Saturday, July 2, 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

“To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” – E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He wrote approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays, and several essays., quoted in Charles Norman, The Magic Maker: E. E. Cummings (1958)

Curious about my primary source for reliable quotes, often with back stories included? Just visit Mardy Grothe’s exceptional, free source, Dr. Mardy’s Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations –

Newsletter content:

  1. Guests on this week’s show
  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:

  • Des Moines Playhouse – Special one-time call for donations: Books, we need books! The Matilda set will be covered with books. If you have books, preferably hardbound, we will take them. Great opportunity to get rid of your old encyclopedias. You will not get them back. Drop off M-F, 9-5 in the 41st street foyer. Final donation day is June 15th. Thank you!
    Donation Manners: Make sure your donations are clean and in reasonable condition. The Playhouse does not accept dirty, broken or moldy items.
  • Concert at Grand View – STORYHILL will weave their musical magic together with special guest Chad Elliot in the beautiful Viking Theatre on the campus of Grand View University on May 20. Storyhill is a modern folk duo from Bozeman.
  • Award-winning composer and playwright invites public to first glimpse of new musical – Robert John Ford has delighted tens of thousands with such musical theater gems as the Caucus the Musical franchise (receiving national and international attention), UtopIA and more. Now, be the first kids on the cultural block to experience his latest quirky, delightful immersion into the staged reading of my new musical comedy “Rolf(e),” which will be presented in two performances (2:00pm and 7:00pm) on Saturday, May 21 at the Iowa State Historical Building auditorium, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Free, but reservations are required. Options to attend in person, or view it live-streaming. “Rolf(e)” tells the hilarious backstory 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 bawdiness of “Cabaret,” and the laughs of “The Book Of Mormon,” “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 devices.  For more information about the show, visit

This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

  • 11:00 AM – Robin Maass spins a delightfully engaging story in her novel, The Walled Garden. Stroll through her engaging conversation, giving us tantalizing glimpses into the characters and settings that make this such an alluring tale. This debut novel is rightfully receiving a bountiful harvest of praise. “Maass’ debut novel blends romance and poetry with the language of flowers…In addition to [Agatha] Christi, Maass’ novel evokes Dan Brown’s 2003 bestseller The Da Vinci Code, with suspense arising from poring over poetic passages as well as the study of flowers and plants.” —Kirkus Reviews
  • 11:14 AM – Presenting this week – See VI Between the Covers, below. Maureen McCue’s career has afforded her the opportunity to appreciate different parts of the world, while capturing the connections between her beloved Iowa and such faraway places as Nicaragua. Birds in the Morning, Frogs at Night: Sharing Life Along the Road is thought-provoking and reflective, bringing Maureen’s insights, descriptions and poetry into a shared appreciation for her readers. “McCue makes the persuasive and poetic case that rural life might be one answer to the environmental ills brought by our consumptive, thoughtless and relentlessly destructive society. While Iowa is not known for its nature writing, McCue’s lovely book might change that!” —Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network
  • 11:29 AM – In Untethered: Faith, Failure and Finding Common Ground, Laura Whitfield takes her readers on a revelatory journey of finding herself following personal tragedy. Listen as Laura shares insights into her story, which will hold many elements that readers can relate. “The writing is engaging and welcomes the reader into the author’s story and thoughts . . . telling a story that is unique to her yet in which readers will recognize the ebbs and flows of tragedy, challenges, and joy we all experience in life.” — The BookLife Prize
  • 11:45 AM – Presenting this week – See VI Between the Covers, below. Ellie Brooks is an experienced genealogist who uses her knowledge, experience and new tools for research to help others discover hidden branches in their family trees. Her book, Amanda’s Journey: A DNA Adventure, is a captivating tale of one such person she helped. “Genealogy is a fascinating way to connect oneself to their past, and expand their understanding of the networks each family has. Ellie Brooks brings a vibrant story of one such exploration to life in her captivating Amanda’s Journey: A DNA Adventure.” – The Culture Buzz
  • 12:00 PM – Now playing. Des Moines Performing Arts will present the National Tour of Hamilton thru Jun 5. Listen as Jared Dixon (who portrays Aaron Burr) shares some back story about his role, and his path to it.
  • 12:14 PM – Presenting this week – See VI Between the Covers, below. Andrea Carter Brown shares insights into her provocative and powerful collection of poems, September 12. Andrea shares some glimpses into the back story, and how her close encounter with that infamous day the World Trade Center was attacked eventually manifested in this beautiful poetry. “A more haunting memorial to 9/11 than this book will be hard to find. Reading September 12 is a wrenching but restorative experience you won’t soon forget.” – Martha Collins
  • 12:28 PM – Andrea Carter Brown reads the closing passage of the title poem of her new collection, September 12.
  • 12:31 PM – Available now. Jeff Stein, noted historian and broadcast professional, penned a 3-part series for Iowa History Journal, “Making Waves: Centennial in Iowa Radio Stations.” He continues the conversation about this compelling, story-filled series, giving us a few more glimpses into a fascinating century of radio broadcast history.
  • 12:47 PM – Featured in VII Life Resources, below. Callista Gould, author of the essential resource The Exceptional Professional, and a regular and most welcome guest on the show, returns with more enlightening glimpses into the world of culture and manners. Always providing welcome insights into social and business interactions, Callista again provides great information. “For those seeking a character-driven advantage in work and society, Callista Gould and her wonderful resource, The Exceptional Professional, are must-haves for the successful person.” – The Culture Buzz

