Monday, May 16, 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

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” – Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974), Polish-British mathematician, historian

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
  • Gateway Dance Theatre needs volunteers for event
    Sat Feb 26, Gateway Dance Theatre presents Sanaa ya Sanaa (pronounced Sa-Nee-ah ya Sa-Nee-ah, Swahili for “Art in Art”). Sanaa ya Sanaa celebrates Black History and Black cultural arts and includes a family activities workshop, refreshments, and a showcase. Volunteers are needed to help ensure events run smoothly. Please consider supporting and sharing in this day’s special activities with at least 2 hours of your time, with volunteers needed for one or two of the following:
    · Assist with ushering workshop participants and showcase audience to correct location;
    · Assist with managing an activity table;
    · Assist with signing people up to join GDT;
    · Assist with handing out refreshments;
    · Assist with cleanup.
  • 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. For reservations or more information, contact Claire Sowder, Communications & Events Coordinator, 515-281-7205,
  • 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 – Zack Jones, creator of the Art Church in Malvern, Iowa, will be a panelist as part of the Business of Arts Conference presented by the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames. This year’s 2-day event, packed with valuable information for all artists seeking to elevate their creativity’s return, will be held at Reiman Gardens.
  • 11:15 AM – With a magnetic cinematic flair, Rea Frey crafts a captivating story in Secrets of Our House. Rea shares glimpses into her domestic drama, filled with vibrant characters. Even the house becomes a vibrant character through the gift of her prose. “Frey is a rising star in the suspense scene, and by telling the story through the eyes of a woman who can’t see, she adds a unique element, in addition to pulling at heartstrings with which every new mother can identify.” -Booklist on Until I Find You
  • 11:30 AM – Christina Proenza-Coles delves deeply into our history to share a vital source for more fully understanding American history. American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World is a brilliant telling of an essential part of this country’s history, long hidden or overshadowed, but now revealed thanks to Christina’s research and vibrant writing. This book is now available in paperback. “An extraordinary new narrative of the African role in creating the Americas of the Western Hemisphere. Briskly and vividly told.” – Henry Wiencek, author of The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography
  • 11:44 AM – The Unitarian Church of Des Moines will present its 2nd Annual Arts & Musical Festival Sat Feb 26 at their location, 1800 Bell Avenue. Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw and Emily Petty share details about this free event.
  • 11:57 AM – Poet Kyle McCord, gifted in his own craft and tireless in promoting poetry engagement throughout his region, reads “Durer in the Valley of Oleanders” from his collection, “Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders.” “Kyle McCord writes with a veteran quill, dipping deeply into the creative ink to share his writing that is concise, rich and evocative.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:00 PM – Director Jolene Gentzler and cast member Emmitt Reyerson (‘James’) talk about Class Act Productions (CAP) renewing live performances with James and the Giant Peach Jr. Feb 18- Mar 6. Listen as you learn about this stellar organization, and get some firsthand insights into this great children’s show.
  • 12:12 PM – Des Moines Women’s Club 114th Annual Art Exhibition will be on display from Mar 6-14. Club President Chris Foss and event Co-Chair Carolyn Kuhn share information about this wonderful exhibition. Free and open to the public, this legacy tradition is nestled within the DMWC’s own art collection.
  • 12:24 PM – Sins of the Father brings a chilling historical alternative through its rich storytelling. Author Alan Winter shares glimpses and historical context into this thriller, which also provides relevance about today’s societal and global possibilities. Co-authored with Herbert Stern. “This one poses a fascinating question—could World War II have been avoided? The answer is going to shock you. Sins of the Fathers is a masterful blend of fact and fiction and will have you thinking about it long after the last page is read.” — STEVE BERRY, New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author, Cotton Malone series
  • 12:44 PM – Emmy-nominated screenwriter and director Robert Child also has a richly satisfying gift for writing, as his recent Immortal Valor: The Black Medal of Honor Winners of World War II attests. Rob shares the story of the seven such black honorees who were finally recognized long past when white servicemen were honored for their acts of heroism. “Immortal Valor tells the story of America’s unsung heroes in a moving and insightful narrative. The research is meticulous and detailed, making each character rise up off the page.” ― Martin J. Dugard, New York Times bestselling co-author of ‘Killing Patton’

