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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Up to Date
9:45 am
Fri June 28, 2013

The Weekend To-Do List: June 28-30, 2013

The 2013 Maker Faire is on Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List. Is it on yours?
Credit downtownkc.org

Need to get out of the house this weekend? Brian McTavish has some ideas for you on the Weekend To-Do List. 

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

[VIDEO] Off-Season: Dancers Challenge Audiences And Themselves With New Summer Festival

Rachel Coats, a dancer performing in 'Angeli,' a work that will be presented at the Kansas City Dance Festival.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

For most dancers, the off-season is a time of rest and recuperation from the rigors of performance. But six months ago, Kansas City Ballet dancers Anthony Krutzkamp and Logan Pachciarz began to plan a more ambitious summer break.

Art is not always easy

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Central Standard
11:01 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Your Guide To Quirky Day Trips In Kansas And Missouri

Matfield Station in Matfield Green, Kan. is a small retreat that looks out over the BNSF train tracks.
Matt Kleinmann Matt Kleinmann Photography

From the hair museum, to the bridge to nowhere and Big Brutus, there are some interesting and even bizarre things to see and do in Missouri and Kansas.  

So grab the kids and a cooler, and take a day trip to one (or more) of these quirky destinations in our corner of the Midwest.

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Visual Arts
1:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Kauffman Foundation Announces $20 Million For Downtown Arts Campus

Julia Irene Kauffman received a standing ovation, and a hearty handshake from the Conservatory's Peter Witte, after the announcement of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman leadership gift.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

It’s been two years since officials at the University of Missouri-Kansas City unveiled a plan for a downtown arts campus, which would relocate the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. On Wednesday, the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation announced a pledge of $20 million to support the effort.

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Performance
12:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

'The Death Of Cupid' Reinterprets The Sex Strike Of Aristophanes' 'Lysistrata'

Katie Gilchrist, as Khaos/Reconciliation, belts out a number with the chorus.
Julie Denesha KCUR

With the opening this week of The Death of Cupid at the downtown performance space The Living Room, author and director Kyle Hatley is revisiting a play he's been refining since 2008. Its eternal themes of peace, war and sex have its roots in ancient Greece but still maintain a relevance to what the world looks like today.

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Agriculture
5:00 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Last Call For The Kansas City Board Of Trade

Jac T.Bowen constructed 'Sheaves of Wheat,' for the exterior of the Board of Trade building at 48th and Oak. The Board of Trade moved here in 1966.
Julie Denesha KCUR

In October 2012, Chicago-based CME Group acquired the Kansas City Board of Trade, the more than 150-year-old wheat exchange. Operations move to Chicago as of July 1 – and the last call on the Kansas City trading floor takes place on Friday. We take a look back at the long history of the Board of Trade – and the end of an era.

For 157 years, the price of most wheat grown on the plains has been set by the Kansas City Board of Trade. That will soon come to an end.

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Up to Date
6:00 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

The Best Kansas City Music of 2013 - So Far

Local hip hop artist and rapper, Reach, performs on stage.
Credit Jordan Smith - Creative Commons

Is your iTunes library lacking a local flare? From jazz acts to hip hop artists and everything in between, KCUR has its finger on the pulse of local music. 

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Performance
9:15 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Father And Son On Stage At Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival

During a rehearsal, Orlando, played by Todd Carlton Lanker, and Oliver, played by Matt Rapport (in the center), struggle. Adam, played by Michael Linsley Rapport (at right), looks on in dismay.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

This year, in its 21st season, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival presents the romantic comedy, As You Like It. The production features conflicts between brothers, and a circuitous path to love.

Two actors – a father and son - talk about the challenges of acting in the same production and carrying on a family tradition.

A childhood in theaters leads to a career on the stage

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Film
3:52 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

'Bling Ring' And 'Kings Of Summer' Find American Youth Lost Or Under Arrest

In "The Kings of Summer," teenage boys build a makeshift retreat from suburban angst.
Courtesy hollywoodreporter.com

Two new films opened the same day that offer clever, stylized looks at American teenagers feeling besieged and taking their sad lives into their own industrious yet limited hands.

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Dance
12:59 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

Concern For Monarch Butterflies Inspires Dancer To Action

Silk wings outstretched, Gwynedd Vetter-Drusch flutters through the butterfly habitat at Monarch Watch.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The click of a hair curler and a spritz of hairspray punctuated conversation in the small side room of Monarch Watch, a conservation project based at the University of Kansas. Normally home to a display of tarantulas, the room on Friday was transformed into a dressing room for New York-based dancer Gwynedd Vetter-Drusch, who wore a black unitard decorated with sequins. In one corner of the room were the vividly-colored orange and black silk butterfly wings that would complete her metamorphosis.

