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

tedeschitrucksband.com

Tim Lefebvre - bassist for the 12-piece blues, rock, and soul band Tedeschi Trucks Band - chats with HPPR's Ryan Gottlieb about the band's brand new album Let Me Get By.  Tim also shares his experience working with David Bowie on his final album Blackstar, sitting in with the Saturday Night Live house band, and more!

Bettman / Corbis

Dinosaurs have become an everyday part of the American imagination. From Jurassic World to The Good Dinosaur, we encounter these ancient behemoths perhaps more than we even realize. But how did this obsession come about? It happened largely thanks to the efforts of one man: Barnum Brown. Brown was born in frontier Kansas in 1873. Named after the great showman P.T. Barnum, Brown would grow up to become a master promoter in his own right.

A Sense of Place – the High Plains

Jan 24, 2016
Karen Madorin

 In 1542, Father Juan Padilla wrote “the sky is so vast and unchanging that it resembles a great blue bowl turned upside down on the landscape.”  He was one of the chroniclers of the ill-fated expedition led Francisco Vasquez Coronado across the High Plains.

Coronado’s trek, along with the others led by fellow conquistadores during the Spanish exploration of the New World was never meant to just gain knowledge of the endless prairie.  The days they spent on the trackless grassland were a means to an end; the sacking of the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola and the forced conversion of the natives they encountered.  Coronado came to the New World determined to spread Catholicism, impose the Spanish regal system on all they met and most important, take all the gold they could find.  They set about to abolish tribal systems in place since the Neolithic, to give those peoples no choice but to be assimilated, dominated or die.

Plainsong

Jan 20, 2016

Plainsong by Kent Haruf is the first selection for the 2016 Spring Read.    

“In the same way that the plains define the American landscape, small-town life in the heartlands is a quintessentially American experience. Holt, Colo., a tiny prairie community near Denver, is both the setting for and the psychological matrix of Haruf's beautifully executed . . . descriptions of rural existence where weather and landscape are integral to tone and mood, serving as backdrop to every scene. This is a compelling story of grief, bereavement, loneliness and anger, but also of kindness, benevolence, love and the making of a strange new family. In depicting the stalwart courage of decent, troubled people going on with their lives, Haruf's quietly eloquent account illumines the possibilities of grace.”  (From Publishers Weekly, Peter Matson, 1999)

getplants4less.com

The staff of the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Central Texas introduced me to the Growing Wild Butterfly Gardening Program, and gave me an opportunity to observe some of their beautiful butterfly habitats.  This week we’ll take a look at some butterfly gardening basics provided by the Texas parks and Wildlife Department and the Urban Fish and Wildlife Program.

Here's a list of recommended plants:  black-eyed Susan, butterfly weed, curly parsley, Indian blanket, mealy blue sage, purple cone flower, dill, lemon mint and scarlet sage.

Empire of the Summer Moon

Jan 19, 2016

  Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne is the second book for the 2016 Spring Read.  

“The vast, semi-arid grasslands of the southern Great Plains could be dominated by hunters and warriors on horseback. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Comanches, often referred to as ‘lords of the Plains,’ were the single most powerful military force in the region, to the frustration of both the Mexican and U.S. governments. This engrossing chronicle traces the rise of the Comanche people from their roots as primitive bands of hunter-gatherers to their mastery of the horse and emergence as the feared power brokers of the area. At the center of the narrative is the charismatic Quanah Parker, who skillfully navigated the gaps between his traditional culture and the emerging, settled culture of the late-nineteenth century.” (From: Jay Freeman, Booklist. Amazon)

www.examiner.com

By a generation, I missed wearing flour sack clothing. After drying dishes with Grandma’s treasured dishtowels that originated as such containers, I was relieved the Depression was over so I didn’t have to dress in something that started as a bag. However, over decades as I’ve listened to stories of those who did, I realize I missed making memories that people still talk about 70 to 80 years after the fact.

