Features

UW News Service

Bars are an important part of Wyoming culture and history. That message comes from author Julianne Couch as Wyoming celebrates its 125th anniversary of statehood. Couch and her co-author Ronald Hansen traveled across the state to research Wyoming bars for their book “Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey.”

Wyoming State Historical Society

Pioneers, dinosaurs, outlaws: Wyoming’s history includes them all. But the state’s museums are chock full of artifacts that sometimes don’t get the attention they deserve. With the 125 year celebration of statehood coming up, the Wyoming State Historical Society wants to do something about that.

Wyoming State Museum

The Wyoming State Museum is celebrating the state’s 125th anniversary of statehood with a new exhibit, which takes a look at Wyoming’s history through artifacts from each decade.

It starts with the present and works its way back. Each week a new decade is unveiled. Some of the items on display include an original state line divider on the Lincoln Highway, a football commemorating the 1968 Sugar Bowl, and a 1950s flood light from the state’s first television station KFBC.

Entertainment Weekly

Quentin Tarantino’s next film will have a touch of real Wyoming in it. Bounty hunter John “the Hangman” Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, will be wearing a buffalo hide coat created by tanning company Merlin’s Hide Out in Thermopolis. The coat is based on an original that can be seen in the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles.

“It's designed from the 1800s. It has different lengths of hair throughout—it needs to be a big, burly looking coat,” said Barb Heinze, co-owner of Merlin’s Hideout.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Artists will gather to paint outdoors Saturday, June 20 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. The annual Plein Air Festival gives artists four hours to complete a painting while mingling with spectators.

This blending of artists and spectators creates an environment very different from the typical painting studio.

“I had this one little girl come up, and she was very curious, a really cute little girl, and she touched my paint with her fingers,” recalls artist Tammy Callens.

The Wyoming Humanities Council is currently gathering data to assess the state’s cultural resources. WHC Assistant Director Jason Burge says there is a need in Wyoming for studies addressing humanities organizations. He says the survey will look at what these organizations do and how their communities support them.

“They’re getting involved- they’re volunteering their time, their economic resources because they believe it’s important in their communities. And we’ve never actually looked at what that value was for the community,” says Burge.

Rebecca Golden

The Laramie Mural Project is asking the community to get involved. The next mural in the series is paint-by-number. Senior mural artist Meghan Meier says the design won’t come into focus until painting begins on Saturday, June 20th.

“That is top secret actually,” said Meier. “We haven’t set it up yet. I’ll start lining it out and filling in what number goes where…Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I’ll be working on that.”

Ray Parrish

Here’s the story of how a museum nearly closed but instead reinvented itself with a brand new building and a major American Indian art collection. The new incarnation of the Brinton Museum in Big Horn opens to the public on Monday, June 15.

The town of Jackson is preparing to host a major new music festival this weekend.

The first-ever Contour Music Festival features over 50 acts playing back to back at venues throughout Jackson Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14.

Jeff Henry

In 1988 much of Yellowstone National Park was engulfed in flames. At the time a young employee and budding photographer named Jeff Henry was asked to take photos of the fire.

Over 25 years later Henry has written a book about the fires that includes numerous photographs that he took on the front lines. The book is called The Year Yellowstone Burned: A 25 Year Perspective. Henry joins us and recalls how politicians and others were critical of the Parks approach to the fires. 

commons.wikimedia.org

As another Marvel Comics-inspired movie dominates the box office, a Wyoming teen has tapped into the franchise’s superpowers for a triumph of her own. The team of superheroes, the Avengers, probably needs no introduction. And neither does the mastermind behind those characters—Stan Lee. For Marvel Comics fans, he’s the ultimate superhero.

“Actually, I had never really been a fan before this project,” confesses Hazel Homer-Wambeam. She’s 14, wrapping up homeschooled 8th grade, and lives in Laramie.

Buchanan Center For The Arts

Pete and Lynne Simpson have spent many years performing across Wyoming. This summer, they’re in Laramie for what they say is their own version of summer theater camp - the Snowy Range Summer Theater Festival.

The two are starring in the play “On Golden Pond,” which opens Tuesday, June 9th at the Buchanan Center For The Arts, and features an older couple dealing with family, generational divides, and the tribulations of growing older. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard spoke with the Simpsons, who say they suggested doing the show to director Lee Hodgson years ago. 

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

A new exhibit featuring the works of American painter John Mix Stanley will open at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody this weekend, thanks in part to a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Peter Hassrick curated the exhibit. He says Stanley’s paintings of life in the American West in the 19th century are distinguished from his contemporaries.

"He approached it as fine art as opposed to documentation, as fine art as opposed to ethnographic studies," he says.

He also says a comprehensive presentation of Stanley’s work is long overdue.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

The dragon, the monkey and the tiger: Not the animals you expect to see gracing the wide-open spaces of Wyoming. But you can now see these creatures, along with other Chinese Zodiac animals perched above the National Elk Refuge. Rebecca Huntington reports on a major international exhibit on display in Jackson. 

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: Outside the National Museum of Wildlife Art, a crane lifts the bronze head of a pig up off the ground. Then workers step in to guide the giant lollypop-shaped sculpture over to the pedestal.

