Sunday, May 26, 2024

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The Culture Buzz

Greetings, Cultural Adventurers:


From Iowa’s cultural epicenter, Mainframe Studios at 900 Keosauqua Way in Des Moines, comes your Listener-supported Community Voice, the Award-Winning independent radio station, KFMG-LP 98.9 FM (streaming simultaneously at, bringing you music, literature & cultural content.
– John Busbee for The Culture Buzz
The Culture Buzz Archive Library –
2014 Iowa Governor’s Award for Partnership & Collaboration in the Arts
2015 Iowa History Award for published magazine story, “Last Full Measure of Devotion”
2018 – voted Best Local Talk Radio Show
Cityview Magazine “Center Stage” columnist
Little Village Magazine “Contact Buzz” columnist (this site is currently under renovation – apologies for any inconvenience.)

Quote of the Week –

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, an American journalist and author. She is best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages.

Newsletter content:

Special Cultural Headline news
I. Guests on this week’s show;
II. Performance Arts (Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
III. Visual Arts (Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
IV. Auditions and other Opportunities (Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
V. Planning ahead;
VI. Author events (Greater Des Moines/Iowa);
VII. Best-sellers, life resource books, Greater Des Moines performing arts organizations, Central Iowa indie book stores, cultural exploration resources, health & welfare resources

Flash Buzz –

Call for Artists – Polk County Heritage Gallery’s Iowa Exhibited 2024
Our annual juried show returns this summer from Jun 27 to Aug 15. Artist Ben Millett is our juror. This is a great opportunity for Iowa artists to showcase their work in a great space!

dsm Magazine INCLUSION – Festival of Festivals
Thu May 23, 5-7 PM at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Don’t miss dsm’s new “Festival of Festivals,” this year’s Discover Diverse Des Moines event — a fun sampler of festivals that enliven Central Iowa throughout the year. Come experience a variety of demonstrations from festival hosts who will share what’s to come at each event this year. Free, registration required.

CNA - ImmunizationsCNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Okoboji Writers Retreat adds major musical focus to immersive event
Make plans to attend the 2024 Okoboji Writers’ Retreat and its newest addition, the Okoboji Songwriters Retreat. Critically acclaimed, with attendees often returning for more, this event will be held at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and the Presbyterian Camp at Lakeshore Center, which is adjacent to Lakeside Laboratory on West Lake, Okoboji, Iowa.
The annual Okoboji Writers’ Retreat, September 22-25, will now feature workshops for songwriters on topics ranging from ‘Storytelling through Song,’ ‘Nashville Bound,’ ‘’Collaboration,’ and ‘The Business of Being a Musician.’
To learn more about the event:

I. This week’s guests on The Culture Buzz –

11:00 AM – Craig Cronbaugh is a musician and an unabashed fan of iconic singer Frankie Laine (“Rawhide” and “Blazing Saddles” theme songs). He captures this special friendship and so much more through his musical journey in his memoir, Reaching for a Star.
“Craig Cronbaugh rightfully perpetuates the career of a musical talent whose contributions far exceed his pivotal singing in the theme songs of the TV show “Rawhide” and the classic Mel Brooks film, “Blazing Saddles.” He weaves this story into his own career memoir.” – The Culture Buzz

11:14 AM – Sunday Money: A Novel is Maggie Hill’s brilliant debut novel as this gifted writer adds this new facet to her many writing credits. She anchors her story in the transitional late 1960 to just past Title IX and girls’/women’s basketball. Captivating.
“Powerful, lyrical, confident writing filled with telling details, pitch perfect dialogue. I know these characters because the voice is so believable, strong, and honest.” – Denis Hamill, journalist, screenwriter, producer, novelist.

11:30 AM – Opening Fri May 31. The next show at the Des Moines Community Playhouse has been described by its director, John Viars, as a “physical farce.” Filled with incredible timing and delivery, The Play That Went Wrong promises a laugh riot of a performance. Listen as John is joined by cast member Sean Canuso to discuss this irresistible comedic gem.

11:43 AM – In this masterful debut novel, D.J. Green delivers a story that has its readers compulsively turning from page to page to keep up with the alluring story’s development. Listen as D.J. shares insights into this novel’s inspiration.
“Green’s prose is tender and keenly observant . . . A fascinating and frequently moving novel of family and geology.” – Kirkus Reviews -Kirkus Reviews

12:00 PM – Opening this Fri May 24. One of the region’s most appealing children’s theatre producers, CAP Theatre of Altoona, prepares its next show, Disney’s Frozen Jr. Listen as Director Christine Yoder, Addison Marvin (as Elsa), and Katharine Yoder (as Anna) share their thoughts about this show.

