Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Winston Churchill sure didn’t make it easy to become a seminal figure in world history.

Before becoming Great Britain’s prime minister and leading his empire through World War II, Churchill was an extremely ambitious youngster who saw military glory as a pathway to political power. But this type of thinking almost got him killed in the Second Boer War, a late 1890s military conflict in what’s now South Africa.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Now that Turkey Day’s out of the way – except for the leftovers – here’s your chance to shake off any lingering tryptophan-induced lethargy and take advantage of the long weekend’s entertainment choices.

That could mean being serenaded by a retiring country music legend, having the kids get their faux Victorian picture taken with a treasured toy or just screaming your happy head off at a body-slamming wrestling throw-down.

It could also mean that while you’re out there having a great time, someone else gets the leftovers. Hide the dressing!

For two years now, Chris Hazelton’s septet Boogaloo7 has performed every Friday at the Green Lady Lounge. This Friday, they release a record documenting the sound of that residency.

3 reasons we're listening to Chris Hazelton's Boogalo 7 this week:

1. Hazelton, 31, a soul-jazz organist based in Kansas City, was mentored by the elder statesman Everette DeVan.

Courtesy David Muhammad

In room 309 at Shawnee Mission East High School, social studies teacher David Muhammad and his students tackle some of humanity's most difficult subjects — on a recent Tuesday afternoon, for example, his international relations class was studying the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. 

After class, he's also known for encouraging respectful debates about topics confronting America — a video of one of those debates about the Confederate flag last year has close to 50,000 views on YouTube

courtesy twitter user Colt Snapp ‏@Colt_Snapp

A massive fire was reported Monday morning at the Pioneer Building in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. Shortly after 10 a.m, large plumes of smoke and flames were sighted outside the historic building at 510 Francis Street. 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Actor and Late Night Theatre director Ron Megee says he isn't out to change the world.

His troupe, where men often play women and vice versa, performs campy spoofs on popular television shows and movies. And camp, he says, "is a frame of mind."

"We're putting something up on stage and twisting it to the point of humor," Megee says.

Courtesy Tom Poe/Facebook

“If you’re going to sin,” the former Methodist minister Tom Poe once told me, “sin boldly.”

He was using the words of theologian Martin Luther to justify some sort of subversiveness (I can't remember what we were up to) but I’ll forever quote Poe on that one.

Courtesy 123 Andres

A graduate of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance has won a Latin Grammy.

Andrés Salguero, who performs as 123 Andrés, won in the Best Latin Children’s Album Category for his record Arriba Abajo at the award ceremony Thursday in Las Vegas. His 2015 album, ¡Uno, Dos, Tres Andrés en español y en inglés!, was nominated in the same category.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Hall Family Foundation.

When Dave Heath died in June at the age of 85, The New York Times described him as a "photographer of isolation."   

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has the largest institutional holding of Heath's work in the United States, and the museum's new exhibition Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath — with nearly 200 photographs from the late 1940s to 2007, from black and white to color — explores themes of loneliness and the desire for connection. 

Courtesy Ron Anderson

Ron Anderson is a 58-year-old photographer who has just wrapped up his thesis project. And though he’s been a professional photographer or photography instructor for about 35 years, he still feels the weight of this final assignment.

“Assuming that my thesis exhibition went well," he says, "I should graduate with a 4.0."

It was his position at Lenexa’s Art Institutes International, where he's taught for about seven years, that spurred him to earn a master’s in photography; full-time faculty members there are expected to have an advanced degree or be working on one.

The story of how a local art gallery curator, while on his honeymoon in Guatemala, came across the intricate embroidery work of Antonio Ramirez Sosof, a self-taught artist who used to be a lumberjack.

Plus, an encore presentation of how a KU professor discovered that Neanderthals adorned their bodies with eagle talon jewelry.

Guests:

Courtesy of Craig Jones

Where do you get your hard-shell taco? You know, the kind that's filled with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce and cheese and a soupy red sauce?

Well, for some Kansas Citians, it depends on where you grew up.

According to Craig Jones, In-A-Tub is a Northland tradition.

"For a lot of people that grew up north of the river, that was their first foray into Mexican food," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Andrea Canter

Karrin Allyson is one of the most notable jazz musicians to emerge from Kansas City in recent decades. She returns to her former stomping grounds for a benefit concert at the Folly Theater on Friday.

3 reasons we're listening to Karrin Allyson this week:

1. Allyson was born in Great Bend, Kansas, and honed her chops in Kansas City clubs before moving to New York.

Paul Andrews

Adam Lee
Sincerely, Me

From the instant Adam Lee’s voice sneaks up through a happy Ben Folds-style piano vamp and sultry, jazzy horns on “Son of a Gun,” it’s clear his move  to Chicago made some changes. Lee’s rockabilly hairstyle and unmistakably country voice are definitely still there, but Sincerely, Me is a new type of record.

flickr user Scott Unrein

The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, celebrating its 61st season, performs about six concerts a year in St. Louis, Missouri. This Saturday, the choral group sings on the other side of the state at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Kansas City. 

