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
10:44 am
Wed December 6, 2006

WEB EXTRA: Chuck Haddix on Jay McShann

Historian Chuck Haddix is the co-author with Frank Driggs of Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop: A History. Here, Haddix talks about how McShann will be remembered.

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Jazz/Blues
1:01 pm
Mon November 13, 2006

A Conversation with the Interim Director of the American Jazz Museum

American Jazz Museum Interim Executive Director Carol Rhodes Dyson has been on the job since former Executive Director Juanita Moore left in September. Rhodes Dyson grew up in Kansas City, just blocks away from the museum.

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Jazz/Blues
9:09 am
Mon September 18, 2006

KC Pianist Harold O'Neal Competes in Monk Competition

This weekend, Kansas City jazz musician Harold O'Neal traveled to Washington D.C. to play in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition. O'Neal is one of twelve young pianists selected from around the world to play for the judges, who include jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron and Randy Weston. The top prize is a twenty thousand dollar scholarship.

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Performance
1:33 pm
Mon September 11, 2006

Orpheus in Kansas City

The myth has inspired an opera, paintings and films, and most recently a new modern ballet set in Kansas City's jazz era. It's a work in progress by Pascal Rioult, artistic director of the Pascal Rioult Dance Theater. Before starting his own company, Rioult was a principal dancer with the groundbreaking Martha Graham Dance Company. Pascal Rioult joined us over the phone from his rehearsal studio in New York City.

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Jazz/Blues
8:09 am
Thu September 7, 2006

Natalie Twigg on Aurora Consort

The Kansas City-based ensemble Aurora Consort is known for its fusion of jazz, world, and classical music. This weekend, the group presents original compositions, as well as traditional music from Iraq.

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Performance
9:36 am
Tue September 5, 2006

An Interview with KCFAA Executive Director Tyrone Aiken

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be performing this Wednesday through Saturday at the Carlsen Center. Tyrone Aiken is now executive director of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. and stopped by our studios to talk about the company's upcoming performances.

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Music
8:59 am
Tue August 29, 2006

An Interview with the Kansas City Symphony's Damon Gupton

Kansas City Symphony assistant conductor Damon Gupton
Photo: Stephen Kunken

original air date: August, 2006

This weekend, the Kansas City Symphony's new assistant conductor Damon Gupton makes his debut. A native of Detroit, Gupton has a background in both music and theatre.

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Jazz/Blues
3:42 pm
Fri August 25, 2006

Charlie Parker Tribute

Charlie Parker
UMKC Marr Sound Archives/Miller Nichols Library

Charlie "Bird" Parker was born on August 29, 1920. Considered a founding figure of bebop, the jazz saxophonist and composer was born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City, MO – Note: Excerpts for this piece were drawn from a tribute recorded in March at City Hall, Kansas City.

A number of Charlie Parker Tributes are planned this weekend including:

Saturday, August 26, 2006:
A jazz jam in honor of Charlie Parker runs from 6 to 8 at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center

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Theater/Performance
8:59 am
Tue August 1, 2006

Lyric Opera Camp

Lyric Opera campers during a vocal warm-up.
Photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

For the past 14 years, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City has hosted elementary to high school-aged kids for its two-week opera camp.

Kansas City, MO – For the past 14 years, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City has hosted elementary to high school-aged kids for its two-week opera camp. As KCUR's Steve Walker reports, this year's campers are working on an opera with significance to one of the camp's special guests.

Pinocchio will be presented on Friday, August 4, 2006 at 2:30 pm at the Lyric Theatre.

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Theater/Performance
11:21 am
Thu June 22, 2006

Excerpt from King Henry V

Nathan Darrow, as King Henry V
Photo: Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

Here, an excerpt from a recent rehearsal of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's King Henry V hours before the first preview at Southmoreland Park.

Kansas City, MO – The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is set under the stars in Southmoreland Park, just west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (47th & Oak St.).

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Jazz/Blues
10:54 am
Thu June 22, 2006

Bluesman DC Bellamy

Blues musician Gregory "DC" Bellamy grew up on Chicago's West Side, but he's made Kansas City his home for the past several years.

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Jazz/Blues
3:27 pm
Tue June 20, 2006

The Scamps' Rusty Tucker Dies

Orestie "Rusty" Tucker died last week at the age of 80 after a brief illness. A singer, drummer, and trumpeter, Tucker was a member of the Tim Whitmer K-C Express band, and played with a number of other groups in Kansas City. But Tucker was probably best known for his work with the Scamps, a group he joined in the late 1970s. The Scamps are considered Kansas City's version of the New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band.

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Jazz/Blues
8:02 am
Mon June 12, 2006

KC Warms up for Al Green

Headlining the list of musicians for the Rhythm and Ribs Festival (June 16-18) is Al Green, his satin sound defining a new genre for soul music. Here's our own little preview of Rhythm and Ribs and a local tribute to the great Al Green.

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Music
12:48 pm
Thu June 1, 2006

Accompagnata, a ViolinDance

This weekend, the Bach Aria Soloists present a premiere, which combines classical music with modern dance.

Kansas City, MO – The Bach Aria Soloists is dedicated to presenting the arias from Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata collection, as well as his solo and chamber music. This weekend, they'll branch out into new territory with a collaboration that combines classical music with modern dance.

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Music
1:15 pm
Thu May 18, 2006

Web Extra: Wanda Jackson talks about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

A campaign is underway to induct Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here, Jackson shares her thoughts about it.

Kansas City, MO – A campaign is underway to induct Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here, Jackson shares her thoughts about it.

