HPPR Arts, Culture & History

History:
prehistory
Native American history
early exploration
trails and railroads
homesteading
community settlement
farming & farm life
Dust Bowl era
ghost towns
personal remembrances & biographies

Culture:
ethnic groups
religion
language
cuisine
traditions
values
folklore
myths
humor

Arts:
literature
folk art
visual arts
music
theatre
events & festivals

EXCITING NEWS! This Tuesday night in Amarillo, HPPR's listening area has Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, with folk icon Richard Thompson, LIVE IN CONCERT! And right now on High Plains Morning, you can get TWO FREE TICKETS!

Jonathan Baker

Many folks in the Texas Panhandle experience cognitive dissonance when hearing our homeland referred to as “West Texas”—especially those of us who’ve ever seen a map. The Panhandle is most certainly not in the western part of the state. It could be called “Northwest Texas”—and it sometimes is—but truly, the Panhandle should be classified as North Texas.

From Texas Standard.

Many of us have a cabinet or a closet at home with a stack of homemade VHS tapes – or those little tapes that went into newer-model camcorders – or maybe even Super 8s on little plastic reels. What’s on them may be personally worth keeping. But in the age of Blu-ray and digital files, will you ever watch them again?

Get in on Skip Mancini's Spring Garden Basket. Pledge your support TODAY from 9a-12p CT, during High Plains Morning, for your chance to win. PLUS, your dollars will be doubled thanks to Mary Emeny of Amarillo, TX! 

SUPPORT PUBLIC RADIO TODAY! Call 1.800.678.7444 or pledge online.

Lynn Phipps has finally made it back to her hometown of Canyon, Texas—and she brought her partner, Joe DeLeon. Thankfully, they've also brought along their guitars, banjo, harmonicas, and vocal harmonies (though they seem to have forgotten their guitar picks). 

Thank you, the world. I can die now.

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and the task has fallen to me to wrap up this spring’s book club, in which we engaged with three books dedicated to various aspects of World War I. Let’s take a look back at the three books we read this spring, and see what kinds of connections and lessons we might take from them. All three books are of interest, as they manage to view the complications of the Great War from various unexpected distances and angles.

Amarillo Opera

Amarillo Opera will have one final showing this evening of its spring offering, Man of La Mancha. The opera company is thrilled to have Nacogdoches native Ron Raines in the title role. Raines has established himself as a force on Broadway, while also performing with such venerable institutions as San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Santa Fe Opera.

Two Views of a Son at the Front

Apr 6, 2018
Morton / Wikipedia Commons

I’m Lynne Hewes of Cimarron, KS.  Edith Wharton’s WWI novel, A Son at the Front, is packed full of those messages literature teachers call themes or lessons about life.  When we read the book, we learn about the role of art in society, the tragedies of divorce, the importance of standing up for what we believe in, the differences between young people and adults, and more than a little about the horrors of war—even though Wharton never actually takes us to the “front.”

What About The Grieving Parents?

Apr 4, 2018
Harris & Ewing, 1919 / Library of Congress

A society at war tends to privilege the widow and the orphan over the grieving parent. Over the course of nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, those on the “homefront” have grown accustomed to seeing video clips of crisp-uniformed service members handing folded flags to tear-stricken spouses or their eldest children.

wtamu.edu

West Texas A&M University will welcome Brandon Stanton tonight, as part of its distinguished lecture series.

Stanton is known as the founder of the "Humans of New York" photoblog, which tells the stories of everyday New Yorkers, and has now expanded into a worldwide phenomenon. Stanton has traveled the globe, telling the stories of everyday citizens.

In a phone interview last week, Stanton said that he isn't interested in the opinions of his subjects, political or otherwise, but rather the core humanity beneath those opinions.

U S Army Center of Military History / Library of Congress

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m the discussion leader for this month’s Radio Readers Book Club read: A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton. The novel concerns an upper-crust American portrait painter in Paris during World War I, who unexpectedly finds his son drafted and sent to the front.

As you might expect, this is not a happy novel. Yet, it is a quiet and contemplative one. Wharton wrote in a realistic style that has largely been lost in American literature, with an intense focus on observations and manners, and on the smallest mechanisms of thought and gesture. In this way, Wharton is like her friend Henry James, though she avoids the endlessly labyrinthine deep-dives into consciousness that can be found in James’s late novels.

Adavyd / Wikimedia Commons

Deep inside a West Texas mountain lies a clock.

The mechanical timepiece, which rests inside a peak of the Sierra Diablo mountain range along the Texas-Mexico border, is 50 stories high. It ticks once per year.

The clock has a century hand that advances once every century, and every thousand years a cuckoo emerges from the clock to mark the passing of another millennium.

After confusion about whether property the Alamo Drafthouse bought from the Austin Independent School District would include affordable housing, the project's architect confirmed Wednesday it's in the plans.

Conscientious Objector or Not?

Mar 30, 2018
Sam Willner Collection / Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

I’m Kip Wedel from North Newton, Kansas.

Edith Wharton's 1923 novel A Son at the Front is not among her classics, so not being a regular Wharton reader, I didn't know much about it going in. Early in the novel, when her protagonist, John Campton, made dismissive comments about a war that, at that point, seemed imminent, I thought I might be reading an anti-war novel or even a defense of conscientious objection.

The West Texas A&M University Distinguished Lecture Series will present Dr. Travis Langley in a presentation titled “Psychology of Superheroes” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29 in the Hazlewood Lecture Hall at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM). Langley’s talk will explore heroism and psychology in connection with PPHM’s recently opened PDr. Travis Langleyop Culture exhibit.

