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

“The Possible’s slow fuse is lit / By the Imagination.” 
– Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American Poet

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

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  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. A Love Offering is a co-production of Pyramid Theatre Company and The Des Moines Community Playhouse, opening Fri Jun 4 and continuing through Jun 20. In-person, livestream and VOD options to experience this powerful story.
  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. Annual Landscape Show May 28 – Jul 17. Join Olson-Larsen Galleries on Sunday May 23rd at 2pm CST as we have a live, virtual conversation with new O-L artist, Olivia Valentine and writer/curator, Shannon Stratton.
  2. Valentine’s recent solo exhibition at the Des Moines Art Center was accompanied by a thoughtful essay written by Stratton.
  3. “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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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 – Barbara McHugh, PhD and practitioner of Buddhism and meditation for decades, distills a lifetime of research and experience into a dynamic and engaging debut novel. Barbara shares her path to this captivating book in a conversation that beckons people to its pages.
    “In this fine debut, McHugh combines scholarship with intriguing fictionalizations. This engrossing exploration of gender dynamics, identity, and the spiritual quest for meaning will appeal to Buddhists and general readers alike.”—Publishers Weekly
  • 11:17 AM – Infusing her debut novel with captivating history and personal texturing, Rebecca D’Harlingue gives readers a refreshingly different story to immerse themselves into. “The Lines Between Us” whisks its readers to a different time centuries ago, in a different land. Rebecca gives us glimpses into this journey during a lively conversation.
    “D’Harlingue’s prose is languid and sure throughout this novel and especially effective at threading in intriguing details of 17th-century Spain and Mexico City, including the role of education in the lives of women… An ambitious, engaging novel that explores the power of finding personal connection to the past.” —Kirkus Reviews
  • 11:31 AM – Elizabeth Roper Marcus penned “Don’t Say a Word: A Daughter’s Two Cents,” which is rightfully receiving critical acclaim for taking its readers into familiar, yet intimately new, territory. Elizabeth gives her thoughts and back story to her personal story in our recent conversation.
    “What an achievement! Don’t Say a Word! is evocative, smart, AND funny, with fresh insights about families on virtually every page. Marcus’s drive to comprehend her past will inspire readers who felt silenced in childhood or whose talents and achievements went unappreciated. With this book, she breaks her silence, revealing hard-won realizations and a remarkable ability to laugh through the tears.” ―Barbara Schildkraut, MD, author of Unmasking Psychological Symptoms and Masquerading Symptoms
  • 11:49 AM – A new Iowa event will happen during the final weekend in June. The Cohesion Music & Arts Festival co-creators, Jason Brommel and Bunga Golden Heart, provide a quick overview of this family-friendly event, sure to become an annual must-experience. Early bird tickets are available, and an incredible lineup of music, art, fishing and an environmentally conscientious setting.
  • 12:00 PM – Jeff Arch infuses his wealth of success and experience to his storytelling in his literary fiction debut, “Attachments.” The famed screenwriter for “Sleepless in Seattle” enthusiastically leads a lively conversation about how this novel came into being, and why it was destined to begin its existence as a book instead of a screenplay.
    “Any book that makes you laugh and cry and think – even question your own life – is a book worth reading, sharing, talking about – and yes, wishing you had written it yourself because it’s just that good. Jeff Arch’s glorious, gorgeous novel creates characters and moments that make us believe in love even if we’ve given up on it. I wish I had written it.” – Amy Ferris, author of Marrying George Clooney, Confessions from a Midlife Crisis
  • 12:18 PM – Cheryl Mullenbach has written many wonderful history books that bring to life those times she covers in her books. A recent book of hers, “Torpedoed!,” captures the survival of two children during a WW II torpedoing of the ship they were on.
    “(Cheryl) Mullenbach has a delectable gift for finding historical stories and bringing the to vibrant life for young readers. Don’t be surprised if older readers are drawn into shared reading experiences with children and grandchildren thanks to her talent.” -The Culture Buzz
  • 12:29 PM – “Aah…The Pleasure Book” offers readers so much more than first blush of its provocative title. Dr. Jia Gottlieb – best known as Dr. Jia (‘Ja’ as in java) – shares wonderful wisdom and insights into his masterful book, a surefire must-have for one’s own “life resources” library. Enjoy the conversation, benefit from Dr. Jia’s book.
    “aah . . . exhale when you say it and dive into the mystery of the present moment with our longtime friend, Dr. Jia. This rich offering of yogic wisdom, science, and practical philosophy is presented in a refreshingly personal and effective way. Please study this book again and again. Please research and study all of the teachers and books that are mentioned within.” – Richard Freeman, Author of The Mirror of Yoga and The Art of Vinyasa
  • 12:43 PM – 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.

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.

Beaverdale Books has re-opened, and still offers curbside or delivery service. Updated hours: Sun/Mon: CLOSED; Tue – Fri: 10:00 – 5:30; Sat: 10:00 – 5:00

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

  1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
  2. Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, Walter Isaacson
  4. Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage, Anne Lamott
  5. We Are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom
  6. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  7. California Calling, Martin McGrane*
  8. Hidden Valley Road, Robert Kolker
  9. The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah
  10. 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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