Monday, May 16, 2022

Join our email blast

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
“She did not talk to people as if they were strange hard shells she had to crack open to get inside. She talked as if she were already in the shell. In their very shell.”  – Marita Bonner (1899-1971) an American writer, essayist, and playwright who is commonly associated with the Harlem Renaissance. A description of the character Pauline, in the short story “Nothing New” (1926); reprinted in Frye Street and Environs (1987)

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 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
  1. Exit Strategy by Ike Holter is a captivating comedy – righteously angry, riotously funny – and Iowa Stage Theatre Company continues this virtual production through Jun 13. The teachers of Tumbldn High School don’t live in an inspirational teacher movie. They bring mousetraps from home, they make the toilet paper last, and they show up for the kids nobody else shows up for.
  2. A Love Offering is a co-production of Pyramid Theatre Company and The Des Moines Community Playhouse, continuing through Jun 20. In-person, livestream and VOD options to experience this powerful story.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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”.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.

Enhancing your creativity
CEDAR FALLS, IA— Virtual Writers Workshop Taking Registrations
Shelly Beach, national speaker and award-winning author, will be the keynote speaker for the 19th annual Christian Writers Workshop. The virtual workshop is scheduled for June 17-19. Shelly Beach is co-founder of our Cedar Falls Christian Writer’s Workshop in Iowa and also helped co-found Breathe Writer’s Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.  She is a multiple award-winning author of more than thirteen books, co-author of several others, and coach and mentor behind dozens of additional titles. She has worked with New York Times best-selling authors, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, acclaimed physicians, pastors, entrepreneurs, musicians, educators, as well as new and aspiring authors. To view the full line up, learn more about the speakers, and to register through Eventbrite, visit For more information about registration, contact Sue Schuerman at 319-277-0295. For other questions, contact Jean Vaux at 319-277-7761. Contact: Jean Vaux, workshop co-chair, or 319-277-7761

“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 – 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
  • 11:10 AM – Eye-opening, informative and a clarion call to action, Alexander Hinton’s “It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide in the US” is a compelling read and one that all should read who truly wish to make this a better, more unified country. (Note: if you order this book through NYU Press and use the code “Hinton30,” you will receive a 30% discount) 
    “It Can Happen Here is an essential new assessment of the dangers of contemporary white power extremism in the United States.” – NYU Press
  • 11:31 AM – Amazingly gifted in writing, research and blending history into an absorbing reading adventure, Margalit Fox gives readers a masterful experience in “The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History.” Listen as she shares glimpses into the process, research and joy in bringing this book and its story to the world.
    “The Confidence Men couldn’t have come along at a better time. This story of two unlikely con artists—young British officers who use a Ouija board to escape from a Turkish prisoner-of-war camp—is a true delight, guaranteed to lift the spirits of anyone eager to forget today’s realities and lose oneself in a beautifully written tale of an exciting and deeply moving real-life caper.” – Lynne Olson, author of Madame Fourcade’s Secret War
  • 11:48 AM – Amenda Tate is an exceptional creative, an interdisciplinary artist whose work draws people into a better understanding of how overlapping arts disciplines also overlap our world. Amenda spends some time talking about “Sapient 2.021,” which will premier later this month. Dance, robotics, music, visual arts – all bound together with Amenda’s unquenchable desire to stimulate audiences into greater levels of understanding connectivity.
  • 12:00 PM – Theatre Midwest returns to their home stage, the Viking Theatre, at Grand View University, as they open their eagerly anticipated show, Atlas of Mud. Erin Tracy and Michelle Vaudrin join the conversation about this powerful show, which opens Sat Jun 12.
  • 12:14 PM – Jamie Siefert, VP at Cedar Ridge Distillery, enthusiastically shares news about this year’s renewal of one of the great summer festivals in the Midwest. Bourbon and Blues Fest is a signature event produced by this successful distillery and winery, and will run July 2, 3, 4, and 5. Most of the events are family friendly and free. Learn more about what happens during this year’s festival, and make your plans to attend.
  • 12:31 PM – Co-authors Stephen M. Engel and Timothy S. Lyle lead a lively, informative discussion about their exceptional book, “Disrupting Dignity: Rethinking Power and Progress In LGBTQ Lives.” Deeply researched and meticulously annotated, their book helps us all gain greater understanding of the history and evolution of LGBTQ lives and culture in America.
    “…in the end, we are hopeful that dominant notions of dignity can be effectively disrupted across domains of policy, law, and culture, and dignity can be done differently to promote equity and radical inclusion for all members of the LGBTQ+ communities.” – Stephen M. Engel and Timothy S. Lyle
  • 12:51 PM – Award-winning writer/poet Dennis Maulsby reads one of his works, “Feather and Fin.”
  • 12:54 PM – To end a show with a Susan Werner song is like getting a standing ovation at the end of a performance. Here is her marvelous “Iowa,” from her landmark album HAYSEED.

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. ♦

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.