Beautiful and intriguing—and this image will make perfect sense to you when you see new issue of dsm magazine, available Oct. 29. (Photographer: Dylan Huey)


We have a one-of-a-kind unveiling party planned for the November issue of dsm magazine. First (and first-time-ever), it's on a Monday rather than a Tuesday night: Monday, Oct. 29. (We aren't about to complete with Des Moines' "Beggars' Night" on Tuesday!) Second, it's a double celebration: toasting our new issue and the 25th anniversary of our friends and hosts, Silent Rivers Design + Build. Third, the location is a building to be renovated in the near north side's Sixth Avenue Corridor—"a beautifully raw space," as described by the Silent Rivers team. 

For this special event, you'll find the space filled with art, poetry and performers as well as food and drink aplenty. We think you'll be inspired by the environment, the experience and the plans for renovation of the building at 1601 Sixth Ave. We think you'll like our new issue, too. You know our routine: Party hours are 5 to 7 p.m., with brief comments and distribution of the new issue at 6 p.m. Call a friend and join the party!

You’re invited to an inclusive party celebrating 25 years of Silent Rivers connecting people to people, home, community and planet. Join us as we host the dsm Magazine Unveiling Party featuring art, poetry, food and drinks in a raw setting like no other on Mon,
Oct 29..
... Read more »

By Design presents dsmDining —

If it were any fresher, it wouldn't be ready yet. That's the way tacos are done at Fernando's in the Drake neighborhood.

By Wini Moranville

The first time I tried tacos from one of the great taco trucks around town, I could neither believe how good they were, nor figure out what made them so much better than similar tacos served at ultra-casual restaurants in town. My food-editor dining companion put forth this theory: Tacos diminish in greatness for every second it takes to get them from the cook’s hands to yours, which can greatly depend on how far you are from the kitchen. Because taco-truck cooks hand you the tacos immediately after they’re ready, and from within a half-step of where they were made, theirs are the best.

Alas, it’s getting late in the season to enjoy taco trucks around town. But when a craving recently struck last week, I fortuitously landed at the Drake-area’s Fernando’s Mexican Grill. While they serve tortas, chile rellenos, burritos and quesadillas, I doubt I’ll ever be able to move beyond the ultra-fresh tacos here.

At this cheerful and casual order-at-the-counter operation, they wait until you order before they press the raw dough balls into tortilla disks (how fresh is that?); next the tortillas get slapped on the grill for little pockets of char. Choose the toppings as you move down the line—I recommend the glistening, moist bits of seasoned steak, with pico de gallo, green salsa and cilantro-flecked red onions. And within seconds, you’ll be sitting down and savoring taco-truck-fresh, killer-good tacos … but in the cozy indoors.

A basket with two tacos costs from $5.95 to $6.95, depending on the toppings. Yes—that’s a little pricier than at the taco trucks, but those at Fernando’s are somewhat larger than traditional street-style tacos.

Find Fernando’s Mexican Grill at 2316 University Ave.; 515-255-3700; on Facebook at Fernando’s Mexican Grill.

There is a place for neutral. Simplicity is good. Classics are classic for a reason. BUT, none of those things mean your room should be boring. ... Read more »


You still have time to join in the tributes and celebration for this year's Sages Over 70. The inspiring annual reception—Nov. 8 this year—usually sells out, but some tickets are still available. This year’s sages:
  • Simon Estes, internationally acclaimed operatic baritone, teacher and philanthropist.
  • James Hubbell III, real estate developer and philanthropist.
  • William C. Kimball, business and civic leader.
  • William Lillis, attorney, advocate and fundraiser for community development.
  • Patsy Shors, civic leader, nurse, entrepreneur and advocate for women in business.
  • Catherine G. Williams, a mentor and a trailblazer in Iowa social services, both professionally and as a prominent volunteer.
In addition to success in their careers, each has contributed significantly in the personal development of others, in the growth of Greater Des Moines and in support of charitable causes and institutions.

