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Briana O'Higgins / KMUW

Kansas Snow Days 'Good For The Soul,' But The Pandemic Means Fewer Of Them Even After 2020

WICHITA, Kansas — Between concerns about schools staying open and the challenges of learning remotely, teachers and students are haunted by another question that goes beyond 2020: Will snow days disappear forever?

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Well, we’ve had some snow this winter. That proves there’s no global warming. No, really. Fox News has been all over it. See, they took Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and they set it outside in the snow and showed it on camera while they snickered and cackled about how the snow disproved it all.

Yeah. That’s what we’ve come to. Imbecilic “news reports” like that. The “gotcha” mentality rules stronger than ever.

I never thought I’d say this, but, man! I’m really into basketball these days! Generally I barely pay attention to it. But a couple of things happened recently that turned me around.

It’s felt like the dead of winter around here lately - day after day of dense fog, damp air and cool temperatures. We’re not used to this kind of fog here in Kansas.

It’s crow time in Wichita. Driving my daughter to school this morning we noticed the thousands of crows roosting in the trees along Grove Street. She took the same perspective on the sight that anyone who’s ever seen Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds, would take, and she pronounced it “creepy.”

There’s a little dog that usually appears somewhere in every cartoon I draw. His name is Al and he’s a wire-haired fox terrier that we once shared our home with. Al came from a background of abuse as was evidenced by his shy, cowering personality. There’s nothing normal about a terrier that’s shy but Al had been badly mistreated during his first four or five months and he never really got over it.

We don’t really have any hills here in Wichita so we couldn’t erect our Greek Temple to the Celebrity Gods up high where everybody could see it. But downtown was as good a place as any, better than most, for its location.

Celebrity worship continues to be one of our most popular religions. So it is that we find our modern equivalent of the Greek Temple, the downtown Intrust Arena, about ready to open its doors to that fervent flock, the Adorers of the Blessed People Magazine Cover Subjects.

One thing I’m betting you are not asking Santa for this year is a telephone book.

Yet another unrequested phone book was delivered to my front porch the other day. I dutifully brought it in and opened the cabinet door to the area where we store them to add it to the collection. It was hours later before the avalanche rescue team found me beneath the huge pile of phone books that had tumbled out of that cabinet and buried me.

I’ve never been able to pass up an estate sale and stopped in at one last week in modest little home. The tattered art prints and hundreds of books painted a picture of a person with intellectual curiosity about the world of ideas. The small living room was dominated by a seriously grand piano standing proudly out among a few worn and threadbare sticks of furniture.

While I was in the basement, someone sat at that piano and played a flourishing rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” It echoed easily through the thin floors and walls of that once-beloved home.


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Commentary & Podcasts

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

Food! Glorious Food! (Part 1) | YSIW

It's a cornucopia of delights! A feast for the... mouth? Ears? Whatever words are a feast for. We'll scarf down a Brazilian berry, a flaky French treat, and some delicious little potato pastas, while trying not to get yelled at by our Greek waiter. How exactly do you say all of these delicacies? We'll also take a little detour and look at the unexpected origins of a recently announced word of the year.

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KMUW Music

  Monday November 30

The final Monday of every month, we present Global Village at the Savannah Music Festival, our award-winning monthly concert series (First Place in the 2020 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Annual Awards in the Special Program category) showcasing top world music artists and groups who have appeared at the prestigious annual festival that takes place each spring in Savannah, Georgia.
Throughout November Global Village has been featuring music of the Wailers and I-Threes, so for our visit to Savannah this time we focus on an artist from Jamaica – in this case, pianist Monty Alexander. Alexander began his career in his teens working the Jamaican studios during the birth of ska. He would move to the US and become an esteemed jazz pianist. But throughout his career he would return to his roots in reggae and Caribbean music and combine those influences with jazz. The show highlights both the range of his work and the energy and appeal of his performances. And as a special bonus, the show concludes with Alexander joining in with vocalist and newly named ‘Genius Grant’ recipient Cecile McLorin Salvant for a spirited performance of Billie Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow.”

Tuesday, December 1

Global Village marks World Aids Day in a special show devoted to the world music side of the “Red Hot” releases, a series of some two dozen recordings in a variety of styles that benefit the Red Hot Foundation.  Since it began in 1989, the Red Hot series has involved some 400 hundred international artists and raised millions of dollars for AIDS education and prevention programs around the world.
World AIDS Day this year also falls on Giving Tuesday. For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 2

Global Village kicks off the December fado feature with music from some contemporary fado artists, including Mariza, Antonio Zambujo, Cristina Branco, and Custodio Castelo. Plus the latest from Sam Lee, Oumou Sangare, and Azymuth.