12:14 PM – Mark your calendars for Jun 9-15. Two of the creative dynamos behind the successful summer arts immersive experiences, Art Week Des Moines, lead a lively conversation about their 10th anniversary year Jun 9-15. Teva Dawson and Rachel Buse provide insights into the wonder, art, and cultural adventures awaiting those visiting the sites for this year’s festivities.

12:28 PM – Timothy Rose, the founder and producer of Central Iowa’s most extensive and informative calendar of theatre, returns to the show to discuss upcoming live theatre options.
“If it graces a stage in Central Iowa, Timothy Rose and his Gentle Guide to Theatre will have the information for your performance arts adventurism. A must use resource.” – The Culture Buzz

12:41 PM – Aaron Lehman is the President of the Iowa Farmers Union, and shares the mission and activities of this organization and its role in making the environmental future of Iowa dovetail with the needs of our agri-business economy.

II. Performance Arts

1. Tallgrass Theatre Company. 20th Anniversary Gala. 6 PM.
2. Java Joes CoffeeHouse, Ankeny. Broadway Back in the Day. 1 PM.
3. Des Moines Performing Arts. Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards Showcase. May 30, 7 PM.
4. CAP (Class Act Productions) Theatre. Disney Frozen Jr. May 31-Jun 9.
5. Des Moines Community Playhouse. The Play That Goes Wrong. May 31-Jun 16.

III. Visual Arts – Exhibitions

1. Polk County Hertiage Gallery – Rick Miller Retrospective. Thru Jun 21.
2. Olson-Larsen Galleries – Annual Landscape Show. Opening reception Jun 7, 4-7 PM.
3. Moberg Gallery. Chris Vance Annual Show.

Visual Arts – Galleries & Found Space Exhibition Sites
1. 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.
2. Brunnier Art Museum. Ames. 2 This is the flagship for the University Museums, a treasure trove of visual arts immersion on 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.
3. The Grinnell College Museum of Art. Grinnell. 2
4. 2AU. West Des Moines. 1,2
5. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Des Moines 2 I added this destination for its unique value as a “living gallery,” where the constantly changing floral exhibitions entice and delight.
6. Heritage Art Gallery. 2 Des Moines.
7. Hoyt Sherman Place Art Gallery. 2 Des Moines.
8. IN Tandem Arts & Authors. 1,2 Des Moines.
9. Kavanaugh Art Gallery. West Des Moines. 1,2
10. Kunzler Studios. West Des Moines. 1,2
11. Liz Lidgett Gallery + Design. Des Moines.
12. Moberg Gallery. Des Moines. 2
13. Olson-Larsen Galleries. West Des Moines.1,2
14. Polk County Heritage Gallery. Des Moines. 2
15. Ritual Café. Des Moines. 2
16. Slow Down Coffee Shop. Des Moines. 2
17. Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure. Des Moines. 2
1Visit these galleries open during semi-annual Historic Valley Junction Gallery Nights.
2Check website for current exhibitions.

IV. Auditions, Volunteer, and other Enhancement Opportunities –

“The Arts is a Contact Sport” (A Culture Buzz creed)
· Polk County Hertiage Gallery – Iowa Exhibited. This annual juried show prepares as submissions go live Fri May 17 through May 31. Ben Millett is juror.
· Additional volunteer opportunities abound – with the seasons ramping up, now is a great time to explore how to find other ways to engage with Central Iowa theatre companies. Assistance is always welcome, from costume and set building, to ushering, to back stage crew, find a short-term commitment that will be immensely gratifying.

Check the websites of the theatre companies listed below to consider a wide range of volunteer opportunities.
1. Ankeny Community Theatre.
2. Carousel Theatre of Indianola.
3. Class Act Productions (CAP).
4. Des Moines Community Playhouse.
5. Des Moines Performing Arts.
6. Des Moines Young Artists Theatre.
7. Iowa Shakespeare Experience.
8. Iowa Stage Theatre Company.
9. Once in a While Productions.
10. Pyramid Theatre Company.
11. Tallgrass Theatre Company.
12. Urbandale Community Theatre.

V. Planning ahead

Cedar Falls Christian Writers Conference
Michigan author keynotes annual Christian Writers Conference, Jun 8-10, Cedar Falls.
Novice and experienced writers are welcome to hone their skills and
network with award-winning authors and speakers at the 22nd annual Cedar Falls Christian
Writers Conference, June 8-10, at Riverview Conference Center. The theme of this year’s
conference is “Lighting the Path to Publication.” This year’s keynote speaker is Susie Finkbeiner, the CBA bestselling author of The All-American and All Manner of Things which were both selected as Michigan Notable Books.
Contact: Mary Portzen,, 563-235-9408