This year's reception is in the ballroom of the new Hilton Des Moines Downtown, 435 Park St., where we will honor the Sages' accomplishments and learn insights into their remarkable approach to life. The schedule: networking and hors d'oeuvres from 5 to 5:45 p.m. and the program from 5:45 to 7 p.m.
Admission is $50, which supports the Sages Over 70 Fund managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, our presenting partner. For reservations and more information, click here.

Heartache and yearning take a lot out of a guy. Just ask the Phantom, singing his sorrows at the Civic Center tonight through Oct. 21.


Play your cards right, and love never dies. Spend your money right, and you can see that premise played out onstage, as "Love Never Dies" opens tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 16) at the Des Moines Civic Center.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, the sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera," is the first show of this 40th season of Broadway productions at the Civic Center, presented by Des Moines Performing Arts.

The year is 1907, 10 years after his disappearance from Paris, and The Phantom has escaped to a secret life in the clamor of Coney Island, still yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé. Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine travels to perform in New York, not knowing what is in store …

But c'mon, we have an inkling, right? Dazzling scenes, glorious music, high drama—expect it all in shows nightly through Oct. 21. Tickets range from $40 to $159. For tickets and more info, including details on post-show Q&A sessions with members of the company tomorrow and Thursday, click here.

Here at dsm magazine, we're delighted that "C is for Connie" in the new children's book "Amazing Iowa Women."


A new, illustrated book coming out next week introduces children to a collection of inspiring Iowa women. In the spirit of "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" and "Rad Women A to Z," Iowa State University education professor Katy Swalwell worked with over 25 Iowa female artists and regional retailer Raygun to create "Amazing Iowa Women," a children’s book that celebrates the accomplishments of an alphabetical list of women throughout Iowa’s history.

Here at dsm magazine, we're more than a little tickled that the book features our own corporate chief Connie Wimer, who has long been a prominent fixture in business and civic leadership.

You can get the 10x10-inch paperback at Raygun stores or order a copy for $20 here. Learn more at

Pianist Emanuel Ax will present a solo Civic Music Association concert of classical selections at Drake University.


Celebrated pianist Emanuel Ax performs a solo public concert at Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, presented by Greater Des Moines' Civic Music Association. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and a frequent recording and concert partner with Yo-Yo Ma, Ax now teaches at Juilliard and regularly performs with major symphony orchestras around the world. His solo program here will include pieces by Chopin, Schumann and Ravel, among others. Tickets range from $45 to $85. For tickets, program details and other information, click here. This concert is sponsored by Nix and Virginia Lauridsen and the Marjorie Spevak Endowment Fund.

CultureAll and the Des Moines Social Club present storyteller Ada Cheng in a performance and public-speaking workshop.


Performer and storyteller Ada Cheng will entertain and instruct in separate events at the Des Moines Social Club Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19 and 20.

A native of Taiwan, the former professor of sociology now tours the country to share her storiesand help others find theirs. Her presentation "Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire" will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Social Club's Kum & Go Theater. In this solo performance, Cheng uses personal stories, monologues and characters to explore her journey as an immigrant. Stories center on the intersection of race, immigration, gender and sexuality. More information and tickets ($10-$25) are available here.

Saturday, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
in the Social Club's Culinary Loft, Cheng will conduct a public speaking workshop titled "All In the Telling: Story-Centered Public Speaking." The interactive workshop covers techniques for storytelling and how to use them. Admission prices range from $15 to $25. Tickets and more info are available here. Cheng's presentations are sponsored in part by the local organization CultureAll.


The Des Moines Community Playhouse honors legends J. Michael Kellar, Melissa Kellar, Greg Leavengood, Mark Morrison, and Antonia Nozicka on Saturday, Oct. 20. A reception begins at 3 p.m. with a program at 4 p.m. This event is free but reservations are required and may be made online at or by calling 515-277-6261. The five 2018 honorees represent nearly 40 years and more than 50 shows at the Playhouse. Other 2018 inductees include Sue Caswell, Rich Richards, and Dick Russell. 

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