Filipa Rodrigues / KUT news

A very old craft is taking on some contemporary qualities, reports Texas Standard. It’s called modern quilting, and it’s inspired by modern art. Traditional quilts have followed a column and row format. But new, modern quilters are changing that pattern up.

A Strong West Wind

Jan 18, 2016

A Strong West Wind: A Memoir  by Gail Caldwell is the third book in the 2016 Spring Read.  

“In this exquisitely rendered memoir set on the high plains of Texas, Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell transforms into art what it is like to come of age in a particular time and place. A Strong West Wind begins in the 1950s in the wilds of the Texas Panhandle–a place of both boredom and beauty, its flat horizons broken only by oil derricks, grain elevators, and church steeples. Its story belongs to a girl who grew up surrounded by dust storms and cattle ranches and summer lightning, who took refuge from the vastness of the land and the ever-present wind by retreating into books. A memoir of culture and history–of fathers and daughters, of two world wars, the passionate rebellions of the sixties -- the book is also about the mythology of place and evolution of a sensibility: about how literature can shape and even anticipate a life” (From Amazon)

Spring Read 2016 Booklist

Jan 17, 2016

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they've ever known.

Matthew Staver / New York Times

The New York Times reported this week on a hidden treasure in southeast Colorado—what the Times called “a dinosaur lover’s dream.” Picketwire Canyon is located on the Comanche National Grassland south of La Junta.

Darren Braun / Texas Monthly

This month Texas Monthly published a brief feature on the Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s headdress. The most well-known of the Comanche, Quanah’s name is still spoken with reverence in West Texas. He died in 1911, but the headdress he wore is now in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, in Canyon, Texas.

The headdress is “a magnificent assemblage of 62 golden eagle feathers, each trimmed at the top with red turkey or rooster hackles and horsehair.”

telegraph.co.uk / Alamy

From Kansas Agland:

Editor's note: This story published Aug. 15, 2010.

DIGHTON - One can see for miles across the flat High Plains. There are few houses. Few people. And with small towns dotting the landscape, there are few streetlights obstructing the view of a starry night.

Star of the Republic Museum via Portal to Texas History

In light of the standoff in Oregon, KUT has published a reminder that Texas has seen its own share of standoffs. In fact, the state’s most famous battle spawned yet another siege of its own 70 years later. In 1908 a Daughter of the Texas Republic barricaded herself in a decrepit building that had once served as the Alamo’s convent.

A Bright Spot in Waco

Jan 13, 2016
woodway-texas.com

 A trip to central Texas included an opportunity to explore the Carleen Bright Arboretum near Waco.  Established in the summer of 1999, this multi-purpose public space invites residents and tourists alike to explore the various gardens, classrooms, and community buildings.   HPPR listeners are invited to come along for a quick tour!

Kansas Historical Society / kansasmemory.org

Fans of High Plains history might be interested in a major new biography of George Armstrong Custer, entitled Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of New America. Author T.J. Stiles takes a different approach with his book. He tells Custer’s story up to—but not including—the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Public Domain

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. In celebration, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in southeastern Colorado is waiving its admission fees for all of 2016. Starting last week, the national park will be free to all visitors. “We think of this as a gift to both the traveling public and local folks,” said Park Superintendent Alexa Roberts. She added, “It seems like a great way [for] those from the local area who have not visited recently to reconnect with the national park here in their own backyard.”

Mysteries and Thrillers to Read by the Fire

Dec 31, 2015
Alice Popkorn / Flickr Creative Commons

As the snow falls and the nights grow colder, The Guardian has published a list of the year’s best crime novels and thrillers, perfect for curling up with and reading by the fire.

A Popular Kansas Guidebook Receives an Update

Dec 31, 2015
Kansas Sampler Foundation

A popular ten-year-old explorer’s guide to the state of Kansas is receiving an update, reports the Garden City Telegram. WenDee LaPlant and Marci Penner have been working on the book Kansas Guidebook for Explorers 2 for almost four years.

