Arts & Culture

Up to Date
10:42 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' December 19-21

Both of our critics recommend giving 'Wild' a try this weekend.

Looking for a break from the holiday craziness? Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics have a few suggestions for you:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Wild
  • Birdman
  • St. Vincent

Steve Walker:

  • Wild
  • The Theory of Everything 
  • The Babadook
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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Film Review: Reese Witherspoon Takes A Brutal Walk On The 'Wild' Side

Reese WItherspoon in 'Wild.'
Credit Fox Searchlight

Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail suggested to more than a million readers that the way to tame inner demons is to redefine what it means to navigate a wild life. Jean-Marc Vallee, the director of last year's Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club, has adapted Strayed's book into a beautiful and gritty film with a transformative performance by Reese Witherspoon at its core.

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Arts & Culture
5:45 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Retiring A Classic, Todd Bolender's 'The Nutcracker' In Its Final Year

Dew Drop (Sarah Chun) dances in 'Waltz of the Flowers.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Nutcracker, with choreography by Todd Bolender, has played a role in the holiday season for Kansas City audiences since 1981. But, on Christmas Eve, the curtain falls for the last time on this version of the production.

The Sugar Plum Fairy lightly takes center stage in a gold tutu at the final dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  

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McTavish Weekend Extra
11:06 am
Thu December 18, 2014

9 Holiday Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

'Tis the season for viewing the lights on the Country Club Plaza.
Credit Franklin B Thompson / Flickr--CC

Blink and they’re gone. I’m not talking about your salad days – although, sure, those, too. I’m talking about the holidays.

For all the monumental buildup to the season, you better watch out or you’ll be looking back and crying – or at least pouting – at stuff you might have done when the halls were decked and bells were jingling and Santa Clause was still coming to town.

So be sure to share the spirit by getting out and grabbing some before next year. If that sounds a little nutty, well, it is the holidays. Here are some ideas. I’ll try to be quick about it.

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Arts & Culture
8:03 am
Wed December 17, 2014

PHOTOS: A Few Teasers For The Kansas City Library's Folly Burlesque Collection

Ceil Von Dell. Eli Paul's research has yet to turn up any additional information about the beguiling performer.
Missouri Valley Special Collections Kansas City Public Library

“Certain challenges arise when doing burlesque history research on a work computer,” says Eli Paul, the special collections manager at the Kansas City Public Library.

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Arts & Culture
6:45 am
Tue December 16, 2014

KCK Community College Jazzers Give A 'Kansas City Shout' To Havana

Jim Mair is director of instrumental studies at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Credit Courtesy Jim Mair

This week, the musicians in the Kansas City Kansas Community College Jazz Ensemble travel to Cuba, where they’ve been invited to perform at the Havana International Jazz Festival. It’s a point of pride for a little-known, but stellar music program.

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Arts & Culture
6:04 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

PHOTOS: Ugly Sweaters From Operation Breakthrough's 10th Annual Holiday Bash

After a couple years of attending Operation Breakthrough's 10th Annual Ugly Sweater Party with uninspired holiday sweaters, Dave Fisher said he decided to kick it up a notch this year with his holiday ensemble.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The warm, fuzzy memories of holiday sweaters are a cherished harbinger of holiday spirit for some. For others, they are a gaudy sign of bad taste.

But on Friday night at Operation Breakthrough’s 10th Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, the Christmas sweater was celebrated in all its garish glory.

The annual event raises money and awareness for Operation Breakthrough’s mission to help children living in poverty in Kansas City. This year, organizers said they hoped to raise $20,000 for the charity.

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Arts & Culture
5:32 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Warren Rosser Steps Down As Chair Of KCAI's Painting Department

'View From the Top,' oil on clayboard, 2013
courtesy: Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, KCMO

This week, colleagues and friends marked a ceremonial passing of the torch as Warren Rosser stepped down as chair of the painting department at the Kansas City Art Institute. 

"After 28 years, I think it was time to pass it on to someone else, so to speak," he says.

Rosser's tenure as chair of the department is reportedly the longest, to date. He's taught at the Art Institute for 42 years, and says he will continue to do so. 

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Central Standard
4:37 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Kansas City Wine Vendor's Advice: Slurping Is Good

Ryan Sciara, right, owns Underdog Wine Co. in Crestwood Shops.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Wine merchant Ryan Sciara says “slurping” is the proper way to taste a wine.

Suck in some air to help move it to the different taste receptors in the mouth.

“You get acidity on the front, tannins in the back, and sweetness in the middle,” Sciara says.

And then he spits, so that he can function through the rest of the day.

Sciara, who opened Underdog Wine Co. in Crestwood Shops in Kansas City, Mo., earlier this year, developed a taste for wine as a small child, sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen.

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Central Standard
3:17 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Food Critics: The Best Fine Dining In Kansas City

There are standards for fine dining, but they may be changing.
Credit chameleon-interiors.blogspot.com

Fine dining is all about the details.

Once upon a time, there were strict rules: nice white tablecloths, crystal glassware, servers in tuxedos, coat-and-tie dress code.

