Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The concept of genius is a bit cheapened today, invoked too easily in assessments of football coaches, rock musicians, and savvy market traders. But history’s true masterminds — the Michelangelos, da Vincis, Shakespeares, and Einsteins — still inspire awe and a hint of mystery, a sense that these men have had almost otherworldly power to divine the secrets of the universe, to create, even to destroy.
Darrin McMahon, the Ben Weider Professor of History at Florida State University, details their stories in a discussion of his book, the first comprehensive history of the elusive concept of genius and how it has evolved over the centuries.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Join representatives from Crossroads Academy, the Downtown Council, and the Kansas City Public Library to mark the home stretch of the second full year of successful operations for Crossroads Academy, the academically rigorous, tuition-free, K-8 charter school in downtown Kansas City that uses the Central Library as its school library.
Following a breakfast buffet, the program features the premiere of a student-produced video about the Library, plus a song by students in the school’s new performing arts program, and includes remarks by Dean Johnson and Susan Maynor from Crossroads Academy, Bill Dietrich of the Downtown Council, and Library Director Crosby Kemper III.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Does the 2008 financial collapse lie at least in part at journalists’ feet?
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Dean Starkman, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, exposes the critical failure of America’s business press to cover the systemic corruption in the financial industry and other events leading up to the 2008 economic meltdown.
He maintains that deep cultural and structural shifts — some unavoidable, some self-inflicted — eroded journalism’s appetite for its role as watchdog, and the result was a deafening silence about questionable, even dishonest practices. Tragically, that silence grew more profound as the mortgage madness reached its apogee from 2004-06.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
What was termed the last Confederate funeral took place exactly 10 years ago — the burial of eight crew members of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The 25-foot underwater craft was raised from the sea floor outside Charleston, South Carolina, a little more than 136 years after becoming the first sub to sink an enemy warship and then mysteriously going down itself.
The Hunley had exacted a heavy toll before that, seeing 13 crew members perish during training exercises and acquiring the nickname the Peripatetic Coffin.
Historian James L. Speicher, formerly a military science professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, recounts the alternately fascinating and tragic stories of the historic vessel and the lost souls who served her.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Not sure how to work up a budget? How to teach your children to be money-savvy? When and how to start planning for retirement? The Kansas City Public Library is offering guidance on an array of personal finance issues.
This event features a dozen free educational sessions on topics ranging from smart budgeting to home buying, planning for college, estate planning, and improving your credit score. Participants can also sit down with a financial adviser and review free copies of their credit reports.
Money Smart Day is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as part of
Money Smart Month of Greater Kansas City.
The Library will waive up to $30 in overdue fines and fees for any Kansas City Public Library cardholder who attends one or more of these Money Smart Month events.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
For decades, the fictional world of superheroes was dominated by male characters. Wonder Woman was the only female with any real clout.
Filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan presents and leads a discussion of her feature documentary exploring the concept of heroic women from the birth of superheroes in the 1940s to the TV and big screen action blockbusters of today. Actresses Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter and Lindsay (The Bionic Woman) Wagner, feminist Gloria Steinem, and punk rocker Kathleen Hanna are among those interviewed in the film.
Presented by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell conducts a public conversation with investigative reporter Christopher Leonard about his new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. They raise meat prices for consumers, he maintains, while pushing down the price they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.
Leonard is a former business reporter with the Associated Press and a fellow with the New America Foundation.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Mary Roach, designated as “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, takes us on a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear.
In a discussion of her latest book, Roach asks questions others fear: How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? She examines a pet food taste-test lab and delves into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.
Roach is the best-selling author of Stiff (about the human body after death), Bonk (the science of sex), and Spook (the afterlife).
Saturday, April 26, 2014
The Kansas City Public Library plays host to the annual Missouri 5th Congressional District student art exhibit and town hall gathering, where U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and his wife, Dianne Cleaver, will recognize local high school artists.
All submissions will be on display at the Central Library from April 22-28, 2014. One will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for a year, an honor that went to a Lee’s Summit North High School student in 2013.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
If only we could strike it rich, then our problems would be over. Right? Not according to John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which demonstrates that with newfound wealth comes plenty of bad baggage: bloodthirsty bandits, betrayal, and madness. Shot almost entirely in Mexico (one of the first Hollywood movies made on a foreign location) and oozing authenticity with every frame, this superb adventure won two Oscars for John Huston (directing and screenplay) and another (supporting actor) for his father – the only such father-son win in Academy history.