Leading up to his December 28th show in Amarillo, High Plains Morning host Jenny Inzerillo speaks with country songwriter and artist Robert Earl Keen about his latest album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions. For more than 30 years, Keen has been defined by his singular style as a songwriter and performer – celebrated by fans for his slice-of-life narratives and complex characters. His latest album digs up the roots of country by resurrecting popular bluegrass standards, breathing new life into every classic track. 

Kansas Historical Society / KPR

Of regional interest, a recording of the voice of the inventor of basketball has been discovered, reports Kansas Public Radio. A University of Kansas researcher uncovered the rare audio recording of Dr. James Naismith, talking about the very game he invented.

exploya.com / Creative Commons

Million years ago Western Kansas was covered by a great inland sea. The sea left chalk behind, creating the great formations known as Monument Rocks, now a national park in Gove County. It also left vertebrate fossils, like sharks and fish. This huge inland sea had a powerful effect on the land to the west—and the dinosaurs living there. Member station KPR says the best place to see the chalk left over from this sea is at Monument Rocks, or at Castle Rock in eastern Gove County.

Slideshow: Christmas Paintings by the Masters

Dec 25, 2015
Public Domain

Poem: "A Ballad Of Santa Claus" by Henry Van Dyke

Dec 24, 2015
Tarja Mitrovic / Flickr Creative Commons

Here's a poem for the Holiday by Henry Van Dyke:

Among the earliest saints of old, before the first Hegira,
I find the one whose name we hold, St. Nicholas of Myra:
The best-beloved name, I guess, in sacred nomenclature,—
The patron-saint of helpfulness, and friendship, and good-nature.

Poem: "Christmas Greetings" by Lewis Carroll

Dec 24, 2015
Creative Commons

A poem for the holiday by Lewis Carroll:

Christmas Greetings

Lady dear, if Fairies may
For a moment lay aside
Cunning tricks and elfish play,
'Tis at happy Christmas-tide.

We have heard the children say -
Gentle children, whom we love -
Long ago, on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above.

Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
They remember it again -
Echo still the joyful sound
'Peace on earth, good-will to men!'

library.ndsu.edu

 One of the bonuses of teaching for so many years is that I’ve learned much from local speakers who have shared their knowledge with my students and me. In  1986, Lawrence Weigel, a regional historian from Victoria, began a tradition of speaking to my classes about local Volga German Christmas customs. Even though my grandma’s family came to America from this region, I’d never heard about the character called Belznickel that Mr. Weigel brought to life in my English classroom.

White Treasure

Dec 11, 2015
williamsburgartnexus.org

Holidays remind many of us of either family or cultural customs that connect us to generations long past. By following old family recipes, we can savor treats our ancestors have served for decades or maybe even hundreds of years. For instance, my husband’s Swiss ancestors have been making and giving linzer tarts at Christmas time long before they migrated from Switzerland to the United States. After analyzing my own great-grandma’s stash of old recipes, the English side of my family has baked date cookies and breads as well as Christmas puddings for eons.

Harper, W. D. / Library of Congress

HPPR stumbled across these photos that provide a magnificent look into the working lives of cowboys on the XIT, FDW and JA ranches in the Texas Panhandle, as well as other ranches in New Mexico over 100 years ago.

Over the past few decades, we’ve all been watching the wrong film version of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the original production was filmed twice—once in a new format called “Todd-AO,” named after entrepreneur and innovator Mike Todd, and then again in CinemaScope.

Sad Monkey Railroad Finds a New Home in Canyon

Dec 7, 2015
The Canyon News

An important part of many happy Palo Duro Canyon childhood memories has found a new home, reports The Canyon News. The Sad Monkey Railroad was a small train that made a short circuit through the canyon to the delight of thousands of children over many years. And now the train will be displayed near the town square in Canyon, Texas.

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