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From somber to sunny, this week's selections from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics are sure to get you right in the feels. Grab your box of tissues, a sweet treat or two, and get to know a few future classics before they end their run in local theaters.

Cynthia Haines

The Innocents, PG-13

These days, politicians who change their policy positions are called flip-floppers, but that epithet could easily apply to some of this country's most celebrated leaders. Journalist Larry Tye's book, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, illustrates the political evolution of Robert Kennedy.

At the turn of the 20th Century, Kansas City was known for more than just a raucous drinking and gambling scene. The "Paris of the Plains" also served as a center for new, syncopated styles of ragtime, blues and jazz. With the music came an assemblage of composers and music publishers who called KC home.

Guest:

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

Crosby Kemper III is a library executive, the co-founder of a politically conservative think tank and the heir to a famous Kansas City name. What was it like growing up Kemper ... and then, to make a name of one's own?

Guest:

In Ancient Rome, members of the privileged elite communicated their wealth and status by adorning themselves and their homes with a variety of luxury goods. A new exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcases some of the most extraordinary pieces of the Empire. 

Guest:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Ghostly, metallic-hued faces stare out from century-old photographs. They neatly line the walls on narrow shelves in Nick Vaccaro’s home office in Lawrence, Kansas.

“Let me get this out of the way,” said Vaccaro, as he opened the door of a lighted display and reached in for a small leather case. Inside, there’s a tintype: an innovation from the 1860s that brought photography to the masses.

http://www.nutsthefilm.com/

You may not be able to go out and blow stuff up with the same vim and vigor, but that doesn't mean you have to let the wet forecast put a damper on your Independence Day weekend. Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few recommendations to keep you entertained — and dry! — while the rain passes through.

Cynthia Haynes

NUTS!, Not rated

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

Chuck Magerl grew up surrounded by family history.

During Prohibition, his grandfather was sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary for distributing alcohol.

One great-great grandfather was the sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri --  in 1869, the governor of Missouri sent a letter, authorizing him to capture Frank and Jesse James, dead or alive.

Another ancestor ran a saloon in Kansas City; a ledger book shows he paid $7 per barrel of beer in 1909.

He was a pioneer in the local craft beer and artisanal food movement before those were really a thing. Meet Chuck Magerl, the man who worked to change the liquor laws in Kansas to open the Free State Brewing Company — the first legal brewery in the state after Prohibition.

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Two-time candidate for Kansas governor, radio pioneer and ... goat gland doctor? John Romulus Brinkley may not have been a real medical doctor but he was a helluva salesman. Filmmaker Penny Lane's latest documentary, NUTS!, explores the life of the 1920s flimflam man who became a millionaire "curing" impotence and built the most powerful radio station of its day.

Faith Bemiss / The Sedalia Democrat

In Sedalia, Missouri, Marge Harlan spent $25,000 of her own money to build a "slave cabin." While she meant the cabin to honor the courage and resilience of African-Americans, many in the community, especially people of color, have found the gesture problematic and offensive.

We ask, how do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide?

Guests:

We all remember the Titanic, but do you remember the Cap Arcona? The German luxury liner, regarded as the greatest ship since the Titanic, suffered a fate just as horrifying.

Guest:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Black Bob Elementary is one of Olathe’s flagship schools. It’s in the middle of the city, surrounded by neighborhoods, and just a few blocks away, there's a big shopping center with  a Starbucks and Walgreens.

But it didn’t always look that way. Dr. Alison Banikowski, deputy superintendent of Olathe Schools, remembers what the city looked like when she first arrived in 1982. 

“I served for the first year I was here with Blackbob Elementary, and it was really literally out in a field,”

docnyc.net

Up To Date's indie, foreign & documentary film critics' latest picks cover a lot of ground. From a 1990s dance troupe that finds confidence and acceptance while on tour, to the 1790s and a devious widow who ruffles feathers in her relentless search for a rich husband, these movies are a great excuse to sit in the dark and be transported through time.

Cynthia Haynes

Strike a Pose, unrated

https://www.facebook.com/RootsSeries/

In 1977, Roots became one of the most-watched TV miniseries of all time. Based on Alex Haley's book about his family's story, from enslavement to liberation, it won a multitude of awards and exposed Americans to the horrors of slavery.

