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.

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.


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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Steve Vai launched Generation Axe in 2016. Though Vai and his longtime friend Joe Satriani had performed a variety of G3 tours, which bring together three headlining-level guitar players, each with a solo set, Generation Axe differed in significant ways. For one, it's five players: Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme/Rhianna fame, Zakk Wylde, known for his work with both Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne, and Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders. Moreover, the players share the stage throughout the night, teaming up in unexpected but exhilarating combinations.


James McMurtry first emerged on the American music scene of the 1980s via the John Mellencamp-produced Too Long In The Wasteland, the first of a handful of recordings he made for Columbia Records. Since then, songs such as "Levelland" and "Out Here In The Middle" have become staples of the Americana scene — with Robert Earl Keen covering both — joining other McMurtry compositions such as "We Can't Make It Here" and "Choctaw Bingo" as essential listening in an age of unrest and hardships.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Dawn of the Dead, George Romero's seminal zombie movie that's regarded as one of the best and most important horror films ever made. The local organization Wichita Big Screen is showing a rare restored 3-D version of the movie tonight and tomorrow night as the culmination of its annual month-long Horrorfest.

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Stand Still is the latest release from Wichita-area band Sunshine Dreamers. Formed more than a decade ago, the group today features Ryan Benton, Clinton McClellan and Anthony Piazza. The friends turned to an all-star cast of local and regional musicians for the recording of this LP, including Caleb Drummond (Spirit of the Stairs, Jenny Wood), Les Easterby (The World Palestine, Wichita Flag), Joey Lemon (Berry), Quinn Lake, Julia Trechak, Jenny Bowen, Markus Stoesz and Mark Foley.