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.

Daniel Cavazos

Austin, Texas-based guitarist and vocalist Jackie Venson performs at The Elbow Room on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Venson, who played piano from her earliest years, took up guitar while a senior at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since then, she's carved out a unique spot in the musical marketplace, infusing her songs with a blend of blues, R&B and pop.

You spend an awful lot of time touring and performing live and I wonder if you feel like R&B-based or blues music is something that has to be performed live to be fully appreciated.

Ascha Lee/KMUW

After already making waves in Europe, a new film about Wichita musicians Rudy Love & The Love Family is making its American debut at the Tallgrass Film Festival.

This is Love centers around the R&B performers and the ups and down of their careers, from their beginnings in the 60s, through fame with Sly and the Family Stone in the 70s, and the rocky years throughout. 

Kacy Meinecke

Tonight, the Tallgrass Film Festival honors actor Pam Grier with its annual Ad Astra Award for her contributions to film through her trailblazing roles in such movies as "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown," and her body of work in the film and theatre world in the decades since, including in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown."

Michael Schwartz

Paula Poundstone has been active as a standup comedian for nearly 40 years. She is a panelist on the top-rated NPR show Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me! and host of the podcast Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone. She is an author, most recently of The Totally Unscientific Study Of The Search For Human Happiness, and will perform at Wichita's Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 13.

When you're thinking about shows, where do you start with material?

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Poor Until Payday is the brand new recording from Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. The trio, which consists of the Reverend J. Peyton on guitar and lead vocals, his wife, Breezy, on the washboard, and drummer Max Senteney, has earned acclaim for its roots-oriented style, which married tradition with innovation.

The album spotlights the trio's ferocity and the Reverend's desire to write an album to lift the spirits. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn performs at Knuckleheads in Kansas City on Friday evening and at Blues, Brews & BBQ in Newton on Saturday.

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Todd Rundgren's current tour, An Unpredictable Evening With Todd Rundgren, arrives at The Cotillion on Friday, Sept. 28. The current run of gigs happens before Rundgren, who has produced albums by everyone from Grand Funk Railroad and Psychedelic Furs while maintaining a prolific solo output, travels to Iceland for two dates in tribute to David Bowie featuring the late musician's former collaborator Adrian Belew as well as Fishbone's Angelo Moore. (The group will have a Los Angeles preview on Oct. 3.)

So, what does An Unpredictable Evening With Todd Rundgren mean?

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Judy Collins and Stephens Stills briefly dated in the late 1960s, though their relationship has endured through song. Stills' "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" has become a staple of classic rock radio and one of his quintessential compositions. Though the two had bumped into each other occasionally, they'd never found time to do sustained work until 2017.

Henry Diltz

Gillian Welch remains a singular voice in American music. Her songs are never rushed, developing at a pace that is haunting; her albums arrive at a similarly sparse pace, each one commanding the listener's attention as they absorb her finely crafted lyrics and otherworldly tunes.

Pamela Littky

Rainier Fog, the latest album from Alice In Chains (and the band's third with vocalist/guitarist William DuVall), marks the first time the group has recorded in Seattle in more than 20 years. The quartet convened at Studio X (formerly Bad Animals) in the warmest months of 2017. It marked the first extended amount of time that DuVall, who came out of the Atlanta music scene, had spent in the city and the first time his bandmates—Sean Kinney, Jerry Cantrell, and Mike Inez—had recorded there since the band's acclaimed 1995 self-titled album.

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Truth Has Legs is the brand-new recording from Wichita singer-songwriter Jenny Wood. The collection of songs was inspired by a variety of personal struggles and observations about the world surrounding her over the last few years. Joining Wood on this recording are drummer Will Erickson (Spirit of the Stairs, Team Tremolo), Caleb Drummond (Haymakers) and Thayne Coleman (The Travel Guide).

Wood celebrates the release of her new record, Friday, Sept. 7, at the Crown Uptown.