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. 

Courtesy of Tim Githumbi / DJ Skeme

Kansas City, MO – When you hear the name DJ Jazzy Jeff the hit 90's sitcom ,The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air might come to mind. Jeff Townes played Will Smith's friend Jazz, who often got kicked out of the house by Uncle Phil. And now almost 30 years later, just a week ago on Saturday night, Jazzy Jeff says he was kicked out of the Power and Light District.

The Food Critics share the latest in local restaurant news, and offer advice on places to eat in the area. During the second half we'll talk about the strangest food combinations you've seen on menus that have pleasantly surprised you.

Kansas City , Mo. –

The Food Critics are:

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
Chris Becicka, Ingram's Magazine
Gloria Gale, 435 South Magazine

One would think that the current economic climate would make it difficult at best to kick off a new theatrical venture. But a Kansas City playwright and actor are doing just that.

Kansas City, MO – One would think that the current economic climate would make it difficult at best to kick off a new theatrical venture. But a Kansas City playwright and actor are doing just that, thanks to a guardian angel and a story that would be a crime to keep to themselves.

Phil Shafer's latest t-shirt designs are influenced by hip hop graffiti. This coming Friday, his Sikenomics designs will be showcased at the shop Spool in the Crossroads.

Sales of Chinese-made clothes, electronics and toys have fallen off a cliff in the last couple of years. But the global recession has only cooled the red-hot Chinese art market. Last year, 11 of the world's top 20 best-selling artists were Chinese.

The essence of a supernova. Galaxies, goddesses, and art nouveau. The light and pressure of the Big Bang. These are just a few of the inspirations from the 18 collections, by established and emerging designers, that will be featured in the 9th annual West 18th Street Fashion show. This year's theme: Summer in Space.

Kansas City, MO – West 18th Street Fashion Show
Summer in Space
Saturday, June 6, 8:00pm
Crossroads Arts District
West 18th Street, between Wyandotte and Baltimore

photos: Charles Stonewall

Baroque music has been described as expressing order, but always lively and tuneful. The musical period, roughly from 1600 to 1750, includes notable composers like Bach and Vivaldi.

photo courtesy of Gamelan Genta Kasturi

Gamelan, the orchestral music of Indonesia, is praised for its color, rhythmic structure and lyrical melodies. And it's an important part of parades, festivals, and ceremonies.

Kansas City, MO – The largest Balinese ensemble in North America, Gamelan Genta Kasturi, is based in Kansas City, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Kansas City, MO – A panel of arts professionals chose two Kansas City artists, out of a pool of nearly 30 nominees, as this year's Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artists: poet Glenn North and choreographer and dancer Tiffany Sisemore. Each will receive unrestricted cash grants of $5000.

A panel of arts professionals chose two Kansas City artists as this year's Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artists: poet Glenn North and choreographer and dancer Tiffany Sisemore. Each will receive unrestricted cash grants of $5000.

Dan Christensen's brother, Don Christensen, describes his relationship with his sibling and methods of creation. A new survey of paintings by the late artist (1942-2007)documents Christensen's "never-ending quest to understand the possibilities of color, paint, and pictorial space."

Kansas City, MO – Dan Christensen: Forty Years of Painting
May 15-August 30, 2009
Kemper Museum

Kemper Museum had the opportunity to sit with friends and family of the deceased painter to provide further insight into his work and life. Dan Christensen's widow, Elaine Grove, describes his studio practice and the motivations behind his work. A new survey of paintings by the late artist (1942-2007)documents Christensen's "never-ending quest to understand the possibilities of color, paint, and pictorial space."

The Food Critics return with restaurant news and reviews. Plus, a look at where you can find the best dips.

Kansas City , Mo. –

The Food Critics are:

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
Chris Becicka, Ingram's Magazine
Mary Bloch, The Independent


There's a brick building at 31st and Gillham, which has stood for more than eight decades. Most of the time it's been known as the El Torreon, but for three years in the early '70s, it was transformed into the Cowtown Ballroom.

Kansas City, MO – Listen to the extended interview in the Fish Fry archives

Cedric Patterson grew up playing music at his church in Topeka. And in seeking out the perfect instrument for gigs inside and out of the church, he constructed his own seven-string bass guitar.

