Arts & Culture

Film
8:42 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Film Review: A Family's Heirlooms Are Spite And Malice in 'August: Osage County'

Meryl Streep (bottom) plays Violet Weston, the matriarch of a screwed up family, comforted - sort of - by her daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts).
Credit Weinstein Company

If done well, movies about dysfunctional families are able to elegantly dance that fine line between humor and pain. Terms of Endearment succeeded at finding that balance, as does the film adaptation of Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, where an unplanned death reopens life-long yet still festering wounds. The Weston clan of Osage County, Okla., must have a family tree that looks like a weeping willow. It is headed up by Beverly (Sam Shepard), a college lecturer and occasional poet, and his poly-addicted wife, Violet (Meryl Streep), who personifies how pills came to be known as mother’s little helpers. Of their three grown daughters, only Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) has stuck close to home; Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) long ago picked up stakes for relationships by turn strained or serially monogamous.

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Music
7:40 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Folk Alliance Relocation Will Bring Kansas City Music, Money

Folk Alliance director Louis Meyers says the Folk Alliance brings people together through music.
Credit Lauren Kirby

Kansas City, Mo., will take on a folksy note next month when Folk Alliance International holds its annual conference at Crown Center.

A celebration of all types of folk culture, the event is perhaps a harbinger of bigger things to come. The nonprofit Folk Alliance moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City last summer — and already, the folk connections are building. 

The group set up its headquarters in Kansas City's River Market and opened a boutique music shop called The Folk Shop on location.

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Film
6:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Film Review: Even In Spiritual Decline, Rome Remains 'The Great Beauty'

Toni Servillo plays a writer pondering what he has accomplished and what he may still achieve in 'The Great Beauty.'
Credit Courtesy of Janus Films

Throughout Paolo Sorrentino’s exuberant and strange film The Great Beauty,  a 65-year-old writer whose only hit novel was published 40 years prior struggles with his own reputation and mortality, as well as that of his beloved Rome, Italy. According to Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) and his jaded circle of friends, Rome is over and done – finito. As one of his friends says, the only decent people left in Rome are the tourists.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Inside The Collection Of The Kansas City Museum

A tiara, from the GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America) collective initiative, worn in a drag beauty queen pageant.
Laura Spencer KCUR

In December, a city ordinance shifted management of the Kansas City Museum from Union Station Kansas City, Inc. to the  parks department, as of May 1, 2014. Corinthian Hall, the home of the museum, is under renovation – so much of the vast collection remains in storage at Union Station.

So what's in the museum's collection of more than 70,000 objects?

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Visual Arts
5:00 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Last Day: Gass Camera Closes Its Doors

After cleaning the sensor of his digital camera, Clarence Gass talks to customer Zack Becker before returning it to him.
Julie Denesha KCUR

A winter storm was brewing on Friday afternoon, and expected to bring snow and ice to the Kansas City metro area. At Gass Camera Repair, the electronic door chime rang periodically - not with the arrival of customers, but as box after box was loaded onto a trailer waiting just outside.

Since 1979, in this small shop in Mission, Kan., Clarence Gass repaired cameras of all shapes and sizes. Friday was his final day of business.

A 'natural curiosity' about cameras

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Dance
6:23 am
Fri December 20, 2013

An 'Explosive' Dancer Performs As The Nutcracker

Winston Dynamite Brown, a native of Kansas City, Mo., returns to the Owen/Cox Dance Group to perform the role of the Nutcracker.
Julie Denesha KCUR

This year, the Owen/Cox Dance Group is bringing its annual jazzy adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King to the Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

Returning to perform in the production is a powerful dancer with an explosive name: Winston Dynamite Brown. A frequent guest artist with the group, Brown says he relishes his role as the Nutcracker.

