Julie Denesha

Digital Media Specialist

Julie Denesha is a freelance documentary photographer based in the Kansas City area.

Julie graduated from The University of Kansas in 1993, with degrees in Journalism and Russian Language and Literature. After college, she worked as a staff photographer for The Kansas City Star. In 1995, she moved to Europe and from 1996 to 2004, Julie was based in Prague, Czech Republic, where she covered Central and Eastern Europe for newspapers and magazines. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Time, Newsweek, The Economist and The Christian Science Monitor.

After moving back to the United States, Julie spent three years working as a photo editor for The Washington Times.

In 2007, Julie was awarded both a Fulbright and a Milena Jesenská Fellowship to continue her ongoing project on the Roma in Slovakia. Her project on the Roma was featured in an exhibit of the Roma at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, The World Bank in Brussels, Belgium, The Half King Gallery in New York, and The Institute For Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

View more of Julie's work on her website.

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Arts & Culture
12:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Gospel Singer Ah'Lee Robinson Sings Out

Ah'Lee Robinson rehearses an a cappella version of 'Give me Jesus.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

For the past 20 years, Ah'Lee Robinson has helped young people find their own voices as executive director of the Kansas City Boys Choir and the Kansas City Girls Choir

Robinson is an accomplished gospel singer himself. On Friday, he’ll sing in a concert of "praise and thanksgiving.”

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Arts & Culture
10:41 am
Thu November 13, 2014

JJ's Restaurant Re-Opens In New Location

Nearly two years after a natural gas explosion and fire destroyed JJ's restaurant, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and owner Jimmy Frantze cut the ribbon at the restaurant's reopening ceremony in the Polsinelli Building in the West Plaza.
Julie Denesha KCUR

JJ's restaurant re-opened Wednesday night for dinner in its new location in the West Plaza district of Kansas City, Mo., inside the Polsinelli Building at 900 W. 48th Place.

It's been a work in progress for more than 11 months. When a natural gas explosion destroyed the original location in February 2013, it was questionable if the popular meeting spot would ever recover. 

In the days following the explosion that left server Megan Cramer dead, JJ’s co-owner Jimmy Frantze couldn’t even bring himself to look at the building.

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Arts & Culture
5:57 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

Girl Rescues Boy In Lyric Opera's 'The Italian Girl In Algiers'

The aviatrix Isabella (mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts) embarks on a rescue mission to save the enslaved Lindoro, and crashes her plane on the beach.
Julie Denesha KCUR

As the Kansas City Symphony warmed up in the pit, some 300 metro-area students filed into Muriel Kauffman Theatre for The Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Thursday night dress rehearsal. The production of "The Italian Girl in Algiers" updates Gioachino Rossini’s zany farce by turning the heroine Isabella (Irene Roberts) into an adventurous aviatrix. She's determined to rescue her one true love Lindoro (Taylor Stayton) who has been taken captive by the Turkish Bey Mustafa (Patrick Carfizzi).
 

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Arts & Culture
9:49 am
Thu October 30, 2014

PHOTOS: Peregrine Honig's New Paintings Encourage Selfie-Indulgence

Ryan Brown was riding around the West Bottoms on his bicycle when he heard about the show. He decided to stop by and take a selfie.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Camera phones were snapping Friday night with the opening of Peregrine Honig's latest exhibition at Haw Contemporary, a gallery in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo. While many artists discourage photographs of their work, Honig openly invited viewers to use her large-scale oil paintings as backdrops for selfies, or self-portraits. 

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Sports
10:43 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

PHOTOS: True Blue Fans Gather At Power & Light District For Game 6

Sporting bright blue tresses for luck Daniel Wade, (from left) Jennifer Valdez, and Erik Wade were among thousands of fans gathered in Kansas City's Power and Light District to cheer the Royals.
Julie Denesha KCUR

A blue wave of cheering fans gathered at Kansas City's Power & Light District Tuesday night to watch the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Series.

“I’m proud of them,” said Victor Stringer. “I’ve been following the Royals since the 1970s, I think we can take this whole thing. I just believe in them.”

Twelve-year-olds Jaydon Dickinson and Donte Smith played a game of catch before the start of the game.

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Arts & Culture
2:47 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

PHOTOS: Jabberwocky Unleashed In Ballet's 'Alice (In Wonderland)'

A 25-foot wingspan makes this Jabberwocky puppet a frightful foe in the hands of dancer Lamin Pereira dos Santos.
Julie Denesha KCUR

One character in the Kansas City Ballet's new production of Alice (in wonderland) is not a dancer -- but requires seven dancers to move: the Jabberwocky, a silver-scaled beast with a sprawling 25-foot wingspan.

