Monday, May 16, 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
Podcasts of past interviews may be found at and 
Special opportunity –
The Culture Buzz is offering something new to support the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation (aka KFMG 98.9 FM) Fun(d)raiser this year. Several authors, publishers, and publicists have given me new releases as incentives. This is your chance to get a great book while supporting this community radio station. I have included with each book a CD copy of the author’s interview on The Culture Buzz. Some titles include:
Ø  Called to be Creative by Mary Potter Kenyon. This award-winning author has inspired countless people to elevate their creativity. This book is signed, and includes a special note pad and ‘thin pencil.’
Ø  Red Deception by Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller. This thriller chills to the core, is fast-paced and sure to keep the pages turning.
Ø  Read, Laugh, Repeat is another delightful offering from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and includes a story from an Iowa writer, Becky Lewellyn Povich.
Ø  From Pigtails to Chin Hairs by Becky Lewellyn Povich. This heartwarming memoir will stir your own memories.
Ø  Bride of the Buddha by Barbara McHugh. This is a luminous, imaginative story of love, courage, and devotion.
Ø  Check out the full listing of books at the KFMG website,
Quote of the Week
“The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning.” – M. Scott Peck (1936-2005) an American psychiatrist and best-selling author who wrote the book The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978.
Newsletter content:
I.          Guests on this week’s Wednesday edition;
II.         Cultural exploration opportunities (Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
III.        Exhibitions, Tours, Visual Artists (mostly Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
IV.         Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities;
V.          Planning ahead;
VI.        Author events (Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
VII.       Callista Gould shares another bit of Culture & Manners wisdom;
VIII.      Best-sellers, life resources, Greater Des Moines performing arts organizations, Central Iowa indie book stores, cultural exploration resources, health & welfare resources
I.                 This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –
11:00 AM – Marilyn Brookwood takes a powerful dive into some amazing history, delivering a book that reads more like a novel than the history it portrays. The Orphans of Davenport: Eugenics, The Great Depression, and the War Over Children’s Intelligence tells the captivating tale of Depression-era psychologists who launched the modern science of child development. Marilyn gives us eye-opening glimpses into this forgotten chapter in history.
“A remarkable unsung history, told with empathy, nuance, and a knack for character-driven storytelling.” — Michael Rodriguez, Library Journal
11:16 AM – Director Jen Green and Emme Gustafson, who plays the title role, share some thoughts about Junie B in Jingle Bells Batman Smells, the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show opening Nov 5 in the John Viars Theatre at the Des Moines Playhouse.
11:31 AM – Anna Lind Thomas will be at Beaverdale Books this Sat Oct 30 at 2:00 PM to share great insights about her brilliant collection of essays, We’ll Laugh about this Someday: Essays on Taking Life a Smidge too Seriously. Anna stimulates a lively peek into her wonderful collection, that will bring laughter, tears and great sense of connection for all.
“Anna Lind Thomas will make you laugh and cry and remember what it’s like to get the giggles. Her stories are full of humor and heart and remind you that you can laugh about some of the worst times in your life…eventually.” – Cindy CHupack, New York Times bestselling author and Emmy-winning writer/producer of Sex in the City, Modern Family, and more
11:48 AM – Tabitha Forney, author of the evocative novel Paper Airplanes, returns to the show to extend the conversation on how her story, anchored in the tragedy of 9/11, has stimulated relevant conversations and meaning wherever she has presented.
“This haunting novel captivated me from the beginning. Forney pulled me in with her gorgeous prose and a heroine who made my heart ache. I rarely cry when I read, but Paper Airplanes had me sobbing. This is the kind of book that only comes around once in a lifetime.” —LAURA HEFFERNAN, internationally best-selling author of Finding Tranquility and Anna’s Guide to Getting Even
12:00 PM – Amy Lee Lillard’s collection of ten stories in Dig Me Out, takes readers into a bold, brash world of her imagination. Strong women, unforgettable prose – Amy delivers an unfiltered ten-pack of power in these stories. Listen as she shares some glimpses into her writing muse, and be sure to join her at Beaverdale Books on Wed Oct 27 at 6:30 PM as she invites others to hear her back story, and interact with her.

