Gina Kaufmann

Host, Central Standard

Gina’s background combines print and broadcast journalism, live event hosting and production, creative nonfiction writing and involvement in the arts. Early in her career, she followed a cultural beat for The Pitch, where she served as an editor and art writer in the early 2000s. She also worked as a contributing editor of Heeb magazine out of New York, assisting with the Heeb Storytelling series and ultimately starting her own live storytelling event series in Kansas City. Gina got her public radio chops working first as an intern for KC Currents with Sylvia Maria Gross, then as a co-host of The Walt Bodine Show. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Ways To Connect

Kansas City is known as a nice town that's filled with nice people. Nice, right? Or is it? We invite an etiquette expert, a KC native and a sociology professor to discuss the history and purpose of etiquette — and what the phrase "Kansas City nice" really means.

Guests:

  • Janis Kliethermes, owner, Etiquette Kansas City
  • Rashaan Gilmore, citizen, Kansas City
  • Michelle Smirnova, assistant professor of sociology, UMKC

Podcasts are becoming more mainstream all across the country, covering topics from baseball to Macintosh product training, to mystery solving. We explored podcasts with the help of local producer and co-host, Beckett Graham — her podcast is called the History Chicks, which dedicates each episode to one woman in history — and KCUR's own Jeremy Bernfeld, editor of Harvest Public Media, and an informal podcast enthusiast and critic.

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The car is a mechanical work of art. There are people who obsessively design, build and restore cars... and others crash them with just as much passion. From the Art of the Car Concours to the  demolition derby.

Guests:

  • Tony Jones, interim president, The Kansas City Art Institute
  • Mac McLanahan, artist and demolition derby driver

Lobbyists get a bad rap, but before we judge, let's hear from the lobbyists themselves about what they do and how they get it done. Everything you've always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask. Plus, notes on the recent legislative session in Kansas.

Guests:

  • Kimberly Svatie, lobbyist, Gencur Svatie Public Affairs
  • Bill Sneed, lawyer and lobbyist, Polsinelli

Seventeen

Jun 22, 2015

That's how many years it's been since the last time this summer's brood of cicadas came out of the ground. Why do they spend so long underground? What do they do down there? And should you consider eating them? Bonus sounds: Will Smith's Gettin' Jiggy Wit It and live cicadas in-studio.

Guest:

  • Mary McCoy, entomologist and professor emeritus in Washburn University's biology department

Pod People

Jun 22, 2015

On the newest edition of Audiofiles, an irreverent women's history podcaster tells her story and sings a drinking song. A prolific podcast-listener shares a playlist. Obama's visit to Marc Maron's garage is discussed.

Guests:

  • Beckett Graham, cocreator of The History Chicks podcast
  • Jeremy Bernfeld, editor, Harvest Public Media

It's a show about a women's prison — and it looks like nothing else on TV. We invite a critic, a federal public defender and a professor of film and media studies to give their reviews of Orange is the New Black.

Do you clean your plate? Should you keep a chicken that's been in your freezer for 10 years? We visit farms, a meat processing plant, a compost heap, grocery stores and Kansas Citians' kitchens to explore the issue of food waste.

When you smell fresh-mowed grass, you’re actually smelling botanical terror. Two MU professors fill us in on the intriguing ways plants communicate.

Guests:

  • Jack C. Schultz, director, Christopher S. Bond Life Science Center, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Heidi Appel, senior research scientist, Christopher S. Bond Life Science Center, University of Missouri-Columbia

Kansas Citians often overlook destinations north of the Missouri River when thinking about where to dine. Hear Northland restaurant recommendations from our listeners and food critic Charles Ferruzza. 

Guests:

  • Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
  • Alyson Raletz, social media editor, KCUR
Ian Monroe / Flickr

Leaving Kansas City and moving back again are popular pastimes. But each decision is difficult and personal. Stories, data, weather-analysis and a reminder that jerks live everywhere.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Tom Paolini makes custom suits for a living, so it stands to reason that he goes out and about in Kansas City wearing spiffy, fashion-forward suits.

"I'm looking forward to the day where I'm wearing a suit and I don't get a compliment," Paolini said on Central Standard. "Right now, you're more the exception."

Epic Summer

Jun 16, 2015

If summertime means being out of school, think again. Crestview Elementary is one of two schools in the metro experimenting with a year-long schedule. So we attempt to redefine summer, with great literature set amid sweltering summer heat and a roadtrip in search of a frozen dessert called "pineapple whip."

