If you like your holiday music loud, enthusiastic and yet classical, Mannheim Steamroller delivers for two nights, Dec. 18 and 19.


We observe a lot of great holidays every year—from joyful to somber, religious to ridiculous. But Christmas gets the prize for best holiday music.
You have plenty of opportunities to enjoy it this month:
   • Salisbury House presents a Not So Silent Night Wednesday, Dec. 5, with the Gay Men's Chorus. Details.
   • Max Wellman croons in Noce's "Home for the Holidays" shows Friday, Dec. 7, and six later dates. Details.
   • Des Moines Choral Society sings Christmas classics at St. Ambrose Cathedral Saturday, Dec. 8. Details.
   • The rich a capella harmonies of The Blenders will ring from Prairie Meadows Sunday, Dec. 9. Details.
   • More a capella? Minnesota quartet Tonic Sol-fa returns to Hoyt Sherman Place Dec. 14 and 15. Details.
   • Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble performs at St. Augustin's Church Sunday, Dec. 16.  Details.
   • Pianist Jim McDonough brings his orchestra and singers to Hoyt Sherman Place Sunday, Dec. 16. Details.
   • Mannheim Steamroller brings its dynamic Christmas show to the Civic Center Dec. 18 and 19. Details.

A heartwarming video capturing the good vibes from last month’s Silent Rivers 25th Anniversary and dsm Unveiling Party expresses why the positive impact continues to inspire people! ...
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By Design presents dsmDining —

But wait, there's more... Diners get a totally different international flair at Lucca if they catch the elusive "Dinner Upstairs."


By Wini Moranville

Inspired simplicity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. With food, who can draw an exact line between simple-and-sublime and simple-to-a-fault? That idea struck me as I enjoyed an almost-secret, extremely low-profile, only-on-weekends dining experience upstairs at Lucca.

Known simply as "Dinner Upstairs," the evening’s menu is created by Cidalia Tamaz, who trained as a nurse before moving on to serve as a private chef for prominent families in her native Monterrey, Mexico. During the week Tamaz works in Lucca’s 100 percent Italian downstairs kitchen. On weekend nights, however, the upstairs kitchen belongs to her. She oversees the evening’s three-course, $28 Mexican-inspired menu.

Until recently, only insiders—friends of owner Steve Logsdon and regular devotees of Lucca—were told about the dinners. But clearly, they’re catching on. The night I ventured in, the room swelled with the well-dressed, high-end-wine-swilling crowd you usually see downstairs.

For our first course, we enjoyed a barbacoa taco and a particularly luscious shrimp chile relleno; both proved satisfying and well crafted. For me, the unmistakable leap into the realm of inspired simplicity came with a dish called Chicken Milanese, akin to Chicken Cordon Bleu but with a Mexican twist. The ham- and cheese-stuffed, lightly breaded chicken breast was served over yellow rice and topped with a bright salsa verde. The dessert, a small square of flan served with fresh fruit, satisfied in a sweet-and-simple way.

If you appreciate the style of food that Logsdon serves at Lucca, you’ll enjoy the Upstairs experience. Both trade in a certain style of well-crafted, refined-rustic cuisine served in a polished setting. If, however, you’re beholden to your favorite taqueria and could never fathom paying $28 for three courses of Mexican food, this isn’t your dining experience.

Note that Dinner Upstairs is served on most Friday and Saturday nights; call in advance, however, as every so often, the room is reserved for a private party. Lucca is at 420 E. Locust St., 515-243-1115;

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.

There are so many decisions to make when you are designing a new room in your home…and one of the biggest is whether to choose a sectional or sofa! Trust us – we’ve helped thousands of people make these decisions over our 40 years in business at by Design. We can help you too!

Jazz with some French flavoring is the hallmark of the group Hot Club of San Francisco, performing Saturday in Des Moines.


A vanguard of the current gypsy jazz revival, Hot Club of San Francisco performs Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Drake University's Sheslow Auditorium, presented by Des Moines' Civic Music Association. That's just the beginning of the fun. Your concert ticket stub is also your admission pass to party with the band in post-concert revelry at the jazz club Noce, 1326 Walnut St. Music and, of course, dancing will begin around 10 p.m.

"Woman Playing the Bass," mixed media, by Annick Ibsen, whose work will be included in the Moberg Gallery exhibit opening Friday. 


Find relief from the holiday hubbub in the artful environs of two galleries hosting public receptions Friday, Dec. 7, for the opening of new exhibits.

Moberg Gallery, 2921 Ingersoll Ave., celebrates its 15 years in business with an Anniversary Group Show featuring the work of numerous local artists, many of whom have been featured in dsm magazine during our 15 years. They include Larassa Kabel, Ben Easter, Catherine Dreiss, Sarah Grant, Annick Ibsen, Chris Vance, and collaborators Aaron Wilson and Tim Dooley. The opening reception is from 5 to 9 p.m.  

Olson-Larsen Galleries, located in Valley Junction, opens its annual Small Works Show with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit features the work of Des Moines natives Bill Barnes and Doug Shelton, both of whom find inspiration from their experiences in the American Southwest. Their use of concealed narrative, symbolis, and a romanticized realism is evident in their paintings.

The new issue of the journal Lifting the Veil, appearing Dec. 19, looks closely at mental health services for children and young adults. 


The 2019 issue of the journal Lifting the Veil will make its debut at a breakfast reception from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19. Lifting the Veil is an annual report on the status of mental health care in central Iowa, published by Business Publications Corp., the parent company of dsm magazine. The event will be hosted by UnityPoint Health's Des Moines Education and Research Center, located on the campus of Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

You'll enjoy networking, some music and comments on the progress that has been made as well as a look at what’s next in advocacy for mental health. Comments and distribution of the magazine will begin at 8 a.m.

The Education and Research Center is linked to the first floor of Iowa Methodist's free parking ramp, at the corner of Pleasant Street and 14th Place. Take the ramp's south elevators to the first floor, which puts you in the ERC. You may also enter from the Woodland Avenue entrance, 1415 Woodland Ave. 

Darius Rucker will be rocking again with Hootie and the Blowfish, coming to the Iowa State Fair Aug. 28. (Photo: Jason Simanek)


Tickets go on sale Friday for a State Fair concert by the reunited Grammy-winning rock group Hootie & the Blowfish. A decade after it split, the band just announced plans for a new album and a 44-city concert tour, including Des Moines next August. Tickets go on sale Thursday for comedian Paula Poundstone, who will perform next spring at Hoyt Sherman Place. For other fun opportunities, explore a pair of easy-to-use online 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. For even more categories, check Catch Des Moines.

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