Growing into an explosive name

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Film
6:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Film Review: 'The Punk Singer' Who Influenced Rock Stars More Famous Than Her

'The Punk Singer' provides a glimpse at the life of artist and musician Kathleen Hanna.
Credit Allison Michael Orenstein

On the basis of Sini Anderson's enlightening and electric documentary The Punk Singer, many will come to consider its subject, Kathleen Hanna, one of the most influential musicians they've never heard of. But they can't walk away forgetting her.

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Dance
5:06 am
Fri December 20, 2013

[VIDEO] KCB II Takes Dance To The Community

Meagan Swisher (from left) and Morgan Sicklick dance onstage during a public performance at Union Station.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

This year, the Kansas City Ballet launched a second company called KCB II. It’s a selective program – there are only five dancers in the ensemble – and they're charged with taking dance out into the community.

Creating a role for dance in the community

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Up to Date
11:37 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Getting Jazzy With Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson performs Friday night at Unity Temple on the Plaza.

Even if you don't know what jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson looks like or own one of his albums, you know his sound, because his music greets you each day on Up to Date.

In the first part of Thursday's Up to Date, Watson joins Steve Kraske to talk about his new album, a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Guest:

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Film
7:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Film Review: Alex Gibney Documentary Unravels 'The Armstrong Lie'

The documentary Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney started to make in 2009 about Lance Armstrong ended up being something else entirely. Called The Armstrong Lie, the film contains footage that was shot as recently as May 2013, including the minutes following Armstrong’s confessional but smug and non-contrite interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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Food & Drink
5:15 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Recipes From The Annual Hallmark Cookie Exchange

Brer Rabbit Molasses Cookies made by Jayne Rudish, wife of Hallmark artist Rich Rudish.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Crown Room Chocolate Crinkles

From Marg Wagner, wife of Hallmark artist John Wagner

My husband John worked at Hallmark for 40+ years and these were one of my favorite cookies at Hallmark’s cafeteria, the Crown Room. When I asked for the recipe, it came in volumes of 20 or 25 dozen. Efforts to reduce the quantity and a few adjustments produced these cookies and we've been enjoying them ever since.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

[VIDEO] Hallmark Cookie Exchange Feeds Artistic Community

For over 40 years, Hallmark artists - past and present - have been gathering for an annual cookie exchange.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Since the mid-1960's, Hallmark Cards Inc. employees, past and present, and their spouses, have gathered each year - not for an exchange of greeting cards, but of cookies.

Hallmark, the 103-year-old Kansas City-based company, has about 11,000 employees around the world, including just over 3,000 in the metro area.

Donna Moore, a former employee, began working for Hallmark in 1962. She recalls how the event became an annual tradition, mostly for women.

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Performance
5:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

The Living Room's 'Writer's Den' Giving Voice To Emerging Local Playwrights

Credit courtesy of The Living Room

It's the dream of playwrights everywhere to see their words make the leap from the page to the stage. The Crossroads venue known as The Living Room is currently helping young writers build that bridge with a project called The Writer's Den.

Widening the spotlight

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Up to Date
11:29 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Kelley Hunt Brings Her Sound To Kansas City

Singer-songwriter Kelley Hunt is partnering with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra for a holiday concert this year.
Credit alansheaven / Flickr-CC

Kelley Hunt sings across many genres. Part of her heart may be in R&B but it's the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra she'll partner with this week for a Christmas-themed concert.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, she joins Steve Kraske to talk about "Christmas with Kelley Hunt" and her Kansas roots.

Guest:

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Performance
7:23 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Kansas City Ballet's New Director On 'The Nutcracker'

Dancer Angelina Sansone in this year's production of the Kansas City Ballet's Nutcracker.
Credit Photographer Steve Wilson for the Kansas City Ballet / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Each year in December, like many other companies, the Kansas City Ballet puts on a production of The Nutcracker.

But this year the Kansas City Ballet has a new leader at the artistic helm, Devon Carney.

Carney joins us to speak about this holiday classic and how he keeps it fresh for himself and the audience.

