Arts & Culture

McTavish Weekend Extra
10:59 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Six Theatrical Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

The Kansas City Zoo's Great Pumpkin Smash is just one of the theatrical events going on in Kansas City this weekend.
Credit Greg Boege / Flickr-CC

“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” wrote William Shakespeare, suggesting that life may be a theatrical work in progress.

Whether humanity comprises the cast of a cosmic play – heavy stuff – this weekend does offer genuine opportunities to embrace the drama, both onstage and off.

But wait: If the entire planet is really a proscenium arch, how can anyone ever be truly offstage? Oh, Shakespeare, you rascal!

1. Union Station’s Open House Celebration

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Film Review: Danger Looks Good In 'The Two Faces of January'

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst in 'The Two Faces of January.'
Credit Magnolia Pictures

In the sordid world of cult novelist Patricia Highsmith, everyone who isn’t an outright villain still manages to harbor dark secrets. Movies made from her books include Alfred Hitchcock’s twisted and campy Strangers on a Train and Anthony Minghella’s gloriously decadent The Talented Mr. Ripley. The latest is called The Two Faces of January. Though it's not as successful as its predecessors, it is stylish, suspenseful and awfully pretty to look at.

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Arts & Culture
9:49 am
Thu October 30, 2014

PHOTOS: Peregrine Honig's New Paintings Encourage Selfie-Indulgence

Ryan Brown was riding around the West Bottoms on his bicycle when he heard about the show. He decided to stop by and take a selfie.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Camera phones were snapping Friday night with the opening of Peregrine Honig's latest exhibition at Haw Contemporary, a gallery in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo. While many artists discourage photographs of their work, Honig openly invited viewers to use her large-scale oil paintings as backdrops for selfies, or self-portraits. 

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Arts & Culture
3:32 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

For Poet Alice Friman, Kansas City Is An Unexpected Mecca

Poet Alice Friman returns to Kansas City for a reading at Rockhurst University for its Midwest Poets Series.
Credit Lillian Elaine Wilson

Kansas City can be inspiring in surprising ways. A walk in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art did the trick for Georgia College’s poet-in-residence, Alice Friman, who reads Thursday evening at Rockhurst University. 

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Up To Date
12:57 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

DiDonato Invites 40,000 Fans To Sing With Her At Kauffman Stadium

Mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato, a Royals fan for decades, sings the National Anthem on Wednesday.
Credit courtesy: Joyce DiDonato

After a social media campaign with the twitter hashtag #LetJoyceSing, a Change.org petition, an invitation from Major League Baseball to sing in Game 7 of the World Series -- and the Royals victory that assured there would be a Game 7, Prairie Village, Kan. native Joyce DiDonato is ready to sing the National Anthem in the final game.

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Arts & Culture
5:14 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

World Series National Anthem Update: Game 6, Kansas City Symphony; Game 7, Joyce DiDonato

Joyce DiDonato is not available to sing the National Anthem before Game 6, but she plans to perform it if there's a game Game 7.
Credit courtesy: Carnegie Hall

Classical musicians will be taking center stage during the final games of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

About 20, or as many as 60, members of the Kansas City Symphony, decked out in blue suits with blue accents, are scheduled to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the pre-game ceremonies of Game 6 on Tuesday night. Music director Michael Stern is flying back Tuesday afternoon in time to conduct. 

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Arts & Culture
9:15 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Naughty-Word Alert: The Unicorn's Cynthia Levin On Problematic Play Names

Cynthia Levin, the Unicorn Theatre's producing artistic director.
Credit Unicorn Theatre

Bad Jews, which opened this week at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., is a comedy.

Still, some potential funders weren’t amused. Cynthia Levin, the Unicorn’s producing artistic director, says some philanthropic organizations that have sponsored the Unicorn’s shows declined this time because of the show’s title.

“I understand that,” Levin says. Arts philanthropy is a competitive arena with intensely interested boards of directors, so the name of a production can sometimes work in the Unicorn’s favor – or not.

