Big Brutus


Summer 2019: “Polka Party” Sneak Peek!

Posted on June 7th, by admin in Events, Magazine, People. No Comments

Polka Party
Polka tradition lives on through Johnnie Zibert Band & Big Brutus’ Polka Fest

On a late summer evening each year, Johnnie Joe Zibert lugs his 30-pound accordion beneath the towering shadow of Big Brutus – and he puts on a show.

His fingers flying, Johnnie plays dozens of tunes on the accordion, watching as old folks and kids alike dance to the music across Big Brutus’ pavilion floor. Others can’t help but clap and sing along.

He plays a little bit of everything – country, rock ‘n roll, slow songs – but he’s best known for his polka, the same music his dad famously played across Southeast Kansas for 75 years. And for Big Brutus’ annual Polka Fest, this summer to celebrate its 29th anniversary, there’s no better group to run the show than the Johnnie Zibert Band.

“Polka Fest is a tradition … Read More »


Winter 2014: “Men of Brutus” sneak peek!

Posted on November 13th, by admin in Magazine, Places. 1 Comment

Men of Brutus
New film highlights men who operated, preserve Big Brutus

What makes a filmmaker from Brooklyn – who just wrapped working on a new Chris Rock movie, no less – suddenly take interest in West Mineral, Kansas?

It’s this little thing – or, rather, massive thing – called Big Brutus.

Southeast Kansans know the coal shovel-turned landmark well; the rest of the country, not so much. Nick Houy is determined to change that.

“I was always taking road trips around the country, and I happened upon a flyer for Big Brutus at a road stop in Wichita (in around 2009),” says Houy from his New York home, more than 1,200 miles away from Southeast Kansas. “It looked pretty amazing, and when I went down there I was very blown away – obviously by the shovel itself, but also by the people.”

Houy wondered what … Read More »