Visiting authors include, clockwise from upper left: Amor Towles, Jeremy Bernard, John Lescroart, Stephanie Powell Watts, Ryan Holiday and Lea Berman.


We always eagerly anticipate hearing about the new season of AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines). Once again, the lineup is stellar: This year's seven acclaimed authors are sure to inform and inspire as they discuss topics as diverse as stoicism, the American Revolution and civility. The free presentations begin at 7 p.m.

• April 5: Entrepreneur Ryan Holiday, an expert on stoicism, will be at the Central Library. Holiday wrote the best-selling books "The Daily Stoic," "Ego is the Enemy" and "Trust Me, I’m Lying."

• April 10: Best-selling mystery writer John Lescroart will be at the Central Library. He’s best known for the Dismas Hardy series.

• April 23: Award-winning author Amor Towles will speak at Roosevelt High School. His latest book, "A
Gentleman in Moscow," portrays a 1920s Russian aristocrat under house arrest at a luxurious hotel.

• May 3: Stephanie Powell Watts will be at Des Moines University. Her debut novel "No One Is Coming to Save Us" has been described as a modern version of "The Great Gatsby," set in rural North Carolina.

• May 15: Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard, social secretaries for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, will be at the Central Library. Together, they wrote "Treating People Well," a book that combines discussions on civility with some behind-the-curtain looks at life in the White House.

• June 14: Russell Shorto, who writes narrative history, will be at the Central Library to discuss his newest book, "Revolution Song," which follows the story of the American Revolution through the viewpoints of six people.

“This lineup is very exciting," says community engagement librarian Sue Woody. "It’s great that Des Moines is going to have a chance to hear from so many intelligent, charismatic people. ... There’s no charge, no ticketing. Just come on in and hear from some wonderful minds.”

For more information on AViD and this year's authors, visit

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By Design present dsmDining —

Chef Nick Marino is about to make his mark on plates as well as on the Des Moines dining scene.


By Wini Moranville

The new $101 million Hilton Downtown Des Moines is set to open in March. Located at Fifth Avenue and Park Street, the sleek 330-room hotel will feature the Park Street Kitchen, a restaurant open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The dining room will seat 110, and the patio—with bistro lights and a fireplace—will provide 56 additional spots.

Heading up the kitchen is Nick Marino, a 2002 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. His resume includes a three-year stint at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, where he worked with celebrity chef Richard Sandoval to unveil a new restaurant concept for the hotel. He also worked as sous-chef for RPM Italian, a high-volume venue in Chicago’s River North area. Most recently, Marino was the executive sous-chef at Chicago’s Waldorf Astoria restaurant.

Marino has been sampling the Des Moines dining scene since arriving here a little over a year ago. “It is nice to see the city keeping up with current culinary trends and raising the bar," he says. “I plan to continue to push those boundaries and show what we can do with a lot of the amazing products available to us in Des Moines, using simple techniques and just putting a lot of love into what we do.”  

The menu will include sharable plates, such as cheese and charcuterie arrangements and wood-fired flatbreads. A salt-roasted beet salad and a little gem wedge salad will star on the soup and salad menu, while main plates include scallops, short ribs and house-made fettuccine.

Find more information on the hotel and restaurant here.

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

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Ballerinas step out in lively fashion when Runway Ballet returns Feb. 23.


Ballet Des Moines seems downright determined to add "FUN!" to the always elegant image of ballet. What other ballet company would be so eagerly involved with a fashion runway show and a cartoonist?

The dance company's Runway Ballet event offers an evening of collaboration between the grace and artistry of ballet and the elegance of style and fashion. On Feb. 23, dancers will take to the runway, modeling local fashions from Sarah Dornink while performing dances specially choreographed for them, accompanied by award-winning cabaret artist Scilla Hess. Runway Ballet begins at 6 p.m. at River Center, 340 S.W. Third St. Tickets are $125. Find more information here.

And the cartoonist? He's Nathan Wright, the ballet's latest artist-in-residence. Wright is a Des Moines-based illustrator and artist. His work is inspired by science fiction, emerging tech and mythology, says the ballet's executive director, Laurel Knox. "While he is not a traditional choice, we are really intrigued by his proposed project to create a comic book inspired by ballet and our dancers," she says. We're intrigued, too.

At least one dining suggestion will be included in every issue of dsmWeekend, the newest email newsletter from dsm magazine.


As much as we enjoy these weekly visits with dsmWeekly, we think you deserve more. And here it is: dsmWeekend, a new Friday-morning newsletter with the latest and best things to consider as you finalize your weekend plans.

"dsm has covered the scene and scene-setters for 15 years," noted publisher Kris Maggard in introducing the first issue of dsmWeekend last Friday. "You can trust that our independent recommendations are provided as a service to you, our readers."

The new newsletter joins dsmWeekly (ahem, yours truly) and dsmWealth, dedicated to tips to help readers make smart purchases, investments and other financial decisions. Of course they're all free and easy to receive. Just click here to sign up.

"Driftless Clouds, Endless Fields" is a pastel work by Ellen Wagener, an artist featured in a new exhibit at Olson-Larsen Galleries.


One of our favorite ways to find relief from winter is to visit art galleries. Two upcoming art exhibits are sure to warm your soul:

The Des Moines Women’s Club opens its 110th exhibition of work by local artists Thursday, Feb. 15, at Hoyt Sherman Place, where it will continue through Feb. 26.

Judging by artist James Engler will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17. A public reception and awards ceremony will follow on Sunday, Feb. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Also, a "Gallery Night" with refreshments is Friday, Feb. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Gallery hours for visitors to the exhibit are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25. For more information, call 515-244-0507, ext. 211, email or visit the Women's Club website,

Additionally, Olson-Larsen Galleries in Valley Junction presents "Of the Earth," an exhibition of new work by John Beckman and Ellen Wagener. An opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 will feature not only the new artwork but chocolate-dipped strawberries and wine from the neighboring Vino209 Wine Cafe.

A cast of 15 will sing popular songs from recent musicals as the Des Moines Community Playhouse continues its Countdown to 100.


Des Moines Community Playhouse continues its countdown to turning 100 next year. Friday and Saturday,  Feb. 16 and 17, the Playhouse presents "Countdown to 100: Musicals of the 2000s." The revue features an all-star Playhouse cast of 15 singing popular tunes from shows including "Hairspray," "Les Misérables" and "Wicked."

The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, with hors d'oeuvres and drinks, followed by the musical revue at 7:30 p.m. The revue will be repeated at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Playhouse lobby will be transformed into a piano lounge following the performance both nights.

The Playhouse's 100th season will include three musicals, plus drama, comedy and family shows. All will be revealed at the 2018-19 season announcement party Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m. The festivities begin with a social hour featuring light hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and live music from Francine Griffith.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performer and songwriter Jackson Browne comes to Des Moines in June.


Tickets go on sale Friday for Jackson Browne, who will perform at the Des Moines Civic Center June 21.    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. For even more categories, check Catch Des Moines.

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