Art and Culture

Art and culture

This week on Conversations with Creative Waco, host Kennedy Sam and Fiona Bond, Creative Waco's Executive Director, introduce a new online marketplace Make It In Waco. Later in the program, Sam sits down with Katie Selman and Jacob Green, the duo behind Keep Waco Loud, to share how local musicians and performers are adapting to the stay-at-home order and ways to support our local music scene during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interesting selection of stories by a Booker Prize winning author.

(Local productions are on hold during the social distance requirements due to Covid-19.  This segment originally aired April 19, 2018.)

Penelope Lively is an author with a subtle and delightful sense of humor and pathos.  She has written more than 20 novels and short story collections.  Her latest collection, The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories is every bit engrossing as many of the others I have read.  Penelope was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1933.  She is a British Citizen and has been awarded the title of “Dame of the British Empire.”  She won the Booker Prize in 1987 for her acclaimed novel, Moon Tiger.   She is a sure bet for a great read.

The collection begins with the title story, The Purple Swamp Hen.  The story is told by a Purple Swamp Hen, and it is rather humorous.  Penelope begins with a detailed description—including taxonomy—of the hen.  She writes, “Wondering where all this is going?  Have patience.  You know me on the famous garden 

David and Art - "Learning the Classics"

Apr 20, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

If you like classical music, do you remember where and how you acquired your taste for it?  This is no small question these days.  Any number of studies indicate that the audiences for symphony orchestras are slowly shrinking.  Therefore, getting what’s known as “classical” music into the ears of more people is an important mission for any orchestra, and a daunting challenge as well.

There’s something of a consensus that such tastes are largely developed in youth, and that may well be the case. My earliest memory of classical music is of an album my parents had of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, recorded back in 1960.  I was captivated by it, and vividly remember listening to it over and over.  I listened to it on the way in to work this morning.  It’s still good.

Bernstein himself was dedicated to educating young people about orchestral music.  Beginning in 1958 when rock and roll was sweeping the country, he took over the New York 

The only place to hear the rare gospel 45 "King's Highway" by the long-lost Pilgrim Five is here on KWBU. 

Hear the full track below!

 A small town with “hockey fever” hopes for a national championship.

(Local productions are on hold during the social distance requirements due to Covid-19.  This segment originally aired March 22, 2018.)


 I have read nearly all Fredrick Backman’s work, and his latest novel is Beartown.   And I am happy to add it to my collection. 

This is a peculiar story.  Normally, I dislike novels and sports, but ice hockey is a favorite pastime, so I slid into my hockey days.  This story tells of a small town with little to be proud of—except their hockey team—rated as the second best anywhere.  Backman writes, “Beartown isn’t close to anything I’.  Even on a map the place looks unnatural.  ‘As if a drunk giant tried to urinate

David and Art - Jazz

Apr 13, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Why is it that Jazz music is often regarded as one of the most distictively American art forms?  (Reworked from original November 26, 2018 broadcast.)

Jazz occupies a curious place in the cultural landscape of America.  Throughout the 20th century its level of sophistication seemed to depend in large part upon the person listening to it.  Highbrows (for lack of a better word) thought of it as too vulgar and associated it with speakeasies or drug infested clubs.  Lowbrows on the other hand often thought of it—particularly in the 1950s—as too complicated,

Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - "Pray"

Apr 12, 2020

The Johnnie Taylor-led Highway QC's had a number of gospel hits, including this jubilee gospel workout, "Pray."

Hear the full track below!

Some of the most interesting novels I have read over the years, are those I discovered through a small press publisher.  Edward J. Delaney’s gripping novel, Follow the Sun is a prime example of the many hidden treasures from a small press.  He has also written two other novels—Broken Irish and Warp and Weft.  I am sure I will soon haul in these two exciting novels.

Follow the Sun describes the difficult and dangerous job as lobster men in cold treacherous waters.  Quin Boyle is a lobsterman who is down on his luck.  He has the demons of drugs, alcohol, and with child support he is unable to pay.  One day, he sets sail with Freddy Santoro, with whom he is frequently at odds.  Quin recently was released from jail, and Santoro is also facing jail. 

Delaney writes, “In his recovery from heroin, Quin had been left with an unsettling rime, an infection of self-awareness he had never thought could be harbored by his DNA.  Regret.  Shame.  In his clear-mindedness, his memory had become sharp, and serrated, and unbidden.  He went back to moments that probably only he remembered, things that at age eighteen or twenty-five or thirty were just fleeting moments but had somehow gone dormant in himself, to flare up constantly and  

During the peak of the civil rights movement, the Sensational Six of Birmingham, Alabama release this brave call to arms, "Let Freedom Ring."

Hear the full track below!

David and Art - Remembering McCoy Tyner

Apr 6, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

McCoy Tyner was a pianist whose influence can be heard across half a century.

In 1990, I was… Quite a bit younger. My musical tastes were relatively typical: I was into pop music, some hard rock stuff.  I was a bass player so I was into the group Rush.  I hadn’t yet discovered Earth, Wind and Fire.  I thought I knew jazz because back in high school I’d played in the jazz band and sorta dug some big band recordings like Glen Miller and Count Basie.

Somehow there drifted into my CD collection an album of solo jazz piano by an artist that I’d never heard of.  I ordered it from some place but to this day I don’t know why I bought McCoy Tyner’s 1988 album Revelations.

Tyner was born in Philadelphia in 1938.  Like Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane and Miles, he was a 

I could easily name five or six novels that have brought me to tears at the end of my reading.  Today, I am telling a story that drove me to tears from the first two or three paragraphs.  The Library Book by Susan Orlean has done just that.  This review will be different than most.

Let’s begin.  “On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library.  As one fireman recounted later, ‘Once that first stack got going, it was “Goodbye Charlie”.  The fire was disastrous: it reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours.  By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. 

The Central Library [in downtown Los Angeles] was opened in 1926.  As Susan writes, “My family was big on the library.  We were very much a reading family, but we were a borrow-a-book-from-the-library family more than a bookshelves-full-of-books-family.  My parents valued books, but they grew up in the Depression, aware of the quicksilver nature of money, and they learned the hard way that you shouldn’t buy what you could borrow. […] // When I headed to college, one of the  

David and Art - "Theatres that are Closed"

Mar 30, 2020
Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

When theaters are dark, we lose out on the stories that make us human.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d want to see my life acted out on a stage. A dramatic rendering of my foibles, failures, vanities and inconsistencies? No thanks. I know of few people who’d relish being the subject of such a display.

On the other hand, we as a society need to see such things because it does us good to be reminded of our potential failings and weaknesses before they erupt and cause trouble. If Macbeth could have seen 

Gospel Unlimited's "God is Love" and "Walkin' and Talkin' With Jesus" is an under-appreciated gem from the Say Amen, Somebody soundtrack.

Hear the full track here!

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

Aside from Margaret Attwood, I rarely encounter novels from Canada.  However, when Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore grabbed my attention, I was intrigued.  Then I began the novel, and my intrigue meter went off the charts.  Her first novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. And her short fiction has been included in Best Short Stories and Best British Horror anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio.  My intrigue meter went up another notch.

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

Helping artists navigate legal questions is a good way to help the local arts scene

A couple of weeks ago when I was talking about the new gig economy law in California, I mentioned that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about who counts as an artist in the eyes of the law.  The day-to-day realities of being a working artist are so far removed from the experiences of most people—certainly from