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Arts & Culture
9:24 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Director's Cuts: Sidonie Garrett On 'I'll Eat You Last'

Donna Thomason as Sue Mengers in the Unicorn Theatre's production of 'I'll Eat You Last.'
Credit Cynthia Levin / Unicorn Theatre

Hollywood super agent Sue Mengers was never a household name. But, in the 1970s, she was considered the most powerful woman in show business. The play, I'll Eat You Last, opening this weekend at the Unicorn Theatre, shows that Mengers could be as vulnerable as she was cut-throat. 

Sidonie Garrett, the show's director, answered some questions about the show as part of our monthly series, Director's Cuts

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Arts & Culture
1:54 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Best Podcasts: Recommendations From KCUR Staff

With the hit podcast 'Serial' 2014 saw a resurgence in the listening platform.
Credit Doug / Flickr--CC

The line between radio show and podcast is pretty blurry.

After all, a podcast is just audio that you can stream or download on your own time. (You can subscribe to KCUR podcasts here.)

Many of our own staff at KCUR are also big consumers of podcasts, whether produced by public radio or not.

Here are some picks from our staff and interns:

Maria Carter, news director/newscaster

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McTavish Weekend Extra
9:19 am
Thu December 11, 2014

6 Things To ‘Revue’ This Weekend In Kansas City

Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder are among the classic Motown recording artists enthusiastically depicted in their early prime in this touring Broadway musical.
Credit Courtesy / Theater League

What comprises a revue? Technically, it’s a show consisting of music, dancing and/or skits, often with a lively or sometimes lampooning tone.

More loosely — and we like to keep it loose around here — it’s any entertainment that evokes the essence of a variety show, where a succession of engaging bits makes up the whole.

If you remember The Ed Sullivan Show, then you’re with me. If you don’t, something tells me you’re still with me because you’re curious to see what revue-centric amusements the weekend has in store. Still there? I knew it!

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Arts & Culture
7:22 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Ensemble Ibérica Explores Spanish Connections To Irish Carols

Soprano Victoria Botero keeps an eye on the verses as she rehearses 'The Darkest Midnight,' one of the best known carols -- one that is sung on Christmas Day.
Julie Denesha KCUR

In the 1720s, after studying in Spain, a young priest returned home to Ireland. He started writing Christmas carols influenced by Spanish liturgical music. Now known as the Kilmore Carols, these carols are still performed during the holidays in the small Irish village of Kilmore —and this year, in Kansas City. 

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Arts & Culture
3:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Kansas City's New Director Of Creative Services Names Her Top Three Priorities

Megan Crigger has been appointed the first Director of Creative Services for Kansas City, Mo. She starts on January 5.
Credit courtesy of Artist INC.

Kansas City, Mo., officials announced the first director of creative services Wednesday. 

Megan Crigger is an arts professional with nearly 20 years of experience in Austin, Texas. Most recently, she served as that city's cultural arts division manager with a focus on tourism, arts and culture. 

"Things that are my priority so align with what Kansas City is focused on that it just feels like a great natural fit," Crigger says. 

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Arts & Culture
7:52 am
Tue December 9, 2014

For Kansas City Art Institute Film And Animation Students, It's Showtime

A still from 'Dictum,' by Kansas City Art Institute filmmaking student Ayah Abdul-Rauf.
Credit Ayah Abdul-Rauf / Kansas City Art Institute

Film and animation students at the Kansas City Art Institute get some big-screen time – and a chance to see how their work goes over with a live audience – at their end-of-semester show on Wednesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

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Tell KCUR
3:00 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

What Podcasts Are You Listening To? Why?

What podcasts are you listening to? Tweet us with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Courtesy photo / KCUR

 

The whodunnit treatment of a real-life murder mystery in "Serial" the podcast, from the producers of "This American Life" has captivated millions of listeners.

The podcasting medium's first "breakout hit" — as dubbed by the New York Times — has us wondering about other podcasts that are on  your radar.

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Arts & Culture
5:26 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Once Again, The Kansas City Symphony Lets Tubas Take Over Christmas

Just a few of the tubas and euphoniums at the Kansas City Symphony's 2014 Tuba Christmas.
Credit Eric Williams / Kansas City Symphony

It’s not often that tuba players get to be the ones on melody.

That changes once a year, though, when the Kansas City Symphony puts on Tuba Christmas, where hundreds of tuba players from all around the metro gather to play traditional holiday songs. Because of popular demand, there are now two Tuba Christmases.

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Arts & Culture
5:57 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

A Thomas Hart Benton Painting Returns To Missouri

President Harry Truman, a native of Missouri, acquired Thomas Hart Benton's 'The New Fence,' so the college could present it to Sir Winston Churchill.
Credit courtesy: National Churchill Museum

It's been away for nearly 70 years, but this week, a Thomas Hart Benton painting called "The New Fence" returned to Missouri. 

In 1946, Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., gifted the Benton painting to Sir Winston Churchill. It was Churchill’s request, in lieu of payment, for a college lecture that later became known as the historic “Iron Curtain” speech.

