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. Strongly consider getting your vaccinations.
Continue to be creative. Find ways to celebrate your thankfulness safely with family, friends and others.
– John Busbee for The Culture Buzz, 2014 Iowa Governor’s Award for Partnership & Collaboration in the Arts

Quote of the Week
“Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see.” – Leslie Jamison, in The Empathy Exams: Essays (2014)

Callista Gould delivers more sound advice for success
Now that more people are returning to shared work environments, Callista Gould has some wonderful food for thought. “Here’s what I did to network internally at one large organization where I worked”:

  1. Rarely ate at my desk. I always tried to eat in common areas with other people.
  2. Talked small talk with others before meetings began.
  3. Greeted everyone I passed in the hallway. If I saw a person repeatedly, I would stop and say, “We see each other all the time, but I don’t think we’ve ever met. My name is…”
  4. Participated in company-sponsored volunteer activities in the community.
  5. Asked questions of executives and engaged them in conversation.
  6. Looked for opportunities to work on teams across departments.
  7. When meeting with people in other departments, I always offered to go to their department.
  8. Wrote thank you notes for internal interviews or other assistance.
  9. Joined company sports leagues. I excel at neither volleyball or bowling, but I did both.
  10. Organized after-work Happy Hours and other gatherings.

If I could do it all over again, I would have joined the company Toastmasters group, to practice public speaking.
The bigger the organization, the more opportunities for internal networking. Done right, internal networking isn’t just an enriching experience, it’s an enjoyable one.
Boost your team’s professionalism training with copies of my book, The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career. Find it on Amazon, or buy local in Des Moines, Iowa at Beaverdale Books. Contact me at or 515-225-9683. Or visit

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Big step forward for a Central Iowa literary destination.
Beaverdale Books survived the pandemic, thanks to its loyal fans. Now, they re-opened their doors to browsing! Tuesday through Friday 10:00 – 5:30; Saturday 10:00 – 5:00
Curbside pickup will still be available.

Iowa awaits all cultural adventurers
Iowa’s Tourism office invites Iowans and visitors to ‘Travel Iowa’ and explore the many wonders awaiting cultural adventurers. Their website is filled with easy to navigate, helpful information, tools and much more to help anyone plan visits to great destinations from border to border, and river to river. You can even order your hard copy of the new travel guide.

Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. Ankeny Community Theatre presents Puffs by Matt Cox on Sun May 23 at 7:30 pm. ACT’s Readers Virtual Theater will present this new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children.
  2. The Des Moines Symphony performs the eighth and final livestreamed concert in its 2020-2021 “Live from the Temple” series, Fantaisie en Français, on Thursday, May 13 at 7:00PM.
  3. Visit for more information on Scriptease, and visit Iowa Stage Theatre Youtube page for their latest audio drama. Audio dramas are released every two weeks. Our latest is Chekov’s The Ninny, from our series “Love, for Short”. You can also subscribe to our patreon at ‘’ to access our Scriptease Audio Drama Catalogue, featuring our first three audio dramas from “Love, for Short”.
  4. Teachers, parents, and schools across the country will gain access to Des Moines Metro Opera’s Virtual Opera Curriculum, an online music education series offered as part of the organization’s OPERA Iowa programming. This engaging virtual curriculum teaches students the basics of opera, culminating with a professional, filmed performance of the children’s opera, Rusalka: The Littlest Mermaid. The curriculum series will be available for classroom use through July 2, 2021, and includes short informational videos like “What is Opera?” and “How Do You Sing Like That?” as well as related activities, worksheets and games to increase engagement with students and to check for understanding.
  5. Civic Music Association presents the next offering in its Play On Series. This livestream happens at 7:00 PM, and is sponsored by G. David (dec.) & Trudy Holman Hurd.
  6. The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


  1. “Compelling Ground: Landscapes, Environments, and Peoples of Iowa” is open now through July 23 at the Brunnier Art Museum in Ames, IA. Exhibition features art and installations from nineteen artists inspired by Iowa’s landscape.
  2. Des Moines Art Center, in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery through May 23, 2021. The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art is the first survey and major scholarly assessment of this groundbreaking artist’s 37-year career. Human/Nature: An Exhibition Inspired by the Art of Judith Schaechter, in the John Brady Print Gallery. Artist Judith Schaechter worked with Curatorial Manager Laura Burkhalter to choose work from the Art Center’s collection by artists who inspire her or which contains thematic connections to her masterful glass constructions.
  3. The Grinnell College Museum of Art is open by appointment, Tue thru Sat, noon to 5 pm. Visitors who need to schedule a visit on Mondays or mornings, please Director Lesley Wright, Also contact Lesley Wright if you want to come with a group.
  4. Terrace Hill Opens for Tours, are available by reservation. Tours are at 10:30 and 12:00, Tuesday – Saturday. Please call 515-242-5841 to make a reservation.

