Steve Walker

Arts Reporter

Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens. 

In addition, Walker has taught creative writing and film criticism classes at the Kansas City Art Institute and currently teaches at the University of Kansas. His writing has appeared nationally in The Sondheim Review, The Advocate and Theater Week, and locally in The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Business Journal, Ingram's, The Pitch and Review.

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Up to Date
11:29 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Up To Date's Film Critics' "Three To See"

A scene from the film "In Darkness."

Looking for a great art, independent, foreign, or documentary film to see the weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012?

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Film Review
9:10 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Families' Bitter Feud Feeds 'The Forgiveness of Blood'

Albanian brothers confined to their home in "The Forgiveness of Blood"
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In a village in modern Albania, the tough life of a poor family gets significantly tougher in The Forgiveness of Blood, a fascinating and moving new film from Joshua Marston, the American-born director of Maria Full of Grace.

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Up to Date
3:52 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Up to Date's Film Critics' "Three To See"

Looking for a great art, independent, foreign, or documentary film to see the weekend of March 23-25, 2012?

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Film Review
9:00 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Going Underground 'In Darkness'

Finding the light of day in "In Darkness"

Though director Agnieszka Holland has been working a lot in America on such acclaimed HBO series as Treme and The Wire, she's very comfortable making movies about World War II.

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Film Review
1:19 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

'We Need To Talk About Kevin' A Modern Horror Story

Tilda Swinton tests a mother's courage in "...Kevin."

In the opening scene of We Need to Talk About Kevin,  Lynne Ramsay's film about the aftermath of a mass murder at a high school, people are sensually writhing in what looks like pulpy blood.

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The Theater
5:00 am
Wed March 21, 2012

'Bus Stop' Staged In Lee's Summit Eatery

Jennifer Davis & Jon Pierson face off in "Bus Stop"
Steve Walker KCUR

It's been a decade since the Lee's Summit area has had its own community theater. A new company, called Summit Theatre Group, marks its debut with Bus Stop, the William Inge play set in a snowed-in roadhouse diner. 

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Film Review
1:55 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Son's Illness Provokes A 'Declaration Of War'

Valerie Donzelli and Jeremie Elkaim as parents at war.

In the fresh and edgy new French film Declaration of War, young parents become consumed with the fear that their son's constant shrieking and wobbly, delayed steps signify something frightening.

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Theater/Performance
3:54 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Actor Jim Korinke Plays Against Type - And Gender

Actor Jim Korinke as Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest."
courtesy of American Heartland Theatre

At one point or another, most theater troupes buck tradition by employing the concept of non-traditional casting - that is, hiring actors to play roles written for a different age, gender or race. One example coming to Broadway in April is a version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" with an African-American cast. Playing with gender can be tricky, but American Heartland Theatre's current production of an Oscar Wilde classic features as the female lead the male actor Jim Korinke.

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Film Fest
8:30 am
Mon March 5, 2012

True/False Film Festival Explores Art And Artifice

Rise and fall of the American dream in "The Queen of Versailles."

The power of art and the fallibility of artifice met head on at this weekend's 9th annual True/False documentary film festival in Columbia, Missouri.

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Film Review
5:30 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Harrelson's Dark Side Shines In "Rampart"

Woody Harrelson's mean streaks in "Rampart."

Rampart, featuring a shattering performance by Woody Harrelson as a messed-up Los Angeles cop with a mean streak and a pitiful capacity for self-harm, is the second Harrelson film to be directed by Oren Moverman (The Messenger brought Harrelson an Oscar nomination in 2011) and his first collaboration with former Kansas Citian James Ellroy.

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Film Review
11:33 am
Thu March 1, 2012

'The Women On The 6th Floor' Channels Almodovar Of Yore

Maids to order in "The Women on the 6th Floor"

Fans of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar either loved his last movie, The Skin I Live In, or found it cold and bereft of the mirth and merriment of most of his previous work.

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Film Review
11:16 am
Wed February 29, 2012

'A Separation' Offers Peek Into Contemporary Iran

An Iranian couple plead their case for "A Separation."

When the Kansas City Film Critics Circle gathered in early January to honor the year in film, only about half the room had seen the Iranian movie A Separation, yet it managed to win the group's Best Foreign Film prize.

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Up to Date
9:11 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Up to Date's Film Critics' "Three To See"

Looking for a great art, independent, foreign, or documentary film to see the weekend of February 24-26, 2012? Up to Date's critics share their three favorite showing on area screens.

You can click on the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews.

