Jan/Feb: Out and About

Branch Out

Take a deep breath: It’ll be a while before things green up again outside. But if you don’t want to hibernate, venture out to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to breathe in all that lovely, humid oxygenated air. During the Dome After Dark series (6-10 p.m. Fridays through March 29), colorful lights cast the conservatory in a twinkly glow. During the Botanical Blues concerts (1 p.m. Sundays through March 31), local and regional musicians heat up the tropics with some of the best blues in the Midwest. Photo: Chelsea Kyaw Photo. dmbotanicalgarden.com


All the Single Ladies

Times have changed in the half-century since “Company” first hit Broadway in 1970. The plight of a guy who is still unmarried at the ripe old age of 35 no longer seems so worrisome or even rare. But the musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth can still strike a chord if you’ve ever heard the tick-tock of a biological clock or wondered how to “live your best life,” to borrow a very 21st century phrase. (See also: #YOLO, #FOMO.) In the latest revival, which won five Tony Awards in 2021 and visits the Des Moines Civic Center Feb. 6-11, Bobby is now Bobbie, a single woman whose married friends keep pestering her to get married and settle down. Photo: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade. dmpa.org


Jock Jams

Journalists tend to avoid using superlatives, but the “world’s foremost all-male comic ballet company” probably lives up to its billing — if only because those 16 burly dudes in tutus are in a league of their own. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have toed the line between high art and high camp for nearly 50 years, sending up classics like “Swan Lake” and “Giselle” as only they can, with power, poise and legs that even a Rockette would envy. They’ll glide into the Des Moines Civic Center on Feb. 20. Photo: Roberto Ricci. dmpa.org


Spring Fever

Somewhere among 400 exhibitors at the Des Moines Home and Garden Show, even picky Goldilocks could find a lawn chair, garden bed or bowl of porridge that’s just right. The 46th annual expo Feb. 22-25 at the Iowa Events Center features pop-up indoor gardens, a Made in Iowa market and various domestic demonstrations by HGTV landscape designer Mike Pyle, Norwalk’s Karri Rose of Rose Farm (who designed the bouquet pictured here) and others. Photo: Laura Wills Photography. desmoineshomeandgardenshow.com


Musical Time Machine

Beyonce’s “Halo,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” may not have a lot in common, but they’ve all been pumped through the Postmodern Jukebox. For 10 years now, the band has reimagined contemporary pop hits in the style of old-school jazz, swing, doo-wop and Motown, putting a fresh shine even on lyrics or melodies you’ve heard a zillion times. The group has racked up more than 2 billion views on YouTube from fans worldwide, who show up to concerts in their vintage finest. See for yourself on Feb. 23 at Hoyt Sherman Place. Photo: Dana Lynn Pleasant. hoytsherman.org


Talladega Knights

When the original Blind Boys of Alabama got their start in 1939 as part of the school chorus at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind, in Talladega, the all-white faculty didn’t let them sing the Black gospel songs they heard on the radio. But they eventually set out on their own, first for pocket change near World War II bases and then on increasingly bigger stages, including White House concerts for three different presidents. Members have come and gone over the years, but they’re still mostly blind and still going strong, with a pile of hit albums and Grammy Awards to prove it. They’ll raise the roof March 1 in a Civic Music Association concert at Hoyt Sherman Place. Photo: Cameron Wittig. hoytsherman.org


Blue Streak

In early January 1924, George Gershwin read a newspaper article about an upcoming concert that would feature one of his new compositions — much to his own surprise. Instead of insisting on a correction, he dashed off “Rhapsody in Blue” and premiered it about five weeks later to a crowd of “vaudevillians, concert managers come to have a look at the novelty, Tin Pan Alleyites, composers, symphony and opera stars, flappers and cake-eaters, all mixed up higgledy-piggledy,” according to a 1931 biography by Isaac Goldberg. A century later, the acclaimed North Carolina pianist Michelle Cann joins the Des Moines Symphony to perform the groundbreaking concerto March 9 and 10 at the Des Moines Civic Center for flappers, cake-eaters and all. Photo: Steven Mareazi Willis. dmsymphony.org

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