Sunday, May 22, 2022

Join our email blast

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

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” – Eartha Kitt (1927-2008) an American singer, actress, comedienne, dancer, and activist

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 – Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash is a marvelous historical novel crafted by Tammy Pasterick. Tammy leads a lively chat about this book, a masterful mix of family and regional history captured in a wonderful story. “A gripping, immersive story of immigrant grit in early-twentieth-century America. Set against the grim backdrop of Western Pennsylvania’s steel mills and coal mines, Tammy Pasterick weaves an engrossing tale of poverty, desperation, and betrayal. Above all, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash is a tale of overcoming tragedy and the transformative power of love. Pasterick’s deftly wrought prose is nothing short of sublime.” – TONYA MITCHELL, award-winning author of A Feigned Madness
  • 11:16 AM – Maureen McCue’s career has afforded her the opportunity to appreciate different parts of the world, while capturing the connections between her beloved Iowa and such faraway places as Nicaragua. Birds in the Morning, Frogs at Night: Sharing Life Along the Road is thought-provoking and reflective, bringing Maureen’s insights, descriptions and poetry into a shared appreciation for her readers. “McCue makes the persuasive and poetic case that rural life might be one answer to the environmental ills brought by our consumptive, thoughtless and relentlessly destructive society. While Iowa is not known for its nature writing, McCue’s lovely book might change that!” – Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network
  • 11:31 AM – Steve Kopecky MD condenses years of experience both as someone who changed is own life for the better and as a physician at the world-class Mayo Clinic to help others live better lives. Live Younger, Longer: 6 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and More puts a guidebook for anyone seeking a better, healthier life. Steve’s contributions in this book are truly live-changing and life-improving, and this brief glimpse into its contents are compelling. “Steve Kopecky MD brings an appealing common sense to each of us in Live Younger Longer. His easy-to-follow wisdom, gathered through years of personal and professional experience and understanding, will help anyone find ways to improve stress, poor health and other maladies afflicting today’s world.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:45 AM – Ritch C. Savin-Williams is a developmental psychologist professor emeritus at Cornell University, and a leading researcher in identity, relationship, and family issues among sexual-minority young adults. His new book, Bi: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Nonbinary Youth, is deeply researched and built upon a foundation of countless interview hours with the youth he writes about. “Ritch C. Savin-Williams helps anyone trying to better understand the new sexuality in today’s world with his in-depth research and interviews. Bi: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Nonbinary Youth is a brilliant guide for better understanding of a more accurate basis for sexual identity.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:00 PM – The irrepressible Paula Poundstone returns to Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre Sep 24. 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
  • 12:21 PM – New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini sheds new light on the groundbreaking days of the suffrage movement in America through a trio of dynamic women who forged the way for voting rights. The Women’s March: A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession brings to vibrant life three distinct voices, helping us better understand the complexities involved leading to passage of the 19th Amendment. “Chiaverini offers an impassioned account that pulls readers into the organization, staging, and aftermath of this historic protest, making the details feel freshly alive. . . This politically aware novel about a historic quest for democratic justice compels readers to contemplate everything that has and hasn’t changed regarding voting rights and gender and racial equality.” – Booklist
  • 12:37 PM – The esteemed Margaret Wolff returns to the show to lead a conversation about sacred stories. Her recent book, Coming Home: Finding Love and Shelter in the Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda, is now available in ebook format. “An invaluable resource that harnesses the wisdom, beauty, creativity, and resourcefulness in women committed to making a difference.” – Angeles Arrien – Cultural Anthropologist, Author The Four-Fold Way
  • 12:57 PM – Poet Salvatore Marici reads “Appetizer for Two,” one of the many marvelous works from his collection, Swish, Swirl & Sniff.

 Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. The BIGGEST celebration of Latino Culture in Iowa – Latino Heritage Festival – a global celebration of Latino community, culture, and cuisine. Sep Sat 25, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sep Sun 26, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Western Gateway Park, 1205 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309. Enjoy festival performances, cooking and art demos, tech talks, arts and crafts, and many more in Art, Culinary, Dance, Entertainment, Health, Heritage, Innovation, and more!
    #LivingLaFiesta #DesMoines #Iowa
  2. Des Moines Performing Arts FREE OUTDOOR FAMILY CONCERTS, TWO NIGHTS ONLY! Join us for this joyful celebration of friendship, dance, music and laughter with SOMOS AMIGOS. This is a bilingual concert featuring Latino artist Sonia De Los Santos and American folk duo The Okee Dokee Brothers. Enjoy both old and new songs that span the musical traditions of North America and illustrate the collective power of singing together and learning from each other. Thu Sep 23. Ankeny Bandshell at Wagner Park 6:00pm. Fri Sep 24. Lauridsen Amphitheater/Waterworks Park 6:00pm. ALL AGES WELCOME AND OPEN TO ALL. Presented in partnership with @Des Moines Latino Heritage Festival.…/somos-amigos-2021/
  3. 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.
  4. Des Moines Playhouse – Cabaret, thru Sep 26. This great musical continues at the Playhouse.
  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.
  6. The 2021 Ames Artists’ Studio Tour will be held on Saturday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this free, self-guided tour, patrons may choose to visit any number of the 11 participating artists and discover the original art – paintings, glass, jewelry, ceramics, and so much more – created in their studios and workspaces. Participating artists will demonstrate their craft, share techniques, and discuss what inspires their work. Visitors are welcome to ask questions and purchase artwork. Visit the artists in any order you please! Find a full map of participating artists here: The Ames Artists’ Studio Tour is headquartered at Morning Bell Coffee Roasters (111 Main St., Ames).
  7. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s summer music series continues! 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!…/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. 


  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  2. Iowa Stage Theatre Company invites those interested to sign up to receive notices of future auditions.
  3. 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.
  4. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  5. 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.

Between the covers — author events worth noting:

  • Sep 24 (Drake University campus, Helmick Commons) – Drake next weekend for our first on campus Griff book event. It’s Parents Weekend and we’ll be outside (weather permitting ) at the Helmick Commons for TGIFF with GRIFF at 4:00 on 9/24.
  • 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.

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.

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, 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. 
  2. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals helps anyone regain focus in their life. Oliver Burkeman packs this resource liberally.
  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.

Check out The Culture Buzz insightful interviews for these and other authors’ interviews at 

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.
  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. ♦

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.