“Support a Local Business” tips of the week:

  1. 6 ways to support small businesses: Write a positive review; tell your friends & family; follow them on social media; engage with their posts; give them a shout out; sign up for their newsletter. Cost to do this: $0.00.
  2. Tangerine Foods at Mainframe Studios. A great local business ready to give you more time with your family and friends. Get on Cherry’s mailing list and receive random updates about “popup” dining opportunities… even take a meal home.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – Publisher Michael Swanger dons his writer’s cap to deliver a wonderful cover story in the new issue of Iowa History Journal. Bill Butler is one of Hollywood’s best ever cinematographers, and hails from Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Michael chats about interviewing this centenarian, then shares highlights of the many other great stories in another informative, entertaining and inspiring issue.
  • 11:13 AM – Kate Eckman gives us a ‘life resource’ book that will inspire and guide its readers through its rich content. “The Full Spirit Workout: A 10-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun & Fulfilling Life” is a resource filled with Kate’s expertise, experience and sharing, and she provides an enthusiastic view into what awaits readers wise enough to add this to their collection.
    “Kate Eckman is one of those humans who makes you feel good about being human. Having read her book, I now know why.” — Clinton Kelly, Emmy-winning television host, stylist, lifestyle consultant and author of Freakin’ Fabulous
  • 11:28 AM – Dario Diofebi is a talented writer who has captured the essence of one of America’s unique communities through his irresistible novel, “Paradise, Nevada.” Listen as Dario shares peeks into a world he lived in, and took the time to understand at its deeper levels
    “Vegas has been right there forever, waiting for a great novelist, and Dario Diofebi has come dealing nothing but aces.”–Darin Strauss, NBCC Award-Winning author of HALF A LIFE
  • 11:45 AM – An always-welcome regular on this show, Brian Freeman delivers a new facet of storytelling in his latest thriller, “Infinite.” Brian’s enthusiasm for and love of writing shines in this story, as he shares some backstory delights in how it came into being.
    “A dizzying delight” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
  • 12:00 PM – Mark Heggen is a multi-talented creative who has helped others through his animation, songwriting and editing talents, and all of these and more are infused in his great documentary, “Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines.” This documentary was selected as part of the 
    “Mark Heggen masterfullyl brings a wealth of cinematic, creative and technical talent together in a masterful stroll through Greater Des Moines’ incredible history of its movie houses, from the great halls of another era to a diverse range of neighborhood movie escape rooms. You don’t have to be from Des Moines, Iowa to enjoy this exquisite documentary.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:12 PM – Pedro Mairal’s captivating, immersive work, “The Woman from Uruguay,” was brilliantly translated by Jennifer Croft, giving English-readers a beautiful reading experience. Listen as Pedro and Jenny share insights into the creation of this critically acclaimed book.
    “Beautifully written and translated, The Woman from Uruguay is a work of exquisite style, shrewd philosophical insight, and deftly controlled suspense. A searing tale of seduction and betrayal, both wryly comic and deeply serious.” –  Sigrid Nunez, author of THE FRIEND and WHAT ARE YOU GOING THROUGH
  • 12:23 PM – Bonnie MacBird does all the work for us in preparing her readers, who instantly becomes fans, to immerse themselves into new adventures of Conan Doyle’s iconic characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Through detailed research and a marvelous gift for emulating Doyle’s style, her newest book, “The Three Locks,” is the fourth Holmes/Watson novel she has crafted. Listen as she shares some marvelous glimpses into her creative process, fueled by her love of these characters.
    “Bonnie MacBird’s THE THREE LOCKS satisfies a hunger for more adventures of Holmes and Watson on so many levels: Not only does she perfectly capture their voices, she captures that most critical element—their humanity. Brava!” — Les Klinger, The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes
  • 12:43 PM – Margaret Wolff has a rare gift of gently reaching into the reader’s soul through the timeless inspiration of the fourteen stories contained in her brilliant “Coming Home: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda.” Listen as Margaret shares how she brought a wonderful essence of living into her book.
    “…the most creative and transformative experience life can offer—developing an intimate partnership with the invisible God of one’s heart.” 

Cultural nuggets – 
Check out the Month of Sundays posts at this Facebook site. Thanks to Covid Recovery Iowa, a program with a wealth of ways to help, you will find resources, inspiration and more.

Top Ten sellers in our store last month – see what everyone’s reading!

  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
  • Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, Walter Isaacson
  • Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage, Anne Lamott
  • We Are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  • California Calling, Martin McGrane*
  • Hidden Valley Road, Robert Kolker
  • The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah
  • The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

*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 –; Facebook: 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


  1. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. You can add your name to their audition notice list at
  3. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  4. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at

Cultural Engagement Opportunities:

  1. Check with galleries, organizations, destinations you frequented before the pandemic. Many are producing creative and unique ways to engage again…get your cultural fix.
  2. Nocé has instigated strict COVID protocols while launching live music at its destination-worthy venue – check out the schedule and find a time to savor the sublime setting and national-caliber music.
  3. Civic Music Association announces its 2020-2021 Season. Check it out.
  4. The Des Moines Symphony will present an appealing series of concert experiences. Check for details.
  5. Always changing, always beckoning, Iowa is a wonderland of cultural, natural and culinary delights. For your guide book, contact the Iowa Tourism office, visit their website, and get a hard coy of the new travel guide at 

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. Dog-eared Books, Ames.
  4. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events),
  5. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown.
  6. Book Vault, Oskaloosa.
  7. Prairie Lights Books & Cafe, Iowa City.


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 encourage cultural adventures with a comprehensive overview of what The Culture Buzz delivers. Included is an archive library of favorite interviews.
  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. dsm Magazine – Central Iowa’s gateway to arts, culture and more in a stunning, visual format. dsm’s CultureCast podcast features interviews with cultural leaders, artists and musicians.
  5. ia Magazine – Built upon the success of its Central Iowa counterpart, this annual gem brings enticing cultural news from across the state.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues.
  10. Bryan Farland, for many years, single handedly puts together the most comprehensive list of live and streaming music in Iowa. Bryan reaches out two ways, and 

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

  • COVID Iowa Recovery: 800-775-9276
  • 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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