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

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse (1869-1954), a French artist.

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
  • I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa – Iowa’s African American Festival
  • Ballet Des Moines – Fri Mar 4, Ballet Des Moines presents its Gravity Gala. Ballet Des Moines will host the GRAVITY Gala on Friday, March 4, at the Des Moines Heritage Center. This mesmerizing and immersive evening will include the dancers of Ballet Des Moines showcasing an excerpt of the upcoming world premiere of composer Beau Kenyon’s Of Gravity and Light, a one night only production April 22 at the Des Moines Civic Center. Tickets for the evening include a four-course meal from Chef Aaron Holt, the 2018 Iowa Restaurant Association Chef of the Year, a hosted bar including space-themed cocktails, live music and dancing, and a silent auction. This opportunity to support this anchor cultural organization allows attendees to celebrate the best of Des Moines’ creative community: a mesmerizing evening full of surprising details, exquisite food and cocktails, and the hottest dance floor in Des Moines.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – Three members of the Des Moines Founders Garden Club, Kathleen Jones, Jane Flanagan, and Loulou Kane, share glimpses into a richly appointed week of event celebrating “Olmsted 200 Week” – the 200th birth date of Frederick Law Olmsted. Discover how this 19th Century visionary continues to positively influence our lives today.
  • 11:19 AM – A wonderful writer and a regular guest, bestselling author Brian Freeman shares news about his latest thriller, The Ursulina, with enticing details about this excellent story. “Brian Freeman is, quite simply, a first-rate storyteller.” –Nelson DeMille
  • 11:31 AM – New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor releases his latest international thriller, and its another gem. End of Days marks the next Pike Logan adventure, and this is another scintillating page-turner. “Taylor, a retired Special Forces lieutenant colonel, has a good grasp of the geopolitical backdrop of his stories, and this knowledge gives his books a solid layer of plausibility. The high-energy writing also helps sell the story and characters. This is a series that has earned its popularity.” — Booklist
  • 11:43 AM – Anchoring the SW Iowa creative movement, Zack Jones talks about his Art Church. This is a wonderful destination that has been developed into a unique air bnb experience, and is just 30 minutes from downtown Omaha giving guests the best of all worlds: rural charm, the natural beauty of the loess region, and the vibrancy of Old Market.
  • 11:55 AM – Poet Jennifer Perrine’s “If Life Gives You Lemons, then Make Lemonade” is one from the bounty of poetic gems contained in her collections.
  • 11:56 AM – Although this program doesn’t get to feature a Susan Werner song every week, John Busbee does listen to Susan at least weekly. This delightful song, “Recumbent Bike,” is from one of her many brilliant albums – Eight Unnecessary Songs. “Always an impressive songwriter, Werner continues to compose sharp, funny, compassionate lyrics, a gift rare enough to set her apart…” – The Washington Post
  • 12:00 PM – Blaire Massa is the CEO of Ballet Des Moines, and shares insights into the mission and motivation of their organization with programming and education that enhances the cultural quotient of our community.
  • 12:22 PM – Preview of the Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre next show, Charlotte’s Web. Running Mar 4-20, this beloved children’s story comes to vibrant life on stage thanks to the magic of live performing arts at this anchor Des Moines Community Theatre cultural icon. Cast members Charlotte Rempe (“Wilbur”) and Payton Boesch (“Edith Zuckerman”) stimulate a lively conversation about their roles, this production and the classic E. B. White book.
  • 12:33 PM – In Sandy Graham’s new book, You Speak for Me Now, his appealing narrative draws the reader into a world of social trending through a very appealing and non-traditional lead character. “Thought-provoking novel that is thoroughly involving and enlightening.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.
  • 12:46 PM – 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.

Performance Arts

  1. Comedy Xperiment. At the Stoner Theater. Spontaneous irreverence abounds with this favored leader in improv performance arts. Feb 25-26.
  2. 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.
  3. First Unitarian Church Arts & Music Festival. Sat Feb 26, 5:00-8:00 PM. Art, local musicians, food, welcoming environment.
  4. Class Act Productions (CAP) presents James and the Giant Peach Jr thru Mar 6. Bring newbies to the magic of live performing arts through the pared down stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale.
  5. 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.
  6. Civic Music Association. Pioneering Women in Jazz Fri Mar 4 at the Staplin Performing Arts Center, West Des Moines Valley High School. This concert celebrates the enduring legacies of iconic women jazz pioneers and artists. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Eli Wolf, with arrangements by Carmen Staff, pianist and Musical Director for NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater.
  7. Theatre Simpson presents the Broadway classic, Guys and Dolls, Mar 4-5 at 7:30 pm and Mar 6 at 2:00 pm. in the Pote Theatre, Blank Performing Arts Center on the Simpson College campus in Indianola. It is directed by the college’s visiting professor, Flordelino Lagundino, artistic director of Theatre Alaska in Juneau.
  8. 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.
  9. Central Iowa Wind Ensemble performs “Living American – Composers.” Sun Mar 6, 3 p.m.
  10. 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
  11. Des Moines Performing ArtsRent the 25th Anniversary Final Tour. Mar 11 & 12.
  12. Des Moines Symphony. Beethoven meets Shostakovich under the guest baton of maestro Jahja Ling in this brilliant package of orchestral power. Mar 19 & 20.
  13. Des Moines Performing ArtsHadestown. The national tour of this winner of eight Tony Awards comes to Des Moines. Mar 22-27.
  14. Carousel Theatre of Indianola presents Next to Normal. Nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winner of 3, this powerful rock musical delves deeply into issues of mental health. Mar 18-27.
  15. Iowa Stage Theatre CompanyLong 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, Volunteer, and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

  1.  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.Audition info, production updates, and ticket reservation procedures will be posted in January at Email questions to
  2. Ankeny Community Theatre
  3. Des Moines Community Playhouse.
  4. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre.
  5. Class Act Productions (CAP).
  6. Iowa Stage Theatre Company
  7. Tallgrass Theatre Company.
  8. Theatre Midwest.
  9. Urbandale Community Theatre. (Summer 2022 – Bye Bye Birdie

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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