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

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou (1928-2014) an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

Dine & Drink THIS SUNDAY while supporting KFMG

Thanks to generous support from Iowa Select Farms, Confluence Brewing Company and Flying Mango’s esteemed Mike Wedeking, KFMG is offering another take-out dining delight. This first come-first served, cash & carry opportunity will happen this Sunday, October 3 from 2:00-6:00 PM, in the parking lot just west of Flying Mango (Hickman Road & 44th Street, Des Moines). Thanks to our great partners, all proceeds will go to underwrite programming for the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation’s community radio station KFMG. This year’s feast has expanded to include a smoked center cut pork loin (average about 4 pounds) paired with a specially selected Confluence Brewing Company 4-pack of their award-winning Farmer John’s Multi-grain Ale. Suggested contribution for this fine feast is $60. Thank you for your ongoing support of KFMG, the community radio station that thrives in Central Iowa, and reaches around the world.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

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 –

  • 11:00 AM – The Des Moines Community Playhouse will soon present a world premiere on its stage, and Katy Merriman, Playhouse Artist Director and Director for Escaping the Labyrinth, gives some insights into such a unique experience for her, the Playhouse crew and audiences.
  • 11:09 AM – 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.

    Escaping the Labyrinth                                    

  • 11:26 AM – Jeff Hoskins, with Ava Hoskins, shares their heart-touching story in From Cancer to Kinnick: Love Finds a Wave. Ava’s journey with cancer at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is told from their unique perspective, while embracing the vision of the Stead family in creating a special vantage point to the Duke Slater Field in Kinnick Stadium, and the now iconic Wave this wonderful partnership created. “A father lays bare the emotional journey through his daughter’s fight with cancer. He takes you through how his faith, a great medical team and the goodness of people helped him cope with the overwhelming fear and despair. It is an inspiration to know any one of us can make a difference for children and families going through the worst of times” —Mary & Kirk Ferentz, University of Iowa Head Football Coach
  • 11:37 AM – Whenever her tunes grace your universe, you will surely get a smile on your face, and an uplifting feeling in your soul. Susan Werner sings “City Kids” from her instant classic, HAYSEED.
  • 11:41 AM – Khyati Joshi is a public intellectual: a scholar, an advocate and a fierce champion for equality. Her seminal book White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America is a masterful and exceptionally researched overview and understanding of Christianity and its influence in America’s history. (NOTE: If ordered through, use code “joshi30” and receive a 30% discount of $16.95 list price) ‘In order to form a more perfect Union,’ books such as White Christian Privilege add enormous value to highlighting the gap between illusion and reality.” – New York Journal of Books
  • 12:00 PM – Ankeny Community Theatre opens A Piece of My Heart this Fri Oct 1, and Director Frank Sposeto, and cast members Lauren Mills (“Whitney”) and Amy McGrew (“Steele”) share insights and thoughts about this powerful, intimate exploration of how the Vietnam War impacted the lives of the women portrayed.
  • 12:11 PM – Brian A. Primack MD PhD is an award-winning expert who developed a multimillion-dollar research program focused on how media and technology influence health. His new resource, You Are What You Click: How Being Selective, Positive, and Creative Can Transform Your Social Media Experience is an eye-opening guide to helping each of us better guide the rapidly moving landscape of social media to serve us, rather than use us. “A powerful guide to navigating social media with fascinating research, humorous stories, and simple and actionable advice.” – TINA SEELIG, Stanford University professor and international bestselling author of What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, inGenius, and Creativity Rules
  • 12:28 PM – Codi Schneider’s debut Cold Snap: A Viking Cat Mystery quickly draws its readers into an imaginative and creative journey as unlikely characters become involved in solving a murder. Codi chats about her inspirations for this novel, and her readers are looking for more in this launched series. “Charming. Witty. Fun. Bijou, the Viking cat, the narrator of Cold Snap, is a fearless feline who will capture reader’s hearts and keep them entertained. Cat lovers will be delighted by Schneider’s tale.” – Abby Collette, Wall Street Journal best-selling author of An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series.
  • 12:43 PM – Big Brain, Little Brain: How to Control Which One Speaks for You is Kevin Thomas McCarney’s guide in helping us all control moments of stress, conflict and pressure. Kevin shares glimpses into this life resource book, which is packed with strategies, understanding and more to help each of us better negotiate a complicated, challenging world. “It’s simple and effective, and I highly recommend it to anyone who owns a business–and not just for you, but your entire company!” – Jack Canfield, #1 NY Times Best-selling Author, Co-Creator, Chicken Soup for the Soul & The Success Principles

