Monday, May 16, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greeting, Cultural Catalysts:


From the beautiful MainFrame Studios Building at 900 Keosauqua Way in Des Moines, Iowa comes your Listener-supported Community Voice, the Award-Winning independent radio station KFMG-LP 98.9 FM, bringing you music, literature & cultural news from the American Heartland and beyond.
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 

Quote of the Week

“Don’t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.” 
― Douglas Adams (1952-2001) an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams was author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio program. This quote is from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Newsletter content:

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa
  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 – Theatre Midwest prepares its next Fresh Produce Concert Reading show, Dairy Queen, for Dec 4 & 5. Listen as two company members, Erin Tracy and Claire Boston, share this new play’s story line, and how it ties into the mission of Theatre Midwest. See performance venue details below in the “Performance Arts” section.
  • 11:12 AM – Abe Goldstein renews the jazz concert series with his wife, Jackie, as Caspe Terrace on Dec 5 with NYC JAZZ IN DSM featuring one of the best, Chris Byars, and two additional exceptional musicians, guitarist Pasquale Grasso and bassist Ari Roland. These world-renowned musicians will be making the intimate Caspe Terrace performing hall an immersive jazz experience of rare quality. “It’s not easy to be Chris Byars. With an incredible array of talents brought to bear on his composition, arrangements, and cooking jazz performances, it’s no wonder he’s worked his way to the forefront of the myriad of jazz players overwhelming the scene.” — Teddy Charles, For tickets and more information, contact Abe directly at 515-279-6452 or at
  • 11:27 AM – “Bridge of Locks” performed by Chris Byars.
  • 11:33 AM – Briana Cole returns to the show with her latest relationship immersion Couples Wanted. Briana leads a lively conversation about her novels, a vibrant blend of romance, mystery, intrigue and more. Her diverse success in film, playwrighting, motivational speaking, and entrepreneurship are infused in her writing and compelling characters.
  • 11:48 AM – The Des Moines Community Playhouse returns to full form with its celebrated holiday musical show, this year the incomparable Sound of Music. The hills will come alive with the magic, music and majesty of this classic show, a great one for the entire family. Listen as Jess Belch (“Maria”) and Caethen Stocker (Kurt) bring a lively energy as they share the casting and rehearsal process before this show’s Dec 3 opening.
  • 12:00 PM – Central Iowa’s theatre scene welcomes the return of a stalwart force in live theatre as Tallgrass Theatre Company renews its relationship with its patrons. Opening in its new venue, 2019 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines, its new venue’s inaugural show, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!), promises to be a rollicking, laugh-filled experience with excellent moments of heart. Artistic Director Tom Perrine shares insights into this sure-fire success of a show, as well as news about this new venue as they celebrate their return as West Des Moines’ community theatre.
  • 12:12 PM – Iowa History Journal publisher Michael Swanger shares glimpses into the new issue of this popular magazine, which shares insightful and revealing stories about Iowa’s vast and fascinating history. Each issue is packed with ‘oh, wow’ stories sure to stimulate conversation and thought.
  • 12:29 PM – Ankeny Community Theatre prepares to open its next show, a sure-fire crowd-pleaser: Geezers. This warm comedy explores relationships with a solid foundation of humor. Two cast members, Troy Gould and Beth Feilmeier, bring some great insights into the rehearsal process as this production prepares for its Fri Dec 3 opening.
  • 12:41 PM – Iowa City’s Chuy Renteria pens a beautiful, insightful memoir with his We Heard It When We Were Young, a thought-provoking and unfiltered view of growing up in small town Iowa. Chuy gives us tantalizing glimpses into the understandings to be discovered in his powerful memoir. “Full of heart and humor, We Heard It When We Were Young reframes the American narrative in a way that feels urgent. Renteria’s nostalgia-wrapped traumas of growing up—the visceral violence, continuous reckonings, and complex friendships—shatter and mend your heart all at once. In this poignant debut, Chuy Renteria does not hold back, examining the past with an honesty that gives you chills from beginning to end. Above all, the love Renteria has for the unique Iowa town of West Liberty shines unapologetically through.” — Xochitl Gonzalez, author, Ogla Dies Dreaming

