Midwest | KCUR

Midwest

Segment 1: Meet the Cutlers.

The Cutlers aren't your typical Kansas City couple. Not only do they practice law together, but they also host a reality TV court show that was recently nominated for an Emmy.

Segment 2, beginning at 19:06: How to turn your genealogy into a story.

Segment 1: How people in the Midwest cope when they have a fear of storms.

Spring in the Midwest means blooming flowers and warmer weather ... and also tornado siren tests and scary storms. What is it like for someone with a phobia of severe weather?

Meet a Leawood fifth grader who is one of five finalists in a nationwide contest for her invention, The Storm Sleeper. However, kids aren't the only ones afraid of storms; we hear about astraphobia and the adults who suffer from it.

Segment 1: What's up with demolition derbies?

Americans have been intentionally ramming cars into each other, for sport, since the 1950's. Learn about the Midwest's Colosseum and why the old school demo derby may be running out of gas.

  • Frank Morris, NPR correspondent and senior editor, KCUR

Segment 2, beginning at 22:46: Yes. Even if you're a Midwesterner, you still have an accent.

The Midwest has a reputation for being a bland, neutral, accent-free place. But experts say that simply is not true.

University of Kansas

Kansas could struggle to stop college students from taking their money to other Midwestern states if it continues to charge higher tuition.

Lorie Shaull / Flickr -- CC

In the mid-1800s, a young woman and her husband moved to the Kansas Territory to help runaway slaves. The husband died during Quantrill's raid, leaving her alone. Hear Nell Johnson Doerr's story, as told through diary entries, letters and various documents found in the rafters of a Lawrence barn. But just one thing: this is a work of fiction. A chat with the author of this new novel.

David DeHetre / Flickr -- CC

After the 2016 presidential election, many people were surprised by Donald Trump's win. National news organizations sent reporters out to so-called "Trump country," trying to figure out what they missed. We take a look at how stories that unfold nationally play out in Midwestern states.

Then: A look back at the fight for gay rights in Kansas. KCUR's C.J. Janovy shares stories of activists who both struggled and found solidarity in an inhospitable state.

Guests:

Beao / Wikimedia Commons

What does it mean to be a Midwesterner? It's a hard question to answer, but there's definitely something unique about this land between coasts. From our hardworking ethic to our passive-aggressive attitude, we discuss the characteristics, attitudes and habits (both good and bad) that define being Midwestern.

Guests:

The Missouri French Creole community, located mainly in the eastern part of the state, has its own language and culture. We hear more from a filmmaker who is working on a documentary about them.

Plus: the overlooked history of how Jews shaped small towns in the Midwest. It's the topic of a symposium this weekend: Jews in the Midwest: 1850 to 1950.

Guests:

Mitch Bennett / Flickr -- CC

Meet a young musician who's starting to make a name for herself in Kansas City ... and who is putting some of her success towards helping the city's homeless.

Then: how often do you think about the trees in our area? Since the 1940s, an organization called American Forests has been tracking the oldest and largest trees in the country — champion trees. We hear about the champion trees near us, along with the beloved trees in and around KC.

Courtesy Mary Anne Andrei

Author Ted Genoways is coming to town this Saturday for a reading from his book, The Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm. Why he advocates for more stories of ordinary Midwesterners.

Plus, there are no women composers in the Kansas City Symphony's classical composer series. Why is there a gender gap in classical music? 

Guests:

Cory Weaver / Kansas City Repertory Theater

The musical Between the Lines, based off a bestselling novel by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, just made its world premiere at the KC Rep. It was a huge hit, but will it make it to Broadway? We discuss what it takes to get there with a local artistic director, a national producer and a Broadway performer.

Sean Davis / Flickr - CC

In this encore presentation: Patsy Cline's last show was here in Kansas City in March of 1963; she died in a plane crash as she was leaving town. Nearly 55 years later, a young local singer shares how Patsy Cline has influenced her.

Then: Have you noticed that more and more people are saying "y'all"? A look at how the word has spread beyond its Southern roots.

Guests:

Paul Andrews PAUL ANDREWS / Paulandrewsphotography.com

For his day job, he smoked ribs at a barbecue joint. But his secret identity was a playwright. Hear Nathan Louis Jackson's journey to becoming a writer for television and stage, including the Netflix series Luke Cage.

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"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) / MGM

When you start a show called "Midwesternish," at some point there'll be an episode about The Wizard of Oz. If this film defines Kansas for the entire world, what exactly does it say and do we believe it? 

