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.

exterior of The Conteporary in downtown Dayton
George Drake Jr. / WYSO

After almost 30 years, The Dayton Visual Arts Center, DVAC, is making the bold and possibly risky move of changing its name to become, simply, The Contemporary. Its mission will mostly remain the same, but with the name change and a potential move to a bigger location in the works, it aims to do more  - both locally and nationally.

Exploring Fairborn Through Augmented Reality Gaming

Nov 16, 2018
In Escape to Fairborn, users interact with murals and other landmarks around Fairborn.
Lauren Shows / WYSO

What do you call it when your smart phone camera shows you things that aren’t really there? That’s augmented reality, superimposing a computer-generated image onto what you’re seeing through your camera’s lens, changing your view of the world around you. 

At the offices of Mile Two, a digital technology firm in Downtown Dayton, Ontario Britton holds up his phone, showing an elaborate Lego model he built.

Actor Duane Jones in a scene from the movie Night of the Living Dead.
via Wikimedia Commons

Fifty years ago, on October 9, 1968, the low-budget horror film, Night of the Living Dead, surprisingly reached mainstream America. It’s the story of ravenous corpses returning to life to prey on society.

Not only did the movie create the modern zombie genre, but also its African American leading actor, Duane Jones, made history all his own. 

Ryan Ireland restocks a Little Free Library on a rainy day in Clifton.
Alan Staiger / WYSO

In 2009, a young man in Wisconsin built a replica of a one room school house, put some books inside it and put it in his front yard.  It was a tribute to his mother, a school teacher.  The idea was that anyone could take a book  - or leave a book – and it caught on.  There are 85 thousand of these neighborhood book exchanges now around the world.  They’re known as Little Free Libraries.

Bayard Rustin, half-length portrait, facing front, microphones in foreground
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection.

Before the freedom riders and Martin Luther King Jr., there was Bayard Rustin, a gay African American Quaker and civil rights activist. Rustin taught King Ghandian non-violence and was the major organizer for the 1963 March on Washington.  Rustin once stated that if we want peace and social justice, “We need in every community a group of angelic troublemakers.”

Cincinnati Composer and long-time Choral director Steve Milloy found his role model late in his life.

The Apollo XI Crew photographed by Yousuf Karsh.
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh / ©Estate of Yousuf Karsh

The first image that comes to mind when people think of Winston Churchill is of the leader scowling, his hand on his hip. It was taken by photographer Yousuf Karsh. Some of the greatest photographs of our time were taken by the Armenian refugee who fled to North America and rose to international fame. 

"[The Churchill portrait] was the international breakthrough of his career," says Karsh's 88-year-old widow and Antioch College alumna, Estrellita Karsh, on the phone from Boston.

Exploring Fashion, Costuming Through Men's Hats

Jul 9, 2018
Wittenberg University as Costume Shop Manager and Designer Debbie Henderson studies and collects men's hats.
Lauren Shows / WYSO

Debbie Henderson’s work space is a shrine to men’s headwear. Hats of every conceivable style and color are hung on coatracks and stacked half-a-dozen high on tables — they’re even tucked away on bookshelves. Colorful vintage hat boxes are displayed on high shelves that run the length of the room.

The highland green 68 fastback Mustang was the star of the movie Bullitt.
Sicnag / Wikimedia Commons

Fifty years ago a movie director named Peter Yates and a young rising stare named Steve McQueen made a car into a movie star. The movie was called Bullitt. McQueen played a cop who drove a highland Green 68 Mustang fastback. 

Taking A Look At The Set Behind The Curtain

Jun 15, 2018
George Drake Jr. / WYSO

During his life, William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. And as the final production of their 2018 season, The Human Race Theatre in Dayton is tackling all of them in just over an hour and a half. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is a comedy that’s part improv and part audience participation. Community Voices Producer George Drake, Jr. took a look behind the curtain to see how the set for the show came to life.

If you know anything about theatre, you know that a lot of the magic happens backstage.

Migiwa Orimo in her Yellow Springs studio, January 2018.
Tess Cortés

Migiwa Orimo is a visual artist in Yellow Springs. The work she creates in her studio, might end up in a traditional art gallery  – or carried through the streets during a political protest. Because alongside her formal studio work, Orimo makes protest banners. She’s been showing her art work in galleries for over 30, years but recently her banners were included in an exhibition of protest art called “Still They Persist.”