Early in the rehearsal process, the ballet's artistic director, Devon Carney, brought in Paul Mesner, founder of Paul Mesner Puppets, to stage the puppet work and teach the dancers a few tricks of the trade.

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Arts & Culture
5:49 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

KCAI Students Prepare Murals For Vacant Scarritt Elementary School

Nicholette Haigler paints a peeping giantess on her mural panels beneath the shade of walnut trees.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Last week, visiting instructor Héctor Casanova Cinderhouse was at his desk in the illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute, contemplating a small pile of plans for the first phase of a mural project at Scarritt Elementary School in the historic Northeast.

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Arts & Culture
6:54 am
Fri September 26, 2014

WATCH: Pianist Behzod Abduraimov Takes On New Role At Park University

Behzod Abduraimov, the new artist-in-residence at ICM, rehearses in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel at Park University.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

When the International Center for Music (ICM) at Park University in Parkville, Mo., a boutique conservatory for top performers, decided to add an artist-in-residence, they didn’t have to look very far.

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Arts & Culture
2:22 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

PHOTOS: Afternoon Of Dance And Song Opens 'Art Of The Plains Indians' Exhibit

Arlan Whitebreast, a member of the Meskwaki Nation, prepared to perform a grass dance in Atkins Auditorium.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Drumbeat and song drifted through the halls of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Sunday afternoon in celebration of the opening of Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky. Native American dancers wearing brightly-colored ribbons and feathers performed traditional dances in Atkins Auditorium and Kirkwood Hall.

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Arts & Culture
9:24 am
Fri September 5, 2014

PHOTOS: Union Station Is Canvas For Centennial Celebration

In a parking lot strewn with boxes and equipment, the team works to make incremental adjustments to the projections.
Julie Denesha KCUR

In the middle of the night, a grid of light slowly pans across the darkened facade of Union Station. It's 3 a.m. on Thursday, and a team from Quixotic Fusion is methodically lining up 12 digital projectors to create 3-D images using the station as a movie screen. It's part of the promised spectacle -- which also includes a concert, Chiefs pep rally, and fireworks display -- marking the 100th anniversary of Union Station on Friday night.

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Performance
12:22 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

PHOTOS: Getting Into Character At The Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Brianna Gray as Sybil Eden Everbrook.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The dew was still on the grass in a parking area next to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds in Bonner Springs, Kan., early Saturday morning.

Performers started to gather, on this opening day, putting finishing touches on elaborate Tudor-era costumes and practicing 16th century speech and accents. They huddled in groups, catching up on the latest news, before checking in at the gate. 

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Arts & Culture
3:19 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Black House Collective To Premiere Five New Chamber Operas

Mezzo-soprano Anna Hoard sings in the role of Charlene in George Lam's 'Sherman's March.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

As they waited for other musicians and singers to arrive, composer Hunter Long and mezzo-soprano Anna Hoard lounged among music stands and percussion instruments in a sixth-floor room in the Town Pavilion building in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Hoard sings the role of Charlotte in Long’s new chamber opera titled Lost in Translation, one of five new operas that will have their world premiere on Friday.

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Arts & Culture
2:03 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Kansas City Native David Parsons Leads New Dance Workshop

Parsons Company dancer Sarah Braverman (from left) and David Parsons make suggestions as the dancers rehearse "Nascimento."
Julie Denesha KCUR

Under the watchful eye of Kansas City native David Parsons, 10 young dance students worked on perfecting dance steps from two very different Parsons works -- Nascimento and Whirlaway -- this week at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity. Parsons teamed up with Kansas City Ballet to bring his intense workshop to Kansas City after touring the facility with his father last year.

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Arts & Culture
2:59 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

WATCH: In This Scene ... Three Kansas City Highlights At The Fringe

Mary Sue (Kenna Hall) and her mother (Ellen Kirk) rehearse a scene from '(Virgin.)'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

It can be daunting to wade through the schedule for the KC Fringe Festival.

Founded in 2004, Fringe presents about 130 events this year, including theater, dance, comedy, film, poetry, as well as visual art exhibitions.

There are artists from around the world — St. Louis, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, the U.K. — and the Kansas City area.

Here are a few homegrown highlights:

Poor Lear

Warning: This content may be unsuitable for children. It contains brief sexual references.

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Arts & Culture
8:26 am
Fri July 11, 2014

New Opera 'Red Death' To Premiere At KC Fringe Festival

Nathan Granner, as Prince Prospero, invites his friends to his castle to escape the raging plague outside.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Edgar Allen Poe's 1842 short story "The Masque of the Red Death" serves as the inspiration for a new opera called "Red Death" that premieres next week in Kansas City, Mo.

