Saturday, May 21, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


Here’s to wishing everyone a very merry Christmas, happiest of Holidays, and a wonderful New Year as we prepare for 2020. May your life be filled with creativity and wonder. 

Quote of the Week – bonus for not having a show this week…two quotations

“The Christmas season is a gift in itself. It releases us from the priorities of ordinary time and gives us the right to party more and pray more and love more. Joan Chittister, in In a High Spiritual Season (1995)

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.” [ellipsis in original] Bess Streeter Aldrich, the voice of the narrator, in Song of Years (1939)

Featured Cultural Offering

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Take a step off the holiday treadmill and step into the calm, reflective ambiance of the Polk County Heritage Art Gallery, located in the north wing of the Polk County Building (enter NW corner of building at 2nd & Walnut Streets). Greater Des Moines Exhibited XXVI, one of Iowa’s premiere juried art exhibitions, RECURRING WEEKLY ON MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY UNTIL JANUARY 13, 2020. See an array of Iowa’s best artists’ works presented in the Beaux Arts architectural stylings of the former lobby of the Des Moines Post Office,

FROM: 11:00 AM TO 04:30 PM; MONDAY – FRIDAY.

PERFORMNG & VISUAL ARTS plus Other Cultural Considerations:

  1. James and the Giant Peach opens Jan 3 and runs through Jan19 at the Des Moines Playhouse in the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre. This classic Roald Dahl children’s story comes to vibrant life on stage, especially giving young patrons a thrill.
  2. Brilliant Traces opens for a two-week run through TheatreMidwest from Jan 3 through Jan 12 in the Viking Theater at Grand View University. This masterfully written two-person cast features Jami and Tom Ahart in a riveting drama.
  3. 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. Ankeny Community Theatre will audition for its next show on Sat Jan 4 nad Sun Jan 5. A Piece of My Heart has roles for six female characters, who also shift into other roles throughout these six storylines.
  2. Des Moines Playhouse Auditions for Singin’ in the Rain will be held at The Des Moines Playhouse at 6:30 P.M. on Mon Jan 6, 2020. Auditions for Tinker Bellwill also be held this same date. Actors may audition for both shows. All auditions are open to the public; no one is pre-cast. Those auditioning for Singin’ in the Rain must bring a prepared solo; an accompanist will be provided as well as a way to play an accompaniment from an iPod or similar device. Questions about auditions should be directed to Robin Spahr, 515-974-5365.
    Singin’ in the Rain contains feature roles for 6 men and 4 women, ages 16 and up, plus Ensemble men and women, ages 16 and up. Performances are Mar. 13-Apr. 5, 2020. 

Tinker Bell will audition for shows running from Feb 21 – Mar 8, with school matinees Mar 2-3. 3 men, 3 women, 8 boys and girls needed.

  1. Beginning tap dance classes will be offered by Ankeny Community Theatre Sat Dec 28, 10 am – 1 pm.
  2. 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.

  • SUNDAY – JAN 5, 2020 @ 2:00PM
    Botanical Blues – Blue Two. The next round of three months of the best of Iowa’s blues under the tropical dome begins again.
    Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D Ray Dr, Des Moines 

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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