Laura Spencer

Reporter

Laura Spencer caught the radio bug more than a decade ago when she was asked to read a newscast on the air on her first day volunteering for KOOP, the community radio station in Austin, Texas. 

After moving home to Kansas City, she learned the fine art of editing reel-to-reel tape as an intern and graduate assistant with the nationally syndicated literary program New Letters on the Air. Since 2001, she's focused her efforts on writing and producing feature stories as KCUR's Arts Reporter. 

In 2011, Laura was one of 21 journalists selected for USC Annenberg’s seventh National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. She's received awards from the Associated Press, Kansas City Art Institute (Excellence in Visual Art and Education), Kansas City Association of Black Journalists, Missouri Broadcasters Association, Radio-Television News Directors Association (regional Edward R. Murrow Award) and Society for Professional Journalists. 

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Jazz/Blues
3:27 pm
Tue June 20, 2006

The Scamps' Rusty Tucker Dies

Orestie "Rusty" Tucker died last week at the age of 80 after a brief illness. A singer, drummer, and trumpeter, Tucker was a member of the Tim Whitmer K-C Express band, and played with a number of other groups in Kansas City. But Tucker was probably best known for his work with the Scamps, a group he joined in the late 1970s. The Scamps are considered Kansas City's version of the New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band.

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Music
12:48 pm
Thu June 1, 2006

Accompagnata, a ViolinDance

This weekend, the Bach Aria Soloists present a premiere, which combines classical music with modern dance.

Kansas City, MO – The Bach Aria Soloists is dedicated to presenting the arias from Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata collection, as well as his solo and chamber music. This weekend, they'll branch out into new territory with a collaboration that combines classical music with modern dance.

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Performance
2:31 pm
Thu May 25, 2006

Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre Presents 'Whitehorse'

For the past several months, the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre has been gearing up for a script-in-hand reading of a new play called Whitehorse. The journey a play makes before it reaches a staged production can be a long one, so for a young playwright (Jakob Holder) and a young theatre company, a reading can present a real opportunity.

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Visual Arts
8:20 am
Mon May 1, 2006

Artist Wilbur Niewald Wins Guggenheim

Wilbur Niewald works on an etching at Loose Park. He's returned to this grove of pine trees for the past three years (notice the worn spot).
photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

Artist Wilbur Niewald, professor emeritus of painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, began his year-long Guggenheim Fellowship on May 1.

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Visual Arts
12:17 pm
Fri April 14, 2006

Arts Roundup, April 14

This week, Archie Scott Gobber: Ready or Not is the inaugural exhibit in the Review Studios exhibit space, a local children's boutique presents a rock and roll concert at the RecordBar for parents and their kids, and a show at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art combines popular music and car culture.

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Jazz/Blues
3:15 pm
Mon April 10, 2006

Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee

Kansas City filmmaker Glenn Stewart talks about her work, Riffs: A Kansas City Jazz Coda. The film was screened as part of this year's 10th annual Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee.

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Jazz/Blues
3:24 pm
Mon March 13, 2006

KC Jazz Photographer Dan White

Bassist Milt Abel
Photo: Dan White

Dan White has documented the jazz scene in Kansas City for more than two decades. A new exhibit in the Changing Gallery at the American Jazz Museum displays 50 of White's black and white photographs, along with anecdotes from interviews.

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Jazz/Blues
11:45 am
Wed February 22, 2006

The Wild Woman of Kansas City: Myra Taylor

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Vocalist Myra Taylor is a veteran of the original Kansas City swing sound and started out singing and dancing in the early 1930s on 18th and Vine. Throughout her long career, she's shared the stage with Jay McShann, Sarah Vaughan, Nat "King" Cole, and many others. Taylor continues to perform in her hometown often as part of the quartet known as the Wild Women of Kansas City. Myra Taylor turns 89 on Friday, February 24.

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Jazz/Blues
8:37 am
Sun February 12, 2006

Remembering Milt Abel

Bettye Miller (on piano) and Milt Abel (on bass)
Photo: Marr Sound Archives

Jazz bassist and vocalist Milt Abel - part of Kansas City's jazz scene for five decades - died on February 3, 2006 after a long illness. Abel grew up in Philadelphia, where he learned to play the stand-up bass, baritone horn, and trombone as a teenager.

Kansas City, MO – KCUR?s Laura Spencer talked to some of the musicans he played with over the years in Kansas City and others who say his musicial talent will not be forgotten.

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Jazz/Blues
9:46 am
Fri January 20, 2006

WEB EXTRA: Loren Pickford's First Day in New Orleans

Loren Pickford

Musician and artist Loren Pickford is a veteran of jazz scenes in Los Angeles, Boston, and Paris. Pickford lived in New Orleans from 1990 to 2005, and here shares the story of his first day in the Big Easy.

Kansas City, MO – Pickford and his wife, Sheila, relocated from New Orleans to Kansas City, Missouri after Hurricane Katrina.

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Jazz/Blues
8:33 am
Fri January 6, 2006

Jazz Relocation Project Brings in Second Artist

Cultural Convention and Visitors Bureau President Anita Dixon says her vision of 12th Street, from the Paseo to Brooklyn, is as an enclave for jazz artists.

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Performance
8:03 am
Tue December 20, 2005

A Nutcracker Debut

Courtesy of Kansas City Ballet
Photography by Steve Wilson

Earlier this year, the Kansas City Ballet School offered a weekly ballet class to twenty Latina girls at Gladstone and Primitivo Garcia elementary schools. And five of those girls were cast in this year's production of The Nutcracker, including 5th grader Christina Sayed who's a lead angel.

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People
4:01 pm
Mon November 7, 2005

Mexico's Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos

Kansas City, MO – El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is a Mexican celebration to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed. The holiday reflects the Mexicans tradition of reacting to death with mourning along with happiness and joy.

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Visual Arts
10:33 am
Thu March 31, 2005

Remembering Kenneth R. Ferguson

Artist Ken Ferguson

One of Kansas City's most respected artists Ken Ferguson passed away in December. In April, a memorial service was held in his honor.

Kansas City, Missouri – Memorial service for Ken Ferguson, Saturday, April 2, 2005 at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., Kansas City, Missouri.

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Books
10:22 am
Mon January 24, 2005

Lawrence Poet Mickey Cesar

Staff Sergeant Michael Argumedo is a U.S. Army Reservist from Lawrence, Kansas stationed in Kuwait, just a few miles from the Iraqi border. He writes under the pen name Mickey Cesar, and his poetry has been described as dealing with "Saturday nights alone, Sunday morning cafes full of cigarette smoke" and loss.

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