Events coming up during the next two weeks

Send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT or post a comment if you know of another event that should be added to this calendar.

Sunday, January 18:

From Blog for Iowa (click the link for more details):

On Sunday, January 18, the Iowa City Environmental Film Festival and Sierra Club will sponsor a screening of Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars.  The film portrays how Texans formed unlikely coalitions to fight the construction of nineteen coal-fired power plants being fast-tracked by the state’s governor, Rick Perry.  The film, narrated by Robert Redford, has received numerous awards.

Representatives from two groups instrumental in challenging the construction of the two plants in Iowa will lead a discussion following the film.  Mike Carberry, Sierra Club, will be joined by Carrie LeSeur, founder and Executive Director of Plains Justice, to talk about what is being done and what Iowans can do to stop construction of the coal-fired power plants.   Plains Justice, a public interest law center, was founded in 2006 in part in response to the Waterloo, Iowa Coal Plant Proposal, which has now been withdrawn.        

[…] Sunday, January 18th at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Room A at 3:00 PM.

The screening is free and open to the public.

Monday, January 19:

From Polk County Democrats:

From Vern Naffier

Come to the Pre-Inauguration Celebration

Friends:  Join me Monday night at 7 pm at the State Historical Building for an inspiring event celebrating Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Barack Obama’s inauguration, and the beginning of an era of peace, reconciliation, and social justice throughout the world. See announcement below.


Rebirthing King – Rebirthing America

A pre-inauguration celebration

State Historical Building

600 East Locust

Des Moines

January 19, 2009

7-8 pm

Come join the effort to reclaim the dream of America free from racism, militarism, and materialism. Come join the candlelight march for Martin’s memory and Barack’s beginning.

The Iowa Obama Presidential Inauguration Committee invites you to bring items for the DMARC Food Pantry.

Sponsored by the King Birthday Celebration Planning Committee

Tuesday, January 20:

George W. Bush’s presidency will finally end as Barack Obama takes the oath of office. What are you doing to celebrate? There must be many parties going on all over this state.

Urban Dreams Presents

Brown, Black & The Blues People’s Ball

Celebrating the Inauguration of

President Barack Obama

Together through the diversity of our community

Jnauary 20, 2009

8:00 PM until…

Hotel Fort Des Moines

1000 Walnut Street

Des Moines, IA  50309

$25 / person

Dress to Impress

Featuring Musica Latina, Soul and the Blues

A nonpartisan event open to the whole community

for more information please call 515-288-4742

The Brown, Black & The Blues People’s Ball is brought to you by

Project V.O.T.E. (Voting Opportunities Through Education).

PLease call Hotel Fort Des Moines at 515-243-1181 if interested in room reservations.

From 1000 Friends of Iowa:

There will be a Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Public Input Meeting in the DMAMPO Meeting Room, Merle Hay Center, 6200 Aurora Avenue, Suite 300W, Urbandale, IA. Click here for more details about what’s on the agenda and why you should care.

Friday, January 23:

For bicycling advocates and enthusiasts:

Iowa Bicycle Summit

January 23-24, Des Moines

Iowa Bicycle Summit will be held in Des Moines at the Holiday Inn, Downtown, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday’s session features Steve Durrant from Portland, Oregon, a registered landscape architect and planner with over 30 years experience helping communities become better places to live. A Friday Bike Night fundraiser will feature a presentation by mountain-biking legend Gary Fisher at a dinner and silent auction. Saturday is geared for grassroots bicyclists who want to better their communities. Sessions include Safe Routes to Schools, Bike to Work Week, legislative issues and more. Primary sponsors are the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Participation is limited. Find out more or register at the Iowa Bicycle Summit webpage, http://www.iowabicyclecoalitio…

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

Winter Solstice Workshop: No Child Left Inside

January 23-25, Honey Creek State Park

The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition’s annual Environmental Education Workshop, Winter Solstice, will be held on January 23-25, 2009.  The workshop title is No Child Left Inside.  Winter Solstice will be held at the Honey Creek State Park Resort on Lake Rathbun. This new resort features motel rooms, a restaurant, an indoor water park, and most important for ICEC, a wonderful conference center. Our keynote speakers include: Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder; Connie Mutel, author of The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa; and Jim Pease and Susan O’Brien author of Environmental Literacy in Iowa. For questions about the workshop, please contact Gail Barels at or Heather Niec at

Saturday, January 24:

For those who enjoy public art:

Design a Dragonfly on Ice at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

January 24, West Lake Okoboji

Filmmaker Chad Branham will design this year’s Artslive’s People Project on Saturday, January 24, on the ice in Miller’s Bay, beginning at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. This ephemeral art project will line people up on the ice on West Lake Okoboji, in the shape of a giant 100 foot dragonfly. This design will take over 225 people to complete. Once everyone is in place the dragonfly will be photographed from an airplane by Judy Hemphill. Due to limited parking at Lakeside, participants are asked to gather at Peace Corner, at the corner of Highways 9 and 86, at 12:30 pm, and take a shuttle bus to the project site at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. People are encouraged to dress warmly and, if possible, in bright primary colors.  To sign up to participate, or for more information about participating in this year’s ArtsLive People’s Project, contact Jen Johnson at (712)332-6502 or, or visit

Tuesday, January 27:

From Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement:

Jan. 27, 2009  

BIG Rally & Lobby Day

Mark your calendars and plan to be at our Rally & Lobby Day at the State Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 27. We need you there to show our legislators that thousands of Iowans will be holding them accountable this legislative session to issues like local control, clean elections, homeowner protections and the rights of all workers.