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Visual Arts
9:13 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

KCAI Fiber Department Showcases Student Work

A crowd of visitors explored the exhibition and pop-up shop in the Warehouse on the KCAI campus.
Julie Denesha KCUR

At the Kansas City Art Institute, a sale and exhibition of student artwork at the end of each semester is a nearly 45-year tradition for the ceramics department; some of the other departments, such as painting, printmaking, and sculpture, have also opened their doors for the past 20 years. This weekend, the fiber department showcases student work in a new location called the Warehouse. 

Art in a gallery context

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Up to Date
10:46 am
Fri December 6, 2013

DVD Gurus: Reporters On Film

Ace in the Hole is one of the DVD Guru's favorite films about reporters.

From a manufactured media circus, to a desperate game of cat-and-mouse with a serial killer, Hollywood sure knows how to romanticize journalism.

On Friday's Up to Date, DVD Gurus Mitch Brian and Jason Heck join us to talk about some of their favorite films that feature reporters. We'll dive into some thrilling vampire conspiracies, reports gone wrong, and others that are sure to set off the investigator in everyone.

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Music
5:00 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Partners In Music: Ben Sayevich And Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich

Sayevich, a professor of music and violin at at Park’s International School of Music, first met Lisovskaya-Sayevich seven years ago.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

It’s late morning and a dim light filters in through the stained glass windows at the chapel at Park University. Lithuanian-Israeli violinist Ben Sayevich, and his wife Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich rehearse with a handful of students onstage at Park University’s Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel. They’re practicing a rarely-performed Concerto in D for Violin, Piano and String Quartet, Op. 21, by French composer Ernest Chausson.

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Government
7:53 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Kansas City Council Approves New Management For KC Museum

Corinthian Hall, 3218 Gladstone Blvd, is the home of the Kansas City Museum. It's been mostly closed for renovations since 2008.
Credit Creative Commons

After years of discussion, the Kansas City Council Thursday approved a new long-term agreement for the Kansas City Museum. Union Station Kansas City has managed the museum since 2000. The agreement transfers it to the city’s parks and recreation department. But the bulk of the collection remains owned by Union Station. 

"This is a very long awaited resolution to a somewhat extended and difficult partnership that we've had with Union Station," says Councilwoman Jan Marcason, who introduced the ordinance before the council. It passed with a unanimous vote.

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Performance
9:00 am
Thu December 5, 2013

The Kid Actor's Perspective Of 'A Christmas Carol'

During a dinner break, actors Andrew Stout and Cam Burns talk, joke around, and play games.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol has a large cast, including about three dozen children and young adults. Rehearsals start in early November, and the hours can be long and demanding. There are song lyrics, and sometimes lots of lines to learn. It’s a challenging job for the young actors - and for the staff charged with keeping track of them.

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Performance
5:00 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Unicorn Theatre's 'Clybourne Park' Looks Into A House Divided

(from left to right): Brian Paulette, Jessalyn Kincaid, Janae Mitchell, and Mykel Hill as two couples exploring race relations in 'Clybourne Park.'
Credit Cynthia Levin / Unicorn Theatre

This week, the Unicorn Theatre opens the play Clybourne Park, which has the distinction of winning the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize. Its two acts take place in the same house 50 years apart, and examine with equal humor and drama all the varying shades within the phrase, "There goes the neighborhood."

A house divided

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Music
12:24 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Tim Whitmer On Learning From Jazz Greats

Jazz pianist Tim Whitmer and his band, KC Express, specialize in Kansas City swing.
Credit courtest of the artist

Jazz pianist and bandleader Tim Whitmer has gained a reputation for building on jazz traditions, as well as performing original compositions. Whitmer is a mainstay at jazz clubs, but he also plays in local churches.

Whitmer spoke to Chuck Haddix, who hosts the KCUR music program, The Fish Fry on Friday and Saturday nights.

