Art and Culture

Art and culture

David and Art - "Alabama"

Jul 6, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

How one of America's jazz greats took on one of the greatests outrages in the American Civil Rights Movement. 

On a bright Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb exploded under the rear steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church.  Four young girls who were in the basement changing into their choir robes for the youth service that morning, were killed.  Another 20 people or so were wounded.  The explosion left a crater five feet wide and two feet deep in the basement.  The bomb was placed there by four members of the Ku Klux Klan.  It was September 15, 1963. 

Two months later saxophonist John Coltrane stepped into a studio to record a song that he had written in tribune to the girls who were killed.  It was called simply “Alabama.”  A few

The Kings of Harmony were among the most influential jubilee groups to record in the early days of gospel music. 

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I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

According to the dust jacket, Crissy Van Meter grew up in Southern California.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School.  Creatures is her first novel.  


Conversations With Creative Waco - Todd Bertka

Jun 29, 2020

On this week's episode of Conversations With Creative Waco, host Kennedy Sam sits down with Todd Bertka, director of the Waco Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau. She also talks with Fiona Bond about Creative Waco's role in the current socio-political landscape. 

David and Art - "Remembering Christo"

Jun 29, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Looking back at the career of an artist whose projects transformed landscapes for a few days.

A visionary and world-famous artist died at the end of May.  Christo Javacheff was born in Bulgaria in 1935 and from his youth studied art.  In 1956 he escaped from Bulgaria and made his way to Vienna, Geneva, and finally to Paris.  He and his wife, who was his regular collaborator, moved to New York in 1964 and he became an American citizen in 1973.

Christo began his career as a painter but under the influence of revolutionary artists like

The North Philadelphia Juniors may not have been famous, but they could sing with anybody in gospel music!

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I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.

The Redhead by the Side of the Road is the latest offering by Anne Tyler.  This story of Micah Mortimer is the life of a man living a well-ordered household.  He has a lady friend, but their interactions are on and off.  One day, she reveals she has been evicted from her apartment, but Micah shows no apparent interest in her problem.  Then, to make matters worse, a teenager shows up and claims he is Micah’s son.  Micah is not used to so much intrusion in his life. 

David and Art - "Moss Hart"

Jun 22, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

On this weeks episode of David and Art, a  mostly forgotten name from Broadway casts a long shadow on the art world.

Last week, in its “Broadway Fridays” series of free online offerings, the Lincoln Center Theater made available a play called “Act One,” taken from the autobiography of an American playwright named Moss Hart.  His name is largely forgotten these days outside of Broadway circles, but for a while, his was one of the biggest names in American culture.

Moss Hart was born in the Bronx in 1904 and grew up in poverty. His father immigrated from 

Katie Sankey's powerful, expressive voice elevates every song she sings to a new level, including the old standard "I Don't Know Why."

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I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.

If you are a long-time listener to Likely Stories, you might know, Ian McEwan is one of my most favorite novelists.  Ian has a rapier wit when he needs it, and he is a writer of renown.  I have read almost all his novels, and I never—for even a moment—have lost the depth and expertise of his writing.  His latest novel, The Cockroach, is satire of the highest order.  If you are not familiar with McEwan, pick up a copy of any of his nineteen novels.



David and Art - "Art and Entertainment"

Jun 15, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

The difference between art and entertainment is a subtle but significant one.

I was talking to a friend who is a pastor recently, and he was telling me about the ins and outs of writing sermons.  It might be a little surprising to know that pastors get writers block, too.  Actually, it was a little bit encouraging.  He was thinking about the ways he tries to break through it when it comes.

He said that many times when he can’t find a nugget around which to build a sermon, he’ll turn to art.  He’s been inspired by paintings especially, but he’s also dipped into poetry, plays, and music. When he does so, he’s not as much searching for a topic as he’s trying to just get into a creative frame of mind.  “Creativity inspires creativity,” he said.  I wish I’d said that.  He told me the story of a Manet 

Hardie Clifton's emotional reading of "I Stood on the Banks of the Jordan" only hints at the remarkable story behind the song.

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I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.

I recently received a book which opened the window on a frightening and horrific story.  Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South by Mike Selby.  Mike “is a professional librarian.  He received his MLS from the University of Alabama, which is where he first unearthed the story of the Freedom Libraries.  He has published over nine hundred articles about libraries, reading, and print culture—much of it covering libraries during the Civil Rights Movement” (Jacket).  The book recounts a number of anecdotes and the people who suffered and risked their lives to bring books to children.

David and Art - Opening Theaters

Jun 8, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

The world of live theater is a significant portion of the art community and in some places, an economic engine like all of the arts.  When it will open back up however is anyone’s guess.

Last week we talked about art museums that were cautiously opening, and the attitudes and procedures adopted by places like the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.  For the rest of the art world, questions about reopening are just as vivid and urgent, and arts backers around the country are rightly concerned about all the factors involved, from safety to finances to jobs.  For live theater in NYC, the date you hear 

A special 200th episode featuring the legendary The Mighty Clouds of Joy recorded live in Montreaux, France.

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