Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

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Jazz/Blues
8:36 am
Fri May 22, 2009

A Conversation with "Cowtown Ballroom" Filmmakers

There's a brick building at 31st and Gillham, which has stood for more than eight decades. Most of the time it's been known as the El Torreon, but for three years in the early '70s, it was transformed into the Cowtown Ballroom.

Kansas City, MO – Listen to the extended interview in the Fish Fry archives

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Jazz/Blues
10:00 am
Thu May 21, 2009

Playing on All Seven Strings

Cedric Patterson demonstrates his home-made seven-string bass, which he calls Aunt Maple. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Cedric Patterson grew up playing music at his church in Topeka. And in seeking out the perfect instrument for gigs inside and out of the church, he constructed his own seven-string bass guitar.

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Theater/Performance
8:16 am
Fri May 15, 2009

Dance Celebrates Kansas City Flavor

props for "Gates Bar-B-Que Suite"
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

A new dance piece, titled "Gates Bar-B-Que Suite," pays tribute to a Kansas City barbecue restaurant.

Kansas City, MO – A new dance piece pays tribute to a Kansas City barbecue restaurant. Titled "Gates Bar-B-Que Suite," the work pairs an original composition by jazz artist Bobby Watson with the choreography of Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company co-founder and artistic director Mary Pat Henry.

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Music
1:54 pm
Thu May 14, 2009

"Cowtown Ballroom...Sweet Jesus"

"Cowtown Ballroom...Sweet Jesus" is a documentary film about Cowtown Ballroom, a legendary concert venue in Kansas City, Missouri. It was only open for 38 months, but in its short life span established an incredible musical heritage.

Kansas City , Mo. – Cowtown Ballroom: Sweet Jesus is a documentary film about Cowtown Ballroom, a legendary concert venue in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Theater/Performance
10:36 am
Fri May 8, 2009

Lyric Opera of Kansas City Presents "Charlotte's Web"

Annie Yungmeyer, eighth grade student at Leawood Middle School; and Sarah Marie Hennessey, a freshman at Blue Valley North High School, play the role of Fern
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

In E.B. White's classic novel "Charlotte's Web," a pig called Wilbur, the runt of the litter, is raised by a young girl named Fern and befriended by a spider named Charlotte.

Kansas City, MO – In the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production, professional opera singers and more than 20 children bring the story to life through song. KCUR's Laura Spencer spoke with a middle schooler and a high schooler who share the role of Fern.

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Music
11:12 am
Wed May 6, 2009

Kansas City Symphony Presents Symphonic Work Based on "The Lord of the Rings"

More than 200 performers share the stage this week for "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" composed by Howard Shore. It's based on the musical score from the films adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's tales of hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs and men of Middle-earth.

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Music
11:19 am
Mon April 6, 2009

Making Movies Takes On Latino Rock World

In the 1960's Spanish-language rock and roll began evolving separately from the mainstream and today, Rock En Espanol, with its own rhythms and cultural themes, is considered it's own genre. The Kansas City band Making Movies is also finding it's own niche as a Midwestern rock band with Latino roots.

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Theater/Performance
2:49 pm
Thu April 2, 2009

Choreographer Karole Armitage

Dancer/choreographer Karole Armitage, previously known as the "Punk Ballerina" talks with Steve Kraske about her work.

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Music
8:17 am
Mon March 30, 2009

Rappers Celebrate Negro Leagues

Rapper GLC

So you think that hip hop and baseball have nothing in common? Kansas City's Negro Leagues Baseball Museum invites you to think again. A new CD finds big-name rappers rhyming about the Negro Leagues.

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Jazz/Blues
9:36 am
Tue March 17, 2009

Cabaret Singer Marilyn Maye Attracts New Audiences

What the critics are praising is something midwest fans have known for decades: that Marilyn Maye is a master of the lost art of connecting with audiences. She recently stopped by our studios and told KCUR's Alex Smith about her philosophy of performing.

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Music
3:56 pm
Fri March 13, 2009

The Elders LIVE in Studio

photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

St. Patrick's Day in these parts just wouldn't be the same without Irish rockers The Elders. Since forming in 1998, The Elders have brought their musical mix of amped-up roots rock, powerful vocals, blazing instrumentals and top-notch songwriting to festivals, pubs and theaters across the United States and Ireland.

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Theater/Performance
8:12 am
Wed March 11, 2009

Musical Tribute to Ginger Rogers

Vanessa Sonon and Erik Floor star in Backwards in High Heels through April 19, 2009 at American Heartland Theatre in Crown Center.
Photo: Shane Rowse

Kansas City area natives who went on to fame, fortune and academy awards during Hollywood's golden age include Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, and Ginger Rogers.

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Jazz/Blues
9:12 am
Mon March 9, 2009

KC Jazzman Alaadeen

One of Kansas City's legendary jazzmen, Alaadeen, stopped by The Fish Fry to talk about his career and the 25th anniversary re-release of The City Light Orchestra's album "Raised Spirits."

Kansas City , Mo. – One of Kansas City's legendary jazzmen, Alaadeen, stopped by The Fish Fry to talk about his career and the 25th anniversary re-release of The City Light Orchestra's album "Raised Spirits."

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Jazz/Blues
10:35 am
Sat March 7, 2009

Good-Time Blues from Frank Ace

The Fish Fry's Chuck Haddix talks with blues man Frank Ace, a frequent musical guest at BB's and other area clubs.

