arts & culture

Courtesy of Joshua Hoffine

One photo depicts a corpse lying on the dirt in a white dress, black spiders streaming out of her mouth, cradling a plump sleeping baby.

Another shows a little girl kneeling on her bed in her pink bedroom, screaming as the devil emerges from a jagged split in the floor.

These photos are the work of local photographer Joshua Hoffine. Clearly, he doesn't take your typical wedding or graduation photos; his specialty is "horror photography" and the young kids in the photos are his daughters.

We're only about half way through 2016, but Kansas City artists haven't been wasting any time. That means area music lovers have had plenty to see and hear.

KCUR's Up To Date continues its tradition of reviewing new local music with area music critics. This time, our panel is:

In 1977, Roots became one of the most-watched TV miniseries of all time. Based on Alex Haley's book about his family's story, from enslavement to liberation, it won a multitude of awards and exposed Americans to the horrors of slavery.

The recent remake of Roots enters into a more complex and nuanced culture of racial representation. We explore the new version, its place in American culture ... and if we needed a remake of such an iconic series.

Guests:

Ruth Hartnup/Flickr -- CC

Racism can be difficult to confront, particularly if it appears in a classic children’s book. We explore how diversity was represented in children's literature of the past, and how it's being redefined in the future.

Guests:

Dumpster-diving for materials was done out of necessity when sculptor Tom Sachs first started, but now he does it by choice. It's just one way the bricolage specialist turns almost anything into art, avoiding perfection in the process. After all, "the only advantage an artist has over industry is her fingerprints," he says.

Steve Kraske caught up with Béla Fleck, who's on tour with the original Flecktones, to talk inspirations and collaborations. When it comes to music Fleck says, "It's just more interesting to explore the edges of things than it is to just sit in the center and do what's already been done."

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones perform at 7:30 p.m., June 14, in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  

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 Joshua Hoffine

Joshua Hoffine is a local photographer. He doesn't take your typical wedding or graduation portraits, though — his specialty is "horror photography," and he features his daughters in his photo shoots.

Guest:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In 1975, Paul Stephen Lim, a KU student, was struggling to write a short story.

One night, at a party, he was chatting with a theater professor about his writing problem.

“Maybe it doesn’t want to be a short story,” the professor suggested. “Maybe it wants to be a play.”

And, with that advice, Lim forged a new path.

A Scripted Life

Jun 3, 2016

The first play he ever wrote, as a KU student, won a national college playwriting award from the Kennedy Center. Meet Paul Stephen Lim, a retired KU professor and acclaimed playwright.

Guest:

For children with a parent in prison, maintaining a connection can be difficult.  Steve Kraske talks with the founder of a service organization dedicated to these kids and the artist who will paint portraits of 100 prominent Kansas Citians to be auctioned off to benefit that effort.

Guests:

When a child fell into the gorilla habitat of the Cincinnati Zoo last week, the event ended in the death of the gorilla. What are the ethics at the intersection of human and animal life?

Plus, the story of a KC resident who, as a toddler, escaped from his mom and entered the seal exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo.

Guests:

Members of KC's transgender community are finding their voice ... literally, their singing voice. We explore how transitioning isn't all about looks — it's also about sound.'

The Heartland Trans Chorus will perform for the first time this Sunday, June 5 at Kansas City Pride Fest.

Guests:

Is autism a culture, a disability ... or maybe both? We explore the community around autism, and if that “disability” is truly disabling.

Guests:

 

GunsNHawks/Facebook

At the beginning of May, during finals week at KU, an art project flashed across buildings on campus at night.

Miguel Calderon, who was a senior art student at the time, wanted to start a conversation about guns on campus.

Miguel Calderon / courtesy University Daily Kansan

In July 2017, a Kansas law that permits concealed carry in state hospitals and universities takes effect. We explore the idea of safety in places of healing and learning.

Guests:

  • Reinheld Janzen, Professor Emerita of Art History at Washburn University
  • Miguel Calderon, recent KU graduate
Courtesy of Arionne Yvette Williams

 When Arionne Yvette Williams first heard “Formation,” the lead single of Beyoncé’s album, Lemonade, one of the lyrics inspired her to start a Bible study group for women.

“I just love the song; it just resonated with me as soon as I heard it,” Williams told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Roy Inman

For all the reasons one thinks of a small town in America — a small, blue-collar community where people leave their doors unlocked and kids play ball in the streets — Picher, Oklahoma was a fantastic place to grow up.

Ed Keheley remembers the closeness of his community.

“The adults in the community basically policed all the kids. You were afraid to do something, if anyone saw it they would immediately call your parents,” Keheley told Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.  

A new book about Wichita artists has us intrigued. What's the art scene like in the biggest city in Kansas?

Guests:

  • Larry Schwarm, photographer
  • Elizabeth Stevenson, artist

Her new album has stunned her fans ... along with people who might not have paid attention to the pop star until now. We explore some of the themes and images in Lemonade, Beyoncé's visual album.

Guests:

Pop

May 20, 2016

We explore the latest in pop culture news with our panel of critics.

Guests:

  • Loey Lockerby, freelance writer
  • Shaun Hammontree, video director, motion graphics designer and composer
  • Natasha El-Scari, poet

He's been a gravedigger, a roadie, a truck unloader and more; now, he runs two popular Lawrence restaurants. We hear the stories behind Matt Hyde's eclectic resume ... and why he sometimes breaks plates on purpose.

Guest:

Many people dismiss Kansas as flyover country: squares and rectangles in a vast farmland quilt. A Lawrence author begs to differ; he spent years exploring the undiscovered wilderness in the state. He shares the last wild spots that still exist around Kansas ... and in the KC suburbs.

Guest:

Corpus Christi Caller-Times-photo from Associated Press

Inspired by a one-woman play about Marilyn Monroe at The Fishtank Theater, we explore the phenomenon of female celebrity in the United States, then and now.

Guests:

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: The roller coaster ride where you almost had your first kiss. Or what about the one you were finally tall enough to ride ... only to chicken out? Or the one where you met your spouse, or even got married?

Guests:

Robert Clark / Feathers: Displays of Brilliant Plumage, Chronicle Books, 2016

Kansas native Robert Clark has grown up to be a National Geographic photographer whose most recent book depicts beautiful feathers from all over the world. How a Kansas youth spent feather-collecting and a job photographing athletes for a Hays, Kansas newspaper helped his career take off.

Guest:

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Krystle Warren's "To the Middle" is a song that sounds a little like a carnival ride, but it's actually her love song to Kansas City. Written when she lived in New York, the lyrics express a deep longing for the mainstays of her hometown: toothy smiles, tree-lined avenues and Gates barbecue. In the chorus, the chanteuse demands to know, over and over, Why you wanna go away, Why you wanna go away, again?

"I missed my hometown and it felt like Kansas City was kind of scolding me for leaving."

KC To Paris

May 6, 2016

She’s an acclaimed singer-songwriter who has been compared to Nina Simone and Roberta Flack. Rufus Wainwright has called her "one of the greatest living singers at the moment." From her base in Paris, she tours the world ... yet one of her favorite spots is still the Midtown porch of her 8th grade teacher. Meet Kansas City native Krystle Warren.

Guest:

From post-breakup T-shirts to a candle that evokes the smells of MLB's opening day, some local makers tell their stories.

Guests:

We chat with the creators of Red Bird, a new web series out of Lawrence. It tells the story of Kitty Mae, who is seeking revenge after Quantrill's Raid.

Guests:

  • Jeremy Osbern and Misti Boland, co-creators of Red Bird

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