arts & culture | KCUR

arts & culture

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Taxpayers in Kansas City, Missouri, have a chance between now and March 3 to influence how the city spends their money.

Mayor Quinton Lucas released his proposed budget last week. The budget prioritizes fighting violent crime, increasing the city’s stock of affordable housing and fixing potholes, but it falls roughly $3 million short of another of the mayor's priorities: eliminating bus fares.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The average length of a NFL game? A little over three hours.

The AFC Championship game on Sunday would lock in a Superbowl spot for either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Tennessee Titans. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium.

Some arts organizations in the metro are betting that visitors can do both: attend a play and catch the second half of the game; stop by a museum for an exhibition and see the kickoff; or listen to a Symphony concert and still witness a few final touchdowns. 

Segment 1: Kansas lawmakers prepare to tackle myriad issues in the upcoming legislative session.

Kansas' Medicaid expansion seems to be the hottest issue going into the 2020 legislative session, but it won't be the only thing keeping senators and representatives busy in Topeka. Possible outcomes and implications for everything from abortion to state debt to prison reforms were previewed.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Kansas City’s art world is at a turning point.

Segment 1: An exhibit at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art explores the theme of British colonialism.

The artist behind the exhibit grew up in Guyana and experienced reverberations of British colonialism in his life firsthand. Today he lives in London and wrestles with Britain's history and the version of itself that it exports through his art.

The life story of a Kansas City folk musician and civil rights icon.

From freedom songs to commercial jingles ("the grass pad's high on grass"), Danny Cox has been a reconigzable Kansas City voice for decades. But his introduction to the city was also an introduction to our history with segregation and racism. This show originally aired in 2015.

  • Danny Cox, musician

Segment 1: Why attracting artists is a goal for a new affordable-housing complex.

Pendleton Arts Block is a new project unfolding in the historic Northeast, providing affordable housing with an eye toward attracting artists. Because of competitive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the effort to transform this block is happening on a national stage. This is a discussion about what affordable housing means for artists, and for the ecosystem of a city.

Segment 1: A Kansas City native's take on being a Saturday Night Live cast member in 2019.

On a visit home, Heidi Gardner discusses her roots in Kansas City, her most popular characters and what it's like to respond to today's news with humor.

Segment 2, beginning at 25:30: Episode 4, Season 2, My Fellow Kansans.

Severo Secreto

At the corner of St. John and Askew in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast is a nondescript red brick and stone building that almost blends with the surrounding neighborhood. The exterior stands in contrast to  lively Spanish language movies being screened inside. 

Yosmel Serrano opened the movie theater, La Selva De Los Relojes (or the Jungle of Clocks), to help a Latino community embrace its cultural voice and heritage.

"I know English, but I love Spanish, and I don't want to lose my Spanish and I don't want to lose my art," he says. "So the first thing to be proud of yourself and to be able to integrate into another community is to learn more about yourself."

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Singers often travel to Kansas City from places like San Francisco, New York and Moscow to perform at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. And they arrive with a question that might surprise people who have stereotypes about opera. 

"The number one question I probably get when they come in is: 'What's the best barbecue?'" said Sarah Zsohar, "which is probably the hardest question in Kansas City to answer."

As the Lyric's artist services manager, Zsohar's job is essentially to organize everything and everyone. 

Libby Hanssen / KCUR 89.3

This article originally appeared in KCUR's Arts Adventure newsletter. You can see the archive here. Or, you can subscribe here to receive it every Tuesday.

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, for a tour of nostalgia, charm, craftwork and childlike joy. The merry-go-rounds of Missouri and carousels of Kansas are the cheapest rides on some of the finest examples of Americana folk art.

Nicole Bissey / Nicole Bissey Photography

Performer Christopher Barksdale has given it a lot of thought, and has come to the conclusion that it's quite possible Jesus lived in a "cancel culture" just like we do. 

Segment 1: A Kansas City dance performance is a transatlantic collaboration.

Krystle Warren and Brad Cox have been musical collaborators for years, continuing to make music together across an ocean. As Warren prepares to head from Paris to Kansas City for an October performance, the two discuss their shared history and their craft.

Luigi Toscano

Seventy large portraits in the courtyard of the National World War I Museum and Memorial put visitors face-to-face with Holocaust survivors.

The portraits, created by the photographer Luigi Toscano, include seven survivors from Kansas City. One of those is Sonia Warshawski, the Prairie Village tailor whose story was told in the 2016 documentary "Big Sonia."

 

Segment 1: How Ukranians view the whistleblower case

For many Americans, the whistleblower scandal surrounding President Trump is a matter of politics and presidency. For the other country involved, Ukraine, the perception of these events is part of a larger web of scandals.

