Art and Culture

Art and culture

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

Alice McDermont was born in Brooklyn, New York and has written several novels of life among those originally living in Ireland but who immigrated to the United States, particularly to Brooklyn.  She has won numerous awards and been listed as a finalist for several novels.    Someone: A Novel was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award.  As the dust jacket reveals, Someone recounts the ‘devastating pains and unexpected joys with bursts of brilliant clarity and moments of profound confusion’.”  Marie is a child with thick glasses.  Unlike some stories, no one teases her or bullies her.  She has a brother who seems destined for a vocation as a Catholic priest.  Her father is ill, and her mother is a quiet, loving, but stern parent.  Her stories also reveal many details of life in pre-World W II.  I found this pleasant story full of wonderful depictions of people who share numerous insights into everyday life. 

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Like all art, Christmas carols shape our moods and influence how we experience life.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Christmas is the only holiday that has its own complete roster of music--of songs that accompany it each year like the Christmas decorations themselves that we pull down out of the attic:  songs that are in turn beautiful, thoughtful, comedic, clichéd, delightful, tiresome, and inspiring.  Why is this?  

Led by Little Joe Cook, the Evening Star Quartet's frenzied 45 "Have Mercy" is a superb example of magical marriage between doo wop and jubilee singing. 

Ho Ho Hoping you're enjoying the holiday season.

This edition of Act Locally Waco touches on a few events happening December 20th through January 4th.  We'll have a holiday hiatus December 27 and January 3.  However, you can see the calendar of events at

There are lots of thing going on in and around town.  Scroll to see some featured happenings or give the segment a listen.

Happy Holidays from KWBU and Act Locally Waco.

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

According to the dust jacket, Elizabeth Ames is a graduate of the University of Michigan MFA program, where she won the Hopwood Award.  She has published a number of short stories.  Elizabeth was born and raised in Wisconsin, and she currently lives in a Harvard dormitory with her husband, two children, and a few hundred under graduates.  This is her first novel, which always draws me to new writers.

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Just because a painting doesn't seem to tell a story, it doesn't mean there's not a story there at all. 

Last month, the movie Midway, about the battle that was the turning point in the Pacific during World War Two, hit theaters and the reaction was lukewarm at best.  If you took your seat expecting a cross between a typical action movie and a video game based on flying a dive bomber, you might not have been too disappointed.   My initial reaction was that it did a fair job of relating the experiences of American air crews in 1941 and 42, but I was dismayed at how poorly it explained why and how the battle unfolded as it did.  For a battle like Midway the broader narrative is the most important element in making the smaller pieces of the story coalesce into something intelligible.

The famed organist Dr. Charles Clency can be heard on this charming 45, "Nearer My God to Thee" by the Antioch Baptist Church of Chicago Mass Choir. 

What’s the best way to get into the true spirit of the holiday season?  Doing something nice for your community of course!  And, we’ve got a couple suggestions for you this week!  Ashley Thornton and Brodie Bashaw highlight some local happenings you might be interested in.

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

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Different versions of a familiar ballet can remind us that art doesn't always have to look like we expect it to. 

This 45 by The Howard University Gospel Choir titled "I Found God" features an early - but still scintillating - performance by the legendary Richard Smallwood. 

'Tis always the season to act locally Waco! This week there are quite a few holiday themed activities from the tree lighting, fireworks and the Wonderland Parade to Arts events and ways you can give back.

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

A few years ago, I came by three interesting books about libraries.  In the third, Matthew Battles wrote Library: An Unquiet History.  The depth, breath, and detail of this history appeals to most bibliophiles.



Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Creativity in one artistic medium can often enhance creativity in others. 

The 32nd Annual International Youth Congress of the Church of God in Christ produced a marvelous mass choir LP by the same name in 1967 Featuring the immortal gospel singer Kitty Parham.