We'll celebrate the arrival of the May-June issue (if not the arrival of spring) at the Student Center on the campus of Grand View U.


Help dsm celebrate the arrival of our spring-fresh May-June issue. It's ripe with great stories that we're eager to share with you. Be among the first to get a copy at the unveiling party, hosted by Grand View University, next
Tuesday, April 24. Join us at the GVU Student Center, 2811 E. 14th St. anytime between 5 and 7 p.m.  The unveiling and brief remarks are scheduled at 6 p.m. You'll probably see folks you know, meet some you didn't know before, and enjoy a beverage and snacks. And, of course, it's rated Triple-F: Fun For Free.

A stunning gazebo and private courtyard
Loving the contemporary kitchen Silent Rivers designed and built in their home, these clients requested another design+build project to make better use of their outdoor living space. The result is a beautiful gazebo that connects to the house via a trellis serving as gateway into this lovely space. ... Read more »

By Design presents dsmDining —

Pops of vivid color greet visitors to the Grateful Chef, operated by John Cornish and Brandy Leuders, at right.


By Wini Moranville

Some west-side food lovers might have grumbled a bit last summer when the Grateful Chef moved from Sherman Hill to the south side. I sure did. Certainly I have nothing against any side of town, but an eight-minute round-trip drive for restaurant-quality takeout food beats a 28-minute round-trip drive any day.

I finally visited again recently, and I’m surely back in the fold.

Chef Brandy Lueders and her partner, John Cornish, offer dinners for pickup every Wednesday night. They post the menu on their website the week before; each week generally brings a choice of entrees, a salad and soup. You order by Monday at noon, and pick up your food on Wednesday. The meals are fresh and refrigerated, taking about 35 minutes to warm in the oven once you’re home. They’re popular, too—according to Lueders, the duo cooks for 175 to 220 families a week.

Options are far beyond predictable. Think balsamic glazed meatballs with cauliflower puree, rainbow crunch bowl with red-curry peanut dressing, and island black bean burgers with mango salsa, to name just a few recent weekly offerings.

The new location has a lot going for it, starting with extended hours for Wednesday pickups (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The doors are also open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for limited grab-and-go lunch options, including sandwiches, soups, salads and side dishes. 

A lunch favorite, according to Lueders, is the chickpea salad. "It’s vegan but has the similar flavors of a chicken or tuna salad, with fresh dill, pickles, mustard, red onions, etc."

Other rotating options include cottage cheese power bowls (with vegetables, a nut-and-seed mix and dried fruit) and chia pudding with fresh fruit topping.

Did I mention that many of the options are healthful? Cornish is a certified holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and yoga instructor, and the couple’s commitment to good health combined with great taste shows.

Another nice touch: A few tables are available both indoors and out, so you can eat in for lunch, if you wish. Better yet, they offer pretty plates for serving the food, so you don’t have to eat out of to-go containers.

The Grateful Chef is at 1938 S.E. Sixth St., Suite 103, 515-559-4952;

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

Monochromatic Spaces
Monochromatic spaces are dramatic, soothing…and can be a relatively easy way to decorate your home.

A monochromatic space has an underlying hue that is repeated in different shades throughout the room. ... Read more »


Jonathan deLima portrays a charismatic pastor who creates a thriving megachurch with fundamental questions.

By Michael Morain

Is Christianity the only ticket out of hell?

When that question sparks a debate during an evangelical worship service in Iowa Stage Theatre’s production of "The Christians," the church leaders put the question to the congregation (otherwise known as the audience). Ushers pass around silver offering plates so folks can vote with slips of paper they received on their way into the sanctuary (otherwise known as the Des Moines Social Club’s Kum and Go Theater).

The votes are tallied, the results announced, and the associate pastor walks out in shock, a stunned sheep cast out of the flock.

The sudden rift sets in motion the rest of playwright Lucas Hnath’s and director Maxwell Schaeffer’s quietly provocative story, which wonders as much about eternal damnation as earthly differences of opinion. In any group—religious, social, political, you name it—how far can the group’s common ideals stretch to accommodate personal opinions? Exactly when in the course of human events is it necessary to declare independence? And what happens to the people who try to hold things together?

"It’s starting to feel like our church has sprung a leak," says the charismatic pastor (Jonathan deLima), who led the congregation from a modest storefront into a thriving megachurch, complete with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool.

