Thursday, May 19, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


The Covid-19 pandemic persists. Be safe. Be considerate. Be compassionate.
– John Busbee for The Culture Buzz
Quote of the Week
“Give, give, give—what is the point of having experience, knowledge, or talent if I don’t give it away? Of having stories if I don’t tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don’t share it? I don’t intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world, and with the divine. It is in giving that I feel the spirit of my daughter inside me, like a soft presence.”
-Isabel Allende (b. 1942), Chilean writer, National Prize for Literature, Presidential Medal of Freedom
Featured Cultural Happening – Join the Virtual Celebration Sun Aug 30 –
The 6th Annual Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Arts Awards will present a special virtual show for any and all to enjoy on Sunday, August 30 at 7:00 PM. The show must go on! Even though most local theater companies are quiet these days, the virtual ceremony, hosted by local theater artist and musician Madison Ray, will honor the creative work of ten local theater companies during the 2019-2020 theater season:

  • Ankeny Community Theatre 
  • Carousel Theatre of Indianola 
  • Des Moines Community Playhouse 
  • Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre 
  • Iowa Shakespeare Experience 
  • Iowa Stage Theatre Company  
  • Open Door Rep 
  • Pyramid Theatre  
  • Theatre Midwest 
  • Urbandale Community Theatre

The Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Arts Awards were created to celebrate outstanding contributions – both on stage and behind the scenes – to locally produced theater in greater Des Moines. Affectionately known as “the Clorises,” the awards are named in honor of the Oscar-winning Des Moines native who attended the second ceremony, in 2016. 
Most years, the award recipients are chosen by a panel of volunteer judges. But this year, with the judges’ blessing, the companies have chosen to forego the traditional awards based on the productions – acting, directing, design and so forth – and instead honor one another with an award of their choosing, a “DIY Award.” The companies that staged shows before the Covid-19 pandemic suggested this alternative format as a way to recognize and support the companies that were unable to stage any productions during the past season. Each award will lift up the great work the companies have done throughout the non-traditional 2019-2020 season.  
The event will be streamed live on YouTube and the Cloris Awards’ Facebook page. 

2020 Cloris Awards Ceremony
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday, August 30
Cultural nuggets –

  1. River City Art and Music, Riverview Artist Salon exhibition at The Equitable Building. “Flora” Botanical Explorations by Greater Des Moines Artists. Curated by Local Artist, Katie Jensen of Des Moines.
  2. DMACC’s Theatre Department finds ways to share performance passion with audiences. “We’ve released Part One (of Four) of our Summer 2020 production, the world premiere radio play WIlly Beau Dilly by Jayme McGhan,” shares Carl Lindberg, head of the department. There’s info on the web here:, or you can stream it anywhere that you get your podcasts (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, etc.).
  3. Iowa Stage Theatre Company Cocktails & Cabaret will continue to deliver captivating performances in a virtual setting, giving all who join this signature event a memorable evening of exceptional talent.
  4. University Museums offers a new Art Walk adventure every month. The collection of public art, which includes over 2,500 objects both inside and outside buildings, is one of the largest university public art collections in the county. To help showcase the collection, University Museums offers a guided Art Walk with a new theme and path each month during the semester. University Museums’ Interpretive Specialist Brooke Rogers leads the monthly Art Walk from noon to 1:00 p.m. Typically Art Walks are open to all, however due to COVID-19, only ten in-person spots are available and participants must pre-register on the University Museums’ website. Cyclones Care: Face coverings/masks and physical distancing guidelines will be enforced for all in-person attendees, per ISU guidelines. For those not able to attend in person, Art Walks will be broadcast via Facebook LIVE on the Museums’ Facebook page the day of the program and will later be available on the Museums’ YouTube Channel for viewing at any time.

