Previous Special Events

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Kansas City’s Union Station opened 100 years ago next month, a grand, 850,000-square-foot edifice that saw as many as 678,000-plus rail passengers pass through its doors in 1945. After falling into disuse and decay, it was restored and reopened in 1999 in all its original Beaux-Arts splendor – as home to theaters, museum exhibits, and such permanent attractions as Science City. With the return of train service, it’s the second-busiest terminal in the state.

In observance of the centennial, Jeffrey Spivak draws from his 1999 book, Union Station, Kansas City, in discussing the station’s history, controversial adaptive reuse, and role in future transit and civic plans. Now, a senior market analyst at Black & Veatch, Spivak spent more than 23 years as a civic affairs reporter for The Kansas City Star.


Saturday, September 27, 2014
4:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Help us wrap up Banned Books Week with a celebration of the freedom to read! We'll introduce attendees to the annual Banned Books Week awareness campaign.

Special guests include the Collins family, who recently drew international attention to their efforts to keep a Little Free Library in their Leawood, Kansas, front yard.


Friday, September 26, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The pig is big in these parts. Both Missouri and Kansas rank among the nation’s top 10 pork-producing states, annually putting more than 2 million pounds of bacon, ham, chops, and other cuts on grocers’ shelves and consumers’ tables.

On the eve of a new, daylong Kansas City festival, Knife and Pork, that spotlights sustainability in the industry and the region’s vital role in it, four craft butchers from across the country – Rob Levitt of Chicago, Chris Eley of Indianapolis, and Jerry Traczyk and Jonny Hunter of Madison, Wis. – participate in a round-table discussion of sustainable pork production. A reception prior to the program offers locally prepared pork dishes.

Co-presented by Recommended Daily and Local Pig, and co-sponsored by Tallgrass Brewing Company.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

This event has been canceled at the author’s request. We will make every effort to notify interested persons when and if the program is rescheduled.

Undocumented immigrants – especially those who are Spanish-speaking – are under fire on multiple fronts, accused of raising crime rates, taking jobs away from citizens, crashing the economy, and eroding traditional American values.

Florida International University professor Ediberto Román takes on those critics in a discussion of his book, offering a counter-narrative to what he argues is a largely one-sided debate.

Local writer Xánath Caraza opens the evening with a reading of her poem, “De Sinónimos, Eufemismos y Algunos Tropos (Of Synonyms, Euphemisms and Other Figures of Speech).”

The event coincides with the traveling exhibit, Estamos Aqui (We Are Here), on display at the Central Library through October 19, 2014. It showcases the work of largely Chicano-Latino participants in a specialized silkscreening workshop at the Coronado Studio in Austin, Texas.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yes, there’s gridlock in Washington. There’s polarization and self-interest. But beyond those breakdowns, Philip K. Howard points to what he says is a deeper and more destructive hindrance to good government: The system itself is broken. Rules leave no room for common sense. Leaders lack the authority, or responsibility, to lead.

Howard, a New York lawyer and founder of the nonpartisan coalition Common Good, which advocates an overhaul of government and the courts, discusses his new book, The Rule of Nobody, in which he argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law – simply setting goals and boundaries, not dictating daily choices. Leaders, Howard says, should ask, “What’s the right thing to do?” not “What does the rule book say?”

Co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


Friday, September 19, 2014

The 2014 edition of the long-running Off-the-Wall Film Series, co-presented by The Kansas City Public Library and The Pitch, features musically-themed titles from 1984.

Under the direction of Jonathan Demme, David Byrne and the Talking Heads deliver one of the greatest concert movies ever in Stop Making Sense. Featured are Heads classics like “Take Me to the River,” “Psycho Killer,” “Once in a Lifetime,” and “Burning Down the House.” Not to mention an appearance by Byrne’s “big suit.”

These five films, presented on one Friday each month from May through September on the Rooftop Terrace of the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., offer a tuneful sampling of what Americans were listening to 30 years ago. Featured are such musical artists as Prince and the Talking Heads, an early cinematic celebration of break dancing, and a classic cult film noted for its innovative musical soundtrack.


Friday, September 19, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

What are your favorite toys? What did kids play with 20, 50, 100 years ago?

In a program presented by Kansas City’s John Wornall House Museum, Jay Clasen gives kids a hands-on look at an array of antique toys from his collection. Then, he leads them in a “real life” game.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, September 18, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

There are few storytellers like old baseball scouts because, well, nobody collects stories like the guys who spend a lifetime crisscrossing America’s byways and backwaters in search of future major leaguers.

Art Stewart’s memory bank runs especially deep. Still active in his 45th season with the Kansas City Royals, he helped bring Bo Jackson to KC and signed pitcher Kevin Appier, outfielders Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran, and current Royals catcher Salvador Perez among 70-some other big-league players.

With his co-author, Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, the 87-year-old Stewart discusses his new book, The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball. Other members of the Royals family will appear with them.

Royals great George Brett and General Manager Dayton Moore deliver opening remarks.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The November general election will seat a Congress facing critical economic challenges. But analysts disagree on the role of government in the economy, their arguments revolving around two questions: How much does the government really know about people’s wants and needs? And is there a clear market failure that policy can address?

A back-and-forth expression of conflicting views spills into this event featuring Stephanie Kelton, chair of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Department of Economics, and University of Missouri economics professor Joseph Haslag, who will discuss the government’s proper role in the economy and take audience members’ written questions. Mike Shanin, who leads the weekly roundtable of conservatives and liberals on KCPT-TV’s Ruckus, will moderate.

Co-sponsored by the Jobs Now! Coalition and the Show-Me Institute.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fifty years ago, in September 1964, The Beatles appeared – some say flopped – at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium. Charley Finley, controversial owner of the Kansas City Athletics baseball team, enticed the Fab Four to perform at the old ball field for a then astronomical $150,000 fee! The show barely drew 20,000 fans, and Finley lost his shirt. Rick Hellman, chronicler of the city’s music history, tells how Kansas City’s teenagers experienced a bit of rock-and-roll history during the exciting run-up and bewildering aftermath of the 31-minute concert.

Rick Hellman, a Kansas City native, journalist, and assignment editor at KSHB-TV, heads up the Kansas City Rock History Project (www.kcrockhistory.com).