM-Noon Dec 14. These free audition workshops will help interested performers prepare for the regular auditions for this Des Moines Playhouse production to be held Mon Jan 6, 2020.
  2. Auditions for the Ankeny Community Theatre ACT fundraiser show, Otherwise Engaged:
    A Dinner Proposal Comedy
    , will be held at ACT on Sunday, December 15 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, December 17 at 6:30 p.m., with a single dinner theater performance to be held at The Cellar Winery at White Oak in Cambridge on Saturday evening, February 1.
  3. Beginning tap dance classes will be offered by Ankeny Community Theatre Sat Dec 21, 10 am – 1 pm and Sat Dec 28, 10 am – 1 pm.
  4. Creative calls are a great way to learn new theatre skills and meet other Des Moines Playhouse volunteers! Feel free to bring some friends and work for a few hours. You must be at least 16 years of age to work independently in the shop. Those as young as 14 can participate in creative calls if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Students: Remember, this is a fun and easy way to get those volunteer service hours needed for church or school. Bring your form to be signed. We ask that you please come dressed for the job. That means closed-toed shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or getting paint on. Please reference our Shop Safety Rules posted on the shop office door when arriving.
  5. The Film Lounge: Student Challenge’ Submissions Open. A movie career used to start with a ticket to Hollywood. Now all that young Iowans need is a good idea and a short film. If you’re an Iowa student in grades 7-12, here’s your chance to have your short film broadcast statewide on Iowa Public Television as part of “The Film Lounge: Student Challenge.” Submit an application by Jan. 15. More details and the application can be found at:

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 dec 14 @ 7:00PM. Major Blues & the Mugshots

Uptown Garage Brewing, 305 SW Walnut St., Ankeny, IA 

NEW SECTION – Supporting your local cultural businesses

  • From Our Hands is an exceptional art gallery featuring the best in local, regional and national artists under the experienced eye of Ann Harmon. From unique, eye-catching accent artwork to feature pieces for a room, office or other space needing a statement work of art, Ann’s eclectic selection of works will entice. 136-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction. 

ROAD TRIP – Worth the drive

“Medieval to Metal: The Evolution of the Guitar,” is a national touring exhibit that will be presented at the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) through Jan 26, 2020. Whether as a day trip or a mini-vacation, Cedar Rapids is an enticing destination with a visit to this Smithsonian Affiliate museum and this incredible exhibit.

“The guitar is the most popular instrument in the world. Every year in America, there are 3 million new guitars sold — more than every other instrument sold combined,” said HP Newquist, executive director of the National Guitar Museum, where this exhibit, booked 2-3 years in advance, was created. “That’s pretty much true worldwide. The guitar is obviously a cultural icon.” 

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),
  4. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown.

 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 – This Cityview monthly column provides insights into Central Iowa’s theatre. 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.
  6. Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center is this region’s source for a decades-established advocacy group for jazz, and established jazz professionals guiding and nurturing next generations of jazz musicians and fans.
  7. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues.

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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