Arts & Culture

Visual Arts
11:25 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Kansas City Artist Dylan Mortimer Wants You To Activate His Halos, Or Not

Artist Dylan Mortimer stands inside one of his halos, 'The Meek,' at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Art and religion have been described as natural bedfellows – and yet, it’s been a complicated relationship. One Kansas City artist, Dylan Mortimer, explores religion in his artwork – including a series of halos, where anyone can choose to be illuminated.

Stepping inside the halo

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Central Standard
12:11 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

William S. Burroughs: A Man Of Many Vices

Burroughs would have been 100 years old this February.
Credit More Solomon / Creative Commons

Who was William S. Burroughs? Some remember him as a controversial Beat writer; others remember his illicit drug habits and the murder of his second wife.

On Tuesday's Central Standard, we talk about the life of the infamous man from St. Louis, Mo. who traveled around the world and later settled in Lawrence, Kan.

Guest:

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

[VIDEO] In This Scene...'Grounded'

Actor Carla Noack plays a fighter pilot caught between war and suburbia.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The one-woman play, Grounded, by George Brant, explores the destructive power of modern warfare through the eyes of a female combat pilot. After an unexpected pregnancy, she's reassigned to a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert as the desk pilot of a military drone.

The Unicorn Theatre's production marks the third in a series of "rolling world premieres" presented by members of the National New Play Network, dedicated to the development of new work.

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Up to Date
2:59 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser Is Back Among Friends In Kansas City

Credit kennedy-center.org

As The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey approached its 30th anniversary this year it sought out Michael Kaiser, a leading arts-management consultant and the current President of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  The goal: to position the organization as a model to other cities for overcoming cultural and social segregation.

Michael Kaiser spoke with Steve Kraske, host of Up to Date.

Interview Highlights:

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Performance
3:55 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Kansas City Friends Of Alvin Ailey Seeks National Stage In 30th Year

Kennedy Center president, Michael Kaiser, stands with KCFAA executive director, Tyrone Aiken. Kaiser was brought in as a consultant.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

It was 30 years ago this year that Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey was created as a second home for the New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a modern dance company founded in 1958.

To mark this milestone, the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation on Friday issued a challenge grant. At $375,000, it’s the largest grant in the history of the Friends of Alvin Ailey.

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Tell KCUR
4:24 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

You Came To Kansas City For A Job, But You Stayed For Love

Kansas City's attractions include low cost of living, jobs and love, according to social media feedback we received this week.
Credit Lasse Fuss / WikiCommons

You like Kansas City’s cost of living.

And many of you came to enjoy the arts and entrepreneurship scenes after relocating here for a job.

But when we took to social media and asked you what brought you to Kansas City and why you stayed, we were inundated with love stories that led to KC roots.

Such was the case for Dave Shuck, who moved to Kansas City in 2002 from San Jose, Calif., after tracking down a former friend from high school.

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Performance
2:58 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Linking Past With Present In 'If Da Dirt Could Talk' Performance/Quilt Project

Artist Nedra Bonds shows students a picture of performer Janelle Monae, with assistance from Mrs. Daniels, a Quindaro Elementary School teacher.
Laura Spencer KCUR

Two friends from Kansas City, Kan., are teaming up for a project called If Da Dirt Could Talk. It combines collaborative quilts with a performance in an historic graveyard in old Quindaro.

Quilting to share history

Artist Nedra Bonds started quilting at the age of six. "Yeah, I didn’t have a choice, I come from a family of quilters on both sides," she says. "So this was something that we did, based upon who we were, based on the needs of the family, and we just always have done it."

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Visual Arts
9:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

The Story Behind The Pictures Of Picasso At The Nelson-Atkins

Gjon Mili, American (b. Albania, 1904–1984). David Douglas Duncan with Pablo Picasso, 1960.
Gift of David Douglas Duncan

In October 2013, photographer David Douglas Duncan, a native of Kansas City, Mo., donated 161 photographs to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Some of these photographs document the Korean War, but most were taken over nearly two decades at the home of artist Pablo Picasso.

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Classical
5:23 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Kansas City Symphony's Noah Geller Steps Up For A Solo

Concertmaster Noah Geller and Music Director Michael Stern bring to the stage Beethoven’s Violin Concerto during an open rehearsal in Helzberg Hall at Kauffman Center.
Julie Denesha KCUR

This weekend, Kansas City Symphony concertmaster Noah Geller performs his first solo performance in the Symphony's classical series with a beloved work by Beethoven, his Violin Concerto.

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Community
8:49 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Lawrence Celebrates Beat Generation Icon William S. Burroughs At 100

Jon Blumb, Recording Session for a Music Video, September 25, 1992, gelatin silver print.
Courtesy of the Spencer Museum of Art

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of William S. Burroughs, who was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1914. A writer, painter, and spoken word artist, Burroughs is considered one of the seminal members of the Beat Generation. He spent his final years living in Lawrence, Kan.

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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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