What's a party without a little something to eat? This was just part of the setup at our last new-issue event. Join us later today.


We admit it: Here at dsm we're somewhere between giddy and all tingly in anticipation of introducing the new issue of ia, our annual statewide magazine, later today. This is the sixth issue of ia, and it's once again full of unexpected stories from all corners of the state. Of course this calls for a party, and we hope you can join us for drinks and snacks and cheerfulness—between 5 and 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Museum, 666 Walnut St. Valet parking will be available. A brief program at 6 p.m. includes Gov. Kim Reynolds and a bit of Ballet Des Moines in addition to distribution of free magazines to all who attend. Now, will you remember, or must we call you? Great, see you soon.

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Intriguing from the outside, engaging on the inside—encountering this exhibit at the Art Center might be just what we need.


Reviewed by Michael Morain

Someoneor somethinghas built a giant web at the Des Moines Art Center. It looks like the work of a Godzilla-sized spider, and if you haven’t seen photos of it on Facebook yet, you will soon. It’s irresistible.

The new show “Drawing in Space” inhabits all three wings of the museum, but the main attraction hovers back in the I.M. Pei building, where an Austrian-Croatian artists’ group called Numen/For Use spent the last few weeks unrolling 40-some miles of clear packing tape to spin a humongous, roughly doughnut-shaped cocoon. Visitors can climb into it via a small staircase and crawl around inside.

“This is the highlight of my day,” a giddy woman in her 50s told a docent before ascending the stairs.

From the outside, you can watch people through the translucent walls. Inside, you can crawl, slide and even stand in some places, enjoying the web’s gentle bounce. If you lie on your back, it feels like you’re gliding on a surface of ice or water.

The artist collectivefounded by Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler and Nikola Radeljkovicdesigned the structure at their studio in Europe, using a scale model to determine where to place the steel rings that anchor the tape to the concrete walls. But precise as it was, the model couldn’t show how the gallery’s skylights would set the structure aglow in the afternoon sun or how the faces of visitorsof all ageswould light up as soon as they set eyes on it.

The project might elicit a similar response if it were made with high-tech materials, but the fact that it’s plain old packaging tape makes it more fun. You start to wonder if you could re-create it back home in the attic or spare room.

Different kinds of tape make up the show’s other installations, which are beautiful but don’t offer the same interactive magic.

New Yorker Dave Eppley embellished the lobby’s limestone floor with rainbow stripes of vinyl tape that seem to unravel into a riot of streamers and confetti.

The Korean-born artist Heeseop Yoon’s drawing in black masking tape cascades down the three-story stairwell in the Meier building. It starts with a chandelier up top and spills into a mishmash of junkbowling pins, hubcaps, a tubaall rendered in painstaking detail.

Several works by Monika Grzymala of Berlin round out the show, including big sheets of handmade paper embossed with snake-like swirls, plus two installations in black, silver and transparent tape that stretch around the gallery. They are boldly improvisationalthe artist designed them on-sitebut they lack the transformational beauty that Tara Donovan achieved in 2009 with plastic-foam cups, Scotch tape, drinking straws and toothpicks. Where Donovan’s materials called to mind masses of clouds or coral, Grzymala’s still look like tape.

But hey, she has an unfair disadvantage. It’s hard to compete with a giant spider. Grzymala has installed another work, through Nov. 10, a few blocks north at Tifereth Israel Synagogue.

“Drawing in Space” remains through Jan. 21 at the Des Moines Art Center. Stop by for gallery talks with curator Alison Ferris and preparator Jay Ewart Oct. 15 and Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m. and Dec. 14 and Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Free admission.

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by Design presents dsmDining —
Sarah and Lynn Pritchard are highlighting hearty fare for fall at Table 128.