 Cultural exploration opportunities

  1. 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.
  2. ‘Beautiful Land Fall Pop-Up Market’ set for Sun Oct 3 from 11am-4pm at the Downtown Ames Fareway parking lot, 619 Burnett Avenue. This local, family-friendly event is free and open to the general public. ‘Beautiful Land Fall Pop-Up Market’ will showcase over 65 local and regional artisans, designers, vintage collectors, food trucks and live music.
  3. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre presents Disney’s Descendants: The Musical Oct 8-17 at the Stoner Theater.\
  4. The Des Moines Symphony continues to demonstrate appealing diversity in its programming, drawing ever larger audiences to their concerts. The Des Moines Symphony brings the Beatles to vivid life in Revolution on Sat Oct 9, a stunning multimedia experience featuring new symphonic arrangements transcribed from the original master recordings at Abbey Road. Accompanied by hundreds of rare and unseen photos along with stunning video and animation, Revolution will take audiences on a magical music and visual journey featuring more than 25 top hits like “Ticket to Ride,” “Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love,” “Get Back,” “Hey, Jude,” and much more.
  5. Central Iowa Wind Ensemble (CIWE) will be performing their first concert of the 21-22 Season on Sunday, October 10 at 3:00 p.m. at the Franklin Junior High. CIWE believes in the power of music to positively impact people and that is why their performances are always free. The theme for their first concert is “Spark” – People, places, and things are the at the center of each of the pieces performed.
  6. Des Moines Performing Arts THE BAND’S VISIT Oct 12 – 17, 2021. Spend an evening in the company of unforgettable strangers at The Band’s Visit—now one of the most celebrated musicals ever. Winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
  7. 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).
  8. Des Moines Community Playhouse presents a world premiere, Escaping the Labyrinth, Oct. 15-24, 2021. Selected through the American Association of Community Theatre’s national competition, NewPlayFest, the Playhouse makes its debut as a presenter in this exceptional program.
  9. Gateway Dance Theatre (GDT) will offer a virtual presentation of SPECTRUM along with a pre-show and after-show discussion Oct 15 and 16. SPECTRUM is a showcase of the arts including ten-minute plays, poetry, visual arts, dance, and music. With this performance, GDT aims to not only spotlight the arts, but also invite audience reflection.
  10. Vagrant Fear Productions, a new Central Iowa theatre company, presents The Mirror at the Stoner Theater Oct 22 & 23 at 7:30 PM.
  11. Class Act Productions (CAP) Theatre presents The Addams Family Young@Part Oct 29 – Nov 14. (Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 2pm and 7pm, Sunday at 2pm).
  12. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s summer music series concludes this week! Presented by EMC Insurance Companies, the 15-week series, Music in the Garden, wraps up a stellar weekly presentation of great music this Thu Sep 30 from 6 to 9 p.m.! Food, drink and fun, family-friendly activities will be available at all events!…/sig…/music-in-the-garden/
  13. 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 – for The Sound of Music. Auditions will be 1:00 PM, Sat Oct 2, 2021, for Adults (ages 16 and up) and 5:00 PM, Sun Oct 3, 2021, for Youths (ages 8-15).
  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. The Cedar Rapids Opera will present a special show Sep 30 at 5:30 pm. Mezzo soprano Suzanne Hendrix will treat audiences to a performance of Operatini, a one-woman opera written just for her, as well as several other favorite selections at the always-gorgeous Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery. Tickets are $50 per person and include two complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres. More information at
  2. 21st Iowa Country School Preservation Conference Friday October 8, 2021. Odebolt IA, Odebolt Community Center, 116E Second St. Carol Raasch, Registrar. A block west is Heritage Square Park.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  • 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.
  • Oct 9 (Beaverdale Books at Witmer Park, NE Shelter 34th & Washington Street, Des Moines) – Cy’s Perfect Day: The Iowa State Way. John Walters
  • Oct 11 (Beaverdale Books) – Our Friend Sitting Bull: The True Story of a Pioneer Couple’s Friendship with the Famous Lakota Chief. Mary R. Christopher
  • Oct 12 (Beaverdale Books) – The Night We Landed on the Moon & Sacrament of Bodies. Debra Marquart & Romeo Oriogun

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. You Are What You Click: How Being Selective, Positive, and Creative Can Transform Your Social Media Experience helps us navigate the challenges of social media to our advantage. Brian A. Primack MD PhD.
  3. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals helps anyone regain focus in their life. Oliver Burkeman packs this resource liberally.

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. ♦

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