Julia Oldham, who uses animation as well as live action in her film productions, is among local filmmakers featured Wednesday.


Looking for something intriguing for tomorrow night (Wednesday, Dec. 13)? Consider an evening of short films and live music produced locally and presented from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Vaudeville Mews.

The program, "Cultivate: Cinema + Sound," is a presentation of a new local nonprofit, Project Art Des Moines (PADM). PADM was created this year through the collaboration of Jessica Villegas (Foxholes) and Lindsay Keast (Des Moines Music Coalition). Through art, music, dance, literature and public art installations, they hope to create local opportunities for people to come together to celebrate a shared community and to learn about the cultural heritage of their neighbors.

Tomorrow's program features films by Serena Illuminati, Roshan Louise-Julie, Kalimah Abioto, and Julia Oldham. The $15 admission fee includes heavy appetizers; drinks are available for purchase. Vaudeville Mews is at 212 Fourth St. downtown. For tickets and more information, click here

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Olson-Larsen Galleries presents dsmArts —
Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble presents a Christmas concert Sunday afternoon at St. Augustin Church.


By Michael Morain

When Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble lifts its 40-some voices to the rafters at St. Augustin Church this Sunday, Dec. 17, even their simplest harmonies may sound like a special effect. These days, it’s rare to hear so many people agree.

At their rehearsal Monday night, the ebullient director Timothy McMillin led the choir of auditioned volunteers through the trickier numbers in a Christmas program that includes the world premiere of an arrangement of "O magnum mysterium" by Kansas City composer Andrea Ramsey. The group also tuned up dissonant chords in a jazzy version of "Jingle Bells" and chewed through the Creole text in a rhythmic Haitian carol.

These songs are like Christmas cookies: hours of work go into a moment of satisfaction.

"But now we’re into the lushness," McMillin said, turning to Vijay Singh’s "A Glimpse of Snow and Evergreen" (which you can find on YouTube). It’s the kind of legato number that resonates in a lofty sanctuary like
St. Augustin’s, and the choir built up its layers like a snowdrift.

It reminded me of a poem by Lola Haskins, who wrote that to sing or play "pianissimo" doesn’t just mean to whisper: "It’s to carry sweet words to the old woman in the last dark row who cannot hear anything else, and to lay them across her lap like a shawl."

"Christmas with Vocal Arts" starts at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at St. Augustin Church, 545 42nd St., following a 3:15 p.m. pre-concert talk with composer Andrea Ramsey. $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $5 for students.

By Design Furniture & Interior Design presents dsmDining —
Prosciutto Piccante, from La Quercia, features a spicy rub created with fennel and ground chilies.


By Wini Moranville

Recently, at Gateway Market, I grabbed what I thought was the usual package of excellent prosciutto from Norwalk’s La Quercia. Once home, without paying much attention, I ate a slice … and was suddenly astonished by an unexpected curveball of jazzy-peppery spice amid the sweet-salty-porky flavor of the cured meat. What was this amazingness? Turns out, I had inadvertently bought a package of La Quercia Piccante, a version of prosciutto that’s rimmed with a spice rub of ground chilies and fennel.

Soon afterward, I contacted Kathy Eckhouse, co-owner of La Quercia, to find out more. Eckhouse told me that the spicing, which they call their "California blend," is a nod to the wild fennel that grows abundantly throughout that state, and to the chilies, which "are an important part of food there, and a major contribution of the Americas to world cuisine."

I asked Kathy her favorite ways to serve the specialty. "I like to take a piece and just eat it as is," she says. "It's also great on a sandwich, on buttered bread, with a good Manchego cheese (very thinly sliced)." Additionally, she suggests pairing it with cheeses; in fact, she says it matches up well with a lot of cheeses, because it has a little extra "oomph" but "plays well with others." 

I must admit I was surprised I hadn’t seen or heard much about this product, which has been on the market (in the sliced version) since 2012.

"Tasting is believing," Eckhouse said. "That's particularly true of the Prosciutto Piccante, since basically no one walks into a store and asks for it."

It’s true. Unless you taste it, you simply cannot know how good it is. This holiday season—when we’re all looking for easy-yet-impressive foods to serve friends and family—is a great time to discover this under-the-radar wonder. 

Find Prosciutto Piccante at Gateway Market (2002 Woodland Ave.; 515-243-1754) and the Cheese Shop (833 42nd St.; 515-528-8181).

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food DSM.

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This time of year, thoughts turn to giving. Both dsm magazine and the Business Record publish special profiles that tell the stories of local nonprofits making a difference in Greater Des Moines. To learn more about these organizations as well as the opportunities available to make a positive impact on the community and the lives of others, look through Pillars of Philanthropy and the dsm Wish List. Also, if you enjoy a party with your publications, an unveiling party for the 2018 Book of Lists will be at 5 p.m.
Jan. 4 at Capital Square downtown.

Who knows what treasures you'll find at a pop-up market? Sunday's version includes dining, beverages and big-screen entertainment.


If you’re still shopping for Christmas gifts on Dec.17, an adult beverage might be a welcome addition to your shopping list. Accomplish both Sunday when the Merry Market Last-Minute Gift Mart pops up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the new beer hall at the Foundry in West Des Moines. You'll find locally produced gifts from 18 small businesses.

This is the third year for what the organizers bill as a "last-minute gift mart"—an event to connect frazzled shoppers with unique gifts for everyone on their list. It is the first time it will be held at the Foundry.

"We figure that if you haven’t finished your gift shopping a week before Christmas, you could use one of the Hall’s cocktails to get you through the afternoon," says Dani Ausen, event organizer. "And we’ve assembled our very best makers, so shoppers have a wide array of great, well-made gifts to choose from."

Organizers promise a relaxing atmosphere. In addition to drinks by the Hall, the event will include food truck fare as well as Christmas movies streamed on the venue’s big-screen TVs. For more information on the event, click here; on the venue, click here.

A lump of coal and a candleand you’re set for a fine day in a counting house, according to Scrooge, played here by Richard Maynard.


Ebenezer Scrooge has another restless night as Iowa Stage Theatre Company presents the holiday classic
"A Christmas Carol," a stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption. Performances are Dec. 14–25 at the Des Moines Social Club's Kum & Go Theater. Actor Richard Maynard returns in the role of the crotchety old skinflint whose life is turned around by apparitionsor dreams inspired by "an undigested bit of beef." Click here for show times and tickets.

Miranda Lambert performs in Des Moines on March 15 with John Pardi and Ashley McBride.


Think spring, when Miranda Lambert, the Eagles and Lorde all perform in March at the Iowa Events Center. Explore the future of other arts and cultural events 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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