April 15, 2014
"Intergalatic Nemesis" foley artist Buzz Moran creates hundreds of sound effects. Photo courtesy of Des Moines Performing Arts.

Pulp and Circumstance

By Kellye Crocker


Sludge monsters! A nefarious hypnotist! A mysterious . . . librarian! Holy cheeky dramaturgy, dsmWeekly readers, "The Intergalatic Nemesis Live-Action Graphic Novel" even has robots! Alien robots. Landing April 30 at the Temple Theater, the show melds the visual poetry of a comic book, the symphonic melodrama of a retro radio play and the you-are-there-ness of live theater.

Set in 1933, "Book One: Target Earth" follows a Pulitzer-winning reporter/heiress, her daring assistant and a bespectacled stranger around the globe--and beyond*--on a (doomed?) mission to save humanity. Imagine, if you will, the stage: Three actors voicing dozens of characters, a foley artist creating hundreds of sound effects, and more than 1,200 full-color, hand-drawn comic book images flashing on a two-story screen. (Don't be shy about joining in: Boo! Hiss! Hooray!)

Featured on PBS, NPR, "Conan" and more, "Intergalatic Nemesis" started 18 years ago in an Austin, Texas, coffeehouse. The Des Moines show runs through May 11. Tickets: Civic Center box office, Ticketmaster locations, at 800-745-3000 and online here. (See the trailer.)

* The Effdillinplitzenpire Galaxy.


I am in love. I love life. I love art. Art Within Everything - such an incredible phrase for a... 

Read More »

We're No. 10!
Des Moines has landed on yet another "best of" list. Pop-culture bible Paste magazine recently unveiled "10 Undercover Stylish Neighborhoods in the US," ranking the East Village No. 10 (ours, not Manhattan's), with shout-outs to Raygun, Hill Vintage & Knits and the Blazing Saddle. And now there's a T-shirt for that.

After learning about Paste's praise last week, the productive imps at Raygun commemorated the capital city's achievements with a gray-colored T-shirt (pictured) with highlighter-yellow printing: "#1! DES MOINES! Number one city to list as the surprise city on a list of cities!"

"It's like there's a list for everybody," Raygun founder and owner Mike Draper said from his stylish East Village lair. "We're like, man, somewhere Oskaloosa is No. 3 on some list."

In recent years list-ologists have lauded Des Moines as a great place for young adults, families, oldsters, job seekers, farmers market lovers, aspiring startup magnates and homeowners looking to buy in a medium-sized metro area, among others. (See the Greater Des Moines Partnership's list of lists here.)

"Most people don't think of Des Moines as a major city," Draper says, and that's fine with him. "I don't really want Des Moines to turn into Austin, Texas. It'll take me longer to get to work (in the stylish East Village). The interstate will be clogged with hipsters trying to get to tech companies." FYI, Paste ranks Old West Austin No. 9. -K.C.
Hotel Pattee offers a Chef's Table
on weekends for $50 a person.

Chef's Table in Perry

By Wini Moranville


With all the great restaurants in Des Moines, you might think twice about driving to Perry for dinner at the Hotel Pattee. Especially if you, like me, had a less-than-stellar experience there under previous owners before it closed.

Happily, judging from a recent visit, it looks like new owner Jay Hartz and his executive chef, Chris Caes (formerly the sous-chef at Wakonda Club), have come up with a winning formula for the historic hotel. Under-$10 items, such as French dips and salmon BLTs, will satisfy cyclists pedaling the nearby bike trail. Those looking for a more complete dining experience will find hearty-yet-refined cuisine, such as veal ricotta meatballs and lemon-chicken risotto; most dinner entrees cost around $15 to $25.

The inveterate foodie, however, may wish to grab some fellow gastronomes and opt for the Chef's Table. On weekends only, for $50 per person (not including tax, tip or alcoholic beverages), chef Caes serves a five-course menu specifically tailored for a party of up to 10  diners. He'll collaborate with the host beforehand to come up with a menu specifically tailored for your group. Sample menus are on the website, but you can expect such detailed cuisine as asparagus soup en croûte, frisée and endive citrus salad with pan-roasted duck, butter-poached lobster risotto with oyster mushrooms, mustard-glazed lamb rack, and chocolate fondant. And yes, that's all one menu. 

I had the chance to dine at the Chef's Table earlier this year with a group of Iowa food and lifestyle bloggers, and we all deemed it a great success. 

Find out more at the Hotel Pattee's website.

Liz Nead

Onward and Upward

By Christine Riccelli


Looking for a challenge? A major challenge? An I-could-never-possibly-do-that challenge? Then join inspirational speaker and life coach Liz Nead on her journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro June 26-July 11. The founder of Nead Inspiration assures us it's not too late to sign up, and that if she can do it, you can too.

That's because Nead isn't some super jock with mountain climbing experience. The 43-year-old mother of four didn't even start planning the trip until last December. "I want to inspire my children and others to live a big life in their 40s," she says, as well as "face my fears, build strength, blow through barriers and reach out to the community."

To meet the latter goal, she hoping to raise $100,000 for two causes she's passionate about: Girls on the Run and the Wounded Warrior Project. Girls on the Run offers physical activity programs for girls ages 8-13 that are designed to help them build confidence and emotional strength. The Wounded Warrior Project supports injured military service members and their families.

Nead also views the trip as a "high-level coaching intensive," as some of her clients will be joining her on the climb. Intrigued? Find out more about Nead, the climb and the charities here

Pony Express Riders of Iowa giddyap into Camp Sunnyside
last Easter weekend.

Sunnyside Up


For many people with disabilities or special needs, the promise of summer fun begins with the clip-clop of horse hooves on Easter weekend. That's when the Pony Express Riders of Iowa converge at Easter Seals Iowa's Camp Sunnyside to deliver donations raised throughout the year. Easter Seals Iowa President and CEO Sherri Nielsen hails the riders as "our most long-standing group of supporters." 

Join the welcome wagon April 19 at 3 p.m. at
Camp Sunnyside, 401 N.E. 66th Ave., Des Moines. Gov. Terry Branstad is scheduled to ride in with
the volunteers, and the event concludes with a dance. The riders collected $239,204 last year, and they have contributed more than $9.2 million to Camp Sunnyside since 1968, when the event began in northwest Iowa. Camp Sunnyside offers recreational programs for children and adults, including canoeing, archery, arts and crafts--and horseback riding.


In other news, Easter Seals Iowa's annual "Walk With Me" fundraiser is April 26 at Camp Sunnyside, featuring a silent auction, a petting zoo and other entertainment, and a one-mile family fun walk around Lake Cheerio. For more information and to register, click here. Also, the organization recently became the first Central Iowa nonprofit designated a Blue Zones Worksite. The organization met several criteria aimed at enhancing health and wellness. -K.C.

Kellye Crocker

Kellye Crocker lives in Clive and writes fiction for teens and nonfiction for adults. A former Des Moines Register senior reporter and current dsm contributing writer, she's also written for Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and Glamour, among other national publications. Connect with her on Twitter: @kelcrocker.
Wini Moranville

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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