Artistic director Philip Barnes, a native of Great Britain, has been at the helm since 1989.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Making plans for what happens to your possessions when you die can be tough for anyone. But for artists – it’s not just about stuff, it’s about a lifetime of artistic creation. And … what happens to it when they die?

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Long before Tracy K. Smith was a poet, she was a young girl fascinated by the stars. That fascination was part of what inspired her book Life on Mars, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012.

Courtesy Calvin Arsenia

Calvin Arsenia, an arty singer-songwriter and harpist, has been a panelist on Up to Date's "Best Kansas City Music of 2015" and "Best Kansas City Music of 2016 ... So Far" shows. This week, however, Arsenia releases his own record.

3 reasons we're listening to Calvin Arsenia this week:

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Mac Lethal
Congratulations

Over the last decade and a half, the Kansas City rapper Mac Lethal has become a personality locally and beyond. He has a huge YouTube presence. He’s published a novel based on his Tumblr. He’s performed on "Ellen." He hosts an MTV show where he asks trivia questions to drunk people ("Binge Thinking," described in the opening credits as “the best pub crawl game show on TV”).

From the InterUrban ArtHouse web site

When it comes to re-use of buildings, 2017 marks a big year for arts organizations. 

The Johnson County Museum will move into a former bowling alley and ice skating rink in Overland Park, Kansas. Kansas City Young Audiences plans to relocate to a former office supply store in midtown Kansas City, Missouri. And last week, InterUrban ArtHouse closed on the purchase of a U.S. Postal Service building at 8010 Conser St. in downtown Overland Park. 

Antonio Masiello / For ZUMA Press

A man concealed by a protective suit carries a white body bag — a child victim of Ebola — while bystanders look on. A boy is passed to shore as a boat crammed with refugees attempts to dock on a rocky coastline.

A young girl wearing a tiara and holding an award smiles confidently, while her companion looks upset and uncomfortable in her sash and bow-tie. A man, possibly their father or coach, poses victoriously for beauty pageant cameras.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

When the American Jazz Museum unveils a new mural during First Friday festivities on November 4, it won't just reflect the 18th and Vine District's lively and colorful jazz history. It's also a statement about today, its lead painter says.

"This project is an effort to show the community how important it is to work together," says lead artist Michael Toombs, the founder and director of Storyteller's Inc.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The grand spectacle of opera is an expensive art form. These days more and more opera companies are banding together to ease the financial burden. For the first time in its history, Lyric Opera of Kansas City is taking the lead in a new co-production.

Paul Andrews

When Emmaline Twist debuted earlier this year, the self-described "post-punk shoegaze" quartet was embraced by area indie-rock tastemakers. The seasoned members of Emmaline Twist were previously in bands including the Latenight Callers, Onward Crispin Glover and the Silver Maggies.

3 reasons we're listening to Emmaline Twist this week:

Courtesy Ry Kincaid

When he debuted his one-man show at Kansas City’s Fringe Festival in the summer of 2015, Ry Kincaid was already thinking ahead to the 2016 election. No one, however, could have foreseen the need for entertaining relief would be so acute.

Unlike everything else in this season’s torturous exercise in democracy, Kincaid’s Presidential Briefs is good-hearted humor. In writing 44 original songs – one for each United States president – all performed in under an hour, Kincaid was partly trying to be helpful.

Courtesy Shapiro Brothers

Shapiro Brothers
Shapiro Brothers

As one of the early acts at Kansas City’s Porchfest this year, the Shapiro Brothers set their latest songs free from the comfort of a Valentine neighborhood porch at high noon on a gorgeous autumn day. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect venue for a new sound from two familiar voices.

Kenny Louie / Flickr -- CC

Nothing says “It’s fall!” like a delicious dessert to accompany a warm cup of cocoa. From fried apple pies to good ol' carrot cake, we’ve got the treats that will make your season sweet.

On Central Standard’s food show this week, KCUR's Food Critics searched out the best desserts in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

For the past six years, Jyoti Mukharji has opened her home kitchen to teach Kansas Citians about Indian cuisine.

But to her fans, her classes are more than just about cooking. Mukharji peppers her talk with personal stories and health tips, then the class ends in a dinner party around her dining room table.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Don't ask Todd Sheets about the first horror film that he made.

"It's godawful," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard. "Anything I made before '93 I kind of disowned."

Sheets started making horror movies in the late 1980s in Kansas City. He quickly earned a cult following; he was even dubbed the "Prince of Gore."

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