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 Art

Quote of the Week
“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.” – Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers, “What is Enlightenment?” in Berlin Monthly (December 1784)      

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – 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.
  • 11:18 AM – Congressman Dennis Kucinich provides powerful insights about his contentious and dangerous battle with corporate greed during his tenure as Cleveland’s mayor in his revealing “The Division of Light and Power.” “An engrossing narrative of city politics, corruption, and intransigence as few books before it. Lincoln Steffens, not being an insider, tried to get close, and he did, but not like Kucinich…” – Ralph Nader
  • 11:34 AM – Diane Glass, poet, reads “Soup Saves the World” from her recent collection, THE HEART HUNGERS FOR WILDNESS.
  • 11:36 AM – Iowa Stage Theatre Company is preparing for its return to live theatre with their 2021-2022 Season. Artistic Director Matthew McIver shares insights about a wonderfully eclectic season filled with shows planned but cancelled due to the pandemic, plus a few surprises.
  • 11:53 AM – A dash of Susan Werner’s delightful musical sass makes for a better show, and Susan delivers with her snarky “City Kids” from her stellar HAYSEED album.
  • 11:58 AM – Poet Jihyun Yun reads the title poem from her new collection, “Some Are Always Hungry.”
  • 12:00 PM – After an unwelcome absence from presenting a 2020 show, the Urbandale Community Theatre returns with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Opening Fri Jul 23 at the Franklin Junior High auditorium, UCT is enthused about treading the boards with this timeless musical. Co-narrators Heather Tragesser & Annika Andrews lead a lively discussion about their production.
  • 12:11 PM – Callista Gould, author of the essential career help book, “The Exceptional Professional,” returns to the show leading another informative, inspirational discussion about how each of us can elevate our social and business interactions for more positive and beneficial outcomes. If you need a gift for a soon-to-be graduate, or just want something interesting and fun to read on an airplane, I have a suggestion. Local manners maven Callista Gould has a new book called “The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career.” It has advice about how to dress, speak and eat in public, as well as tips for job interviews and advice on everything from how to hold effective meetings to handling workplace knuckleheads.” — Dave Elbert, The Business Record
  • 12:27 PM – Dave Shapiro, with Richard Leider, co-authored the insightful book, “Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? The Path of Purposeful Aging.” Dave brings a lively, unfiltered look at the inevitability for us as aging is a given for all of us. “In a culture that offers little guidance for growing old but excels at pushing elders aside, here’s a book that will help us age into the fullness of life.”  — Parker J. Palmer, author of On the Brink of Everything
  • 12:43 PM – Cheryl Diamond grew up as very few of us could have, yet her compelling memoir shares a shower of insights and epiphanies which resonate with most. “Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood” is fascinating, exotic yet connects to each of us as we learn about Cheryl’s unique journey. “A transfixing chronicle . . . Eloquent and bracing, Diamond’s story will haunt readers long after the last page.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre (DMYAT) presents Summer Shorts: A Student-Directed Short Play Festival Sat Jul 24 at Greenwood Park! Check out the list of directors and actors here – then mark your calendars for July 24!
  4. Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) invites all to join them to honor the extraordinary life of their beloved founder, Robert L. Larsen at the Des Moines Civic Center on the evening of Sun Jul 25, 2021, at 7:30pm. This special program will feature the DMMO Festival Orchestra and principal soloists alongside a full chorus performing some of his favorite pieces from the repertory. Reservations are required for this free program.
  5. Riverside Theatre in Iowa City returns with their free summer Shakespeare shows. The Winter’s Tale and Comedy of Errors will be presented at their beautiful outdoor Shakespeare Festival Stage in the Lower City Park in Iowa City, and they couldn’t be more excited to be getting back to live theatre with these two productions. The Winter’s Tale directed by Adam Knight: Jul 22-25 @ 7:30pm. Comedy of Errors directed by Angie Toomsen: Aug 13-15; 19-22 @ 7:30pm.
  6. Prepare ye the way…of musical theatre….Godspell, presented by the Des Moines Community Playhouse in full revival fashion under the big tent, continues filling the area with the signature songs and more from this beloved musical. Running thru Aug 8, in repertory with Neil Simon’s beloved comedy, Plaza Suite (thru Aug 1), these two shows will share the big tent with the Saturday Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show, Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical (Saturdays thru Aug 7). 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.
  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. The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


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  1. JUSTIN FAVELA: CENTRAL AMERICAN THRU OCT 24, 2021, ANNA K. MEREDITH GALLERY AND MEIER ATRIUM. ORGANIZED BY CURATORIAL MANAGER LAURA BURKHALTER. Justin Favela’s exuberant art is inspired by Latinx culture, art history, and food rendered in layer upon layer of vibrant strips of paper. Favela’s technique recalls piñatas and party decorations — ephemeral forms that signify joy and celebration.
  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. 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).
  2. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre will hold auditions for their fall production, Disney’s Descendants: The Musical. Auditions are open to performers aged 8-18. Please click the link below for more details, then fill out our audition form to sign up for a time slot. AUDITIONS: Sat Jul 31 from 1-5pm at Franklin Jr. High; CALLBACKS will be on Sun Aug 1 from 2-4pm.
  3. Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites those interested to sign up to receive notices of future auditions.
  4. Class Act Productions (CAP) Theatre in Altoona is preparing to begin live performances again. Check out the audition/performance process information, and check this newsletter for specific information.

“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.

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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