The Food Critics share the latest local restaurant news. Find out the best places to eat out in the area, plus, a conversation on places to find the best sausages and hot dogs.

Kansas City, Mo –

The Food Critics are:

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
Gloria Gale, 435 South Magazine

 

LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

A new dance piece, titled "Gates Bar-B-Que Suite," pays tribute to a Kansas City barbecue restaurant.

Kansas City, MO – A new dance piece pays tribute to a Kansas City barbecue restaurant. Titled "Gates Bar-B-Que Suite," the work pairs an original composition by jazz artist Bobby Watson with the choreography of Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company co-founder and artistic director Mary Pat Henry.

"Cowtown Ballroom...Sweet Jesus" is a documentary film about Cowtown Ballroom, a legendary concert venue in Kansas City, Missouri. It was only open for 38 months, but in its short life span established an incredible musical heritage.

Kansas City , Mo. – Cowtown Ballroom: Sweet Jesus is a documentary film about Cowtown Ballroom, a legendary concert venue in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jazz Hall Funding Hits Discordant Note

May 13, 2009
kcur photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver brought confirmation of federal program money to the foundation for jazz musicians and ended by defending his belief in what critics call government waste. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports.

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

In E.B. White's classic novel "Charlotte's Web," a pig called Wilbur, the runt of the litter, is raised by a young girl named Fern and befriended by a spider named Charlotte.

Kansas City, MO – In the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production, professional opera singers and more than 20 children bring the story to life through song. KCUR's Laura Spencer spoke with a middle schooler and a high schooler who share the role of Fern.

photos: Laura Spencer, KCUR

In dance, a professional career begins at a young age and often ends early. Two members of the Kansas City Ballet take their final bows this weekend.

More than 200 performers share the stage this week for "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" composed by Howard Shore. It's based on the musical score from the films adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's tales of hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs and men of Middle-earth.

The Food Critics return to share restaurant news and recommendations. Check out the list of recommended restaurants!

Kansas City , Mo. –

The Food Critics are:
Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
Chris Becicka, Ingram's Magazine
Mary Bloch, The Independent

LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM

Small as a stencil on a sidewalk, or large as a full-scale painting on the side of a building wall: Spray can art can be found in a variety shapes and sizes, and is created with just as diverse a range of motivations.

Kansas City, MO – Join us for a conversation on the purpose, popularity and influence of street art, with a focus on the murals and graffiti that exist in our urban landscape.

Director/CEO Marc F. Wilson Announces Retirement as of June 2010

Kansas City, MO – The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's Director and CEO, Marc Wilson, is stepping down after nearly three decades. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

The museum's fourth director since opening in 1933, Marc Wilson oversaw the transformation and expansion that included the opening of the Bloch Building in 2007, which received much critical acclaim. Newly expanded and reinstalled American galleries opened to the public April 22, 2009, and expanded Native American galleries open in November.

Garden and food writer Rosalind Creasy and Powell Gardens' Director of Horticulture Alan Branhagen join Steve Kraske for a conversation about gardening, landscaping and getting the most out of both. They look outside the box when it comes to what is edible, and give us some food for thought when it comes to designing landscaping.

The Food Critics return to share restaurant news and recommendations. Plus, where to find great Italian food in our area.

The Food Critics are:
Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
Gloria Gale, 435 South Magazine
Mary Bloch, The Independent

LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM

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Kansas City, MO – State arts agencies and regional arts organizations will soon be infused with $20 million from the federal stimulus package. The National Endowment for the Arts will distribute the funds as part of an effort to jumpstart the economy. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Kansas Arts Commission Executive Director Llewelyn Crain says the funds are to be used specifically for grant recipients to preserve jobs in the arts. The amount of the grants will range between $5,000 and $40,000.

Michelle Obama's doing it, and maybe you've thought about doing it, too. Growing food at home is a trend that's getting more and more attention. Some people do it for recreation, some to save money and some for home-grown, seasonal nutrition.

In the 1960's Spanish-language rock and roll began evolving separately from the mainstream and today, Rock En Espanol, with its own rhythms and cultural themes, is considered it's own genre. The Kansas City band Making Movies is also finding it's own niche as a Midwestern rock band with Latino roots.

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