HPPR Arts, Culture & History

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

ethnic groups

folk art
visual arts
events & festivals


While folks in northern and western Kansas might be a long way from the bright lights of Broadway New York City style, we enjoy our fair share of drama on the boards.  Our actors and actresses are youngsters in our communities, and our directors are often teachers by day and drama coaches by night and weekend. Local wizards of the sewing machine and serger, forensic coaches, carpenters, welders, and likewise talented people are costumers, set builders, and backstage help.

HPPR stumbled on an interesting artifact in The New York Times archive last week. The clipping is from 1909, and reports on a group of Comanche County Texans who captured a white possum and sent the animal to President Taft. The letter accompanying the critter read, “Understanding that you are fond of ’possum we have secured a white one, a very rare specimen, and are sending the same to you to-day by express, with compliments of your Texas friends.”


Skip discovers a rare and special holiday tree whose relatives are actually older than Methuselah.  

Holiday Recommendations for Young Readers

Dec 1, 2015
CKAROLI / Flickr Creative Commons

The San Jose Mercury News published a great list last week of recommended holiday books for young readers. Leo, A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett is a gentle spooky tale and a beguiling story of acceptance. In If You're a Robot and You Know It by David A. Carter, preschoolers will have great fun clapping hands and stomping feet along with the robot.

Frozen Memories

Nov 27, 2015

A friend’s Facebook post of her daughters holding a big bowl of fresh snow and smiling expectantly reminded me wintry weather isn’t only about driving carefully, shoveling drives, and making snowmen.  It’s also about adding milk, sugar, and vanilla to jillions of miniscule crystals to create something that glides across taste buds and slides into memory.

Who forgets the first time their mom or dad  watched huge flakes fall, saying, “Hope there will be enough to make snow ice cream.”   If deep drifts formed, that parent headed to the cupboard containing  mixing bowls and extracted the big one.  After that, a voice commanded, “Put on your hats, coats, gloves, and boots.  It’s time.”

Poem: "How Far You Are From Me"

Nov 27, 2015
Creative Commons

From The Texas Observer: Eloísa Pérez-Lozano’s poem, ‘How Far You Are From Me.’

I’ve never had to swim through el río like you,
your clothes heavy with water and hope
as you wade carefully against the current.

I’ve never had to run like hell from la migra
Or have a sixth sense for avoiding trouble
Because even a whiff of it makes you sick.

Wichita Photo Exhibit Explores Legacy of FSA

Nov 26, 2015
Larry Schwarm

The Wichita Art Museum is currently showing an exhibit with roots that run deep through Kansas, reports member station KMUW. The show is entitled “No Mountains in the Way.” The idea behind the exhibit was to photograph Kansas the way it was portrayed during the Great Depression, with the photographers of the Farm Security Administration. The black and white images of farmers, haystacks and shop fronts provide a look at rural Kansas as seen through the lens of three photographers.

Bless Your Hearts, Here's a Thanksgiving Poem

Nov 26, 2015
christmasman / Creative Commons

From The Poetry Foundation, a poem about a common High Plains saying.

Bless Their Hearts

By Richard Newman

At Steak 'n Shake I learned that if you add

“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say

whatever you want about them and it’s OK.

My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,

she said. He rents storage space for his kids’

Conserve Confusion

Nov 25, 2015

This holiday season that is generally dedicated to cooking and eating has brought on the need for a bit of research into the art of canning, serving, and naming fanciful fruit spreads.  So before setting down to a series of Thanksgiving  feasting, we'll look for answers to questions about the differences among jams, jellies, preserves, compotes, conserves, marmalades, and fruit butters.  Though they do have their differences, take it from me that they can all be delicious.    

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

Nov 24, 2015
William Brawley / Creative Commons

Woman’s Day magazine has published a helpful list of “29 Tips Towards A Stress-Free Holiday.” Among some of our favorites: Throw away your shopping list and focus instead on creating special moments with friends and family. Treat loved ones to a holiday show, for example, or breakfast at a fancy hotel. Another idea: Bring out books to easily add a seasonal touch. Display an illustrated volume of A Christmas Carol on the fireplace mantle.


