Joe West and the Sinners was one of many alt-country bands in Austin, Texas in the late 90s. It was more offbeat than most, though, with songs about dream tractors, chasing UFOs in Roswell, and NPR-listening trailer park liberals. The band's 1998 album, Jamie Was a Boozer, was acclaimed by Austin critics as a masterpiece and one of the best CDs of the year.

In his new book of historical fiction set in 1894, And the Wind Whispered, author Dan Jorgensen takes real-life legends like Buffalo Bill, Seth Bullock, Theodore Roosevelt, Annie Oakley, John Philip Sousa and a young Will Rogers and puts them together in the southern Black Hills. They all play a role as a trio of teens tries to solve the mystery of what happened to a man found dead in Wind Cave. Meanwhile, there's also the mystery of missing Homestake gold and an outlaw gang terrorizing the area.

National Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota

Vermillion’s National Music Museum is home to the world’s earliest known cello. But this summer the the 16th century Amati 'King' cello is on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Given its rarity and value, the stringed instrument rarely leaves South Dakota.

Since July 1, Lee Ann Roripaugh has been South Dakota's new poet laureate. She was appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard and succeeds David Allan Evans who served the state for more than a dozen years.

Courtesy Anna Huntington

Work on the “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture has resumed at Rapid City’s Main Street Square. The 5-year art project is in its third year. SDPB’s Jim Kent visited with the internationally-recognized sculptor who’s creating the massive piece of art to discuss what he’s accomplished and what still needs to be done.

It’s July in Rapid City. Traffic is heavier than usual. Tourists are visiting. The water fountains are on at Main Street Square and Masayuki Nagase is back in town.

Brian Masek

Brian Masek is back at Sioux Falls JazzFest this year. His band, Brian Masek and Friends, performs Friday evening on the main stage.

The group plays an energetic and often danceable style of jazz that also combines elements of rock, blues and funk. Masek played in rock bands like Ivory, Closet Monster, Leghorn and the Toby Kane Band before becoming intrigued with the improvisational aspects of jazz. 

When writer Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes scattered, his father replied that it made no difference to him at all. In his new memoir, Not From Here, Johnson shares his personal journey from Connecticut to South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa to find the place where his father’s ashes belong – and to also find his own personal identity and history. But that personal history includes the displacement of the Native American people who had lived on the land settled by his Norwegian immigrant ancestors.

Courtesy Razelle Benally

The Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers Lab is hosting two young writer/directors this week to assist them in preparing for production of their short films.  

Razelle Benally is Oglala and Navajo. She grew up in Rapid City and graduated from Central High School. Razelle says she first picked up a camera in her teens.

Photo by Bird Runningwater

Two young Native American writer/directors are being given the opportunity to receive expert assistance this week in the production of their first professional film projects.  

Bird Runningwater is director of the Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous program. He says interest in and a commitment to Native American filmmakers goes back to founder Robert Redford. 

Guitar Masters 2015

Jul 10, 2015

The 18th annual Guitar Masters concerts were held February 27-28 at the Journey Museum in Rapid City.  The 2015 Guitar Masters are Bruce Neubert, Steve Gardner, Jake Anderson and Jeff Severson.  Neubert received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.  The self-taught player has been active in the Black Hills music scene since the early 70s.  Gardner played in several popular Sioux Falls bands before moving to Custer.  He's adept at flat picking and finger style.  Young gun Jake Anderson has been playing for over 10 years.  He enjoys studying t

Black Hills Playhouse Celebrates 70 Years

Jul 9, 2015
Black Hills Playhouse

Alumni from across the country are reuniting in the Black Hills region to celebrate years of live theatre. The Black Hills Playhouse is in its 70th anniversary season.

At the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park offer four summer productions. They include about 70 people from 22 states. Dan Workman is the artistic director. 

Victoria Wicks

A military veteran and longtime Black Hills journalist has turned his photography into abstract art. And now those photographs by Bill Cissell are featured in an emerging artist exhibit at the Dahl Arts Center. Cissell, one of those guys best described as a character, says he keeps life interesting through diversity.

The landscape of South Dakota is often stark with a beauty that’s subtle and sometimes unapproachable. In the new book, Visibility: Ten Miles, poet Sharon Chmielarz and photographer Ken Smith capture the spirit of life on the prairie through images and verse.


Jun 26, 2015

Sioux Falls string band Condor has grown by one since they released their first CD, "Deep Into the Pool," in the fall of 2013.  Founders Connor Pederson and Andy Shaw were joined by Mateo Bartlett, a friend of Shaw's, about the same time "Deep Into the Pool" was made public.  Bartlett adds banjo and vocals to Pederson's cello and vocals and Shaw's guitar and vocals to one-up the band's unique harmonies and instrumentation.  As a three-piece, Condor released "Poega" in March, 2015.  Every pluck, every strum of Condor's approach to swing, bluegrass, Americana and indie sets them apart.  Condo

Hope River Entertainment

After playing in other bands and their own impressive solo careers, Dave Adkins and Edgar Loudermilk  formed a new group together two years ago. It wasn’t anything they planned, though. They just started writing together and enjoyed the chemistry that resulted. Their debut album, Adkins and Loudermilk, was released in March.

Ledger Art: from Buffalo Hides to Accounting Books

Jun 24, 2015

 A Native American art exhibit in Sioux Falls showcases an art form that was almost forgotten. Native Americans once used buffalo hides to record history through paintings. When the buffalo herds were hunted to few numbers, tribes had to find a different way to tell stories. 


Native American ledger art is on display at the Center for Western Studies on Augustana's campus. Native American artist Donald Montileaux says tribes began repurposing the inside pages of old ledger books during the late 1800s.  

