Monday, May 16, 2022

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Catalysts:


From the dynamic 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

“There are two insults no human being will endure: that he has no sense of humor, and that he has never known trouble.” — Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) an American writer and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was awarded “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters.”

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
  • 2022 AViD Author Series begins this Thu Mar 17 with Brad Meltzer (The Lightning Rod) at 7:00 PM at the Des Moines Public Library’s Central location.
  • Terrace Hill Tours of this National Historic Landmark resume in March. All visitors are required to make a reservation at least 48 hours prior to the desired tour time by calling 515-281-7205. Admission is $5 for adult guests ages 13+ and $2 for guests ages 6-12. Admission is free for children ages 5 and under. Tours last approximately one hour and begin in the Carriage House.

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – Poet Julie Hanson reads her work, “Improvisation, or the Bluebird of Happiness.”
  • 11:03 AM – Preview conversation about the Des Moines Community Playhouse’s eagerly anticipated musical, Singin’ in the Rain, with Stephanie Schneider (“Kathy Seldon”), who also serves as the show’s intimacy director.
  • 11:17 AM – Always injecting a bold dash of musical marvel into the program, Susan Werner sings “Iowa” from her megahit album, HAYSEED.
  • 11:21 AM – Author and avid fisherman Brett Bloemendaal chats about his memoir, Fishing for More: A Memoir. He will be reading at Beaverdale Books on Mon Mar 21 at 6:30 PM. Brett leads a lively discussion that reaches far beyond the primary subject of fishing, and his book is sure to trigger many readers into their own reflections.
    “Laced with gentle self-deprecating humor, keen insight, and skillfully painted word pictures of life both on and off the water, Fishing for More emerges as a Norman Mclean-ish account of how fishing can help heal body, mind, and soul. It also reminded me of long-ago mornings in a boat with my dad, watching the sun rise and waiting for fish to bite. Sweet.” Kristine Lowder, Author of Explore Washington State
  • 11:37 AM – Ken Krimstein blends his tremendous talents as researcher, writer and illustrator in the masterful When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers. Ken discovered a treasure trove of school work from hundreds of Yiddish teenagers just before the terror of World War II broke out, bringing their stories decades into the future for a poignant glimpse into the lives of six young people. “With his signature invigorating art, Ken Krimstein bridges time to connect us with these fascinating stories. This is a revelation and a gift!” – Noah Van Sciver, Ignatz Award-winning author of The Complete Work of Fante Bukowski
  • 11:57 AM – Chad Elliott shows he is more than musician and painter as he reads “Epitaph” from his poetry collection Rumble & Flash“Dubbed Iowa’s Renaissance Man many years ago, Chad Elliott continues to prove he has the right to wear this creative mantle as he spins out a brilliantly evocative collection of verse in Rumble & Flash.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 11:58 AM – Poet Jihyun Yun reads the title poem from her brilliant new collection, Some Are Always Hungry.
    “A lush and moving collection”— Publishers Weekly
  • 12:00 PM – Over the past several years, Hoyt Sherman Place and its Theatre have grown into an Iowa cultural gem. This multi-faceted gem boasts a world-class art collection, a masterful restoration of a 19th century residence, a storied performing hall with magnificent acoustics, and more. CEO Robert Warren shares news about one of their more recent community outreach efforts, Project S.T.A.G.E.
  • 12:11 PM – New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer appears as the opening headliner for the Des Moines Public Library’s AViD Author Series on Thu Mar 17 at 7:00 PM at the Central library. Listen as Brad shares insights into the research and development of his latest great thriller, The Lightning Rod“My favorite Brad Meltzer novel – so far – and, that’s high, high praise.” – James Patterson
  • 12:38 PM – B.J. Hollars captures the adventures he and his young son experienced in this touching, often very funny, memoir, Go West, Young Man: A Father and Son Rediscover America on the Oregon Trail. Listen as B.J. provides glimpses into this masterful capturing of a shared adventure, one that will resonate with his readers.
    “Go West” is a sweet read, part memoir, part history, part awakening — both for Henry and for his dad.”
    –Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • 12:44 PM – The vivacious Sarah Noll Wilson has distilled a ton of her experience and savvy into a wonderful life resource for anyone: Don’t Feed the Elephants! Overcome the Art of Avoidance and Build Powerful Partnerships. Sarah is a gifted keynote presenter, workshop creator, and business builder and gives readers a cornucopia of invaluable advice, information and guidance in this brilliant book. “Stop avoiding the hard conversations and start leading your teams to healthy relationships, constructive conflict, and positive work culture with Don’t Feed the Elephants! Beautifully written with insights on every page, Sarah has put her finger on the toxic habits that keep us from solving the real problems that face our teams and companies. A must-read!” —  Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Performance Arts

