Some dsm unveilings take partying to new heights. It's a fun time to enjoy friends and food and gain insights into the various companies and organizations that host the event.


Another issue of dsm magazine is currently churning through the printer's presses. You know what that means! Yes, friends, it's time for a party. And not just any old party. It's time for a dsm unveiling party, where a few hundred people meet, mingle, then ooh and ahh as we reveal the latest cover design and distribute free copies. Of course, there's food, beverages and a surprise or two.

For our March/April issue, it's all happening at Anawim Housing, 1171 Seventh St. The usual timing applies: We'll be there from 5 to 7 p.m., with brief comments at 6 p.m. You can come and go anytime, but you must have fun while you're there. It's a rule.

Take our quiz. Shower or a soak or both?! There’s a solution for you! Statistics say 90% of us prefer to shower. But an occasional luxurious bath is a pleasure that’s hard to give up. See how Silent Rivers clients get beautifully designed bathing solutions, customized to fit their preferences. What’s best for you? Take our short quiz. ... Read more »

By Design presents dsmDining —

There's nothing quite like fresh produce. You can learn about the source on Thursday.


By Wini Moranville

It’s not too early to start dreaming about our local growing season—nor is it too early to help support the farmers who do the growing. This Thursday (Feb. 22), from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Raccoon Forks Farms will host an open house at Railroad Bill’s Dining Car, 621 Des Moines St. The event will include live music, door prizes and complimentary small-plate samples of dishes made from foods that come from the farm. Recipes in the works for the event include deviled eggs, roast chicken, Swiss Chard/kale egg rolls, Irish mashed potatoes and more.

Raccoon Forks Farms produces cage-free, pastured chickens and eggs all year round. During the growing season, the Redfield- and Runnells-area farms grow chemical-free vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, green beans, green garlic, leeks, collard greens and baby lettuces. Thursday’s event offers a chance to learn about the availability of CSA (community-sponsored agriculture) shares. Summer shares cost $325 for a half share and $525 for a full share. Fall shares and half-shares are available, and poultry shares are available year-round.

Raccoon Forks Farms is a micro business within the Optimae LifeServices organization, which offers health care and other services to customers with disabilities and mental illness. Raccoon Forks Farms provides work settings for Optimae’s customers, who work with job coaches and other farm staff to grow and raise the produce and poultry.

More details about the event are here

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

The Living Room
Many people don’t care much for their living rooms. It seems surprising, but that has been our observation. They love their kitchen or even better their kitchen and great room. But we’ve always loved our living rooms. From our very first house onward, our living room has been at least as important to us as the kitchen. ... Read more »


Richly textured, appliqued handmade caps in cast bronze are the creations of Massachusetts sculptor Laura Baring-Gould, who is returning to the Des Moines Arts Festival, where she was judged best in show last year.


By Michael Morain

Sure, the Des Moines Arts Festival organizers could send out a plain old press release to announce which artists made the cut for this summer’s show, set for June 22-24 in Western Gateway Park.

But doing things the plain old way isn’t how the festival racked up all its trophies from the International Festivals and Events Association. In their efforts to keep raising the bar, festival director Stephen King and his team decided a few years ago to unveil the list of exhibitors with a big midwinter party, sort of like the RAGBRAI route-announcement shindig that annually attracts more than 1,000 fans of bikes and/or beer. It’s an event in itself.

So this Thursday (Feb. 22), in the art-filled Athene headquarters in West Des Moines, partygoers will be among the first to see which 180 artists were chosen from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants. Attendees can enjoy dinner and cocktails and watch an artist paint a giant canvas on the spot, to be auctioned at the end of the night.

"The festival has such a groundswell of community support," Massachusetts sculptor Laura Baring-Gould said. "I really think the Des Moines festival is the gold standard. I’m so looking forward to making that drive back."

And she can. One of the perks of winning the 2017 best-in-show prize is a free ticket to the 2018 show. So once again she’ll pack up her bronze casts of everyday objectspears, slippers, stocking caps and suchand bring them to Iowa. She recently returned from Thailand with a fresh batch of handmade fish traps she’s been casting in heavy metal.

"I love taking these things that are impermanent and memorializing them," she said. "When you look at ancient cultures, it’s the metal things that last."

King wouldn’t divulge any of the new exhibitors on this year’s list but did mention two other 2017 winners he’s eager to welcome back:

  • Shawn Harris will return from southern Colorado with a new stack of surreal digital prints that are both ironic and weirdly beautifula monkey-cowboy riding a bucking banana, for example, or a bull-headed man ironing a cowhide. The artist has a vast collection of animal masks and poses for most of the photos himself. Lately he’s turned his attention to endangered species. Dinosaurs roam a recent composition with rhinos and polar bears. "I’m doing more work that has an environmental note to it," he said. "It’s inundating the news. It needs to be explored."

  • Kansas City photographer Chris Dahlquist will also return, this time as both an exhibitor and a juror. Judging from the quality of this year’s applications, she said the show could easily be two or three times larger. But still, only 180 booths are up for grabs. She’ll fill two of them with two kinds of photographic landscapes, one that she prints on steel plates painted with gold, and another she prints on translucent waxed rice paper that reveals identical photos mounted underneath. "I’m interested in pairing material to further the story," she said. "The story is in the telling."

