WYSO

Culture Couch

WYSO is exploring the arts scene in our community with a new occasional series. It’s called Culture Couch. Have a seat.

It’s stories about creativity – told through creative audio storytelling.

From Broadway musicals to youth theatre, and graphic novels to graffiti, you’ll meet artists from across the region. We hope you’ll join us for the journey.

Culture Couch is made possible by a generous grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

Duke Ellington and band members playing baseball in front of their segregated motel ("Astor Motel") while touring in Florida.
Charlotte Brooks, photographer, LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

When you hear the word swing, do you think of baseball or jazz?  This week Wright State University will host the first national conference to explore the connections:  “The Sultans of Swing: 100 Years of Baseball, Jazz, and Short Fiction”.  In the early 20th century, African Americans took great pride in baseball’s Negro Leagues and famous jazz musicians, but they still lived with segregation.  David Seitz traces this history in our latest Culture Couch story.   

Decorate Your Walls With A Trip To The Library

Apr 4, 2016
Taylor Kordic, a student at Cedarville University, is a big fan of the art at the library—and, the bags that come with that art.
Steve McQueen / WYSO

Libraries have always had books, but these days, they provide more services than just literature, including art rental. Culture Couch got interested in who actually uses the art rental services—and I met one young library enthusiast showed me an amazing art gallery he created in his apartment, all on loan from the library.

“Syria In Our Eyes” Brings Syrian Youth Perspective To Dayton

Mar 25, 2016

A 2014 UNICEF report calls Syria one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child. Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, thousands of children have lost their families and friends and witnessed violence and brutality. One Syrian American family in the Dayton area has responded to the violence by organizing an exhibit of art by Syrian children. Syria in Our Eyes is on display at K12 and TEJAS Gallery in Dayton.

Latino Art Of The Midwest Shines A Light On Complex Identities

Mar 9, 2016
Work by artist Graciela Bustos from the Detroit area features fine lines overlaid on photographs.
Jonathan Platt / WYSO

“Latino Art of the Midwest: Into the 21st century” is a special exhibit presented by the Roesch Library Gallery on University of Dayton’s campus. It features 13 artists, all Latinos living in the midwest.

On a tour of the show on opening night, curator Judith Huacuja stresses light as the major theme.  

Darren McGarvey at Kettering Fairmont High School, with his cast of Romeo and Juliet
Luke Dennis / WYSO

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, and today more than ever, high schools are grappling with how to teach him, since he is required reading in the Common Core standards.  

Some teachers say just because Shakespeare’s 400 years old, that doesn’t mean he can’t make you blush. Culture Couch took a look at how classrooms in greater Dayton and Cincinnati are giving students the freedom to make the Bard their own.

Itinerant Studio: A Big Gem in a Small City

Feb 19, 2016
Dan Gummel

Husband and wife team Tom Heaphey and Vicki Rulli own Itinerant Studio.  A production art company based out of a former dry goods warehouse in downtown Springfield Ohio just down the road from the Clark County Public Library on West Jefferson Street.  Itinerant Studio occupies a unique niche in the art world  creating large print photography on materials like wood, metal and plexiglass and selling to clients all around the world.   Community Voices producer Dan Gummel stopped by to hear the story.

At 150, Victoria Theatre Looks Back At Its History

Feb 12, 2016
The Victoria Theatre in downtown Dayton turns 150 this year.
Victoria Theatre Association

This year, Victoria Theatre celebrates 150 years in downtown Dayton. For WYSO’s Culture Couch, I took a tour with a longtime Victoria Theater employee who shared some memories from backstage.

David Hastings leads me into the Victoria Theatre’s auditorium. He moves with grace, which makes sense — he was a professional ice skater and dancer before he became the Victoria’s house manager in 1976.

Madison Men's Choir Makes Music Through Prison Walls

Jan 10, 2016
Becca Schall / Courtesy of Cathy Roma/UBUNTU

UBUNTU choir is a group of men who are prisoners at the Madison Correctional Institution in London, a few minutes outside Columbus. The choir’s been recording its first album—and one prisoner is the composer of many of the songs. Culture Couch took a visit to find out about the process of making music with people in prison.

 

Research And Jazz Keep A Dayton Pianist In Perpetual Motion

Dec 21, 2015
Keigo and Wenbi Hirakawa at home
Dave Barber / WYSO

Keigo Hirakawa is an Ivy League-educated researcher and professor at the University of Dayton. He is also a gifted jazz pianist—and he’s trying to be at the top of his game in both worlds. Hirakawa moved to Dayton from the east coast in 2010. He came here for the job at UD, but he also came here for the music.

“It’s hard to balance family, work and music,” Hirakawa says. “The amount of time that I spend for work—work meaning research—is non stop.”

Going Behind the Scenes At Dayton Ballet's Nutcracker

Dec 6, 2015
 The Dayton Ballet prepares for its 2015 production of The Nutcracker.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a magical ballet. With dozens of parts for children (mice, gingerbread men, sugarplum-fairy-attendants!), it’s an endearing work. But if you’re the choreographer—the person trying to organize all those dancers—it’s no easy task. Culture Couch producer Jason Reynolds takes us behind the scenes at the Dayton Ballet.

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