Thursday, May 19, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


The pandemic persists. Be safe. Be considerate. Be compassionate. Continue to be creative. Find ways to safely celebrate your thankfulness 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
“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – John Ferling is one of the preeminent historians on the American Revolution, writing with a captivating voice in sharing happenings during this pivotal, nascent time in this country’s formation. His new book, ‘Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781,” brings the fragile state of the early colonies into a special focus. “Comprehensive and engaging.” —Jon Meacham, Washington Post
  • 11:19 AM – Prolific and detailed in her research and writing, Darcy Maulsby delivers another informative gem in “Madison County,” her deep dive that takes readers well beyond the iconic bridges that dot this Iowa county’s landscape. Listen as Darcy shares inviting tidbits in this wonderful book. “Darcy Maulsby shows through detailed research and telling in her captivating storytelling way that Iowa’s Madison County holds oh, so much more than their beloved bridges. Enjoy the journey.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:30 AM – Drawing from his life experiences in Bermuda and its special World War II history, Bob Richards delivers a thriller that quickly draws readers into his story. Listen as Bob gives glimpses into a fascinating place in the world through his debut novel. “Bob Richards draws from his intimate knowledge and experience in Bermuda to craft a masterful debut thriller, drawing us into a World War II adventure that will satisfy.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:46 AM – Author Susan Schoenberger’s newest novel, “The Liability of Love,” carries her readers into a story connecting a distant, defining experience for Margaret Carlyle during her college days in 1979 to the defining actions she must take to resolve the building burden of what happened to her. Susan gives us peeks into this story during her lively conversation, and why its subject matter is so relevant today. “A poignant tale of love, loss, and secrets, The Liability of Love is a heart-wrenching, compassionate portrayal of survival–of what happens when old wounds are left untended, when quiet pain refuses to stay silent any longer, and when we allow ourselves a second chance. Gorgeously written; Susan Schoenberger has crafted a story that will remain with you long after you turned the last page.” – Amber Smith, New York Times best-selling author of The Way I Used to Be
  • 12:00 PM – Mark Aug 10 at 6:30 PM on your calendar to meet Grant Faulkner, whose new collection, “All the Comfort Sin Can Provide,” will be featured when he visit Beaverdale Books in Des Moines, Iowa. Grant chats about how this collection evolved into its publication, along with his powerful annual event, NaNoWriMo – the National Novel Writing Month challenge – which happens each November. “Full of bad behavior and a ferocious desire for escape, All the Comfort Sin Can Provide is a catalog of longing. Faulkner’s arresting characters broadcast their worst decisions from grimy motel rooms, greasy kitchens, and sprawling American highways, each of them hellbent on the promise of something better.” –Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light, nominated for the 2019 National Book Award
  • 12:15 PM – In one of the most beautifully filled with illustrations and deeply researched books of its kind, “Mapping America: The Incredible Story and Hand-Colored Maps and Engravings that Created the United States” is a masterpiece for any coffee table. Neal Asbury (an internationally recognized collector and expert on maps) and Jean-Pierre Isbouts (exceptional historian) join forces to create a coup de gras effort that exquisitely details, through historical imagery, captures the amazing history of America through maps. “A fresh, well-informed addition to the literature devoted to early American history.” – Kirkus Reviews
  • 12:34 PM – Geoff Rodkey has become a well-known brand in the world of children’s books and film. He now ventures into new territory with his debut adult novel, “Lights Out in Lincolnwood,” a dark comedy that he assures in this conversation is “most assuredly not for children.” Goeff’s insightful glimpses into his novel, his lively contributions to this conversation, will draw readers to his book. “Geoff Rodkey’s Lights Out in Lincolnwood is a witty, wise, engaging story about the way we live now — and the way we’ll live when it all goes down.” – Steve Hely, author of How I Became A Famous Novelist and The Wonder Trail
  • 12:50 PM – Cheryl Mullenbach has written many wonderful history books that bring to life those times she covers in her books. A recent book of hers, “Torpedoed!,” captures the survival of two children during a WW II torpedoing of the ship they were on. “(Cheryl) Mullenbach has a delectable gift for finding historical stories and bringing the to vibrant life for young readers. Don’t be surprised if older readers are drawn into shared reading experiences with children and grandchildren thanks to her talent.” -The Culture Buzz

Cultural exploration opportunities

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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/
  5. The Community Jazz Center renews its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.

Planning ahead
Make plans, as these national shows may sell out quickly, or appeal to a bit of micro-traveling.

  1. “An Evening with Paula Poundstone” at Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre Fri Sep 24, 2021, 8:00 PM.
  2. Hoyt Sherman Place and Right Angle Entertainment are delighted to announce tickets for FRIENDS! The Musical Parody, the New York City Off-Broadway hit, will play at Hoyt Sherman Place on Sat Oct 16 at 7:30PM. FRIENDS! The Musical Parody is the comedic musical that lovingly pokes fun at TV’s Friends, celebrating the adventures of your favorite group of 20-something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan.


  1. Moberg Gallery – Join us for the Opening Reception Fri Aug 6 of our Summer Group Show featuring a stellar group of artists working in a multitude of genres and media. Participating artists include Andrew Abbott, Heather Brammeier, Johanne Brouillette, Tibi Chelcea, Sarah Grant, Frank Hansen, Alyson Khan, Scott Charles Ross, Bob Schulte Jr, Daniela Schweinsberg, Gary Stranger, Bart Vargas, Aaron Wilson & Tim Dooley, and Dennis Wojtkiewicz. Also exhibiting, and new to the gallery, are William Downs and Alexandre Shiffer.
  2. Des Moines Art Center – 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.
  3. Dare to Dream, Dare to Create. Jack Marren, Artist. Frame Works is pleased to announce the art exhibition Dare to Dream, Dare to Create featuring works of Art by Jack Marren. The show will hang in the gallery at Frame Works, 5800 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, Iowa until August 31, 2021.
  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

  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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