Arts & Culture

Cody Newill / KCUR

For years, pinball and classic video games like Pac-Man held a special spot in American culture. But by the early 2000s, it was hard to find many arcades still open for business.

But that's changing with the rise of the arcade bar, a craze that Kansas City is just now getting in on.

At the opening night of the Up-Down, the newest arcade bar in Kansas City's Crossroads district, Brian Yates pumped token after token into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

LaShonda Katrice Barnett remembers going out with a quarter to buy the latest issue of The Call for her grandmother. Now, Barnett has written a novel about the trailblazing founder of a fictional African-American newspaper called Jam on the Vine. If it resembles The Call, that's no coincidence. 

Guest:

  • LaShonda Katrice Barnett, author, Jam on the Vine

Kansas City’s Steve Metzler was a business leader, a nonprofit supporter, and a patron of the arts, but phrases don’t begin to describe the impact he had on the community.

On this edition of Up To Date guest host Brian Ellison shares memories with those whose lives were touched by Metzler and talks with Steve's long-time partner, Brian Williams. 

Brian Hillegas / Flickr

There's talk of a West Bottoms revitalization. But the truth is, every fifteen years or so, the industrial stockyards district experiences a new kind of renaissance. In the 80s and 90s, it was an underground arts thing. Now, it's food, festivals and antiques. Meanwhile, industry and architecture have maintained a quiet presence all along. From art to antiques, can revivals of the recent past inform the future of the district?

Guests:

Patrick Quick / KCUR

When Kansas City comedians tour nationally, it almost feels like cheating. Used to small crowds and tough audiences in KC, they’re surprised by the raucous applause and packed houses on the road.

“All around the country, Kansas City comics have a reputation of just coming in and shattering the crowd. They’re like, man, you guys are really good,” according to Mike Smith, a Kansas City-based stand-up comedian. “And we’re like, could you email our city and tell them that?”

Laura Spencer / KCUR

On this edition of Up To Date, we learn the latest on the proposed cultural district in Kansas City, after a three-day public planning charrette where community members offered ideas on how the district could be designed and operated. Joining us for the conversation is Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO and Director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Los Angeles based performance and visual artist Tim Youd has taken up residence in Kansas City for the next three weeks to re-type two novels set in the city.

Youd is re-typing Evan Connell's novels "Mrs. Bridge" and "Mr. Bridge," two books that depict Kansas City's upper-middle class in the 1920s and 30s. The performance is part of a larger project where Youd visits a city and reproduces a book written or set there on just two pages of paper. 

kcimprovfestival.blogspot.com

Looking to get down this weekend?  Brian McTavish has suggestions from classic disco to improvisation on his Weekend To-Do List!

 

KC and the Sunshine Band
Classic ’70s hit disco entertainment with costume party
7 p.m. Saturday
Kansas City Live! Block, Kansas City Power & Light District, 13th and Walnut
Admission: Free

http://kcchalkandwalk.org

Something for the ears, eyes and mind. It's all part of Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List!

Buzz Beach Ball
Rockin’ with Arctic Monkeys, Weezer, the 1975, J. Roddy Waltson & the Business, the Mowglis Broods, Meg Myers, Ume
3:30 p.m. Friday
Sporting Park, 1 Sporting Park Way, Kansas City, Kan.

When Johnson County blogger Jen Mann wrote about Elf on the Shelf on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, she became an overnight sensation.  Now with a book of the same name coming out, Mann sits down with Steve Kraske to talk about the leap from blogger to author.  She reveals how she met her husband, including an unusual date early on, and recounts a moms' night out at a gun range.

Local Listen: Carswell & Hope

Aug 29, 2014

Carswell & Hope, a soulful folk-rock band from Lawrence, Kan., will be among the performers at this weekend's Kansas City Irish Fest. A collaboration between the Irish transplant Nick Carswell, two native Kansans, and a New Yorker, Carswell & Hope released its debut album in May. This week's Local Listen is a curiously pensive track from the project, "Hunger."

bacontoday.com

Everything's better with bacon, especially the weekend!  Check out Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List where there's something for every taste.

Bacon Fest 2014
Massive appreciation and ingestion
2 to 5 p.m. Saturday
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing
Admission: $50 (GA), $100 (VIP)

Local Listen: The Phantastics

Aug 20, 2014
The Phantastics

The Phantastics, one of this area’s most formidable party bands, send audiences into frenzies with a heated blend of funk, jazz and hip-hop.

The ensemble includes the noted rapper The Phantom and several of the region's most versatile musicians.

This week's edition of Local Listen features a dance-oriented track, "Phire," from the Phantastics 2013 EP "Closer."

erniebiggs.com

Imagine a piano bar with not one, but two, pianists, often playing simultaneously and you'll have an idea of dueling pianos. On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske learns that "dueling" is actually the pair working with each other to entertain the patrons. Not only do they demonstrate for Steve, but they also take listeners' requests live in the studio.

Guests:

kcjazzorchestra.org

Patrons of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra may rethink their usual wardrobe choices before attending the big band's next concert.  Instead of appearing at the its regular home at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center, the orchestra will perform at Knuckleheads this Saturday.   On this edition of Local Listen, we'll hear the orchestra's rendition of Freddie Green’s classic "Corner Pocket."

