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

Americasroof / Wikimedia Ccommons

You might think it's easy to define the Midwest...it's just a collection of states, right? Wrong. On this episode, we explore our regional identity and attempt to answer the question: what is the Midwest, really? 

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Some of the oldest and most diverse residents of Kansas City are its trees. As a new tree-planting effort is underway, get to know KC through its trees ... and learn about what we should and shouldn't plant here.

Plus: what are we really getting at when we point to freedom of speech to justify certain thoughts?

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Do you need a license to braid hair? Missouri, like other states, believes that you do. We look at the impact of a law that crosses issues of race, gender and economy.

Plus: we've all heard of the Kansas-Missouri border war, but what about Missouri's border war with ... Iowa? It all started over honey.

Guests:

Jeff Mast / worldsoffun.org

There's something a little sad about returning to your favorite childhood amusement park as an adult. That pinch of nostalgia for certain rides connects us to the places we grew up, and the people with whom we grew up.

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Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Meet two violinists. One started Kansas City's tango scene before moving to Argentina, and the other is a prominent jazz fiddler. Then, hear the story behind the song, "Under the Sun."

Guests:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Every city has that one bookstore, the irreverent corner shop where literary types plot revolutions. In Kansas City, that bookstore is Prospero's, owned by Will Leathem. Leathem took a surprising path to becoming a used book salesman.

 

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With its short brick buildings and narrow alleyways, Westport is one of the iconic places in town — it's where the city began. But two new proposals have people worried: there's one for a six-story apartment building, and there's also talk of privatizing some Westport streets at night.

What is the character of Westport, and to whom do those streets belong?

Guests:

Almost every town, no matter how big or small, has a mayor. But what it means to be mayor in a small town might be different than it is in a prosperous suburb of 35,000 ... or is it? A conversation with four Kansas mayors.

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With the aid of a new restorative justice program, Judi Bergquist met the man who killed her son. We hear her story, and meet the woman who brought this program to the Kansas Department of Corrections. 

Plus, how one Wichita State anthropologist stumbled upon the long-lost city of Etzanoa, an infamous Native American settlement that has remained a mystery for 400 years.

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The clowns are coming to town! That's right, there's a Clown Convention happening in the Northland this week. We check in with a few locals on the art and lifestyle of being a clown.

Plus, musician Greg Wickham joins us to talk about his new album "Almost to Springfield."

Guests:

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

At one point in history, Atchison, Kansas was positioned to be one of the main connecting points for the railways between Missouri and Kansas. It's said there were more millionaires there than anywhere in the world. Can Atchison hold onto its grand past but carve out a new identity for young residents?

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Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Why did the old-school Jewish deli go away ... and why are people interested in reviving it now? Then, KCUR's Food Critics search out the best sandwiches in and around Kansas City in 2017.

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Is there a middle ground when it comes to abortion? We hear the stories of two women who have come away from their own experiences with very different perspectives. Then, an attempt to go beyond the politics of abortion to see if common ground is possible.

Guests:

Courtesy of David Strange

American troops have been in Iraq for three decades, from Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s to today, with civilians trapped in the ISIS-held city of Mosul.

A conversation with three local veterans who have served in Iraq at different times and under different administrations.

Guests:

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3 FM

Hungry kids need good food. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. According to a Huffington Post article from February, school lunch programs are one of the most regulated nutritional programs. 

We'll get to know a few local "lunch ladies" and check in on school lunch programs in our area.

Guests:

At 1215 South Jefferson Avenue in St. Louis, a red brick building housed a chemical plant, owned by a black man who always dreamed of running his own business on a city block full of black business owners. In a new memoir to his father, the owner of Du-Good Chemical whose dreams became a reality, Kansas City writer Lewis Diuguid takes us back to that city block where he grew up.

Plus, how a favorite childhood pastime of catching bugs became an academic career for one KU grad student. 

Guests:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In a tiny plane over the Amazon rainforest, Kansas City writer Candice Millard plummeted to what she was sure would be her death.

Candice Millard

Apr 14, 2017
Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

She's a bestselling author who has written books about James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. We talk with Candice Millard about how she found her niche of writing about the lesser-known incidents in a historical figure's life, and how her work and her life have intersected.

Guest:

Courtesy of Will Fisher / https://www.flickr.com/photos/fireatwillrva/6800794340/

Malls used to be "cool" places to hang out. But now, more and more malls are becoming abandoned structures, rotting inside and waiting for the wrecking ball. What do these hollowed-out shopping centers say about where we are as a country?

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GarrettTT / Flickr -- CC

When you flip a light switch or plug something into an outlet, something usually happens. Lights come on, iPhones get charged. But where does that energy come from in Kansas City? How are we using it, and what is the future of energy here?

Then, the story of Aldo Leopold, a Missourian and a passionate early writer about nature and conservation.

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Can the arts survive without federal funding? With the potential elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, a look at how Brownback's Kansas might be a test case for art ... and a model for the rest of the country.

Guests:

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

At one point in history, Atchison, Kansas was positioned to be one of the main connecting points for the railways between Missouri and Kansas. The town played an important role in the Civil War, and had many significant residents. But what's going on there today?

KCUR's Central Standard takes a rode trip to Atchison. Come along with us.

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End-of-the-world scenarios have always been a popular fiction trope. Now, there's one scenario that doesn't seem so fictional, at least not anymore: climate change. Our Bibliofiles join us to talk about climate-fiction, or "cli-fi," and recommend their favorites in the genre.

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Joselu Blanco / Flickr -- CC

The story behind the off-menu extra-crispy French fries at Gates, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best fries in and around KC.

Guests:

KCUR 89.3

Suddenly, everyone seems to be using the word "y'all." But what do we mean when we use that word? Is it a bad case of appropriation? Is it racist? One thing's for sure, "y'all" is far more interesting than you think.

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Leon's Thriftway might possibly be the oldest black-owned grocery store in the country. Meet Leon Stapleton, the 91-year-old who has owned it for 49 years.

Then: In Kansas City, are we a little too quick to rise to our feet after every show? Should standing ovations be saved for truly exceptional performances? Or is that snobbish?

Guests:

Luke Andrew Scowen / Flickr -- CC

In this encore presentationfrom weeds to wonder, we revisit those pesky oak mites that might soon be returning, and hear from a local seed collector on the stories she's reaped. Plus, how one local artist draws on Kansas City stories and the materials that grow wild in backyards and along highways.

Guests:

A recent study from the Brookings Institution suggests that the vast majority of our country's high-tech jobs are clustered in just a handful of cities. Local tech experts argue Kansas City, Missouri is on its way to the center of that cluster. 

Is Kansas City a tech hub? What factors are influencing the "rise of the rest" in our region?

Guests:

Every great story starts with an unforgettable opening line ... that's especially true at The Moth. Now, some of the best, most courageous stories you've heard, can be found as chapters in a book, that you can go back to, again and again.

Artistic director Catherine Burns, editor of All These Wonders, joins us as The Moth celebrates its 20th anniversary. 

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When he was a senior at Blue Valley North, Alex Haughey made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Now, he's coming back home with a new movie that's screening at the KC Film Fest. The five-day festival runs April 5 - April 9 at Cinemark on the Plaza. 

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