Well, of course you've seen them before, but how could we not show them again? They're just so stinkin' cute!


Oh, sure, the baby giraffe in 2016 was cute. The baby rhino was even cuter. Blank Park Zoo had to think hard to top those newcomers. Hey, why not a lion? Heck, let's make it three. That may be how the planning committee came up with this. The result is pretty darned adorable. As you may have heard, Friday the mighty kitties were named Kali (Kaw-lee), meaning fierce or sharp; Asha (ah-sha), meaning life; and Jabari (ja-bar-ee), the only male, whose name means the brave one. Lends a whole new meaning to Iowa Cubs, doesn't it? Keeping it real, their scientific name is Panthera leo. And their natural diet of choice includes buffalo, zebra, antelope, giraffe and warthogs, plus the occasional gnu and wildebeest. Not so cuddly cute now, are they?

Moving and want to take your bathroom with you? Silent Rivers is up for the task! We created this bathroom remodel in a South of Grand home in 2015. Our clients loved it so much, they’re inviting us to remodel their new home in the Wildwood neighborhood. ...
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By Design Furniture & Interior Design presents dsmDining —
Behold: Spartacus! This gladiator of a pizza is armed with Italian sausage, pepperoni, banana peppers and mushrooms.


By Wini Moranville

Of all the places you can get pizza for lunch in Des Moines, Gusto might just lead the pack. Of course, their pizza is grand, but the exceedingly well-priced Divine 7 lunch special also gives Gusto the edge.

For $9.95 you get a 7-inch personal pizza plus a side and a fountain drink. And they’re not stinting on the options, either—you can choose any one of their 12-plus signature pies, such as the Duke (smoked brisket, barbecue sauce, colby jack and more) or the Mona Lisa (rosemary olive oil, cremini mushrooms, tomatoes, kalamata, Romano and fresh ricotta). Sound too newfangled for you? My more traditionalist dining companion thoroughly enjoyed the Spartacus (with red sauce, Graziano’s Italian sausage, pepperoni, banana peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella).

Side options are far from rote as well. Choose from two soups or three salads (panzanella, house salad or pasta salad). I was heartened to see the soups veered off the beaten path (no roasted red pepper soup the day of my visit!) to include Tuscan chicken with white beans or Thai peanut soup.

It’s an order-at-the-counter operation, but lunch was delivered in courses (first the soup/salad, then the pizza) by the gracious staff. The spicy peanut soup hit the spot on this cold day, and the simple but fresh and thoughtfully arranged house salad did the trick as well.

The pizzas were perfect. I snagged my all-time favorite, the Saltimbocca. With Marsala cream sauce, chicken, chipotle-garlic bacon, mushrooms, Marsala onions, sage, and a trio of cheeses atop Gusto’s thin (but not crackery) crust, what’s not to love?

The ambiance really shines during the day—literally. With windows on three sides of the space, the natural light is naturally uplifting. And on a sunny day, the casual place pretty much sparkles, all the way around.

We visited the near-downtown Gusto location (1905 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-244-8786). Other locations are in Johnston and West Des Moines (one near Waukee and a new one in Clocktower Square).

Maximum seating with minimum space This was a unique project in a very unique space! My client Julie wanted to have maximum seating in her small living room to accommodate her big family when they visit. She loved the Colton style and we loved that it was the right size and style for the design and room. ... Read more »

In their opening number, Hubbard Street dancers perform among and atop folding tables to the sound of thumping techno.


By Michael Morrain

If you catch Hubbard Street Dance Chicago on Wednesday (Jan. 24) at the Des Moines Civic Center, try to give them your undivided attentionwith only half your brain. Put the right side in charge while the left one takes a nap.

"If you try to intellectualize it and try to figure it out, that’s the wrong approach. You need to bring your imagination to it," the company’s artistic director, Glenn Edgerton, said last week in a phone interview from San Francisco.

He compared the experience to gazing at an abstract painting or listening to a symphony. "Dance is no different," he said. "The more you participate with your imagination, the more you’ll enjoy it."

But in the meantime, while your left brain is still reading these words right here, you should know that Wednesday’s program of a half-dozen short works travels back in time to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary. It’s like "a snapshot of everything along the way," Edgerton said, starting with a pair of muscular recent numbers and working backward to two enduring hits that company founder Lou Conte choreographed in the 1980s, namely a setting of Willie Nelson’s homespun take on "Georgia" and a medley of jazz from the 1940s.

In the four decades since the group opened its studio on Hubbard Street, near the Chicago River, contemporary dance has veered away from traditional storytelling in favor of deconstructed bits and pieces, such as energy, light and raw emotion. "It’s become more industrial and technical, as we are now in the rest of the world," Edgerton said.

