Anne Kniggendorf | KCUR

Anne Kniggendorf

Contributor

Anne Kniggendorf is a freelance writer based in Kansas City, whose work has appeared in local media outlets as well as in the Smithsonian Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, Electric Literature, Publishers Weekly, Ploughshares, and several literary reviews, including two as far away as India and Scotland.

She’s a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she did not study journalism but Western philosophy and historical mathematics. She holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in creative writing, which she thinks is close enough to journalism the way she does it. Anne is a Navy veteran.

Segment 1: Muralists descend on Kansas City to make art.

In its third year, Sprayseemo has become a big international festival for creating outdoor public art in Kansas City. 

  • Amy Harrington and Jason Harrington (AKA Riff Raff Giraffe), artists and festival organizers

Segment 2: A world-renowned opera singer performs in his native Kansas City, alongside his mom.

Crossroads Community Association

After last month's fatal shooting of 25-year-old Erin Langhofer at the Crossroads' First Friday event, the Crossroads Community Association lost its liability insurance coverage for the monthly street festival.

Langhofer was in line at a food truck when she was hit by a stray bullet. That level of violence had not been an issue, even after First Friday began to draw crowds of 20,000 to 30,000 people a few years ago.

Kansas City Royals

Scott Switzer is the youngest of four boys, all athletes. He understands the social and physical value of sports. And, while his family fully supported him when he came out as gay as a young person, the sports world wasn’t necessarily as accepting.

Segment 1: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Bibliofiles: Back-To-School

Sep 3, 2019

Segment 1: Books in school, according to a librarian.

A retired Shawnee Mission school librarian reflects on the change she's witnessed in school libraries over the decades, particularly given the role of online searches in student research. 

  • Jan Bombeck, retired librarian, Shawnee Mission School District and Johnson County Public Library

Segment 2: Books about school, according to the Bibliofiles.

Segment 1: A Waldo coffee shop looks back on 10 years.

As One More Cup approaches its announced closing date, one of the owners joins us to talk about what neighborhood hangouts mean to their communities.

  • Stacy Neff, One More Cup

Segment 2: Kansas City prepares for its first-ever Black Restaurant Week.

What's the idea behind Black Restaurant Week, and how does it fit into the big picture of race in restaurant culture, in Kansas City and beyond?

Marc Havener / Resonate Pictures

It's tempting to say that for nearly 40 years, Lawrence bankruptcy attorney John Hooge has led a bit of a double life. He built a successful law career and raised a family, but there was also the art and the writing — and the trees.

This month, Hooge (pronounced "hoagie") releases the first in a self-published, four-part series of illustrated novels called Leafensong, broken down into Leafensong: Tellings one through four.

The books were 35 years in the making.

As Labor Day approaches, the food critics recommend great hot dogs in Kansas City, and an expert offers advice on how to grill unexpected foods, such as pound cakes and apricots.

  • Mike McGonigle, McGonigles Market
  • Jenny Vergara, contributing editor, Feast Magazine
  • Carlton Logan, KCFoodGuys.com and the Kansas City Eats Facebook group
  • Liz Cook, food critic, The Pitch

Todd Feeback

A knight in shining armor with autism is the hero of Lawrence novelist Bryn Greenwood's new book, "The Reckless Oath We Made." A voice tells him to "champion" a waitress he meets in a Wichita physical therapy session, and the two careen off on a dangerous mission.

Greenwood says she didn't know whether the knight character, Gentry, would work. He's not only fascinated by Medieval literature and ancient martial arts, but his primary way of communicating is in Middle English.

Segment 1: What's up in northeast Johnson County?

As part of our continuing conversations with community newspaper editors, here's some inside perspective on the news in the Shawnee Mission Post. This episode's focus: contested municipal elections in Overland Park and Shawnee, and non-discrimination ordinances in several cities countywide.

Segment 2: The story of a new play inspired by the 30 Americans exhibit.

Seg. 1: Technology In Prison | Seg. 2: Unidentified

Aug 19, 2019

Segment 1: A KU research team got a grant to bring technology training to women's prisons.

The population of women in U.S. prisons has risen 834 percent over the past 40 years. More than half of the women now in prison are mothers of children under 18. After interruptions in their educations and resumes, technology training could help them begin planning for re-entry.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Robbie Makinen, CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, has more important matters to discuss than his inability to see. Ask about his vision loss, and he'll redirect the conversation.

Transit isn't about vehicles; it's about people. When Robbie Makinen lost his vision in 2013 and suddenly had to get around town without his sight, he came to understand that more clearly than ever. Here's his story.

  • Robbie Makinen, CEO, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

Segment 1: New distilleries revive the past, with a twist.

Why was 9th street, in the West Bottoms, once known as the "wettest block"? Why did a spirits industry thrive here in the 19th century and then fade even before Prohibition? And what's it like to ride the slide at the new East Bottoms facility for J. Rieger & Co.?

Segment 1: Could opportunity zones change the landscape of investment in Kansas City?

As part of the bipartisan 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones encouraging private investment in distressed areas have been identified in every state. We get an explainer on how it works, along with on-the-ground insights into how the five opportunity zones in Kansas City, Missouri might stand to benefit. 

