WELCOME! Check out the latest in arts and entertainment---right here.
If it's hip and happening in Central Kansas, you'll see it here first.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon

Monday Night Book Discussions
(written by Billie Letts)
Salina Public Library
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  12/10/2012

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon . . . What a delight!  This book is all about community and how people relate to each other within a community.  The community in this book is a cafe in a small town in Oklahoma, where we meet a Vietnam vet who hires a Vietnamese man to work for him, there's a female drifter, a woman who mothers everyone she meets with a teenage daughter that refuses to be mothered, a fella with anger issues, and an assortment of secondary characters, including an entire Baptist church.

The rich characterizations make this book an incredible read.  The sheer volume of characters is amazing.  All operate within the cafe setting and yet have their own lives within other communities which are in the broader community of the town.  There are even two animals in this story who also have lives of their own within these other broader communities.  One wonders how the author keeps everything straight and then conveys the same to the reader.  But the author does and does it well.

I especially enjoyed the way the author turns a phrase.  The humor within the story causes the reader to sometimes pause and reflect on whether they've actually read what they thought they read.

Some examples: "A week later, the little locomotive in the city park was defaced with the word 'Niger' painted on its side either by a racist who couldn't spell or someone with an obscure connection to the age-old river which twists its way through West Africa."

Another one: "The heat of summer held on in Sequoyah until the last Thursday in September when a steady soaking rain fell from early morning until midafternoon, ending a thirty-seven-day drought and twelve straight days of temperatures exceeding a hundred and three, to which caladiums, scarlet sage, nasturtiums and Duncan Renfro succumbed."

This is a book you'll want to read again and again, it's just like visiting with old friends.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kenny Rogers with Billy Dean

The Stiefel Theatre
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe 12/02/2012

Kenny Rogers with Billy Dean . . .What an unusual Christmas show!  Kenny Rogers took the stage first.  He sang a variety of his hits, (The Gambler, Coward of the County, Lucille, Lady, Through the Years, Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town, You Decorated My Life) told a few jokes, and some stories.   He spoke about earlier shows and audiences.  

Then Kenny left the stage and Billy Dean took over.  The music went from soft, sweet, ballads to high energy.  Dean sang a few songs, (Only Here For A Little While, Somewhere In My Broken Heart, You Can't Count the Cost, Billy the Kid) spent some time bonding with the audience, and recalling his time on Star Search, where he won and it started his career.

Kenny Rogers then returned to the stage to finish his song set. He even showed some clips on a giant screen from The Gambler movies.  It was great fun for the audience to sit back and remember those movies.

This was a unique way to showcase the talents of both artists and their diverse musical styles.  It happened so seamlessly on stage, one fading into the other.  There was the calm country ballad styles of Kenny Rogers followed by the high energy of Billy Dean’s rocking country style.

After a brief intermission, Billy Dean took to the stage and it was all about Christmas music.  There was snow falling on the stage from up above as a children’s chorus from the area schools provided background vocals.  Kenny joined the group on stage for a song or two, including one called "Mary Did You Know" which was a duet he had sang with Wynona Judd at an much earlier time in his career.  Judd appeared via a video clip on the big screen.  

The concert was a feel good concert full of musical hits, Christmas standards and nostalgia.  Not to be missed.