September 30, 2014
Todd Buchacker is the 
producing artistic director of StageWest Theater Co.

StageWest Ushers in New Season 

By Belle Du Chene 


The 2014-15 season has brought changes to StageWest Theater Company, most notably the promotion of Todd Buchacker from associate artistic director to producing artistic director and the theater's move into its new home at the Des Moines Social Club's Kum & Go Theater


As the company gets ready to kick off its season with "Carrie the Musical" Oct. 10, we sat down with Buchacker for a fun and candid Q&A. 


What's the biggest bullet you've dodged during a production at StageWest? 

Our biggest near disaster was having someone almost fall while playing an angel in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America." We had hoisted (the actress) from the ceiling in a harness many times, but that night I could tell she wasn't hooked into it right so I yelled, "Stop," and we were able to catch it in time. 


Name a song from a production that you can't get out of your head. 

The one song that I can't get out of my head is from our (upcoming) show, "Carrie." It just repeats (Buchacker starts singing) and repeats. It's a total earworm song! 


What's the one thing you would be nervous or embarrassed to do onstage as an actor? 

Well, I have been nude onstage before, so I can't say that. But if you truly want to see me curl up into a small ball of fear, just have someone say, "Hey, let's do some improv," and I will run, screaming, from the room. 


"Carrie the Musical" runs through Oct. 26. Other shows in this year's lineup are "Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom" Nov. 7-15; "Cock" Jan. 16-25; "My Name is Asher Lev" March 20-29; and "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" May 8-17. StageWest is also partnering with Des Moines Metro Opera for a Dec. 5 production at The Temple for Performing Arts tied to World AIDS Day. StageWest will present "The Baltimore Waltz" for the first half of the show, then DMMO will perform "Three Decembers," a one-act opera, for the second half. 


For more information about the season and to buy tickets, click here


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A before and after image of Blo Des Moines franchise owner Kristin Broers.

Blow by Blo 


On a trip to California, Kristin Broers discovered the blow-dry salon trend, a concept that already had taken the coasts by storm. Chains were popping up everywhere to cater to professional women who want a polished look but can't always make it to the salon on short notice or lack the skills to do it themselves (and let's face it, that's most of us). These salons do not cut or color hair, but instead offer a wash, dry and runway-worthy style that under normal conditions and with light touch-ups can last up to four or five days. 


Intrigued, Broers returned to Iowa and began to investigate franchises, eventually choosing Blo Blow Dry Bar out of Toronto for her new start-up. Last June, Blo Des Moines opened in the East Village. 


The salon offers seven signature looks for $40 each, including the straight and sassy "Executive Sweet" and the gently waved "Pillow Talk" look featured in current fashion magazines. All hair lengths and textures are welcome, and the typical appointment takes about 45 minutes. 


And the best part? If you can't get in during normal business hours (9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday), Broers will open her doors as early as 7 a.m. and close them as late as 9 p.m. by appointment. The salon also offers a "blo-on-the-go" for on-sight styling in your home, office or venue of your choosing. 


Blo Des Moines is located at 521 E. Locust St., Suite 101. Learn more here or visit its Facebook page. Contact Kristin by phone at 229-5778 or by email at

Allspice offers freshly pressed olive oils, which are kept in stainless steel containers and then bottled when you decide to buy.

A Spicy-Good Time

By Wini Moranville


Allspice Culinarium in the East Village is throwing a gathering Oct. 3 to celebrate four years in business, and you're invited. According to owner Rory Brown, the event is a "customer appreciation party," and it sounds like the team at Allspice appreciates their customers very much indeed. 

Wine, beer, and soft drinks will be served, along with the creations of local pros who showcase Allspice products in their recipes. Taste pizza from Gusto Pizza Co., focaccia made by Alessandra Meschini from Cooking with Alessandra, and ancho-chocolate cookies from Crème Cupcake. The Allspice staff will also debut their spiced rosemary chocolate chip cookie; you can sample a few, and if you fall in love, purchase some to take home. 

The good times roll from 4 to 8 p.m. Allspice is at 400 E Locust St.; 868-0808. 

PS: If you've ever wondered what to do with all the wonderful specialty olive oils and vinegars from Allspice, check out my article, Lovin' Spoonfuls in the current issue of dsm.
This necklace and earring set was part of the Jazz, Jewels & Jeans silent auction last year.

A Dazzling Denim Affair


United Way Women's Leadership Connection (WLC) will be honored during the fifth annual Jazz, Jewels & Jeans fundraiser Oct. 10 supporting Oakridge Neighborhood. "The United Way women are this year's honoree because they've been such great partners of ours," says Carol Bodensteiner, Oakridge Neighborhood's board president. "They're interested in literacy and have been very involved not only financially but with the gift of time. Through the Book Buddies program, WLC members read weekly with children in our Oak Academy." 


Guests are invited to wear their favorite pair of jeans--the more bling the better--and enjoy food and wine by Michael LaValle and live jazz music by Roxi Copland. A silent auction will include 70 to 80 pieces of jewelry that have been donated by Des Moines women and men or created by local artisans. A live auction will include half a dozen packages. One of them, "Denim and Diamonds," will include custom-fitted jeans for four by Blond Genius and a $1500 gift certificate from Iowa Diamond. 


The event gets underway at 7 p.m. at Scottish Rite Consistory (519 Park St.). Tickets cost $125 ($75 for young professionals 35 and under), available by phone at 244-7702 or by email at Visit for more event details and to learn more about the organization. To donate jewelry for this or next year's event, contact Barb Lukavsky at

Author Christopher Kennedy Lawford will share inspiring stories of his 24-year battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Employee & Family Resources 

Turns 50


Activist, actor and best-selling author Christopher Kennedy Lawford will headline Employee & Family Resources' (EFR) golden anniversary celebration on Oct. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Temple for Performing Arts. Lawford will share inspiring stories of the road to recovery from his battle with a near-fatal drug and alcohol addiction as well as the stories of other people he has encountered along his journey. His newest book is "What Addicts Know"; he's also the author of "Symptoms of Withdrawal," "Recover to Live" and "Moment of Clarity: Voices From the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery." 


EFR is a nonprofit human services organization that offers a variety of services, ranging from substance abuse prevention to language interpretation. Tickets to the anniversary celebration cost $125 per person. VIP table tickets for 10 people cost $2,000 and include a VIP reception and book signing, a signed copy of "What Addicts Know" and dinner with dessert. 


For more information and to purchase tickets, click here or call 472-2335. -B.D.


Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

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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