Thursday, January 29, 2015
The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid but also to explore.
Yale University historian Anders Winroth dismantles the myths and captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage in a discussion of his new book, The Age of the Vikings.
Winroth is the Frost Family Professor of History at Yale.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Today, amid the many manufacturers of smartphones, tablets, and apps, two names tower above the others: Apple and Google, whose philosophies, leaders, and commercial acumen have steamrolled the competition – and now threaten to steamroll each other. But the battle between Apple and Google is just not a story of corporate competition. It’s a tale of friendships gone sour, of trust betrayed, and agreements breached.
Wired magazine’s Fred Vogelstein discusses his book on this high-stakes, high-tech struggle for handheld superiority, going inside offices and board rooms, behind the outsized personalities of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and through the deals, allegations, and lawsuits that are shaping the way we communicate.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
How did Kansas City miraculously transform itself from “the filthiest city in the United States” in the 19th century to the clean, well-planned embodiment of the vision of renowned landscape architect George Kessler?
Eyesores and health threats — ugly gullies, open sewers, and decrepit shanties — disappeared before a wave of open, green, welcoming spaces of wide thoroughfares, playgrounds, pools, and field houses. By the time city planners finished their work, our “city beautiful” possessed 90 miles of boulevards and 2,500 acres of urban parks.
Hyde Park residents and co-authors Patrick Alley and Dona Boley present this great success story, an inspiration for civic efforts in the new millennium, with an illustrated lecture based on their new book, Kansas City’s Parks and Boulevards.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Join Kansas City Public Library staff for film screenings and animated conversations centered on quality film versions of books that are official selections of the Love on the Rocks 2015 Winter Reading Program. Discussions immediately follow film presentations. These screenings are open to the public. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to read the source book prior to the film screening.
Halle Berry stars in this TV adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel as Janie Crawford, a free-spirited woman whose emotional and dramatic journey of self-discovery takes her through two stifling marriages — and criticism from her community — until ultimately finding love. 113 minutes, Made for TV.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with screenings of movies starring the late Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. A discussion featuring experts in cinema and psychoanalysis follows each screening.
Hoffman and Laura Linney portray siblings who’ve drifted apart but must unite to care for their elderly, estranged father, who is slipping into dementia. Post-screening discussion led by psychoanalyst Pam Seator and Caitlin Horsmon, associate professor of film and media arts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Coterie Theatre actors fold words of inspiration from the late poet, author, and songwriter Shel Silverstein, Charlotte’s Web heroes Charlotte and Wilbur, and a host of others — statesmen, explorers, teachers, scientists, inventors, and even kids themselves — into this rousing and enlightening production.
Recommended for children in grades 1-5.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Behind Batman stood Alfred. Behind James Bond stood Q. And behind some of the most influential figures of the past century, from presidents to diplomats to Supreme Court justices, stood Grenville Clark.
The New York-born lawyer, activist, and advisor championed academic freedom, fought a successful public battle with good friend Franklin Roosevelt over FDR’s attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court, and worked closely with the NAACP to uphold civil rights during the tumultuous 1950s and ’60s. He devoted his last decades to a quest for world peace through limited but enforceable world law.
Writer Nancy Peterson Hill, administrator of the Diastole Scholars’ Center affiliated with UMKC, discusses her new book on this largely anonymous, but immensely important, American.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Kansas Citians go to the polls in April and June to elect a mayor and 12 city council members who will direct the city for the next four years. What are the talking points? The priorities?
Launching a second season of Citizens Project forums co-sponsored by the nonpartisan Citizens Association of Kansas City, a panel of local media representatives including KCUR’s Steve Kraske and The Kansas City Star’s Lynn Horsley identifies and explores the issues the candidates ought to address.
Subsequent discussions in the series — on the third Wednesday in February and March — will feature the perspectives of city administrators and politicos.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Football’s evolution from sport to religion will be reconfirmed Feb. 1, 2015, when 85,000 fans in Glendale, Arizona, and a global TV audience of more than 100 million obsess over Super Bowl Sunday.
We love football so much that best-selling author Steve Almond says we’ve become blind to the fact that it simply isn’t good for us. Players suffer brain damage. Children and teenagers are susceptible to the same injuries and the same debilitating, long-term effects. Beyond that is a question of whether our addiction to football fosters a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia.
Almond, who contributes to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times, sits down with longtime Kansas City TV sports anchor (and former Villanova University football standout) Frank Boal for a conversation about Almond’s unflinching book about America’s most popular sport.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Now in its 12th year of delivering science education programming to area children, Mad Science of Greater Kansas City dazzles and amuses its young audience with foggy, dry ice storms; giant beach balls floating in the air; and a special, Mad Science “burp potion” – all in the name of learning about chemical reactions, air pressure, and the states of matter.
Recommended for all ages.