Though the Unicorn Theater has always been quick to pounce on the most buzzed about plays in New York, it has actually launched many new plays. In fact, a quarter of the shows over the years have had their world premieres in Kansas City. The latest is called "Green Whales," and while it tackles tough subjects in comedic ways, it is giving everyone involved a voice in bringing this new play to fruition.
Mural artist Alexander Austin has made his mark on the outside of buildings across Kansas City. There's a tribute to performer Michael Jackson at 18th and Troost; larger than life musicians and baseball players in Kansas City's history in the Power & Light district; and a memorial to civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. at Linwood and Troost.
Kansas City, MO – KCUR's Laura Spencer caught up with the artist to talk about his work, and his first solo exhibition.
Local musician Russ Wever has been playing the pedal steel guitar for more than forty years. He's performed at the Grand Ole Opry and on Broadway, and has had a big influence in the pedal steel guitar world.
By Tim Bridgham
Kansas City, MO – When you see a pedal steel guitar it doesn't look much like a guitar. Laid out horizontally, the pedal steel has two necks and a lot of foot pedals and knee levers. Though its roots come from the guitar, this version of the instrument has the ability to do much more.
The thousand-year-old Chinese folk tale, "Madame White Snake," is the story of a white snake demon who longs for love. And there are tragic consequences. It's the subject of the first opera for composer and UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance professor Zhou Long. In the production, elements of traditional Chinese opera meet the style of the West.
The Kansas City Art Institute includes a who's who roster of artists who've studied or taught at the college in its 125-year history. Among the notable figures: animator Walt Disney took Saturday classes as a child; Thomas Hart Benton headed the painting department from 1935 - 1941; Robert Rauschenberg studied fashion design in 1948; and Nick Cave graduated in 1982 from the fiber department. Cave's Soundsuits will be featured at a performance this weekend.
The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival. And it's considered the most important traditional Chinese holiday. Families clean their houses to symbolically sweep away ill fortune and make way for good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red to celebrate the themes of happiness, wealth and longevity.
After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers of today, a true innovator and visionary.
By Up to Date, Feb 5, 2010
Born in Brooklyn N.Y., Randy Weston didn't have to travel far to hear early influential jazz giants like Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and of course, Duke Ellington. But his greatest influence, by far, was Thelonious Monk.
Local author Ann Ingalls' new children's book introduces young readers to the legendary pianist Mary Lou Williams.
By Alex Smith
Kansas City, MO – If she were still alive this year, jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams would be 100 years old. Williams was considered by many to be the greatest female jazz instrumentalist of all times. She spent the years between 1929 and 1941 in Kansas City, and was one of the principal architects of the Kansas City swing sound.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announced a promised gift of seven works of African art from the private collection of Adele and Donald Hall, in honor of the Museum's 75th Anniversary.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – According to Adele Hall, a personal favorite is a work she and her husband, Donald Hall, affectionately call "The King." She says, "You see the tilt of his head and the chin coming out, the strength of the pose. He is saying, 'I am king! My household is protected and this place will stay safe.'"