The opera will be part of the KC Fringe Festival.

With music composed by Daniel Doss and a libretto by Bryan Colley, it follows Prince Prospero (played by Nathan Granner) as he attempts to escape a plague raging outside the castle walls.

Interview highlights:

On a "zany" Prospero

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Arts & Culture
9:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

WATCH: 'The Winter’s Tale’ Set Comes Down

Crew members pull down 'The Winter's Tale' set.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The sound of power drills pierced the air on a humid Monday morning as several dozen crew members dismantled the set of "The Winter’s Tale" in Southmoreland Park in Kansas City, Mo.

The evening glow from the set’s blue and gray spires had long faded. From a grassy hill, Greg Mackender, resident composer and musician for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival stood taking photographs on his camera phone before packing away his instruments.

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Arts & Culture
10:06 am
Fri June 20, 2014

WATCH: In This Scene ... 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'

Jerry Jay Cranford plays Baron Bomburst and Julie Shaw plays his wife Baroness Bomburst in The Coterie production of 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

In this scene from The Coterie's production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," Baron Bomburst (Jerry Jay Cranford) and Baroness Bomburst (Julie Shaw) express their love for each other through song and a series of gags and tricks.

"We are the Baron and Baroness of Vulgaria. I am about to have my birthday party, and I am very excited about it and completely forget that she’s alive," explains Cranford, a Broadway veteran, with a laugh.

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Arts & Culture
10:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Todd Bolender To Be Honored At 2nd Annual Kansas City Dance Festival

Kansas City Dance Festival co-artistic director Logan Pachciarz and dancer Molly Wagner rehearse a pas de deux from 'The Still Point.’
Julie Denesha KCUR

This weekend, the second annual Kansas City Dance Festival gets under way, assembling dancers and choreographers from the local, national and international stage.

A recent rehearsal found dancers Logan Pachciarz and Molly Wagner working on a pas de deux under the watchful eye of departing Kansas City Ballet ballet master James Jordan, as they honed both steps and expression during a walk through of the late Todd Bolender’s "The Still Point."

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Arts & Culture
3:18 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Heartland Men’s Chorus Brings Vegas Strip To Folly Stage

Todd Jordan Green sings 'Don't Be Cruel' during rehearsal for the closing show of the 28th season of the Heartland Men's Chorus. The tribute to Las Vegas features magicians, showgirls and aerial acrobatics.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Kicking off the summer with a trip to the Vegas strip, Heartland Men’s Chorus is bringing “Vegas Baby” to the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Mo., in what's envisioned as a lavish spectacle. The chorus, with 150 singers, will be joined by magicians, showgirls and aerial acrobatics.

Guest conductor Anthony T. Edwards says one of the highlights for him will be seeing Quixotic perform onstage as the chorus sings Cirque du Soleil’s Let Me Fall.

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Arts & Culture
1:05 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Slideshow: Artist Robert Morris Tours New 'Glass Labyrinth' In Sculpture Park

Kansas City native and artist Robert Morris experiences the labyrinth for the first time.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Robins hopped on the manicured lawn at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Wednesday as New York-based artist Robert Morris and a small entourage previewed his new work, "Glass Labyrinth." The 7-foot-tall triangular sculpture consists of one-inch thick glass plate walls topped with bronze.

The official opening of "Glass Labyrinth" takes place Thursday in a public ceremony on the museum's south lawn. It marks the 25th anniversary of the 22-acre Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park.

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Arts & Culture
5:30 am
Thu May 15, 2014

WATCH: Tools Of The Trade, A Ballet Dancer's Shoes

Kansas City Ballet dancers perform in 'Cinderella."
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The modern pointe shoe has kept ballerinas on their toes since the early 20th Century.

Each delicate, custom-made satin and leather shoe endures a punishing routine that begins even before a dancer places a shoe on her foot.

As part of an occasional series called Tools of the Trade about performers and their relationship to the tools that make their work possible, I talked to members of the Kansas City Ballet about shoes.

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Arts & Culture
8:48 am
Sun May 11, 2014

UMKC Conservatory Stakes Its Claim In The Crossroads

Conservatory student Haley Crane held fast to a small bunch of balloons at the announced site of the Downtown Campus for the Arts south of the Kauffman Center.
Julie Denesha KCUR

 The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance has a potential site for its future downtown campus.

UMKC Chancellor  Leo Morton announced Monday morning that the school has received a pledge from an anonymous group of donors to purchase a full city block in the Crossroads Arts District along Broadway Street between 17th and 18th Streets, directly south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The announcement took place at the Kauffman Center, overlooking the site.

