Sylvia Maria Gross

Senior Producer / Reporter, Central Standard

Sylvia Maria Gross is the senior producer of Central Standard, KCUR's daily talk/magazine show. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, The World and Studio 360. Gross grew up in New York City, Brazil and the suburbs of Washington, DC. She came to public radio after a long stint as a middle school teacher, and has spent a lot of time trying to capture the attention of wandering minds.

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COURTESY OF NABIL HADDAD

There's no question that the McDonald's Happy Meal was invented in Kansas City, Missouri. The question is...who invented it? To find an answer, we go on a journey from 1950's Lebanon to Salina, Kansas.

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KCUR Studios released today Midwesternish, a new podcast about the thinkers, doers and makers in the middle of the country.

Smabs Sputzer / Flickr -- CC

A visit to a local olive oil shop, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best pasta dishes in and around KC.

Plus, the latest news from KC's restaurant scene.

Guests:

Vincent Chow / Flickr -- CC

From 60 degrees to a winter weather advisory in just a couple of days: yes, the weather here can be manic. A chat with Mike July, who recently retired from the National Weather Service office in KC, about the art of forecasting ... and about his witty social media posts.

Then, in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a surprising speech at K-State. We'll hear about the impression it left on Kansans.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

When you picture a break-dancer, or "b-boy," you may envision a skinny kid who drops to the ground and pops back up like it's no big deal. But the hip-hop culture that gave rise to break-dancing isn't getting any younger.

Now, the original hip-hop generation is bringing kids to the club for events featuring crayons. In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we ask, how is the culture of hip-hop growing up with them? Plus, profiles of three icons in Kansas City's hip-hop scene. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When musician Amado Espinoza and theater artist Karen Lisondra moved to Kansas City from Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2014, Espinoza noticed that many people here were disconnected from their own roots, from each other and from the earth. He'd come from a place where indigenous culture is present in everyday life.

As they looked to develop a creative network and collaborate with other artists, Espinoza and Lisondra also started thinking of a project that would bring different people with indigenous backgrounds together.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr -- CC

After a surprising and emotional election night, how are Kansas Citians feeling today? A look at how the election results fit into their personal stories.

Guests:

It's Election Day. We're taking a trip down memory lane, as we explore the first elections many of us got to participate in: class elections. Whether for elementary schools, high school student council, or college class president, these early elections are an opportunity to practice being members of a democracy.

Guests: 

Photo illustration by BigStock Images

Ask food critic Charles Ferruzza what restaurants in Kansas City might look like in 30 years, and he envisions places where “farm-to-table” has gone to the extreme.

“Can you see the day people will come in with their very own sorghum from their backyard and ask you to cook it?” Ferruzza asked chef Ted Habiger on a recent episode of Central Standard

Halloween is here. Out with the normal, in with the zombies, ghouls and ghosts . . . and all of your favorite customs. From trick-or-treating to haunted houses, how are the customs of this holiday changing in Kansas City?

Plus, one Kansas City cardiologist recently branched out to make an evolutionary case for homosexuality.

Guests:

It's not a new story: newspapers are in flux. Recently, Yael Abouhalkah, a longtime Kansas City Star journalist, was laid off; he was one of only two editorial writers at the paper.

What is the significance of the newspaper editorial — especially in a time when nearly everyone can broadcast their opinion online? And how are layoffs affecting newsrooms nationwide?

Plus, Question Quest sifts through the legend and superstition to find the true story behind the Black Angel in Iowa City, Iowa.

Is nature a place to unplug ... or is it a photo op for social media? (#nature #gettingoutthere)? The relationship between technology and the wilderness.

Plus, a look back at how Leon Jordan and others consolidated black political power in Kansas City.

Guests:

Kansas Citians love their Chiefs. But the game of football has been harshly criticized, for the slew of injuries and the enduring mentality that causes them. We hear from a few people working to change the game, including one UMKC professor who has designed a new football helmet.

Also, ahead of an event at the Black Archives of Mid-America, a local historical tour guide shares stories of the late Felix Payne, an influential man who transformed the political identity of black Kansas Citians in the early 20th-century.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Students in the Hickman Mills School District face a lot of challenges, including poverty and a provisionally accredited district, as well as a high rate of mobility: 75 percent of students typically change classrooms, schools or districts within the course of one year.

Jessica Spengler / Flickr

The food of Kansas City has a life story to tell. Author Andrea Broomfield tells it. The origins of Kansas City chili, tamales and tailgating, an affinity for dining al fresco and cinnamon rolls, and what local beer has to do with our sports teams and stadiums. Every food tradition can be explained through the lens of history.