Auditions –
The Des Moines Community Playhouse will employ a new type of auditioning process – via remote video. They provide links to help auditioners to best prepare their audition videos for consideration. Please note the strict deadline of Mon Aug 31 at 6:00 PM

  1. Des Moines Community Playhouse for I and You by Lauren Gunderson. Mon Aug 31, 6:00 PM. Show dates Fri Oct 9 – Sun Nov 22. Cast: 1 man, 1 woman. Video auditions must be received by 6:00 PM Mon Aug 31.
  2. Des Moines Community Playhouse for Weekend Comedy by Sam Bobrick. Mon Aug 31, 6:00 PM. Show dates Fri Oct 9-Sun Nov 22. Cast 2 men, 2 women. Video auditions must be received by 6:00 PM Mon Aug 31. Check website for details.

Beaverdale Books offers curbside service, or delivery service.      515-279-5400
Top Ten sellers in our store last month – see what everyone’s reading!
1. How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, Robin Diangelo
3. Too Much and Never Enough, Mary L. Trump
4. The Room Where It Happened, John Bolton
5. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning, Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi
6. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Layla Saad
7. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown
8. The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
9. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance, Erik Larson
10. Untamed, Glennon Doyle
Ongoing conversations with Callista Gould always deliver useful information. So much any merging or established professional could use is in her book, which, as she says, is “Best. Graduation Gift. Ever.” The book, The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career, is the perfect gift for that graduating daughter, son, grandchild, niece, nephew or good friend’s or neighbor’s child who never writes a thank you note. Check out to get a copy for someone you care about.
PERFORMNG & VISUAL ARTS plus Other Cultural Consideration
Please check in advance regarding any scheduled performances, exhibitions, museum visits, etc.
Ankeny Community Theatre –; Facebook: Ankeny Community Theatre
Carousel Theatre of Indianola –   ; Faceook: Carousel Theatre Indianola
Class Act Productions –; Facebook: CAPTheatre
Des Moines Community Playhouse/Kate Goldman Theatre –; Facebook: DMPlayhouse
Des Moines Performing Arts/Temple Theater –; Facebook: Des Moines Performing Arts
Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre –; Facebook: DM Young Artists Theatre
Iowa Shakespeare Experience –; Facebook: Iowa Shakespeare Experience
Iowa Stage Theatre Company –; Facebook: Iowa Stage Theatre Company
Pyramid Theatre Company –; Facebook: Pyramid Theatre Company
Tallgrass Theatre Company –; Facebook: Tallgrass Theatre Company
TheatreMidwest –   ; Facebook: TheatreMidwest
Urbandale Community Theatre –; Facebook: Urbandale Community Theatre
AUDITIONS and Cultural Engagement Opportunities:
Check with galleries, organizations, destinations you frequented before the pandemic. Many are producing creative and unique ways to engage again…get your cultural fix.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  1. Civic Music Association announces its 2020-2021 Season. Check it out.

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. 900Views Podcast. An exploration of arts and community with Host Pat Boddy. Based out of Mainframe Studios in downtown Des Moines, 900Views provides a platform for glimpsing the creative work and lives of the Midwest’s cultural producers and influencers.
  7. 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.
  8. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues.

Resources to help, support and guide during any challenges you or someone you care about may be experiencing:

  •  1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or
    United Way 211: Dial 211, text ZIP code to 898211 or visit
    CICIL: #CICILServes COVID-19 Hotline: (866) 44-CICIL
    Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
    LGBT National Youth Talkline: (800) 246-7743
    LGBT National Talkline: (888) 843-4564
    Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center:
    Broadlawns 24/7 Crisis Team: (515) 282-5752
    Your Life Iowa Help Line: (855) 581-8111
    Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    Broadlawns Psychiatric Urgent Care: (515) 282-2200
    Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to be connected to crisis counseling
    Online Mental Health Crisis Chat:
    MercyOne Des Moines Behavioral Health Clinic: 515-643-9030.
    Prelude Behavioral Services (substance treatment): 515-262-0349

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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