Kacky Walton

Classical Music Host

I owe my radio career to the Ford Motor Company. My daddy had a Ford dealership in our hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi, and he thought it would be cute if his 7-year old daughter did his radio commercials. The pay wasn't great, just a pack of Wrigley's gum, but I was hooked on radio from then on.

I majored in Theater at Ole Miss, and really enjoyed the stage, but I always came back to radio. Now I have the best of both worlds: Everyday I get to create and host a classical music show and talk to fascinating people from the art world, and I get my theater fix when I host previews of Playhouse on the Square's musicals on Friday Live Lunch. Who could ask for anything more?

When I'm not doing radio, I love hanging out with my sweet rescue dog, who got his name from The Kinks song, “Do You Remember Walter”, from the album “Village Green Preservation Society”. I have to thank my late husband for that one.  Walter is, without a doubt, the most handsome boy on the planet, and completely deserves having his own theme song. I also love putting on loud music and having my own little throw-down dance party from time to time.  Not sure is Walter is so keen on that.  He gives me funny looks sometimes.
I started playing the piano at age 2, and began classical training at age 5. Having gone without a piano for a large chunk of time has made me pretty rusty, but now that I have it again, I'm working on getting the old chops back. Things that I can't do without: TV, a good movie, and yummy food and wine. Also any book by John Irving. And Tab.

I don't get paid in gum anymore, and I don't make big bucks either, but I do get to wake up in the morning excited about working for a radio station that matters. I get to work for public radio! How did a girl from Clarksdale get so lucky?

Ways to Connect

Fifteen years ago, Katie Smythe was perplexed about what what The Nutcraker was really about. She went on to recreate the classic holiday ballet, giving it a Memphis twist.

The production, The Nut Remix, features songs from Duke Ellington's jazz remix to Tchaikovsky's Nuckcraker Suite, including authenic Spanish, Chinese and African dances, as well as performances by Charles "Lil Buck" Riley, who stars in the live-action Disney film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

On this Checking on the Arts, Smythe explains what makes this 2018 weekend performance so speical, compared to years' past. 


A veteran of Memphis bands such as Snowglobe and Jeffrey James and the Haul, Jeff Hulett is no newcomer to the Memphis music scene. Hulett's latest album, Around These Parts, features a variety of Memphis musicians, such as Luke White and Jonathan Kirkscey.

Hulett's album release party is Saturday (Dec. 15) at Memphis Made Brewing from 4-6 p.m.

 

 


 

When people think about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, thoughts of science fiction and a creature of some sort might come to mind. However, Rhodes College is challenging people's views about what the classic novel is about. On Thursday, November 15th at 6 p.m., the school is hosting an event celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Guest speaker, Dr. Claire Colebrook is a cultural theorist who plans to introduce and discuss the topic of what Frankenstein can teach us about humans and their relations to nature - namely climate change. 

The program is part of Rhodes'  "Communities in Conversation" lecture series and is preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. To talk about the event and why the school is hosting it, Jonathan Judaken, the Spence L. Wilson Chair of Humanities at Rhodes College, and Judith Haas, Professor of English and the new director of the Search program, chat with Kacky Walton for this WKNO-FM's Checking on the Arts.

 

Audio Pending...

  

"Every origami design has a beautiful and almost perfect star that the paper reveals when you unfold it," says Kevin Box, explaining how he got into the art of origami.

Knowing that any unraveled origami piece shows a star changed Box's perception about his art and what he was doing at the time. Since then, Box has worked with several world renowned origami artists to create a process of turning paper origami into bronze, aluminum, and stainless steel sculptures.

The casting process, which Box has pioneered, allows his sculptures to weather seasons and climates.

Starting Friday through March 24, over twenty-four sculptures will be on display in and outside the Memphis Botanic Gardens. The exhibit will have an audio tour by Kevin Box and other artists who have helped him along the way.

Here's what Box had to say on Checking on the Arts.

Take a walk through suspended metal or have a yoga session while admiring 16th Century paintings. The Brooks Museum's fall collection of artwork and projects have something to please most anyone.

The museum plans to introduce new exhibits and artwork, ranging from a 24-foot tall tree made from recyclable materials to photographs from famous Memphis photographer, Ernest Withers. 

The Brooks Museum's curator of strategic engagement, Andria Lisle, talks about what to expect from the museum for the coming fall season.


 

Memphis offers a multitude of fun things to do. However, even people who have lived here for years can sometimes find it daunting to discover their niche. 

New Memphis is an organization that targets individuals who are looking to know more about the City of Memphis and how to get involved in the community. 

On Thursday, August 30th, New Memphis is hosting an event called Exposure, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Autozone Park. It's free and fun for all ages. The event celebrates the city and shows Memphians a variety of opportunities to get involved. There will be a local celebrity kickball game, various community volunteer sign up opportunities, local food, and much more.

Anna Mullins, vice president of communications and strategic initiatives, joins Checking on the Arts host, Kacky Walton to talk about Exposure.

Playhouse on the Square's final production of the 2017-18 season is a world premiere.

CRIB, by Gino Dilorio, won the 2016 NewWorks@TheWorks Playwrighting Competition.  

Director Jaclyn Suffel discusses the play about a college basketball star and the expectations of academia.

 

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Conversations between NASA's mission control and astronauts walking on the moon may not seem like "the right stuff" of classical music.

But Memphis Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Moody thinks that space chatter will make for an intriguing libretto during one concert in the MSO's 2018-19 line up. 

The season is packed with three concerts series: Masterworks, Classic Accents and Pops. Special guests include Telly Leung and Ryan Anthony. 

Here Moody discusses what to expect during the 2018-19 season.   

 

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Voices of the South

Live music, a silent auction, and a petting-zoo musical are all on the line-up for the 13th Annual Memphis Children's Theatre Festival, hosted by Voices of the South.

The popular Memorial Day weekend event kicks off 6 p.m. Friday at Rhodes Collage and runs through Saturday afternoon. 

VOTS Jenny Madden and Alice Berry discuss this year's lineup with Kacky Walton.

 


Innovative gardens are flourishing in Memphis' historic Cooper Young neighborhood. Also growing: the number of people wanting to check them out. 

The 3rd Annual Cooper Young Garden Walk offers greenthumbs and garden geeks a chance to see what's sproutin' on Saturday and Sunday (May 19 & 20). 

A total of 89 gardens—more than double the amount from the first year—are open for perusal. This year's theme is native plants in an urban setting. 

 

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