Guests:

Alyson Raletz, KCUR

Kansas City is a dress-casual town, for the most part — it's not uncommon to see people (especially guys) wearing baseball caps or Big 12 gear while out and about. However, there are signs that the men's fashion scene is branching out. We invite two local suit connoisseurs and a bow-tie entrepreneur to talk about style and what fashion means to them.

Kansas City was founded as a Missouri River port, but we've come a long way from our waterway roots. Take Turkey Creek — it flows through Kansas City, Kansas by Southwest Boulevard (and makes for a scenic stop at Merriam's Waterfall Park), but few people know it's there. We talk to three local residents who use art to take a new look at our waterways.

A 13-year-old from Olathe won the title of co-champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The omnivorous speller banters with other local word-enthusiasts, and correctly spells cruciverbalist

Guests:

An update on plans to repurpose about 30 vacated schools in Kansas City. Plus, the challenges, joys, and enduring impact of finding new uses for buildings that have outlived their intended functions. The transformation of gas stations, old theaters, churches and post offices.

Did Dr. Bennett Hyde kill his patient, Thomas Swope, of Swope Park fame? A true-life, historical, creepy and disgusting Kansas City murder mystery, courtesy of our historian, Monroe Dodd.

LIbrary of Congress/Google Images -- CC

During World War II, the Hollywood Canteen in Los Angeles was a famous nightclub where civilian hostesses danced with Allied soldiers of all races. It was an oasis during a time of segregation — or was it? KU professor Sherrie Tucker interviewed people who frequented the club and heard about their different — and sometimes contradictory — experiences on the dance floor.

Guest:

Monumenteer2014/Google Images -- CC

Multiple choice time. Was high school:

(a) The time of your life (kind of like Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days")

(b) A soul-scarring period of angst (as depicted in any John Hughes movie)

(c) None of the above

We catch up with our Class of 2015 students. We also talk to a local podcast host about why he was ready to put high school behind him and a Kansas City Public Schools staffer about what comes after graduation for the most vulnerable kids.

Guests:

Judith G. Levy

Every family has its secrets and stories. Artist Judith G. Levy tells her family's stories — focusing on disconnects — through photographs and captions as part of a new exhibit at La Esquina. 

A Missouri inmate recently refused to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous; he explained that the faith-based recovery program goes against his beliefs as an atheist. Where do people who aren't religious turn for recovery?

Guests:

Judith G. Levy

For her installation at La Esquina as part of an exhibit called Disturbances in the Field, artist Judith G. Levy tells succinct family stories, focusing on disconnects.

There's the stark contrast between the side of her family that supported Nazi Germany and the side that had to flee Nazi Germany. And what about the gap between her great-uncle's wife's appearance and the family's insistence that she was a Sephardic Jew, rather than Ethiopian?

Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious / Flickr

Central Standard's annual check-in on Kansas City's attempts to become a bicycle-friendly town. News, obstacles, progress reports and more. Plus, voices and stories from Missouri's Katy Trail.

George Hodgman is a writer and editor who's lived in New York and worked for places like Vanity Fair and Simon & Schuster.

After a childhood spent dreaming of New York and an adulthood caught up in the whirlwind of an intense career, he came home to Missouri to care for his ailing mother. Still, people from the small towns of his youth still think of him as the guy who went to New York.

So when he wrote a memoir, Bettyville, not about the glitzy social engagements in New York but about his childhood in Missouri, that meant something to people.

Just last week, he returned to Madison, Missouri — which had 554 residents as of the 2010 census — and gave a talk in a church basement. He regaled the town with stories about itself.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City Star editor Mike Fannin makes decisions every day about what this community is going to know about itself, the region and even the world. In a changing news environment, with financial and staffing constraints, The Star, along with many news organizations, has been forced to examine its guiding principles and priorities.

Americasroof/Google Images -- CC

How is the Kansas City Star adapting to the changing media environment? Editor Mike Fannin discusses the challenges of reaching readers, the redesign of the digital and print editions and the future of the newsroom.

A New York writer's journey home sheds light on family, keeping secrets, and the state of small-town Missouri. Plus, how one Missouri town might vote itself out of existence.

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

After years spent battling landlords and management, residents of a Kansas City, Kansas public housing complex await promised vouchers for housing of their choice. What will happen when, and if, they get off that steep hill?

As the second Folk Alliance International conference kicked off in Kansas City in February, Central Standard explored the question: “What is folk music today?” 

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