Performance Arts

  1. Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre presents another Duets – one rising star + one seasoned performer – for one night only Wed Dec 1 at Franklin Junior High School.
  2. Tallgrass Theatre Company welcomes patrons to the inaugural production in their new home, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. This show promises to be a madcap romp through the holiday season. Dec 3-19.
  3. Ankeny Community Theatre presents the comedy Geezers beginning Dec 3.
  4. DAIRY QUEEN by Sarah Loucks is A Fresh Produce Concert Reading Event from the fine folks at Theatre Midwest. Reigning over a large quantity of ice cream and some hidden vodka, two teenagers imagine adulthood, freedom, and the American Dream beneath the fluorescent lights of a Midwest Dairy Queen. This will be presented Sat Dec 4 at 7:30 PM and Sun Dec 5 at 2:00 PM. NOTE from Theatre Midwest, due to closure of original venue (Java Joes Fourth Street Theatre) “As live theatre often finds itself saying for various reasons – the show must go on, and we’re proud to announce Dairy Queen will be going on at the Art Terrarium in Des Moines. Seating at the venue may be limited so we recommend RSVPing ahead of time on our website to guarantee your seat. This is also where you can sign up to view the show online!” Free admission, goodwill donations appreciated. RSVPs for in-person or online streaming options will be taken at
  5. The Des Moines Community Playhouse produces one of the all-time great musicals for the holiday season, The Sound of Music, Dec 3-19. Filled with popular songs, this touching story is sure to brighten everyone’s day.
  6. Caspe Terrace again becomes the national hot spot for the best in jazz as Abe Goldstein renews his passion for bringing exceptional jazz artists to Iowa. Chris Byars leads a trio of internationally acclaimed jazz musicians for an unforgettable evening of musical bliss. Dec 5. Call/email Abe for tickets: 515-279-6452 or at
  7. Civic Music Association presents Canadian Brass: Making Spirits Bright Dec 5! Exhilarating, inspirational – the music from this group fills hearts and souls. Learn more and get tickets
  8. Ballet Des Moines presents The Nutcracker Dec 10-12 at Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre and Dec 17-18 at the Staplin Performing Arts Center.
  9. Iowa Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker at Des Moines Performing Arts’ Civic Center Dec 11-12.
    10.  Iowa Stage Theatre Company presents an ‘instant classic’ holiday tradition with the return of a new production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Running from Dec 16-23 in the Stoner Theater at Des Moines Performing Arts’ Civic Center, this show is a surefire way to dive into the holiday spirit through an imaginative reinvention of this class story.

Visual Arts

  1. Greater Des Moines Exhibited XXVIII at the Polk County Heritage Gallery. Oct 25 – Dec 17.
  2. 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.
  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. Iowa Stage Theatre Company will hold auditions for Long Day’s Journey into Night Sun Dec 5 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
  2. Tallgrass Theatre Company will hold auditions for The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Megan Helmers. The auditions will take place on Sun/Mon, Dec 12/13 at 7:30 PM at their new theatre facility, 2019 Grand Avenue, Suite 100, West Des Moines.
  3.  Des Moines Community Playhouse will hold auditions for Murder on the Orient Express Mon Dec 13, 6:00 pm. Details:
  4. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  5. 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. 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.
  3.  Now available, Susan Werner is offering her full catalog of albums, plus bonus tracks (demos and unreleased songs), and live concert video footage. A perfect gift for Susan Werner fans, and anyone who simply savors the magic of one of America’s musical gems.

Between the covers — author events worth noting:

  1. Dec 4, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Beaverdale Books) – Sip. Taste. Shop. Beaverdale. Beaverdale Books will partner with Beaverdale Confections and Happy DSM on Saturday, December 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. to host a special event.  Stop in to enjoy treats and a glass of champagne.  Free ARCs (advanced reader copies) with purchase.

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. 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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