: Photo courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.

A new exhibit at the National Music Museum in Vermillion, “Banding Together: The American Soldier’s Musical Arsenal,” explores the role of music from the Revolutionary War to the war in Afghanistan.

This year marks the centennial of renowned South Dakota artist Oscar Howe. He was born May 13, 1915 at Joe Creek on the Crow Creek Reservation. He was an art professor at the University of South Dakota from 1957-1980 and one of the most important Native American artists of the 20th century. He’s credited with helping change the direction of Native American art by advancing the cause of personal expression and not conforming to the strictures of what was considered the “traditional Indian style.”

Courtesy Anna Huntington

A Rapid City artist has completed a 2-story mural near Main Street Square that reflects the images created in the ongoing ”Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture project. What was initially planned as a 5-week work schedule turned into almost 3 months of frequently intense labor for the muralist.

”Passage of Wind and Water” spokesperson Anna Huntington says the idea of having someone paint a mural on a 2-story wall facing Main Street Square seemed like a no-brainer.

Maya Van Nuys With Robert Dewan And Friends

Jun 12, 2015

Recent Rapid City Stevens High School graduate Maya Van Nuys assembled a cast of well-known and respected local players for a showcase concert last February at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City.  Van Nuys is a classically trained violinist with a love for the blues and American roots music.  She came up through the Dahl's Emerging Artists Series.  Maya's father, guitarist Frank Van Nuys, introduced her to all kinds of music that inspired her current path as a musician.  The next stage in Van Nuys' career is taking her to Kansas where she plans to further her music career with collaborator

World-class pianists are back in Sioux Falls for the ninth annual Dakota Sky International Piano Festival. The event runs through Saturday, July 13 at the Washington Pavilion and features a series of recitals, seminars, master classes and children's concerts. Pianists Gregory DeTurck and Douglas Humphreys, cellist Maxim Koslov and soprano Kayleen Sanches are the featured artists for this summer's programs. Gregory DeTurck and founder and artistic director Paul Sanchez joined Dakota Midday for festival details.

National Museum of the U.S. Army

During the Vietnam War, James Pollack entered combat zones armed with a .45 pistol, canteen, camera and sketchbook. The South Dakota native was one of 46 U.S. Army Soldiers commissioned to chronicle the war as a part of the Vietnam Combat Art Program. After two months accompanying soldiers on patrol, Pollack and the other artists were shipped to studios in Hawaii to finish their work. It became property of the U.S. Army Art Collection at the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Laura Vidler

After staging comedies for its first two productions, the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival is bringing one of the Bard’s darkest tragedies to Prentis Park in Vermillion June 11 through June 14.

Macbeth is a story of political ambition and quest for power for its own sake. After receiving a prophecy from a trio of witches and being spurred to action by his wife, Scottish general Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the throne. But he’s racked with guilt and paranoia as he and Lady Macbeth descend into madness.

Passenger Productions

The new film, Of Minor Prophets, was inspired by the biblical story of Hosea who was commanded by God to marry a harlot. The film was shot in northwestern Iowa and Sioux Falls and tells the story of lonely, bachelor farmer Doug who befriends Ami, a prostitute with suspicious intentions. It explores themes of love, forgiveness, sacrifice and deceit. Cora Vander Broek stars as Ami and Kris Kling is Doug. 

New York-based filmmaker Chloe Zhao’s first feature, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, was shot and largely cast on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It’s a portrait of life on Pine Ridge experienced partly through the eyes of a young Lakota girl who is preparing herself for the departure of her beloved older brother. Johnny and Jashaun live at home with their single mother. An older brother is in prison. At the start of the film, the brothers learn that the father they’ve never met, a famous rodeo cowboy, has died in an accidental fire.

Prairie Repertory Theatre

Prairie Repertory Theatre opens its 45th season on Wednesday with the doo-wop musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes. Other productions this summer include Boeing, Boeing, Dial ‘M’ for Murder and The Sound of Music.

Prairie Repertory Theatre is based at South Dakota State University in Brookings and its mission is to provide outstanding training for student company members and the best possible entertainment for audiences in Brookings and the Brandon Valley Performing Arts Center.

Ipso Gallery

Rapid City artist Bryan Christiansen grew up in a small log cabin in the Black Hills and learned to hunt. He’s still a hunter, but a different kind. He goes hunting through city alleyways and parking lots in search of discarded furniture. He skins and guts couches, easy chairs and tables and reassembles them into life-sized animal forms, such as deer, hare or buffalo skulls. And nothing goes to waste. He saves everything down to the last bit of sawdust and string, as well as the coins, pens and even TV remotes lost in the cushions.

Black Hills Playhouse

The two-man show, A Couple of Blaguards, is based on the real-life adventures of brothers Frank and Malachy McCourt. It takes them from an impoverished childhood in Limerick, Ireland to their immigration to Brooklyn in the 1950s. The play is a comedic remembrance based in the Irish storytelling tradition, but it also has a poignant edge.

Artist Oscar Howe has had a marked influence on American Indian artists who learned from his style. Whether Howe himself was influenced by other artists is up for discussion. Viewers can ponder that question for themselves at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, where Howe’s work is on display through September 7th. Regardless of what inspired his work, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks learns that Howe broke ground in ways that continue to benefit other artists today.

Most countries measure their success by Gross Domestic Product. But the remote Himalayan nation of Bhutan uses a different measure: Gross National Happiness. For centuries Bhutan was almost completely cut off from the outside world. The Buddhist nation began opening up in the 1970s after years of seclusion. Since 2008 Bhutan has gone through dramatic changes with a transition from a monarchy to a two-party parliamentary democracy and the introduction of free press and more western-styled media.