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Kansas City Missouri

Olivia Fox

Olivia Fox is the Kansas City-based folk-pop trio of Aubrey Callahan, Lauren Flynn and Tiffany Smith. Formed in 2016, it's one of the most fully realized musical acts in Kansas City. The polished group is radio-ready and eminently marketable.

That's clear on “Play the Game,” the lead track of the group’s self-titled 2017 EP. As synthetic beats contrast with traditional folk harmonies, the hushed song becomes a wondrous combination of tension and tranquility — as enticing as a romantic whisper.

Elizabeth Stehling / Kansas City Ballet

In an art form as brutal as it is beautiful, breaking through the tried-and-true blockbusters of classic ballet and strict company structure is difficult. New work and new talent is a risk. Creating new work not only requires learning new steps, but also changing perspectives, generating curiosity and challenging expectations.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr-CC

Segment 1: Is The Cat in the Hat's design inspired by blackface? 

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood ... to find that it is actually racist? As our society's perspective on race evolves, we look at racial undertones within children literature.

Katherine Lim / Flickr -- CC

Breakfast: is it the most important meal of the day or the most tasty meal of the day? Whatever your thoughts, the breakfast scene is changing in Kansas City, offering more interesting options.

"I think people are going out more for breakfast," said KCUR Food Critic Mary Bloch. "I think part of the reason it's changing is because coffee is such a big thing now. And you have to have something to eat with your coffee."

On Friday's Central Standard, Bloch, along with Food Critic Bonjwing Lee, searched out the best breakfast spots in and around Kansas City.

Marco Verch / Google Images -- CC

From Twinkies to smoothies: If you grew up in Kansas City, you may remember the Wonder Hostess Thrift Shop Bakery on Troost. We visit Ruby Jean's Juicery, which has opened in that spot. Then, hear about some of the other new restaurants opening on Troost.

Plus: the Food Critics search out the best breakfast dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Micelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

For decades, the Wonder Hostess Thrift Shop Bakery was an institution at 30th and Troost in Midtown Kansas City. People in the neighborhood remember it from as far back as the 1970s, when it was a quick and cheap place to stop by for day-old bread and discounted baked goods.

It closed about six years ago, and a new player has taken over in that location. People can still buy food there, but it’s a far cry from the processed HoHos and Zingers they used to get from Hostess.

Courtesy Stan Kessler

Anyone who's stepped inside a Kansas City jazz club during the past several decades has probably run into Stan Kessler, the impish trumpeter known for amusing pranks and soulful solos.

Kessler has played music in Kansas City for 40 years, serving as the jazz scene's crafty institutional memory and passionate conscience. He's seen a lot of ups and downs, but his new album, "Skywatcher," makes a career-defining statement, showcasing his formidable talent at the same time as it demonstrates the vitality of the regional scene.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a memorandum of understanding with Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate to build a billion-dollar new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. 

"This is where we were supposed to be," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James following the 8-5 vote.

theNerdPatrol / Flickr — CC 2.0

Childhood and adolescence have their charms. But it’s only adults, despite being closer to the final exit than the fresh start, who get to call their own shots.

That's even truer on weekends, when most grown-ups have additional time to devote to non-essential stuff (a.k.a. fun). And this weekend is especially adult-friendly, with things that go "va-va-voom, "kerrang," "vroom," "smooch," "hic" and "whaaaaaattt." 

That's right, you can still be an adult and make as many silly sounds in public as you want. I should know!

 

courtesy: Kauffman Foundation

Each Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., between 100 to 200 people gather at Kansas City's Kauffman Foundation to hear a few entrepreneurs pitch their startups. Throughout February the lineup is focused on black-owned businesses in honor of Black History Month. 

"1 Million Cups has traditionally been the entry point into the entrepreneurial community here in Kansas City, one of the many," says Adrienne Haynes, who attends the events so frequently that she describes herself as a "1 Million Cups caffeinator."

J.E. Milles Studio, LaBudde Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library / UMKC

Kansas City blues and jazz lover Dawayne Gilley, who calls himself a "music activist," has some business he's needed to finish for almost a decade.

On Monday, when he gives away hundreds of posters at a free jam session, he hopes it’ll be the end of a long and tortured project that started with the best of intentions.

Max Braun / Google Images -- CC

In 1907, Pablo Picasso stumbled into an art gallery in Paris. It was filled with masks and small sculptures from Africa and Oceania. Inspired, his own style began to change. That raises some interesting questions about who gets credit ... and where to draw the line between admiration, inspiration and theft.

Then: a KU researcher says that a lot of anti-abortion legislation is based on anecdotal evidence.

Guests:

James T. Lundie

Julia Othmer is an art-rock musician in the vein of Tori Amos and Peter Gabriel. Although she currently lives in Los Angeles, Othmer claims Kansas City as her hometown and returns to visit her parents and friends several times a year.

Othmer says she intends to "be on the road a lot" in 2018 to promote her forthcoming album "Sound. That includes a stop at Knuckleheads this weekend.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Your might think combining jazz and a symphony would like trying to mix oil and water — they don't just go together. Yet jazz artists, including Kansas City's own Charlie Parker, have combined their playing with those of an orchestra to great results.

