May 9, 2017
This looks like Mark Twain. So will actor Dan Chase when he portrays Samuel Clemens for diners in the home of Susan Judkins and Bob Josten, one of the May 19 dinners featured in an evening celebrating creative genius despite mental illness.
How would you like to have dinner with Jack Kerouac or Samuel Clemens? How about Judy Garland or Audry Hepburn? You can experience the next best thing by attending Beautiful Minds, an evening of private dinners on May 19 featuring actors portraying these and other accomplished artists who had mental illnesses.

The concept is a fundraiser for the Iowa chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, whose mission is to educate, advocate and empower on behalf of mental health issues. "It's a unique event that's never been done anywhere in the nation," says Peggy Huppert, executive director of NAMI Iowa. 
The evening begins with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Forte Banquet and Conference Center, 615 Third St. Participants then proceed to the dinners they have selected with these characters and hosts:

Characters                       Actors                          Dinner Hosts 
Samuel Clemens              Dan Chase                    Susan Judkins and Bob Josten
Leonard Cohen                 Maxwell Schaeffer        Ron and Angel Grubb
Carrie Fisher                     Lyndsay Darland           Dawn and Derek Grittman
Judy Garland                    Preshia Paulding           Rick and Marcia Wannamaker
Ernest Hemingway           Michael Banks               Melissa Watson and Carl Weideranders
Audrey Hepburn               Victoria Stark                 Don and Deb Laster
Jack Kerouac                    Andrew Hughes             Lynn and Steve Graves
Mackenzie Phillips            Carol Palmer                 Claire Celsi
Mark Rothko and              Michael Davenport        Carrie Clogg and Joshua Barlage
Kelly Osbourne                 and Rachel Meyer 

Tickets ($150 each, or $50 for "young professionals") can be purchased here. Reservations must be made by Monday, May 15.

With a gorgeous 10' walnut master suite vanity in progress in our woodshop, we review the meanings of flat sawn, quarter sawn, rift sawn or rotary-peeled cuts of lumber. See how specific wood grains and cuts can bring beauty, and energy to our projects and clients. ... 

Brazilian dancers may inspire you to try some of your new moves on the dance floor at the Brazilian Ball.
Tired of the humdrum? Listen to a different drum Saturday, May 13, at the Brazilian Ball from 8 to 11 p.m. at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. The colors are vibrant, the music exhilarating and the fashions extravagant. It's an evening to celebrate cultural diversity, with proceeds supporting CultureALL, which presents diverse cultural programming to local schools and businesses to deliver interactive, authentic learning experiences.

Entertainment at Saturday's ball includes the Brazilian 2wins with Choro Moingona and dancing by Brazilian Moves. In addition, you'll enjoy martial arts, music and dance by Capoeira -- Fitness Connections and Brazil Academy. Admission is $75. For more information, visit or call 515-273-8569. 

One of the reasons I love my job so much is that I get to meet new people all the time who then invite me into their homes and lives.  I get to know them on a personal level and we work together to make their home a beautiful place that makes them proud. ...

by Design presents dsmDining

By Wini Moranville 

As our local craft-cocktail scene continues to flourish, I'm beginning to realize something: Nearly all of my favorite cocktails around town feature St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur somewhere in the mix. The French spirit is made from macerated elderflowers; thankfully it's more about a citrusy, pear-like freshness than it is about the floral notes, which are present, but not overly so.