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Arts & Culture
8:33 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Artists As Parents Inspired By Choices

"The Big Hug" by Jason Needham is featured on one side of a billboard, an ARTBOARD, atop Missouri Bank in the Crossroads. It's on display through November.
courtesy: the artist

Making art requires dedication and time – lots of it. Add a child to the mix and having a career as an artist can be a challenge. Some put their art practice on hold to raise a family; others adapt to making art when they can. And, sometimes, a child can lead to inspiration. 

Artwork changes from edgy to uplifting 

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McTavish Weekend Extra
10:56 am
Thu October 23, 2014

7 Scary Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

This archway entrance takes visitors into "The Beast," one of the haunted houses in Kansas City's West Bottoms.
Credit Chris Murphy / Flickr--CC

What’s scarier than Halloween?

Actually, the macabre cluster of events taking place the weekend before All Hallows’ Eve might put more hair on your chest – which is great, especially if you’re the ghost of Lon Chaney, Jr. (And if you are the ghost of Lon Chaney Jr., please keep it to yourself, because that’s too scary.)

The spooky bottom line: Why put all of your Halloween frights into Oct. 31, when you can frontload a quality howl at the moon this weekend? Sound good? Hey, just going my job. You don’t have to fang me for it.

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Up To Date
5:30 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Local Listen: The Architects

The Architects have been Kansas City's sturdiest punk band for a decade. The quartet is barnstorming the country with the California skate-punk legends Agent Orange. Their tour stops at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kan. on Friday, October 24.

This week's edition of Local Listen features "Kickswaggerboom," a song from the latest installment of The Architect's "Border Wars" song cycle that reveals the band's affection for vintage American pop.

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Beyond Our Borders
2:41 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

PHOTOS: Kansas And Missouri's Nearly Identical Taste In Art

Big clown-like figures in 'Thinker'-like poses: 'Companion (Passing Through),' KAWS, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kan., and 'Crying Giant,' Tom Otterness, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo.
Julie Denesha KCUR

In our Beyond Our Borders story on arts and the state line in the Kansas City area, artists and leaders of arts organizations said they believed that the boundary isn't much of a barrier when it comes to the metro's cultural landscape — artists and audiences enthusiastically cross the state line for all sorts of cultural events.

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Arts & Culture
8:17 am
Wed October 22, 2014

For Kansas City Veteran And Singer, 'God Bless America' Stirs Up Pride In City, Country

Richard Gibson stopped by the KCUR studios for a preview of his rendition of "God Bless America."
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Richard Gibson, 33, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps just after high school and was stationed in Iraq. When his service ended in 2003, and he returned to Kansas City, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

With a love for singing and performance, Gibson turned to opera. For the past eight years, he's been a member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City chorus. He's also taking on a new role, as conductor of a Veteran's Chorus

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Central Standard
4:11 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Why Alvin Ailey Matters

Alvin Ailey dancer Sean Aaron Carmon rehearses Alvin Ailey's 'Memoria' with 29 dance students from the UMKC Conservatory.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Alvin Ailey was a choreographer who was born in Texas in 1931. He spent his pioneering dance career in New York City, touring internationally and transforming ideas about dance and race on the world stage throughout his life. He died in 1989, and yet, Kansas City dancers live and breathe Alvin Ailey in the 21st century. 

In recognition of the 30th anniversary of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA), Central Standard explores the dance philosophy of Alvin Ailey and his relationship with Kansas City. 

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Arts & Culture
7:44 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Kansas City Arts Groups Root For The Home Team

Arts organizations, such as the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, are reaching out on social media to show their support of the Royals.
Credit courtesy: Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Vying for attention with the red hot Royals this week, Kansas City arts organizations say the show must go on.

“There’s no reason you can’t love sports and art both – and I do,” Rocco Landesman, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts told KCUR on a visit to Kansas City a few years ago.

Still, arts advocates understand that the Royals' first World Series bid in nearly 30 years has made the city a bit sports-crazy.

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Arts & Culture
11:08 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Here Are The Prophetic Lyrics To Viral 'Royals' Parody Song

Aaron Lage, writer of prophetic Lorde parody lyrics.
Credit Aaron Lage

Among the many non-team winners of the Kansas City Royals' improbable World Series run are Kansas City musician John Long and his friend Aaron Lage, who created what's now known by 243,290 (and counting) YouTube viewers as simply "Lorde - 'Royals' Parody|Kansas City 'Royals.'"

