Events: anytime, any location, all ages

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 public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Roach will discuss her latest book and ask 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.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

The 1876 raid by the James-Younger gang on Northfield, Minnesota, may be the most famous bank robbery in history.

Recognizing what was happening, citizens armed themselves. Leaving the bank, the outlaws ran into a devastating hail of bullets. Two died in the street. The survivors, several badly wounded, fled Northfield, setting off one of the Old West’s most extensive manhunts.

In a discussion of his new book, Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape, Western historian, writer, and musician Mark Lee Gardner recreates this bloody, desperate episode. With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed &mash; the near misses, fateful mistakes, and final shootout on the Watonwan River — Gardner delivers a galloping, true tale of frontier justice.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

“War! What is it good for?” Motown singer Edwin Starr asked in his 1969 hit record. The musical answer: “Absolutely nothing.”

But in a discussion of his erudite new history of war, Stanford University’s Ian Morris takes the provocative position that, despite its horrors, armed conflict has made humanity both safer and richer. From the aggressive instincts of chimpanzees and early “protohumans” to ancient civilizations and the “American Empire,” he looks at war and notes that in terms of lives lost (as a percentage of national population), its impact has lessened while the long-term effects have been “productive.”


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Seventy-five years ago, on April 30, 1939, amidst the billowing clouds of lingering economic depression and imminent war, the New York World’s Fair, with its sleek modernist designs, heralded “The Dawn of a New Day” and promised a better “World of Tomorrow.”

Why, with the American economy still in the doldrums and the rest of the world seemingly hell-bent on going to war, did millions of Americans flock to, of all things, a world’s fair?

Robert Rydell, professor of history at Montana State University and a leading scholar on the history of world’s fairs, explains why it is important to remember the New York World’s Fair, most especially for understanding how it shaped our world of today.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Students from Kansas City’s Community School #1 will perform their play “The Clowns,” in which stories and songs celebrate friendship and working together.

Community School #1 is a small, independent elementary school built on the principles of academic excellence, responsible citizenship, and sense of community.

Appropriate for all ages.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Just weeks after marrying in Washington, D.C., in 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving (he was white, she was African American) were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night and jailed for violating a Virginia law against marrying a person of a different race. Convicted, they were banished from the state and spent the next nine years fighting for the right to return, eventually taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thanks to the Lovings, the last remaining miscegenation laws in the U.S. were overturned.

Randal M. Jelks, associate professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, provides opening and closing remarks.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks and his wife, blogger Roxie Hammill, discuss their book Mike and Roxie’s Vegetable Paradise, which is both a how-to manual and a memoir based on the authors’ years of gardening.

Their talk complements the launch of the Seed Library at the Kansas City Public Library’s Ruiz Branch, which allows patrons to “check out” flower and vegetable seeds. In the fall they will “return” seeds they have harvested from their plants. Ruiz will also house an expanded collection of gardening books available for checkout.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Coterie Theatre Artists read from favorite children's books while the audience enjoys an opportunity to "jump into the story" and participate in an improvised story of their own making.

Appropriate for all ages, Dramatic Story Time programs take place one Sunday each month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2013-2014 school year, beginning October 6, 2013.