Sunday, May 22, 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

“Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” — Erich Fromm (1900-1980), a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was a German Jew who fled the Nazi regime and settled in the US.

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

Call for Artists:

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

The Department of Cultural Affairs will feature artwork on the covers of the quarterly 2022 issues of the Annals of Iowa. The 2022 issues are not themed, so we are accepting cover art submissions that relate to any aspect of Iowa history. This is a reflection of the positive response of using Iowa artists’ works in the special 175th anniversary edition recently.
Learn more and apply online by January 17 at 11:59 p.m.

Call for nominations for statewide board and awards:

The past year has posed many challenges, but Iowans and others remained undaunted in the study and practice of our state’s history. To honor their efforts, the State Historical Society of Iowa is seeking nominations to serve on its 12-person board of trustees, as well as its Excellence in Iowa History Awards, which honor individuals, organizations and communities that made outstanding contributions to Iowa history in 2021. Awards recognize publications, local history initiatives and major achievements in Iowa history. Nomination deadlines: Jan. 2 for the Shambaugh Award for books, Feb. 1 for all other history awards, and March 1 for the board nominations.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – Pamela Seeling’s Threads of Yoga: Themes, Reflections, & Meditations To Weave Into Your Practice provides insights and support for anyone seeking the benefits of yoga. Listen as Pamela provides glimpses into the rich content of this book. “Threads of Yoga is a timely honoring of this ancient, essential tradition. Thank you Pamela; this long-awaited resource is relevant for practitioners and teachers alike who long to live the wisdom of yoga and share it broadly with those who wish to learn.” — Elena Brower, bestselling author of Practice YouBeing You, and Art of Attention
  • 11:16 AM – In the second book of his Comet Cycle (each is a stand-alone), Benjamin Percy shares glimpses into another captivating immersion into his gift of storytelling.
    (praise for the first book of the Comet Cycle, The Ninth Metal“Wildly entertaining and highly original melange of northern Minnesota lore and slam-bang near-future SF action . . . Percy’s dead-on local color, strong central characters, and well-integrated flashbacks into the making of a modern samurai will delight and entertain both comics fans and serious science fiction readers. This is an impressive series starter.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review    
  • 11:31 AM – John Mahoney, as a senior team member, had a rare perspective of the unique 2020 season of Notre Dame football. He captures these moments with co-author Reed Gregory in History through the Headsets: Inside Notre Dame’s Playoff Run During the Craziest Season in College Football History“From their sideline vantage point, two members of the senior team of 2021 bring unique insights to Notre Dame football. John Mahoney and Reed Gregory share captivating stories that resonate well beyond the gridiron.”  — The Culture Buzz
  • 11:45 AM – Poet Jennifer L. Knox has her newest collection (her fifth) of critically acclaimed poetry to share with the world, “Crushing It.” Jennifer provides glimpses into her process, delivering yet another creative Whitman’s sampler of poetic delights sure to engage and entertain. “Endlessly entertaining and emotionally stimulating.” — Publisher’s Weekly
  • 11:47 AM – Carl Klaus captures his engaging views in The Ninth Decade: An Octogenarian’s Chronicle, a pithy book filled with observations that can only come from a life well-lived and properly observed. Listen as Carl provides peeks into this memoir. “An eminent scholar of the essay, Carl Klaus is also a fine practitioner of this versatile art form, as he demonstrates once more in these reflections on old age. Facing bodily ailments, quirks of memory, and funerals of friends, he writes with verve and wisdom about life’s final phase.” — Scott Russell Sanders, author, The Way of Imagination
  • 12:00 PM – Iowa native Mary Boone brings her curiosity and explorative nature packed into her career, and now captured in her new book, Bugs for Breakfast: How Eating Insects Could Help Save the Planet. With a wealth of experience, having written more than 60 books, Mary leads a lively conversation about the benefits of Americans adding this sensible food source to our diets, one that has been embraced throughout many places in the world. “Mary Boone’s Bugs for Breakfast offers a fun and fascinating history of entomophagy, including the current global thought evolution happening around ways—and reasons why—to increase humans’ use of insects as a food source. Young readers will gleefully cringe at the cavalcade of ‘icky’ facts and be inspired to not only spread the word about the benefits of eating bugs but also to experiment with doing so at home. This book will appeal to kids interested in world history, animals, fun facts, food and cooking, sustainability, climate change, and activism.” — Lisa L. Owens, author of The Life Cycle of a Ladybug
  • 12:20 PM – In a bold, illuminating book, Natasha Iskander tackles a systemic problem in labor, particularly migrant labor, based on the massive building work done in Qatar. Does Skill Make Us Human?: Migrant Workers in 21st-Century Qatar and Beyond is a powerful and exceptionally researched understanding of the work force creating record-breaking architectural wonders in preparation for a global event. Natasha gives us a vital understanding of this exploitation of labor. “This book is a remarkable accomplishment for its theoretical innovation, the astonishing fieldwork upon which it is based, and its clear and cogent findings about the new forms of training, organizing, and regulating workers emerging from the Persian Gulf region. A must-read for policymakers, scholars, and anyone committed to protecting labor rights in the future.” — Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College and Harvard University
  • 12:38 PM – Rick and Jim Autry co-authored an impressive book, “Everyday Virtues: Classic Tales to Read with Kids.” His lively conversation covers the history and development of this book, a rare treat for sharing with young and emerging readers. Thoroughly researched and meticulously crafted, the Autrys have forged a modern classic sure to become a dog-eared regular read for parents and grandparents with their young charges. “What a wonderful way to introduce and open a conversation on the essential elements of good character. Well done.”  — Kathleen Turner, actor and activist
  • 12:57 PM – Poet Kyle McCord reads “Portrait of Satan from South Arkansas” from one of his collections. “Kyle McCord is a gifted, diverse communicator in the poet’s world. His evocative language delivers spare, soul-touching messages sure to inspire reflection and visceral reactions. Poetry through McCord’s becomes an immersive experience.”  — The Culture Buzz

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. This show’s taping will be rebroadcast on Iowa PBS on Christmas Eve.
  2. Comedy XPeriment, Des Moines’s longest-lasting improv troupe returns to the Stoner Theater! Celebrating 17 years of bringing laughs to audiences of all sizes, CXP is excited to be able to perform again! Comedy XPeriment specializes in improv based on suggestions from the audience. No two shows are the same! We create hilarity in a sports-themed format, a series of non-sensical scenes, or even a short 1-Act play! Come for the laughs, stay for the fun!
  3. 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. 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.
  2. 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:

Check out the wealth of independent book stores in Central Iowa, find titles by Iowa authors, discover exceptional children’s books – make books a cornerstone of holiday giving.

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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