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Visual Arts
8:20 am
Mon May 1, 2006

Artist Wilbur Niewald Wins Guggenheim

Wilbur Niewald works on an etching at Loose Park. He's returned to this grove of pine trees for the past three years (notice the worn spot).
photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

Artist Wilbur Niewald, professor emeritus of painting at the Kansas City Art Institute, began his year-long Guggenheim Fellowship on May 1.

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Visual Arts
12:17 pm
Fri April 14, 2006

Arts Roundup, April 14

This week, Archie Scott Gobber: Ready or Not is the inaugural exhibit in the Review Studios exhibit space, a local children's boutique presents a rock and roll concert at the RecordBar for parents and their kids, and a show at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art combines popular music and car culture.

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Jazz/Blues
3:15 pm
Mon April 10, 2006

Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee

Kansas City filmmaker Glenn Stewart talks about her work, Riffs: A Kansas City Jazz Coda. The film was screened as part of this year's 10th annual Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee.

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Music
1:15 pm
Wed March 29, 2006

Musician Shane Borth

Kansas City based musician Shane Borth plays a number of instruments, but his primary ones are violin and viola (he's a violist for the Des Moines Symphony). This weekend, Borth will collaborate with the ensemble of artists called Quixotic Performance Fusion in an improvisational piece, and here, gives a sample.

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Jazz/Blues
3:24 pm
Mon March 13, 2006

KC Jazz Photographer Dan White

Bassist Milt Abel
Photo: Dan White

Dan White has documented the jazz scene in Kansas City for more than two decades. A new exhibit in the Changing Gallery at the American Jazz Museum displays 50 of White's black and white photographs, along with anecdotes from interviews.

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Jazz/Blues
11:45 am
Wed February 22, 2006

The Wild Woman of Kansas City: Myra Taylor

  • Audio processing, please check back momentarily.

Vocalist Myra Taylor is a veteran of the original Kansas City swing sound and started out singing and dancing in the early 1930s on 18th and Vine. Throughout her long career, she's shared the stage with Jay McShann, Sarah Vaughan, Nat "King" Cole, and many others. Taylor continues to perform in her hometown often as part of the quartet known as the Wild Women of Kansas City. Myra Taylor turns 89 on Friday, February 24.

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Jazz/Blues
8:37 am
Sun February 12, 2006

Remembering Milt Abel

Bettye Miller (on piano) and Milt Abel (on bass)
Photo: Marr Sound Archives

Jazz bassist and vocalist Milt Abel - part of Kansas City's jazz scene for five decades - died on February 3, 2006 after a long illness. Abel grew up in Philadelphia, where he learned to play the stand-up bass, baritone horn, and trombone as a teenager.

Kansas City, MO – KCUR?s Laura Spencer talked to some of the musicans he played with over the years in Kansas City and others who say his musicial talent will not be forgotten.

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People
3:25 am
Mon February 6, 2006

Dianne Cleaver Interview

Kansas City, MO – Coretta Scott King, who died last Monday, was known as the strong, solid woman who stood behind Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., in life and after his assassination. Reverend Jesse Jackson described her as the glue that kept Dr. King's home and movement intact. To find out about being the wife of a preacher and activist, we turned to Dianne Cleaver, known by most people as the wife of 5th district Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. He was the first African American mayor of Kansas City and a long time civil rights activist.

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Jazz/Blues
8:13 am
Fri February 3, 2006

Artist Anthony Ramos Interview

Anthony Ramos

Painter Anthony Ramos has shows at the American Jazz Museum and the Bruce R Watkins Cultural Center. He was in Kansas City recently for a series of talks around the city and spoke to KC Currents host Delores Jones.

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People
4:03 am
Mon January 30, 2006

Janet Murguia on Latino Youth

National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia
Source: www.kckps.org

Kansas City, MO – It's been two years since Kansas City Kansas native Janet Murguia was named president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, a leading Latino civil rights organization. She was in town on Friday to address young people at a leadership conference at UMKC. Sylvia Maria Gross asked her about some current challenges in educating Latino youth, both locally and nationally.

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People
2:01 am
Mon January 30, 2006

From Mecca to Missouri: A Kansas Citian's Return

The Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
BAZUKI MUHAMMAD/REUTERS
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Jazz/Blues
9:46 am
Fri January 20, 2006

WEB EXTRA: Loren Pickford's First Day in New Orleans

Loren Pickford

Musician and artist Loren Pickford is a veteran of jazz scenes in Los Angeles, Boston, and Paris. Pickford lived in New Orleans from 1990 to 2005, and here shares the story of his first day in the Big Easy.

Kansas City, MO – Pickford and his wife, Sheila, relocated from New Orleans to Kansas City, Missouri after Hurricane Katrina.

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Jazz/Blues
9:26 am
Mon January 9, 2006

Blue Mondays at the Blue Room

Every Monday night, a jam session at the Blue Room draws a rambunctious crowd of genuine music-lovers, many of whom attend with religious devotion.

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Jazz/Blues
8:33 am
Fri January 6, 2006

Jazz Relocation Project Brings in Second Artist

Cultural Convention and Visitors Bureau President Anita Dixon says her vision of 12th Street, from the Paseo to Brooklyn, is as an enclave for jazz artists.

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Jazz/Blues
8:50 am
Sun January 1, 2006

Kansas City's Ida McBeth Releases New CD

T. Michael Stanley (913) 341-7229

Original airdate: November 2006. Versatile singer Ida McBeth has been serving up jazz, blues, soul and funk to Kansas City audiences for 30 years.

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