Monday, July 4, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


Quotes of the Week

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters.” -Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. 

“There are so many things that we are capable of, that we could be or do. The potentialities are so great that we never, any of us, are more than one-fourth fulfilled.” -Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), an American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist. Her 1962 novel “Ship of Fools” was the best-selling novel in America that year, but her short stories received much more critical acclaim.

Featured Cultural Offering

COME PHO LOVE (+BEER) – Mainframe Studios. 900 Keosauqua Way, Suite 131 | Des Moines, IA 50309. Presented By: Peace Tree Brewing Co. Feb 14, 2020. Presented by The Tangerine Food Company. Phone: (515) 988-4366. Start/End Time: 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM


Price: $36 in advance & $45 at the door

PERFORMNG & VISUAL ARTS plus Other Cultural Consideration

  1. The Boy at the Edge of Everything opens Fri Feb 14 at the Stoner Theater and runs through Sun Feb 21. This Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre show is the Iowa premiere of a compelling, complex exploration of a 12-year old boy and his personal journey that traverses many realms.
  2. Don’t Dress for Dinner at the Ankeny Community Theatre runs thru Feb 16. This is a comedic romp that promises an evening filled with laughter.
  3. Wild Widow Poker premieres at the Viking Theater, a production presented in conjunction with Pyramid Theatre Company and Theatre Arts at Grand View University. This original play by GVU faculty member A’ndrea J. Wilson is directed by Pyramid’s Producing Artistic Director, Tiffany Johnson, and runs Feb 20-23.
  4. Lisa Lampanelli’s Losin’ It runs through Feb 23 at the Temple Theater thanks to the Comedy Series of Des Moines Performing Arts. Lampanelli and a few of her friends take the stage to give a funny, touching journey for attendees in an evening that allows this gifted artist the opportunity to expand her repertoire.
  5. Reception Features Art Created by Families Experiencing Homelessness. Visitors are invited to view art, talk with the child and adult artists and learn more about organization helping families and children experiencing homelessness. Family Promise of Greater Des Moines (FPGD) is hosting a special art reception to showcase art pieces created by families, mostly children, who are current or former guests of the organization. Family Promise of Greater Des Moines partners with 14 metro faith-based host congregations to provide shelter to families with children who are experiencing homelessness. The event will be held Sunday, February 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the FPGD headquarters in Westminster Presbyterian Church. The art will be exhibited throughout the month of February in Westminster’s art gallery. Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 4114 Allison Avenue in Des Moines. Attendees should park and enter the church from Franklin Avenue. The public is welcome to attend, though FPGD encourages attendees to RSVP by February 10 at (515) 277-7051 or For more information about FPGD, visit
  6. 31st Annual Town & Gown Musicale Sat Feb 15 @ 7:00 PM, St. John’s by the Campus Episcopal Church, 2838 Lincoln Way, Ames IA., 

AUDITIONS and Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

  1. Presented by Des Moines Metro OperaZACHARY JAMES ON BROADWAY. SUN FEB 16, 2020 AT 2:00PM. “A TRUE STAGE ANIMAL” – OPERA NEWS. Spend an intimate afternoon with DMMO favorite and Broadway star, bass Zachary James. Enjoy this critically acclaimed one-man show, which combines tales from his time in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacificat the Lincoln Center, his portrayal of “Lurch” in the original cast of The Addams Family, as well as performances of the greatest hits from Oklahoma, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, Pajama Game, On The Town, Phantom of the Opera, Carousel, The Fantasticks, Camelot, and Most Happy Fella. Don’t miss your chance to catch this acclaimed star in an intimate setting! Tickets are $25 for adults and FREE for students (K-college).
  2. TheatreMidwest presents Hitler’s Tasters, a concert reading of a new play, Thu Feb 20 at 7:30 PM at the Fourth Street Theater, connecting to Java Joes. One night only, this is part of the company’s Fresh Produce series. Free and open to the public, this is a wonderful chance to experience a new play and help the company decide if this is a candidate for a full production in the future.
  3. Auditions for the musical The Wizard of Oz to be produced by Ankeny Community Theatre will be held as follows: For actors 13 and older:Feb 22 at 2pm OR Feb 23 at 6:30pm; For children (12 and younger): Feb 22 at 11:00am. Callbacks: Feb 24. Cast: 4F, 4M principals plus ensemble.
  4. The Business of Art Conference hosted by the Octagon Center for the Arts and the Ames Community Arts Council in Ames. Mar 6 & 7. This conference is designed to strengthen skills and resources in both formally trained and self-taught creatives. Topics such as: developing a brand; finding a market through an online presence, festivals, galleries, consignment, and/or retail/wholesale sales; searching for funding; and self-care will be considered. In addition to professional development sessions, the conference will include networking opportunities throughout the day, giving participants the chance to talk one-on-one with the speakers, other professionals, and each other. Professionals and students in all types of creative work, part time or full time, in all stages of their career are welcome.

LIVE MUSIC – Greater Des Moines Music Tip:

This weekly tip is brought to you by a few select sources for local great music experiences:  Steve Vasquez (Central Iowa Blues Society, Peter Stevenson (Civic Music Association and John Krantz (Des Moines Community Jazz Center Check their websites for full calendar events and more information.

26th annual blues fest. TWO NIGHTS. Feb 14 & 15—20 Acts… all under one roof and out of the cold! The Central Iowa Blues Society presents its annual immersion into the blues.

Two nights at the Flying Mango in Des Moines, Feb 23 & 24 – Ryan Montbleau. Tickets on sale now at Mike Wedeking creates a unique and most appealing dining/music experience. 

ROAD TRIP – Worth the drive

Gathering of Artists to be Held at Octagon Center for the Arts. The February Gathering of Artists will be held at the Octagon Center for the Arts, 427 Douglas Ave., Ames, on Tuesday, February 18 from 6 – 8 p.m. A cornerstone of the cultural scene in Ames since 1968, the Octagon serves more than 30,000 people each year through art classes and outreach, rotating exhibits, a retail gallery shop, and the Octagon Art Festival. Artists and art enthusiasts of all types are invited to meet other artists, get feedback, get inspired and have fun. The events are free and open to all. Refreshments will be provided. After learning about all that the Octagon has to offer, Gathering participants will be able to visit the Community Gallery exhibit, Alight and Allure, featuring the works of Emily Lambertsen and Octagonal 2020: The Annual All Media Exhibit in the Main Gallery. Finally, attendees will learn more about the Business of Art Conference, a professional development opportunity for creatives, co-hosted by the Ames Community Arts Council and The Octagon on March 6 – 7, 2020. Individuals interested in learning more about any of these offerings (and more) should visit The Octagon website: The Gathering of Artists is hosted by the Ames Community Arts Council and made possible with the support of the City of Ames Commission on the Arts. If you would like more information about participating in or hosting a gathering, please contact the Ames Community Arts Council by emailing, visiting the website at, or calling 515-259-0494. 

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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