Wednesday, July 17, 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 Iowa History Journal 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 –
“The more equality there is established among men, the more virtue and happiness will reign in society.” – Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), in A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). Mary was a British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships at the time, received more attention than her writing. She died 11 days after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Shelley, who became an accomplished writer and the author of Frankenstein.

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

Iowa Flash Buzz –

Juneteenth – Neighbor’s Day Celebration
Sat Jun 15, 12pm – 7pm in Western Gateway Park
1000 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
FREE Parking available in the Nationwide parking ramp located at 11th Street & Mulberry.

Sarah Grant – New Directions
Fri Jun 14, 5-8 PM. Moberg Gallery (2411 Grand Avenue, Des Moines) opens an exhibit featuring Grant’s new works, a bold collection of vitality. The artist will be present, and there will be refreshments and music by DJ Dennis Atherton.

CNA - ImmunizationsCNA - Stop HIVCNA - Naloxone


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 – 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

11:14 AM – Appearing at Beaverdale Books Jun 23. Sarah Becan is the artist who teamed up with author Ken Forkish for the vibrantly illustrated Let’s Make Bread!, a beguiling invitation to immerse oneself into the rewarding world of bread making. “A fun and refreshing addition to every baker’s library.” —Ciril Hitz, certified artisan bread baker, author, and educator

11:26 AM – Deborah Pomeroy and Joe Merlino team up to infuse their experience, knowledge and expertise into their pivotally important book, New Era/New Urgency: The Case for Repurposing Education. Listen as these two share why the world of education is at a critical juncture if it is to serve our future generations. “This is an incredible book that shares the important work of transforming school systems to empower students with critical thinking. I learned a great deal about history, culture, and educational change.” – Dr. Jo Boaler, Nomellini & Olvivier Professor of Education (Mathematics), Stanford University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in Great Britain
(For a 30% discount, use code LXFANDF30 when ordering from the publisher,

11:43 AM – Two-poet bill at Beaverdale Books Mon Jun 17. Marilyn Baszczynski (chapbook daughter, while i’m still here) and Kelli Lage (Early Cuts) share their love of poetry in this conversation as we explore their two new works.

12:00 PM – Opening this Thursday. Tallgrass Theatre Company started an “instant classic” summer musical performing arts experience four years ago, which continues this year at the Jamie Hurd Amphitheatre in West Des Moines with one of Broadway’s greatest shows, Camelot. Listen as leading players, Sam Sides (as “King Arthur”) and Brinn Kelly (as “Guenevere”) share their thoughts about this production. “Tallgrass Theatre Company has established one of the region’s great summer performance experiences with their outdoor musicals tradition in West Des Moines’ Jamie Hurd Amphitheatre. This event should be on everyone’s annual ‘must-do’ calendar.” – The Culture Buzz

12:15 PM – Susie Orman Schnall’s newest novel, Anna Bright Is Hiding, is a ripping good tale anchored by Susie’s exceptional penchant for creating success-driven leading women to push her storytelling to captivating levels. Listen as Susie shares glimpses into this latest offering from her bountiful creativity. “Fans of the Hulu streaming miniseries The Dropout, about the scandal involving biotech company Theranos, will enjoy this page-turner . . . An entertaining suspense yarn about complicated, success-driven women.” – Kirkus Reviews

12:30 PM – Cheryl Grey Bostrom, an author who bills herself as “watching nature, seeing life,” returns with another compelling story, Leaning on Air, a novel the builds on the success of her award-winning debut, Sugar Birds. Listen as Cheryl gives us delectable insights into her characters, the lands in which they operate, and a wonderfully immersive story. “Filled with humanity and hope. You absolutely cannot miss LEANING ON AIR.” – Katie Powner, Christy Award-winning author

12:46 PM – Mike Trigg releases his latest, Burner, a novel that quickly draws readers into the heart-pounding story anchored in “our modern online zeitgeist of social media disinformation, toxic internet subcultures, and the human need for belonging, purpose, and love in an age of distorted electronic personas.” Listen as Mike shares enticing peeks into the development of this thrilling tale. “Masterfully plotted and thoroughly absorbing, Burner delves into the toxicity of an internet obsessed culture and the dangers of relying on technology for validation and human connection. A thrilling and timely cautionary tale for the digital age, I was hooked from the first page.” —Lindsay Cameron, bestselling author of Just One Look and No One Needs to Know