The recent remake of Roots enters into a more complex and nuanced culture of racial representation. We explore the new version, its place in American culture ... and if we needed a remake of such an iconic series.

Guests:

Mongrel Media

It's not just temperatures that are rising this weekend. From a controversial examination of the connections (or lack thereof) between vaccines and autism, to the absurdist drama of adults finding a mate before they literally turn into animals, Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critic Steve Walker's suggestions will get a rise out of viewers, too.

Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, Unrated

Early-American Manuscripts Coming To Independence

Jun 1, 2016

The founding principles of the American experiment weren't just a bunch of ideas floating around the heads of the founding fathers, they were ideals that were put to paper. Examining those documents first-hand is an opportunity to reflect on the issues our nation faced then, and what lessons we should carry with us into the future.

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Literature lovers owe a debt of gratitude to industrialist Henry Folger, who assembled the largest collection of William Shakespeare's folios, including the famed First Folio. Without that anthology, "half of his plays would have ended up on the ash heap of history," says author Andrea Mays.

Managing the country's more than 400 national parks, trails, sites, memorials, and more, takes the help of more than 20,000 men and women employed by the National Park Service, which is celebrating it's centennial birthday in August. For some, preserving all that history and heritage is more than just a job, it's a passion!

You probably think he turned his back on our nascent nation, but before all that Gen. Benedict Arnold was an ally of George Washington and a war hero to boot. Author Nathaniel Philbrick's latest book, Valiant Ambition, explores Arnold's motives for making the decision that ultimately became his legacy.

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: The roller coaster ride where you almost had your first kiss. Or what about the one you were finally tall enough to ride ... only to chicken out? Or the one where you met your spouse, or even got married?

Guests:

We chat with the creators of Red Bird, a new web series out of Lawrence. It tells the story of Kitty Mae, who is seeking revenge after Quantrill's Raid.

Guests:

  • Jeremy Osbern and Misti Boland, co-creators of Red Bird
https://chicagology.com

You've probably never heard of him, but if it weren’t for the work of Octave Chanute, those shiny streetcars might be climbing the hills of Saint Joseph, Missouri, not Kansas City. Instead of celebrating the Royals’ World Series win, we could be cheering on the Leavenworth Lions.

But in a single master stroke, Chanute’s Hannibal Bridge, completed in 1869, allowed cattle, and all sorts of other freight, to cross back and forth from Clay and Jackson counties in record time.

Wikimedia Commons

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: What does it mean to be a "Renaissance Man" today? Hint: it's more than being an expert multi-tasker. 

Guests:

When Al-Qaida moved into Timbuktu, Mali, the terror group was bent on enforcing Shariah law, threatening many historical artifacts in the region. That's when an African collector and adventurer, Abdel Kader Haidara, took it upon himself to salvage and smuggle more than 370,000 ancient manuscripts out of harm's way.

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You may not have heard of Octave Chanute before but, if you live in or around Kansas City, chances are you're affected by his work. Local historian Bill Nicks explains Chanute's lasting importance to aviation, and where you can still find evidence of his legacy in the metro.

As we're in the midst of another election season, we hear a lot about how each candidate seems "presidential." What does that word mean, and what does it say about us? An editor who publishes books about the presidency shares his thoughts.

Guest:

Jessica Spengler / Flickr

The food of Kansas City has a life story to tell. Author Andrea Broomfield tells it. The origins of Kansas City chili, tamales and tailgating, an affinity for dining al fresco and cinnamon rolls, and what local beer has to do with our sports teams and stadiums. Every food tradition can be explained through the lens of history.

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Last week, students from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Johnson County, Kansas and University Academy in Kansas City, Missouri boarded a bus for a Civil Rights Tour of the South. What they found were new relationships and a surprising shared history. 

Guests:

  • Jazmyne Smith is a junior at University Academy.
  • Amanda Sokol is a sophomore at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy.
Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically. 

The project: Igor Stravinsky's "L'Histoire du Soldat," or "A Soldier's Tale."

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