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Up to Date
11:53 am
Fri June 21, 2013

The Weekend To-Do List: June 21-23, 2013

Bruce Roach, as Jaques, stops to smell the flowers in 'As You Like It.'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Looking for fun in the sun the weekend of June 21-23, 2013? Brian McTavish has some ideas for you on the Weekend To-Do List. 

Matt and Kim (Pop), 8 p.m. Friday at KC Live outdoor stage, in the Power & Light District. Admission: Free (ages 21 and over)

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Up to Date
10:36 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Artistic Cars On Display At Kansas City Art Institute

A hood ornament from a 1935 Auburn Model 851, supercharged boattail speedster gleams in the early morning light at at the seventh annual Art of the Car Concours on the grounds of the Kansas City Art Institute.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Seventh Annual Art of the Car Concours showcases vintage and classic cars and gives visitors the chance to meet some of the men and women who raced them during the 1950s and ’60s.

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Local Actors Heighten The Authenticity Of 'Real Pirates'

Kevin Payne as Richard Noland, a member of the Whydah's crew.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The remains of a sunken pirate ship found off of Cape Cod, Mass. in 1984 form the ballast of the traveling National Geographic exhibit Real Pirates, opening June 22 at Union Station. The exhibit also features some 200 artifacts found nearby on the ocean floor and, to heighten its authenticity, Union Station has hired a number of actors who will be playing real and fictitious pirates that visitors will be encouraged to engage.

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Film
3:39 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Kansas Town Renamed Smallville...For A Day

Henry Cavill stars as Superman in 'Man of Steel.'
Credit Clay Enos / Warner Brothers Pictures

In a scene from the recent film Man of Steel, Superman is asked why he should be trusted. He responds, "I grew up in Kansas." For the past year, three natives of Hutchinson, Kan., have argued that their hometown is probably the closest fit to the superhero’s: Smallville.

On Friday, June 21, for one day only, Hutchinson will be known as "Smallville, Kansas – the Home of Clark Kent."

Hutchinson as candidate for Smallville

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Performance
10:10 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Feeling Groovy At The Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival

As raindrops begin to fall over a dress rehearsal performance, Mark Robbins, as Duke Frederick, holds out his hand to catch a drop.
Julie Denesha KCUR

This year's Heart of America Shakespeare Festival production of As You Like It, one of the Bard's romantic comedies, is set in 1967. And it's been at least 15 years since the festival presented a "full modern dress production," according to the festival's executive artistic director Sidonie Garrett who recalls it was Measure for Measure in 1998.

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Dance
5:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

[VIDEO] Dance Is The Catalyst For AileyCamp

Tyrese Bryant, a 14-year-old Paseo Academy student, at AileyCamp.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Alvin Ailey was an African American choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. For the past 25 years, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey have held AileyCamp, a month-long session for junior high-age students, to honor Ailey's work.

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Film
7:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

LGBT Film Festival Serves Up Divine Fare With A Dash Of James Franco

James Franco is the director of "Interior. Leather Bar."

Any film festival centered around themes that appeal to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered audiences or their supportive allies is sure to be as eclectic as its targeted demographic. This year’s Kansas City LGBT Film Festival at Tivoli Cinemas in Westport makes good on that promise.

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Classical
5:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Off-Season: Kansas City Symphony's Miles Maner

The Kansas City Symphony's Miles Maner plays an excerpt from a Saint-Saëns piece in the KCUR studios.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

There are some artists, like musicians and dancers, whose contracts are for roughly 40 weeks a year. So, how do they spend the rest of their time?

We asked Kansas City Symphony musicians, on contract for a 42-week season, to share stories about their plans for the off-season.

Miles Maner, associate principal, bassoonist and contrabassoonist

On learning to love the bassoon

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Visual Arts
12:07 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

You Can Buy The Kansas City Board Of Trade Building, And Its Art

At the end of June, the Kansas City Board of Trade, founded in 1856 by Kansas City merchants, will begin trading Kansas City wheat futures in Chicago.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Kansas City Board of Trade is slated to close its trading floor on June 28 after more than 150 years in Kansas City. In December, CME Group bought the exchange and plans to move operations to Chicago. The Board of Trade building at 4800 Main is on the market, including one of Jac T. Bowen's sculptures.

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Performance
5:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

[VIDEO] In This Scene... 'As You Like It'

Rosalind, played by Carla Noack, and Orlando, played by Todd Carlton Lanker, in 'As You Like It'.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 21st season in Southmoreland Park with the comedy As You Like It. This year, the production is set in 1967 and the costumes and music hearken back to the Summer of Love.

