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.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Theater insiders will call someone who acts, writes, and directs a triple threat. Kyle Hatley, Kansas City Repertory Theatre's resident director, is such a person. Following his acclaimed performance in An Iliad earlier this year, he's now at the helm of Sticky Traps, the theater's third play by Kansas City's own Nathan Louis Jackson.

In this month's installment of Director's Cuts, Hatley talks about his history with Jackson, a playwright-in-residence at the Rep, and what it means to rehearse a show with the playwright in the room.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Paintings conservator Mary Schafer and registrar Jill Kohler hunched over a painting on a rolling cart beneath Thomas Hart Benton’s "Persephone" Tuesday morning in the Enid and Crosby Kemper Rotunda at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Using a flashlight and an iPad, the two were busy meticulously documenting the condition of Benton’s “Utah Highlands” before museum staff installed it on the wall of the gallery.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Excitement enveloped a small band of foodies on Sunday as they feasted their way through a tour of Kansas City’s unique food offerings. 

Julián Zugazagoitia, director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, helped organize the private tour for Spanish master chef Ferran Adrià, whose notes and sketches are on display at the museum in an exhibition called Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. The tour started at the J. Rieger & Co. distillery.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As curator of The Fishtank, an evolving performance space in the Crossroads Arts District, Heidi Van has helped ignite a growing interest in experimental theater. She's produced shows in the building's front windows with the audience in the street, performed a play in a lingerie shop around the corner, and tweaked the art of clowning.

In this month's installment of Director's Cuts, Heidi Van talks about how her avant-garde sensibility might influence her first directing job at The Coterie: a production of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Artist Sarah Lugg Regan is carefully gluing dolls to the back of a plastic Stegosaurus. Surrounded by buckets of toys in a sun-filled room in Epperson House on the campus of University of Missouri-Kansas City, Lugg Regan and her assistant Ben Breslow are working on a two-story sculpture for the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

When the museum reopens on August 1 after extensive renovations, this 150-foot "Toytisserie" — a rotating ribbon of metal covered by whimsical scenes of toys — will be in the lobby, greeting visitors.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The two-act ballet Giselle premiered in 1841. Today, this story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman in disguise is considered a classic. There’s a love triangle, a mad scene, and ghosts who dance men to death.

Giselle as a 'personal experience'

At the Bolender Center on a recent afternoon, Kansas City Ballet rehearsals were underway for Giselle. It's the first act when Giselle, a young peasant girl, falls in love with Albrecht, a nobleman disguised as a peasant. Here’s the problem – the village gamekeeper, Hilarion, is also in love with Giselle.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Balancing the responsibilities of raising children with the demands of work is a challenge for any parent. For many artists, the pressure is intensified by the need to create. As part of our series, Artists As Parents, two local artists talk about their latest collaboration — their son Sam.     

Working though a lack of sleep

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Graduate students in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City recently spent a week expanding their creative horizons with artist-in-residence Tony Fuemmeler, a mask maker and puppeteer based in Portland, Ore.

Their task: Create a mask using natural materials and thrift-store finds.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Hundreds of musicians carrying instruments are filling the hallways of the Westin Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Mo. this weekend.  Clustered in small groups picking, strumming and fiddling, they are gathered for the 27th Annual Folk Alliance Conference and Winter Music Camp.

On day two of the conference, fiddler Betse Ellis was fighting off a cold and trying to pace herself.

“I’ve certainly been sicker than this onstage,” says Ellis with a laugh.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Cellist Sascha Groschang is no stranger to new music. Since 2009, she's performed with the alternative strings duo The Wires. But in a collaboration with the contemporary chamber ensemble, newEar, Groschang says she's found herself pushing the boundaries of music, sound ... and noise.

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.  

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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).
 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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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