Sunday, May 22, 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
“Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.” Proverbs 25:18, NLT
This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –
11:00 AM – Fairfield-based poet Freddy Niagara Fonseca reads another marvelous morsel, “Tango in Buenos Aries,” from his forthcoming new collection, “The Bomb that Blew Up God.”
“Freddy Fonseca’s ‘The Bomb that Blew Up God and other Serious Poems’ is an eclectic, alluring invitation to journey into poetic perspectives that will crisscross your inner soul in various ways. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes sobering, always illuminating, Fonseca’s stylistic scope takes readers into realms as fleeting as haiku to epic writings. Thematically dividing this gem into seven facets, this collection holds the promise of triggering new responses each time the reader delves into its lyrical diversity.” – The Culture Buzz
11:12 AM – Iowa author Joseph LeValley follows his initial thriller, “Burying the Lede,” with a follow-up, “Cry from an Unknown Grave,” filled with action, murder and intrigue at every turn of the page. Joe shares glimpses into this next phase of skillful storytelling.
“​Author LeValley skillfully weaves an intricate and involving tale even as he keeps his foot planted firmly on the accelerator. His narrative pauses only occasionally to provide proper backstories on primary players, yet never at the expense of reader engagement. Psychological as well as physical descriptions of the people populating his pages add an aura of intimacy to character development and behavior. This is fiction based unfortunately on a very real problem. As such, it’s both entertaining and important.” -US Review of Books
11:28 AM – Derek W. Black’s deep dive, though-provoking new book, “Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy,” will inform and inspire its readers to better understand the current challenges with our country’s education system.
“I loved Schoolhouse Burning for its stirring defense of the central importance of public education to American democracy, and for Derek Black’s groundbreaking research. He definitively shows that the founders of the nation enthusiastically promoted public schools, that public schools enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support, and were established in every state as central to democracy. The current efforts to privatize them with vouchers began with segregationists in the 1950s and continue today with charter schools, reinvigorated vouchers, and deep cuts to public school funding. I highly recommend Schoolhouse Burning as an important counter to a destructive trend.” —Diane Ravitch, author of Slaying Goliath and Reign of Error
11:43 AM – Mary Potter Kenyon returns to share information about her annual retreat that will be held virtually this year. The Grief Retreat offers participants a welcoming, safe place to better understand issues of grief. Mary brings in two additional experts to help in this beneficial retreat, for both those coping with grief and those who regularly deal with those coping with grief. This $35 retreat will be held on Sat Nov 14, with registration needed by Nov 12.
“Mary Potter Kenyon leverages her wealth of experience, expertise and creativity in crafting a unique and very beneficial experience to retreat participants.” – The Culture Buzz
11:57 AM – National award-winning poet Wendy Xu reads “If You Aren’t Busy, I Think I’m on Fire.”
12:00 PM – The new issue of Iowa History Journal has just hit mailboxes, as well as newsstands in HyVee, Fareway, and Beaverdale Books. This issue features a marvelous cover story by Barbara Lounsberry as she takes readers on a rest-of-the-story journey deeper than even Paul Harvey could do as she shares the reality behind the writer of so many Nancy Drew mysteries and other series books, Mildred Augustine.
12:16 PM – Iowa’s Renaissance Man, Chad Elliott, returns to the show with his most recent musical milestone, “Tangle with the Ghost,” an LP to be released mid-November. Chad shares insights into this masterpiece’s creation in his usual lively, open fashion, delighting current and new fans alike.
12:32 PM – Author Rosemary Keevil shares her story in “The Art of Losing It: A Memoir of Grief and Addiction.” Rosemary captures her own intimate experiences, yet creates a narrative that helps others understand and better connect with those in their worlds who are dealing with addiction and grief.
“With unflinching honesty and bravery, The Art of Losing It brings readers into a world of love, loss, grief, addiction and recovery…Beautifully written.” – Lisa Smith, recovery advocate, lawyer, and award-winning bestselling author of Girl Walks Out of a Bar
12:47 PM – Terri Cheney delivers an exceptional book with her latest, “Modern Madness: An Owner’s Manual.” Terri follows up her critically acclaimed NY Times bestselling “Manic: A Memoir and The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar” with this new book, which lifts many veils about mental health for its readers.
“Terri Cheney’s unflinching commitment to telling her own truth on her own terms moved me into a new place of compassion.  Hers is an unparalleled—and deeply necessary—voice.” —Anne Hathaway, Academy Award-winning actress
Cultural nuggets –

  1. Ankeny Community Theatre presents its Readers Virtual Theater performance of Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury, Sun Nov 8 at 7:30 pm. A team of astronauts philosophize about life and its purpose a million miles from earth. “Starring” (no pun intended!) John Claes, Stacie Bendixen, Nick Root, Aaron Price, Jolene Gentzler, Joe Gentzler, Anne Claes AND a special mystery actor!!! Director Cheryl Clark says “Sign up today to attend this rehearsed reading and discover the identity of the mystery actor!” This show is produced and live streamed with permission from Dramatic Publishing. Registration is required by noon on Nov 8. You will receive a link to view this live streamed event.
  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. 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. Our new hours starting Sun Nov 1:
Sun: Noon – 4:00; Mon-Fri: – 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sat: 10:00 – 5:00.      515-279-5400
Top Ten sellers in our store last month – see what everyone’s reading!
1. The White Man Who Stayed, James A. Autry*
2. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
3. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, V.E.Schwab
4. Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age, John Lithgow
5. Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship 1920-2020, Rebecca Conard*
6. Anxious People, Frederik Backman
7. This Just Speaks to Me: Words to Live By Every Day, Hoda Kotb
8. Troubles in Paradise, Elin Hilderbrand
9. The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett
10. The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary, Robb Pearlman
*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.

  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:

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  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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