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Experience a new approach to the tale of Cinderella, in dance Thursday at the Civic Center.


Des Moines Performing Arts continues to wow with its Dance Series, and the Malandain Ballet Biarritz promises to be no exception. Twenty-two dancers will perform "Cinderella" Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Des Moines Civic Center. The company, which is based in southern France, claims its version of the fairy tale will be "unlike any other you have seen." We don’t doubt it, as artistic director Thierry Malandain is known for an approach that’s rooted in classical ballet but has a contemporary style.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $16, available through or at the Civic Center.
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Valentine's Day is as good an excuse as any, but these treats would be great any day.


By Wini Moranville

If you’re on the hunt for some sweets for your sweetie, check out the haul I recently brought home from Gateway Market:

• The Cake Confectionary’s Champagne Cake ($6.99): With its super-tender, thoroughly pink cake slathered in sweet and creamy pink frosting, this charming double-pink confection comes perfectly sized for two.

• Cashew Supreme Bark from Country Candies ($6.99): I generally eschew waxy, crumbly and sugary-sweet milk chocolate in favor of the more deep, complex and bitter flavors of dark. But sometimes the creamy mouthfeel and lasting finish of milk chocolate wins me over. That was the case with this nutty (and yes, unabashedly sweet) bark.

• Alden’s Organic Double Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream ($6.99): Dutch chocolate is made from a neutralized cocoa. The result is a chocolate that’s milder than dark chocolate, but darker and (to my palate) more deeply flavored than milk chocolate. This is one rich and creamy ice cream!

• Chocohigos Hand-Dipped Dark Chocolate Figs ($8.99): So, if it’s dark chocolate or nothing, these unique little bites should do the trick. Chewy and sweet (but not too sweet) figs in a robe of serious dark chocolate make each bite a heart-stealer for sure.

• Callebaut Milk Callets ($3.69/6 ounces): Please allow me one more pitch for milk chocolate. Melt these exceedingly high-quality chocolate disks into a ganache for your Valentine’s Day dessert for a taste of just how good a world-class milk chocolate can be. P.S.: I can also tell you they’re great for snacking.

Gateway Market is at 2002 Woodland Ave., 515-243-1754;

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.
Heath Alan and his band will be back to participate in the Iowa Winter Blues Festival this weekend.


Warm up this winter weekend at the Iowa Winter Blues Festival, presented Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, by the Central Iowa Blues Society. It's quite a production—20 of the region's best blues bands in three performance halls at the downtown Marriott. The action starts Friday at 4 p.m. For tickets and details, click here.
This is the Everything Lox Bagel at Lua Brewing— "a little teaser," we're told, of the beer-pairing dinner Feb. 20.


By Karla Walsh

Ten years ago, Whitney and Scott Selix met as co-workers at Reds Alehouse in North Liberty. One law degree (Scott), one big move (to Minnesota), one marriage, and two kids later, the duo decided to move back to Iowa and open Lua Brewing on High Street, just west of A Dong.

"Iowa is closer to family—I was raised in Decorah and Scott was raised in Ankeny," Whitney explains. "Plus we just love the state and the people. Minnesota Nice just doesn’t compare."

Scott and Whitney opened Lua (named after the couples’ Staffordshire Bull Terrier), with their friend Zack Dunbar last November. Their kitchen is run by chef James Arbaugh, who has flexed his culinary muscles at Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area.

The products change with the seasons, but the Selixes aim for a consistent experience: fun, upbeat, welcoming and community-focused. That’s one of the main reasons the space at the base of Sherman Hill was so appealing, according to Whitney. "We have people come in suits and others who come in sweatpants," she says. "We get craft beer connoisseurs as well as people just looking for a bite who also order a beer." Those bites are prepared with the best available ingredients—local whenever possible, Arbaugh says.

Come springtime, the Lua team plans to get their patio up and running. Expect live music, parking lot festivals and a Lua Luau, plus upscale beer-pairing dinners in the meantime. Reservations are now being accepted for the first of those dinners,
Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. It will feature 10 courses with 10 beer pairings for $180 (tax and gratuity included). Don't dawdle; seating is limited to 16. 

If you haven’t been to Lua yet, Whitney shares this Cliff’s Notes version of what to expect: "Amazing beer and food in a dope gathering place." Learn more at
Nothing warms a winter night like two loving hearts ... with parkas and stocking caps. Photo: Marza Kudic.


Looking for fresh ideas for an outing this weekend with your valentine? Here are 15 suggestions, compiled by our friends at Catch Des Moines, the local convention and visitors bureau. The list includes a little something for everyone, whether you're looking for a romantic dinner or a rowdy sports event—there's even yoga for lovers.
This is one of several design proposals for bus shelters that will brighten and enliven the Sixth Street Corridor.


As work continues for a revitalization of Sixth Avenue north of downtown, planners have unveiled a public art project involving new bus shelters along that route. Other streetscape improvements are being planned for the 1.2-mile stretch to be known as the Sixth Avenue Corridor—between Interstate 235 and the Des Moines River Bridge.

Each of the seven bus shelters will feature five glass panels with distinctive designs created by contemporary artist Sheena Rose of Barbados. She was selected from among a trio of finalists who submitted design concepts for the project.

"Public art, when most successful, is about taking risk," says M. Jessica Rowe, director of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (GDMPAF), who led the art selection process. "GDMPAF has a track record of infusing innovative practices, new methods, perspectives, technologies and fresh ideas into public art processes."

Breann Bye, executive director of the Sixth Avenue program, says her group is "thrilled with the outcome of this engaging and participatory selection process. Sheena Rose’s concepts embrace the vibrancy and diversity of our district in a visually dynamic and powerful way. ... We have very intentionally expanded our fundraising efforts to bring this type of compelling public art to our district as one part of the broader streetscape project."

The bus shelters are funded primarily by the Sixth Avenue Corridor Urban Neighborhood Main Street Program
as one part of its fundraising for the overall 6AC Streetscape Project. To date, the 6AC has raised nearly
$1.5 million in project match funds from Polk County, Prairie Meadows, Wells Fargo, MercyOne, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Bankers Trust, Wellmark Foundation and the Iowa Great Places Program.
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