Monday, May 16, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, 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

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”
― Albert Einstein (1879-1955) a German-born theoretical physicist

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

SPECIAL EVENT: Terrace Hill Christmas celebration unlike any other

The trees are dressed and the ‘halls are decked’ at Terrace Hill, Iowa Governor’s Residence and National Historic Landmark. Governor Kim and Kevin Reynolds cordially invite the public to attend Christmas at Terrace Hill on Sunday, December 19, 2021 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. This family-friendly event will include activities for the kids, spectacular decorations in each room, carolers, sweet treats, and a visit from Santa and his reindeer.

Special this year, Governor Reynolds will be reading a newly written story, No Company for Christmas. It was written by Terrace Hill docent and local children’s author, Susan Maupin Schmid, with illustrations created by local artist, Tara Gartin.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Terrace Hill Partnership, the non-profit organization that supports necessary conservation and restoration projects at Terrace Hill.

Reservations are $25 per individual or $50 per household and must be made in advance. To purchase tickets, call our office at 515-281-7205 or purchase them online:

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – 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.
  • 11:17 AM – JL Doucette’s newest novel, Unknown Assailant, brings Dr. Pepper Hunt and Detective Beau Antelope together again to investigate a tragic murder/suicide in a prominent ranch family in the small town of Farson, Wyoming. “Compelling and intense…a sensational murder mystery that engages the reader from the first page.” — Reader’s Favorite
  • 11:31 AM – Cat lovers who want to successfully cohabitate with their feline friend(s) need to dive into Ingrid Newkirk’s delightfully informative book, 250 Vital Things Your Cat Wants You to Know. Listen to this lively conversation as Ingrid shares some glimpses into the bounty of helpful tips and guides for cat people. “In no way could you read 250 Vital Things Your Cat Wants You to Know and not be inspired to make some positive changes to deepen the bond, the trust, and the love you have for and with your feline companions. You will help them lead a truly fulfilling life, just the way cats are meant to live.” — Kim Basinger
  • 11:45 AM – Pulling from his wealth of experience as a lawyer and foreign service member, Otho Eskin delivers his second Marko Zorn thriller. Set in Washington DC, Otho’s penchant for spinning a captivating story gives a growing legion of fans another rewarding read. “An authentically nail-biting thriller—it’s Robert B. Parker meets David Baldacci in this fast-paced page-turner. Otho Eskin has created such a brilliant character in his Marko Zorn: wise and eloquent, witty, and surprising. And quietly, heartbreakingly, brave. This chilling political thriller is wonderfully textured with a high-stakes emotional drama—and I could not turn the pages fast enough. Head Shot is instantly cinematic—and completely entertaining!” — Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today best-selling author
  • 12:00 PM – Iowa Stage Theatre Company prepares to open its holiday show, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, in grand style Thu Dec 16 with a live taping of the evening’s show for Iowa PBS. Attend this performance and be part of Iowa theatrical history. The show continues Dec 17-23 at the Stone Theater. This script is pure magic, delivered by a masterful cast and production team. Saor the meaning and richness of this classic story as you have never done before.
  • 12:17 PM – Pulitzer Prize author Joseph J. Ellis delivers another powerful, detailed and exceptionally engaging history in his new book, The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents: 1773-1783. Joseph shares why understanding this history is so vitally important for modern times to guide our country to true success. “The colonists didn’t describe their war for independence as the American Revolution, Pulitzer winner Ellis points out in the preface to this richly detailed, multi-voiced history. The term they used was “The Cause” – “a conveniently ambiguous label that provided a verbal canopy under which a diverse variety of political and regional persuasions could coexist.” Ellis skillfully charts divergent interests . . .This expert account highlights the “improvisational” nature of America’s founding.”  — Publishers Weekly
  • 12:38 PM – Katie J Purcell wanted to write a book from her earliest days as a voracious reader. After successfully establishing her career, becoming a mother and considering options, she was guided by her muse to write Molly’s Big Score, a compelling story about understanding, compassion and desire. “Katie Purcell pens a captivating story about understanding and empathy, visually enhanced by Maggie Glisan’s illustrations. Molly’s Big Score brings a relatability to others about disabilities, or simply we all have our differences. This is a must read for parents with young children.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:56 PM – Considering the forecast of record-breaking high temperatures, many folks may want to break out their bicycles. Susan Werner has a catchy tune just for the occasion, “Recumbent Bike,” from her delightful musical romp of an album, 8 Unnecessary Songs“One of the most innovative songwriters working today.” — Chicago Tribune

Performance Arts

  1. 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.
  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. Thru Dec 19.
  3. The Des Moines Community Playhouse produces one of the all-time great musicals for the holiday season, The Sound of Music, thru Dec 19. Filled with popular songs, this touching story is sure to brighten everyone’s day.
  4. Ballet Des Moines presents The Nutcracker Dec 10-12 at Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre and Dec 17-18 at the Staplin Performing Arts Center.
  5. Iowa Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker at Des Moines Performing Arts’ Civic Center Dec 11-12.
  6. Home Free – Warmest Winter Tour 2021.The acclaimed group is set to light up the holiday season by hitting the road on their Warmest Winter Holiday Tour – showcasing songs off their most recent studio album, WARMEST WINTER (2020, Home Free Records), which features 12 festive staples.
  7. Des Moines Symphony’s signature welcoming of the New Year. Dec 31. Michael Cavanaugh was called “the new voice of the American Rock and Roll songbook” by Billboard. From classic Elton John hits “Tiny Dancer,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “Rocket Man” to rock favorites like “Live and Let Die” and “Pinball Wizard,” this Grammy and Tony-nominated Broadway star and his band entertain with a high-energy show that will have you singing along all night! Ring in the New Year with the Des Moines Symphony and the greatest hits of Elton John. The Des Moines Symphony New Year’s Eve Pops has long been considered the ultimate way to welcome in the new year.

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. Tallgrass Theatre Company Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities.
  2. Des Moines Community Playhouse Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities
  3. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  4. 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.
  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. Shen Yun – Please note that this showed has been reschedued by the producers to Jan 22-23, 2022. 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.
  2. Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles, Apr 2, 2022, presents The Best of Abbey Road Live
  3. Des Moines Performing Arts enthusiastically prepares for a 2022 filled with the Best of Broadway as the Willis Broadway Series returns to this revered Des Moines stage. Check out the upcoming lineup of Broadway’s best, and make plans.
  4. 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 yourself, 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:

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. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, Nikole Hannah-Jones*
  2. Everything We Didn’t Say, Nicole Baart*
  3. Heard It in a Love Song, Tracey Garvis Graves*
  4. Storm Lake, Art Cullen*
  5. The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
  6. The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, Dave Grohl
  7. Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside, Nick Offerman
  8. Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr
  9. Big Shot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 16), Jeff Kinney
  10. The White Man Who Stayed, James A. Autry*

* 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. Leveling the Paying Field: A Groundbreaking Approach to Achieving Fair Pay. Rick Gillis gives us the handbook for evaluating our worth and cashing in.
  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’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.

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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