Tuesday, May 17, 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

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

Newsletter content:

  1. Guests on this week’s Wednesday edition
  2. Cultural exploration opportunities (Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  3. Exhibitions, Tours, Visual Artists (mostly Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  4. Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities
  5. Planning ahead
  6. Author events (Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  7. BONUS – Culture & Manners guru Callista Gould shares an insightful cultural adventurer experience
  8. Best-sellers, life resources, Greater Des Moines performing arts organizations, Central Iowa indie book stores, cultural exploration resources, health & welfare resources

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  • 11:00 AM – Kyle McCord could continue his successful journey as a multiple-collection published poet, but his muse pushed him into creating his debut novel, Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult. Kyle spends a few minutes sharing the creative process, including some wonderful delivery choices in his storytelling. He will be appearing at Beaverdale Books Sep 15, the day of this novel’s release. “This debut novel has been lurking in the creative soul of Kyle McCord for a long time. Thankfully, he allowed it to manifest itself, and Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult is released to the world in all of its breathtaking storytelling brilliance.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:20 AM – Emma Marris folds her experience as an environmental writer into Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World. Emma gives us glimpses into a new perspective of co-habiting this world that all living creatures share. “Thoughtful, insightful, and wise, Wild Souls is a landmark work. With thorough reporting and piercing moral clarity, Emma Marris forces us to think deeply about every aspect of our relationship with wild animals, and what the concept of wild-ness even means. It should be a guidepost for our thoughts and actions for decades to come.” — ED YONG, AUTHOR OF I CONTAIN MULTITUDES
  • 11:34 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
  • 11:46 AM – Privacy advocate, storyteller, librarian John Mack Freeman shares thoughts about his Tue Sep 21 virtual presentation hosted by the Clive Iowa Public Library. He will cover the controversial topic of AI-generated video and image content in his presentation, “Deepfakes, Synthetic Media and You,” as new technologies have far outpaced regulatory controls.
  • 12:00 PM – Thomas Hischak is the playwright who wrote Escaping the Labyrinth, which will make its world premiere Oct 15 at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Learn about Tom’s source material and inspiration as he gives us generous glimpses into this captivating and unique romantic comedy.
  • 12:17 PM – Erin Davenport is the nucleus for her new book, Short, Sweet & Sacred, and is joined by one of its contributors, Susan Lunning, as they share their inspirations. This collection has 52 contributing stories sure to resonate with readers, as each is a candid sharing of very personal journeys, which often prove to be very universal in their teachings. “A beautiful collection of courage and wisdom. These heartfelt stories remind us that we are never alone in our pain, or our potential for greatness.” – Mat Boggs, Executive Director, Brave Thinking Institute and Best-Selling Author, Project Everlasting
  • 12:33 PM – Robbie Bach may best be known for leading the team that created and perfected the X-Box but his credibility as a writer will soon become a trait for him. Robbie pulls from his experiences and creates a scintillating cast of characters in his contemporary thriller, The Wilkes Insurrection. Giving us glimpses into his novel’s creation and leading energized conversation, Robbie gives tantalizing reasons to get a copy of his book and dive in. “A timely, must-read thriller with rich characters and a plot full of unexpected turns.” — Robert Dugoni, International bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series
  • 12:47 PM – Iowa airbrush artist icon Shawn Palek brings his usually upbeat, positive energy to a conversation about the importance of live art shows for artists and patrons. Shawn is an exceptional artist, as well as a teacher, mentor, advocate and champion for arts in everyday life. “There are many good artists. Shawn Palek is an exceptional artist, as he has an indomitable drive to succeed, always looking at new ways to express his artistic visions. His exceptionalism extends to serving as a teacher, mentor, enabler, and advocate – any artist who embraces Shawn’s foundations will succeed.” – The Culture Buzz

 Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. Iowa Stage will present one of the region’s best fundraising galas when Cocktails & Cabaret returns with an all-new bevy of talent and surprises. Sat Sep 18, 6:30-9:30 PM at Curate, 322 East Court Avenue in Des Moines. This is an exceptional rewarding way to support one of Iowa’s best theatre companies. https://www.iowastage.org/cocktails
  2. The 50th Octagon Art Festival is just around the corner! There will be plenty for art enthusiasts of all ages to experience in downtown Ames on Sun Sep 26 from 10 am – 4 pm. Approximately 80 juried artists from around the Midwest will fill the Main Street in downtown Ames with artistic creations. http://www.octagonarts.org/
  3. Des Moines Playhouse – Cabaret, thru Sep 26. This great musical continues at the Playhouse. https://www.dmplayhouse.com/events/cabaret/
  4. PLEASE NOTE THIS CHANGE: The Pyramid Theatre Company and Des Moines Performing Arts production of The Gospel at Colonus, originally scheduled for Sep 17-19, has been postponed to 2022. https:/desmoinesperformingarts.org/events/the-gospel-at-colonus/
  5. Ankeny Community Theatre presents A Piece of My Heart. Show Times: Oct 1-10, 2021, Thu, Fri, Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:00 p.m. https://www.ankenycommunitytheatre.com/
  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 Sep 30! Food, drink and fun, family-friendly activities will be available at all events! http://dmbotanicalgarden.com/…/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. http://www.cjc-dsm.org 


  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. https://www.desmoinesartcenter.org/exhibitions/central-american
  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, wrightl@grinnell.edu. Also contact Lesley Wright if you want to come with a group. https://www.grinnell.edu/life-grinnell/arts-culture/museum/exhibitions
  3. 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. TheatreMidwest – auditions Mon Sep 20 from 6:30-9:30 PM for Dairy Queen -and- Burst. Both Fresh Produce Concert Readings – 8-12 rehearsal session engagement. Performance dates – Dec 4-5, and Feb 12-13 respectively. Cast Needs (any race/identity) Dairy Queen: 2 female identifying roles, ages 15-35ish; 1 male identifying role, 15-25ish; 1 role, any age/gender. Burst: 3 female identifying roles, ages 25-35ish; 1 role, any age/gender. https://www.theatremidwest.org/auditions-20-21.html
  2. 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. https://www.dmplayhouse.com/volunteer/audition/
  3. Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites those interested to sign up to receive notices of future auditions. https://www.iowastage.org/audition
  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. http://www.captheatre.org/main/expect/
  5. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.theatremidwest.org/auditions.html
  6. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at https://www.dmyat.org/

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. http://hoytsherman.org/calendar/events/event-213/
  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. http://hoytsherman.org/calendar/events/event-301/
  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. http://hoytsherman.org/calendar/events/event-303/

Between the covers — author events worth noting:

  • Sep 15 (Beaverdale Books) – The Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide. Kyle McCord
  • Oct 6 (Beaverdale Books at Franklin Junior High) – Love, Zac: Small Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy. Reid Forgrave
  • Oct 7 (Beaverdale Books) – Bet the Farm. Beth Hoffman
  • Iowa author Linda McCann will be making a series of library presentations about books she has written: Oct 5, (Knoxville) on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Southeast Iowa; (Clive) on POW camps in Iowa. Oct 6 (Monroe) on Prohibition. Oct 7 (Colfax) on Prohibition; (Carlisle) on the CCC. Oct 8 (Pleasantville) on Prohibition. Oct 9 (Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge) on POWs. https://www.facebook.com/losttownsiowa/?ref=bookmarks

Callista Gould shares

Callista Gould is a regular guest, sharing a bounty of exceptional advice and insight into helping us better navigate the social and work waters of our lives. Her landmark resource book, The Exceptional Professional, is a must-have. https://cultureandmanners.com/

Last week, after presenting at Idaho State University, I visited a cultural landmark in Pocatello, Idaho: the Museum of Clean.

In a renovated brick warehouse with an entertaining array of cleaning machines (vacuums from all eras – the biggest one, pulled by horse), cleaning implements, historical advertising and cleaning methods, I learned the value of “clean” to our health and wellbeing.

The gentleman at the ticket counter explained the museum was founded by Don Aslett, a successful entrepreneur and self-made millionaire who started a cleaning and contracting empire. I couldn’t help notice, he spoke of him in the present tense.

“Is the founder still living?” I asked.

“Yes. He’s around here somewhere,” he replied.

