The nature of relationships gets complicated by matters of life and death in the emotional and musical play "The Amen Corner."


Reviewed by Michael Morain

When a sick man stumbles into a church to visit his estranged wife, who happens to be the pastor, the flock of clucking church ladies suddenly goes silent. They freeze for just a second and then scatter out of his way.

Picture a fox in a henhouse and you can imagine the ruckus in James Baldwin’s 1954 play “The Amen Corner,” which Pyramid Theatre and director Ken-Matt Martin have resurrected in a lively new production at the Civic Center’s Stoner Theater. To read the complete review with links to related stories, click here.

Request Granted: Funky and Contemporary Master Suite!
The final reveal of this extraordinary master suite redesign and remodel was worth the wait! Highly customized to meet our client’s vision, we incorporated an eclectic mix of barn wood, marble fireplace, dramatic tiled shower and a super-chic master closet and dressing area. ... Read more »

The California combo Quitapenas brings its mix of tropical Afro-Latin music to Des Moines Saturday.

This weekend, celebrate two of the cultures that contribute so much to the character of Des Moines:

"Viva l'Italia," the annual Italian American Heritage Festival of Iowa, returns to Western Gateway Park, opening at 11 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, July 28 and 29. The party goes on until 1 a.m. both nights.

The festival includes events for all ages, including four bocce ball tournaments. Admission is free before 5 p.m. each day with a gift of food or money to the Food Bank of Iowa. The cost is $5 after 5 p.m. (under age 12 admitted free). For details, click here.

You can shift into Latin rhythms after 3 p.m. Saturday, when the Warren Morrow Latin Music Festival opens at Brenton Skating Plaza. Featured artists include the nationally acclaimed Quitapenas and Making Movies, along with regional favorites Brazilian 2wins and Parranderos Latin Combo. Admission is $20 in advance, $30 on Saturday. Details, including other performers and the full schedule, are here.

Coming up in three weeks: The 13th annual World Food & Music Festival will be at Western Gateway Park Sept. 15-17 celebrating food and entertainment from more than 25 countries and culinary regions. 

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You may be asking yourself…why is texture a trend? Don’t rooms always need texture? Texture is a key element in any room at any time…but it’s especially cool these days. ... Read more »

By Design presents dsmDining —
The classic diet plate, at left, gets a refreshing improvement, at right, with local ingredients.


By Wini Moranville

Anybody remember the “diet plate”? Comprised of a hamburger patty, cottage cheese, lettuce and tomato slices, this was a restaurant mainstay in and around the 1980s. It was low-carb before low-carb was cool.

During the recent stretch of hot weather, I was thinking about how satisfying and refreshing this simple plate actually is: the juicy burger sided with cool cottage cheese and tangy in-season tomatoes.

I decided it was time for a 2017 update, using world-class ingredients you can find locally. The new dish has become a hot-weather favorite:

• Instead of a ground beef patty, use ground lamb: You can generally find this at Whole Foods.

• Instead of cottage cheese, use another fresh cheese: Mt. Vikos Sheep & Goat’s Milk Cheese Feta, also available at Whole Foods. This version of feta is a world apart from the industrial feta mostly found around here. While domestic industrial feta, (generally made from cow’s milk) is often tangy and dry and not much else, Mt. Vikos, imported from Greece, is not only tangy, but also moist, creamy and rich.

• Instead of using sliced trucked-in tomatoes, combine chopped local tomatoes with the feta, some halved Kalamata olives, fresh mint, olive oil, salt and pepper for an enticing topper to the lamb patty.

• Make it all über-local, with radishes, cucumbers and a spare amount of lettuce that you bring home in your next farmers market haul. Toss those veggies in a lemon-mint dressing: Whisk together 3 tablespoons of superior-quality olive oil (I use the San Gimignano extra virgin olive oil from Vom Fass), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint and salt and pepper to taste.

You’ve got it: I’ve transformed the basic components of the classic diet plate into a Greek-style salad with a flavorful lamb patty. It’s a fabulous way to take advantage of the best of summer on a refreshing plate. Enjoy!

Wini Moranville covers food and dining for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food - DSM Wini Moranville.  

The forested nature of Tonawanda Drive hasn't changed much in the nine decades since celebrated artist Lilian Genth visited the owners of Salisbury House and left this painting of the street. Prints are now available.


The art exhibition "For the Good of My Soul," featuring paintings by Lilian Genth, runs through Aug. 20 at The Garage, the public gallery at Salisbury House and Gardens. Almost a century ago, Genth was a friend of the Salisbury House owners, who collected several of her paintings that have been restored for this exhibit. Click here for details. And now, for the first time, you can bring home a brilliant memento of that time. Limited-edition 16-by-20-inch prints of Genth's 1927 painting “Tonawanda Drive” are available for $50 in the Great Hall. Proceeds benefit Salisbury House Foundation.⠀

Blake Shaw, his bass, and the rest of the Blake Shaw Quintet will perform in Valley Junction Saturday evening.


The summer delights of Jazz in July and Windsor Height's Music in the Park are closing soon. If the recent heat kept you indoors, here's your invitation to venture back outside:

The season finale of Jazz in July is Saturday, July 29, from 5 to 10 p.m. in Valley Junction's Railroad Park with local wines and beers available for purchase. The free lineup of music:

  • 5–6 p.m. -- Valley High School JR Jazz Band
  • 6:30–8 p.m. -- The Blake Shaw Quintet
  • 8:30–10 p.m. -- The 'Ceptet
In Windsor Heights, the family-friendly Music in the Park concert series continues tonight and the next two Tuesdays. The free concerts at Colby Park (6900 School St.) start at 7 p.m. and include free snow cones and fresh popcorn. Final performers in this series include Broken Keys tonight the Des Moines Concert Band Aug. 1 and the band Renegade Aug. 8.

Public radio's Ira Glass brings his one-man stage show, "Seven Things I've Learned," to Hoyt Sherman Place Sept. 16. Details here.

Peek into the future of Greater Des Moines' arts and cultural events with these calendars. We at dsm magazine and the Business Record maintain this calendar with handy filters so you can see just the types of events you're searching for. Looking for even more categories? Check Catch Des Moines.

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