Interview Highlights: Tim Whitmer

On merging the sacred and the secular

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Performance
8:13 am
Fri November 29, 2013

[VIDEO] In This Scene...'The Santaland Diaries'

This season, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre has added a second show to their holiday schedule. The Santaland Diaries is a dark comedy written by David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. The one-man show is a prickly retelling of Sedaris’ stint as a Macy’s elf during the Christmas season.

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Visual Arts
5:00 am
Tue November 26, 2013

City Plans To Take Back Management Of Kansas City Museum

The city of Kansas City, Mo. is one step closer to taking back management of the city-owned Kansas City Museum. A contract has been in place with Union Station Kansas City since 2000. It’s taken time and effort to reach a new agreement.

Charting a new path

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Arts
8:15 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Kansas City Arts Task Force Presents Findings To Mayor

Mayor Sly James spoke to artists at a public meeting in January 2013 at ArtsTech in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

After about two years of research, work and community engagement, Kansas City Mayor Sly James' Task Force for the Arts presented its findings on Thursday during the City Council’s business session.

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KC Currents
8:00 am
Sat November 23, 2013

How Janelle Monae Discovered Her 'Inner Weirdo' In Kansas City

Janelle Monae credits her Kansas City Kansas roots for helping develop her music, writing, personal style and passion.
Credit Marc Baptiste / Courtesy of Atlantic Records

At 28, rising pop star Janelle Monae has collaborated with musical royalty, like Erykah Badu and Prince. Last summer, she was featured in Fun’s runaway hit We Are Young, and recently played Saturday Night Live, with songs from her new album Electric Lady, which debuted as number 5 on Billboard’s 200

But the Kansas City, Kan., native had her first local headliner at the Uptown Theatre on November 15. It was a boisterous, sold-out party attended by dozens of her family members and former teachers.

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Performance
8:10 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Behind The Scenes: Bach Aria Soloists In Rehearsal

Beau Bledsoe, on guitar, (from left) and Elizabeth Suh Lane, on violin, work through a piece in the living room of harpsichordist Elisa Bickers in Overland Park, Kan.
Julie Denesha KCUR

A few leaves clung to the trees on a damp autumn morning as four Baroque-trained musicians huddled around a harpsichord. The Bach Aria Soloists were busy preparing for this Saturday's performance of 'Marriage of True Minds,' a collaboration with Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and the Kansas City Public Library. 

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Performance
7:51 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Hanukkah Celebrated By Paul Mesner Puppets At Jewish Community Center

'Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins" cast rehearse at Paul Mesner Puppets in Midtown.
Photo by Steve Walker KCUR News

On Kansas City stages during the holiday season, there's an abundance of shows with Christmas themes. Audiences can go from Kansas City Ballet's The Nutcracker to Kansas City Repertory Theatre's A Christmas Carol, with several other destinations in between.

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Music
7:47 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Alexander Majors House Shows Off Restored Piano

Dr. Bruce Prince-Joseph has a passion for vintage instruments, including this grand box piano in the Alexander Majors House collection.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Alexander Majors House, a two-story white antebellum home, is a relic from the 1850's, and still stands at 82nd and State Line. It was built by one of the founders of the Pony Express, and it's tucked next to an office building, just north of Ward Parkway Shopping Center.

Inside the house, there’s historic furniture and fixtures, and also on the property, a blacksmith’s shop, carriages, and a barn – where, for now, there’s a newly restored piano. 

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Film
6:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Film Review: A Love Affair Ebbs And Flows In Controversial 'Blue Is The Warmest Color'

Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) falls for Emma (Léa Seydoux) in 'Blue is the Warmest Color.'
Credit Sundance Selects

Blue is the Warmest Color, the winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is a frank and honest examination of a relationship from a heated first glance to its dying embers. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, the film rides waves of passion, bliss and anger in such truthful ways that anyone who’s been madly in love will identify with the couple, even if the parties happen to be two women. And to boot, the movie is wonderfully alive.

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