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Arts & Culture
2:19 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Submit Your Story Or Poem To WORD

Poet Raja Nelson (at right) performs at a Jazz Poetry Jam in the Blue Room, Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Eric Baker, former KCUR intern

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Central Standard
12:33 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

The Self And The Selfie: Artist Peregrine Honig

Artist Peregrine Honig with a taxidermied lamb in front of one of her recent paintings in the Unicorn exhibit.
Credit Paul Andrews

"A hundred years ago, if you told people that they would have something in their pocket that would make an image that would go all over the world immediately, they would think it was witchcraft."

So says internationally recognized Kansas City artist and provocateur Peregrine Honig. 

If that's the case, then Honig's been up to a whole lot of witchcraft in her artwork lately.

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Arts & Culture
5:45 am
Fri December 5, 2014

WATCH: How They Frame A Wall-Sized Work Of Art In Kansas City’s West Bottoms

All hands are needed as Scott Gobber and his team carefully frame an artwork for the Nerman.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Frames have been used for centuries as decoration or to heighten the drama of a piece of artwork.

As part of an occasional KCUR series called Tools of the Trade — about artists and their relationships to the tools that make their work possible — we'll take a look at the complex creation of a very large frame.

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Arts & Culture
4:32 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

PHOTOS: Take A Look Behind The Scenes Of Todd Bolender’s 'The Nutcracker'

Snow Queen Angelina Sansone adjusts her crown in front of her dressing room mirror.
Julie Denesha KCUR

In the depths of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, small herds of children passed racks of snowflake and flower costumes Wednesday night as they made their way to dressing rooms just before Kansas City Ballet’s final dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker.

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McTavish Weekend Extra
9:46 am
Thu December 4, 2014

7 Things Onstage This Weekend In Kansas City

The live version of 'It's A Wonderful Life' is onstage in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit Wikimedia -- CC

To tread or not to tread the boards is rarely the question for devoted stage performers.

The more urgent query for such folks is, “When do I get to hit the stage?” And this weekend offers a potpourri of opportunities.

Artists will press their existential envelopes in theater, music and comedy when they tackle plays, concerts and perhaps the most daring thing of all: Standing alone onstage while trying to make people laugh.

Thank goodness for the live platform of creative tension. Where would our weekend entertainment be without it?

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Arts & Culture
11:44 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Former Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright's Jewelry Diplomacy

Serpent Pin, circa 1860. Designer unknown. Secretary Albright wore this golden snake brooch to a meeting on Iraq after Saddam Hussein's press called her a serpent.
John Bigelow Taylor

As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then the first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright often signaled her mood or opinions with the brooch she had pinned to her suit. 

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Arts & Culture
6:06 am
Wed December 3, 2014

The Missing Piece Of The J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain Returns

Workers on Tuesday prepared to remove the sculptures, and installed a fence around the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in Mill Creek Park.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The bronze figures on horseback and children riding fish that are part of the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain near the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., will be removed Wednesday for an extensive renovation.

"This is the iconic fountain for Kansas City," says Jocelyn Ball-Edson, landscape architect for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. "We have a lot of fountains. We love them all, but this is probably the one that gets the most photography and the most visibility."

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Arts & Culture
5:45 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Let It Show, Let It Show, Let It Show: For Kansas City Performers, Holidays Mean Work

Peggy Friesen (Mrs. Fezziwig) gets some holiday cheer from Jim Gall (Fezziwig) in 'A Christmas Carol.'
Credit Don Ipock / Kansas City Repertory Theatre

For generations of Kansas City families attending big shows such as A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and The Messiah is a holiday tradition. But these shows are equally important traditions for the organizations that produce them.

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Arts & Culture
5:28 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Curator Danny Orendorff On An Artistic Response To Ferguson

Kansas City artist Sean Starowitz collaborated with Lauren Tweedle on this flag project for The Griot Museum of Black History, one of more than a dozen galleries in St. Louis, Mo. showing work responding to the death of Michael Brown.
Credit courtesy of the artist

Ferguson, Mo., has been a site of civil unrest since August when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. Tensions flared again last week when a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson.

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Arts & Culture
11:05 am
Mon December 1, 2014

PHOTOS: A Glimpse At Johnson County's Mid-Century Modern Architecture

A new exhibition at the Johnson County Museum in Shawnee, Kan., attempts to answer a tough question: What is modernism?

After World War II, architecture across the United States went through a radical, modern transformation. And Johnson County, Kan. was no exception. It was a time when North Americans believed "the future was bright and possibilities were endless."

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Arts & Culture
8:15 am
Thu November 27, 2014

6 Things To Do With Out-Of-Towners In Kansas City This Weekend

The Plaza lighting ceremony is probably the most obvious place to take out-of-towners in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit chocolatsombre / Flickr--CC

Out of town guests visiting for the holiday need stuff to do.

As do hometown family and friends who might crack if someone doesn’t eventually put the kibosh on one more game of charades.

The solution: Show off what’s happening in the city that may not be as familiar to others as it is to you. Share iconic local attractions, traditional holiday extravaganzas and maybe even something completely different – would you believe Santa goes diving with penguins?

1. 85th Annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony

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