Hurley & Dancers and Fellow Travelers Performance Group
Join these two professional modern dance companies for “Widening the Circle” on June 8/9 at 7 p.m. at Des Moines DanzArts, 2150 Delavan Drive, #8, West Des Moines, 50265. Suggested donation: $20/10. For more information, contact or
Directed by Cynthia Adams, Fellow Travelers Performance Group has support for “Widening the Circle” in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Iowa Arts Council. Adams is joined by dancer Paula McArthur in a series of whimsical and thought-provoking dance theater duets blurring the edge of dance and theater with text, movement, and audience participation. They will be sharing a portion of the evening-length production they are touring this summer to multiple Fringe Festivals in Canada and the US. Directed by Kathleen Hurley, Hurley & Dancers is a six-person repertoire company. This performance includes choreography by Lisa Lewis, Julie Betts, and Kathleen Hurley with live music by The Motofingers. Performers include: Julie Betts, Elizabeth Ferreira, Kathleen Hurley, Lisa Lewis, and William Schneider.

Des Moines Art Center
b. Robert Moore
Jun 22 – Oct 20, 2024 in the Linda and Tom Koehn Gallery.

Ames Public Library
Swift Youth Writers – Free Creative Writing Workshop, Jun 24-28, Grades 6-12. 10 AM – 12:30 PM. Sponsored and presented by the Ames Writers Collective.

Okoboji Writers Retreat adds major musical focus to immersive event
Make plans to attend the 2024 Okoboji Writers’ Retreat and its newest addition, the Okoboji Songwriters Retreat. Critically acclaimed, with attendees often returning for more, this event will be held at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and the Presbyterian Camp at Lakeshore Center, which is adjacent to Lakeside Laboratory on West Lake, Okoboji, Iowa.
The annual Okoboji Writers’ Retreat, September 22-25, will now feature workshops for songwriters on topics ranging from ‘Storytelling through Song,’ ‘Nashville Bound,’ ‘’Collaboration,’ and ‘The Business of Being a Musician.’
To learn more about the event:

VI. Between the covers – author/book events worth noting:

1. Beaverdale Books – Brad Balukjian. The Six Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Wrestlemania. May 23, 6:30 PM.
2. AViD Author Series, Central Library – Joyce Carol Oates. Butcher. May 30 – 7 PM.

Recurring bookstore events –
1. Beaverdale Books – Hunter’s Classics Book Club (2nd Tue, 7:00 PM); Beaverdale Book Browsers Club (2nd Thu, 6:30 PM); Urbandale UCC Book Club (3rd Thu); Books and Bonbons (3rd Thu, 7:00 PM); Environmental Book Club (3rd Sat); Mystery Book Club (4th Tue, 7:00 PM)
2. Storyhouse Bookpub – Storytimes (Saturdays 11:00 AM)
3. Dogeared Books – Dog-Eared official book club (one Thu/month, 10-11 AM); Between the Covers (one Sat/month, 7-8 PM); Women from Other Words book club (one Mon/month 5-6 PM); Translation book club (one Fri/month, 7-8 PM); Books & Beverages – the book club experience without the commitment (one Thu/month, 6-7 PM)
4. Capital City Pride – Book club meets every other month, rotating to different independent book stores. For titles being read and dates, locations, visit:

VII. Beaverdale Books provides Bestseller Lists on their website, including a parade of Iowa-authored books to consider. Many Iowa authors also have recordings archived in The Culture Buzz Podcast Library (

March bestsellers are:
1. The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: Their Stories Are Better Than the Bestsellers,
James Patterson
2. Homie, Danez Smith
3. The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church, Sarah McCammon
4. All This Could Be Different, Sarah Thankam Matthews
5. Nebraska: Poems, Kwame Dawes
6. Tough Broad: From Boogie Boarding to Wing Walking–How Outdoor Adventure Improves Our Lives as We Age, Caroline Paul
7. Funny Story, Emily Henry
8. Martyr!, Kaveh Akbar*
9. Far From Broken, Kelsey Bigelow*
10. The Cello Still Sings: A Generational Story of the Holocaust and of the Transformative Power of Music, Janet Horvath
* Iowa authors
Here are some great Iowa author titles to consider adding to your library:
· The Long Way Back, Nicole Baart*
· The Lincoln Highway in Iowa: A History, Darcy Daugherty Maulsby*
· Baking Blue Ribbons: Stories and Recipes from the Iowa State Fair Competitions, Kay Fenton Smith* and Carol McGarvey*
· Omari’s Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe, Abena Sankofa Imhotep*
· The Leora’s Letters Dexter Trilogy, plus What Leora Never Knew Joy Neal Kidney* (4 books, each sold separately)

