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.

James Coreas

Now in his mid-20s, Oklahoma native Parker Millsap has four albums to his credit, including the acclaimed 2016 release, The Very Last Day, and his latest, Other Arrangements. Blending elements of traditional American songwriting with soul, gospel and garage rock, Millsap's music remains incredibly cohesive despite the disparate styles he draws from.

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Between 2005 and 2015, Abandon Kansas recorded a series of acclaimed EPs and LPs while maintaining a nonstop touring schedule. The group quietly folded the same year it released its third full-length album, alligator, as the members pursued a variety of other musical and personal pursuits.

Abandon Kansas will play its first reunion show on Friday, Dec. 28, at Wave on a bill that also includes Old News, Me Like Bees and Faintheart. The show is open to all ages and begins at 5 p.m.

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The Pre-Existing Conniptions will perform at the Ellis Street Moto, 310 S. Ellis, on Friday, Dec. 21, on a bill that includes High Plains Drifter and Blood Tide. The bill also will feature a solo set from Conniptions cellist/vocalist Roni Lowry Worcester. The Pre-Existing Conniptions is rounded out by Evan Ogborn (banjo, vocals), Alana Johns (bass) and Julian Urrego (drums).

How did The Pre-Existing Conniptions first come into being?

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Veteran Celtic music act Cherish The Ladies brings its Christmas show to Wichita's Orpheum Theatre Sunday, Dec. 16. The group has recorded three holiday LPs to date, the latest being Christmas In Ireland. The evening features traditional Christmas songs such as "Silent Night" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" in unique arrangements.

The Wichita Symphony will present Oz in Concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Century II Concert Hall. The presentation will feature a live orchestral accompaniment to the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz. The digitally restored film will be shown on a screen hung above the orchestra. Peter Bay will serve as guest conductor for the event.

Clay McBride

Lewis Black's "The Joke's On Us" tour arrives at Wichita's Orpheum Theatre on Friday. Black is known for a unique brand of observational humor that covers a wide range of topics, including politics and social trends. Though his humor is often based in anger, it often intersects with a deep empathy for others.

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The Dennis Family is gearing up for its 35th annual Christmas concert in Wichita. The nine siblings provide holiday cheer every year through song and support of a local charity.

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Raised in Chicago, Dan Tedesco fell in love with the sound of guitars at the age 11 after hearing the music of Edward Van Halen. Later, he came to embrace a wide range of sounds, including the jazz of Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass.

In recent years, Tedesco has made his living as a touring singer-songwriter, which was documented in the 2017 film, Chasing the Lightning … The Working Musician's Life.

African-Americans Renewing Interest In Spirituals Ensemble (ARISE) is celebrating three decades of singing.

"This year we are celebrating 30 years of spirituals and storytelling and the life and legacy of the African American in this country," says Dr. Sharon Cranford, president of ARISE.

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Lee Rocker signed his first recording contract at age 17 as a member of rockabilly revivalists the Stray Cats. Having grown a following on the New York City music scene of the early 1980s, the trio (rounded out by guitarist Brian Setzer and drummer Slim Jim Phantom) made their way to England at the height of a Teddy Boy revival. Eventually, a bidding war between labels ensued and the trio signed with Arista in the U.K., resulting in two hit records.

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