I love what it brings to cocktails, and so do bartenders. In fact, Kate Willer, general manager of Bubba--Southern Comforts, calls St. Germain "bartender's bacon," because mixologists gravitate toward using it. At RoCA, bartender John Allen says the spirit "is perfect for brightening up spring and summer cocktails."
I especially appreciate the spirit in cocktails that also feature sparkling wine. Here are three such concoctions to look for around town:
* Lavender Love Potion #9 at RoCA:
A refreshing, lilac-colored beauty, this combines creme de violette, St. Germain, lime juice and prosecco for what may be my favorite local craft cocktail.
* Saint of the Morning at Eatery A:
Gin, sparking wine, St. Germain and rosemary honey mingle for a dashing cocktail that's on the brunch menu (though I've sweet-talked the staff into making it for me to kick off an evening).
* The Orange Blossom at Bubba--Southern Comforts:
New for patio season, this cocktail starts with a sugar cube doused in orange bitters; in goes the St. Germain and prosecco for a fresh update on a classic Champagne cocktail.
P.S.: I enjoy St. Germain so much that I've brought a bottle home. (Find it at Ingersoll Wine & Spirits for $39.99.) I use it for a riff on a French Kir Royale: Place two to three teaspoons of St. Germain in a Champagne flute. Fill with sparkling wine. Toast the good life.
Wini Moranville covers food and dining for dsm. Follow her at  All Things Food - DSM Wini Moranville.
In creating their installation, artists Kim Hutchison and  Christopher Chiavetta used a variety of materials, including cement pavers, charred wood, charcoal, muslin, insulation, and bound native reeds and grasses.
An old gas station in Valley Junction has been transformed into one of the city's latest visual arts endeavors. Olson-Larsen Galleries has repurposed the building to serve as a location for installations that the gallery can't typically accommodate. Dubbed "ol guild," the building at 201 Fourth St. in West Des Moines will "showcase innovative artwork and concepts that engage audiences in an intimate and accessible environment," says gallery owner Susan Watts.
She emphasizes that ol guild's installations will maintain the gallery's standard of quality, but that they'll "be quite different from what you'd see here in the gallery." While the site will feature Olson-Larsen artists, it also will showcase works from emerging artists, artist groups and students.  
The idea for ol guild emerged last fall, when artist Lee Emma Running created a temporary work in the space in conjunction with her exhibit at the gallery. Using the building for an installation "was intended to be a one-time thing, but we had so much fun with it, we decided to do more," Watts says. "It's fun to do something new and different--to turn the space over to someone different every three months and see what happens."
ol guild opened April 21 with an installation by artists Christopher Chiavetta and Kim Hutchison. They began with the idea of using homebuilding materials. Hutchison notes its womb-like aspects and the process of incubation, and Chiavetta points out its shrine-like features that help create an environment conducive to reflection. Overall, the artists say they see the resulting structure as evoking themes of decay and renewal. To find out more, visit Olson-Larsen's website.  
Market Day is a social as well as commercial event, a place to meet friends and make discoveries.
Market Day, Des Moines' indie craft fair, is offering a new incentive to the first shoppers through its doors on the morning of Saturday, May 20, in the atrium of Capital Square downtown. Organizers will provide swag bags for the first 100 shoppers to arrive at the 8 a.m. show opener. Each bag is stuffed with treats and money-saving coupons provided by Market Day's handmade and vintage vendors. 
"We put the call out to our makers for swag to get people excited," says vendor coordinator Dani Ausen, "and they responded in a big way. From prints to buy-one-get-one codes to wooden spoons, our artists are making these bags something to line up for."
Throughout the day, until 3 p.m., nearly 70 vendors from around the Midwest will market their wares. "Market Day's aesthetic is one-of-a-kind," Ausen says, "and, that's all from our makers. Our artists have an edge, an originality. There's something special going on here that is definitely different and a little out there." That "something special" this year includes children's activities and a scavenger hunt. For details, click here.
Get a closer look at the architectural details and stories of downtown Des Moines on the walking tours that start Friday.
Among the quiet events we have come to look forward to each year are the guided tours of downtown Des Moines presented by the Iowa Architectural Foundation.

The series of monthly strolls, called Architecture on the Move, resumes this Friday, May 12. You can choose from four distinct routes, each with its own points of interest.
  • North: Get insight into the city's more contemporary architecture.
  • South: Walk through the historic Court Avenue and Warehouse District plus the World Food Prize Hall and the courthouse.
  • East: Explore the revitalized East Village and the Riverwalk's public buildings.
  • West: Study the older, stately buildings such as the Temple for the Performing Arts, and visit the Western Gateway area.
All walks are on Fridays: May 12, June 16, July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 8. Check-in starts at 5 p.m., tours start at 5:30 p.m. from the Iowa Center for Architecture, Suite 100 in Capital Square . Each tour costs $15, payable by cash or check. Reservations are encouraged: call 515-244-1888, or email . All proceeds benefit the Iowa Architectural Foundation's public educational programs.


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