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

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” — E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015) an American novelist, editor, and professor, best known internationally for his works of historical fiction.

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

Special Cultural Headline News:

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

First ‘First Friday’of 2022 at Mainframe Studios
First Friday / Keep It Mellow
Host: Mainframe Studios, 900 Keo Way, Des Moines
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Take the beginning of the new year easy at Mainframe during this relaxed First Friday. They will have open studios, food and drinks, and all the art your heart needs. Admission is free.

Call for Artists:

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.

Preservation Presenters Sought:

The annual Preserve Iowa Summit is set for June 2-4 in Mason City and the planning team is looking for high-quality presentations that would appeal to historic perseveration professionals and volunteers. Proposals could include plenaries, breakout presentations and hands-on workshops, as well as local tours and other ideas. If you’d like to attend the summit at no cost, consider leading a session or workshop. Proposals are due Jan 14, and presenters will be notified in February.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – The Civic Music Association welcomes its new Executive Director, Brian Coyle, to our community. The Culture Buzz offers his first interview, just hours into his new path, as now former Chicagoan Brian Coyle excitedly takes the reins of one of Iowa’s most venerable cultural organizations. Sean Jones Quartet – Sat Jan 15, 2022
  • 11:11 AM – Playwright Tim Mulligan chats about the recent premiere of his new play, the psychologically anchored horror, Witchland. Critics in Southern California raved about this show, and you will have a chance to hear Tim provide some glimpses into what he considers an under-represented genre of live theatrical experiences. “Witchland pulls off a rare triple feat. It’s legitimately spooky, which is hard to pull off in a traditional theater production, its dialogue is natural and not overladen with plot exposition, and it’s very, very funny.”            
  • 11:26 AM – Nailing It! How History’s Awesome Twentysomethings Got It Together is an uplifting exploration of historical figures crafted by Robert L. Dilenschneider. Robert gives us peeks into his masterful collection of well-researched stories which provide many enlightening perspectives of many names we know, whose diverse paths to early success will inspire. Robert L. Dilenschneider (New York, NY) is founder of The Dilenschneider Group. Headquartered in New York and Chicago, the Firm provides strategic advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies and leading families and individuals around the world, with experience in fields ranging from mergers and acquisitions and crisis communications to marketing, government affairs and international media. This is his ninth book.
  • 11:39 AM – Matthew Winner is the head of audio for A Kids Co, an innovative publisher of children’s books. Matthew shares insights about their recent book written by LeVar Burton, A Kids Book on Imagination. He also shares insights about their own company’s creativity and mission to provide beneficial reading material for young, developing minds.“LeVar Burton’s A Kids Book on Imagination provides a masterful infusion of encouragement for developing young minds. This book should be a ‘must have’ for any child’s library, and a book that is revisited on a regular basis, as it will continue working its magic as the child continues developing their imaginations – a cornerstone for future success.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:57 AM – Starting the new year would not be complete without some Susan Werner to tickle our minds. Here she gives us “City Kids” from her masterful album, HAYSEED.
  • 12:00 PM – Arvid Huisman’s writings have been blessing readers across Iowa with his insightful and compelling remembrances of bygone times. Iowa History Journal begins the new year with another great issue, and Arvid’s regular column, Iowa Country Roads, brings the delights of a snow day refreshingly back to us. The new issue is packed with another bounty of great stories.“Arvid Huisman is an Iowa treasure, sharing insightful stories about life in his beloved home state. His smorgasbord of tales delve into home, family, sharing and so much more, giving readers the chance to join him on his reminiscent journeys filled with laughter, soul and even a little tear-releasing heart-tugs.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:19 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.
  • 12:32 PM – Poet Tony Tracy reads the title poem from Welcome to Your Life.
  • 12:33 PM – Sydney Halpern’s revealing research and adept storytelling give us an unfiltered look at a dark side of American medical practices. Dangerous Medicine: The Story Behind Human Experiments with Hepatitis is a chilling unveiling of the ethics – or, more telling, the lack of ethics – in how less advantaged Americans were treated as experimental lab animals.“This is a terrific book on a terrible subject, prodigiously and impressively researched. It will be a clear and well‑argued addition to our thinking on bioethics and medical history.” – Susan M. Reverby, author of Examining Tuskegee and Co‑Conspirator for Justice
  • 12:53 PM – David M. Perkins reads “As It Ever Rolls Over” from his latest collection, Post-Modern Blues.
  • 12:55 PM – Just to get 2022 off to a proper start, an extra dose from one of America’s brightest songsters, Susan Werner, is needed. Here she beckons warmer weather memories in “Recumbent Bike,” from her delightful EIGHT UNNECESSARY SONGS album.

Performance Arts

  1. Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre at the Des Moines Community PlayhouseDon’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! opens Jan 7 and runs thru Jan 23. Adapted from his popular children’s book, Mo Willems adds a bevy of delightful songs to enhance this story.
  2. Des Moines Performing Arts. Shen Yun explodes on stage Jan 22-23, a visual and musical extravaganza hailed by audiences throughout the world. THROUGH THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE of music and dance, Shen Yun takes you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture.
  3. Temple Comedy Series (Des Moines Performing Arts). That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody Jan 25-30. THAT GOLDEN GIRLS SHOW! is a brand-new show that parodies classic “Golden Girls” moments–with puppets!
  4. Des Moines Symphony. Immortal Beloved, Jan 29-20. “Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.” So Beethoven closed a July 1812 letter to his “immortal beloved,” a woman whose identity has remained one of the great mysteries of classical music. Beethoven’s passionate love letters come alive in a musical celebration of great passion from Dobrinka Tabakova’s Dawn to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and more.
  5. Tallgrass Theatre Company. The Revolutionists Feb 4-20. Directed by Megan Helmers. Four beautiful, badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.
  6. Des Moines Performing ArtsTootsie! Marks the return of the Willis Broadway Series. Call it “musical comedy heaven” (Rolling Stone). Call it “the most uproarious new musical in years!” (The Hollywood Reporter). Feb 8-13.
  7. Iowa Stage Theatre CompanyLong Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill. Feb 11 – 20. A play about addiction and the resulting dysfunction of the family, Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical play Long Day’s Journey into Night is regarded as his finest work.

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. Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles, Apr 2, 2022, presents The Best of Abbey Road Live
  2. 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.
  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 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. Call Us What We Carry, Amanda Gorman
  2. Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown
  3. Cy’s Perfect Day: The Iowa State Way, John Walters*
  4. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, Nikole Hannah-Jones*
  5. The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
  6. Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr
  7. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy
  8. The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, Dave Grohl
  9. The Sentence, Louise Erdrich
  10. Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside, Nick Offerman

* 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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