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. But, continue to be creative.
– John Busbee for The Culture Buzz
Quote of the Week
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American political figure, diplomat and activist. She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945
This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz – 
11:00 AM – With her strong law background and a passion for educating Iowa and America about their health literacy, Jo Kline returns to the show to provide updates about Health Literacy – and, why good health literacy for each of us is not only important, but perhaps life-saving.
11:14 AM – One of Iowa’s most beloved broadcast personalities, Van Harden, shares insights about his latest book, the inspirational “How You Look and How You Feel: Personal Transformation.” Van infuses his personal experiences into this wonderful life resource book, as thousands of avid fans and readers will attest.
“Van Harden has a disarmingly effective way to engage his audiences into sharing the good things he has learned during his life, and has a passion for watching others succeed through these shared experiences. His writing is like a good friend giving sage advice to you…pay heed to the wisdom contained therein. How You Look and How You Feel is another gift to us all.” 
-The Culture Buzz
11:36 AM – Regular contributor to the show, Dennis Maulsby, reads a story, “The Case of Sour Wine” from his new collection, “Winterset: Short Stories of Pixies, Demons and Fiends.”
11:39 AM – New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson shares fascinating glimpses into his newest book, the captivating “The Splendid and the Vile.” Erik talks about what inspired him to focus on a very specific time in England’s history, the beginning of WW II when London was experiencing the wrath of Germany’s bombing raids. Anchored by Erik’s masterful penchant for history-based storytelling, this is an exceptionally appealing read.
“Through the remarkably skillful use of intimate diaries as well as public documents, some newly released, Larson has transformed the well-known record of 12 turbulent months, stretching from May of 1940 through May of 1941, into a book that is fresh, fast and deeply moving.”—Candice Millard, The New York Times Book Review
11:57 AM – Susan Werner’s “Dog” is one of an album-full of songs displaying the lyrical and witty brilliance on her 8 UNNECESSARY SONGS.
12:00 PM – John Shors continues to immerse his readers in vivid, captivating stories based on his deep understanding and living in SE Asia. This new novel, “My Midnight Sun,” takes readers on a journey to Nepal.
“My Midnight Sun is a powerful story of love, pain, and redemption.” – Joshua Hammer, author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
12:13 PM – Invited back to continue the dialogue started in June, Helio Fred Garcia has written one of the most insightful and helpful books of modern times, “Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It.”

“Language is power, and powerful. It can uplift, or harm. Helio Fred Garcia is an astute student of language and communication. This book offers historic examples, keen insights and valuable advice on recognizing patterns of language that can harm or lead to violence.” – David Lapan, Colonel, USMC (ret), Former Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security spokesman
12:32 PM – Jay & Megan Sutherland collaborated on a very timely children’s book, “The Quarantine Bears,” a beautifully illustrated aid in helping young children understand the pandemic and the resultant need for wearing masks. Jay & Megan lead a lively discussion about their book, with will be available through Beaverdale Books. These two artists now live in California, are well respected and very busy voice-over artists as well as on-camera actors. Megan is a Des Moines native.
“Jay & Megan Sutherland infuse their charismatic and educational ‘Quarantine Bears’ with plenty of eye-catching illustrations, engaging story line and the lovability of a family of bears awakening from hibernation to a whole new world. This gem will not only enthrall young ones, but will help them overcome anxieties created by the current pandemic.” -The Culture Buzz
12:44 PM – One of the most thoughtfully conceived destination breweries not only in Iowa, but nationally, is Confluence Brewing Company. Owner and brewery expert John Martin spends some time chatting about Confluence’s origins and the many uniquely appealing elements folded into this popular business and its products.
“Confluence (Brewing Company) sets itself apart from most breweries through its foundation principles of framing their business pragmatically, knowing who their fans are, and delivering a stable of exceptional craft beers from their regular lineage to their seasonal delights. Their destination-worthy brewery and taproom cater to the two- and four-wheel crowds, and even those bipedal trailblazers needing to quaff their thirst.” 
– The Culture Buzz
Of major importance for the many fans of The Culture Buzz and KFMG programming:
Please consider helping KFMG to continue as “Your Community Voice” by providing financial assistance. KFMG now has a GoFundMe page:
You can also easily donate by making a contribution with a credit card through our supporters at Tikly at this direct link:, or by calling KFMG at 515-244-4145 or 244-4146 (if you call to donate, please leave a message if the phone is not answered). If you wish to donate we WILL call you back. You can always donate by mailing a check or money order directly to KFMG at:
KFMGPO Box 41143Des Moines, IA 50311
Thank you for your kind consideration. Any and all support is very beneficial.
Cultural nuggets – 

  1. Iowa Stage Theatre Company begins its season-opening livestream production of Tuesdays with Morrie Tue Oct 20-Sun Oct 25. This appealing show, based on Mitch Albom’s autobiographical, award-winning book by the same title, provides a heartwarming story in which to immerse.
  2. The Des Moines Community Playhouse continues live theatre, socially distanced and with COVID protocols in place, with Weekend Comedy (thru Sun Nov 8) and I and You (thru Sun Nov 15) in repertory to open their 2020-2021 season. Exceptional precautions are being taken to safeguard their patrons, while honoring the desires of those same patrons seeking a live performing arts experience again.
  3. Polk County Heritage Gallery  ***Call for photos!*** 2020 has been an. . . interesting year. Let’s be honest it needs to F/STOP.  We’re excited to announce our 3rd themed exhibit. Submit the photos that will help us all to remember this dumpster-fire of a year! The exhibit, and awards ceremony, will all be virtual.…

  1. Join the 48 Hour Film Project online Oct 23 at 7pm for The 2020 Best of Des Moines Screenings and Awards. See the top films of 2020 and find out who won the awards. Screenings broadcast at: The viewer will appear just before show time. You can purchase your ticket right in the viewer. Tickets: $8.00 USD, Fri, Oct 23, 2020 @ 7:00pm. ONLINE at
  1. Ankeny Community Theatre, on Sun Oct 25 at 7:30 pm, presents Boo: An Almost Tragic Love Story by David Veatch. David served as ACT’s camp instructor for several summers, is now in his final year of graduate school and will be working toward a Master’s in Fine Arts/Playwriting next year. This fun and funky look at Halloween will star Susan Casber as Sally, along with Wilbur Matthew Mauk, III as Dylan and Hannah Ver Steeg as Jennifer. David and​ Wilbur will be joining this production from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina! Don’t be scared of this ghost ’cause Boo: An Almost Tragic Love Story will fill your evening with laughter! It will be live streamed.
  1. The Ames Town & Gown Chamber Music Association is delighted to announce an exceptional online concert series this fall, presenting five special programs through our website free of charge, (www.amestownandgown) through December 18. Through these exceptional programs, we hope to connect with our audience and other classical music lovers, while also supporting musicians and the chamber music industry.

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. Bess the Barn Stands Strong, Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia*
  2. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  3. Rage, Bob Woodward
  4. Transcendent Kingdom, Yaa Gyasi
  5. All the Devils Are Here, Louise Penny
  6. Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship 1920-2020, Rebecca Conard*
  7. The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
  8. Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, Jennifer Harvey*
  9. Love, Zac, Reid Forgrave*
  10. Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, Michael Cohen

*Iowa Author!
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.
PERFORMING & 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.
  2. The Des Moines Symphony will present an appealing series of concert experiences. Check for details.

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. 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.
  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.

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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