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
“Art is not a thing: it is a way.” – Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), an American editor, writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher, and author of the moralistic essay, “A Message to Garcia.”

Tuesday Night Bonus Cultural Happening – consider this a pre-show for Wednesday
Join us for a YouTube premiere watch party of Iowa Creative Incubator artist fellows! Watch from anywhere by visiting the Mainframe Studios YouTube channel at 6:00 p.m. tonight, Jun 22. Cameron Gray, Chrissy Jensen, DeAn Michael Kelly (DK), Amenda Tate and Jill Wells are cultivating genuine positive change in our communities. This intimate event, recorded at xBk Live, offers the opportunity to get to know each artist and their enterprising start-up stories. The mission of the Iowa Creative Incubator is to guide new connections between artists and businesses for a more dynamic and equitable creative economy. Co-created by Mainframe Studios and Beau Kenyon, Iowa Creative Incubator champions projects by five artists that prioritize social engagement and their unique creative vision.
Learn more at

Art Week Des Moines starts this Friday and features a number of virtual and in-person exhibitions, activities and more, culminating with the Des Moines Arts Festival June 25-27. Local organizations including the Des Moines Art Center, Mainframe Studios, Moberg Gallery and Olson-Larsen Galleries, among others, will participate. Events this weekend include an opening reception for Larassa Kabel’s “Death and the Good Life” show at Moberg Gallery, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. Olson-Larsen Galleries and Sunny Porch, which is a charity focused on mental health, will host “Beauty & Struggle” on Saturday. The exhibit will feature the art of the late Anna Marie Harrington, whose works chronicled her struggle with mental illness and addiction. Next week, Teehee’s Comedy Club will host Leo Bird, who will display drawings in his “The Words He Cannot Say” series and talk with patrons at 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 21. Mainframe Studios will show a video about the fellows in its Iowa Creative Incubator at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, offering the opportunity to get to know each artist.

Cultural exploration opportunities

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  1. Bridges of Madison County: Concert Version will be presented by Tallgrass Theatre Company at the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater as they return to the Central Iowa theatre scene following their move and the pandemic. This concert, Fri Jun 25 at 7:00 PM and Sat Jun 26 at 1:00 PM, is filled with the region’s top musical theatre artists, and is presented in partnership with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation.
  2. 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”.
  3. The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


  1.  Celebrating the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of individual artists, The Culture Buzz will periodically share news about Iowa artists offering works. Becky Ross is a talented Iowa City-based watercolor artist who creates prints on cards of her original paintings. Check out the subtle beauty of nature that Becky captures, and order some of her cards to send a special message to someone.
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.

Etiquette Tip of the Week: When Your Posting Is a Roasting
By Callista Gould, Author and Certified Etiquette Instructor
“Can’t wait for this event!” “Looking forward to being there!” When an event is promoted on social media, such responses add sizzle. There’s anticipation for this event.
When can your posting turn into a roasting? When you announce, “So sorry I can’t make it.” Or “Wish I could be there.” It seems well-intentioned – expressing regret for not being able to attend an otherwise desirable event. But the message to the general public is, “People are not going to this event.” If your intention is to torpedo an event, that’s your post. The same goes for the “Sorry, I missed it,” post after the event.
Posting on social media is a public statement. Not every message needs to be a public statement. If you can’t make it, send a private message to the person promoting the event. If you wouldn’t attend even if you were free, don’t send any message at all.
It’s good to review the definition of R.S.V.P. On an invitation, it comes from the French “respondez s’il vous plait” meaning, “Please respond,” as in whether you plan to attend or not attend the event.
I’m not a fan of the “public R.S.V.P.” – especially invites by email that divulge the guest list, who has said yes, no or is undecided (holding out for a better invite). Public R.S.V.P.s help the event organizer, providing an up-to-the-moment headcount. But they also indulge the prying person who, before committing, asks, “Who else will be there?” (Not you, next time there’s an invite.)
Be security conscious. Announcing on social media that you’re attending an in-person event is like giving criminals an appointment of when to break into your home.
To be safe, post intentions to attend, only for virtual events or post how much you enjoyed it, after the event.
Need a great way to show appreciation for your team? Buy them copies of my book, The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career It’s an entertaining read and the gift of Professional Development that helps everyone represent your organization well. Find it on or buy local in Des Moines, Iowa at Beaverdale Books.

