Thursday, June 1, 2023

Join our email blast

The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


Continue to be creative. Be safe and conscientious.
– 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 I work with have given me new releases to support KFMG and share with you. This is your chance to get a great book while supporting this community radio station. Each book has a CD copy of the author’s Culture Buzz interview. Some newly added titles include:

  • 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.’
  • Big Brain Little Brain: How to Control Which One Speaks for You by Kevin Thomas McCarney.
  • Check out the full listing of books at the KFMG website,

Quote of the Week

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 2)CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (June 1)

“You try as a writer to put yourself into the other person’s position. Empathy. Empathy is everything because we can’t experience everything. Experience is important, but empathy is the key.” — Nikki Giovanni, quoted in Virginia C. Fowler, “An Interview with Nikki Giovanni,” in Fowler’s Conversations with Nikki Giovanni (1992)

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. 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 – Nicole Baart makes an appearance at Beaverdale Books to chat about her new book, Everything We Didn’t Say. Listen to Nicole as she shares some insights into the writing of this praiseworthy novel from this Iowan, who is a New York Times bestselling author.
    “[A] lyrical suspense novel… Baart delivers enough twists not to disappoint as she movingly evokes love and innocence lost. This delayed coming-of-age story will have broad appeal.” — Publishers Weekly
  • 11:16 AM – The Good Widow: A Memoir of Living with Loss is an open, honest and captivating sharing of author Jennifer Katz’s journey following the unexpected death of her husband.
    “Jennifer Katz is a psychology professor who has written a wonderful, thoughtful book. I was moved by her account of her personal experiences after her husband had died, as well as her interactions with her children. Her memoir provides perspectives about love, loss, and hope.” — Margaret Matlin, PhD, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Psychology Emerita and author of The Psychology of Women
  • 11:31 AM – Leilani Raven Katen’s vision for an allegorical children’s book comes to vibrant life in The Nameless Girl & the Lonely Alligator, a beautifully illustrated book perfect for reading to and sharing with children. Listen as Leilani provides backstory to her writing journey.
    “Leilani Raven Katen’s gem of a children’s book is richly illustrated and rich in content – a perfect read-aloud, message-filled book for adults with young ones.” — The Culture Buzz
  • 11:48 AM – Director Jennifer Nostrala shares glimpses into the pandemic-delayed stage production The Cake, produced by Iowa Stage Theatre Company. Opening Fri Nov 12, this drama brings the power of live performing arts to a zenith when it runs for two weeks at the Stoner Theater.
  • 12:00 PM – 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.
  • 12:14 PM – Quickly becoming a favorite Iowa author with a growing legion of fans both in and out of state, Joseph LeValley brings his protagonist, Tony Harrington, back from Italy after his last adventure to a murder mystery in an Iowa small town. Listen as Joseph shares details about this attention-grabbing story, and his willingness to travel to organizations, clubs and groups to share his passion for writing.
    “When Hollywood comes to Orney, Iowa, Tony Harrington becomes entangled in a murder that shakes the entire small-town community. Joseph LeValley continues the entertaining development of Harrington as a very appealing hero, and we savor each scintillating page of this latest story.” — The Culture Buzz
  • 12:28 PM – Artistic Director Paula Forrest shares some history as well as some current season news about Ames Town & Gown, a cultural gem that has been presenting more than 70 seasons of chamber music excellence for Central Iowa. 2021 marks their return to live performances, and this season promises to be another fine feather for this storied cap.
  • 12:43 PM – Andrew Klumpp is the editor of one of Iowa’s most long-lived publications, The Annals of Iowa. This masterful quarterly publication celebrates Iowa’s 175th anniversary since statehood with a special edition of The Annals, available now. Andrew shares some history, some overview, and plenty of enticement to connect to this collection of exceptional writing about Iowa’s history, and its relevance to the now and future.

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. 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.
  3. Des Moines Performing Arts – Temple Theater. Sat Nov 6. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Civic Music Association creates a dynamic musical experience when it celebrates the legacy and music of Ray Charles with a special concert featuring all-star vocalists Take 6, Nnenna Freelon, and Clint Holmes. Fri Nov 12 at Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre.
  6. The Community Jazz Center presents its popular jam sessions the first Sunday of each month at Java Joes Fourth Street Theater. 

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.

 Auditions and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

  1. Des Moines Playhouse – check for upcoming audition opportunities.
  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

Planning ahead
Make plans, as these national shows may sell out quickly, or appeal to a bit of micro-traveling.

  1. Shen Yun – THROUGH THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE of music and dance, Shen Yun takes you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Des Moines Performing Arts Dec 4 & 5, 2:00 PM.
  2. 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:

  • Nov 4, 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Everything We Didn’t SayNicole Baart
  • Nov 6, 2:00 PM (Beaverdale Books) – The Nameless Girl and the Lonely AlligatorLeilani Raven Katen
  • Nov 7, 2:00 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Performing MurderJoseph LeValley
  • Nov 10, 6:30-7:30 PM (Virtual event – Beaverdale Books) – ReprieveJames Han Mattson
  • Nov 12, 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Return of the Naked Man Poems, Robert Tremmel
  • Nov 15, 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Hangin’ with Winners: A Lifetime of Connections, Anecdotes and Lessons LearnedRay Cole

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. Our Friend Sitting Bull: The True Story of a Pioneer Couple’s Friendship with the Famous Lakota Chief, Mary Christopher*
  2. Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America, Beth Hoffman*
  3. Cy’s Perfect Day: The Iowa State Way, John Walters*
  4. Love, Zac: Small Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy, Reid Forgrave*
  5. Mollie’s Big Score, Katie Purcell*
  6. The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
  7. Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr
  8. Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
  9. State of Terror, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
  10. Bewilderment, Richard Powers

* Iowa author

Life Resource books worth your consideration:

  1.  Leveling the Paying Field: A Groundbreaking Approach to Achieving Fair Pay. Rick Gillis gives us the handbook for evaluating our worth and cashing in.
  2. The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career is an info-packed gem from Callista Gould. 
  3. Big Brain, Little Brain: How to Control Which One Speaks for You is a great guide from Kevin McCarney for helping anyone prepare on how to react to potentially volatile situations.
  4. Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives. Minal Bopaiah packs her book with years of experience and savvy.

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. Required fields are marked *


Summer Stir (June 2023)