C.J. Janovy

Arts Reporter

C.J. arrived at KCUR in August 2014. She spent many years as an alt-weekly journalist in Kansas City, including a decade as editor of The Pitch, whose writers won local, regional and national awards and were published in several Best American writing anthologies.

She then spent a few years in academia, serving as director of communications at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where reporters frequently gave her a taste of her own medicine.

A native of Nebraska, C.J. majored in English at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University.

Ways to Connect

Aaron Lage

Among the many non-team winners of the Kansas City Royals' improbable World Series run are Kansas City musician John Long and his friend Aaron Lage, who created what's now known by 243,290 (and counting) YouTube viewers as simply "Lorde - 'Royals' Parody|Kansas City 'Royals.'"

Courtesy / Nelson-Atkins and Nerman Museum

Harlan Brownlee wishes he could just erase the state line dividing Missouri and Kansas.

In fact, Brownlee knows how he’d do it. He’s the president of ArtsKC, a non-profit that makes grants and provides other resources to artists throughout the five-county metropolitan region. So, in his vivid imagination, he gets his hands on one of the giant Typewriter Erasers by Shuttlecocks sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and rolls it down State Line Road.

Bob Mahoney / Courtesy Warner Brothers

Kansas City has been missing out on valuable economic development – and image enhancement – opportunities by not having a fully staffed film office, but that should change now that Stephane Scupham has joined the Visit KC tourism office as film and new media manager.

C.J. Janovy

Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival filled the air behind the American Jazz Museum with music and barbecue smoke from early in the afternoon until late at night on Saturday, Oct. 11. The jams also went on all day inside the Gem Theater and the Blue Room. 

Although the American Jazz Museum brought in national talent including Roy Hargrove, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lucky Peterson, Jessica Care Moore and Midnight Star, plenty of area acts had stage time as well.

C.J. Janovy

At Kauffman Stadium, Royals victories are accompanied by The Beatles' "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey." The City of Kansas City's official song is Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City" — arguably one of the coolest songs in the history of American music — which the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium only after the Royals lose.

Why is that?

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

The chief judge of the 10th Judicial District in Johnson County, Kan., has ordered clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Kristie Stremel

One branch of Kansas City’s musical family is mourning the death of Lou Whitney, a Missouri recording engineer and bass player who many of them considered a father figure.

Whitney, of Springfield, Mo., died Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

Whitney established his reputation at now-legendary gigs with his 1980s-era bands The Morells and later The Skeletons, both of which made regular appearances at the Grand Emporium in Kansas City. 

Credit courtesy of Helix Architecture + Design, Inc./HGA

Leaders at the University of Missouri-Kansas City have announced $5.6 million in additional gifts for the Conservatory of Music and Dance and its planned Downtown Campus for the Arts.

That puts the fundraising total above $30 million, for a project whose first phase is estimated to cost $96 million. Once the university has raised $48 million in private funds, it will approach the state of Missouri for matching funds.

Kansas City Museum

The Kansas City Art Institute doesn’t offer degrees in fashion design, but students in the fiber department spend plenty of time thinking about clothing, costumes, performance and the human body as a means of expression, says Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, the chair of the department.

So when she got a call from Kansas City Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera about co-curating a show called Rituals and Celebrations: Exploring Meaning Through Dress, she was up for it.

C.J. Janovy

People who go to the Kansas City Flatfile show at H&R Block Artspace get to do something that feels wrong: touch the art.

That’s the fun of the Flatfile exhibition, which takes place every two years. The show features work by 160 Kansas City artists, and visitors get to pull it out of the metal files themselves, spending as much time as they want having what Artspace director and curator Raechell Smith calls an "unmediated" experience with the art.

Cynthia Levin

Hands on a Hardbody, the show now playing at the Unicorn Theater, isn’t particularly sexy. There’s a little bit of romance, but the “hard body” isn’t a person -- it’s a pickup truck on the lot of a fictional Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas. There, ten contestants try to keep one hand on the truck for as long as they can. The last person with a hand on the truck gets to drive it home.

courtesy of Helix Architecture + Design, Inc./HGA

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has chosen a team of architects to design the first phase of its proposed downtown arts campus.

The winning team is the duo of Kansas City’s Helix Architecture and Design and the Minneapolis-based HGA.

The selection comes after a competition last week where five teams participated in a three-day design session and presented their concepts to the public on Sunday. More than 200 people attended.

CJ Janovy / KCUR

The Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department celebrated the opening of Soccer Village on Friday. In addition to pristine practice fields with perfect synthetic grass and a natural-grass championship field with grandstands that seat 1,500 people, there’s also a sculpture, thanks to the city’s One Percent for Art Program.

The artist, Jake Balcom, installed the work last week with help from two friends, Spencer Schubert, also a local sculptor, and musician Brent Jamison.

Xanath Caraza

Kansas City poet Xanath Caraza is used to answering questions from the college students in her writing classes at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. But last month, she spent an intense six days answering questions from children who want to be poets in El Salvador, which is struggling with gang violence after years of civil war.

Todd Zimmer

It was almost exactly a year ago when a young band named Katy Guillen and the Girls won the Kansas City Blues Society’s annual Kansas City Blues Challenge. The victory earned them a trip to Memphis to compete with bands from all over the world in the International Blues Challenge in January.

Kansas City Streetcar Authority

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority has released the name and branding for the city's new downtown streetcar line.

Created by Willoughby Design, Inc., the package approved by the Authority on Thursday includes a name, icon, color palette and other branding elements.

The transit system's now-official name — KC Streetcar — is "simple, intuitive and universal, giving Kansas City a place among the best transit systems in the world, ” says Tom Trabon, chair of the Streetcar Authority Board.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR

On Central Standard in July, host Gina Kaufmann asked the Kansas City graffiti artist known as Gear to explain his theory that graffiti is “the beautification of the city.”

Most graffiti artists choose areas that are run-down or buildings that haven’t been taken care of by their landlords, Gear said.

Norman Akers

This fall, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opens its blockbuster exhibition "The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky," with works ranging from a 2,000-year-old stone pipe to beaded designer shoes from 2011. To spark enthusiasm, three enormous teepees now compete with the Shuttlecocks on the Nelson’s south lawn.

Courtesy / Nelson-Atkins

Earlier this month, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art released its preliminary plans for a cultural district surrounding its Midtown Kansas City neighborhood through an article in the Kansas City Star. The vision was expansive, conceivably stretching as far north as Hyde Park, south to Brookside, west to the Country Club Plaza and east to the Paseo.

“I received the telephone call around three o’clock in the morning. Bernard Powell was dead.”

That's Telester Powell, talking about her husband. Bernard Powell was a well-known Kansas City Civil Rights activist in the 1960s. He joined the NAACP at age 13 and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Powell was on the rise, winning accolades such as Outstanding Man of the Year from the National Junior Chamber of Commerce. He had a dream of becoming Missouri’s first black governor.

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