“With spare and unassuming prose, Lillard has produced a radically profound and unforgettable story collection that upends received notions of femininity and storytelling.” — Jeannie Vanasco, author of Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

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12:14 PM – Larry Baker’s captivating writing manifests again in his latest novel, Wyman and the Florida Knights. Listen as Larry provides back story and insight into a book filled with richly dimensionalized characters. Fans have waited too long for this rewarding read from Larry, but it is now here.
“During my long career writing about Florida and Floridians, I encountered folks like the Knight Clan that Larry Baker has created. I’ll be honest, this kind of scared me. Warning: thrills and chills ahead.”—Jeff Klinkenberg, columnist at Tampa Bay Times
12:28 PM – Colin Cowie is the preeminent event planner in the world, and his new book helps anyone understand how to build strong customer relationships, The Gold Standard: Giving Your Customers What They Didn’t Know They Wanted. This brilliant manual is a guide to elevating oneself to your own gold standard. Colin shares how although the pandemic completely wiped his existing business model clean, with an erasing of events on his business calendar, he found new opportunities.
“In today’s world, service is the only true differentiator, making The Gold Standard a must-read book for anyone interested in improving service in their business. Colin Cowie’s mastery of service excellence delivery is unsurpassed and can be applied in virtually any industry. This is a guidebook to success as he shares all of his secrets to creating happy and loyal customers in a compelling ‘how to’ anecdotal style.”
— Cindy Novotny, Radical Mentor, Master Connection Associates
12:43 PM – Yes, Again: (Mis)adventures of a Wishful Thinker is one of the most unique memoirs to pop into this show, and its author, Sallie H. Weissinger, brings a thoughtful, energized voice to the conversation. Sallie shares some of her back story in a book that will capture the hearts of its readers.
“Weissinger celebrates her 75th birthday in Yes, Again by taking the reader on a tour of her big heart and where that heart has taken her. This glorious story of a life lived in love is the perfect read because it’s hilarious, honest and full of hope. We are all lovers, or we wish we were and Sallie shows us how: never give up, occasionally give in and don’t stop believing. Brava!”
—Adriana Trigiani, Bestselling author of Tony’s Wife
II.               Performance Arts
1.     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).
2.     Comedy Xperiment. Returns to the friendly confines of the Stoner Theater Oct 29 & 30 at 7:30 PM. Never-before-seen comedy, and never to be seen again improv.
3.     Ballet Des MoinesKiss, Fri Oct 29, featuring award-winning choreographer Stephanie Martinez and company.
4.     Carousel Theatre of Indianola brings a classic Agatha Christie who-done-it to the stage when And Then There Were None runs thru Oct 31. Tickets sold at the door only to this delightful murder mystery romp.
5.     Ames Town & Gown opens their new season with a solo recital by pianist FRANK LEVY on Thu Nov 4, at 7:30 pm in the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall, Simon Estes Music Hall on the Iowa State University Campus. Frank Levy’s poetic insight and communicative powers earned him prizes in the Leeds and Clara Haskil international piano competitions and have taken him to major venues throughout the world in recital and concerto performances. For this recital he has chosen works by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Domenico Scarlatti, and Frederic Chopin. A gifted teacher and speaker, Mr. Levy will conduct a MASTER CLASS in Tye Recital Hall on Fri Nov 5, at 5:00 pm, and will present a LECTURE on musical interpretation at the Ames Public Library, Sat Nov 6, at 10:00 am.
6.     Des Moines Performing Arts – Temple Theater. Moors and McCumber, described as adventurous, eclectic, and endlessly creative, this vocal harmony duo continues developing a strong fan base. In the intimacy of the Temple Theater, this promises to be a gem.
