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2019 award winners: (front row) Karen Mackey, Sharon Malheiro, Sonia Reyes-Snyder, Jeorgia Robison; (back row) Jonathan Wilson, Terri Hale, George Belitsos.


Over the years, LGBTQ Iowans have had a strong and welcome influence on our state. Representing a wide range of vocations and avocations, they have led with creativity, vigor and compassion, solving problems and helping build a state that we all can be proud to call home.

In tribute to such inspiring contributions, dsm magazine is working with One Iowa to present the second annual LGBTQ Legacy Leader Awards. We also will recognize an ally of the LGBTQ community, someone whose contributions to equality and justice have helped ensure that gender and sexual orientation must not be stigmatized or marginalized in the culture of Iowa.

Six honorees will be recognized for lifetime achievement at a special event in June. Event details will be announced in the spring.

We welcome your help in choosing those to be honored. Nominations are due by Jan. 7. Nominees for five LGBTQ Legacy Leader Awards should meet these criteria:

  • Demonstrate a record of public leadership in professional, civic or political roles, in addition to their dedication to LGBTQ causes.
  • Serve as role models and mentors to others over the years.
  • Contribute to the appreciation and recognition of cultural diversity in Iowa.

Additionally, one nominee from outside the LGBTQ category will be honored with an Ally Award, for unwavering commitment to civil rights and equality for all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

To nominate an individual, fill out this form.

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Really, what says Christmas in quite the same way as a leg lamp? One will light up the Playhouse stage this month.


December is so full of fun! Here's a list of events we're excited about (though we'll have to make some hard choices for Saturday evening:
  • Ankeny's Prairie Trail is hosting Dazzling in the District, a festive and free holiday affair for all ages from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Click here for more info.
  • Like art? The Fitch Building and its artists' studios host their annual holiday open house Saturday,
    Dec. 7. It's a building brimming with paint, sculpture, film, collages, prints and photography. Learn more.
  • The crazy crowd that produces Halloween's Slaughterhouse event is celebrating their move to a new location. Find them Saturday, Dec. 7, near 500 Locust St., where they're producing an "anti-Christmas Krampus Crawl" wandering among various Full Court Press venues. Details? Click here.
  • Des Moines Community Playhouse is producing a stage version of the film classic "A Christmas Story," Dec. 6-23, complete with the curious leg lamp—and it's a musical. Click here for more info.
  • Tour the always-elegant Salisbury House and two other high-end homes, all decked out in holiday finery. The Holly and Ivy event is Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7,11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $20 ($5 for ages 6-12). Details are here.
  • Des Moines' annual Christkindlmarket is this weekend—Dec. 6-8—at Principal Park, following a long-standing shopping tradition in Europe. Learn more at the event's website.

The Minnesota vocal ensemble Cantus performs "Three Tales of Christmas" Dec. 6 in West Des Moines.


This show promises to be a new experience with just the right amount of nostalgia: The men’s vocal ensemble Cantus will perform "Three Tales of Christmas" Friday, Dec. 6, at Valley High School’s Staplin Performing Arts Center.

The program’s narrated passages will bring new perspectives to familiar carols and holiday classics such as "A Christmas Carol." Based in Minnesota, the eight singers of Cantus are highly regarded for their precise vocal harmony and innovative programming.

Presented by the Civic Music Association, the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Staplin is located at 3650 Woodland Ave. in West Des Moines. Tickets range from $30 to $75, available through

Spontaneous fun is a frequent occurance at the annual Celebrate Iowa gala.


You know, if you're going to celebrate anything, what's a better subject than the state of Iowa? The state's Department of Cultural Affairs has an affair to remember on Friday, Dec. 13. It's the Celebrate Iowa gala, showcasing the state's arts, history and culture. The site is the Scottish Rite Consistory, 519 Park St.

We had great fun at this event last year. It includes some of the state's best cuisine, spirits and entertainment, from 7 to 11 p.m. (A ticketed VIP reception precedes the gala, from 6 to 7 p.m.)

Proceeds from ticket sales support the State Historical Society. For more information, visit

Zack Zaromatidis and Jennifer Elizabeth Smith starring in "Bandstand," at the start of the show's national tour.


Want to get your boogie-woogie groove going? Check out the Broadway musical "Bandstand," at the Des Moines Civic Center for two days only, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14.

It's from three-time Tony award-winner and "Hamilton" choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, with infectious music and high-octane dancing. The story follows six soldiers who return from WWII in 1945 and form a unique band to enter a national competition. Along the way, they discover the power of music to face the impossible, find their voice, and finally feel like they have a place to call home.

For tickets ($25 to $115) and more information, click here.

Click here to read the last issue of Lifting the Veil. Come to our unveiling to read the next one.


We're grateful for your support of recent dsm events, and we hope many of you will join us for the launch of another magazine we proudly produce: Lifting the Veil is an annual look into important aspects of mental health in Central Iowa.

Why? Because it’s imperative that our community recognizes the importance of mental health care and the challenges surrounding its availability. And because every person in Greater Des Moines is affected, directly or indirectly, by mental health issues.

We invite you to join us and dignitaries ranging from mental health advocates to Gov. Kim Reynolds. Learn about health care perspectives from a panel discussion, and get a copy of Lifting the Veil, 7-9 a.m. Dec. 10, at the Science Center of Iowa. For more information and tickets ($35, $20 for nonprofits), click here.  

Caterer Cyd Koehn, a favorite of many of Greater Des Moines' better events.


By Wini Moranville

Earlier this year, I was mostly happy to hear that Cyd Koehn was named Des Moines’ Best Caterer in the 2019 Business Record survey. I say "mostly" because the more accolades she gets, the harder it might be to snag her for my events – and I have had smashing successes whenever I have done so.

I can’t remember the first time she popped onto my radar, but Cyd has been catering for over 25 years. During the past couple of decades I’d notice that she was sometimes the caterer at gatherings that featured enticing food that was beautifully presented.

So, one past winter when I was looking to host a Whiskey Party, Cyd came top of mind. I told her I’d be mixing up Old-Fashioned cocktails (which I had rediscovered on a recent stay at the Brown Hotel in Louisville), and to base a menu on that. Her plan was divine. The fork supper included beef tenderloin served on a strikingly pink Himalayan salt block, with killer-good condiments (including a wasabi sauce I think of often); bourbon-Sriracha meatballs; smoked Gouda potato boats, and bright, crisp garden veggie wraps. Hazelnut-chocolate dessert cups, with whiskey cherries, provided the head-turning finale.

What I especially loved was the way Cyd waltzed in and got everything set up on her smart-looking platters just before the guests arrived. The price seemed right as well. This beautiful dinner, which friends still talk about, cost a bit over twice as much as if I’d have made everything myself. That’s more than fair: Such a feast would have taken me days to put together, and I would not have enjoyed my party nearly as much.

Last summer, Cyd also catered a summer dinner, once again starring that amazing beef tenderloin, but this time with seasonal sides, including roasted fresh vegetables, strawberry-mint-apple salad and a beautiful heirloom tomato salad. The results were equally rave-worthy.

Contact Catering by Cyd at; (515) 208-2091.

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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