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. 

Al Pitzner

Kansas City Mayor Sly James established Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, as "Fred Andrews Day" to honor Andrews's 20-year commitment to the city's film community. 

But as friends gathered to celebrate, Fred Andrews was not there. He died on Wednesday after a six-year struggle with cancer.

In 1996, Andrews had an idea for a film festival. And the following year, he made it happen on the campus of University of Missouri-Kansas City — in collaboration with other area universities, the Independent Filmmakers Coalition, and the Film Society of Kansas City — on a shoestring budget. 

C. Jill Reed / Wikimedia Commons

Remember ‘Oz the Great and Terrible’? Turns out he wasn’t such a bad guy. In the end, you might say he was terribly good.

In that spirit, there are things to do this weekend that might well be terrible, but in more than one sense.

Am I being absolutely awful to propose potentially dire diversions? Actually, I’m just being alliterative. But terrible? Now you’re talking.

1. Wavves with Best Coast and Cherry Glazerr

Music Review: Fullbloods' 'Mild West'

Feb 23, 2016
Zach Bauman
Hannah Copeland

The largest Folk Music Conference in the world, Folk Alliance International, brought more than 1,000 musicians to Crown Center in Kansas City last week. Musicians and fans crowded into hotel rooms to play and watch hundreds of small concerts hosted during the five day event.

Here are the sounds from those concerts, including a tuba player practicing by a waterfall, and a room organizer stashing his guitar and beer in a bathtub.

Courtesy Rebekah Winegarner

After seven hours of sitting at a computer creating a submission for Roland’s Digital Piano Design Contest, Rebekah Winegarner needed some fun. Clicking through the material menu on her industrial design software, she changed her wooden piano, shaped like a rock formation from the Utah desert, to the color of beer.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Three songs into her official Folk Alliance showcase on Thursday night, Kansas City musician Jessica Paige had words for the music industry.

“Recently I was on ‘American Idol’ and they sent me home for a bunch of younger girls, which I’m OK with,” Paige told an audience of about forty other musicians, industry professionals and folk enthusiasts in the Brookside room on the first floor of the Westin Hotel.

9 Podcasts About Love That You're Gonna Love

Feb 19, 2016
Henra / Pixabay Creative Commons

If you're looking to fall in love, you need not go any further than the podcast app on your phone

In fact, podcasts can be better than real-life sweethearts. They can whisper sweet nothings at whatever volume you like, you can always unsubscribe without any breakup drama, and you never have to introduce them to your parents.

And without further ado, here are some great podcasts about love. And don't worry, not always the mushy-gushy kind. 

1. Modern Love: Missed Connection

www.facebook.com

Meat and potatoes are Kansas City’s heritage, according to KCUR’s food critic Charles Ferruzza.

“We are the city that had, at least in our region, the stockyards. So beef was really, really accessible and potatoes were really, really cheap,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

“It’s always been a great combination.”

Ferruzza, along with food critics Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara, discussed the best meat and potato dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Does the warm weather have you in a festive mood? Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to celebrate with some current cinema offerings.

Cynthia Haines

Room, R

  • A young woman and her son are imprisoned in a shed.

Spotlight, R

  • Reporters working for the Boston Globe uncover evidence of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

Rolling Papers, not rated (showing at Liberty Hall)

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The sound of picking banjos, strumming guitars and fiddling fiddles permeated the air Thursday night as some 3,500 musicians, agents, promoters and other industry representatives from all corners of the globe descended on the Westin Crown Center for Folk Alliance International.

diosthenese / Flickr--CC

Ah, the B-word. Most of us know one or more of the impolite connotations. But let’s stretch out a bit, shall we?

Beyond the rudely inspired, other B’s beckoning partakers this weekend include bulls, ballet and Brazil.

And, yes, there’s a bona fide B-word thing to do, if you care to try it.  Whatever you may choose, be sure to have a blast.

1. Professional Bull Riders

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

What does it mean to be an American teenager? That's been a question posed everywhere from The Catcher in the Rye to Huckleberry Finn. It's also the subject of the Spinning Tree Theatre's production of the musical 13, a show about adolescents — with a cast made up of nineteen of them.

At a recent rehearsal for the company's production of 13, sets are under construction and the musical director is tinkering with the score.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

If you've been to the Mutual Musicians Foundation or even driven past 1823 Highland Ave. lately, you might do a double take. The formerly bright pink building is now brown. 

"Why keep the pink?" asks executive director Anita Dixon, with a laugh. "We've got a 100-year history ahead of us and we chose a palette that we liked. And it's not really brown, it's kind of beige." 

Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Just 20 miles south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border lies a structure that can’t be missed. The tower draws crowds from around the world and has given a little city a big name.

Bartlesville’s Price Tower is an anomaly. In an oil and gas town filled with short red-, orange- and brown-brick buildings, its 19 stories stand tall with green patina copper and cantilevered floors.

cooltagged.com

A proposal for tax incentives to bring production of films, television series episodes and major TV commercials to Kansas City cleared a City Council committee Wednesday.

The details of the plan have been in the making for several months at the Film and Media Office of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Development chair Scott Taylor told the Finance Committee that Kansas City is losing talent and production contracts to cities that offer the incentives. A particularly frustrating case, he said was losing a movie set in Kansas City to Atlanta.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Inside the gallery, it’s a scene familiar to anyone who attends art openings: People are enjoying the oil paintings and large-scale photographs bathed in natural light, snacking on cheese and crackers while lively conversation bounces off the brick walls and polished wood floors.