Imagine a time traveling pilgrim joined your family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year. After you got over the surprise of finding in individual wearing a tall hat, short pants, stockings, funny looking shoes, and possibly carrying an antique weapon in your dining room, you’d have to wonder about the differences between 1622 and 2014. Questions might include what this visitor thought about modern homes, holiday foods, and current pastimes to celebrate a national holiday that ties contemporary Americans to one of the first English settlements in the new world.

Interview with G. Love

Nov 20, 2015
G. Love

Love Saves the Day is the brand new album from G. Love and Special Sauce, released on October 30. A harmonious mix of rock, blues, and hip-hop, the album includes guest appearances by artists such as Lucinda Williams, Ozomatli, Citizen Cope, among others.

G. Love chats with Ryan Gottlieb about the new release, his roots in Philadelphia, and much more!

Interview with Will Turpin of Collective Soul

Nov 17, 2015
Collective Soul

See What You Started By Continuing is the brand new album from rock band Collective Soul, released on October 2.

Bassist Will Turpin joined Ryan Gottlieb in conversation about the new album, songwriting, and even un-released songs from the band!

NPR Develops Podcast Recommendation Site

Nov 13, 2015

Over the past few years the popularity of podcasts has exploded. The term covers a wide range of programs, from interviews and journalism to comedy and storytelling. With the rise of smartphones, many people take their entertainment with them in their pocket these days. Podcast lovers—or those curious about the medium—have reason to rejoice this week, according to niemanlab.org.

Interview with Dave Schools of Widespread Panic

Nov 13, 2015
Widespread Panic / Browncat

Dave Schools - bassist and founding member of Widespread Panic - talked with Ryan Gottlieb about their new album Street Dogs, released on September 25th.

The rock, blues, and jazz band have been together and touring for nearly 30 years. Dave chats about recording the new album, playing with other talented musicians, and much more! 

Val d'Orcia

Nov 11, 2015

 A trip to Italy brought me to the beautiful Val d'Orcia in the hills of Tuscany, and more specifically to the gardens of Villa La Foce.  My tour focused on the house and grounds replete with terraces, fountains, and native landscapes, and also took in the surrounding farmland.  But one of the things that stayed with me most was the area's survival of the terrible battles fought during World War II.  The will to survive and maintain some semblance of order while providing care for others is surely mirrored in the solitude and majesty of the La Foce gardens.

Western Kansas Fossil Hunters to Appear on NOVA

Nov 11, 2015
Gwynn Williams

Chuck Bonner and Barbara Shelton have been collecting fossils in Western Kansas for years. They run a small gallery in a tiny limestone church 18 miles north of Scott City on US 83. But the number of people who have a chance to see their collection is about to grow—by about 52 million people.

Sharon Davis

I wait for deer season like a kid waits for Christmas.  November just doesn't come soon enough for me, and this season has me feeling a little melancholy.  I'm over 60, and when I think about my favorite deer hunts, the first one that comes to mind is a trip to North Dakota.  I didn't shoot a thing, but the outdoor experience was breathtaking.

Of course, Cindee couldn't let a show about recollections go by without reminding me one of her favorite deer hunting stories was when Larry Weishuhn and I locked ourselves into the deer stand.  

Interview with Devon Allman

Nov 3, 2015

Devon Allman - creating the next generation of Allman music - is performing at John Barleycorn's in Wichita, KS this Thursday, November 5th; the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO this Friday, November 6th; and The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS this Saturday, November 7th.

Ryan Gottlieb talked with Devon about these upcoming shows, his latest album "Ragged & Dirty," how he got started in music, and much more!

ABC 7 News Denver

The Huffington Post has posted a news report from Denver's ABC 7 News about a popular exhibit at the Colorado History Museum concerning Colorado's civil rights struggle in the 1960s. While Colorado is not generally the part of the US that comes to mind when the words "civil rights" are mentioned, the Mile High City had its own turmoil, including protests and clashes with police. The exhibit's stay at the museum has now been extended.