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Arts & Culture
3:07 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Horace Washington, Kansas City Saxophone And Flute Player, Dies

(left to right) American Jazz Museum's Greg Carroll, jazz historian Chuck Haddix, and musicians Horace Washington and Bobby Watson participated in a recent panel about the legacy of Charlie Parker at the American Jazz Museum.
Credit courtesy: American Jazz Museum

The American Jazz Museum is reporting the death of musician Horace Washington, 62, posting this today on the museum's Facebook page: “The Board and Staff of the American Jazz Museum are saddened to pass along the news that HORACE WASHINGTON has passed away.”

Washington, a saxophonist and flute player who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., had been dealing with some health issues for the past couple of years, says Chris Burnett, marketing and communications manager for the museum.

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Central Standard
2:53 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Composer Jeffrey Ruckman Knows His Tools, His Obsessions And His City

Jeffrey Ruckman's Kansas City home is full of instruments, familiar and unfamiliar.
Credit Paul Andrews

When Central Standard thought about asking Jeffrey Ruckman to create new theme music for the show, one of the things that made him appealing was his masterfully offbeat, genre-bending tendency.

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Up to Date
12:56 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' October 18-20

'The Green Prince' made both our critics' lists this week.

The World Series doesn't start until Tuesday, but area theaters have movies ready now. Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics share their favorite films showing on area screens:

Cynthia Haines:

  • The Skeleton Twins
  • The Drop
  • The Green Prince

Steve Walker: 

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Arts & Culture
12:34 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Opera Star Joyce DiDonato Says She'll Sing National Anthem If MLB Asks

Joyce DiDonato grew up in Prairie Village, Kan., and has been a Royals fan for decades.
Credit courtesy: Joyce DiDonato

Update Monday, 4:45 pm: 

Kansas City’s homegrown opera diva Joyce DiDonato won’t be singing the National Anthem during the World Series, at least during the first four games.

A vigorous social media campaign, including an online petition signed by more than 3,000, lobbied Major League Baseball to #letjoycesing.  

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Arts & Culture
6:51 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Arts Leaders Dream Of Erasing The Kansas-Missouri State Line; Artists Cross It

Two states, two major art museums with two dramatic buildings: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (top) is in Kansas City, Mo., and the Nerman Museum of Art is in Overland Park, Kan.
Credit Courtesy / Nelson-Atkins and Nerman Museum

Harlan Brownlee wishes he could just erase the state line dividing Missouri and Kansas.

In fact, Brownlee knows how he’d do it. He’s the president of ArtsKC, a non-profit that makes grants and provides other resources to artists throughout the five-county metropolitan region. So, in his vivid imagination, he gets his hands on one of the giant Typewriter Erasers by Shuttlecocks sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and rolls it down State Line Road.

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Arts & Culture
6:08 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Film Review: A Palestinian Son Spies On His Father In 'The Green Prince'

Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak in 'The Green Prince.'
Credit Music Box Films

Is selling one’s soul to a parent’s worst enemy justified if it means avoiding torture, prison, or much worse? Such is the quandary at the crux of Nadav Schirman’s documentary The Green Prince, a tense and dense examination into how Mosab Hassan Yousef, a young Palestinian whose father was a founder of Hamas, ended up an informant for the Israeli security force known as Shin Bet. By the time viewers reach its bittersweet climax, prior documentaries about guarded family secrets will seem like Saturday-morning cartoons.

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Arts & Culture
3:48 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Now That Kansas City Has A Film Office, Maybe Directors Will Film Here

Reese Witherspoon plays a woman who helps four Sudanese refugees resettle in the United States. It was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, and South Africa.
Credit Bob Mahoney / courtesy: Warner Brothers

Kansas City has been missing out on valuable economic development – and image enhancement – opportunities by not having a fully staffed film office, but that should change now that Stephane Scupham has joined the Visit KC tourism office as film and new media manager.