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

Life Resource books worth your consideration –
1. Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind: A Food-First Plan to Optimize Your Mental Health. Dr. Georgia Ede. Combine the surprising truth about brain food with the cutting edge of brain metabolism to achieve extraordinary emotional, cognitive, and physical health. “This book is an invaluable resource and guide for anyone looking to enhance their health and life through the thoughtful integration of nutrition.” – David Perlmutter, MD
2. Happy AF: Simple Strategies to Get Unstuck, Bounce Back, and Live Your Best Life.
Beth Romero. Fresh, insightful, and grounded academic research, this cheeky, no-nonsense manifesto offers practical strategies and easy-to-follow exercises for flexing your happiness muscle and maximizing your potential — essentially laying out the blueprint for how to be happy AF and live your best life. “A sharp, sometimes witty, often helpful map for pointing your life in the direction of happiness.” – Kirkus Reviews
3. The Island of the Four Ps: A Modern Fable about Preparing for Your Future. Ed Hajim. Ed shares his wealth of experience, challenges and success, distilling it with a clarity and appeal that will benefit everyone desiring great advice through this allegorical telling in planning their future. “This wonderful fable draws on the hard-won life lessons of fabled financier Ed Hajim. … For those on a similar quest, let Ed be your guide through reading this allegorical tale. It informs and inspires.” —Mark Zupan, President, Alfred University

Check out insightful interviews in The Culture Buzz Podcast Library at

Performing Arts & Cultural Organizations
Please check in advance regarding any scheduled performances, exhibitions, museum visits, etc.
Ankeny Community Theatre –; Facebook: Ankeny Community Theatre
Ballet Des Moines –
Carousel Theatre of Indianola –; Facebook: Carousel Theatre Indianola
Central Iowa Wind Ensemble –
Civic Music Association –
Class Act Productions –; Facebook: CAP Theatre
Des Moines Community Playhouse/Kate Goldman Theatre –; Facebook: DMPlayhouse
Des Moines Metro Opera –
Des Moines Performing Arts/Temple Theater/Stoner Studio Theater –
featuring an eclectic mix of Broadway national tours, symphony, music and more; Facebook: Des Moines Performing Arts
Des Moines Symphony –
Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre –; Facebook: DM Young Artists Theatre
Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre – featuring an eclectic mix of music, comedy, dance and more
Iowa Shakespeare Experience –; Facebook: Iowa Shakespeare Experience
Iowa Stage Theatre Company –; Facebook: Iowa Stage Theatre Company
Pyramid Theatre Company –; Facebook: Pyramid Theatre Company
Science Center of Iowa –; Facebook:
Tallgrass Theatre Company –; Facebook: Tallgrass Theatre Company
Urbandale Community Theatre –; Facebook: Urbandale Community Theatre

Greater Des Moines/Central Iowa Independent Book Stores:
The Culture Buzz encourages you to visit your local independent book store regularly. Check these sites, as their calendars are always filled with enticing activities and news.
1. Beaverdale Books, Des Moines.
2. Storyhouse Bookpub, Des Moines Historic East Village.
3. Reading in Public Bookstore + Café, Historic Valley Junction.
4. Indie Authors Book Expo, Valley West Mall.
5. Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola.
6. Dog-eared Books, Ames.
7. Read a Book Nook, Marshalltown.
8. Book Vault, Oskaloosa.
9. Pella Books, Pella.
10. 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 adventurers through the comprehensive overview of what The Culture Buzz delivers. An archive library of favorite interviews is on the website, and all recent interviews can be found at The Culture Buzz Podcast Library –
Website –
2. Gentle Guide to Theater – Timothy Rose renews his insights and information about the Central Iowa theatre scene with his new website. This site is anchored by the most navigable, informative calendar of upcoming things theatrical in this region.
3. Center Stage – This Cityview monthly column covers feature stories about Central Iowa’s theatre scene. Distributed throughout the region and available online. Current column:
4. 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.
5. Des Moines Arts Festival ( and Bravo Greater Des Moines ( – have joined forces to provide resources, support and networking for individual artists (DMAF) and cultural organizations (Bravo). For artists and organizations seeking to gain the training, information and resources for success, check out,,
6. Axios – Des Moines – this free, weekday newsletter is a quick-read, reliable Greater Des Moines news resource by two veteran news journalists, Jason Clayworth and Linh Ta.
7. Art Week Des Moines – this annual, community/neighborhood celebration of the arts happens in several Greater Des Moines communities during the week leading up to the Des Moines Arts Festival. Planning, engagement and more happen throughout the year, and a diversity of input is welcomed and embraced by this initiative.
8. 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.
9. ia Magazine – Built upon the success of its Central Iowa counterpart, this annual gem brings enticing cultural news from across the state.
10. Contact Buzz – This column covers crossroads between creativity and culture, and is offered in the new Des Moines edition of Little Village magazine.
11. Little Village magazine. This Des Moines edition of the iconic Iowa City monthly brings a progressive voice to Central Iowa readers.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Central Iowa Blues Society is the area’s connecting point for performance, presentations and education in the world of blues.
15. 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: 988 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.

Creatively yours, John Busbee
C: 515-707-1532

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