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

“Language. I loved it. And for a long time I would think of myself, of my whole body, as an ear.” – Maya Angelou (1928-2014) an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist.

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
  • Terrace Hill Partnership ramps up programming
    The Terrace Hill Partnership is proud to present distinguished speakers who will bring timely programs to Terrace Hill’s Drawing Room at 2:00 p.m. each Saturday in February, followed by tea and tasty treats. Tickets are $10 per program or $35 for a season pass. The speakers are donating their time and all proceeds will benefit the Terrace Hill gardens.
  • February 5
    Michael Egel, Des Moines Metro Opera
    Michael will discuss the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 50th anniversary and its new performance initiative designed to engage new audiences, promote collaborations, and focus on contemporary subject matter.
    Tickets and speaker bio:
  • February 12
    John Zickefoose, “Piety Hill” of Des Moines
    A famous cluster of churches once stood around St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and the current location of the Principal Financial Group corporate campus. John will discuss this now-vanished part of the Des Moines landscape.
    Tickets and speaker bio:
  • February 19
    Kim Perez, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
    Kim Perez, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, will discuss her vision of the vibrant 14-acre public garden, which offers enduring guest experiences, transformative educational opportunities, and engages a wide range of communities.
    Tickets and speaker bio:
  • February 26
    Tara Gartin and Susan Maupin Schmid, creators of No Company for Christmas
    This artist and author duo will discuss the creative process of transforming Terrace Hill as a central character of the children’s story, No Company for Christmas, which debuted at the Christmas at Terrace Hill event in December.
    Tickets and speaker bios:

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 – 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
  • 11:19 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
  • 11:32 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
  • 11:46 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
  • 12:00 PM – Already a gifted, published writer of critically acclaimed short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s goal was to write a novel. Geographies of the Heart is her debut, and it is a resounding success, receiving wave after wave of praise. Caitlin takes some time to share insights and the genesis of her beautiful book. Be sure to read this gem – Caitlin represents a new wave of great storytellers. “Geographies of the Heart is a landmark achievement in the remarkable writing career of Caitlin Hamilton Summie. This debut novel captivates, pulsing with a deep, cinematic vibrancy. Geographies of the Heart is filled with characters that beguile, enchant and bond with the reader in a brilliant, immersive literary experience.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:17 PM – Kenny Werner enlightens us with his brilliant life resource book, Becoming the Instrument: Lessons on Self Mastery from Music to Life. Since his landmark 1996 book, Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, he has built an incredibly giving career of music, education, composition, and more – until his inner muse sparked this new masterpiece. Kenny provides glimpses into his book, which is quickly becoming a gateway for success for anyone in any field. “Perfection, 360 degrees of soul and science in one human being. My kind of musician.” Quincy Jones
  • 12:36 PM – Find Me is Alafair Burke’s latest mystery novel, and quickly captivates the reader as they are drawn into Alafair’s mastery of character creation and storytelling. Alafair shares peeks into this story, and this book promises to be a wonderful successor to her NY Times bestseller, The Wife. “Alafair Burke’s latest propulsive thrill-ride is a suspenseful, twisty mystery about memory, friendship and secrets. A page-turner of the highest order.” – Laura Dave, author of The Last Thing He Told Me
  • 12:54 PM – Poet Diane Glass reads “Soup Saves the World” from her recent collection, The Heart Hungers for Wildness. “With a fluidity and soul-touching appeal, ‘The Heart Hungers for Wildness’ gifts its readers with rare appeal and connectivity. This is a collection that will have its owners return often, always to glean something new and special from its rich content.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:56 PM – Susan Werner punctuates another edition of this show as no other can, this time with “What Did You Do to Your Face,” from her delightful EIGHT UNNECESSARY SONGS album. “Susan Werner, a clever songwriter and an engaging performer, brings literacy and wit back to popular song.” – The New Yorker

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.
  8. Theatre Midwest. The next in their Fresh Produce concert reading series, Burst is another tantalizing offering to experience. “Being a tech visionary is a heavy load, and Sarah is the only one great enough to bear it.” Feb 12-13, 2022

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. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Singin’ in the Rain Mon Jan 24, 6:00 pm. Performance Dates: Mar. 25-Apr. 10, 2022.
  2. Ankeny Community Theatre. Auditions for Aura Feb 6 & 7, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
    Aura runs Apr1-10, 2022
  3. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Pippi Longstocking the Musical Mon Feb 21, 6:00 pm. Performance Dates: Apr. 22-May. 08, 2022
  4. Tallgrass Theatre Company. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities.
  5. Theatre Midwest. Check their audition page regularly for upcoming opportunities at
  6. 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.
  7. 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. The Okoboji Writers’ Retreat – Sep 19-21, 2022. This has become the must-attend event for writers to learn and network.
  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:

  1. Beaverdale Books – Jan 22 2:00 PM. Catherine Schaff-Stump, The Wrath of Horus & Doug Engstrom, Corporate Gunslinger
  2. Beaverdale Books – Jan 26 6:30 PM. Julie Stone, He’s with the Band
  3. Beaverdale Books – Feb 2, 6:30 PM. Heather Gudenkauf, The Overnight Guest

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. Becoming the Instrument: Lessons on Self Mastery from Music to Life is the masterful follow-up to Kenny Werner’s seminal Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within. The wisdom packed between the covers of this gem will enlighten each and every time you delve into it.
  2. The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career is an info-packed gem from Callista Gould. 
  3. Leveling the Paying Field: A Groundbreaking Approach to Achieving Fair Pay. Rick Gillis gives us the handbook for evaluating our worth and cashing in.

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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