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In a new Netflix series, a family flees from Chicago and goes into hiding at the Lake of the Ozarks. We take a closer look at Ozark and how the show represents Missouri — and the larger urban-rural divide in the Midwest.

Guests:

Scott Schiller / Creative Commons

2015 was the most successful year since 1969 for the nation's largest cassette tape manufacturer. We meet the founder of that company, based in Springfield, Missouri, and try to figure out why people are returning to cassettes.

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Gina Kaufmann / KCUR 89.3

The Garden of Eden isn't as far away as you might think. It's in the small town of Lucas, Kansas and it's filled with art. On this episode, a grassroots art project and it's unexpected caretaker. 

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Jack Williams / NET News

In the middle of a cornfield in south-central Nebraska, an oasis of art is growing.

Art Farm, situated off a long dirt road outside the small town of Marquette, started back in 1993 as an artist residency program. Since then, it’s become a one-of-a-kind experience many artists can’t resist.

From Oxford-educated surgeon to body-builder to Cerner executive, Daphne Bascom joins us to talk about the journey that now brings her to community health at the YMCA.

Plus, Dodge City, Kansas-native Robert Rebein just published a new memoir on his home state.

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

What happens when a state regulates a tradition practiced on stoops and living room floors for generations? Missouri hair braiders say you could end up disenfranchising a community. On this episode: African hair braiding in the Midwest.

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Timothy Vollmer / Flickr -- CC

A local chef tells us about the white barbecue sauce that he'll be serving at his new restaurant; a New York food writer discovered that Kansas City has the best cinnamon rolls; then the Food Critics search out the best sausages in and around town.

Guests:

Dave Loewenstein

Jul 14, 2017
Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He's traveled around the Midwest to translate other people's stories into art that lives on city walls. Now we hear muralist Dave Loewenstein's story.

Guest:

LAURA ZIEGLER / KCUR 89.3

Roger Thomas wants you to move to his hometown, Orrick, Missouri, in order to save a small town that's only getting smaller. But can he convice you to see what he sees in Orrick?

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Ryan Bavetta / Flickr - CC

It's easy to claim that Mexican immigrants, workers or political policies are what ails the American economy, but the problem is more complex than that. Today, we learn why simple solutions won't solve complicated issues between the United States and its southern neighbor. Then, we meet a journalist and author who toured small towns throughout the Midwest, and was pleasantly surprised by the resilience and hope she found in them.

What is Midwestern cuisine? Church fare, like Jello salad, or comfort food like mac n' cheese? A local chef and a Food Network chef who brings Midwestern fare to the masses join us to explore what it is and how that's changed. 

Plus, upon Bill Gilbert's recently passing, we look back at his legacy and the Gilbert/Robinson restaurant empire, which gave us Houlihan's, The Bristol, Plaza III, Fred P. Ott's, Annie's Santa Fe and more.

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Between natural disasters, the transformation of farming, and the widespread decline of rural America, the small town of Orrick, Missouri has dwindled to a few square blocks.

KCUR's Central Standard has been visiting the edges of our listening area, to learn about communities we don't hear from quite as often. Join us for this trip 30 miles northeast of Kansas City to Orrick, where the town, lead by a new mayor, is all about re-invention.

Guests:

PAUL ANDREWS (PAULANDREWSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM)

When you're falling in love, spending time apart can seem unbearable. Kansas City-born musician Krystle Warren has been away from her first love, her hometown, for a long time. She shares her story of finding a new home in Paris when her heart was still in the plains. 

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Music: Krystle Warren

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

In a big gravel lot under a canopy of trees by Turkey Creek in Kansas City, Kansas, children spill out of parked cars toward a playground as parents set up lawn chairs and grab beer from the cooler. 

It's a typical Sunday night at the Boulevard Drive-In, and a few hours till the main event. As for what's showing?

"Oh, I can't remember. I'd have to look it up," says owner Wes Neal.

COURTESY OF THE JACKSON FAMILY

Avery Jackson was the first transgender person in the world to grace the cover of National Geographic. That's a huge responsibility for a nine-year-old girl from the Midwest. But, through her journey, Avery's learned to deal with the haters.

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Americasroof / Wikimedia Ccommons

You might think it's easy to define the Midwest...it's just a collection of states, right? Wrong. On this episode, we explore our regional identity and attempt to answer the question: what is the Midwest, really? 

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