Decisions made at the Statehouse impact us every day. This is our chance to put our issues at the top of the legislative agenda. Join with us today – click here for more information and REGISTER TODAY!

Friday, January 30:

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email or

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Should the U of I sell its Jackson Pollock mural?

I don’t know what to think about this story from today’s Des Moines Register:

Regent Michael Gartner of Des Moines proposed studying the potential sale of the U of I’s “Mural” as a way to pay for $16 million in damage from June’s record floodwaters that entrenched the arts campus next to the Iowa River. The entire campus has an estimated $232 million in flood damage.

The Iowa Board of Regents decided at its meeting Thursday to research how much the 8-by-20-foot abstract painting would fetch if sold to a museum.

The piece is a prized painting for the university’s museum, acquired nearly 60 years ago when it was not nearly worth its estimated $100 million in value today. The idea of selling it brought strong sentiments from the U of I president, the art community and a state leader about the value of art and why it matters for universities to hold onto such treasures.

Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, who heads the Rebuild Iowa Office to recover from the flood, said there are options for paying for recovery besides selling artwork.

“I think selling off our assets that we probably could never purchase again would not be something I would like to see happen,” Judge said Thursday. “I would like to think we would rebuild that art center, that that painting along with the other great paintings will be hanging there for my grandkids to see, just like I did and just like my children did.”

The rest of the article goes through a lot of the pros and cons of selling this painting. My instinctive reaction is that it would be wrong to get rid of this irreplaceable piece.

On the other hand, the flood damage to the University of Iowa campus and the arts area in particular was so extensive that maybe this sale is justified. I don’t know how much of the reconstruction will be covered by insurance.

What do you think?

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Events coming up this weekend

Parking is going to be a nightmare in downtown Des Moines this weekend, with the Des Moines Arts Festival running in the Western Gateway Park Friday through Sunday, and the Iowa Democratic Party holding its Hall of Fame dinner on Friday night and state convention on Saturday.

If you can’t bike or bus your way to these events, consider carpooling with friends to reduce the number of parking spaces you’ll need to find.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom opened its 30th Triennial Congress at Simpson College in Indianola on Wednesday:

The time is NOW for WILPF to take its measure, to listen and learn from each other so we can shout out and stand up for the common good.  Democracy requires us to serve in the interests of those who cannot speak, cannot stand up.  Our 30th Triennial Congress provides a platform of all of us to form cohesive and effective voices in a time of greatest need.

The time is NOW.  The place is the Heartland.  Iowa is a microcosm of the local, national and the global issues that concern so many of us in WILPF.  The Des Moines branch wants YOU to join US in educating and agitating in June (and the rest of year) for a better world, a more peaceful  world, a world where women are respected, a world where children are sheltered, a world with no boundaries, no apathy, and no way but up.

Much more detail about that event can be found here:

I am only putting the highlights of the weekend’s events on this calendar, but WILPF has a lot more planned.

Thursday, June 26:

The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, Iowa Global Warming Campaign, and Center on Sustainable Communities are proud to have Stephen Hren, one of the co-authors of The Carbon Free Home, at East Village Books, 510 E. Locust St. in Des Moines from 5:30-7:30 pm. There will be a discussion of the book followed by a question and answer session and ‘meet and greet’. There is no admission charge to attendees. Sponsoring groups will be on hand to answer questions about global warming, green building, and other related issues.

Friday, June 27:

The Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner will be at the Polk County Convention Center in downtown Des Moines, beginning at 6 pm. More information is here:

The Des Moines Arts Festival opens in the Western Gateway Park of downtown Des Moines. More information about the weekend’s events is here:


As part of the WILPF Congress at Simpson College in Indianola, Amy Goodman will deliver the keynote address at 7:30 pm on “Independent Media in a Time of War.” Amy Goodman is a syndicated columnist, author and the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on 700 radio and television stations in North America. book signing after the event

Saturday, June 28:

The Iowa Democratic Party State Convention is going on all day at Hy-Vee Hall, 730 3rd Street in Des Moines.

The Story County Democrats are hosting a fundraiser for Becky Greenwald, Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional district. The event is at the Prairie Moon Winery located at 3801 W 190th St in Ames. It starts at 5PM. There is no set amount to donate in order to attend.

Go here to view the schedule of events at the Des Moines Arts Festival:


If you like art that you can buy as well as enjoy looking at, you might want to check out the “other art show” at the State Fairgrounds (Varied Industries Building), which runs on Saturday and Sunday. It’s more like a big craft fair, with many affordable items. I like buying note cards with paintings or photographs by Midwest artists.

It’s “tribute night” at the WILPF Congress in Indianola from 6:00 – 9:00pm. “Moving Forward” – The Great Hall  Public Invited to Join us for a cocktail hour followed by a Formal Dinner

Welcome, Moderator: Pat O’Brien  

Presenter of James Cheney Freedom Prize:   Pastor David Lewis    

Recipient:  Chris Morin and Sha’an Mouliet  Presenter of first annual Des Moines Branch, WILPF Strong Feisty Woman Award: Sue Dinsdale

Recipient:   Peg Mullen      

Introduction of Speaker: Marybeth Riley Gardam

FRAN KORTEN, publisher & executive director of YES! Magazine  Over many years and several countries, Korten has “helped bring about  substantial policy and institutional reform by creating common agendas among visionary leaders from the governmental, nongovernmental, and academic sectors.” *possibility of signing her magazine after the event

Sunday, June 29:

Go here to view the schedule of events at the Des Moines Arts Festival:


As I said above, I also recommend the “other art show” at the fairgrounds.

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