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Arts & Culture
10:04 am
Thu October 16, 2014

6 Things For Food And Drink Lovers To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

It wouldn't be a Kansas City weekend without a little barbecue.
Joe Newman Flickr -- CC

We all must eat and drink. But sometimes it seems like we’re just absorbing fuel, rather than being delighted by our dietary decisions. Not this weekend!

That which is consumed so that we may press on can provide greater meaning — as well as a greater waistline —when folks gather around the metro to make a fuss over chili, barbecue, beer, wine and more.

And, remember, it’s the greater meaning that makes the difference at the table – along with maybe a napkin.

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Arts & Culture
12:19 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

LISTEN: The Elder Statesmen Of Kansas City Jazz Play The City's Signature Song

The Elder Statesmen of Kansas City Jazz performing "Kansas City" at the Blue Room on Oct. 11.
Credit C.J. Janovy

Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival filled the air behind the American Jazz Museum with music and barbecue smoke from early in the afternoon until late at night on Saturday, Oct. 11. The jams also went on all day inside the Gem Theater and the Blue Room. 

Although the American Jazz Museum brought in national talent including Roy Hargrove, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lucky Peterson, Jessica Care Moore and Midnight Star, plenty of area acts had stage time as well.

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Arts & Culture
8:10 am
Mon October 13, 2014

How The Royals Chose Between Two Of The Coolest Songs Ever

Curt Nelson is director of the Kansas City Royals' Hall of Fame -- and knows more than a little music trivia.
Credit C.J. Janovy

At Kauffman Stadium, Royals victories are accompanied by The Beatles' "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey." The City of Kansas City's official song is Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City" — arguably one of the coolest songs in the history of American music — which the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium only after the Royals lose.

Why is that?

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Up to Date
1:12 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' October 10-12

'The Notebook' takes a look at the experience of two children during World War II.

Looking for films to see when you're not glued to the Royals games? Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics share their favorite films showing on area screens:

Steve Walker:

Cynthia Haines

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Arts & Culture
10:03 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Four Playoff Teams, One Kansas City Firm: Populous Rules The Ballparks

The Kansas City Royals' Kauffman Stadium, designed by Kivett & Myers, opened in 1973. The renovations, designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport), were completed in 2009.
courtesy: Populous

The Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles are very different teams. The Orioles led Major League Baseball this season in home runs, the Royals were last. The Royals were first with stolen bases, and the Orioles were last. But – their ballparks share Kansas City DNA.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Five On Life: Documentaries In The 14th Kansas International Film Festival

Miguel Cortes in '120 Days'
Credit Brad Allgood

Update, Monday, Oct. 13: The jury award in the Social Justice Documentary category was announced on Oct. 13. It went to 120 Days. Audience awards will be announced at the end of the festival on Thursday, Oct. 16.

Immigration, contamination from everyday chemicals, and Christian colleges' struggle with gay students and alumni are among the topical and controversial issues explored in the films up for the Best Documentary Jury Prize in this year’s Kansas International Film Festival.

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Up To Date
4:26 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Local Listen: OJT

Credit www.kenlovern.com

This Saturday's 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival will have national acts like the great jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove.  But the event also provides an expanded stage for many Kansas City-based musicians like OJT. This organ jazz trio, led by Ken Lovern, will be among the acts representing the area's jazz scene. This edition of Local Listen features the trio's playful new interpretation of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl."

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Arts & Culture
2:47 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

PHOTOS: Jabberwocky Unleashed In Ballet's 'Alice (In Wonderland)'

A 25-foot wingspan makes this Jabberwocky puppet a frightful foe in the hands of dancer Lamin Pereira dos Santos.
Julie Denesha KCUR

One character in the Kansas City Ballet's new production of Alice (in wonderland) is not a dancer -- but requires seven dancers to move: the Jabberwocky, a silver-scaled beast with a sprawling 25-foot wingspan.

Early in the rehearsal process, the ballet's artistic director, Devon Carney, brought in Paul Mesner, founder of Paul Mesner Puppets, to stage the puppet work and teach the dancers a few tricks of the trade.

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