Watch any old movie from the 1930s or '40s and you're likely to hear Kansas City worked into the script. One reason may be that it was a stop for planes and trains traveling between the coasts. But another reason could be traced to the fact that many movie stars of the period were from Kansas City, including Ginger Rogers, Wallace Beery and Jean Harlow. The most famous native, though, was Joan Crawford, who is the subject of a new play with a twisted holiday theme.
Miguel DeLeon's new album Pasiones Del Alma finds the "Mambo man" in a bit of a contemplative mood. But he never strays too far from his love of dance music.
By Susan B. Wilson
Kansas City, MO – Miguel "Mambo" DeLeon has been shaking hips in Kansas City and beyond for more than 20 years. He's opened for Sting as well as many Latin music legends, including Tito Puente and Willie Colon.
In 2006, the Kansas City City Council awarded a contract to Broadway Across America - instead of Kansas City-based Theater League - to present Broadway shows in the Music Hall. Today the two organizations announced they've teamed up to present a five-show "Kansas City Best of Broadway Series."
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – There will be two shows at the Music Hall, and three in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, as part of its inaugural 2011 - 2012 season.
This year marks the Kansas City Ballet's 38th annual production of "The Nutcracker." It's one of the largest in the region, with 200 students from the ballet's school, ranging in age from 7 to 18, and the more than 20 dancers in the company.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Ballet, in its school and in its company, reflects diversity. It's also making efforts to expand its student population to be more inclusive, as KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.
Olathe, KS – The Johnson County Christmas Bureau has opened its doors to their annual Holiday Shop at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, Kansas. This is their 50th year creating a shopping experience for low income families around the holidays.
Harold O'Neal recently talked about his musical and extra-musical adventures of the past few years.
By Alex Smith
Kansas City, MO – Pianist Harold O'Neal's new album Whirling Mantis doesn't come out of the New York jazz clubs where he most often performs. Instead, the songs were largely inspired by the time he spent studying martial arts here in his hometown of Kansas City.
Kansas City, MO – All day at KCUR, we announce the "weather in midtown." A listener recently wrote in to inform us that he doesn't think our studio, located at 48th and Troost, is located in what he considers midtown Kansas City.
That got us thinking, where is midtown, anyway? Is there a definitive answer?
KC Currents sent intern Aaron Couch out to look for a definition.
Kansas City, MO – Two yellowed typewritten pages laying out the rules of one of the world's most popular sports will go on the Sotheby's auction block on December 10. The original 13 rules of basketball were written in 1892 by the Canadian-born physician, Presbyterian minister and physical education professor James Naismith.
Many Kansas City theater fans visit New York every year to catch shows before they tour or are produced by local companies. Those heading there this month have the opportunity to see the revival of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," starring two of the theater's most revered performers, Elaine Stritch and Bernadette Peters, as mother and daughter. And four times a week, playing the youngest member of that clan, is Lee's Summit native Katherine McNamara.
Kansas City, MO – At StoryCorps recording booths across the country, friends and loved ones interview each other about their lives. Each Tuesday during Morning Edition, we'll bring you a story from the MobileBooth in Kansas City. Sharmelle Winsett brought in her mother Susan Wilson, KCUR's own Co-host of KC Currents. She also serves as the Associate Dean at the UMKC School of Medicine. They talked about how being bi-racial impacted her coming of age.
Kansas City, MO – Reverend Eric Williams of Calvary Temple Baptist Church in midtown has worked for a long time on health issues in the African American community. A few years ago, he says he was tired of seeing people suffering and dying from health problems related to obesity and lack of exercise. So his church formed a non-profit and eventually built a gym right next door. The Calvary Community Wellness Center opened in 2008.
In a world where multitasking and over-stimulation are seen as strengths, it's ironic but not surprising that 5 million American children suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Lisa Loomer's play "Distracted" at the Unicorn Theatre follows a couple's search to get help for their troubled 8-year-old son.
Because many artists are self-employed or work jobs that don't provide insurance, they often fall through the cracks when it comes to health care.
Kansas City, MO – Because many artists are self-employed or work jobs that don't provide insurance, they often fall through the cracks when it comes to health care. With the recent overhaul in the nation's health care system, by 2014, most Americans are required to have health insurance or face a fine. A national organization has a goal of insuring every artist, as KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.
Unlike Marvin Gaye or James Brown, Johnson never had massive success, in spite of a prolific career. A new box set, Syl Johnson: The Complete Mythology, compiles more than 80 recordings from the late 1950s through early 1970s.
For the first time in its history, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City is presenting Bellini's tragic bel canto opera "Norma." It's the story of a woman who betrays her sacred vows for love; she's then betrayed by her lover's infidelity.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – Before a recent rehearsal, KCUR's Laura Spencer met up with soprano Brenda Harris who's tackling the title role of Norma, one that's been described as both "grueling" and "vocally tortuous."
The Kansas City Ballet is the first of the resident companies to announce its inaugural season at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, MO – When the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opens in 2011, its three resident companies will include the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Ballet.
The creative minds behind Buena Vista Social Club have guided an effort by Cuban and African musicians to create a new album, AfroCubism. Deep history underlies the musical interplay on the record, as well as a surprising number of similarities.
A choral group known for its early-music repertoire and a saxophonist steeped in the art of improvisation may not be the most likely musical partners. But the Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek have worked together since 1993. Officium Novum is their latest collaboration.
The Grammy-nominated singer has just returned with an album reflecting her new outlook on life.
By NPR Music
A lot has changed in Tracy Bonham's life since the release of her last album in 2005.? She moved back to Brooklyn, N.Y., married Rolling Stone executive editor Jason Fine and even picked up yoga. All of those changes are reflected on her latest full-length album, Masts of Manhatta.
Kansas City, MO – We're in the middle of the five-day Hindu celebration of Diwali. On Saturday, some 2000 people gathered at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center to celebrate with the region's biggest-ever Diwali party.
Earlier last week, KC Currents' Alex Smith went to temple to find out more about the holiday known as the "festival of lights."
For more than 500 years, African cultures have responded to European contact with a range of emotions - from admiration to resentment.
Kansas City, MO – An exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, "Through African Eyes," tells the story from the African point of view, through more than 90 artworks: bronze sculptures, photographs, wooden masks, paintings, and other objects made of ivory, metal and textiles. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.
Kansas City, MO – At StoryCorps recording booths across the country, friends and loved ones interview each other about their lives. Each Tuesday during Morning Edition, we'll bring you a story from the MobileBooth in Kansas City.
Marc Swanson's "Descent of Civilization (Bison Memorial)" is on view to the public at the northeast corner of 9th and Broadway, in downtown Kansas City. Here, Swanson talks about his influences and process.
Kansas City, MO – At StoryCorps recording booths across the country, friends and loved ones interview each other about their lives. Each Tuesday during Morning Edition, we'll bring you a story from the MobileBooth in Kansas City. Friends Jessica Farmer and Lydia Friz talked about a loosely planned bicycle trip they took from Topeka to Salina for a festival. They shared some of the challenges and lessons they learned along the way.