Performance Arts

  1. Des Moines Performing ArtsHAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre. Thru Jun 5. (Interview with Jared Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr)
  2. The premiere staged reading of the new Robert John Ford musical comedy “Rolf(e)” will be presented in two performances (2:00pm & 7:00pm) on Saturday, May 21 at the Iowa State Historical Building auditorium in Des Moines. The reading is free and open to the public, but because seating is limited.
  3. CAP Theatre, Altoona. Into the Woods Jr opens Jun 3 – 12.
  4. Des Moines Community PlayhouseCalendar Girls opens Jun 3 – 19.
  5. Ankeny Community TheatreCry It Out! Opens Jun 3 – 12.

Visual Arts

  1.  Olson-Larsen Galleries. Annual Landscape Show, opening Fri May 27, 5:00-7:00 PM at 204-5th Street, Historic Valley Junction. Also opening Fri May 27, 5:00-7:00 PM at the OL Guild, 201-4th Street, “”Group Therapy” an interactive installation by Damen LaPalm. “Group Therapy is an interactive installation that tells a familiar yet often uncomfortable story. Male mental health can be a delicate subject to broach, but it is an important topic that needs to be talked about openly without fear. There is an overt hesitation for men to speak about difficulties they face in expressing their feelings in order to avoid being labeled as weak. My intention is not only to create an environment that is human in its familiarity, but creates a dialogue with viewers where we question the validity of negative connotations of moments of weakness and reflect on the suicide rate disparity between men and women. Viewers are open to sit in the empty chairs to think, reflect, gain perspective, take photos, and possibly learn something about themselves and others.”
  2. Plymouth Congregational Church Art Gallery. A new, multimedia art exhibition titled FEEL, by American-born artist Jill Wells, will be on display thru July 3 at the Plymouth Gallery, Plymouth Congregational Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312. The opening reception of the exhibition is on Sat May 7, from 6.00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (CST), free and open to the public.
  3. Artisan Gallery 218. Mary Kline-Misol’s The GAIA Project – A Climate Crisis Dialogue All Gallery ExhibitThru Jun 30.
  4. Des Moines Art Center. Art Exhibit: ‘Immersive’ thru June 5. 4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines. Follow a path from darkened space to darkened space where each one is filled with different combinations of light, color and
  5. Des Moines Art Center2 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.
  6. Brunnier Art Museum. Ames. 2This 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.
  7. The Grinnell College Museum of Art. Grinnell. 2
  8. 2AU. West Des Moines. 1,2
  9. Artisan Gallery 218. West Des Moines. 1,2
  10. Kavanaugh Art Gallery. West Des Moines. 1,2
  11. Kunzler Studios. West Des Moines.1,2
  12. Olson-Larsen Galleries. West Des Moines.1,2
  13. Moberg Gallery. Des Moines. 2
  14. Hoyt Sherman Place Art Gallery. Des Moines.
  15. Liz Lidgett Gallery + Design. Des Moines.
  16. 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. 48 Hour Film Project opens submissions for 18th season. July 29-31st marks the 18th running of the 48 Hour Film Project in Des Moines. Registered filmmakers from across Iowa will gather on the evening of July 29 where they will be given a genre, a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue that they must work into their film. 48 hours later they will race to upload their completed short films to 48 Hour Film Project servers before the 7:30pm deadline. Registration opens May 24th online at: All spaces are first come, first serve. “We are excited to run our 18th round of fevered filmmaking in this wonderful city” said Des Moines 48HFP Producer Samuel Pace-Tuomi. “We’re looking for all kinds of filmmakers to be involved, the competition is open to pros and amateurs alike.”
  2. AgArt. Shakuntala is an innovative contemporary version of the classic play from India. We have roles for eight men and eight women ages 17 and up as well as one boy aged 8-12. There will also be an ensemble to portray members of the community.No acting or dance experience is required! Auditions will be held at Gateway Dance Theatre’s Studio on June 2nd, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm and June 3rd, 11:30 am- 1:30 pm and 6:00 pm-8:00 pm.Performances will be July 7th-9th at Jamie Hurt Amphitheater is West Des Moines.
  3. Ankeny Community Theatre
  4. Des Moines Community Playhouse.
  5. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre.
  6. Class Act Productions (CAP).
  7. Iowa Stage Theatre Company
  8. Tallgrass Theatre Company.
  9. Theatre Midwest.
  10. Urbandale Community Theatre. (Summer 2022 – Bye Bye Birdie)

