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.

Berndt Mader

If you lived in Lawrence between 2000 and 2002, there's a good chance you remember some of the city's key bands: The Get Up Kids. The Appleseed Cast. Mates of State. Laces Loose.

Laces who?

The quartet made its mark on the scene at the time with idiosyncratic compositions that defied songwriting logic and probably had more than one listener uttering, "They're an acquired taste."

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Steve Martin and Martin Short will perform at Hartman Arena on Wednesday, May 8. The stop is part of the duo's "Now You See Them, Soon You Won't" tour.

The pair first worked together on the 1986 film Three Amigos with Chevy Chase and appeared together in Father of the Bride (1991) and Father of the Bride II (1995). Their most recent effort is the concert film An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest Of Your Life.

The pair's current tour features both comedy and song. They are joined by musician Jeff Babko and opening act Chatham County Line.

John Feder

Jimmy Webb will perform an evening of music that finds him focusing on his relationship with musician Glen Campbell at the McPherson Opera House on Friday, April 26.

Titled Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years, the show finds the Oklahoma native performing hits such as "Galveston," "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and "Wichita Lineman," all of which Campbell had chart success with. In addition, Webb has assembled a series of photos as well as video and audio clips of himself and Campbell.

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(Note: The concert has been relocated to the Burford Theater in Arkansas City.)  

Folk music legend Pete Seeger would have turned 100 years old on May 3.

For his friend and fellow musician John McCutcheon, it was important to mark the elder performer’s legacy. The result is the album To Everyone in All the World: A Celebration of Pete Seeger.

Victor Barajas

Wayne "The Train" Hancock's songs are a confluence of jazz, country, Western swing and just about every American style that is pre-rock ‘n' roll.

The Texas native and former Marine has been making albums since the 1990s, including Thunderstorms and Neon Signs, Swing Time and, most recently, Slingin' Rhythm.

Hancock and his band perform Wednesday, April 3, at Wave.

The guitarist and singer recently spoke with KMUW from his home in Texas.


Over the course of three albums, Oklahoma native JD McPherson has built a reputation for his soul-filled songwriting and high-powered live shows. Bridging the distance between garage rock and soul and R&B, McPherson's songs speak to the most universal of human experience with both familiarity and originality.

McPherson performs at Wave on Thursday, March 28, with Nashville-based singer-songwriter JP Harris opening.

McPherson recently spoke with KMUW from his home in Nashville, Tennessee.

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The 2008 documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil is firmly etched in the minds of many hard-rock enthusiasts.

Directed by Sacha Gervasi, the film opens with the veteran heavy metal band at a low ebb in its career: Guitarist and vocalist Steve "Lips" Kudlow has taken a job delivering food to schools in the Toronto area; drummer and co-founder Robb Reiner works in construction. Though the band remains beloved by a core fan base, it seems to have lost sight of its initial promise. Over the course of the film, the group finds its footing again and returns with a remarkable new album, This Is Thirteen (2007). There are fights, canceled gigs and frustrations along the way, but in the end, Anvil triumphs.

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The Wichita Symphony Orchestra presents a program of musical and visual virtuosity on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17 via an evening of film and music.

In collaboration with astronomer and visual artist Dr. José Francisco Salgado, the WSO will perform Maurice Ravel's Daphnis & Chloe while the audience takes in the spectacular film Moonrise, which Salgado has prepared.

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T.S. Eliot once wrote, "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring. Will be to arrive where we started. And know the place for the first time."

That's a statement that applies to musician Austin Lucas and his latest album, Immortal Americans. It's a collection of songs that reflect changes in perspective, how the familiar becomes the strange and how the strange can be a great source of comfort.

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Wichita-based singer-songwriter Dusty Grant issues his debut EP, Trapped Here, Saturday at The Elbow Room.

The former heavy metal growler is self-releasing the disc, which he views as a calling card for the extensive tours he does each year.

Grant recently visited the KMUW studios to discuss the project.

What did you learn in the process of making this EP?

I learned a lot about the administrative side of things, making sure that you've got everything uploaded and formatted for digital distribution.