You can view the video here.

FreeImages.com/Peter Painter

Begin your Halloween at the witching hour (Midnight CT) with Ryan Gottlieb on Carrying On - HPPR’s newest music program – which focuses on rock and blues. Immediately following Friday Night Blues (8 – 12 CT), Ryan has a rockin’ Halloween themed show planned with tunes from The Who, Dave Matthews, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jethro Tull, and many more great artists. Get in the Halloween spirit this Friday night at Midnight CT on Carrying On!

Jonathan Baker

Author Dan Flores visited West Texas A&M this week to discuss his forthcoming book, Coyote America, which will be published next year. Over 180 people packed into a room Tuesday night at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum to hear Flores talk about this beautiful and often misunderstood animal. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, Flores and WTAMU Western Studies professor Alex Hunt held a discussion on writing and publishing at the Cornette Library—another well-attended event. Following the afternoon discussion, Dr. Flores, Dr.

"Gunsmoke" Actor Had Kansas Roots

Oct 27, 2015
Public Domain

Kansas fans of the classic TV show Gunsmoke might have missed some interesting trivia this month in The Hutchinson News’s “Ask Hutch” column. Milburn Stone, who starred as Doc Adams on the show, was born in 1904 and lived east of Burrton, Kansas. He attended school there for a time, then his family moved to Frizell, Kansas, in Pawnee County. The village is now a ghost town.

A Fine High Plains Collection on View in Liberal

Oct 26, 2015
L&T Photos / Elly Grimm

The new exhibit at the Coronado Museum and Dorothy’s House in Liberal, Kansas, is drawing a good deal of attention. The show consists of art and artifacts from the Rash family collection, reports Amarillo.com and the Leader & Times.

Harvest Miracles and Hoarding on the Farm

Oct 12, 2015
Winston Corfield

In this week's installment of Agland, Amy Bickel and Kathy Hanks give an update on a young farmer who was severely injured last harvest season.  The man was not expected to live, but life had other plans, and he's made it back just in time to help bring in this year's crops.  

Hoarding isn't confined to city limits.  The duo explore the phenomenon happening down on the farm.

The Banana Bread Queen of Kansas and more

Oct 12, 2015

In this episode of Agland, it's about the State Fair Banana Bread Queen, a ghost town trying to come back to life, a fall harvest update, and the most beautiful Kansas places to visit in the fall.


Due to its central location between Forts Leavenworth and Wallace, Hays, Kansas, hosted numerous famous military men who earned their gold stripes and leaves fighting the Mexican- American War, Civil War, and Indian Wars.

These soldiers left their mark on our landscape in the names of forts, towns, parks, streets, and university buildings.  We would have forgotten one such site except for its mention in the letters and diaries of Albert and Jennie Barnitz, later collected and edited into Life in Custer’s 7th Cavalry by historian Robert Utley.

Kansas Artist Recreates a Masterpiece on a Grand Scale

Oct 5, 2015
Minneapolis Institute of Arts

If you’re traveling to Minneapolis by plane any time soon, don’t forget to look out the window. As reported by inhabitat.com, Kansas artist Stan Herd has recreated Vincent van Gogh’s Olive Trees painting on a massive scale in a Minnesota farm field. The artist used native plants to create the image, and the result covers an area of 1.2 acres.


Once upon a long time ago, children played on asphalt or gravel playgrounds filled with tall metal swing sets filled with finger pinching chains and towering slides with two thin rails to guide a youngster up a dozen rickety steps. Those chains and rails froze little hands in December through February and roasted those same palms July through September.

A Texas Storyteller Laments Change

Oct 2, 2015
QuesterMark / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas raconteur WF Strong recently lamented changing times in Texas on the NPR newsmagazine Texas Standard. The former Fulbright Scholar noted that we used to stay in the truck to get gas and go inside to eat. Now we get out to pump gas and sit in the truck to eat. Only one in five Texans are rural anymore. Small farms are disappearing, replaced by commercial farms where tractors never sleep. Today teenagers are happier cruising the net than cruising around town, opined Strong.