Outside, though, is the wide-open silence of the Kansas Flint Hills.

This particular art gallery is surrounded by ranch lands in rural Wabaunsee County, where there are many more cattle than people. The gallery's in a place called Volland, which is basically the intersection of a two-lane highway and a dirt road. 

Folk Alliance International

At 76, you might think that folk singer Judy Collins is getting ready to slow down. 

You would be wrong. 

The folk legend, who has released more than 50 records since her debut album A Maid of Constant Sorrow in 1961, is still on the road — performing as many as 120 shows a year.

Her latest album, Strangers Again, came out in 2015.

She's been candid about her struggles with addiction and bulimia and continues to fight for various social causes, including mental health. 

Ingrid Roettgen / Courtesy of Truman Media Network

The northeastern Missouri town of Kirksville has a population of just over 17,000 people. It’s also home to Truman State University, a liberal arts school with about 6,000 students – a few of whom have worked hard to create their own sense of adventure in a town where there isn’t much to do.

“It’s a town where you have to roll up the sidewalks at night, you know? It’s that small,” says Jacob Hurst, a grad student at Truman State. “All we have is, like, a Wal-Mart. That’s what some kids do for a good time on a Saturday night: Just go walk around Wal-Mart.”

Little Class Records

It’s impossible not to hear the life experience in Billy Beale’s time-worn voice.

As the Kansas City blues-staple sings the lyrics, “the only time I’ve been successful’s when I fell,” local record producer Jody Hendrix is reminded of why he felt compelled to document that singular sound.

“Billy is a legend in the bar rooms, the juke joints, and the courtrooms,” Hendrix told Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid, longtime owners of the Reading Reptile children's bookstore in Brookside, are transitioning out of that business and turning their energies toward what they say will ultimately be something resembling a museum dedicated to children's literature.

But they also say it will be a place where visitors will be fully immersed in the books' narratives. 

Bob Mahoney / Courtesy Warner Brothers

A proposal that would give rebates to film and television companies for working in Kansas City, Missouri goes to a City Council committee for consideration on Wednesday.

David Basse and Joe Cartwright
Live at Pilgrim Chapel (Lafayette Music)

Live at Pilgrim Chapel, a duet album from two mainstays of Kansas City’s jazz scene, contains 56 minutes of worrisome adventure. While Joe Cartwright is a reliably outstanding pianist, David Basse’s limited vocal range and roguish demeanor add an unsteady edge to the recording.

Kat Shiffler / Center for Rural Affairs

On a Monday night, Main Street in Lyons, Nebraska, is closed — for a movie, according to signs on the barricades. A crowd has gathered on the brick pavement. Suddenly, what appears to be an empty storefront begins to move. People watch with anticipation as the facade leans forward, lowering toward the street.

After the façade comes down, a stand of bleacher seats slides forward from the empty building, creating outdoor seating for 80 people. Lyons’ Storefront Theater has become a reality. The crowd claps and cheers.

courtesy of the artist

The Kansas City Chorale and the Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of artistic director Charles Bruffy, received a Grammy for Choral Performance on Monday for the album Rachmaninoff: All Night Vigil.

The award was announced just after 4 p.m. by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

To date, recordings by the Kansas City Chorale have received nine Grammy nominations and five wins. 

Artists often have limited access to finances but very specific funding needs — such as booking studio time to record a new CD, renting a van for musicians on tour, or replacing stolen equipment.

Megan Crigger is the director of creative services for Kansas City’s Office of Culture and Creative Services. She says an expanded micro-loan program called ArtCap will provide a larger, dedicated loan pool for artists. 

Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

In its early days, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was a popular Victorian-era spa resort, with visitors arriving by train to take the water cure in the 1890s.

Decades later, in the 1940s, a group of painters, traveling to this small Ozarks village by automobile during the summers, established a permanent art colony. Today, more than 10 percent of the town’s 2,000 residents work as artists, either in their own studios or in more than 30 galleries amid Eureka Springs’ steep curving boulevards and lush spring-fed gardens.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The ballet Swan Lake is a tragic love story. A beautiful princess, Odette, is under a spell, and, by day, turns into a white swan. A handsome prince falls for her, but then he’s tricked into pledging his love for an evil witch, Odile, the black swan. And the spell cannot be undone. 

Veteran dancer Cynthia Gregory made her debut as Odette/Odile in 1967, at the age of 20, on tour with the American Ballet Theatre in San Francisco.

Cuddle up with your sweetheart, a box of chocolate and a good film this Valentine's Day weekend. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to fill your screen.

Cynthia Haines

Son of Saul, R

  • It has been nominated for best foreign film, and I would maybe put money on it (winning). This is (the director's) first feature film, which is absolutely incredible to realize. 

45 Years, R

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

It's a rare person who can make a full-time living as a playwright in Kansas City. Nathan Louis Jackson is such a person. His gig as playwright-in-residence at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre was recently renewed.

Pixabay / CC

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, which means you and your lover (or lovers!) can enjoy an entire romantic weekend together.

If a romantic weekend together sounds like a terrible idea, consider finding another significant other, or just keep reading. I promise I’ve put together an entirely un-cheesy, love-tastic weekend.

Friday Evening

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