Wichita, during the mid-20th century, was a city where African Americans were blatantly discriminated against in downtown commercial spaces. For instance, black moviegoers were forced in sit in the balcony of downtown theaters.

Another form of racial bias experienced by black Wichitans during this period occurred in downtown department stores. While local African Americans were allowed to purchase products from these businesses, they were not allowed to sit and eat at their lunch counters.

This commentary originally aired February 19, 2018.  

Inspired by the noir novels of James M. Cain, Laura Lippman assiduously delivers a masterpiece of the form in her steamy novel Sunburn. An alleged secret stash of cash from a questionable insurance settlement, apparently amoral characters, and ulterior motives all mixed up because of a fervid love affair simmer over a steady flame, until everything combusts.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

I was born to play music that heals and soothes people. Took me a while to come to that irrevocable conclusion but I’m really blessed.

Kate Christensen likes to write about what she knows. Her seventh novel, The Last Cruise, is told from three perspectives: a farmer in Maine, a violinist, and a chef. All three areas in which Christensen is knowledgeable. And that’s where the first-hand experience ends. Because in researching this book, Christensen is quick to admit, she’s never actually taken a cruise.

I spoke with Kate Christensen recently about the book and her unorthodox research methods. 

Here's our conversation:

And if you listened to the commentary on air, this is what you heard:

What if, one day, you were walking down the street, turned a corner, and ran smack into… yourself? And then, as you were standing there, wide-eyed, just beginning to have a conversation with this person… a third version of you showed up and joined in?

Curt Clonts

Local artist Mike Miller is a super-prolific force. Possessing the work ethic of a 19th-century farmer, and a deep feeling for nature, Miller takes old farm machinery, discarded motors, gears, tree limbs, and hundred-pound rocks, then sculpts them into fully powered, automated works of art. These finished machines, combining man-made with nature, are both highly sophisticated and profoundly artful.

We need to talk about net neutrality. It’s a simple idea: Everything gets sent to your web browser at the same speed without middlemen, gatekeepers, or censors. This would be a perfect situation for musicians with all of the swirling currents of music subgenres available to listeners, and the best bubbling to the top in a democratic and Darwinian process. 


There are cloth mesh barriers lining the steel girders underneath the railroad bridge in downtown Wichita. The bridge, nicknamed the ‘pigeon bridge’, was a home to a roost of the birds--a few weeks before the mesh went up, live traps were placed, pocketed between beams, and the birds’ numbers dwindled.

Manuel Harlan

Women in theatre continue to command the stage, with three new shows in the works that are already grabbing the spotlight. Glenda Jackson, fresh from her fifth Tony nomination and first-time win for her leading role in Three Tall Women, is preparing to return to the Broadway stage next spring as the title character of Shakespeare's King Lear

Justin Cary

Few barbecued foods are as revered as pork ribs.

But pork ribs also create a lot of confusion, because so many people believe that ribs that “fall off the bone” are the holy grail of barbecue… but for many of us we know that “fall off the bone” is simply a nice way to say overcooked.