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

“Creative work is a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” 
– Steven Pressfield is an American author of historical fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays

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:

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – Julie Stone writes a captivating relationship story with her new book, He’s with the Band. Sharing how this story developed, and giving glimpses into this wonderful winter read, Julie leads a lively conversation about this novel. “Julie Stone writes Rom-Coms with a more mature heroine, because Happily-Ever-Afters shouldn’t have an expiration date.”
  • 11:13 AM – Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World by Ann R. Williams is a masterful, insightful sharing of 100 global discoveries, many of which we know, many more which we will learn about, through a new lens. Ann provides fascinating glimpses into these fascinating realms, leading us to her book filled with compelling research delivered with a flair in its writing. This National Geographic book is a wonderful tome to proudly display in one’s home or office. “Ann Williams covers the globe in Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: 100 Discoveries That Changed the World, giving her readers a vicarious series of adventures to ancient times, great civilizations and inspiring worlds.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:33 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
  • 11:48 AM – Lindy Miller returns with another beguiling tale of romance, adventure and more with Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain. Lindy’s characters and settings beguile the reader, transporting them into her worlds. Delight in Lindy’s sharing of glimpses into this new story, another fine feather in her storytelling cap.“Miller’s close attention to following these emotional transformations and their wellsprings provides a realistic, understandable story that draws readers with unexpected twists and unanticipated connections. The result is a delightful holiday read highly recommended for romance readers seeking a blend of life-changing encounters and love to be found when personal values change.” — Midwest Book Review
  • 12:00 PM – The Wrath of Horus is the next installment of Catherine Schaff-Stump’s imaginative Klaereon Scroll Series. Inspired by her scholastic dive into Dante’s Inferno, Cath spins a tale that will leave readers begging for more after this very satisfying story. “Catherine Schaff-Stump has created a rich and fascinating version of history, peopled by characters who step confidently off the page. These atmospheric and finely crafted novels will keep you up late and stay with you long after the final page.” – Kate Heartfield, author of Armed in Her Fashion and the Alice Payne novellas, about The Klaereon Scroll Series novels
  • 12:14 PM – Doug Engstrom spins an alluring science fiction thriller with his latest, Corporate Gunslinger. Giving the future a “what if” spin that chills and thrills, Doug shares peeks into his page-turner. “Corporate Gunslinger takes all the niggling fears of being young and in debt in capitalist America and turns them into a brilliant, bloody nightmare of a science fictional thriller.” — Rachael K. Jones, World Fantasy Award Nominee
  • 12:29 PM – Pam Gaslow is at her sharp-witted best in Don’t Bring Your Vibrator to Rehab: A Somewhat Comedic Memoir. Pam shares back story gold in this conversation, making this a gotta get book for any lover of universal truths captured in such personal experiences. “There’s no recovery from addiction without a fearless self-inventory.  Pam Gaslow’s courage in confronting herself is delivered with a bawdy, comic punch.  Rehab has rarely been this funny or frank. And yet buried inside her memoir is an important warning:  today’s pot is no laughing matter.  It’s a powerful, addictive drug with the potential to destroy lives.” – Allison Burnett, Undiscovered Gyrl and The Escape of Malcolm Poe
  • 12:44 PM – Dr. Kara Cooney has few peers when it comes to connecting history to its modern context. In her National Geographic The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World, Kara takes her readers on a powerful understanding of the rulers from millennia ago, and compares these long-gone kings to how there are lessons to be learned today. “Ancient Egypt can help us understand why we so easily bend toward authoritarianism, why it attracts and comforts us. This book is…a comparative impression of the impossible attractions of masculine rule, both yesterday and today.”

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. Des Moines Art Center. Re-connect with old favorites on exhibit from their permanent collection. Explore the constantly changing exhibits, from staff-curated to international, always ready to stimulate the imagination and senses. Always open, always free (except holidays).
  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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