Sunday, May 22, 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
“Nothing in the Golden Rule says that others will treat us as we have treated them. It only says that we must treat others in a way that we would want to be treated.” – Rosa Parks (1913-2005). The United States Congress honored her as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach dazzles us with another masterpiece: “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.” Mary spurs a lively conversation that provides glimpses into this scientific, yet hilarious, exploration of animal and man kinds illegal interactions. “Our most consistently entertaining science journalist…Roach goes where other writers wouldn’t dare…And her search produces images – a kind of technopoetry – that are hard to forget.” – O, The Oprah Magazine
  • 11:12 AM – Marcia Naomi Berger has spent her life helping others, and her new book acts like a trusted guide. “Marriage Minded: An A to Z Dating Guide for Lasting Love” is generously packed with valuable information and reminders not only for women seeking a lasting relationship, but others who want to shore up what they have. “Marriage Minded begins with self-understanding, the first step for anyone seeking a fulfilling, lasting union. You’ll gain intelligent, practical approaches for dating, committing, and staying happily married. The book is research-based yet practical and fun to read.” – Susan Page, author of If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?
  • 11:26 AM – Screenwriter Tommy Swerdlow vividly ventures into new territory with his debut novel, “Straight Dope.” Tommy shares insights into this blurred line story of fast-paced fiction and fact-based memoir. With an alluring cinematic feel to its rhythm, Tommy’s book will capture the reader’s imagination in this immersive experience. “…crazed mix of outrageous comedy, appalling tragedy, and circuitous road novel.” – Booklist
  • 11:41 AM – In a stunningly perceptive debut, Owen Symes delivers a masterful, unique perspective in his non-fiction “He Was Our Man in Washington: A History of the Obama Years.” Owen stretches the relevance and impact of Obama’s tenure in the White House well beyond those eight years, bringing critical historical perspective from decades, even more than 150 years, into the full understanding of his presentation. “Owen Symes brings a deceptive level of experience into his analysis of the Obama administration, adding a much larger historical context than today’s ‘soundbite’ prone conveyors provide. ‘He Was Our Man in Washington: A History of the Obama Years” is a vitally important offering in the historical tapestry of America’s executive leadership.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:00 PM – Executive Director Pat Grote brings her delightful enthusiasm to the conversation, sharing news and enticing gateways to this year’s Passport to Prosperity, the signature annual celebration produced by the Iowa International Center. Leading a dedicated IIC team, this year’s festivities have expanded from Sep 6-11 as they culminate in the virtual recognition celebration, sharing the stories of this year’s five immigrant honorees. “The Iowa International Center continues to be a stellar leader in utilizing the countless contributions Iowa’s immigrant populations continue to make in our state. The array of services, the dedication of its staff, volunteers and communities is second to none.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:12 PM – The irrepressible Paula Poundstone returns to Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre Sep 28. Drop in on this conversation as Paula shares some tantalizing glimpses confirming why she has no peers when it comes to her abilities to analyze and comment on today’s world. “Her talent for creating humor on the spot has become the stuff of legend. She improvises with the crowd like a jazz musician, swinging in unexpected directions without a plan, without a net.” – The Boston Globe, Nick Zaino III
  • 12:32 PM – A wonderfully prolific writer, Brain Freeman returns to the show to share his journey to adding the Bourne legacy of books to his credits. The Robert Ludlum estate selected Brian in a national search for a writer with the talent and abilities to continue this amazing character in print. Brian delivers, and does so masterfully and to the growing chorus of critical and fan acclaim. He chats about his second book in this venture, “The Bourne Treachery.” “[Freeman’s] two Bourne novels—and we hope there will be more—take a much-loved character and breathe new life into him, giving him new energy and a renewed purpose. Fans of Ludlum’s iconic character will definitely want to read this.” — Booklist
  • 12:44 PM – “Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades and Good Behavior Are Not Enough” is a brilliant exploration into today’s uber-competitive world of achievement for children, sometimes beginning well before kindergarten. Dr. Pawan Dhingra leads a lively conversation about what this trend – including the monetizing of success with companies vying for parental dollars to elevate their children’s success potential – and what it could mean to the children impacted. “[A] fascinating look at a growing subculture and an account of the ways in which public schools are failing our most gifted and hard-working ­students and putting the blame on their parents.” – The Wall Street Journal

 Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. Best of City Screening and Awards Ceremony for the 2021 48 Hour Film Project – Aug 26, 7:00 PM. At the State Historical Building. Tickets $20.
  2. Ankeny Community Theatre presents The Perfect Rendezvous, a World Premiere by John Claes. Aug 27 & 28 at 7:30 PM, Aug 29 at 2:00 PM. Claes creates a story of mishaps, mistaken situations and unexpected twists and turns – a sure-fire formula for comedy.
  3. Des Moines Performing ArtsSquonk! Hand to Hand, featuring two giant puppet hands, happens Sep 3-5 at the Cowles Commons. Six performances in three days of this incredible 30-minute performance experience.
  4. Des Moines PlayhouseWith Their Eyes, Sep 11. The view from a high school at ground zero.
  5. Des Moines Playhouse – Cabaret, Sep 10-26. This great musical takes to the Playhouse stage for an eagerly anticipated run.
  6. Pyramid Theatre Company and Des Moines Performing Arts combine forces to present The Gospel at Colonus, Sep 17-19, a free community performance experience at the Prairie Meadows Riviera Amphitheater at Riverview Park – Des Moines.
  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 presents its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater. 


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  1. Now exhibiting at Moberg Gallery – 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. 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 Aug 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.
  5. Terrace Hill Opens for Tours, are available by reservation. Tours are at 10:30 and 12:00, Tuesday – Saturday. Please call 515-242-5841 to make a reservation.

 Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

  1. Auditions for three 10-minute plays, directed by three different directors: Jonah Kruse, Storm O’Bryant, and Aaron Smith. Gateway Dance Theatre will be producing three 10-minute plays as part of this production, along with dance, live music, and poetry. Auditions Aug 26 & 27, 3-5 PM at Gateway Dance Theatre, 315 East 5th Street, Des Moines. Performances will be on October 9 & 10. Please contact Gateway Dance at or 515-778-5051.
  2. Audition at Des Moines Playhouse. Sun Aug 29, 2:00 pm. HOPE! Drama Troupe is a group of 20 middle school and high school youth whose mission is to end child abuse and neglect and strengthen families in Polk County. Cast: 15-20 youths ages 13-18, any gender, any race or ethnicity.
  3. WRITING WORKSHOP at Beaverdale Books by Marj Charlier | The Rebel Nun. DATE:  September 13, 2021. TIME:  6:30 pm. $20. Details:
  4. Des Moines Playhouse – auditions Mon Sep 13 at 6:00 PM for Junie B in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells on Performance Dates: Nov. 05-Nov. 14, 2021. Cast Needs: 2 male-identifying roles, ages 18-60, any race or ethnicity, 2 female-identifying roles, ages 18-45, any race or ethnicity, 3 male-identifying roles, ages 15-25, any race or ethnicity, 3 female-identifying roles, ages 15-25, any race or ethnicity.
  5. Carousel Theatre of Indianola – audition for And Then There Were None Mon Aug 23 and Tue Aug 24 at 7:00 PM, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Innovations, 117 E Salem Ave, Indianola, IA 50125. Production dates: Oct 22-31, 2021/
  6. Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites those interested to sign up to receive notices of future auditions.\
  7. 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.
  8. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  9. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at

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.
  3. David Sedaris – The Best-Selling Author, Humorist and Contributor to This American Life, Live at the Hoyt Sherman Place. Although the evening show already is sold out, David added another show Sat Dec 4, 2021 at 3PM – Added by Demand. Iowa Public Radio presents An Evening with David Sedaris. This is a unique opportunity to see the best-selling humorist in an intimate setting. As always, Sedaris will be offering a selection of all-new readings and recollections, as well as a Q&A session and book signing.

“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. 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

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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