Performance Arts

  1. Class Act Productions (CAP) presents James and the Giant Peach Jr Feb 18- Mar 6. Bring newbies to the magic of live performing arts through the pared down stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale.
  2. Des Moines Communty Playhouse finishes its run of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express thru Feb 20.
  3. Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre (Des Moines Community Playhouse) presents the stage version of the classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, Mar 4-20.
  4. Comedy Xperiment. At the Stoner Theater. Spontaneous irreverence abounds with this favored leader in improv performance arts. Feb 25-26.
  5. Gateway Dance Theatre presents Sanaa ya Sanaa Sat Feb 26, 11:30 AM – 4:00 PM at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Special guest Simon Estes. Free will donations encouraged.
  6. Des Moines Metro Opera partners with Des Moines Performing Arts to present The Magic Flute. Prepare to be astonished as Mozart meets the movies in this inventive and dazzling celebration of true love conquering all. Mar 5-6.
  7. Central Iowa Wind Ensemble performs “Living American – Composers.” Sun Mar 6, 3 p.m.
    Franklin Junior High – Large Auditorium, 48th & Franklin, Des Moines, Iowa. ADMISSION: FREE! Tickets are required for all events. Tickets are available at the door and at
  8. Des Moines Performing Arts. Rent the 25th Anniversary Final Tour. Mar 11 & 12.
  9. Des Moines Symphony. Beethoven meets Shostakovich under the guest baton of maestro Jahja Ling in this brilliant package of orchestral power.
  10. Des Moines Performing Arts. Hadestown. The national tour of this winner of eight Tony Awards comes to Des Moines. Mar 22-27.
  11. Carousel Theatre of Indianola presents Next to Normal Mar 18-27.
  12. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill now opens Mar 25. 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 GalleryDouble Exposure is open! Come and see the best that Iowa photographers have to offer. Visit the gallery Monday through Friday from 11:00 to 4:30! Thanks to Rachel Tone and Bob Tone for their tremendous act of service – they worked hard to hang the show beautifully! Due to the omicron surge, the awards ceremony has been postponed until Feb 24.
  2. Des Moines Women’s Club 114th Annual Art Exhibition is calling for artists to participate in their exhibition which runs from Mar 6-14. Free and open to the public, this legacy tradition is nestled within the DMWC’s own art collection.
  3. 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).
  4. 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. Terrace Hill Coffee event to discover about volunteer opportunities. A volunteer informational coffee will be held on Thu Feb 17 from 9:30-10:30 AM in the Carriage House at Terrace Hill for those interested in exploring what volunteer opportunities are at this National Historic Register site. Please register to attend by Feb 14. Info: Claire Sowder,
    Communications & Events Coordinator, | Phone: 515-281-7205
  2. RJF Creative (Robert John Ford). A workshop production of my new musical “Rolf(e)” will be held in two performances – 2:00pm and 7:30pm – on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa’s auditorium* in Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public; the evening performance will also be live-streamed. You know him from “The Sound Of Music,” but how did a gazebo-dancing messenger boy become a member of the Nazi Youth movement during one fateful summer? Was he the villain or just a confused teenager? And exactly how do you spell his name? “Rolf(e)” tells the hilarious back-story of an unheralded and misunderstood hero who would do anything for love and the resistance. Combining music in the style of Rodgers & Hammerstein, the teen angst of “Spring Awakening,” the laughs of “The Book of Mormon,” and the bawdiness of “Cabaret,” “Rolf(e)” is a musical for the entire family… assuming the kids in the family have already figured out how to bypass any parental controls on their TVs and devices. Audition info, production updates, and ticket reservation procedures will be posted in January at Email questions to
  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

  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 – Mar 3, 6:30 PM. Rob Osler, Devil’s Chew Toy (at store or Zoom)
  2. Beaverdale Books – Mar 9, 6:30 PM. Lin Thompson, The Best Liars in Riverview
  3. Central Library – Mar 17, 7:00 PM. Brad Meltzer, The Lightning Rod (part of the AVID Series)
  4. Beaverdale Books – Mar 21, 6:30 PM. Brett Bloemendaal, Fishing for More

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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