Art and Culture

Art and culture

Over 100 years ago, Russian folk music provided the doorway to a flowering of Modernism. 

Anytime you hear the word “Russian” these days, there’s a good chance one of the next words you hear will be “interference.”  The image of Russia this inevitably creates is that of a power operating on the fringes of Europe—or on the fringes of western democracies more generally. It reflects a suspicion that has a long pedigree.  After the fall of Napoleon, the European states all looked apprehensively at Russia with  

The husband and wife duo known as the Consolers were the most traditional sounding group on the gospel highway for more than 30 years. 

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

I have read several books by Lily King—The English Teacher, The Pleasing Hour, and Euphoria.  All were resounding successes.  Naturally, I was immediately drawn to her latest book, Writers & Lovers: A Novel.  This story tells of a writer desperately trying to finish the manuscript of her first novel.  It began with Case Peabody shortly after the death of her mother.  Page after page reminded me of so many of the things I have dealt with recently.  The first line touched me deeply. 

Seeing Hamilton reinforces what the Ancient Greeks knew about theater.

I knew every word of most of the songs, if not all of them. I knew all of the little inside references to other classics of musical theater and at least a fair number of the ones to the world of contemporary pop music. I knew the history, of course; I knew the story. But I wasn’t prepared for the effect that finally watching the staged version of Hamilton had on me.

I talked just last week about the way in which online offerings are not the same as seeing something in person, whether in a school classroom, or a concert, museum, or opera, so I knew that

The Harold Bailey Singers were one of Chicago's most beloved gospel groups in the mid-1960's.

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This week, host Kennedy Sam sits down with podcasters Travvis Scott and Zach Burke to discuss their new podcast Invisible Icon: The Tom Wilson Story. She is also joined by Fiona Bond to discuss the state of the Waco music and arts scenes. 

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

Chris Cleave has taken an exciting racing story as a recent setting.  The main characters are two young women in competition while training for the Olympics.  He was the author of an interesting story, Gold.  He currently resides in Kingston-upon-Thames, England.

There are important differences between experiencing something online and experiencing it in person.  But there’s still something good that can come from virtual art.

Is there anyway online content can be made as effective as in-person content? Can it be anywhere close? I know school districts are wrestling with this question right now. It’s at the forefront of their concerns as the uncertainties of the coming school year loom just ahead. I also know very few teachers who think that online content comes anywhere close to the experience of in-person education. 

The Sensational Whirlwinds with Johnny Twiller were one of the many great groups featured on Rochester, New York's Lifetime label. 

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On this week's episode of Coversations With Creative Waco, Fiona Bond sits down with Rev. Amos Humphries, Senior Pastor of Park Lake Drive Baptist Church, and artist and business owner Tashita Bibles. They discuss the tragedy that brought them together, and the way that they are using art to pave the way forward. 

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

I have always been fascinated by nature--especially animals.  When I came across Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson, I could not resist.  I had never heard of Williamson, but the intro had a vast selection of stories by him.  The New York Review Books also provided a brief biography.  “Henry Williamson was born in Brockley, London.  In January of 1914, he enlisted in the British Army, and by November he was fighting in the trenches on the Western front.  He worked his way up to Lieutenant by 1916, and he fell sick from a gas attack in 1917.  Later he wrote for a local paper.  He died in 1977. 

With their doors shut, concert halls and art museums leave a big hole in the cultural landscape.  Here is David Smith with this weeks edition of David and Art.

The reports from the art world are not very rosy.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, arts institutions, like so many other places, are feeling the strains.  Some art museums have cautiously opened back up, but some other, major ones are waiting.  The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC for instance is still closed, although it recently opened its outdoor sculpture garden on a limited basis.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has announced that it’s not planning to open its doors until August 29.

Largely because of these ongoing closures, arts institutions—which, even in the best of times aren’t exactly flush with cash—are feeling it in the bottom line.  With their doors closed until who knows

"Rocka My Soul" from the A'Cappels captures both the passion of the old spirituals and the joyful precision of jubilee. 

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

A large part of my graduate education revolved around the trinity of 19th century authors: George Eliot, the Brontë sisters, and Jane Austen.  Susan Carson edited 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen.  This remarkable book drives the reader into Austen’s entire world from all angles.  Every devotee of Austen should own a copy of this work.  I hope I can find a similar book for Eliot and the Brontës.

David and Art - "See His Face"

Jul 13, 2020

Street art can be some of the best commemoration for things we need to remember. 

By the Thursday after George Floyd’s death on a Monday, a group of artists were painting a mural on the wall of the Cup Foods store very near where he died.  You’ve probably seen it in news coverage from Minneapolis.  It’s a predominantly yellow and blue mural with an image of Floyd’s face in the center, flanked left and right by his name.  In the yellow letters of his name are individuals rendered in light blue minimalisticaly with fists raised in solidarity.  The background is an enormous sunflower, in the heart of which are names of people who have suffered a fate similar to that of Floyd.  The choice