  • Anna Yakutenko, Journalist for Kyiv Post

Segment 2: Hispanic Leadership Lowrider Bike Club

Anne Kniggendorf / KCUR 89.3

Mike McLaughlin has a slightly unusual grievance: He has more blacksmithing equipment than he can actually use. His backyard smithy is 16-by-24 feet and includes two kinds of forge, three anvils and a bunch of hammers and other tools.

But to practice this ancient skill, he notes, "all you really need is a hunk of dirt and a little cover."

Segment 1: A KU researcher's studies provide context for news from the Amazon.

As global leaders gather for a climate change summit, a KU researcher shares new satellite-based data on the impact of deforestation in the Amazon, with particular insights into where this year's fire (which is still raging) fits in, both environmentally and politically. 

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.

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: Simon Tam | Seg. 2: Chiefs' Name

Aug 20, 2019

Segment 1: On taking a bandname all the way to the Supreme Court.

Is it possible to be offensive to oneself? That's a question Simon Tam, frontman for a band called The Slants, brought before the U.S. justice system. He's using his story to encourage Asian American professionals in leadership positions to "lean into" their values. 

Rylie Koester / KCUR 89.3

Learning to play an instrument as an adult can be difficult, especially when many beginner level classes are geared toward kids. 

However, a Kansas City class allows adults to learn how to play the violin with an added component made clear in its name.

Drunken Fiddles is a no-pressure and relaxed environment, says Laurel Parks, who started the class in 2015. Besides string instruments, it’s about socializing, making friends and drinking a little wine, too. 

Seg. 1: Elderhood | Seg. 2: 816 Day

Aug 15, 2019

Segment 1: A new book on aging proposes a third stage in life.

First comes childhood, then adulthood and finally, elderhood, which begins roughly in your 70s and can last for decades. It comes with a unique set of challenges, joys and needs, and our cultural reluctance to acknowledge that comes at a cost.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Growing up in Kansas City, Harvey Williams lived near 12th Street and Vine in what used to be called the Wayne Minor Projects.

"It was the heart of the city, the heat of the city, especially for black people," he says.

But it was in the United States Army, as the Vietnam War was winding down, that he learned about diversity.

Portrait Session: Harvey Williams

Jul 19, 2019

Harvey Williams is the founder of a black-owned theater in Kansas City; he sees that as an important addition to the arts ecosystem here in town. In this intimate conversation, Williams tells his own story, which begins at 12th and Vine, and explains why despite all the major iconic roles he's played on Kansas City stages, it matters enough to him carve out a space for diverse voices that he's doing it in his retirement years, when he could be "sitting on the porch, watching the mailman run up and down the street."

Segment 1: How a 1990s movie on DVD saved the life of a queer Kansas teen.

Savannah Rodgers is making a documentary about her obsession, as a 12-year-old, with the movie Chasing Amy.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

The night of his high school graduation, Daniel Edwards and his friends looked out at Kansas City from a fourth-floor window at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy on 21st and Woodland. They could see vacant property in every direction, and as they prepared to head off into the world, they joked about coming back as grown-ups to buy an empty block and start their own neighborhood.

That's basically what Edwards and his wife Ebony are doing right now.

Portrait Session: Ebony And Daniel Edwards

Jun 21, 2019

They're both from Kansas City's East Side, but the couple met at a conference in Cincinnati, and they've been dreaming of making things happen for their community ever since. Their plans for a new neighborhood on a vacant lot are so ambitious that just getting a shovel in the ground to start building would be an achievement of national significance. Hear why.

  • Ebony Edwards, CEO, Movement KC
  • Daniel Edwards, architect, Movement KC

Segment 1: Incumbent and challenger are campaigning to represent a district that runs from the Country Club Plaza to north of the Missouri River. 

A current Kansas City, Missouri, council member and a former businessman are vying to win the city's 4th District at-Large seat in the June 18 election. The candidates differed on government spending, develoment, climate change and crime.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Actor Clifford “Kip” Niven, well-known to theater audiences in Kansas City and a Hollywood mainstay going back to the 1970s, died yesterday from a heart attack at the age of 73.

Niven was known for his role on the 1970s television show "Alice" and for playing in dozens of local productions, as well as his avid support of the Kansas City theater scene.

Popular and ubiquitous in the theater community, Niven cut a wide swath of friendship. That was made evident by the overwhelming shock and grief flooding social media of Niven’s sudden passing.

Segment 1: Mapping Stigma

A community development specialist and an art curator have witnessed the social stigma surrounding HIV around the nation and world. They unite here in Kansas City with an exhibit that explores these issues and what can be done about them.

Pages