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 Arts
Quote of the Week
“Art has no right answer. The best we can hope for is an interesting answer.” – Seth Godin, an American author and former dot com business executive     
This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –
11:00 AM – Local author John Domini, who travels across the country and across the Atlantic to Italy for his book presentations and signings, will be at Beaverdale Books Sat Jun 15 at 2:00 PM. Listen as he chats about his latest, much-praised book, “The Color Inside a Melon.”
“The narrative has its requisite share of mobsters, cops and bloodshed, but for Domini these are mainly pegs upon which to explore Risto’s sense of displacement and belonging. … Domini’s novel is determined to push the noir—and us—out of well-worn ruts.” — The Washington Post
11:16 AM – With her masterful literary debut, Elizabeth Gonzalez James’ first creative salvo into the eager readership waters is “Mona at Sea.” Elizabeth shares insights about her journey to this published gem, a captivating story with 20-sometings as the publicist’s primary market, but sure to garner strong attention well beyond that demographic.
“James so perfectly captures the hopelessness that being a member of this generation carries but also the thrill of possibilities. The struggles Mona faces are all too real for today’s rising generation….Mona at Sea is insightful and brilliant. Mona at Sea by Elizabeth Gonzalez James is utterly compelling and fills the void of young adult literature for 20-somethings.” 
—Paperback Paris
11:31 AM – Within the historically rich backdrop of the Tudor reign, Jane Elizabeth Hughes delivers a deliciously captivating journey into her historical fiction adventure, “The Long-Lost Jules.” Jane’s deep research and talented writing weave a story sure to capture the reader’s attention, immersing them in a wondrous journey.
“A sharp, engrossing international thriller with twists that will keep you turning pages.” ―Lindsay Cameron, award-winning author of BIGLAW
11:47 AM – “The Lockhart Women” brings a cast of imperfect characters into a wonderfully conceived story, a series of societal rabbit holes that trap a trio of family members left by the father. Mary Camarillo has a deft pen in capturing the nuances of human foibles in her novel, a first-place winner of the Next Generation Award for First Novel. Listen as Mary shares glimpses into her wonderful book.
“Mary Camarillo’s prose is lively, companionable, and quite satisfyingly observant in ways that surprise and delight. It’s as if a friendly someone you know quite well is murmuring in your ear, and that voice is giving you living presences. I will not soon forget Brenda Lockhart and her daughters. And how well the novelist has used history as backdrop here, in the art form that in fact succeeds best when history is the canvas across which the drama takes place. Bravo, Ms. Camarillo.” – Richard Bausch, award-winning author of nine story collections and twelve novels including “Peace” and “Hello to the Cannibals.”
12:00 PM – Cheryl Grey Bostrom’s life is steeped in a deep and abiding love of nature. Her passion wonderfully radiates from every page of the beautifully written “Sugar Birds.” This story will wrap itself into your heart and soul as you share the journey she has created.
“Sugar Birds is a powerful coming-of-age story . . .woven into a testament to the wondrous natural world . . . packed into one heart-pounding read. Highly recommended!” ―Chanticleer Reviews, 5-star best book review