My Parents Would Be Terrified

Mar 28, 2018
U S Army Center of Military History / Library of Congress

This is Andrew Taylor, a 17-year-old junior from Wheatland High School coming to you from Grainfield, Kansas.  As a young, somewhat athletic male in the United States of America, I fit the mold of what the military looks for physically in their soldiers. If I were alive 100 years ago, I’d have surely been sent off to fight on the fronts in Europe.  My parents would be terrified for my life when every day the newspaper headlines would tell of especially bloody battle with dozens or hundreds of casualties. They would have to sit at home helpless and praying that the fighting never came too close to their son.

Artist's Attempt To Know Others

Mar 26, 2018
Mars, 1918 / Public Domain

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m the discussion leader for this month’s Radio Readers Book Club read, A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton. The novel tells the story of John Campton, a celebrated American painter living in Paris.

This week on Songbirds,  host Valarie Smith shares the peculiar way she was introduced to the music of Patty Griffin.  Enjoy a little spoken word about stepping stones, right before we sink like a stone to The Bottom of the Sea with Sean McConnell.   We'll join Anais Mitchell with Why We Build The Wall and welcome the music of Martin Gilmore to the HPPR airwaves.   All that and much more this week on Songbirds, Saturdays at 1.

An Only Son - Poems from Above the Dreamless Dead

Mar 23, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

This is Denise Low, a regular contributor to HPPR and 2nd Poet Laureate of Kansas. Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics, edited by Chris Duffy, is one of the selections for this season’s HPPR book club. Today I want to look at some of the fine poems in this illustrated anthology.

Wake Up, Campton!

Mar 21, 2018
Von Holten

What to do with John Campton? The famous painter at the center of Edith Wharton’s novel, A Son at the Front, is a perplexing gent. An American expatriate living in Paris on the eve of World War I, Campton is likeable and sympathetic in many ways—his love for his son is sincere. His confusion about war in such a civilized society is sympathetic. And we see him work to understand George, whose idealism diverges dramatically from his father’s. Campton is soulful, elegant, and sophisticated.

And yet. John Campton is also prickly, small-minded, and vengeful. We learn that he abandoned his family to paint in the countryside. After his wife divorces him, he continues to pursue painting, and not provide for his son, while George’s wealthy—and by all accounts, doting—stepfather supports and raises him. This mercy is met with contempt throughout the novel.

COLLECTORS! MUSIC LOVERS! VINYL HOARDERS! AGING HIPSTERS! LISTEN UP! Across the US, vinyl enthusiasts celebrate RECORD STORE DAY on April 21st. This year, join High Plains Public Radio for our first-ever POP-UP VINYL SWAP at HPPR Studios—Amarillo (104 SW 6th Ave, Basement).

War and the Ruling Class

Mar 19, 2018
Wikipedia

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m the discussion leader for this month’s book club read, A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton.

The theme for the Radio Readers Book Club this spring is World War I, but Wharton’s novel isn’t your usual war novel. This is no Red Badge of Courage or All Quiet on the Western Front. In fact, there are no scenes of violence or bloodshed at all in Wharton’s book. Instead, Wharton examines the effects of the Great War on those left behind, the parents and aunts and uncles and volunteers in the cities, who are left to helplessly await news of their children at the front.

Today, the worlds of community radio and public radio collided in Texas.

High Plains Public Radio is thrilled to announce TWO NEW MUSIC SHOWS highlighting the best in folk, roots, acoustic, Americana and more—and they're BOTH hosted by regional DJs, born and raised on the High Plains! Don't forget to tune in THIS SATURDAY and catch HPPR's exclusive new programs, Songbirds and What the Folk?

Family, War and Loss

Mar 16, 2018
Jason Harper / Hays, Kansas

I’m Jason Harper from Hays, Kansas, for HPPR’s Radio Readers Spring Read commemorating the 100-year anniversary of WWI. I’m responding to A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton.

A Son at the Front is about a family and how a boy's parents try to use their social influence to keep their son from the front lines of the First World War. Yet the son secretly joins the infantry and his father's resultant intense reactions are central to the novel's development. 

Indians in WWI

Mar 14, 2018
Wikipedia

The results of World War I on Native peoples in the United States were profound, as the war led to citizenship and, slowly, to a greater participation in constitutional rights. During World War I, Native troops contributed to victory as soldiers and support staff. The Native-language code talkers provided invaluable intelligence services.

National Archives

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m the discussion leader for this month’s book club read, A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton. The theme for the Radio Readers Book Club this spring is World War I—which means the theme is really war itself. Some military historians consider the American Civil War to be the first “modern war,” as many of the elements of post-Industrial Age warfare were in place during that event. Yet World War I was the first conflict to use mechanized weapons on such a massive scale that the earth itself seemed to shake from the trauma.

Wikimedia

Windhorst, KS is one of those prairie communities that doesn’t exist anymore except for a lonely church and outbuildings.  Oh, there is a brown and white road sign pointing past a steep railroad track embankment over which the spire of the ornate church peeks 

I’m Kathleen Holt of Cimarron, KS and I’ve driven over that track to explore the historic church and outbuildings mostly because I am curious about the lives and dreams of those who built this impressive facility in – well, in the middle of nowhere it would seem.

Setting Fire to Music, Art, & Culture

Mar 7, 2018
Wikipedia

Erik Kirshbaum’s book Burning Beethoven derives its title and its central metaphor from a deeply disturbing image: American nationalists setting fire to Ludwig van Beethoven’s sheet music during World War One. It is an incredibly shocking image for music lovers and book lovers alike.

As Kirshbaum argues in the book, such acts of tomecide (or book burning) were carried out in First World War America explicitly for the purpose of suppressing the people who practiced German culture.

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