Thursday, December 3

This time in the Global Village, we once again ‘give the drummer some’ in a program devoted to an eclectic lineup of drum and percussion masters. We’ll hear tabla master Zakir Hussain with Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer; Nii Okai Tagoe, former percussionist with Osibisa; Max Roach’s all-percussion M’Boom ensemble; the world jazz sounds of Bones & Tones, Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures, Manu Katche, and Minu Cinelu; and master congueros Mongo Santamaria and Poncho Sanchez.

Friday, December 4
It’s New Month/New Music time in the Global Village. Each month, Global Village devotes an entire show to the best of recently released and forthcoming world music albums.  Among the highlights this time:

  • Contemporary afrobeat from Nigerian band Bantu
  • Silk Road excursions from Guo Gan with Fabio Turchetti, and from the group 3,14
  • Contemporary reggae and Afro-Caribbean sounds from Kosmo Sound, and from Afro-Venezuelan bassist Raul Monsalve y Los Forajidos
  • A live release from Argentina’s Juana Molina
  • And the latest from Cape Verdean rising star Elida Almeida.

  Monday, November 30

Night Train wraps up the November Mose Allison feature with more music from him and with covers of his songs by Curtis Stigers and Swingadelic. There’s new music from Isaiah J. Thompson (a tribute to Buddy Montgomery), Wolff Clark Dorsey (a tribute to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album), John Daversa’s comforting quarantine project, and Radam Schwartz with his Organ Big Band. And it’s the birthday of vocalist Roberta Gambarini and we’ll hear her with legendary pianist Hank Jones in hour one, and in a concert special with the Airmen of Note in hour two of the show.

Tuesday, December 1

Tonight on the Night Train, we kick off a new month’s feature marking centennial birthdays of two jazz greats, Dave Brubeck and Clark Terry. We’ll hear Terry tonight recorded live at the Wichita Jazz Festival, and Brubeck from his Red Hot and Cool album. Speaking of Red Hot, today is both World AIDS Day and Giving Tuesday and Night Train highlights some music from the Red Hot series that benefits AIDS prevention and education efforts around the world. (Global Village features a special devoted to the world music side of the Red Hot releases tonight.) There are also birthday salutes to bass icon Jaco Pastorius (with Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny and Weather Report) and saxophonist Carlos Garnett. New music tonight comes from Jason Marsalis, Mark Egan & Danny Gottlieb, Billy Childs, and Conrad Herwig.

Wednesday, December 2

Night Train marks a number of jazz birthdays (pianist Wynton Kelly with Miles Davis, composer and arranger Eddie Sauter with Stan Getz, lyricist Adolph Green performed by Blossom Dearie, saxophonist PJ Perry teamed up with Campbell Ryga, pianist Amina Figarova with her new electric band, and vocalist Fay Classen with the Millennium Jazz Orchestra in hour one and in a concert special in hour two of the show). Plus music from December featured artist Dave Brubeck, and new releases from Bobby Watson and the Royce Campbell/Chris Whiteman Project.

Thursday, December 3

It’s the birthday today of famed film composer Nino Rota and Night Train celebrates with jazz covers of his compositions from Bill Frisell, Enrico Rava, and Enrico Pieranunzi. There’s also new music from Eddie Henderson and Jerry Bergonzi, and selections from December featured artists Clark Terry and Dave Brubeck (including a Brubeck special in hour two of the show).

New Month, New Music

1 hour ago

Friday, December 4 and Sunday, December 6
It’s “New Month/New Music” time as Crossroads teams up with Global Village and Strange Currency at the beginning of every month to feature the best in new blues releases.
Among the highlights this time:

  • New titles from Duke Robillard and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and the latest in Bob Corritore’s From the Vault series – this time with Henry Gray.
  • Crossroads also highlights new holiday release from Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, the Wildroots, Hamilton Loomis, and the Gulf Coast Christmas compilation.

P Music Group, Inc.

Sunday, November 29

Hear a new single from two R&B legends this Sunday on Soulsations. Charlie Wilson and Smokey Robinson have teamed up for "All Of My Love." Also hear a new uplifting tune from gospel artist Brian Courtney Wilson. Plus this week’s DoubleTake features the 1972 classic from The Spinners — “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” — and a cover by Regina Belle.

Here's the music video for "All Of My Love" by Charlie Wilson featuring Smokey Robinson:

Alive In The Hot Zone

Nov 24, 2020
Album Cover Art Courtesy Translation Loss

Wednesday, November 25

Listen for selections from the self-titled release from Guma and music from Kevin Hufnagel’s Messages to the Past

Thursday, November 26

We mark the Thanksgiving holiday with selections from John Hiatt, The Kinks, James Taylor and more.

Friday, November 27

Listen for selections from Austin Lucas’s Alive in the Hot Zone and Getting Into Knives, the latest from The Mountain Goats.

Saturday, November 28

Connect with KMUW’s audience through Springboard Packages.

Explore world music, blues, jazz, R&B and gospel, local spotlights and new releases.