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
12:16 PM – What began as a single book idea quickly expanded into a fan-delighting series: the Badass Series. Michael Anderle brings a special urban fantasy to his writing and characters, as he unleashes the first of the next trilogy of books, “How to Be a Badass Vigilante.” Join us as Michael energetically shares glimpses into this entertaining book, and the Badass series it inspired.
“A different twist to the fantasy world. The main character is feisty, fun, loyal & honorable. A theme I love in Michael’s stories.”
12:30 PM – Iowa women’s historian Cheryl Mullenbach returns with her newest offering, a marvelously enticing exploration of “Stagecoach Women.” Cheryl plies her masterful combination of researching the stories that are “hiding in the historical weeds,” and brings them to vibrant life for our enjoyment. Be sure to get her new book, available through Beaverdale Books and other fine bookstores.
“(Cheryl) Mullenbach has a rare gift to not just delve into history and present stories that have often been overlooked, but she finds relevant stories, especially of women in our past, and helps to create a stronger understanding of our shared history.” -The Culture Buzz
12:42 PM – Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati is a renowned spiritual leader and motivational speaker, based in Rishikesh, India. Her spiritual journey led her to sharing her path through her captivating, inspirating memoir, “Hollywood to the Himalayas: A Journey of Healing and Transformation.” Her life is dedicated to service and spirituality, and her memoir serves as an exceptionally illuminating gateway for others to share and learn from her experiences.
“Vivid and poetic…her journey is a river of love, compelling in its authenticity and unflinching honesty. …a must for anyone who is interested in exploring different paths to fulfilment and to the Creator.” —Jane Goodall
Cultural exploration opportunities
1.     First Friday at Mainframe Studios magically appears again, Fri Aug 6. Art Happens Here is the foundation of Mainframe’s mantra, and First Fridays are a thematically coordinated opportunity for everyone to experience Mainframe’s lifeblood, its artists. Plus, Tangerine Food Company provides exquisite dining fare – Here’s the menu for this First Friday: Tuna or salmon poke bowl – $12.50 (a vegetarian version will be available also). Jake will have a Yuzu 75 (a riff on a French 75) for $9 at the bar plus he will be featuring Firetrucker beers.  Samples of Firetrucker beers will be available for tasting and purchasing at the bar.
2.     2021 48 Hour Film Project Best Of Des Moines Screening and Awards Celebration– includes screenings of the top judged films from the 2021 Des Moines 48HFP. Tickets: $12.00; Group A: Mon Aug 9 @ 7:00pm; Group B: Tue Aug 10 @ 7:00pm; Group C: Wed Aug 11 @ 7:00pm. Best of Screening Aug 26 at 7:30pm. State Historical Building Auditorium 600 East Locust Street. Tickets are available at midwestix.com
3.     The Gathering of Artists is hosted by the Ames Community Arts Council and made possible with the support of the City of Ames Commission on the Arts. If you would like more information about participating in or hosting a gathering, please contact the Ames Community Arts Council by e-mailing, visiting the website at, or calling 515-259-0494.
4.     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.
5.     Godspell, continues at 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, with the Saturday Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show, Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical (thru Aug 7).
6.     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/
7.     The Community Jazz Center presents its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater.


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.     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.     Polk County Heritage Gallery – needs volunteer gallery hosts to help us to keep our space open Monday through Friday, 11am-4:30pm. Could you take a 3-hour shift? Free parking, quiet environment in culturally enriching setting. Contact us! or

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).
3.      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.
4.      Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites those interested to sign up to receive notices of future auditions.
5.      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      515-279-5400
Top Ten sellers in our store last month – see what everyone’s reading!
1.How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, James Crews
(Foreword by Ross Gay)
2. People We Meet on Vacation, Emily Henry
3. The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
4. Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir
5. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer
6. While Justice Sleeps, Stacey Abrams
7. The Personal Librarian, Marie Benedict
8. The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War, Malcolm Gladwell
9. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, Anthony Bourdain
10. Owl’s Head: A Hidden Gem, Sondra Ashmore and Christine Guzzo Vickery
(Illustrated by Sharon Larson)
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
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 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
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
Instead of 911 – Des Moines area
*Domestic Violence: 515.286.3600
            Polk County Crisis & Advocacy
*Poison Control: 800.222.1222
*Mental Health Crisis: 515.282.5752
            Broadlawns Crisis Team
*LGBTQ+ Abuse: 866.488.7386
*Sexual Assault: 515.243.7386
Children & Families of Iowa
*Veteran Crisis: 800.273.8255 press1
            Veterans & Their Families Health Crisis Line
*Child Abuse/Neglect: 800.422.4453
National US Child Abuse Hotline
Animal Abuse/Neglect: 515.284.6905
Des Moines Animal Control
*open 24/7
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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