7.     Iowa Stage Theatre Company makes a triumphant return to its Stoner Theater home on Nov 12 for a two-week run of The Cake. Powerful, poignant and altogether timely, this play will leave an impression on its audiences, while stimulating post-show conversations.
8.     The Community Jazz Center presents its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater. 
III.      Visual Arts
1.     Olson-Larsen Galleries is proud to present “Redefine”, on thru Nov 27. “Redefine” is an exhibition conceived through the collaboration of research-based artist and guest curator, Donté K. Hayes and Olson-Larsen Galleries. The show will feature artists selected by Donté, from the Olson-Larsen Galleries’ artist roster in combination with invited artists outside of the gallery’s representation. Olson-Larsen Galleries is excited to introduce their patrons and collectors to emerging and established artists in a new context.  The goal of this presentation is to show artwork that is created with intention.
2.     Greater Des Moines Exhibited XXVIII at the Polk County Heritage Gallery. Oct 25 – Dec 17. AWARDS SHOW – Thu Oct 28 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
3.     The Grinnell College Museum of Art is open by appointment, Tue thru Sat, noon to 5 pm. Visitors need to schedule a visit on Mondays or mornings.
4.     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.
IV.       Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

1.     Des Moines PlayhouseDon’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Mon Nov 15, 6:00 PM. Cast Needs: 6 roles any gender, ages 14-60, any race or ethnicity. Performance Dates: Jan. 07-Jan. 23, 2022.

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.     Tallgrass Theatre Company. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
5.     Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
6.     Des Moines Young Artists Theatre. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
V.      Planning ahead
1.     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.
VI.      Between the covers – author events worth noting:
1.         Oct 27 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Dig Me OutAmy Lee Lillard
2.         Oct 30 2:00 PM (Beaverdale Books) – We’ll Laugh About This Someday, Anna Lind Thomas
3.         Nov 4 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Everything We Didn’t SayNicole Baart
4.         Nov 6 2:00 PM (Beaverdale Books) – The Nameless Girl and the Lonely AlligatorLeilani Raven Katen
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. Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
2. Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult, Kyle McCord*
3. Owl’s Head: A Hidden Gem, Sondra Ashmore* and Christine Guzzo Vickery (Illustrated by Sharon Larson)
4. Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead
5. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho
6. The Soul of the Family Tree, Lori Erickson*
7. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer
8. Beautiful World, Where Are You, Sally Rooney
9. Bewilderment, Richard Powers
10. Matrix, Lauren Groff
*Iowa Author!
VII.    Callista Gould wisdom – Check out her listing in “VIII. Life Resources”
A favorite story I often tell at Etiquette Dinners when I am walking people through table manners, is about two professors interviewing a PhD candidate for a position at a university. During lunch, the candidate took a fork and plunged it into a chicken breast, turned it upside down and started taking bites out of it, like it was food on a stick at the State Fair. One of the interviewers said, “I didn’t know what to ask next.”
Who cares how we eat? Why can’t we pick up the chicken breast with our hands and gnaw on it if we want to?
Because we’re not just representing ourselves. Sometimes we’re representing an organization, a profession or a community. We have a responsibility to represent others well.
The second interviewer said what many employers tell me: “We didn’t want someone who would embarrass us.”
Whether you’re an intern or CEO, a salesperson on a sales call or purchasing agent visiting with a vendor, it’s good to ask yourself, “Am I representing my organization well?” In your first impressions, speech, dress, emails, social media, the way you treat others… are you an asset or an embarrassment?
VIII.   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.
4.     Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives. Minal Bopaiah packs her book with years of experience and savvy.
5.     Leveling the Paying Field: A Groundbreaking Approach to Achieving Fair Pay. Rick Gillis gives us the handbook for evaluating our worth and cashing in.
Check out The Culture Buzz’s insightful interviews for these and other authors’ interviews at
Performing Arts Organizations
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: CAP Theatre
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/Central Iowa Independent Book Stores:
The Culture Buzz encourages you to visit your local independent book store regularly. 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, 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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