By Wini Moranville

Finally, it’s beginning to feel like autumn. I recently asked some local chefs and restaurateurs to highlight any fall-focused movement in their kitchens:

At Harbinger, chef Joe Tripp says his menu has already made strides toward autumn, “leaning more toward rich and warming rather than bright and acidic,” with ingredients such as wild maitake (aka hen-of-the-woods) mushrooms, pickled Korean pear and curried sweet potatoes. If you’ve enjoyed Harbinger’s food so far, prepare to love it even more. “Fall might be my favorite season,” Tripp says. (2724 Ingersoll Ave., 515-244-1314;

Downtown at Bubba, owner Chris Diebel and team are getting ready to roll out the barrel—literally. A while back, the restaurant bought a barrel of Buffalo Trace bourbon, and sent the empty barrel to the pros at Confluence Brewing Co., who have been aging a Belgian-style tripel in the barrel since January. “We expect the barrel to add some subtle hints of oak and vanilla to the beer,” Diebel says. How perfectly toasty and warming for fall. (200 10th St., 515-257-4744;

Out west at Table 128, owners Lynn and Sarah Pritchard are looking forward to one more month of their popular Tuesdays with Julia dinners. Each Tuesday of the month, the kitchen features a different main dish from Julia Childs’ beloved “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” October’s entrees are especially autumn hearty, including tonight’s roast leg of lamb with a mustard crust. “Fall is the ideal time for a great roast lamb, and the mustard crust is a perfect pairing,” says chef Lynn Pritchard. Future Tuesdays include sautéed chicken with herbes de Provence, veal sweetbreads, veal blanquette and tournados Rossini. (12695 University Ave., West Des Moines; 515-327-7427;

New signs will rival art exhibits for attention Friday, when CoSign results are revealed during Valley Junction's Gallery Night.


Valley Junction's seasonal Gallery Night is always a fun evening, enjoying new artwork and meeting friends as you stroll from gallery to gallery in West Des Moines' historic shopping district. A bonus for the fall Gallery Night Friday (Oct. 6, 5 to 9 p.m.) is the introduction of new signs created under a creative program called CoSign.

CoSign is a cooperative venture involving local designers, signmakers, supportive sponsors and the American Sign Museum. Work began on the project in May, and over 30 artists and 20 businesses in Historic Valley Junction applied to participate. Artists submitted 77 designs, which were narrowed down to one design per business. 

Ten businesses completed the project and will reveal the results Friday: 2AU Ltd., AOK Antiques, Cindy's Boutique, Dressmakers, Inspired Grounds, MōMere, OL Guild, The Quilt Block, Vino209 Wine Cafe and Wines of Iowa. Designers of the new signs include Tyler Jessen, Leah Ripperger, Tom Hyde and Cory Sharp.

Mike Zahs of Washington, Iowa, is at the center of a documentary called "Saving Brinton." from Barn Owl Pictures.


In the early days of movies, traveling projectionists hauled film reels from town to town to screen “moving pictures” for stunned audiences in theaters, tents and, often, on the sides of barns. One such showman, named Frank Brinton, toured throughout the Midwest before retiring in 1908 and boxing up his stuff in the basement of his home in Washington, Iowa.

Fast-forward to 1981, when local historian Mike Zahs stumbled upon the boxes and unpacked a trove of long-lost history—including footage of Teddy Roosevelt and experimental films by Thomas Edison—that he eventually sent to the Library of Congress.

Watch the remarkable story play out in Iowa City filmmaker Andrew Sherburne’s new documentary, “Saving Brinton,” which premiered this summer at a film festival in Washington, D.C., and is now on a statewide barnstorming tourmuch like the ones way back when.

The show’s weeklong run at the Fleur Cinema and Cafe opens with a reception, screening and Q&A at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13. In addition, some artifacts from the Brinton collection will be on display at the State Historical Museum starting Oct. 6.

Performing next week at Salisbury House: The Aspen String Trio of David Perry, Michael Mermagen and Victoria Chiang.


The Salisbury House Foundation’s season of classical music performances begins with the Aspen String Trio in concert Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. The Winifred M. Kelley Music Series continues monthly in the Common Room at Salisbury House. This series honors the legacy of Kelley, a longtime supporter of music at the historic building. Tickets, ranging from $15 to $25, can be purchased online at or by calling 515-274-1777. Future performances, dates, and times can be found here.

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