Peep Game Productions

To underline that music really is the universal language, a classically trained violinist from Kansas City, Kansas, has blended musical languages on her first solo recording.

Musician Katina Bilberry, known on stage as K’Tina (pronounced Kay Tina), had an epiphany on a visit to Kenya during her time as an undergraduate at William Jewell College.

Segment 1: A hopeful billboard has a story behind it.

When artist Nicole Leth lost her father to suicide, she told herself she would focus all her energy on spreading positivity. Now a billboard in Kansas City stands testament to that promise.

  • Nicole Leth, artist

Segment 2: A Kansas City musician rocks the violin in her new EP.

Library of Congress

Though Langston Hughes began his writing career nearly a century ago, Anthony Bolden says Hughes continues to speak to the current social and political climate — better than most contemporary writers do.

"In many ways, the current group of writers, that is to say creative writers and scholars, have yet to offer meaningful critiques or explanations for why we’re experiencing some of the things that are happening, or to demonstrate a clear understanding of the critical problems that we face," Bolden says.

Jim Lightfoot

Missy Koonce has figured out that "weird ages well."

For 30 years, the actor, writer and director has entertained Kansas City with her character acting, parodies of old shows like "Bonanza," and for a while, as owner of Bar Natasha.

That local legacy will be capped this fall when Koonce moves to Indianapolis, Indiana, where her partner has been transferred for work.

"I think what I'm most excited about, about going someplace new, is nobody knows me there," she said.

Matthew Hawkins

Commercial artist Matthew Hawkins is in his mid-40s and feeling like more of his life is behind him than ahead of him. So, he took some time off from his paying art jobs to nail down a personal project he’s worked on for the past four years.

Hawkins, who lives in Overland Park, calls Walt Disney one of his clients. His art, largely paper sculptures, is sold in Disney’s theme park art galleries, but he's also designed do-it-yourself paper toys for GameStop, Arby's, Steak ’n Shake, GE, Newsweek, Crayola and Barnes & Noble.

Gabby Poulos / Yarn Social

Kansas City knitters and crocheters are not immune to the ugly politics often associated with social media — though this may surprise anyone hanging onto the idea that only sweet old ladies knit.

At the end of June, a website called Ravelry banned users who actively voice their support for President Trump.

The site serves as a social space for 8 million fiber art enthusiasts, that is, people who make things with yarn.

Segment 1: The changing culture of language-learning in professional baseball.

About 25 percent of Major League Baseball players were from Spanish-speaking countries on Opening Day in March. What role do professional baseball teams play in incorporating language-learning into their players' transitions to living and playing in the United States?

File photo / Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation Kansas City

Celia Calderon Ruiz hands out Constitutional rights doorhangers to recent immigrants in her Kansas City community. The hangers serve as a reminder that no one need allow law enforcement into their homes without a warrant signed by a judge.

Segment 1: A Fringe-famous performer tells his story.

Brother John is a pastor and storyteller who researches characters from African-American history then creates performances that bring history to life. He's become a regular contributor to Kansas City's Fringe Festival. This year, he's focusing on Smoky Robinson.

Laura Robeson quit her job as a fourth-grade teacher to care for her son, who has cerebral palsy and other health problems. But as politicians considered cuts to various health care programs, she felt compelled to become an activist, working with others to speak out for families like hers.

That culminated at the State of the Union Address in February. Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids chose Robeson to attend as her guest, providing a real-world example of the role federal healthcare policies play in a citizen's life.

Public Domain

Vegetarians have their reasons for not eating meat. But "I am an optimist" doesn't have a regular spot on lists more typically focused on health and environmental benefits.

Optimism was, however, the Englishman Henry Clubb's rationale more than 100 years ago, when he enticed dozens of people to move to the radical territory of Kansas to start a vegetarian settlement in what is now Allen County.

It didn't go well.

Segment 1: New research shows a difference between what we expect and what we experience when it comes to humor in romance. 

Data suggests that in heterosexual relationships, men tend not to recognize that their partner's sense of humor is a major determinant of long-term happiness. Why not?

  • Jeffrey Hall, professor of communication studies, University of Kansas

Segment 2: A nineteenth-century vegetarian settlement in Kansas inspires further investigation.

Savannah Meyer

A 17-year-old Lee's Summit artist is among those in the Kansas City area who now have something in common with Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath and Lena Dunham: a national medal from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

The list of past winners indicates the caliber of work a student must produce to win, and the possibility of winners' future influence on high and pop culture.

Trae Q.L. Venerable

Trae Q.L. Venerable is a lot of things: a horseman, a houndsman, a writer and an educator, for sure. But foremost, he’s a real-life cowboy who doesn’t fit the image found in most western movies or in country music.

The Kansas City writer is African American and a mix of Choctaw, Cherokee and Black Foot as well as a fourth generation cowboy. He thought he'd do well to write books that honor those previous generations as well as future generations of cowboys of color.

Segment 1: As the tourism industry grows, so do questions about the impact of travel.

Are there ways to enjoy greater acess to travel while also treading more lightly on the destinations we visit? Or do we simply need to cut back?

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