II. Performance Arts

1. Tallgrass Theatre Company. Camelot. Jun 13-15 at the Jamie Hurd Amphitheatre.
2. Des Moines Performing Arts. ANTS. Free family-friendly interactive performances at 6 metro sites. Jun 12-15.
3. Java Joes CoffeeHouse (Ankeny). Younger Than Springtime Cabaret. Jun 15.
4. Iowa Stage Theatre Company. The Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical. Thru Jun 16.
5. Ankeny Community Theatre. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Thru Jun 16.
6. Des Moines Community Playhouse. The Play That Goes Wrong. Thru Jun 16.
7. Des Moines Metro Opera – 2024 Festival Season. The Barber of Seville, Salome, Pélleas & Mélisande and American Apollo presented in repertory. Thru Jul 21.
8. Civic Music Association – Belin Quartet. This great outdoor free concert tradition continues in partnership with Salisbury House and Gardens each Tue thru Jul 13. In case of inclement weather, the performance will move inside the Temple downtown.
9. Des Moines Performing Arts. STOMP! Jun 21-23.
10. Pyramid Theatre Company – Stoner Theatre. The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body. Jun 22-30.

III. Visual Arts – Exhibitions

1. Moberg Gallery. Sara Grant, New Directions. Opening reception Fri Jun 14, 5-8 PM. Moberg Gallery (2411 Grand Avenue, Des Moines)
2. Polk County Heritage Gallery – Rick Miller Retrospective. Thru Jun 21.
3. Olson-Larsen Galleries – Annual Landscape 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)

· Auditions – Des Moines Community Playhouse. Auditions for Jersey Boys will be held at The Des Moines Playhouse, 6:00 PM, Monday, June 17, 2024. All auditions are open to the public; no one is pre-cast. Those auditioning must bring a prepared solo; an accompanist will be provided as well as the ability to play an accompaniment track from an iPhone or similar device. To learn more, visit Questions about auditions should be directed to Derek Phelps, Playhouse volunteer and production coordinator,, 515.292.8962.
· Auditions – Ankeny Community Theatre. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Jun 17 & 18, 6:30; Callbacks if needed Jun 19.
· Auditions – Tallgrass Theatre Company. It’s Only a Play. Jul 14, 15 at 6:30 PM.
· 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

Momentum Art Program.
We have created a Community Art Project around belonging called Hands of Hope. It will have its grand opening reception as part of our Community Support Advocates HeadQuarters on Jun 25 from 4-6pm in West Des Moines. There will be food, music, art and more.

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. AViD Author Series – Central Library – Jasmine Gillory. Drunk on Love. Jun 13, 7 PM.
2. Beaverdale Books – Luke Rolfes. Sleep Lake. John Gallaher. My Life in Brutalist Architecture. Jun 14, 6:30 PM.
3. Beaverdale Books – Kelli Lagi. Early Cuts. Marilyn Baszcynski. Daughter, while I’m still here. Jul 17, 6:30 PM.
4. Beaverdale Books – Storytime. Jun 20, 10 AM.
5. Beaverdale Books – Kelsey Bigelow, Poet & Host. Open Mic Poetry Night. Jun 21, 7 PM.
6. Beaverdale Books – Elaine Cooper. American Revolution Series: Love’s Kindling, Winter’s Ravage, Chiseled on the Heart, Scarred Vessels. Jun 22, 2:30 PM.
7. Beaverdale Books – Sarah Becan. Let’s Make Bread. Jun 23, 2:30 PM.

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

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. Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines: A History, Mary Christopher* and Mike Rowley*
2. Broadlawns: A Century of Caring, Jean Logan*
3. The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church, Sarah McCammon
4. The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War, Erik
5. Baseball Spy, Scott Reister*
6. The Women, Kristin Hannah
7. For Love of the Broken Body, Julia Walsh*
8. An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s, Doris Kearns Goodwin
9. My Father Called Us Monkeys: Growing Up Mexican American in the Heartland, Mario Duarte*
10. Unmatched: Caitlin Clark’s Remarkable Journey, From Her Iowa High School Career to Breaking
Collegiate Records and Captivating the Nation, Des Moines Register*
*Iowa Author!

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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