books

E.G. Schempf

When Grand Arts closed in the fall of 2015 after a 20-year tenure in the Crossroads, Stacy Switzer, the artistic director of the organization (calling it a "gallery" would be inadequate), said it had been a place of "extraordinary" freedom for artists. 

Miguel Vieira / Flickr - CC

During the 20th year of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, outside of Strong City, Kansas, a new documentary explores how the park was created and is sustained. Then, we learn about the life of Forrest "Phog" Allen, who amassed 590 wins in 39 seasons coaching the KU men's basketball team.

Sage Ross / Flickr - CC

Do you drink pop ... or soda? Do you wash something or "warsh" it? Those answers depend on where you grew up. Today, we learn How to Speak Midwesternand discover why the Heartland dialect is so different from our Illinois and Minnesota neighbors. Then, consumer advocate Ralph Nader shares an important message in his latest book, Animal Envy, a fable akin to Charlotte's Web and Animal Farm.

El Dorado Police Department

In a twisted crime spree that lasted from 1974 until 1991, Dennis Rader stalked and killed ten people in and around Wichita, Kansas. During and after the spree, he taunted pursuing authorities in letters he sent to police, local news and, once, left in a book at the public library. In the letters, Rader established his identity with a handle that caught on quickly: BTK.

Several regional schools have seen intense, sometimes violent protests focused on social and civil divisions, but the UMKC campus has largely been spared. Today, we find out what makes the metro institution different. Then, a futurist shares her strategies for predicting trends in technology, business and more.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Great ideas may be hard to come by, but a new book has us thinking all that's needed is a change of scenery. We also remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years after it catapulted the nation into WWII. This week's Statehouse Blend Kansas features freshman Democrat Cindy Holscher.

UMKC

Shooting off an email has largely supplanted the practice of hand-writing letters, but certain Letters of Note remind us of their allure. Then, we explore the 83-year history of the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a university staffer who's known to give lunchtime historical tours of the Midtown campus.

Penguin Random House

Are you looking for a special book for the young people in your life? If so, our panel of Johnson County Librarians have their holiday gift recommendations ready for you — and just in time!

From the story of a boy who finally connects with his distant father through the unlikely language of music, to a tale of some ragtag kids, and a loyal greyhound, escaping 13th-century France, these titles are sure to get your children through what could otherwise be a long winter break. 

For preschool through 2nd grade

James Hugo Rifenbark

Kyle Powell died in my arms, November 4, 2006.

That's the first line of Gerardo "Tony" Mena's poem "So I Was a Coffin," which he set to music, added photographs from other members of the United States Marine Corps' 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, and posted on YouTube.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured for decades, but former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell believes a nonviolent resolution is still possible. Then, one data scientist says expanding misuse of algorithms and mathematical modeling is creating Weapons of Math Destruction.

What are the books that you turn to when you need to connect with something bigger than yourself? KCUR's Bibliofiles recommend their own personal classics, their dog-eared favorites that they turn to frequently.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

First, a recollection of the Chief's overtime victory over the Broncos Sunday night. Then, a look at an agency that settled a case last month involving charges of illegal kickback payments, but is still doing business with the state of Kansas. Finally, Author Candice Millard recounts the adventures of a young Winston Churchill as detailed in her latest book.

With so many things competing for our attention these days, building an arts audience can be a challenge. Today, we learn how organizations like ArtsKC work to get people off the couch and into the concert hall. Then, find out what it was about a life on stage that brought award-winning guitarist Peter Himmelman to develop his own methods for more fully engaging creative potential.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jazz is all about creativity and freedom, but casual listeners can sometimes find deciphering it a chore. Today, we learn How to Listen to Jazz. Then, they say everything's up to date in Kansas City, but are we a "world class" locale? Finally, a winded Brian McTavish presents his Weekend To-Do List.

Courtesy The Kansas City Star

My last encounter with Charles Gusewelle was early in 2015. He was trying to reach me by phone and I was on a weekend getaway to Key West. But I found his mysterious message — we weren’t fast friends, and I had no idea why he was calling — and returned the call. Of course, he was on deadline — this was a Saturday afternoon when I reached him. And the Sunday column he’d drafted was about me. Really?

I found that column this morning after learning that Gus had died, at 83, early Tuesday.

Laura McCallister / Kansas City Public Library

In the hands of musicians like Charlie Christian, Carlos Santana, and Slash, the electric guitar has become a symbol for freedom, rebellion and rock 'n' roll. Then, find out why celebrities like Will Smith and Casey Affleck are taking new interest in the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

The creator and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com talks about the challenges facing Muslim women in the wake of Donald Trump's election. Then we examine the soundtrack of the Vietnam War, and listen to some of the songs that helped American troops get through the conflict.

First, we look at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's latest plans for expansion that's raising a few questions with some of its neighbors.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Long before Tracy K. Smith was a poet, she was a young girl fascinated by the stars. That fascination was part of what inspired her book Life on Mars, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012.

American Public Square

In light of a campaign season some view as the most rancorous in recent history, we look at the role civility still plays in politics. Then, it's 3 a.m. and there's a phone ringing in the White House. If something disastrous happens in the world, it's the president's job to respond. We take a look at the history of disaster management by the Oval Office.

Like a good story, a song changes over time as it passes through different voices. We explore the Anatomy of a Song with writer and Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers, who recollects the oral histories behind some of the greatest classics in the past fifty years.

The history of brewing beer in KC, then a look at healthcare in KC's music community.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With Election Day a week away, we check in with local political reporters for analysis of elections in Kansas and Missouri. Then, political commentator E.J. Dionne discusses the presidential campaign and themes from his book Why the Right Went Wrong. We finish with this week's Statehouse Blend Kansasfeaturing state Rep.

With Donald Trump urging supporters to watch for instances of voter fraud, we find out how the Jackson County Election Board ensures fair and free voting. Then, a 1938 Supreme Court ruling forced the University of Missouri Law School to accept black students, or create a separate school for them. The litigant, Lloyd Gaines, disappeared soon after, but his case made history.

Courtesy Bryn Greenwood

Lawrence writer Bryn Greenwood’s novel All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a love story between a grade-school girl and a drug-running biker in his twenties, set on a meth-making compound in the rural Midwest.

With the national Republican Party in turmoil, we look at the unexpected politics of African-Americans in the GOP. Then, whether it's dealing with doctors, dating in one's 70s, or new and unexpected bodily changes, growing older can dismay some folks, but William Novak says laughter is often the best medicine.

After 122 literary agents rejected her work, Kansas novelist Bryn Greenwood finally found a publisher in August for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. She reflects on her own experiences that lead to the complicated fictional tale of a young girl who grows up on a meth compound, and falls in love with an ex-con nearly 20 years her senior.

First, the final reactions to last night’s presidential debate from KCUR's panel of undecided voters. Then, a survivor of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, recalls that fateful day. Finally, Brian McTavish presents his latest Weekend To-Do-List.

In a time of diminishing budgets, guest host Brian Ellison learns how fine-arts program Harmony Project is helping underserved kids in Kansas City do better in school. Then, actor Bryan Cranston says a large part of his successful career has to do with hard work and good luck. This week's Local Listen features the classic rock band Kansas, touring in support of its first album since 2000.

Prairie Village has the distinction among Kansas cities of being the hometown of not one — but two! — operatic prodigies. Hear the latest tenor voice that's delighting audiences from California to Carnegie Hall. Then, we examine a different way to frame victims of sexual violence and the concept of rape itself. Finally, the latest Statehouse Blend Kansas, recorded live in Wichita.

Pages