Planning ahead

  1. The Okoboji Writers’ Retreat – Sep 19-21, 2022. This has become the must-attend event for writers to learn and network.
  2. 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 – May 18, 6:30-8:00 PM. Ellie Brooks, Amanda’s Journey: A DNA Adventure.
  2. Beaverdale Books – May 19, 6:30-8:00 PM. Poetry Readings, Andrea Carter Brown & Debra Marquart, September 12 and The Night We Landed on the Moon.
  3. Storyhouse Bookpub – May 20, 7:00 PM. Author After Party event, tickets available. Rachel Yoder, Nightbitch A Novel.
  4. Storyhouse Bookpub – May 21, 11:00 AM. Storytime reading for children.
  5. Beaverdale Books – May 22, 2:00-3:00 PM. Children’s author Mark Ceilley, Cinderelliot: A Scrumptious Fairytale.
  6. Artisan Gallery 218 – May 23, 6:30 PM. Maureen McCue, Birds in the Morning, Frogs at Night.
  7. Central Library – May 25, 7:00 PM. AViD Author Series. Jason Mott, Hell of a Book.
  8. Central Library – Jun 7, 7:00 PM. AViD Author Series. Special author panel. Dr. Richard Deming, Neil Hamilton, Jim Autry.
  9. Beaverdale Books – Jun 11, 2:30-3:30 PM. Victor D. O. Santos, My Dad, My Rock.

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. Don’t Feed the Elephants!: Overcoming the Art of Avoidance to Build Powerful Partnerships, Sarah Noll Wilson*
  2. Being Non-Essential, Madhu Raghavendra
  3. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer
  4. Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, Art Spiegelman
  5. Half Baked Harvest Every Day: Recipes for Balanced, Flexible, Feel Good Meals: A Cookbook, Tieghan Gerard
  6. The Paris Library, Janet Skeslien Charles
  7. Hello Iowa, Mary Gordon*
  8. The Butterfly Effect, Rachel Mans McKenny*
  9. Matrix, Lauren Groff
  10. Maus, Art Spiegelman

* Iowa author
Highlighted author names’ indicate interviews are in The Culture Buzz Podcast Library.
Please visit: 

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. 

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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