Scott Ross

Walt Disney, Johnny Carson, Carl Sandburg, Ronald Reagan, Henry Ford . . .  small Midwestern towns aren't typically the stuff of sensational headlines - more sunset strolls than Sunset Boulevard. But growing up, these and other great men called such communities home.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with author John Miller about the enduring importance of the small town, and the role of "flyover country" in producing some of the 20th Century's most influential men.

Guest:

Local Listen: Nuthatch-47

Aug 8, 2014
nuthatch47.com

Maksim Kunakhovich of Nuthatch-47 has said that "Russia is my mother and America is my wife."  His distinctive contributions make Nutchatch-47 one of the funniest and most musically unique bands in the Kansas City area.  This week's edition of Local Listen features "I Reckon" from Nuthatch-47's 2013 album "Babushka Bandita."  The song's narrator muses about his affection for unsavory aspects of American culture as his comrades riff on a familiar spaghetti western theme. 

Rich Hill

Seventy miles south of Kansas City, there was a documentary filmed that critic Bob Butler says will break your heart. Rich Hill tells the story of three boys coming of age with at least one hand tied behind their back. They deal with crushing poverty, incarcerated parents, and lots of moving around. Juxtaposed with the external hardships, these adolescents must also confront ADHD and bi-polar disorder. On Friday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske visits with one of the film's directors.

Josh Grimes / NightLifeKC.com

For the competitor, the spectator, or the music fanatic- Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List surely has the Kansas City area event to rock your weekend!

U.S. Air Guitar National Finals
Fake strumming elevated to an art form
Saturday 8 p.m.
Midland Theatre, 1228 Main
Tickets: $20

Local Listen: People's Liberation Big Band

Aug 1, 2014
http://peoplesliberationbigband.bandcamp.com

Anyone who clings to the mistaken notion that all of the jazz performed by Kansas City musicians is bound to fusty tradition has yet to hear the People's Liberation Big Band.  The maverick ensemble led by Brad Cox plays a wild and wooly form of jazz.  This week's Local Listen features "Mr. Blister's Naughty Sister," a playful track from the large ensemble's 2010 debut album.

www.hoahotdogfestival.com

It's a music-packed weekend in the Kansas City area.  Whether enjoying a hotdog or indulging a guitar-shredding fantasy, Brian McTavish has the event for you in the Weekend To-Do List!

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Kyle Hatley arrived in Kansas City to serve as Assistant Artistic Director for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in April 2008. He drove into town in the midst of a tornado, and he hasn't stopped moving since.

After eight years of tireless immersion in both the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the grassroots theater scene, Hatley has decided it's time to return to Chicago. There, he will join his fiance, actress Emily Peterson. 

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

If you've ever seen the large murals or spray paint writing on the sides of buildings along Southwest Boulevard, you've probably seen some of Kansas City based graffiti writer Gear's work.

On Monday's Central Standard, Gina Kaufmann sat down with Gear in studio to discuss the nuances of graffiti and street art. 

Gina also went out into the field and took photos of just a few of Gear's writings that can be found around Kansas City. 

6Lawrence.com

Have you ever stayed up all night talking? Try doing it for 66 hours straight. A Lawrence TV host is about to try in an attempt to shatter the world record for longest television marathon talk show. On Friday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with host of The Not So Late Show about his strategies for staying awake, and keeping a live audience engaged for over two and a half days.

Guest: 

Starlight Theatre

 The hills are alive with the sound of...hip hop, comedy, and rock & roll. No matter your taste in entertainment, Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do list is sure to have you covered!

The Sound of Music
Classic family musical
Opens at 8 p.m. Friday with performances through July 31
Starlight Theatre in Swope Park
Tickets: Start at $12

Regnery History

Presidents have been forced to calculate whether they want to be men of the people...or men of somewhat higher understanding.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske sits down with author Tevi Troy for a look at how popular culture has shaped the presidency. From Jefferson’s grounding in philosophy to Obama’s mastery of Internet culture, they examine who was best, or worst, at navigating a president's need to connect with the average citizen through the culture of the day.

Guest:

Local Listen: Jason Vivone & the Billy Bats

Jul 22, 2014
billybats.com

The Phoenix, one of Kansas City's most popular live music venues, hosts its fifth annual Phoenix Fest this Saturday.  Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats are among the eight area-based acts performing at the event.  This week's edition of Local Listen features "Eddie Ate Dynamite," the humorous title track from the band's 2013 album.

ifckc.com

Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List packs entertainment for every taste, from one big picnic to a funky art festival. Have a fantastic weekend!

Steely Dan
Classic rock under the stars
8 p.m. Saturday
Starlight Theatre, Swope Park
Tickets: $40 to$150

Cara McClain / KCUR

For its 10th season, the KC Fringe Festival will take over spaces in Kansas City, Mo., for theater, music, comedy, spoken word, burlesque and more.

KC Fringe is an 11-day festival that provides a platform for often lesser-known performing and visual artists. 

This year's Fringe will have 19 different venues. Most are scattered around the Crossroads Arts District, but some spread out into Westport and the Country Club Plaza.

Local Listen: Ensemble Ibérica

Jul 11, 2014
Jeff Evrard / ensembleiberica.org

Often characterized by Americans as the blues of Portugal, fado is a melancholy music.  Vocalist Rodrigo Costa Félix is one of three Portuguese fado artists that will headline a concert Saturday, July 12, at Polsky Theatre on the campus of Johnson County Community College.  Kansas City's Ensemble Ibérica, a group led by event organizer Beau Bledsoe, will open the show.  This week's Local Listen features Ensemble Ibérica's "Fado Pechincha."

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