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Kemper ARTcasts
9:36 am
Fri March 6, 2009

Kemper ARTcast 5: In Loving Memory of You

Archie Scott Gobber, In Loving Memory of You, 2007?08; enamel on wood panels, 80 x 144 inches; Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum Purchase made possible by the Collectors Forum and the Sosland Acquisition Fund, 2008.26

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents a two-part exhibition, exploring utopia and dystopia through works from its permanent collection. The titles of the exhibitions, In Loving Memory of You, come from the Kemper Museum's recent acquisition by Kansas City-based artist Archie Scott Gobber. In this edition, a conversation between Gobber and Museum Director and CEO Rachael Blackburn Cozad.

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Jazz/Blues
8:44 am
Mon March 2, 2009

Cedric Burnside And Lightnin' Malcolm: Two-Man Wrecking Crew

Chuck Haddix, Lightnin' Malcolm and Cedric Burnside
Michael Byars KCUR

Cedric Burnside, grandson of the legendary R.L. Burnside, son of drummer great Calvin Jackson, is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world. Bluesman Lightnin' Malcolm is one of the leading younger generation artists on the scene today.

Kansas City, Mo – North Mississippi Hill Country blues artists Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm joined us on The Fish Fry for a chat about their new CD "2 Man Wrecking Crew" and the influence of Cedric's grandfather, the great R.L. Burnside.

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Jazz/Blues
10:14 am
Sun March 1, 2009

Fat Tuesday Starts Early in Kansas City

Dirty Force makes a stop during its annual early morning Mardi Gras march
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

The Top of the Bottoms Social Aide Pleasure Society's Dirty Force Brass Knuckle Street Band and Soul Revue, or simply Dirty Force, has gained a reputation for arriving unannounced. But each year on Mardi Gras, the New Orleans-style brass band gathers on Kansas City's West Side to mark the festivities with an early morning march.

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Music
11:46 am
Tue February 24, 2009

Opera Soprano Carol Vaness

Carol Vaness performed the title role of Puccini's Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 opposite Pavarotti in the legendary tenor's final operatic performance. That's just a part of the extraordinary professional life of this opera soprano.

Kansas City, Mo – >>LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM

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Music
8:45 am
Sun February 22, 2009

Jumping on the Orient Express

Sergio Reyes

Guitarist Beau Bledsoe has become known to local music fans as one of the more open-minded and adventurous musicians in town. His resume already includes explorations of tango, flamenco and Western classical music. In his new project, Orient Express, the musical exploration continues further, as Beau Bledsoe collaborates with musicians from Turkey.

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Kemper ARTcasts
3:08 pm
Wed February 18, 2009

Kemper ARTcast 5: Installing Apfelbaum

Photo: Robert J. Bingaman

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art curator Christopher Cook and collections manager and registrar Amy Duke detail the process of installing the museum's permanent collection installation Split, by artist Polly Apfelbaum. View the slideshow here.

MUSIC: "Thrashy" by Brandon Draper

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Theater/Performance
12:20 pm
Thu February 12, 2009

St?rling Dance Theater Tackles Race Relations

The neo-classical dance company, St?rling Dance Theater (in residence at the Culture House in Olathe), has tackled difficult subject matter in its choreography over the last decade, from biblical themes to Alzheimer's.

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Jazz/Blues
2:48 pm
Mon February 9, 2009

Blue Note Records Through the Years

The Blue Note record label started 70 years ago when German immigrant Alfred Lion was inspired to record some of the boogie-woogie piano music he heard at Carnegie Hall. Today, the label is recognized as one of the finest in jazz. It's classic records, especially those from the 50's and 60's, have a cult following. The American Jazz Museum at 18th and Vine is celebrating Blue Note's anniversary with a series of events.

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Theater/Performance
9:59 am
Wed February 4, 2009

Soprano Danielle de Niese in her American Recital Debut

In its more than 40 year history, the Harriman-Jewell Series has presented 18 American recital debuts, including tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Recently, it was soprano Danielle de Niese's turn.

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Music
3:11 pm
Mon January 26, 2009

Remembering Dona Edith do Prato

Dona Edith do Prato

KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has a remembrance of a musician she met several years ago in Brazil. Edith Oliveira Nogueira died last week at the age of 94. She was from Santo Amaro, a colonial town surrounded by sugar cane plantations in the state of Bahia. Dona Edith, as she was known, didn't become a professional musician until her 60s, when she went on tour with the legendary singer Caetano Veloso

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KCUR News
7:28 am
Tue January 20, 2009

Gem Theater Hosts Local Inauguration Celebration

Kansas City, MO – More than a million people flooded Washington D.C. today to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In Kansas City, many gathered at the Gem Theater to watch the national events on a big screen and take part in a local celebration which included music and poetry. KCUR's Elana Gordon was there and brought back this audio postcard.

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Classical
9:40 am
Mon January 19, 2009

Chen Yi: From the Path of Beauty

In Kansas City recently, the all-male vocal group, Chanticleer and the Shanghai Quartet continued the world premiere tour of Chen Yi's From the Path of Beauty.

Kansas City, MO – A Kansas City-based composer, Chen Yi has taught for the last decade at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. KCUR's Laura Spencer has this profile.

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KCUR News
11:52 pm
Wed January 14, 2009

Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art Clarifies Cuts

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

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Music
1:43 pm
Mon December 22, 2008

Tubas Carol for Christmas

TubaChristmas is an annual event that brings together hundreds of tuba and euphonium players of all ages and music levels, shapes and sizes. And they all perform arrangements of traditional Christmas tunes.

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Music
3:57 pm
Fri December 19, 2008

The Mongol Beach Party Re-Releases CD for Reunion Shows

The Mongol Beach Party, 2008
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

After 16 years apart, the Kansas City party band, The Mongol Beach Party, reunited recently for two shows.

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