Montana Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Author interviews, food, natural history, poetry, and more from "The Write Question", "The Food Guys", "Field Notes", "Home Ground Radio", "Front Row Center", and "Reflections West".

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is a rarity in Montana. A former craftsman turned graphic novelist, Fetter-Vorm succeeds at both the written word and visual art. With stunning depth and attention to the nuances behind spaceflight, Fetter-Vorm  takes on Apollo 11 in “Moonbound.” This conversation covers Fetter-Vorm’s own relationship to space, as well as the process of writing, revision, and the amazing discoveries made while researching for the book. Join us for a unique behind-the-scenes look at an artist at work.

Sponges: These Aquatic Oddities Are At Home In Montana

Jan 5, 2020
Spongilla lacustris, a widspread freshwater sponge often found under logs and rocks in lakes.
Kirt L. Onthank (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Although many people associate these stone-like animals with the crystalline waters of the tropics, several species of sponges do occur in lakes and ponds across North America, including those of western Montana. 

flow chart for making traditional cassoulet
Flickr user, Anthony Georgeff (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

"Cassoulet, that best of bean feasts, is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba." - Julia Child

100 Days is a collection of poems that ask us to consider the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. In 100 poems, written in 100 days during the summer of 2014, Okot Bitek grapples with how language, nature, music, memory and voice can betray, and still offer solace in poetic form.

A Portrait Of Kehi-oo-Leh, Rattlesnake Creek

Dec 29, 2019
Rattlesnake Creek flowing through Missoula's Greenough Park, January 2019.
Josh Burnham / CC-BY-NC-2

I grew up in Missoula with the sound of Rattlesnake Creek pouring bedtime stories into my room, its chanting waters carrying me away to peace-filled dreams. When I was younger, my brother, our two neighbors and I used to build dams in the creek when summer warmth slowed the waters. At ages 10 and 12 we considered ourselves the best in the field, and this was reflected in our job titles: log expert, rock expert, and rescue expert.

Vanilla Vs. Vanillin: Which To Use?

Dec 29, 2019
vanilla pods
Gate74

Food Guy Greg Patent has begun baking with vanillin, a synthetic version of the major compound in vanilla. Why? Because the cost of pure vanilla extract peaked in 2018 above $30.00 per 16-ounce bottle. If you're making custards, sauces or ice cream, Greg says, stick with pure vanilla extract (extracted from from the vanilla pod with alcohol). It'll give you the benefit of the plant's full range of flavors. But most of the subtle aromatic compounds in vanilla just volatilize in the baking process, so when you bake, you might as well save some dough on vanillin.

Erika Peterman - Sova Partners

GatherBoard is a software platform designed - a little ironically - to get people off their phones and into concerts, classes and community gatherings. It's a kind of Squarespace or WordPress for online events sites: small-to-mid-sized communities and companies purchase its license and design their own customizable, monetizable events calendars. To date, 44 communities have licensed it, and Missoula's Molly Bradford, GatherBoard's co-founder and CEO, sees faster growth ahead.

Lehua Taitano's  work investigates queer indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora. In this conversation, Lehua delves into the oceanic world of her poetry collection, "Inside Me an Island," where matters of family, story, identity, voice, song, and bicycle mechanics come to light.  

The Bird Count Of Christmas And 'One Magpie Dancing'

Dec 22, 2019
Black-billed magpie
Helenagoma (Pixabay)

Just before lunch, we pulled up to a dead end at the base of the foothills and looked out into a plowed field to see … yet another magpie. This one, though, was hopping and flashing its wings in jerks, as if trying to perform a mad waltz, so we drew up our binoculars for a closer look. We could see then that it was corralling a small rodent, a vole I guessed, as it danced from foot to foot.

The History Of Breakfast

Dec 22, 2019
Bernadette Wurzinger

"But on Sunday morning, there's the time when a man has time to eat..."

Radio listeners can enjoy an excerpt of Cole Porter's "Sunday Morning Breakfast Time" at the top of every Food Guys broadcast. Breakfast-odes notwithstanding, when Jon Jackson did a little digging, he discovered that breakfast's role as "the most important meal of the day" is new-fangled. In fact, in 13th century Europe, breakfast carried vulgar connotations: Thomas Aquinas declared that meals eaten early in the day bordered on gluttony. Breakfast belonged to farmers and manual laborers, children, the elderly, and the infirm.

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