I immediately recalled David McCullough’s biography of Harry Truman, where “the most interesting item on display at the Truman Library was Truman himself.”

There was no better way to wrap up a business trip, than a 20-30 minute chat with Mr. Aslett, who, in his 80s, is slower in step, but sharp of mind. He’s a charming, creative, innovative thinker. He wrote over 40 books on cleaning, motivating others, business building and public speaking, and sent me away with three of them, signed – one, a book of poetry I can’t put down. (“Rhymes to the Rescue.”)

There’s endless fascination with new venture-capital-funded ostentation, that we forget the retired successful entrepreneurs in our midst, experts in growing a business and multiplying income. There’s so much to learn from them.

Find them. Start with names on the buildings and boards in local colleges and explore their roots. Still living? In your area? Look for somewhere to send a note and request a visit.

And if you’re in Pocatello, be sure to visit the man who built a business from the ground floor… and cleaned up.

(credit: Callista Gould)

Beaverdale Books provides their Top Ten sellers list, updated each month. Updated hours: Sun/Mon: CLOSED; Tue — Fri: 10:00 — 5:30; Sat: 10:00 – 5:00, http://beaverdalebooks.com/ 515-279-5400.
Top Ten sellers in our store last month — see what everyone’s reading!

  1. All the Comfort Sin Can Provide, Grant Faulkner*
  2. Owl’s Head: A Hidden Gem, Sondra Ashmore* and Christine Guzzo Vickery (Illustrated by Sharon Larson)
  3. The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
  4. Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution, Mike Duncan
  5. I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
  6. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, Heather McGhee
  7. People We Meet on Vacation, Emily Henry
  8. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  9. The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
  10. The House in the Cerulean Sea, TJ Klune

* Iowa author

Life Resource books worth your consideration:

  1. The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career is an info-packed gem from Callista Gould. https://cultureandmanners.com/ 
  2. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals helps anyone regain focus in their life. Oliver Burkeman packs this resource liberally. https://www.oliverburkeman.com/
  3. Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades and Good Behavior Are Not Enough is a brilliant guide for parents in this new environment of education. Dr. Pawan H. Dhingra. https://pawanhdhingra.com/

Check out The Culture Buzz insightful interviews for these and other authors’ interviews at https://archive.org/details/@the_culture_buzz 

Performing Arts Organizations:
Please check in advance regarding any scheduled performances, exhibitions, museum visits, etc.

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. http://www.beaverdalebooks.com/
  2. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola. http://www.pageturnersbookstore.com/
  3. Dog-eared Books, Ames. https://dogearedbooksames.com/
  4. Artisan Gallery 218, 218-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines (select author events), http://www.artisangallery218.com/
  5. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown. https://read-a-book-nook.business.site/
  6. Book Vault, Oskaloosa. https://bookvault.indielite.org/
  7. Prairie Lights Books & Cafe, Iowa City. https://www.prairielights.com/

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. http://www.TheCultureBuzz.com/
  2. Center Stage – This Cityview monthly column provides insights into Central Iowa’s theatre. Distributed throughout the region and available online. Current column: https://www.dmcityview.com/center-stage
  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. https://www.dmcityview.com/
  4. dsm Magazine – Central Iowa’s gateway to arts, culture and more in a stunning, visual format. https://dsmmagazine.com/ dsm’s CultureCast podcast features interviews with cultural leaders, artists and musicians. https://dsmmagazine.com/culturecast/
  5. ia Magazine – Built upon the success of its Central Iowa counterpart, this annual gem brings enticing cultural news from across the state. https://iapublication.com/
  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. http://artbeacondesmoines.com/
  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. https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/900views-pat-boddy-RCELj1xc7Wh/
  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. http://dmcommunityjazzcenter.org/
  9. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues. www.cibs.org
  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, https://www.facebook.com/TheListDSM and farlanbr@dsmlivemusic.com

Resources to help, support and guide during any challenges you or someone you care about may be experiencing:

  • COVID Iowa Recovery: 800-775-9276 https://covidrecoveryiowa.org/
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org
  • United Way 211: Dial 211, text ZIP code to 898211 or visit 211iowa.org
  • 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: dmpcc.org
  • 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: iowacrisischat.org
  • 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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