The Reveal begins at 6:30 p.m. at Athene corporate headquarters, 7700 Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines, following a VIP pre-party that starts at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $125 ($100 for "young professionals"). Get further details and tickets right here.

Colorful, musical and dramatic, "On Your Feet!" presents the rags-to-riches story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan.


The popular and critically acclaimed musical "On Your Feet!" opens this evening (Tuesday) at the Des Moines Civic Center. In drama, song and dance, the energetic show presents the real-life triumphs and tragedies of singing sensation Gloria Estefan, who infused American pop music with the rhythms of her native Cuba.

The show features such hits as "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," "1-2-3," "Mi Tierra" and "Conga," in addition to new music penned by Emilio and Gloria Estefan. From humble beginnings, they came to America and broke through barriers to become a crossover sensation at the top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything.

Performances continue daily through Sunday. For showtimes and tickets ($35-$140), click here.

Kurt Rachwitz recently moved to Des Moines to join Iowa Stage Theatre Company as executive director.


When the folks from Iowa Stage Theatre Company stopped by dsm’s office recently, they had all sorts of news to share.

For starters, the company will open its newest show, "A View From the Bridge," this Friday, Feb. 23. Set in the 1950s in New York, the Arthur Miller tragedy centers on a close-knit Italian immigrant community. It follows the story of Eddie Carbone and his wife, Beatrice, who are happy to take in two of Beatrice’s cousins who just arrived from Italy—until Beatrice’s niece falls for one of them. Immigration, unsanctioned love affairs and the freedom to pursue happiness are threatened in this still-timely tale. The show, staged at the Des Moines Social Club's Kum & Go Theater, begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through March 4 (dates and times vary). Tickets are $20-$35, available through Midwesttix.

In other news, Iowa Stage has a new executive director. Kurt Rachwitz moved to Des Moines in January to lead the organization. Rachwitz has 20 years’ experience as a professional fundraiser, working in various locations in the Midwest and East. Board President Dave Miglin told us Rachwitz is the perfect fit for Iowa Stage: "The board is more committed than ever to financial security and being [good stewards] of donors’ dollars."

What’s more, Matthew McIver, who’s directing "A View From the Bridge," will become Iowa Stage’s artistic director April 1. The current artistic director, Brad Dell, an associate professor of theater at Iowa State, will focus on his work in Ames.

Iowa Stage formed last year through a merger of the Repertory Theater of Iowa and StageWest Theatre Company. Miglin notes that for the company’s first three productions this season, an average of 70 percent of the seats were sold, compared with 38 percent for the last season of RTI and 52 percent for Stagewest. Miglin, Rachwitz and McIver agree the company’s success so far reflects the strong commitment of the company’s members as well as the city’s embrace of theater and the arts.

"There was a real desire to keep a downtown theater company in Des Moines," Miglin says. "The passion among the people involved is genuine."

Floppy, left, and his constant companion Duane Ellett served up cartoons and studio silliness from the 1950s into the 1980s.


Revisit the joyful days of "The Floppy Show" Monday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. when local author Jeff Stein discusses his new book of the same name at Artisan Gallery 218 in Valley Junction.

If you grew up in Iowa in the 1960s and '70s, chances are you hurried home after school to watch "The Floppy Show." Back in 1957, WHO television's Duane Ellett created Floppy to help teach children how to better care for their pets. The beagle puppet became his sidekick for the next 30 years, making 200 personal appearances every year in addition to the afternoon program.

The show featured a studio audience of children telling Floppy riddles, beeping his nose for luck and watching cartoons. On weekends, the duo appeared in a variety of programs, from the "S.S. Popeye" in earlier years to "The Floppytown Gazette" in the 1980s, featuring Floppy and other puppets Ellett created.

Stein is the author of five books, including three on Iowa broadcasting. His work can be found at Artisan Gallery 218 is located at 218 Fifth St. in West Des Moines. Beaverdale Books has Stein's book in stock.

High school students with an interest in politics visit the set of a nationally televised presidential debate at Drake University, listed by Seventeen magazine as one of the coolest schools in America due to its breadth of political opportunities.


Colleges and universities get rated from time to time on various scales. Drake's latest rating: "A cool school." That's the conclusion of Seventeen magazine. The teen-focused publication included Drake in a story titled "Cool Schools 2018" in the March/April issue, now on sale.

Drake was included for its breadth of political opportunities, which rival those offered by any other U.S. college or university. In fact, Drake was one of only two schools to make the cut as a cool place for politics and 10 schools to be featured overall.

"No university will bring you closer to the Iowa caucuses," the magazine said of Drake. "In 2016, students who worked on the Iowa Caucus Project helped organize campaign events and delivered behind-the-scenes journalism."
The 2016 presidential campaign season brought nine presidential hopefuls, 1,500 journalists, one Twitter Moment, five precinct caucuses, dozens of celebrities, and much more to campus.  

But the political buzz doesn’t begin and end with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. In each student’s four years at Drake, they have a front-row seat for the caucuses, a vibrant midterm election experience, and a presidential election—each bringing its own set of experiences.

"For any student who is inspired to get involved in politics, whether they want to help shape state law or join a presidential campaign, Drake offers the opportunities to pursue that passion," said Rachel Paine Caufield, associate professor of political science. "Our students have unparalleled access to the political process, and it is always a delight to see the things they do—both inside and outside of our classrooms—during their four years at Drake."

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