Act Three, Scene Two, In The Forest of Arden

In this scene, Rosalind, played by Carla Noack, is banished from her uncle's court. She takes refuge in the Forest of Arden disguised as the boy, Ganymede. There she meets Orlando, played by Todd Carlton Lanker.

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Visual Arts
4:30 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Laura McPhee, Photographing The Grandeur Of The West

Artist Laura McPhee at the Kemper Museum.
Laura Spencer KCUR

In the exhibition Laura McPhee: River of No Return at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the more than two dozen photographs - each six by eight feet - loom large. McPhee's series explores the grandeur of the West, tensions between ranchers and environmentalists, and human impact on the land - and its often unintended consequences. 

Growing up McPhee

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KC Currents
3:58 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Fiddler Betse Ellis Goes Solo

Fiddler Betse Ellis.
Credit Paul Andrews

For 15 years, fiddler Betse Ellis helped lead and shape the Wilders, an internationally-known old-time country quartet which, for years, toured the US and Europe.

But in December of 2011, the Wilders announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus. Ellis, however, is still going as strongly as ever. She stopped by KCUR this week to talk about her solo career, her new CD, and give us a live, in-studio performance.

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Estate Sale
1:54 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Photographer Uses Camera To Let Go Of Belongings

Gloria Baker Feinstein

It was just last year when Gloria Baker Feinstein and her husband had to move out of their house and into a condo, and get rid of many their possessions.

"It's not stuff," she said. "Everything had a reason. Everything had a memory. Everything felt really dear to me."

The couple had an estate sale, and Feinstein, a photographer, decided to document each item as it left her house. But the endeavor quickly turned into a different project -- one that is now on display in a local gallery.

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Fashion
12:50 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

'Gilded Summer' Hits The Runway

A white scarf shimmers beneath the spotlights as a model wearing Paige Beltowski walks the runway.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The 13th Annual West 18th Street Fashion Show started at dusk on June 8, and drew a crowd of onlookers both on the street and from the windows above.

Camera phones flashed as models, wearing the creations of eighteen designers, pranced on a lighted runway in the canyon between buildings lining 18th Street. Behind-the-scenes, designers made last-minute adjustments and models primped as they prepared to mount the runway. 

Up To Date
12:00 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Embracing Anger To Be Happier

Harriet Lerner's book, The Dance of Anger
Credit HarperCollins Publishers

Have you ever felt so angry that steam could be pouring out your ears? 

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Performance
8:31 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Owen/Cox Completes Season With The Goldberg Variations

Geoffrey Kropp and Jennifer Owen will perform the contemporary dance work set to the music of J.S. Bach.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Owen/Cox Dance Group, with pianist Kairy Koshoeva, performs its interpretation of The Goldberg Variations and brings its 2012-2013 season to a close.

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KC Currents
1:17 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Blues Musician Cassie Taylor Settles Down In Kansas City

Blues musician Cassie Taylor recently moved to Kansas City, where she has several shows scheduled for this summer. Her new album is called 'Out of My Mind.'
Credit Sam Frickleton / Shore Fire Media

For the past decade, blues singer and bassist Cassie Taylor has made her home on the road. At age sixteen, she started touring with her father, bluesman Otis Taylor, and she started her own solo career a few years after that.

While Taylor has no plans to slow down, the 26-year-old veteran is settling down a bit. She was recently married and moved to the Kansas City area. Some of the true-life stories of the blues life and love lost and found are the subjects of her new CD, called Out of My Mind.

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Visual Arts
12:02 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

[VIDEO] Voices From Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera Opening Reception

Diego en mi pensamiento (Diego on My Mind), 1943. Oil on Masonite.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art celebrated the opening of "Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection" on May 31, 2013, with an opening reception for museum members.

The exhibition showcases more than 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings collected by the Gelmans in their adopted homeland of Mexico.

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Up to Date
8:56 am
Fri May 31, 2013

A Passionate And Prolific Relationship: Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo is part of in Diego Rivera's mural 'Panamerican Unity' at San Francisco City College.
Credit Joaquín Martínez Rosado

They’ve been immortalized in museums, history books and on film. Their rocky marriage and ties to Communism made for fascinating lives. So how did Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s tumultuous relationship influence their colorful creations of Mexican culture?

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Visual Arts
8:17 am
Fri May 31, 2013

PLUG Projects Presents 'Rare Earth'

A close-up of a lichen installation by Sarah Hearn. According to PLUG Projects, Hearn's work is "idea driven by a multitude of scientific theories."
Laura Spencer KCUR

Inside – and outside – the gallery at PLUG Projects, works by seven artists from around the country incorporate natural materials, such as lichen, geodes, fungi and fauna. In their paintings, photography, sculptures, and installations, they explore new ways of seeing nature - and the impact of human intervention.

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