Guest:

Courtesy of Bruno Bessa

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard in which local musicians tell the story behind a song they have written or are performing.

The Song: "Sabiá"

The Songwriters: Chico Buarque and Antônio Carlos Jobim

Interpreted by: Vocalist Bruno Bessa and guitarist Beau Bledsoe with Ensemble Ibérica

Hordes of storytellers from around the world are descending on Kansas City over the next few days for the National Storytelling Conference. How do we craft better stories and why does the way we tell stories matter? We find out why this ancient art is still in vogue today.  Plus, a story from last February's Flame KC event.

Guests:

Pokémon Go has taken Kansas City by storm. As Pokémon pop up around us, we chat about how video games have changed us, and we discuss the distinction between virtual reality and augmented reality. Then we let our guests and listeners get back to their quests to "catch 'em all."

Guests: 

Danny Lyon / courtesy of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The violence and horror of cell phone videos of the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have galvanized many Americans to question race relations and justice.

We take a look back at iconic civil rights era photos, and then invite a psychologist and criminologist to explore the effect of images of violence, past and present, on our minds and our culture.

Guests:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City artist Ryan Wilks explored a wide range of gender and sexuality in the 12 large-scale portraits and interviews on display in the show Gender Treason at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. He and one of his painting subjects say the process of creating the art changed each of them.

Guests:

  • Ryan Wilks, artist
  • Ana Marcela Maldonado Morales, visual artist, tattoo artist, musician

Anna Leach / KCUR 89.3

An exit interview with Olympic gold medalist Shannon Vreeland, a swimmer from Overland Park, Kansas, just days after her career ended at the swimming trials in Omaha. We discuss how Kansas Citians make it  from their initial training in local pools and gyms all the way to the Olympics,.

Guests:

  • Shannon Vreeland, world champion swimmer
  • Greg Echlin, KCUR's sports reporter

Everybody seems to be talking about storytelling these days. That's music to our ears on Central Standard, where we're always looking for good, true tales about life in Kansas City. This past winter, KCUR sponsored a series of storytelling events at Pilgrim Chapel in Hyde Park, called FlameKC.

We will be airing some of those stories over the next couple of weeks, starting with the first. Within the theme "Letting Go," Pilgrim Chapel director Andrew Johnson shared his story about parenting and time.

Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Saturday night's mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, marked the deadliest shooting on U.S. soil in recent history, with 49 dead and 53 more wounded. The LGBT community wasn't the only community that bore the brunt of this attack — the vast majority of the victims were Latino or Latina, and other people of color. How is Kansas City's local Latino community reacting to the news?

Anna Sturla / KCUR 89.3

Salads showcase the best produce that summer has to offer. A local chef shows us how to make gado gado, an Indonesian salad with potatoes and peanut sauce, and a food writer talks about the "mystery of flavor." Then, our food critics search out the best salads in Kansas City.

Guests:

The Gospel Scene

Jun 9, 2016

We visit with local gospel musicians to find out what it takes to make a living in KC’s gospel music industry.

Courtesy of The Grisly Hand

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which Kansas City area musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

The Composer: Jimmy Fitzner, singer and guitarist

The Band: The Grisly Hand

The Song: “The Picture I Keep,” to be released on the forthcoming album Hearts and Stars

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

A decade ago, lovers of soul and hip-hop in Kansas City would gather on Sunday nights at a greasy downtown dive bar to listen to DJ’s and eat hot wings. MCs would spit rhymes and pretty soon a break-dancing circle would form.

Fast forward to 2016, and some of those people, plus a whole new crew, have joined in on a similar event. But now it’s in the afternoon and involves a lot more crayons.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

When you picture a break-dancer, or "b-boy," you may envision a skinny kid who drops to the ground and pops back up like it's no big deal, like gravity has no say in the matter. But the hip-hop culture that gave rise to break-dancing isn't getting any younger. Now that the original hip-hop generation is bringing kids to the club for events featuring crayons, how is the culture growing up with them? Bonus: profiles of three icons in Kansas City's hip-hop scene.

Guests:

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: We look at Kansas City's buzzwords with the people who best understand the true meaning of our favorite catch-phrases. 

In this installment, we ask what it really means to be an entrepreneur, how you pronounce the word, and how to correctly use it in a sentence. It's an important step for us to take, as a city, if we want to be known for our entr... entrep... entrepreneurial spirit.

Guest:

courtesy of Heidi Holliday / Rosedale Development Association

A gas explosion Tuesday morning destroyed one of the buildings in the Rosedale Ridge housing complex, an affordable housing project which closed in 2015 due to poor conditions.

The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department reported heavy damage to the building, one of six in the complex. The building has been torn down.

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