Thursday, May 19, 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
“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.” – Emily Brontë, on independence, (1818-1848), an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights

Celebrate the Book at Central Iowa’s favorite destination book store
Beaverdale Books celebrates its 15th anniversary this Sat Jul 10 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM with an enticing plethora of activities and offers. A bevy of authors will be available throughout the day to meet, and offers such as hardback books two-for-one will be for sale. Immerse yourself in literature.

Indie Author Book Expo (IABE) Authors’ Fair at Valley West Mall, 1551 Valley W Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50266. Sat Jul 10, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Sun Jul 11, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Free.
Regular contributor to this show is Dennis Maulsby, who will be part of this expo. He encourages attendees to “bring a copy of this email to trade for your choice of a free chapbook (poetry or fiction) when you purchase any one of my full-size books.”

Cultural exploration opportunities

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  1.  Prepare ye the way of musical theatre….Godspell will be presented by the Des Moines Community Playhouse in full revival fashion, under the big tent, filling the area with the signature songs and more from this beloved musical. Opening Jul 9 and running in repertory with Neil Simon’s beloved comedy, Plaza Suite (opening Jul 16), these two shows will share the big tent with the Saturday Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show, Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical. This tent is large enough to even include a return of the crow-pleasing FAE – Final Act Ensemble for one night, Jul 27, delivering their delightful live-radio comedy hijinks.
  2. Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) returns with a majestic flourish with health and safety protocols to (semi) pack the houses for their trio of incredible shows this summer. Check their calendar for availability of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Platée, and The Queen of Spades, and enjoy one of America’s most intimate and exceptional performing arts experiences.
    There is still time to save on your team registration. Register your team before July 7 to get the best rate!
  3. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s summer music series is BACK, LIVE and IN-PERSON! Presented by EMC Insurance Companies, the 15-week series, Music in the Garden, is held every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. through September 30! Food, drink and fun, family-friendly activities will be available at all events!…/sig…/music-in-the-garden/
  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. 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.

Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

  1. Master Singing Class with David Michael Garry – The Broadway star of “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Carousel,” “The Last Ship” and other hits will conduct a master class for aspiring vocalists and lifelong singers, high school age and up, 9-11 a.m. July 18 at the Iowa Theater in Winterset. David Michael Garry will cover every aspect of vocal auditions, including how to enter an audition space and specific performance techniques. The 2-hour class is geared to help young performers book jobs, get into colleges and conservatories, and succeed in vocal competitions.
  2. The Des Moines Community Playhouse will audition for two upcoming productions. With their eyes auditions Mon Aug 2 at 6:00 PM (performance date Sep 11), for young performers. Escaping the Labyrinth audition Mon Aug 23 at 6:00 PM (performance dates Oct 15-23).

“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 – Veteran writer, memoirist and author Michael J. Coffino delivers a masterful debut novel with “Truth Is in the House,” a captivating interlacing story of two lives. Inspired by true events, Michael, shares glimpses into this book, which already is gaining a bevy of praise. “If Michael Coffino were a master chef, ‘Truth Is in the House’ would be a signature dish, spiced with rich nuances sure to stimulate and sate any literary palate. This debut novel resonates with a sagacity in delivering a captivating story that will ripple through the reader’s mind well past its satisfying ending.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:16 AM – Judith Ruskay Rabinor PhD brings her professional and personal lives together, unveiling a wondrous account that is both intimate and exceptionally universal in her critically acclaimed “The Girl in the Red Boots: Making Peace with My Mother.” Judy shares some of her back story in how this book came to be, and in that sharing, we are drawn to it to better understand the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship. “In this engaging book, Rabinor reflects on the most complex, intense and important of all relationships, the one between mothers and daughters. She shares the story of her journey from pain and anger to acceptance and gratitude and explores the journeys of other mothers and daughters too. Rabinor’s professional work with eating disorders has given her a unique vantage point on these most timeless of stories. Her book is candid, fresh and inspiring.” ―Mary Pipher, author of Women Rowing North and Reviving Ophelia
  • 11:33 AM – The Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre will be part of the quartet of shows that the Des Moines Playhouse presents this month under their big tent. Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical is an upbeat, dynamic children’s musical that will be fun for the entire family. Presented for five Saturdays beginning Jul 10, Marquis Bundy (Sky Square) brings a lively perspective to this show and his role.
  • 11:43 AM – Dan Glickman gives us a wonderfully informative and enlightening memoir, “Laughing at Myself: My Education in Congress, on the Farm, and at the Movies. Secretary Glickman chats some about his connection to Iowa’s former governor, Tom Vilsack, a fellow Secretary of Agriculture, then provides glimpses into his diverse experience, and the lessons that everyone can glean from those experiences. “Our nation these days desperately needs more leaders like Dan Glickman: people whose values are deeply rooted and have a sense of humor about themselves. This book explores the secrets to his success and should serve as an inspiration to those who want to be as respected and beloved as he has been.” —Walter S. Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci
  • 11:57 AM – The incomparable Chad Elliott continues to build upon a solid foundation of great music, including “Walkin’ Shoes Blues,” a gem from his WRECK AND RUIN album.
  • 12:00 PM – Prepare ye – for Godspell, one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals, at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, opening this Friday. Godspell brings its boundless energy and music, filling the big tent with an unforgettable, euphoric experience for its audiences. Peter Noll (Jesus) shares his thoughts about his role, this production and the power of this show, the 2011 revival edition.
  • 12:10 PM – John Pegler, historian and author, returns to share fascinating insights into the times that Frederick Douglass visited Dubuque in his latest feature story in the new issue of Iowa History Journal. John’s deep research even yielded some photographic documentation of this incredible man’s visit to Iowa just post-Civil War. Learn about other stories in this new, captivating issue of IHJ.
  • 12:28 PM – The esteemed Margaret Wolff returns to the show following the wonderful conversation about her recent book, “Coming Home: Finding Love and Shelter in the Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda.” This time, we delve into her timeless book, “In Sweet Company: Conversations with Extraordinary Women about Living a Spiritual Life,” when she interviewed these women and captured a treasure trove of inspiration, insight and understanding. “An invaluable resource that harnesses the wisdom, beauty, creativity, and resourcefulness in women committed to making a difference.” – Angeles Arrien – Cultural Anthropologist, Author The Four-Fold Way
  • 12:48 PM – Memoirist and writer Becky Povich returns with news about one of her stories being selected for inclusion in the new “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series: “Read, Laugh, Repeat.” Learn a bit about her journey, and be reminded of Becky’s previous book, “From Pig Tails to Chin Hairs: “…(‘Read, Laugh, Repeat’) consists of 101 laugh-out-loud stories, all true and told by the people who lived through these embarrassing, hilarious, and truly human experiences.” – Chicken Soup for the Soul series

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. Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  2. How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith
  3. People We Meet on Vacation, Emily Henry
  4. One Last Stop, Casey McQuiston
  5. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
  6. Beautiful, Stacy McAnulty
  7. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  8. The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
  9. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, Heather McGhee
  10. While Justice Sleeps, Stacey Abrams

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

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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