Events: anytime, any location, all ages

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Two American originals—baseball and musical comedy—meet in this 1955 fantasy which updates the Faustian legend to the modern American baseball diamond. An aging baseball fan sells his soul to the devil in return for newfound youth and the batting skills to lead his home team to victory over the hated New York Yankees. Among the hit tunes from this Tony-winning Best Musical are “(You Gotta Have) Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”

The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre performs its eighth season of Script-in-Hand – a series of classic comedies called Exit Laughing.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thirty years ago Eddy Harris took a solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River. The result was the acclaimed Mississippi Solo: A River Quest.

As he prepares a second journey down the big river, Harris discusses his past and present and the changes the intervening years have wrought — on the river, on the country, and on himself.

Harris’ penetrating accounts of his travels — among them Native Stranger and Still Life in Harlem — center on his own identity and the identity of blacks in general, and how places either embrace or alienate black culture.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jonathan Swift is known today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the classic satiric fantasy. But during his lifetime, Swift was famous as a major political and religious figure and as a national hero who fiercely protested English exploitation of his native Ireland.

In a discussion of his new book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, Harvard’s Leo Damrosch shows how Swift’s public version of his life — the one accepted until recently — was deliberately misleading.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

For most of the Civil War, the role of cavalry was limited to reconnaissance and screening infantry movements. But at the Battle of Yellow Tavern (Virginia) on May 11, 1864, a mounted federal force defeated the legendary rebel cavalry of J.E.B. Stuart, who was mortally wounded and died a day later. The North realized that cavalry could be an essential offensive tool.

Observing the 150th anniversary of the battle, Louis DiMarco of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth examines the role of mounted combat in the Civil War.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Chain Reaction serves up solid science with a side of silliness. One thing leads to another in a hilarious chain reaction machine comprised of audience volunteers. Come enjoy this adventure with Jay and Leslie Cady of Laughing Matters.

In celebration of Children’s Book Week, Plaza Branch staff will also recognize the winners of the Kansas City Public Library’s annual Children’s Bookmark Contest.

Appropriate for all ages.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Lady Eve is one of the great screwball comedies. Barbra Stanwyk is a con artist who sets her sights on the bumbling heir to a brewing fortune (Henry Fonda). He’s not all that bright to begin with, and having just come off a couple of years in the South American jungles catching snakes he’s particularly vulnerable to the lady’s charms.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A now forgotten advertising slogan once proclaimed that Kansas City — proud of its “cowtown” heritage — was “where the steak is born.”

Local food critic Charles Ferruzza explores our town’s carnivorous proclivities, connecting the historical and cultural dots between the iconic Kansas City Stockyards, local steak joints, and the changing eating habits of the American people.

Ferruzza writes a weekly restaurant column for The Pitch, appears regularly on KCUR-FM and hosts the talk show “Anything Goes” on KKFI-FM.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Aristocratic and sophisticated, tasteful and discreet, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, wife of Theodore Roosevelt, ran the White House with a sure hand. But her reputation as a secular saint is misleading, says historian Lewis L. Gould, who among other things points to her virulent racism.

Gould taught history at the University of Texas at Austin until his retirement in 1998. Among his books are Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Creating the Modern First Lady and The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Best-selling urban fiction author Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from the latest novel in her popular series about the Rev. Curtis Black and his frequently dysfunctional family. Here the Reverend tries to win back his estranged son Matthew while dealing with long-hidden offspring Dillon, the result of a youthful dalliance.

Roby self-published her first book 17 years ago. She has written almost two dozen novels, among them The Perfect Marriage, Be Careful What You Pray For, Changing Faces, and Casting the First Stone. She is the winner of a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Incredibly wealthy individuals and corporations are radically redefining our electoral process in a way that, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy.

That’s the alarm raised by John Nichols in a discussion of his new exposé (co-written with Robert McChesney) of pay-to-play billionaires, election-buying corporations, activist judges who advance their agendas, and the media conglomerates that have blown off journalism for the sake of political advertising.