“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 – Iowa airbrush artist icon Shawn Palek brings his usually upbeat, positive energy to a conversation about the importance of live art shows for artists and patrons. Shawn is an exceptional artist, as well as a teacher, mentor, advocate and champion for arts in everyday life. “There are many good artists. Shawn Palek is an exceptional artist, as he has an indomitable drive to succeed, always looking at new ways to express his artistic visions. His exceptionalism extends to serving as a teacher, mentor, enabler, and advocate – any artist who embraces Shawn’s foundations will succeed.” – The Culture Buzz 
  • This week’s show will feature all five Iowa Creative Incubator Fellows: Amenda Tate, Cameron Gray, Chrissy Jensen, De’An DK Kelly, and Jill Wells. Enjoy getting to know these artists, and seek out their public appearances and work.
  • 11:18 AM – Amenda Tate is an exceptional creative, an interdisciplinary artist whose work draws people into a better understanding of our overlapping arts disciplines also overlap our world. Amenda spends some time talking about her Incubator Project is Sapient 2.021. Dance, robotics, music, visual arts – all bound together with Amenda’s unquenchable desire to stimulate audiences into greater levels of understanding connectivity.
  • 11:31 AM – Cameron Gray’s Incubator Project is inspired by the historic Iowa town of Buxton as he approaches community engagement as participatory art installation, Cameron is building meeting places for Black kids within the Ames and Des Moines area. “I see it as a place where Black people of all ages can come to see themselves and network. A place where they are drowned in Black literature, arts, music, and films — built by us for us.“
  • 11:48 AM – DeAn DK Kelly’s Incubator Project is Writing History — A creative response to the current racial and social climate, this on-going youth engagement art program promotes positive self-expression and unity in underserved communities through the arts and storytelling.  
  • 11:51 AM – Chrissy Jensen shares insights about her hands-on Incubator Project, Right Right Now Now — A community-forward Risograph print shop + design lab dedicated to supporting and amplifying underrepresented voices.
  • 11:58 AM – Salvatore Marici reads “Appetizer for Two” from his collection, “Swish Swirl & Sniff.”
  • 12:00 PM – Director Megan Helmers gives an enthusiastic inside glance at this weekend’s premier musical theatre event: The Bridges of Madison County: Concert Version. This performance features an orchestra backing the region’s top musical theatre artists as they present a staged concert performance of the award-winning musical, whose national Broadway tour began in Des Moines.
  • 12:13 PM – John Krantz brings a keen understanding and insight about this year’s eagerly anticipated Jazz in July at Hoyt Sherman Place. For three successive Tuesdays in July beginning on the 13th, Jazz in July will fill the neighborhood with the best in our region’s as well as national and international jazz artists. Listen as John provides exciting glimpses into the artists anchoring this fantastic free family event.
  • 12:25 PM – Author and historian Daniel James Brown excels in blending history and storytelling into captivating writing that will touch readers’ hearts. “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” is compelling reading, sharing exceptional stories of patriotism to America while enduring a dark response from their own country to their own heritage. “Daniel James Brown has done it again. His rich, nuanced recreation of the dark years when thousands of our fellow citizens were incarcerated because of their ancestry is a must-read contribution to the history of the 20th century.” – Timothy Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time
  • 12:41 PM – Jill Wells talks about her Incubator Project: Public Art Mentorship, where Jill will mentor a graduating high school student using public art and community engagement as her primary tools, while focusing on 3 primary skill-building objectives.

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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