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

Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. Lee Habeeb of the national syndicated storytelling sensation, “Our American Stories,” will be part of the “Our Iowa Stories” free event at the Iowa Machine Shed Wed Jul 14. Free event, but tickets are required.
  2. Jazz in July makes its triumphant return to the verdant lawn of Hoyt Sherman Place, as well as in its elegant theatre. July 20 and 27 each offer a bounty of incredible music in this family-friendly, free event.
  3. 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.
  4. Urbandale Community Theatre returns to the stage this summer with the colorful musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Opening Jul 23, this show runs two weekends with Fri and Sat evening performances, and Sun matiness thru Aug 1.
  5. Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites all to their 2021-2022 Season reveal party at TeeHee’s Comedy Club on Wed Jul 14. Happy hour begins at 5:30 PM; season reveal at 6:00.
  6. 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 StreetPlatée, 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!
  7. 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/
  8. 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”.
  9. The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


  1. In conjunction with Larassa Kabel’s exhibit, The Ghost at the Feast, and Mary Jones’ installation, The Map Room, Moberg Gallery will host an artists’ talks and poetry reading on Fri July 16, 4.30 – 6.30 pm. Kabel will discuss her new works, which focus on memento mori, and Jones will discuss her mixed media works and artists’ books, which originate from her walks and interest in why and how things are mapped.
  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.

Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

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  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 – John Krantz brings a keen understanding and insight about this year’s eagerly anticipated Jazz in July at Hoyt Sherman Place. For two more Tuesdays, July 20th and 27th, 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.
  • 11:19 AM – Maggie Rivers is part of the trio of romantic and creative mischief makers known collectively as The Stiletto Girls. Maggie shares a news about a trending good story – porch fairies. Enjoy some smile-inducing news from Maggie during this chat, which also catches us up a bit on what The Stiletto Girls are doing.
  • 11:28 AM – With exceptional research and a gift for expanding the core topic into a delightful range of history, story and prose, Edward Slingerland gives the world a masterful exploration in “Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization.” Edward shares glimpses into captivating tome that spans the range of human history and its intricately intertwined relationship with intoxicating liquids. “One of those rare, enthralling books that is as entertaining as it is enlightening, … Drunk will revolutionize how you drink and think.” — Daniel E. Lieberman, Edwin M Lerner II Professor Of Biological Sciences At Harvard University
  • 11:44 AM – Creator and host of the syndicated storytelling show, Our American Stories (OAS), Lee Habeeb shares news about a major Iowa-centric storytelling event, Our Iowa Stories, happening Wed Jul 14 at the Machine Shed Restaurant. Listen as Lee tells about the magic of OAS, and how its growing listenership resonates with listeners throughout America’s diverse population.
  • 12:00 PM – Plaza Suite, from one of Broadway’s most successful playwrights, Neil Simon, will be at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, opening this Friday. Plaza Suite brings Simon’s exceptional dialogue to vibrant life in this trilogy of human interactions that happen in the same hotel room. Director Sarah Grant shares her perspectives and insights about the magic of Simon’s artistry, and bringing it into a fulfilling theatrical experience for its audiences.
  • 12:09 PM – Lucy Antek Johnson is the daughter of her first violin father for one of the most iconic names in the arts: Toscanini. In her exceptional biography and memoir, “This Was Toscanini: The Maestro, My Father, and Me.” Lucy shares glimpses into her unique viewpoint of an incredible musician, and her father who played such an important role in his life. (NOTE: This book may be pre-ordered in advance of its release Aug 17, 2021)
  • 12:25 PM – Cheryl Mullenbach has been a marvelous and prolific contributor to history writing, especially from the often under-represented women’s perspective. “Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers during World War II” illuminates the exceptional contributions made for our country during challenging times, frequently made more so because of race and gender barriers.
  • 12:42 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.

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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