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.

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Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Her children's books shaped ideas about the Midwestern experience for multiple generations worldwide. She's been gone more than sixty years, but her influence remains strong; even now, fans and scholars attend a yearly Laurapalooza festival in her honor. Her autobiography has just recently been published, but good luck finding a copy. The first print run has sold out and the second will not even fill existing orders.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

    

Missionary work, slaveholding in Kansas, a bogus legislature and a murder. These are some of the stories that surface when you investigate the namesake of Johnson County: Reverend Thomas Johnson, who founded the Shawnee Indian Mission (now a museum tucked away in a residential neighborhood). What happened at that site tells a larger story about the relationship between American Indians and the United States government.

Guests:

Are you a Kansan or a Missourian? That's a question that often divides our metro, but maybe we're more Kansas Citian than anything else. How can our economic, political and cultural reality more clearly reflect that sentiment?

Guests:

A pre-Columbian civilization once thrived here in the Midwest. The remains of that early society, known as Cahokia, are located in East St. Louis. The archaeological site near a meat-packing plant consists of plazas, mounds and the base of an earthen pyramid. Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Indiana have recently received grants to continue investigating the Cahokia Mounds. 

Guest:

  • Susan Alt, archaeologist, The University of Indiana in Bloomington

The Super Bowl is a national celebration of football... and advertising. For one day a year, we all gather around our television screens to watch commercials so we can partake in the sport of reviewing them the next morning. But is this still a relevant platform for advertising? Local ad experts weigh in.

Guests:

Patrick Quick / KCUR

Kansas City’s downtown is like an adolescent going through an awkward phase.

It’s part of growing up, and we’re excited about where things are headed, but the process is at turns uncomfortable and confusing.

File the parking situation  under “uncomfortable.” That was the basis for Thursday’s conversation on Central Standard.

selmamovie.com

What went through the mind of a Kansas City community organizer as he watched Selma, depicting Martin Luther King Junior's march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965? What did filmmaker Kevin Wilmott, who has juggled the competing demands of historical research and creative vision, think of the storytelling techniques? And what is our local movie critic's takeaway?

Guests:

Patrick Quick / KCUR

Downtown Kansas City is practically half parking lots--so why is it so hard to find a spot on a First Friday in the Crossroads? The availability and cost of parking could be key ingredients to developing a vibrant downtown.

Guests:

The Catholic Church is located in Vatican City, an ocean away and then some. But what happens in Rome affects the lives of Catholics living in Kansas City, and what happens here reverberates all the way up to the top. This conversation explores whether a perceived shift in the Catholic Church affects the priorities and attitudes of Catholics in our region. 

Guests:

Suzanne Opton / The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In the photograph, a young soldier with a downy blond buzz-cut lies perfectly still, face down on the ground. On stage, an ancient Greek warrior goes through the four stages of events that lead to post-traumatic stress.

The arts community is asking big questions about the life of the soldier. What role does art play in public discourse around combat?

Guests: 

Lara Shipley

Photographer Lara Shipley's image, "Believer," is currently looming over 43rd and Main on the H&R Block Artspace Project Wall in Kansas City, Mo. She says her series of photographs, Devil's Promenade, is a reflection on life in the Ozarks, where she grew up.

All the fun stuff happens at the end of the year. Come January, it's payback time. With end-of-year credit card statements and tax documents arriving in the mail, our Money Therapists help us take stock of 2014. Plus, the new year also brings a fresh start; get tips and tools for sticking to your budget, even when temptation rears its head. 

Guests:

Wikimedia Commons

Is there a smell, in all the land, like sizzling ground meat charring on the grill?

Burgers are a staple of classic Americana, as we confirmed on Central Standard.

They're a national comfort food, according to Feast Magazine's Jenny Vergara, and she says that if you're going to make cuisine in America, you're going to have to conquer the burger.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

In a city known as a cowtown, what are the tastiest burgers around? Enjoy debates about cheese on a burger, house-made ketchup, bun preferences and what to order on the side (hint: it's hard to argue with french fries). We take a trip to an East Bottoms food truck to meet a new burger on the block. Plus, our friends at Harvest Public Media tell us what going on in the industry that brings us burgers: the beef industry.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Since October, four children have died in drive-by shootings in Kansas City. What's going on, and what are the first steps we can take to work against this trend? A physician, a criminologist, and a mother weigh in. Race, opportunity in life, gun safety and witness protection play into the discussion. 

"When they took my son's life," says Roslyn Temple, "That's the worst thing they could have ever done to me. ... That was my child."