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Performance
5:30 am
Fri May 9, 2014

WATCH: Time-Lapse Transformation Into Cinderella's Stepsisters

In the men's dressing room, Logan Pachciarz gets a wig adjustment from costume shop assistant Joey Gee as Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye works on his makeup.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

This weekend, the Kansas City Ballet presents a classic fairy tale, Cinderella. It's the story of a girl who's magically transformed for one night, and attends a ball where she meets her prince.

In choreographer Victoria Morgan's version, Cinderella's wicked stepsisters are played by two men, with a great deal of humor.

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Arts & Culture
9:07 am
Sat May 3, 2014

newEar Closes Season With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer

Evoking the sounds of nature, Lyra Pherigo plays the piccolo.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The contemporary chamber ensemble, newEar, brings its 21st season to a close with three pieces from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. This including songbirdsongs, written between 1974 and 1980, by Alaskan composer John Luther Adams. Adams recently won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Wed April 30, 2014

WATCH: Lyric Opera's Apprentice Program Nurtures Young Voices

Soprano Anna Christy, as Adele, (from left) Baritone John Stephens as Frank, and Lyric Opera apprentice mezzo-soprano Samantha Gossard, rehearse for ‘Die Fledermaus.’
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

For the past 25 years, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s apprentice program has offered graduate-level voice students at the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City a chance to develop their operatic skills on a professional stage.

Auditions for the two-year program are competitive; there are only about a handful of positions. The apprentices then have the opportunity to appear in either two or three productions at the Lyric each year.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Kansas City 'Anti-Art School' Expands Community While Holding It Together

Burlesque artist Kitty Noir sits on the edge of the stage holding a pose for the artists assembled.
Julie Denesha KCUR

A nearly decade-old art movement called Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is one of the more quirky ways artists find community in metros across the globe. But Kansas City's version is known for taking that quirkiness a step further, and for uniting a new and growing artist community when it needed it most.

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Arts & Culture
5:42 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Museum Visit Sparks Memories Of Childhood Dollhouse

A two-story dollhouse built in the early 1970s by Charles Denesha.
Julie Denesha KCUR

On my fourth birthday, my grandfather gave me a dollhouse. It was a yellow, two-floor house that he built in his basement workshop in Kansas City, Kan. The dollhouse had six rooms and came with an assortment of handmade furniture, painted floors and wallpaper in nearly every room.

I was thrilled by the gift and I played with the dollhouse, constantly moving my dolls from room to room, creating little dramas in my young mind. My dolls talked on the tiny rotary phone, ate breakfast in the kitchen and slept in their neatly-appointed bedrooms.

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Beyond Our Borders
5:30 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Tulips On Troost Still Blooming, But Efforts Are Dying Out

The Tulips on Troost program has struggled in recent years, but streets near Rockhurst University reflect the school's continuing participation in the program.
Julie Denesha KCUR

When the first blankets of tulips bloomed along Troost Avenue as part of the Tulips on Troost street beautification program, national, even international press paid attention.

But the program was never supposed to be just about flowers. It was also an effort to reimagine Troost, which for years has been thought of as an economic and racial dividing line.

Today, the program is all but defunct, lacking funds and human capital to keep it alive.

Driving north along Troost from 75th street, there aren't many signs of tulips. 

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Arts & Culture
12:00 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Middle Of The Map Fest Hits Kansas City With Music, Technology And More

Ferociously pounding the drums with her feet Molly Gene, of One Whoaman Band, performs at the fourth annual Middle of the Map festival.
Julie Denesha KCUR

On Thursday night at the Westport Saloon in Kansas City, Mo., a circle of men holding bottles of beer surrounded Molly Gene wearing fishnet stockings and cowboy boots as she ferociously pounded her custom set of foot drums. Gene, of her so-called ‘One Whoaman Band,’ was in town for the 4th annual Middle of the Map Fest. 

As The Star's Tim Finn puts it, "There are at least 100 good reasons to attend Ink's Middle of the Map Fest this weekend." Out of 120 bands in the lineup - 100 are performing at the festival for the first time.

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Arts and Culture
7:40 am
Fri April 4, 2014

WATCH: Toy Museum Staff Tackle Daunting Task Of Packing Up Giant Dollhouse

The stately Coleman dollhouse is taken apart to make way for renovations at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City, Mo., houses one of the largest toy collections on public display in the United States. In January, the museum closed its doors for a yearlong renovation, but the work inside continues. 

One of the star attractions of the collection is the Coleman dollhouse. The largest dollhouse in the museum's collection, it measures 9 feet tall and 8 feet wide and once belonged to the wealthy Coleman family from Lebanon, Pa.

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