Art and Culture

Art and culture

  Tense and absorbing story of a runaway balloon, and several men trying to help.

(Local productions are on hold during the social distance requirements due to Covid-19.  This segment originally aired July 12, 2018.)


Best-selling author, Ian McEwan has a knack for stories that slowly build for the reader right up until the precipice.  According to WikiPedia, McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The London Times featured him on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.  Enduring Love is among a few of his early works I have eagerly devoured. 

Joe and Clarissa have what seems to be an ideal marriage.  Clarissa is a therapist, who is dedicated to her profession.  Joe is a successful freelance writer.  Clarissa has been away for some time, and 

David and Art - "Changes"

May 4, 2020
Joe Riley

(Local productions are on hold during the social distance requirements due to Covid-19.  This segment originally aired June 4, 2018.)

Art reveals the world to us in new ways.

David and Art has been a segment on Conversations with Creative Waco and is now a regular Monday feature during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. 

You'll get a kick out of the White Cloud Young Adult Choir's joyful, messy, unstoppable "Top of the Mountain, Parts I and II."

Hear the full tracks below!

In the midst of a terrible war, a Cellist plays every day for each person killed in a bombing.


(Local productions are on hold during the social distance requirements due to Covid-19.  This segment originally aired June 7, 2018.)

I am fortunate to coordinate a Book Club made up of a number of erudite and voracious readers.  I come away from every meeting with some new insights, some new authors, and an all-around fun evening.  This past month I was introduced to Steven Galloway, a Canadian novelist and a former professor at the University of British Columbia.  He has won several awards for The Cellist of Sarajevo

This novel, a bit over 230 pages, is packed with an intensity I relish in a good read.  The novel is set at the height of the War in Sarajevo.  The city is in ruins, and mortar shells rain down and snipers 

Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

*This segment originially aired October 22, 2018.

Is art elitist? Is there something in it that’s automatically exclusionary, reserved for only a few people, leaving everyone else outside, puzzled, irate or indifferent? 

I know a lot of people believe this but it bears very little resemblance to what art is really about.

To be sure, great art itself is elite.  Everyone can be creative, but that’s not the same thing. Many people like to draw, but most can’t turn out a masterpiece. I can hum and sing and even make up a tune now and then, but no one will mistake me for a good singer, let alone a composer.  There just isn’t a lot of really

The Rev. James Cleveland's monumental "Jesus is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" is one of gospel music's all-time highlights. 

Hear the full track below!

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!