MAY 31, 2016

Step 1: Wineries fill the bottles. 2: You empty the bottles. 3: Repeat. Any questions?

Let's start with the assumption that you enjoy wine. Are you with us so far? From there, all of this makes delightfully good sense:

Winefest Returns June 4-11. Whew, let's pause to let that sink in...
OK, now, the details:
  • This is No. 14! We've been enjoying Winefest since 2003. (Some things just never get old--and even improve with age.)
  • A fest of opportunities: Share a kitchen with a celebrity chef, enjoy a winery lawn party, sign up for tastings and toastings, join in wine-focused dinners, both casual and the finest of fineries: Winefest has lined up a dazzling week of opportunities, with all the details available here. We're going to several Winefest events and hope to see you there, too.
One final Winefest thought to live by: It's not whether your glass is half full or half empty, it's "how long is the line for a refill?"  
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Sanju Pilli, left, has the title role in "Shakuntala," Also prominent in the cast are Cynthia Hunufa, center, and Swarupa Bakre, right. (Gateway Dance Theater photo.)

Local theater wiz Ken-Matt Martin is directing a production of the Indian love story "Shakuntala" for Gateway Dance Theatre June 17-19 and 24-26. It's a 19th-century tale of a young woman and a monarch.
No less dramatic are production details behind this show that illustrate the legendary dedication of people in theater. Consider:
  • As director, Martin has been zipping between work at Chicago's Goodman Theater and Des Moines for weekend rehearsals.
  • Associate director Sarah Hinzman runs rehearsal during the week, when Martin chimes on via FaceTime.
  • Their collaborator, Sarmishtha Sarkar, is watching from afar as well, in her case from India, where the drama is set.
"There are upwards of 11 different languages and cultures represented in our production," says Martin, a founder of Pyramid Theater Company, which focuses on staging plays that explore authentic African-American life. "It is likely the most multicultural theatrical outing ever produced in the city. Des Moines needs to see this!"
Des Moines will have that opportunity at Grand View University's Viking Theater, 2411 E. 14th St., June 17-19 and 24-26. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday curtains go up at 2 p.m. Seats are $20, with discounts for students, military, seniors and others. Details here.
Fabric swatches and color cards give a hint of the rich decor planned for Bubba.

By Wini Moranville

I thought I was merely looking forward to the upcoming opening of Bubba-Southern Comforts, but now that I've toured the work in progress with owner Chris Diebel, I can hardly wait. Unfortunately, I'll just have to, as the projected opening date has been moved to late July.
I can see why it's taking so long: The restaurant will be housed in the former site of the Raccoon River Brewing Co. at 10th and Walnut streets, and rather than making a few tweaks here and there, the building has been pretty much gutted to the studs. What I saw was mostly cement and dust, but Diebel's descriptions of the chandeliers, swags, sconces, wood trims and accent rugs heightened my enthusiasm.
Clearly, this isn't going to be another bare-bones, industrial-hip, hard-edged spot. Check out the materials board pictured above, which shows swatches from Bubba's gracious and gentlemanly color scheme.
Expect one of the coolest lounges in Des Moines. "Many local restaurant bars are simply areas where people wait for a table," Diebel said. "I want people to come and enjoy the lounge itself." He explained that the goal is to reinterpret the Southern parlor with a modern twist: upholstered furniture, tufted leather couches, wing-backed chairs, all arranged in conversation clusters to encourage patrons to sit a spell.
Equally enticing will be Bubba's robust bourbon and rye collection. The bar will serve creative twists on the mint julep, in dashing pewter julep cups, of course.
The menu, overseen by executive chef Jammie Monaghan,will encompass the South's greatest culinary hits--fried chicken, pimento cheese, chicken-fried steak, po-boys, shrimp-and-grits and more.
Keep up with Bubba's progress at

Wini Moranville covers food and dining for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food - DSM Wini Moranville.  
Count on colorful John Daly to bring a certain sartorial splendor as well as his don't-try-this-at-home backswing to the Prtincipal Charity Classic this week.


One of our favorite philanthropic events tees off this week: the Principal Charity Classic at Wakonda Club. The one thing bigger than John Daly's backswing this week is the tournament's record of charitable giving. Since 2007, it has generated $7.7 million for Iowa children's charities, and we're cheering for that number to top $9 million after this year. And birdies -- we're also cheering for those.

Pro-Am rounds are tomorrow (June 1) and Thursday (June 2). Tournament play is Friday through Sunday (June 3-5). A schedule of events is here, including a list of freebies for the first few thousand fans who arrive each day of the tournament. For more information, click here. Stuck in the office? You can watch this live feed from the course (word to the wise: keep the volume down). 
Get exposed to the broader world of Des Moines at Refugee Day festivities Saturday.
Ta Kaw Paw and Ta Kaw Htoo, refugees from Burma, sell their produce at the Global Greens Farmers Market, which takes place on Saturdays through Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 3200 University Ave. Photo by Adam Albright.


Sample the foods, dances and music of ethnic cultures in a celebration of World Refugee Day on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Valley Community Center, 4444 Fuller Road in West Des Moines.
In addition to the presentations and displays representing local ethnic groups, a soccer tournament with more than a dozen teams will take place throughout the day. And a variety of refugee service agencies will be on hand to explain the work they do. Similar celebrations are held worldwide throughout June, in recognition of World Refugee Day (officially June 20 each year, as designated by the United Nations in 2000).

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