July 3, 2017
Getting to know the ropes of life at sea, Billy Budd (portrayed by Craig Verm) contemplates his lot in life, as staged by Des Moines Metro Opera. Photographer: Ben Easter.
Reviewed for dsm by Michael Morain

Brawny sailors are crawling literally out of the woodwork in "Billy Budd" at the Des Moines Metro Opera -- up from below through a grate, high into the rigging, even onto a curving banister to (almost) barf overboard. There are so many hands on deck, with the cannons and all, you start to wonder if their ship might sink.

But as numerous as they seem, this crew and the below-deck orchestra are among the leanest teams to ever tackle this extraordinary show. The Indianola company, punching above its weight as usual, commissioned a new arrangement of Benjamin Britten's 1951 score, pared down for a smaller ensemble by Steuart Bedford, one of the late composer's closest associates. The results are stunning. Click here to read the full review. 

Sprawling, multi-level decks and rope bridges make up this amazing modern-day treehouse. As part of this client's exterior home remodel, this structure serves as a play and party hangout for the kids and the adults!  ... 

Facing Third Street, the indoor space is to the left; an outdoor bar and stage are on the right. Patios wrap around the building.
Two new taverns have just opened, each with enormous outdoor space where you won't feel like you're dining on the sidewalk. 

The Tipsy Crow Tavern is on Third Street, adjacent to the railroad tracks and in line with the Hessen Haus on Fourth Street. Although unrelated, they are now Siamese twins joined at the ... middle.

"This will be an entertainment venue," says owner Steve McFadden, standing next to the site's ample stage. With space indoors and out, the Tipsy Crow can handle up to 800 people, McFadden says. This isn't just another beer hall; you'll find a tavern-style menu with everything from salads to sandwiches and $3 tacos. Drink choices cover standard bar and soft-drink options, plus some fresh juice drinks, all just a couple of blocks west of the Des Moines River.

Upstream along the river, adjacent to Birdland Marina, you'll discover a giant patio space and a deck overlooking the river at the recently opened Captain Roy's, home of Fish Fry Fridays (cod, not catfish) and smoked, pulled pork sandwiches on an all-American menu. Captain Roy's has presented several entertainers already; for the Fourth of July, Johnny Novacaine performs from 4 to 7 p.m. 

Neutrals: Sherri's Spring Trend
Neutrals are timeless.
Everything seems to come back around in the world of design - and this time, it's neutrals.  The design world is gravitating toward browns, beiges, and khakis in wall color, textiles, and other applications.

by Design presents dsmDining

All is not lost with the world. Valpolicella has gone from dismal to delightful. This fact gives us hope -- and thirst.
By Wini Moranville 
If you were of age in the '80s, you probably drank Valpolicella at some point. It was the quintessential fruity, light, easy-drinking red that many of us enjoyed with pizza and pasta before we graduated to drier reds, like Chianti.
Sadly, most Valpolicellas were not very good at all. Famed wine writer Robert Parker once deemed them "industrial, insipid garbage."
In recent years, that has changed. For example, New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov wrote: "The winemaking renaissance that has occurred throughout Italy ... has also come to Valpolicella. With new seriousness of purpose, many producers have rededicated themselves to [the wine]."
Because Valpolicella tastes great chilled, summer is a great time to rediscover this red. I recently tried the Tommasi Rafael Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2014 ($20) and immediately got back on the Valpolicella bandwagon. The hints of spice amid luscious cherry flavors bring a touch of refreshment, and its medium body helps it stand up to hearty barbecue foods. And forget what everyone says about serving this "lightly" chilled. Chill this baby completely; once you take the bottle outside, it will warm a bit to perfect drinking temperature.

Ingersoll Wine and Spirits (3500 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-255-3191 ) can special order the Tommasi Rafael label for you, or point the way to other good examples of Valpolicella.
Alexis Davis is managing director of Pyramid Theatre Company.
A growing presence in local theater, Pyramid Theatre Company has the distinction of elevating women into leadership roles that most often are held by men. A recent study of the 74 member organizations of the League of Resident Theatres revealed only 15 women served as artistic directors and only 19 were in executive or managerial roles. This article in the new issue of dsm magazine showcases how Pyramid has shattered that old-school tradition with dynamic visionary women. To read the full issue online, click here.
A bit of spot remover would have been a great convenience for Lady MacBeth, portrayed here by comedian Megan Gogerty.
The Iowa Shakespeare Experience presents playwright Megan Gogerty's latest original work free next week -- July 9, 11 and 12 -- as part of Shakesperience Fest 2017, staged on the picnic-friendly rooftop of  the Des Moines Social Club. Doors open at 7 p.m. for picnics and a cash wine bar; shows begin at 8 p.m. Reserve your seat by clicking here.

Gogerty is an Iowa comedian as well as a playwright, and she brings her unique twist to the show "Lady Macbeth and her Pal, Megan." Torn between the bloody ambition of Lady M and the gleeful anarchy of the witches, Megan comes face to face with her own ambivalence about womanhood. Funny and subversive, the show parses the difference between empowerment fantasies and actual empowerment. For more information about the Iowa Shakespeare Experience, click here.  
The 80/35 Festival will be 47 acts, three stages, two days, one spectacular event.
The Shins and MGMT are the closing-act headliners at the 10th annual 80/35 Festival, presented by the Des Moines Music Coalition at downtown's Western Gateway Park this Friday and Saturday, July 7 and 8. Other prominent acts include Action Bronson, Elephant Revival and Chicago Batman.

In total, 47 bands will perform on three stages over the two-day event. Enjoy music at two of those stages for free. VIP passes are sold out, but tickets remain and are available here. A two-day pass is $80. Tickets for either day are $45. Details of this year's festival, including the full lineup and performance schedule, are available online at 2017.80-35.com. 


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