In the program’s opening number, for example, called "One Flat Thing, Reproduced," dancers ricochet among and atop 20 folding tables while a sound technician mixes thumping techno like a DJ at a club. The second work, "A Picture of You Falling," encircles two dancers in a zone of bright light.

Edgerton said it’s "based on an intense relationship," but that doesn’t mean you can’t see it differently. Remember: Your right brain calls the shots.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, after a pre-show talk at 6:30 p.m. with a member of the company’s artistic team. Stick around afterward for a Q&A with the dancers. $15-$60;

For his "Familiar Faces Too" exhibit, Des Moines photographer Michael Watson went old-school: using film and developing and printing the photos in his darkroom.


By Lacy Brunnette

Des Moines photographer Michael Watson’s "Familiar Faces Too" opened to a packed house at Art Terrarium this past Friday. The exhibit showcases 150 framed portraits, which line the walls and are staged among the shop’s plants and succulents.

"One camera was used for every photo, they were all on the same film stock, and each photo was taken in the same location on either a plain white or plain black backdrop," Watson says. "Within these limitations, I wanted [the portraits] to show 150 people's unique personalities

Watson adds that the "community aspect" of the project also influenced him: "I wanted to bring this collection of artists, friends and otherwise interesting human beings to one place and force interaction and, hopefully, breed collaboration." 

This sequel installment to "Familiar Faces"—originally shown in 2012 as Watson’s first gallery show—features portraits shot on 35mm black and white film, hand-developed and printed at his darkroom, the Gray Scale.

"The revival in print is incredibly important to me as an artist; the digitalization of art is mostly harmful, in my opinion. It has made art disposable and something you quickly scroll past on your timeline rather than interact with and look enough into to understand the message the artist is trying to deliver," Watson explains.

In addition, he says, a photo’s details are lost when viewed only on a mobile screen. "I love being able to physically hold a piece of art in my hands. That real visceral reaction to physical art is vital to the intended experience of art," he says.

"Familiar Faces Too" runs through Jan. 31. Art Terrarium is located at Elevencherry,106 11th St. downtown. More information about Watson’s work is available at or on Instagram at @forever_goldd.

Just down the block, another photography exhibit recently opened at the Des Moines Social Club’s Basement by award-winning outside adventure photographer Skyler Knutzen. Follow her work on Instagram at @skylerknutzen.

There's much to be learned from, and about, great apes. Expert Ian Nichols will talk about preservation efforts at the zoo Feb. 1.


Blank Park Zoo’s annual conservation speaker series will return Feb. 1. The series will feature three speakers who will provide an "in the field" perspective to conservation. They are:

• Feb. 1: Ian Nichols, "Great Ape Science and Conservation in the Congo."
• March 1: Susie Louis, "Utilizing Education as a Weapon in the Struggle to Save Endangered Species in Madagascar."

• April 5:
Michele Miller, "Rhino Conservation in AfricaPast, Present, and How We Can Affect the Future."

"These three visionaries are leading the charge to save some of Earth’s greatest creatures," said Jessie Lowry, Blank Park Zoo director of conservation and research. "We hold these events to inform and to inspire positive change for endangered animals and our environment, both globally and locally."

Each event, held at the zoo’s Discovery Center, will feature a 6 p.m. social hour and a presentation at 7 p.m. Tickets: member $20 ( $50 for series); nonmember $25 ( $60 for series); student: $15 ($35 for series). Purchase online at

So you think you've got problems? A crazed fan seeks to change an author's story, or end his life, in "Misery," starring Preshia Paulding and Michael Davenport, at the Des Moines Community Playhouse.


The Des Moines Community Playhouse presents the suspense-filled "Misery" Jan. 26 through Feb. 11. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 515-277-6261 or at the Playhouse ticket office.

Based on a Stephen King novel, which was made into a 1990 movie thriller, the compact story follows a horrible automobile accident that nearly claims the life of best-selling author Paul Sheldon (Micheal Davenport). Luckily, his number-one fan (Preshia Paulding) is there to save him. The author soon discovers he is living a nightmare.

With or without fancy blue lights, the Texas Tenors will sing a concert of popular favorites at Hoyt Sherman Place April 7.


Tickets went on sale Friday for the Texas Tenors, coming to Hoyt Sherman Place April 7. Expect arrangements of "Amazing Grace," the Righteous Brothers’ "Lovin’ Feelin'," John Denver’s "Country Roads" and an emotional rendition of Irving Berlin's patriotic "God Bless America." Explore more entertainment options with 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. Looking for even more categories? Check Catch Des Moines.

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