Cultural Shorts

Discussions about the artistic impulse and creative drive, these interviews and features bring a local focus on the global art community of artists, authors and musicians.

Laura Domela

Storm Large will perform at Salina's Stiefel Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 8.

The multi-faceted Large continues to impress with her range of talents, including acting, writing and playwriting, though singing remains central to it all. Her musical performances are dynamic, dramatic and cover a wide range of material.

Rick Bumgardner

The Wichita stage production of The Wiz debuts at Roxy’s Downtown next week.

The show is based on the classical musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz, but with an all-black cast and an R&B and jazz score.

Nate Burrell

St. Louis-based singer-songwriter Beth Bombara will perform at Barleycorn's Tuesday, Jan. 21, on a bill with Joey Lemon and Samantha Crain.

Bombara's 2019 album Evergreen earned accolades from the critical community and further established her as a recording and touring entity.

She recently spoke with KMUW about the album and her ongoing friendship with Crain.

At times Evergreen recalls Neil Young or Emmylou Harris albums from the '70s. Were those touchstones for you?

Courtesy photo

Though she shares a name (and manager) with blues pianist and vocalist Kelley Hunt, Kansas City-based singer-songwriter Kelly Hunt has a sound distinctly her own. The Tennessee native's songwriting is steeped in the Americana tradition — her songs spare and intimate, as heard on her debut album Even The Sparrow.

Released in May 2019, the record has already earned Hunt a global audience and acclaim from outlets such as Rolling Stone and PopMatters. It was selected as a finalist for the International Folk Awards Album of The Year.

Douglas Hahn

Jenny Wood performs at Wichita's Orpheum Theatre Friday, Dec. 20, alongside Katy Guillen and The Drive.

Wood's ongoing anti-bullying campaign, which saw her record the song "Don't Let Them Get In Your Head," remains central to her performance mission. She will also perform several familiar songs and some holiday music as well.

Guillen and bandmate Stephanie Williams will join Wood part of her set in addition to performing on their own.

Wood recently stopped by the KMUW studios to discuss her friendship with Guillen and her first-ever headlining show at the Orpheum.

Hannah Miller

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Kyshona will perform at the Dyck Arboretum in Hesston Sunday, Nov. 24, as part of the Prairie Window Concert Series. The show begins at 4 p.m.

Kyshona will also release the album "Listen" on Feb. 28, 2020.

The former full-time music therapist recently spoke with KMUW about her past work and this upcoming release.

Ruth Fremson

Author and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Timothy Egan often delves into history with his writing. He did so in his personal life, too. Prompted by his Irish Catholic family's complicated history with the church, Egan decided to find answers by walking one of the oldest pilgrimage trails in the world, taking him from Canterbury to Rome and a hopeful audience with the pope.

KMUW's Beth Golay spoke with Egan about his new book, "A Pilgrimage to Eternity" -- a personal journey he's been reluctant to tell before now.

Bobcat Goldthwait has been known for 40 years for his highly unconventional approach to comedy, and more recently for writing and directing in film and television. Saturday night, the Tallgrass Film Festival will give Goldthwait their annual Ad Astra award, given to luminaries who have dedicated their careers to the cinematic arts.

KMUW's Fletcher Powell reached Goldthwait at his home in Los Angeles ahead of his appearance at the festival to talk about his work and the motivation behind it.


Ken Burns is to contemporary television what baseball is to contemporary sports: a vestige that remains relevant, no matter that there are gadgets and gizmos galore competing for our attention. Just as families once flocked to the box on Sunday nights to see Ed Sullivan introduce the most exciting entertainers of the day or others gathered around the tube to witness historic programs such as Roots, so too do we find occasion to hunker down and dig into a new Burns series every now and again and learn something more about America's cultural heritage.

During the settlement of the West, one in four cowboys were black. But their contributions have long been overlooked by the mainstream historical record.

One need only look at the backlash over 2019's biggest single, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road," to see how overlooked black cowboys have become.

When Wrangler jeans teamed with the rapper, the company faced criticism over what some claimed was cultural appropriation—that the cowboy image was the province of white America.

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