Art and Culture

Art and culture

Hi, I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Graham Swift won the Booker Prize for his novel Last Orders, and I had hopes for another win, but not for this year!  His latest novel is Here We Are.  This story is set in 1959 Brighton-by-the-Sea.  According to the dust jacket, there are three main characters: Ronni is a brilliant young magician, Evie, his dazzling assistant, and Jack, who is a born entertainer.  The language is wonderfully comic, but it requires some patience. 

David and Art - "Voting for the Arts"

Nov 23, 2020

Even in times of economic troubles, some cities are choosing to use tax dollars to support their local arts scene.

In Jersey City, New Jersey earlier this month, the election was not just about Biden vs Trump. Voters there had before them the question of a new tax that, if they approved it, they would soon be paying.

And approve it they did, perhaps unlikely enough in today’s climate.  What’s more is that the second largest city in New Jersey has now become that state’s first to establish a municipal tax that will go to support the arts.  Estimates are that it could generate between $1 and 2 million per year. A city arts committee will make decisions about where the money will go.

The Jersey City mayor has worked for two years to get this referendum on the general election ballot.  He didn’t want to just stick a line for funding the arts into the city budget.  Doing that would make it too vulnerable to arbitrary

Brother Isaiah's Church of God in Christ Choir's "Climbing High Mountains" is a great example of music from Vee-Jay Records' large stable of first-rate gospel artists from the mid-1950s.

Hear the full track below!

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Diane Cook lives in Brooklyn, New York.  She has had a number of short stories to her credit.  Her second novel, The New Wilderness, is a gripping tale.  This story is about a group of people who were moved off of the “City” and forced into a large uninhabited area of wilderness.

David and Art - "Creativity Silenced"

Nov 16, 2020

Sometimes we’re reminded that the power of human creativity can be limited only by human frailty.

One of the most creative musicians of the second half of the 20th century was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on the day World War Two came to an end in Europe.  Keith Jarrett was a piano prodigy almost from the time he was a toddler.  He began piano lessons before he was 3 and gave his first full recital when he was 7.  After high school he went to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music but left after a year to go to New York City and play. Like so many other great players he did a stint in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers after meeting Blakey at a Monday night jam session at the Village Vanguard in 1964.

Like many jazz players, he put a high premium on improvisation, but was determined to push that as far as possible.  In 1973, he began playing totally improvised solo piano concerts.  He would approach the piano with no music

The Soul Seekers of Fort Worth released several unjustly ignored 45s for Houston's funky and feisty Peacock label. 

Hear the full track below!

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

As a child of the Olde sod, I am a fan of several Irish writers, including James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, and my latest obsession, Roddy Doyle.  Love is Doyle’s seventeenth novel.

Outside pressures about what a museum should display intrude on what a curator’s job should be.

The recent decision by a quartet of prestigious art museums to postpone an exhibit on which they had collaborated reminded me of a controversy from the past.

Ten years ago this month the Smithsonian Institution found a 

Chicago gospel legend Claude Timmons is in fine form singing his signature song, "Christ is the Answer" with the Monument of Faith Evangelical Church Choir.

Hear the full track below!

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Louise Elisabeth Glück was born April 22, 1943 in New York City.  She is a poet, essayist, and a professor.  She has numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.  Her poetry inspired me during my MFA in poetry and short fiction.

David and Art - "Modern and Familiar"

Nov 2, 2020

In his first symphony, composer Virgil Thomson build a bridge to carry his listeners into the past, but to bring them back to the present as well

Most of the time when someone mentions modernism in music, our minds jump to some pretty strange things.  We tend to imagine something with no tonality, plenty of dissonance, weird unpredictable rhythms, and the lack of anything approaching a melody.

But if you listen to the work of, say, Igor Stravinsky--without question a modernist master—you’ll hear melodic touches that have their roots in anything but the modern world. Much of what he did was pull folk melodies from the past and work them through his musical vision—into something new, often revolutionary.

Other composers in the 20th century, and some American ones, experimented with the same thing.  One evening a couple of weeks ago I sat down and listened to Virgil Thomson’s Symphony on a Hymn Tune which he composed while he was in Paris from 1926-1928.  It’s his first symphony, a four-movement piece 

The World Wonders of Birmingham, Alabama nail the silvery, funky groove of 1979 soul music with their gospel hit, "Don't Give Up."

Hear the full track below!

Brodie Bashaw

A fifth Friday falls in October so we have two program this month.

On this edition of Conversations with Creative Waco, Stefanie Wheat-Johnson announces this year's ARTPrenticeship wall donor and shares insight into how the program is adapting to the times.  Also hear from Cindee Miller, Public Engagement Manager at the Mayborn Museum, and local entrepreneur Eric Linares.  They join Kennedy Sam to talk about their partnership honoring Hispanic Heritage, Dia De Los Muertos and the opening of  a public ofrenda.

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Anne Bogle wrote an interesting set of insights into the life of an avid reader: I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. 


David and Art - “An Exhibit On Hold”

Oct 26, 2020

When are controversial images in a series of paintings enough to make four prestigious museums postpone an exhibit for four years?

Last week I talked about an artist named Philip Guston whose remarkable career took him from realism to abstract expressionism, but then when he was almost 60 he shocked the art world by going back to representationalism.  As soon as he made the change, a curious cast of characters began to populate Guston’s new style.  Indeed one of the most distinctive features of his new worl was the appearance of hooded figures that look like they could be members of the Ku Klux Klan.   They’re not represented as people—not exactly.  They’re portrayed simply as cartoonish but vaguely menacing hoods and hands.