CBS Television / Paramount Pictures

You'd be forgiven for thinking a jazz club with a throwback feel would end up being a flop. You'd also be wrong. Today, we meet a local entrepreneur whose pair of nightclubs is helping the Kansas City jazz scene live on. Then, we listen to some of your favorite TV theme songs from the 1950s to today, and try to discover why the best of them stick so easily in your head. Sorry in advance for the earworms!

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Where do you go job-wise when your previous position was press secretary to the president of the United States? Today, we ask someone who knows, Kansas City native and former Obama staffer Josh Earnest. Then, activist organizations pushing to improve conditions for low-wage workers face a unique challenge: Getting folks who can ill-afford time off to show up for a protest. We'll find out how groups like Stand Up KC are overcoming that hurdle.

On our First Friday arts show: a local artist has been keeping a dream journal for over 40 years. In his new exhibit, he's brought recurring objects from his dreams to life through sculpture. Then, we talk to the star of a one-woman show about fashion icon Diana Vreeland, and a band conductor on how his group keeps the Kansas City sound alive ... and how they're taking a step to address the gender imbalance in jazz.

Guests:

Courtesy Jennifer Karady and Amparo Hoffman

Comedian George Burns had this to say about sincerity: “If you can fake that, you've got it made.”

Ah, but was he being sincere? No doubt, in his own amusing way.

However one approaches it, the act of being heartfelt can be observed and shared this weekend in a variety of ways, from the honest allures of traditional country music to the direct detection of the (pardon the expression) ideal female. I kid you not … well, not too much!

 

1. The Randy Rogers Band

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite the raucous Republican reception Pres. Trump's State of the Union received, Kansas City's Rep. Emanuel Cleaver thinks the commander-in-chief missed an opportunity with his speech. Today, he shares his theory on why GOP members in Congress are eager to be seen supporting the president. Then, we get the latest word on the rainbow trout, zebra mussels, and Eastern spotted skunks that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is keeping an eye on.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Almost a month and a half ago, Edgemoor was on the verge of being dropped as the developer to build a new terminal at Kansas City International airport.

Nine city council members rejected a memorandum of understanding with the Maryland-based developer. A measure had been introduced to drop them from the billion-dollar project altogether and proceed with competitor AECOM.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

While Kansas City has a long tradition of black artists, their work tends to get overlooked, says textiles artist Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin. Today, we learn about a community project that's giving these local creatives online posterity. Then, we hear excerpts from a conversation with Democratic Missouri Rep.

Courtesy of Rubeo

The Kansas City artist Joe Rubeo, whose stage name is simply Rubeo, began making music just five months ago. He's released only two songs, but says he has a couple albums' worth of material ready to record.

He uses a phone app called Auxy to produce his tracks.

“It’s definitely been a game-changer for me," Rubeo says, "and I feel like I’m just beginning to scratch the surface on its capabilities,” he says.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A Sudanese woman gathered her six grandchildren to explain the family’s 1996 escape to Ethiopia from war-torn Sudan. The children had not yet been born when a bomb hit the village and the grandmother and her own children fled.

The family literally ran night after night, sleeping in bushes during the day to escape fighters’ notice. In 1997, they reached Ethiopia and settled in a refugee camp where they lived until immigrating to the United States a year ago. An international agency assigned them to Kansas City.

public domain / Flickr -- Google Images

Chinese food in the United States has become as American as apple pie. Or crab Rangoon (which was probably invented here).

Since its earliest days in the U.S., when it arrived with immigrants who came for the Gold Rush, Chinese food has been maligned ... but ultimately embraced and changed into the quintessential Americanized version that's popular on menus all over the country.

Courtesy of Unicorn Theatre

Playwright Karen Hartman knew her work "Project Dawn" dealt with intense material. Its story, about women with multiple prostitution convictions who are going through a treatment program in hopes of having their charges erased, is based on a real place in Philadelphia called Project Dawn Court.

City of Kansas City

A surveillance camera set up by the Kansas City Neighborhoods and Housing Services department catches a lot of illegal dumpers. Usually, they are tossing tires, trash bags, beer and water bottles. But at least twice this month, the camera captured what appears to be a U.S. Postal Service employee dumping mail.

Courtesy Panic Film Fest

Horror, thriller and science fiction might get dismissed as genre movies (as if recognizable storytelling conventions undermine true quality), but thankfully that didn't deter audiences from making classics out of "Rosemary's Baby," "The Silence of the Lambs" and last year's "Get Out."

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

How hard can it be? The weekend, that is.

That depends on who you are and how much you’re willing to push. From dogged baseball believing and deep-rooted roller derby rowdiness to a mind-blowing pop-art exhibit suitable for super-cool selfies and a 5K obstacle-course fit only for the fit (and super-sweaty selfies), the choices and their challenges await. 

Courtesy William Baker

“It could be said that Kansas City is blessed with as many fountains like Rome, many boulevards like Paris and many composers like Vienna,” says William Baker, the founder and director of his namesake William Baker Festival Singers.

Audiences get a chance to hear just a few of the pieces by those notable area composers, some living and some long gone, when Baker’s ensemble presents a Festival of Kansas City Composers this weekend.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It took Sandra Allen a few years but when she finally read the 60-page autobiographical manuscript her paranoid schizophrenic uncle Bob sent her, she found a lens into his creative, curious and sometimes discombobulating mind. Today, Allen reflects on what her uncle's life reveals about mental health in America.

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