  1. Gateway Dance Theatre is hosting a special St. Patrick’s Day event as part of their 50th anniversary year. Thu Mar 17th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden! Stories, music, dancing, and treats. Maureen Korte and Eugene Fracek will be telling stories from three different cultures paired with activities to get every age involved. Masks are required and it’s free admission. Free-will donations are encouraged. 
  2. Kate Goldman Children’s Theatre (Des Moines Community Playhouse) presents the stage version of the classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, thru Mar 20.
  3. Xperiment. Des Moines’s longest-lasting improv troupe returns to the Stoner Theater! Mar 18 & 19, 7:30 PM.
  4. CAP Theatre in Altoona presents a Spring Break experience: Red vs. the Wolf. Spring Break Laughternoon performances are live theatre with suggested ages 3 years old to adults! Final performance Sat Mar 19, at 2pm and typically runs 60 minutes with no intermission. 
  5. Ames Town & Gown. Acclaimed, award-winning Merz Piano Trio returns “live” this time Tue Mar 22 at 7:30 PM. Tye Recital Hall, Estes Music Hall, Iowa State University. Extra event: Master Class, Monday, March 21, 2022, at 6:30 p.m.. Tye Recital Hall, Estes Music Hall, Iowa State University
  6. 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.
  7. Des Moines Symphony. Beethoven meets Shostakovich under the guest baton of maestro Jahja Ling in this brilliant package of orchestral power. Mar 19 & 20.
  8. Des Moines Performing Arts. Hadestown. The national tour of this winner of eight Tony Awards comes to Des Moines. Mar 22-27.
  9. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill 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.
  10. Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus. “You are Enough” Spring Concert. Fri Mar 25, 7:30 p.m. Sheslow Auditorium / Drake University (2507 University Avenue). Tickets:
  11. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Singin’ in the Rain finally makes its pandemic-delayed return to the John Viars Theatre, and the community is eagerly awaiting to see this brilliant musical. Opening Mar 25, this beloved show was fortunate enough to have several key members of that COVID-derailed show two years ago audition and reclaim their roles.

Visual Arts

  1. Anderson Gallery. Drake University, Des Moines. 2 51st Annual Juried Student Exhibition, juried by Mitchell Squire. Mar 27-Apr 15; opening reception & Awards Sun Mar 27, 1-3 PM.
  2. Des Moines Art Center. 2 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 (except holidays), always free.
  3. Brunnier Art Museum. Ames. 2 This is the flagship for the University Museums, a treasure trove of many days of visual arts immersion at the Iowa State University campus, which includes the Christian Petersen Art Museum, The Farm House Museum, the Anderson Sculpture Garden and the Art on Campus Collection.
  4. The Grinnell College Museum of Art. Grinnell. 2
  5. 2AU. West Des Moines. 1,2
  6. Artisan Gallery 218. West Des Moines. 1,2
  7. Kavanaugh Art Gallery. West Des Moines. 1,2
  8. Kunzler Studios. West Des Moines. 1,2
  9. Olson-Larsen Galleries. West Des Moines.1,2
  10. Moberg Gallery. Des Moines. 2
  11. Hoyt Sherman Place Art Gallery. Des Moines.
  12. Liz Lidgett Gallery + Design. Des Moines.
  13. Polk County Heritage Gallery. Des Moines 2
    1Check these galleries open during semi-annual Historic Valley Junction Gallery Nights.
    2Check website for current exhibitions.

Auditions, Volunteer, and other Individual Enhancement Opportunities

  1. Ankeny Community Theatre. Workshop. “Directing your Vision” Mar 26, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, meeting virtually/ This session will help find your point of view as an artist/director and how to express it with a unified design concept. Registration deadline is Mar 19.
  2. Des Moines Community Playhouse. Auditions for Calendar Girls Sat Apr 2 1:00 PM. Performance Dates: Jun. 03-Jun. 19, 2022. Cast needs on link.
  3. 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 Sat Apr 16, 2022 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa’s auditorium in Des Moines (600 E. Locust St.). Audition info, production updates, and ticket reservation procedures will be posted at Email questions to
  4. Ankeny Community Theatre
  5. Des Moines Community Playhouse.
  6. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre.
  7. Class Act Productions (CAP).
  8. Iowa Stage Theatre Company
  9. Tallgrass Theatre Company.
  10. Theatre Midwest.
  11. 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. Central Library – Mar 17, 7:00 PM. Brad Meltzer, The Lightning Rod (AViD Series).
  2. Beaverdale Books – Mar 21, 6:30 PM. Brett Bloemendaal, Fishing for More
  3. DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts – Mar 24 @ 2:00 PM. Paul Harding, Adam Haslett.
  4. DSM Book Festival – Mar 26: Featured authors:  10:00 AM. Imbolo Mbue, Author of “Behold the Dreamers” and “How Beautiful We Were”; Noon. Dawnie Walton, Author of “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev”; 3:00 PM. Stephanie Land, Author of “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Way to Survive”; 5:00 PM. Angeline Boulley, The Firekeeper’s Daughter (AViD Series).
  5. Artisan Gallery 218 – Mar 28, 6:30 PM. Dan Hunter, Pandemic Panacea: Laughing through Quarantine

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. The Overnight Guest, Heather Gudenkauf*
  2. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience, Brené Brown
  3. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, Nikole Hannah-Jones*
  4. Maus, Art Spiegelman
  5. The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles
  6. Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America, Beth Hoffman*
  7. It Ends with Us, Colleen Hoover
  8. Firekeeper’s Daughter, Angeline Boulley
  9. Love You, Hug You, Read to You!, Tish Rabe
  10. I Must Betray You, Ruta Sepetys

* Iowa author

Life Resource books worth your consideration:

  1. Don’t Feed the Elephant! Overcoming the Art of Avoidance to Build Powerful Relationships is a fully digestible and sage guide in how to eat that elephant – one bite at a time. By Sarah Noll Wilson of SNoW Co.
  2. 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.
  3. The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career is an info-packed gem from Callista Gould. 
  4. How to F*ck Up Your Startup: The Science Behind Why 90% of Companies Fail – and How You Can Avoid It. Kim Vhidkjaer captures his mistakes and successes in a compelling handbook for startup success.

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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