Cynthia Stoffers

A new mural inspired by an Australian myth is now on display at the Laramie Community Recreation Center. The colorful 5 by 18 foot mural was created by about 70 kids in the Rec Center’s School Age Child Care program.

Laramie artist and educator Paul Taylor spent a week with the kids, singing and telling the ancient Australian aboriginal story of how Rainbow Snake created the rivers. “As Rainbow made the rivers, Rainbow then went off, and he went off into a billabong. And all the children rushed over to the billabong to see the beautiful rainbow colors disappear into the water…”

Michael Berman's "Fence Line"

Coming up May 29 and 30 in Sheridan County, a pair of events will celebrate Wyoming grassland ecology. 20 artists and scientists will come together to present their work about a landscape many Wyomingites often take for granted: the prairie.

Wyoming State Historical Society

  

In July, Wyoming will celebrate its 125th birthday. Next month a major conference will look at the state’s top historical moments. Called Our Place In The West And Beyond: Wyoming at 125, a number of historians, experts, and citizens will come to the University of Wyoming on June 11th. Tamsen Hert is President of the State Historical Society. She says it will be a jam-packed conference.  

Denver Gay Men's Chorus

On May 10th, the Wyoming premiere of I Am Harvey Milk debuts in Laramie. Created by composer Andrew Lippa, it’s part theater, part choral piece, and it all tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first gay and out non-incumbent politician in the U.S. He was assassinated in 1978, just months after taking office as a city supervisor in San Francisco. James Knapp is the artistic director of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, and Out Loud, Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus, the two groups performing the piece. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk a little about the show.

Four scientists and four artists walk into a bar. It sounds like the setup to a joke. And as Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer found out, the punch line is that scientists and artists actually can team up to create new and unexpected work.

Studio Sessions: Jami Lynn

Apr 27, 2015
Photo by Dario Acosta

Singer-songwriter Jami Lynn's South Dakota home makes a mark on her music. Here are two of Jami's animal-themed songs, including one from her brand new 2015 release, Fall Is a Good Time to Die.

Coyote, Why Ya Been Lookin’ so Thin?

Mom Raccoon

Annie Leibovitz via David Solomon

Award winning author Andrew Solomon will speak at the University of Wyoming on Wednesday, April 22, about his book "Far From the Tree" where he presents stories from parents who have raised children in a variety of circumstances. Some are gay, some have schizophrenia, some are dwarfs, some have autism, others are profound.

Rebecca Huntington

Staying globally competitive by teaching future generations of workers how to innovate is a national concern. At Jackson Hole High School, a new program is teaching students the skills they will need to be innovators by assigning them real problems to solve.  

SAMMIE SMITH: So just watch for splinters, we're going to back out this way...

This weekend and next, Laramie-based theater company Relative Theatrics is debuting seven new plays by Western playwrights. Earlier this year, director Anne Mason requested submissions, expecting to receive only a handful of applicants. Instead, she was sent over 20 scripts. Seven made the cut.

Erin Jones

On Easter Sunday, six hikers tumble out of cars and gather at the East Trailhead of Turtle Rock, east of Laramie. Chuck Adams, the hike’s organizer, gathers them in a circle.

“This is the fourth High Society hike that’s been in the works," he explains. "The other three have occurred in Oregon, so this is the first in Wyoming so congratulations. You should feel special.”

http://anneandpetesibley.com/

Wyoming Public Radio producer T.J. Snook talks with former Jackson residents Anne and Pete Sibley about their new album, Extraordinary Life.

The Shepard Symposium on Social Justice is underway at the University of Wyoming and will be featuring several spotlight events the rest of this week. Two of the events this weekend are photography sessions for The Self Evident Truths Project. iO Tillett Wright is the founder of and photographer for the project, as well as an LGBT activist. She’s attempting to photograph 10,000 people in all 50 states who identify as anything other than 100% straight in hopes of showing Americans the diverse makeup of the LGBT community.

Wyoming Festivals Summer 2015

Apr 6, 2015
Paul Montoya

Brace yourselves, Wyoming. Summer is here. Plan your music schedule now!

This festival season, take a photo of you (and your friends) at a Wyoming music festival, use the hashtag #wyofest and post it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We'll collect all of the photos and feature them on our website!

Studio Sessions: Spencer Bohren

Apr 2, 2015
Credit: Brenda Ladd

Spencer Bohren’s roots music journey has taken him from the Big Empty to the Big Easy. Born in Casper, his musical inspirations led to him to his adopted hometown of New Orleans. We’re always honored to have Spencer stop by our studios on a visit back to Wyoming. Here, he performs a couple of classics and an original.

People Get Ready

Robert Earl Keen is one of Americana's biggest stars. His music career spans three decades, he has released 18 albums, and he even strummed and sang his way into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. He'll be playing in the Town Square of Jackson Hole on Friday for the Jackson Hole Rendezvous Music Festival. Keen's love of music all started in bars in Houston. But as he told Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard, he wasn't there for the bands - he was there for foosball.

uwyo.edu

Here’s something that will be of particular interest to anyone who’s ever played the piano. Chi-Chen Wu teaches piano at the University of Wyoming and has a new CD out this month.

For this recording of Schumann’s sonatas for violin and piano, she uses an old version of the instrument: a fortepiano. So Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer asked Chi-Chen Wu the obvious question: what’s a fortepiano?

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