March 14, 2017
From local theater, like this moment from "Young Frankenstein," opening Friday at Des Moines Community Playhouse, to live music and art galleries, arts and culture are vital to the enhancement of life in Central Iowa. 
If local arts and culture are important to you, you're invited to speak up in a series of seven "community conversations" next Wednesday and Thursday, March 22 and 23. Your ideas and interests can help shape community development in years to come.

These meetings, part of the Regional Cultural Assessment sponsored by Bravo Greater Des Moines, will help clarify opportunities and community priorities, organizers say. All seven meetings are open to the public, but registration is encouraged: Click here for registration and the meeting sites and times. 

It started as an 80-year-old building most turned a blind eye to. Now we're announcing Green & Main - our revitalization of a historic Des Moines building - as winner of the 2016 Best Development Award for Mixed Use spaces. ... 

The Hoyt Sherman stage will be loaded for action Saturday with the first downbeat of Jazz 100.
A century ago, in 1917, the first known jazz recordings were made. In celebration of the centennial of those first recordings, and to mark the 100th birthdays of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, Civic Music Association presents the concert event Jazz 100 on Saturday at Hoyt Sherman Place.

Featured artists include pianist Danilo Pérez, Chris Potter on tenor sax, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and vocalist Lizz Wright. The performance is under the musical direction of Danilo Perez, former pianist for Dizzy Gillespie. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show range from $12 to $56 and are available here. For more information, read this preview from dsm magazine. 
Manager Heather Jones prepares one of the specialty beverages at DSM Brew Coffee Company on MLK Parkway.
Photo: New Leaders Council Des Moines.
"Nitro coffee," a cold-brewed elixer, is the specialty on tap at the new DSM Brew Coffee Company, which opened yesterday in the 300 MLK building, just south of the Science Center. As the name implies, Nitro coffee packs a caffeine kick, hence the slogan: "Get Woke."

Other shops may serve iced coffee, but DSM Brew's co-owner Izaah Knox says "the nitro process gives it a boost of super smoothness." The shop has had a "soft opening" in recent days, while perfecting the nitro process. Consumer reaction has been good, Knox says: "We've had great feedback."

The building that houses DSM Brew and its neighbors was built in 1908 as the home of the Des Moines Brewing Co. Operators of the new business see themselves as continuing that tradition, but with a variety of coffees and espresso drinks, plus pastries, 16 flavors of gelato and other coffeehouse fare, including mugs and headwear. For hours and other details, visit
Rev. Basil Hickman of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George is among the clergy who shared their faith in the new
Des Moines-based book "A Spectrum of Faith."
When refugees from India brought their Hindu beliefs to Iowa, they worshiped in homes because there was no official place for their community to gather. Today, the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Iowa, an ornate marble structure that rises above the cornfields 30 miles northwest of Des Moines, is one of 15 religious communities featured in a new book, "A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland," slated for release April 6.
"One goal of this book is to make Iowans more aware of the rich diversity of religion in their state and how that diversity is a function of Iowa's rich history of welcoming refugees and immigrants," said Tim Knepper, professor of philosophy at Drake University and editor of the book. Each chapter describes a faith community written by a Drake student who spent  months immersed in that culture.   

The work began with Knepper and photographer Bob Blanchard, whose initial process was detailed in this article from dsm magazine. They took the project to Drake Community Press, a campus publishing arm that provides experience to Drake students. The book became part of a two-year curriculum that involved five classes, approximately 65 students, an editorial board of 10 local storytelling experts, and an advisory board of 10 local community leaders.
Sales of "A Spectrum of Faith" are projected to raise thousands of dollars to support the Des Moines Area Religious Council's food pantry network. The book will be officially launched at 6 p.m. on April 6 at Drake University during the Iowa Interfaith Exchange. Acclaimed interfaith leader and author Eboo Patel, of Interfaith Youth Core, will give the keynote presentation, along with other speakers, panel discussions and a documentary about the making of the book. To order the $30 book through DMARC, click here.  
  What a great way to spend a springtime afternoon, lounging in the park with a happy companion.
Make a date with a real dog. You can give a homeless pup a taste of sweet freedom for a day, thanks to a program at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Simply visit the ARL any day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to take an adoptable dog on a field trip.Take them on a walk, go out for a special treat, or spend the day however you'd like. Your companion will wear an "Adopt Me" vest, so folks know the dog is available. Click here for details and suggestions for a memorable "Dog's Day Out."  


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