Sunday, May 22, 2022

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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 

Something for Something

Support The Culture Buzz programming through the Des Moines Community Radio Foundation (aka KFMG 98.9 FM). I am offering select books, each with a CD copy of my companion interview with that author, for a nominal contribution to keep sharing with you great authors and the best in Central Iowa cultural events coverage. 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 details plus a full listing of books at the KFMG website,


CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Quote of the Week

“One’s work may be finished but one’s education, never.” – Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), French writer. (also known as Alexandre Dumas pére)

Newsletter content:

  1. Guests on this week’s Wednesday edition
  2. Performance Arts (Greater Des Moines/Iowa)
  3. Visual Arts (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 resource books, 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 – Jim Autry is a beloved author, community benefactor and all-around marvelous creative. He will be appearing at Beaverdale Books on Nov 16 to share insights into one of his newest novels, The White Man Who Stayed: A Biography Remembered. This book shares a special story about life in Alabama many decades ago. “In James Autry’s most recent book, The White Man Who Stayed, each chapter, each page and every word spoken takes us inside the homes and conversations of southern whites whose birth world of white dominance was disintegrating before them. James masterfully and honestly opens up the archives of his own mind where stored were private sightings and conversations remembered. In this biography, Autry brings to life, the personal journey of his own cousin who struggled to find his pathway in the only world he knew—the changing South. Unlike young Autry who left the South, his cousin took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and stayed behind.”—Clifton L. Taulbert, Pulitzer-nominated author, The Last Train North, The Invitation, Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored
  • 11:19 AM – Susan Werner is a celebrated artist, and shares her gifts through the magic of her songs. “City Kids” is such a gem from her landmark album, HAYSEED.
  • 11:23 AM – While Chad Elliott is perhaps best known for his music, he is an exceptional painter and poet. Here he reads “Ringgold County” from his first published collection of Poetry, Rumble & Flash.
  • 11:25 AM – James Han Mattson’s new novel is taking the literary world by storm. Reprieve is a thriller that quickly was placed on the 2021 Fall book list, and was featured on The Today Show. Listen as James shares glimpses into this masterful story. “A novel about otherness loneliness, racism and identity…Mattson walks the line between pulpy horror and smart literary fition here…Everyone in this book is deep, nuanced, and multilayered…Still, readers should enter at their own risk. The experience might be harrowing – but just like Quigley House, the reward at the end is worthy it.” – NPR
  • 11:40 AM – This week gets a delightful double-dose of Susan Werner, this time with “Dog” from her irreverent and irresistible EIGHT UNECESSARY SONGS.
  • 11:44 AM – Poet Robert Tremmel prepares for his appearance at Beaverdale Books on Nov 12 at 6:30 PM by sharing glimpses into the wit and word delight of his new collection, Return of the Naked Man“Robert Tremmel delights in his poetic wordplay, allowing that delight to transfer to those who joyfully read his works. Return of the Naked Man will sweep its readers into stimulating poetry.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:00 PM – 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.
  • 12:14 PM – Ray Cole, with the support of writing partner Rob Gray, gives the world a series of inspiring glimpses through a lens few of us have viewed, but will benefit us all. Hangin with Winners: A Lifetime of Connections, Anecdotes, and Lessons Learned takes us on a whirlwind journey of the condensed gold dust that Ray squeezed and gathered from a life well-lived. A little laughter, a little tears, a lot of contemplation await the reader in this gem. “Ray Cole is one of the most honest, honorable and powerful people in the television business. It is the goal of life to find people who are ready to bring joy and share what they did to find success. Ray lives the joy trait and knows the importance of sharing the reasons he’s succeeded with others. That’s what makes him a ‘winner.’” – Dr. Mehmet Oz, surgeon, professor and host of “The Dr. Oz Show”
  • 12:31 PM – This delightful preview interview with jazz legend Nnenna Freelon will provide glimpses into her career, love of jazz and the Civic Music Association sponsored show coming to Hoyt Sherman Place Theater Fri Nov 12, Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles. Nnenna is joined by a host of jazz greats, and this will be an evening of live performance not to be missed.
  • 12:48 PM – Iowa women’s historian Cheryl Mullenbach returns with her newest offering, a marvelously enticing exploration of “Stagecoach Women.” Cheryl plies her masterful combination of researching the stories that are “hiding in the historical weeds,” and brings them to vibrant life for our enjoyment. Be sure to get her new book, available through Beaverdale Books and other fine bookstores. “(Cheryl) Mullenbach has a rare gift to not just delve into history and present stories that have often been overlooked, but she finds relevant stories, especially of women in our past, and helps to create a stronger understanding of our shared history.” -The Culture Buzz

Performance Arts

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Des Moines Community Playhouse/Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre presents Junie B and Jingle Bells Batman Smells thru Nov 14. Children’s theatre featuring a favorite literary heroine.
  4. Class Act Productions (CAP) Theatre presents The Addams Family Young@Part thru Nov 14. (Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 2pm and 7pm, Sunday at 2pm).
  5. Say Poetry’s fall showcase Say Presents: Speak Your Piece/Peace will be presented Fri Nov 19 at the Temple Theater.
  6. Des Moines Symphony prepares for its next concert, featuring Paul Huang joins the Des Moines Symphony for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto at 7:30PM Sat Nov 20 & 2:30PM Sun Nov 21, at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines). Concerts are available for streaming.
  7. Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre presents Mystery Science Theatre 3000 LIVE: Time Bubble Tour Tue Nov 23 at 7:30 PM.
  8. 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 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

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:

  1. Nov 10 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) Reprieve, James Han Mattson
  2. Nov 12, 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Return of the Naked Man Poems, Robert Tremmel
  3. Nov 15, 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Hangin’ with Winners: A Lifetime of Connections, Anecdotes and Lessons LearnedRay Cole
  4. Nov 16, 6:30 PM (Beaverdale Books) – The White Man Who StayedJames A. Autry

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. ♦

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