Cynthia Haines: Pina, Oscar-Nominated Shorts, The Iron Lady

Performance
5:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

'The Great Immensity' Unites Theater And Investigative Journalism

Only this week has Kansas City seen any real sign of winter, while other parts of the world are experiencing record cold.

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Film
1:27 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Film Review: Pina

Water, water everywhere in "Pina"

Think of all the great dance sequences put on film - from the Kit Kat Club in "Cabaret" to the New York streets where Sharks fought Jets in "West Side Story" to anything with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire.

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Film Review
3:19 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

2012 Oscar Shorts Showcases

A newly-formed family in "Raju"

Odds are favorable that strewn among the fifteen different short films - animation, live action, and documentary -  nominated for this year's Academy Awards, there are going to be gems, and this year's Short Films Showcase at the Tivoli in Westport is no exception.

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Performing Arts
3:41 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Starlight And Kauffman Center Make Music Together

Jerry Jay Cranford sings the blues in "Aladdin."

The idea that a Starlight Theatre production can only be seen in the summer is about to become obsolete.

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Film Review
8:25 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Film Review: "A Dangerous Method"

Leave it to director David Cronenberg to make a period piece for intelligent people familiar with Freud, Jung and the subconscious origins of kinky sex. It's like a Merchant-Ivory movie set in a red light district.

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Film Review
8:15 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Film Review: "Albert Nobbs"

Much has been written about the evaporation of rich and complicated movie roles for actresses of a certain age. This year, though, performances like those of Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"  and Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" are doing their best to blow that theory to smithereens.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
8:40 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Film Review: "Shame"

If anyone doubted sex and intimacy were mutually exclusive, "Shame" is proof-positive they can be light years apart.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
1:37 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Film Review: "The Iron Lady"

Meryl Street as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Meryl Streep has certainly played British before - "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and the underrated "Plenty," for starters - but is now figuratively playing Britain itself.

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Performance
5:00 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Broadway Luminaries Bring New York Show to Kansas City

When the musical "Evita" swept the 1980 Tony Awards, it triumphantly announced the arrival of two young actors - Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone - who would spend the next 30-plus years making remarkable choices in their theater, film, and television roles. 

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Performance
5:43 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Web Extra: An Interview with Mandy Patinkin

"An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin" reunites two Tony Award®-winning performers for the first time since they performed together in the original Broadway cast of "Evita."

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Bullying And Disability Inform New Play For Young Audiences

Actor Lorie Sparks and director Valerie Mackey
photo: Steve Walker/KCUR

Schools across the country are grappling with how to address bullying, a problem that's provoked some teenagers to suicide.

Two area theaters for young audiences are staging plays about bullying this month, and in the case of a new play at Theatre for Young America, specifically tackling bullying against the disabled with a disabled actor in its cast.

Fresh Way of Addressing Bullying

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Film
11:12 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Announces 2012 Awards

On January 8th, 2012, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle announced its choices for the 45th Annual Loutzenhiser Awards, named for late local critic James Loutzenhiser.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
8:32 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Film Review: "Le Havre"

In the true spirit of global cinema comes a charming and sweet French movie by a Finnish director (Aki Kaurismäki) about a young African refugee.

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Performance
3:19 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Teenage Playwright Wins National Competition

Zachary Weaver, 19, of Overland Park, Kan. He's one of the winning playwrights of the 2011 National Playwriting Competition.
courtesy of Zachary Weaver

Thirty years ago, legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim might have sensed that the pool of up-and-coming playwrights was a bit lacking and founded Young Playwrights Inc. Based in New York,  the program’s mission is to foster and mentor promising writers 18 and under. For the second year in a row, an Overland Park, Kan. teenager has made the cut.

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Film
8:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Film Review: "The Artist"

To write off Michel Hazanavicius's black-and-white silent film as a gimmick is to miss a creative, touching, and beautiful movie about movies at the end of the silent film era.  Jean Dujardin stars as Georges Valentin, a dashing silent hero - he looks like Gene Kelly crossed with Errol Flynn-  whose career is about to be made obsolete by the talkies.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
9:58 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Film Review: "Young Adult"

In Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning role in "Monster,"  she played a serial killer whose unbridled rage was targeted on others. In her new film, "Young Adult," she's also very convincing - and perhaps more unlikable -  as a woman whose hurt is mainly turned inward.

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Artists in Their Own Words
12:00 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

How Scrooge Actor Keeps "A Christmas Carol" Fresh

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

In A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens depicted his iconic Ebenezer Scrooge as the original grumpy old man - someone whose mean streak is matched only by his unyielding pockets. That he becomes a gentler man by the close of the story is no surprise to anyone who's seen the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of the play over the past 31 years.

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