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

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering, ‘It will be happier.’”
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) an English poet; the Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”
– Brad Paisley, in a Tweet (Dec. 31, 2009)

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 – Marta McDowell returns to the show with another gem, again connecting the world of gardening with the world of literature in Unearthing the Secret Garden: The Plants and Places that Inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett. Marta provides peeks into this author, whose work is as well-known as her name is perhaps not. “Affectionate and informative, Unearthing the Secret Garden is not unlike a garden itself, with its smooth lawns of prose and striking shows of illustration and photography.”  — The Wall Street Journal
  • 11:16 AM – Mark Minukas co-authored the exceptional life resource book, Unfear: Transform Your Organization to Create Breakthrough Performance and Employee Well-Being. This insightful book provides beneficial guidance for anyone seeing improvement in their organization, and Mark shares some glimpses into what this valuable resource provides.“Many of us charged with charting a path toward sustainable growth—a path that taps into the diversity, authenticity, and genius of all our employees—struggle to find the right way to express and build the type of culture this requires. Terms like risk taking, learning organization, agile, lean, and purpose-driven don’t quite seem to capture it; they are manifestations, not the core, of what is needed. Unfear nails it, and its principles point to the profound personal roots that any organizational transformation requires.” — Monica McGurk, Chief Global Growth Officer of Kellogg Company
  • 11:30 AM – With Honor and Integrity: Transgender Troops in Their Own Words is a powerful unveiling of the challenges many of America’s loyal service persons cope with when their primary goal is to serve the country they love. Mael Embser-Herbert and Lt. Col. Bree Fram provide revealing glimpses about their book, a testimony representing the many who simply wanted to fulfill their patriotic callings. Their book is a compelling collection of twenty-six stories, each very individual, yet each anchored by their call to service. “Prior to coming out as transgender I served the first several years of my career under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” hiding my sexual orientation out of the constant fear of expulsion. I then found myself in the same predicament as when I first joined, wanting nothing more than to serve my country and do my job, but at the cost of sacrificing a major part of who I am. . . . This time, however, I decided that I could no longer sacrifice my own well-being, my own authentic self.” — Mak Vaden, Warrant Officer 1, U.S. Army National Guard, 2006-present
  • 11:45 AM – Priscilla Steele leads a lively discussion about the colorful, delightful picture book The History of Orthodontics through Time and Space, co-created with Craig Campbell. This talented duo of longtime Midwest artists conjure a whimsical illustrated journey into a world as we have never seen it before: orthodontics.
    “When two accomplished creatives decide to lift a common subject to lofty heights, the results can be captivating. Craig Campbell and Priscilla Steele achieve these lofty heights. Revered for years for their work in visual and performing arts, they release their muses in ‘The History of Orthodontics Through Time and Space.’ This is a book that both children and adults can sink their teeth into, a delicious romp that blends Seussian and Rube Goldberg-like elements into a visually stunning and imaginative read . . . and, completely in their own unique voices.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:57 AM – Poet Robert Trammel pulls one of his works, “Healing,” from his new collection, Return of the Naked Man.
  • 12:00 PM – Preview about the next Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre show at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! opens Jan 7 for a 3-week run and is a perfect way to kick off the new year. Listen as two stage veterans, Brett Spahr (as Pigeon) and Greg Millar (as Bus Driver) drive a lively conversation about the allure of this show.
  • 12:13 PM – Chuy Renteria is an Iowa City-based artist, and captures unfiltered memories of growing up in West Liberty, Iowa. Readers will bond with Chuy’s vibrant writing, as the messages he shares and the insights discovered become learning steps for us all. “Chuy Renteria writes what no one else can. He writes as a b-boy, a first-generation Mexican American, a small-town Iowan, a friend, a son, and a brother. The result is part bildungsroman and part unique socio-cultural exploration. His writing is fascinating, moving, and full of kinetic style.” — Jennifer Colville, author, Elegies for Uncanny Girls
  • 12:31 PM – Romance and relationship author Briana Cole returns with her latest offering, a scintillating tale that is receiving rave reviews. Couples Wanted explores interactions as only Briana can deliver. Listen as she gives some glimpses between the covers of this gem, and why she is called The Queen of Literary Drama.
  • 12:46 PM – Teresa K. Miller’s newest poetry collection, Borderline Fortune, Is another rewarding journey with a gifted writer. Teresa shares back story and glimpses into the creation of this gem. “Teresa K. Miller explores startling territories in Borderline Fortune. She addresses the lines we’ve drawn and erased for centuries on the earth—that conform to the borders we cross and uncross in the mind…Miller remains radiantly elusive, an escape artist in these marvelous poems of altered terra firma and revelation.” — Carol Muske-Dukes, former California poet laureate and author of Blue Rose
  • 12:58 PM – Teresa K. Miller reads “Our Own Worst Consequence” from her new collection, Borderlline Fortune.

Performance Arts

  1. 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!
  2. 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. Polk County Heritage Gallery. Double Exposure opens January 17 and runs through February 25, with the awards ceremony taking place January 20. We’ll share more information as opening day approaches. We’re excited to bring this truly unique show to the gallery. Visit for additional details.
  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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