Guests:

Umberto Salvagnin / Flickr

Sugar consumption can now be linked to a number of health complications, including cardiovascular problems. James DiNicolantonio, a researcher whose New York Times op-ed about sugar has gone viral, says he still allows himself one "hit" of added sugar a day. If that language hints at drug references, that's not as far-fetched as it sounds. DiNicolantonio says studies show that lab rats prefer sugar to cocaine. 

Guest:

KC Ale Trail is a guide to the craft brewing industry in our region. Inspired by the 25-year milestone since Boulevard Brewing Company got its start, author Pete Dulin has expanded our palate by adding several smaller startup breweries to the local must-try list. Plus, a young beer-preneur shares his insights into what makes Kansas City's beer scene unique. 

Guests:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

If we are all "Charlie" in the wake of an armed assault on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, no one has earned that solidarity more than political cartoonists. A left-leaning cartoonist and his conservative counterpart weigh in on the risks and rewards of taking a bold stance. In the course of doing a job intended to provoke, are there lines they do not cross?

"Problems are the gasoline that runs the self-help car." So says David Wayne Reed, who wrote the play Help Yourself. On the heels of a discussion of this darkly humorous new play, a librarian and a psychologist discuss the self-help genre, its history and the human condition that fuels it. Is change possible? And when might acceptance be just as important?

Guests:

Patrick Quick / KCUR

It’s cold outside, so now is the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

Central Standard took the opportunity to seek out some of the best books about Kansas City history. After all, even if you can't get outside to explore the city, you can still do it from the comfort of your home.

Local historian Monroe Dodd and Missouri Valley Special Collections manager Eli Paul gave us their recommendations of the best books for local history lovers, focusing on those that are a really good read.

In the 1990s, Kevin Fox Gotham began researching Race, Real Estate and Uneven Development: The Kansas City Experience, 1900-2000. The book's premise is that housing patterns isolating impoverished, minority populations in city centers don't naturally result from free market pressures; institutional policies contribute, and the desires the free market satisfies originate somewhere. After the subprime mortgage crisis of recent years, Gotham decided to publish a second edition.

Good criticism can make all the difference, but that doesn't make it fun to hear. It can also be tough to deliver, even when it's intended in a loving spirit. Self-examination, careful listening and sensitive timing can go a long way, when both giving and receiving input.

Guest:

  • Bruce Liese, psychologist and professor of family medicine, The University of Kansas Medical Center
Paul Andrews

Connecting to musician Ashley Miller as a performer, when he's on stage or when you're listening to one of his albums, is easy.

The frontman for Kansas City-based indie band Metatone started out in a band called Pewep in the Formats, back in the early 2000s, when he was just a teen.

Gregory Wake / CC - Flickr

"The literary editor has to stand behind the work. It has to mean something to me," says Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters magazine. 

As KCUR's Arts Desk launches WORD, a new series featuring the work of Kansas City poets and writers, we get an insider view into the mind of a literary editor and discuss how to craft writing that gets published.

Guests:

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

Few people heard about the murder of Dionte Greene. The gay, black man was found shot to death in his car on Oct. 31, 2014, and Greene's friends are convinced that it was a hate crime.

Those who knew him were shocked by his murder. They've called this moment a tipping point, one requiring a conversation about race in Kansas City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community, according to reports filed by KCUR's Elle Moxley.

We don't have flying cars, and futurists guess we never will. That's an infrastructure thing. On the other hand, leaps in communication technology have changed our lives in ways that surpass most of our wildest dreams. How does the 2015 we are living in compare to the 2015 visited by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II? Up next: Blade Runner, 2019.

Guests:

Our food critics share their favorite meals of 2014, go over the year's restaurant openings and closings, and predict some local food trends for the coming year.

Guests: 

Courtesy / Sonya Aplough

About a decade ago, Kansas City musician Billy Smith was combing thrift stores for records when he stumbled upon quite a find for an experimental sound guy: an old-school Magnavox, reel-to-reel tape recorder with a pile of tapes for less than $5. 

He brought it home, dusted it off, cleaned the tape heads and popped in some new batteries. He was about to hit record to start messing around with his new toy when curiosity took hold.

Before hitting record, he decided to check out what was on the tape inside the machine.

Courtesy photo / American Jazz Museum

On Central Standard, we asked our listeners to tell us about the people in their lives and communities who died in 2014. 

Here are a few of the personal stories we heard during our conversation about memory and meaning.

As we say goodbye to 2014, we remember the people we lost this year. Author Jack Gantos shares his boyhood experience typing stories for his town's obituary writer, offering insights into why a community needs to remember. Kansas Citians share memories, plus, a tribute to the Westside's Lynda Callon, who died in October. 

Guest:

  • Jack Gantos, author, Dead End in Norvelt

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