Thursday, June 1, 2023

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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
“Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves.” 
– Peter M. Senge (b. 1947), an American systems scientist who is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-faculty at the New England Complex Systems Institute, and the founder of the Society for Organizational Learning.

Getting’ out, bustin’ loose and savoring a summer more free than last
Cityview has done the hard work – finding and organizing a wealth of outdoor enticements for you to consider. Biking and cycling. Fun in the sun. Wineries. Tasty eats. Brick and mortar shopping. Farmers markets. Date ideas. Sporting events. Community festivals. And much more. All in an easy-to-read format in print and digital editions. The Cityview printed version is available at hundreds of high traffic locations across central Iowa, and the full digital edition can be viewed at 

Clive Library delivers exceptional live author events in June

  • June 2 – Author Joy Neal Kidney – Join us in the library Community Room on Wed Jun 2 at 6:30pm for a visit with author and local historian Joy Neal Kidney.  Joy will talk to us about “Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” and the recent release about her grandmother, “Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.”  Joy Neal Kidney, the oldest granddaughter of the book’s heroine, is the keeper of family stories, letters, photos, combat records, casualty reports, and telegrams.  Married to a Vietnam Air Force veteran, Joy lives in central Iowa.  Her nonfiction has been published in The Des Moines Register, other media, and broadcast over “Our American Stories.”  She’s a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, and her essays have been collected by the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa. The Culture Buzz interview with Joy:…
  • June 16 – Nancy Drew: Iowa Heroine to the World – Nancy Drew is the most popular teen detective in fiction.  More than 200 million copies of Nancy Drew mysteries have been sold, and her books have been translated into 45 different languages.  Few know, however, that Nancy is an Iowa heroine and that an Iowa writer, Mildred Augustine, created Nancy’s winning character and personality.  Her authorship of the first Nancy Drew mysteries-and single-handed creation of Nancy’s admirable character-were kept secret for more than 50 years.  Barbara Lounsberry, Iowan and former Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, will be here to share with us her presentation on Nancy and Mildred, designed to fortify Iowans young and old. Registration required. The Culture Buzz interview with Barbara: Explore Clive Public Library’s programming at

Cultural exploration opportunities

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 1)CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 2)
  1. 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.
  2. Atlas of Mud breaks through as Theatre Midwest’s return to live theatre on Sat Jun 12 at 7:30 and Sun Jun 13 at 2:00. Virtual shows will be available those dates, as well as Jun 19 and 20.
  3. ACT (Ankeny Community Theatre) Readers Virtual Theater is pleased to be introducing South Dakota by Eric Coble on Sunday June 13 at 7:30 pm. Featuring some of your favorite characters from famous musicals of years past, like Billy Bigelow, Anna, the King, Enoch, Ado Annie, and many more, we’ll discover how they handle a new mission—-getting to the Dream Ballet!
  4. 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”.
  5. 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.
  6. Civic Music Association will present another season with the masterful Belin String Quartet. This year’s season will be presented Wednesdays, 5:30 PM, at the Salisbury House & Gardens through July 28. Full schedule available at
  7. 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.
    Valentine’s recent solo exhibition at the Des Moines Art Center was accompanied by a thoughtful essay written by Stratton.
  2. “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.
  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 – Writer’s Digest Award-Winning Writer Keith McWalter dips his experienced pen into another inkwell, giving the world a wonderful debut novel. Bringing a masterful telling of survival, death and aging, Keith shares insights about his new work.“There’s something intangible in McWalter’s storytelling that keeps the reader enthralled….it presents a depiction of life and loss that feels true, and seems to say that one must find satisfaction in whatever joy one receives. A finely crafted work about the inevitability of aging and loss.” ―Kirkus Reviews 
  • 11:16 AM – “You Belong Here Now” is a compelling blend of history and fiction set in an alluring story sure to capture any reader’s complete attention. Based on the orphan trains of the early part of the 20th Century, author Dianna Rostad brings another era to vibrant life. She shares glimpses into the process of crafting this exceptional book.“Set against the harsh backdrop of Montana, You Belong Here Now is a novel as straightforward and powerful as the characters who populate. I love this book and I guarantee you won’t find a finer debut work anywhere.” — William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land
  • 11:30 AM – With a deep sense of capturing its culture and history, Charleston is the setting for Preslaya Williams’ richly written novel, “A Lowcountry Bride.” Preslaya’s own Afro-Filipina heritage pulsates in her heroine, as she brings a Charleston to vibrant life through her story. “With superb character development and great emotional depth, Afro Filipina writer Williams stitches together quietly powerful love story that is beautifully enriched by the deft and insightful incorporation of weighty issues such as grief and medical conditions into the compelling plot and brightly enhanced by glimpses into the vibrant culture and history of Charleston.” -Booklist, starred review
  • 11:44 AM – Debra Landwehr Engle returns to the show to share news about her debut novel, an irresistible journey with the special depths and layers that only Deb could infuse into such a captivating story. “Twenty” is “…a warm, defiantly uplifting, and transformative story about finding hope and magic in our daily lives.”“A book to hold against your heart long after the last page is turned.” – Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author
  • 12:00 PM – Dylan Huey is one of a village of creatives making their artistic careers happen under the vast roof of Mainframe Studios. A major work “Above and Beyond Cancer,” was written by Dr. Richard L. Demin, and he provided the images for debuts this week at the June First Friday, and Dylan takes time to visit with us about it and his work.“Dylan Huey’s image work captures the unseen vibrancy and essence of his subjects, as he freezes a moment in time to be studied, savored and enjoyed well into the future.” – The Culture Buzz 
  • 12:13 PM – Damon West’s personal story of tragedy and triumph captured the attention of Jon Gordon (“The Energy Bus,” interviewed on this show), and from that partnership came “The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change.” Damon delivers impassioned understanding for all to benefit from his travails as this book brings a deeper and better understanding of how each of us can be constant in our journey through life.“In this enticing, quick read, Damon West and Jon Gordon create an illustrated fable suitable for all ages and packed with life lessons information that reminds us how to best stay focused for success.” -The Culture Buzz 
  • 12:30 PM – Iowa women’s historian Cheryl Mullenbach returns with her newest offering, a marvelously enticing exploration of “Stagecoach Women.” Cheryl plies her masterful combination of researching the stories that are “hiding in the historical weeds,” and brings them to vibrant life for our enjoyment. Be sure to get her new book, available through Beaverdale Books and other fine bookstores.“(Cheryl) Mullenbach has a rare gift to not just delve into history and present stories that have often been overlooked, but she finds relevant stories, especially of women in our past, and helps to create a stronger understanding of our shared history.” -The Culture Buzz 
  • 12:41 PM – Jonathan Reed researches and gathers incredible photographs to tell the history of Iowa’s only natural lakes in his historical marvel, “Lost Resorts of the Iowa Great Lakes.” Jonathan leads a lively conversation sharing glimpses into a book that will enchant any and all who have experienced the wonder of this destination worthy collection of lakes.“Jonathan M. Reed takes readers on a deep, graceful dive into the waters of history, using a flood of photographs and a bounty of thirst-quenching research and writing to quench a shared thirst for knowledge about this incredible water wonderland.” -The Culture Buzz

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. Premonition, Michael Lewis
  2. The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, Amanda Gorman
  3. The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet, John Green
  4. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  5. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer
  6. Giver of Stars, JoJo Moyes
  7. Congratulations, by the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness, George Saunders
  8. What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, Oprah Winfrey
  9. World Travel, Anthony Bourdain
  10. Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir

*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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Summer Stir (June 2023)