Thursday, September 17, 2015
The Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite, was a critical Cold War moment for Dwight D. Eisenhower. What he called “a small ball” became a source of Soviet pride and propaganda and wounded him politically as critics charged the American president with responding sluggishly to the challenge of space exploration.
Dowling College historian Yanek Mieczkowski, the author of Eisenhower's Sputnik Moment: The Race for Space and World Prestige, argues otherwise. Eisenhower stayed calm and moved effectively in guiding the U.S. into the Space Age.
Friday, September 18, 2015
The Library’s annual summer Off-the-Wall film series takes filmgoers Down the Rabbit Hole, celebrating movies about people cast into strange, through-the-looking-glass lands.
Assuming the identity of “Susan” listed in a personals ad, a bored suburbanite navigates the wild Wonderland of 1980s-era New York City. Starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Defying dire predictions that they would not survive the turn of the millennium, public libraries continue to thrive. Two out of three Americans visit one at least once a year, and nearly that many are registered borrowers.
In a discussion of his new book, Wayne A. Wiegand, an emeritus professor at Florida State University widely considered the “dean of American library historians,” explains why libraries remain one of the country’s most beloved cultural institutions. Not only are they places for accessing information, they’re also valued as social spaces for promoting and maintaining community. For many including Ronald Reagan, Oprah Winfrey, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, their impact has been transformative.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Beginning with a silent short released in 1903, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has intrigued both filmmakers and viewers. Lewis Carroll’s 150-year-old book has spawned close to two dozen movie and television adaptations.
Mitch Brian of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Communication/Film Studies Department surveys the story’s on-screen history. Using clips, he explores how Alice has evolved on film through the ages.
Co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and Mid-Continent Public Library and made possible by a generous contribution from Polsinelli with additional support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Like so many others in the late 1930s, the young black Americans who would become known as the Tuskegee Airmen were eager for military service as the war in Europe and Asia intensified. What set them apart was that they wanted to fight as pilots, something that black people had never been allowed to do. Many applied to U.S. Army Air Corps’ training program, but all initially were rejected.
Carol Anderson, associate professor of African American studies and history at Emory University, recounts their experience as part of a discussion on civil rights and World War II.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Two of youth literature’s best-known authors discuss their new books—Daniel Handler’s Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? and Brian Selznick’s highly anticipated The Marvels—and their overall works.
Co-presented by Reading Reptile and co-sponsored by The Rabbit Hole.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Two metro-area landmarks, the stainless steel-spired Temple and the domed Auditorium, accentuate the world headquarters of the Community of Christ in Independence, Missouri.
Formerly called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the denomination emerged after the 1844 death of Mormon prophet and leader Joseph Smith Jr. A significant faction of followers formed the RLDS, and Joseph Smith III later accepted its presidency. Including an opposition to polygamy, the younger Smith and his successors navigated a difficult course for decades between Utah Mormonism and mainstream Christianity.
Drawing from his recent two-volume history The Journey of a People, historian Mark Scherer traces the early history of the Community of Christ, its restoration and reorganization, and the subsequent search for a separate identity.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Revamped, revised, reworked, and reimagined fairy tale characters and stories have seen an explosion in contemporary media from graphic novels to television to movies. These ancient tales have held perennial appeal for fans, young and old. Children’s literature expertn Naphtali Faris discusses the enduring fascination with fairy tales, myth, legends, and folklore and how old stories are getting inventive twists for a modern audience.
Presented by the Kansas City Public Library and made possible by a generous contribution from Polsinelli and its National Real Estate Practice, with additional support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
The Westport Center for the Arts and Jacqueline L. Gafford present a one-woman play about the life and times of Barbara Jordan, the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives and the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Rightly or wrongly—and author Robert E. Litan insists it’s wrongly—the public’s esteem for economists plunged in the wake of their inability to forecast the 2008 stock market crash. In truth, Litan says, they are unsung heroes whose theories have driven improvements in daily business practices in areas ranging from investing, energy, air travel, and online dating, generating more than a trillion dollars worldwide.
Litan makes the case that economists are far more often effective innovators than hit-and-miss prognosticators in a discussion of his book Trillion Dollar Economists: How Economists and Their Ideas Have Transformed Business. A former vice president and director of research at the Kauffman Foundation, he currently is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.