Art and Culture

Art and culture

David and Art - Openminded

Feb 11, 2019
Joe Riley

Familiarity is not the most important element in experiencing art.

What do “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the “Mona Lisa,” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” all have in common?  Well, for one thing, they’re some of the familiar workhorses of our culture: things that a lot of people automatically think of when they hear the word “art.”

Some gospel artist never received the acclaim their talents deserved. One such artist is singer, composer and choir leader Lloyd C. Russell, who released several excellent LPs for Savoy's Gospel line in the 1960s and '70s, including this one - Until We Meet Again. 


French fairy tales to delight children and adults alike


French fairy tales to delight children and adults alike


Joe Riley

Taking care of art often involves science that didn't exist when a threatened piece was created.

The other day my daughter brought home a painting from school that she had done.  Her class was studying the postimpressionist apparently and, as art students have done for centuries, she had copied the work of a master:  in this case Vincent Van Gogh.  She'd produced a very good copy of his famous painting Sunflowers.

Like the best of the thousands of self-pressed LPs by African American churches across the country, Hello Sunshine by the Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church is a joyous gospel romp - lacking in studio polish, but more than making up for it with spirited singing and playing. 


Suspenseful dystopian novel by an original woman of letters.

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

I have long admired, read, and re-read many books by Joyce Carol Oates.  It pains me to admit I was ever so slightly disappointed by her latest novel, Hazards of Time Travel.  She has written a wide variety of novels, and I can honestly say almost all have thrilled me.  Her output is prodigious.  For an avid book collector, it is a daunting task to keep up with so many wonderful novels. 

Hazards has an ominous beginning.  Oates writes, “Hereby, entered on this the 19th day June NAS-23 in the 16th Federal District, Eastern-Atlantic states, a warrant for the arrest, detention, reassignment and sentencing of STROHL, ADRIANE S., 17, daughter of ERIC and MADELEINE STROHL, 3911 N. 17th St., Pennsboro, N.J., on seven counts of Treason-Speech and Questioning of Authority in violation of Federal Statues 2 and 7.  Signed by order of Chief Justice H.R. Sedgwick, 16th Federal District” (13).

Adriane has been at the top of her high school class, and she is thrilled to give the Valedictory address to her class.  She ignores the suggestions of her teachers and writes a rather stunning speech.  She lists provocative questions about the state of the nation.  She only poses the questions.

Oates writes, “The words were brisk, impersonal: ‘Strohl, Adriane.  Hands behind your back.’ // It happened so fast.  At graduation rehearsal. // So fast!  I was too surprised—too scared—to think of resisting. // Except I guess that I did—try to ‘resist’—in childish desperation tried to duck and cringe away from the officers’ rough hands on me—wrenching my arms behind my back with such force, I had to bite my lips to keep from screaming. // […] Yet even in my shock thinking I will not scream.  I will not beg for mercy” (25).  She is a strong young woman even in the face of torture.

As her punishment, she is “teletransported” to 1950 for a term of 4 years.  She is given a new name, Mary Ellen, an identity card, and a list of violations would cause her to be vaporized.  She finds herself in a fully funded college scholarship, in a mysterious college.  She begins to develop a crush on a teaching assistant in her psychology class.

Mary Ellen Enright proves to be an outstanding student and receives the highest grades—rarely bestowed on an undergraduate student in Professor Axtel’s coveted class.  Among the terms of her exile, she was warned to remain within a ten-mile perimeter of her college. She was also warned about discussing her sentence or her true identity.  Another friend, Ira, plots an escape.  Adriene is fearful and skeptical.  An explosion occurs, Ira disappears, and she is struck by lightning.  She spends a long time in the hospital. 

My disappointment lies mainly in the ending.  Normally, I enjoy novels with little or no knots untied, but in this particular instance, I wanted more.  I wanted to search the corners of Oates’ mind to understand her thought processes, but I guess I will have to go it alone in this case.  Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates is, never-the-less, an absorbing and tense story.  4.9 Stars.

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!

Joe Riley

If you want to record some old songs from 1923, you can now make them live again without violating copyright laws.


The Crowns of Glory cover Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine" hit and turn it into an apocalyptic tour-de-force. 


(Kateleigh Mills/KWBU Radio)

This week on Conversations with Creative Waco, host Rae Jefferson speaks with local jazz musician Chuck Jennings about his time performing in large cities and how that compares to Waco. The two also discuss the Jazz Jam sessions Jennings leads every month at Cultivate 7Twelve and how the genre could use a revitalization of regionalism across the country and in smaller cities. 


Story of an inquisitive and erudite young girl and her friend who search for meaning.


Joe Riley

A controversy at a California public school threatens two lively murals, and the freedom of expession that created them.


The legendary Sallie Martin and Thomas Dorsey reunited in 1973 to record a version of Dorsey's classic "I'll Tell It Wherever I Go."


A mysterious city, a peculiar stranger, and the stranger’s wife add up to a stunning tale.


Chicago legend, the Rev. Issac Whittmon leads the Greater Metropolitan COGIC choir on a rafter-raising gospel stomper.

Full length audio here

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