DeLima could make a believer out of just about anybody. He strides down the center aisle in a tailored suit with the polished confidence of a trial lawyer and the sunny charm of Guy Smiley.

But that easy smile fades as he wades in to plug the leak. It’s clear he loves his congregation, feels their pain and wishes he had easier answers. When their questions push beyond the limits of logic, he can offer them only his own version of faith.

Thoughtful Christians are scarce in modern pop culture, but here in this 2014 script, the pastor is in good company. A church elder (Ed Barker) delicately asks whether the pastor might bend his message for the sake of harmony and, frankly, the church’s worrisome budget. The pastor’s demure wife (Jennifer Hughes) stands by her man in public but eloquently challenges him at homewhere, oddly, the actors use their hand-held microphones even in bed.

At one point she asks him a real head-scratcher: "Does absolute tolerance require tolerance of the intolerant?"

Later, the hard-line associate pastor (Michael Clinkscales) explains in heart-wrenching detail how he watched his dying mother slip away before he could save her soul. Even at the end, she thought all his "Jesus talk" was "creepy."

Besides the rousing choir, led with conviction by Ben Allaway at the keyboard, the only other character is a single mom (the excellent Kim Haymes) who unloads her doubts in an emotionally raw testimony at the pulpit. She has relied on the church as a family but now that it’s splitting apart doesn’t know which group to follow, especially for the sake of her son. It’s hard enough to save one’s one soul, let alone someone else’s.

On that point, at least, she and the pastor would agree. But there are tremors in their common ground.

"There is a crack in the foundation of this church," the pastor says. "And if we don’t fix it, it doesn’t matter how solid this building is. We will crumble and fall in."

"The Christians" starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Des Moines Social Club’s Kum & Go Theater. Tickets: $35 for adults, $30 for seniors and $20 for students;

Your descendants will appreciate having photos and other family treasures from the past that you can preserve for them.


Learn new techniques for preserving cherished family photos and other keepsakes Saturday, April 21, when the State Historical Society of Iowa opens its Research Center in the State Historical Museum downtown from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Preservation Week in Iowa. See items from the Historical Society collections and get the latest information about archival storage materials and other preservation tips.

Whatever the weather, the atmosphere is always delightfully balmy somewhere at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.


Celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, at the sixth annual Downtown Earth Day Tour, a collaboration between the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, the Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater (SCI), the Riverwalk Hub and Iowa Rivers Revival.

Each organization will host activities between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so you can start at any of the locations and use the trail system to walk or bike to the other locations. Admission to the Botanical Garden is free all day; admission to SCI will be $5. Details on the day's activities are listed here.

You can also participate in a photo challenge by taking a photo at each location and sharing on social media using the hashtag #earthdaytour. Rules are available at

Metaphorically, there may be no higher mountain to conquer than cancer, but local cancer survivors gain perspective by climbing distant mountains with Above and Beyond Cancer.


The organization Above and Beyond Cancer will present its annual night of inspiration Tuesday, April 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the State Historical Building.
The event will feature artwork by inspiring cancer survivors, a film and remarks by the group's founder, Dr. Richard Deming. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at 


In the ongoing series of free exhibits and presentations pertaining to legendary editorial cartoonist Jay N. "Ding" Darling, two speakers will draw his legacy into contemporary issues. A third will portray him in a one-man show.

Thursday, April 19, Dennis Ryerson—a former editor of the Des Moines Register, where Darling won two Pulitzer Prizes—will present "Ding Darling: Journalism at its Best," at 7 p.m. in Drake University's Cowles Library.

In the same program, Neil Hamilton—a professor of law and director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake—will present "From Darling to Today: What Ding Might Say About Iowa's Environmental Crisis."

Next month, actor Tom Milligan takes on the role of Darling and recounts the story of his life in "The Art of Conversation: A Visit with Ding Darling." The performance is May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Franklin Avenue Library.

To learn more about the efforts to revitalize appreciation for Darling, read this story from a recent issue of dsm magazine.

A world traveler interested in local cultures and lifestyles, Ding Darling drew these figures in one of his many sketchbooks.

Still rockin' at 71, Jimmy Buffett brings his search for that "lost shaker of salt" to Des Moines next month.


Jimmy Buffett is bringing his Coral Reefer Band to meet Midwest parrotheads at Wells Fargo Arena May 22. Explore other 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. For even more categories, check Catch Des Moines.

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