Previous Special Events

Thursday, January 28, 2016

August Bondi remains a compelling figure in Kansas history, a Jewish immigrant from Austria who fought alongside anti-slavery crusader John Brown and later became one of the first to enlist with the Union in the Civil War. He eventually settled in Salina, serving as postmaster, school board member, and local judge, among other civic endeavors.

On the eve of the state’s 155th birthday — celebrated as Kansas Day — former Kansas City Star television critic Aaron Barnhart revisits Bondi’s life in a discussion of the events behind his new book Firebrand. The historical novel explores the free-state fighter’s formative teenage years, drawing from Bondi’s posthumously published autobiography and a later novel, Border Hawk, based on the memoir. From that emerge new insights into the issues of race, violence, and conscience.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The small-budget documentary Race to Nowhere has created big buzz since its release a little more than four years ago.

Shown in thousands of schools, churches, and community centers across the country, it takes a close-up look at the stress on today's students – at a culture that expects parents to raise children who are good at everything from academics and the arts to sports and community service. Has a preoccupation with testing and performance undermined actual learning in the classroom? Do the pressures threaten the healthy development of kids whose lives are so packed with activities that there’s little room for leisure or family time? The Library screens the film and follows with a panel discussion moderated by Library Director Crosby Kemper III.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

If you’re not familiar with the theory of disruptive innovation, you’ve seen it at work: the advent of the personal computer, the rise of Netflix, and other innovations that spring up unobtrusively and ultimately overwhelm industry incumbents. They transform markets. In some cases, they create them.

Whitney Johnson is a leading proponent, a former highly ranked equity analyst who co-founded a boutique investment firm with Clayton Christensen, the father of disruptive innovation. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss her new book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, which helps individuals understand how they can apply the philosophy to their own businesses and careers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Was the December 29, 1890, massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, an act of war? U.S. government officials deemed it such. Or was the killing of some 200 Lakota men, women, and children by Army cavalrymen an act of premeditated murder, as claimed by survivors, their descendants, and American Indian advocates?

Eli Paul, manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, discusses the controversial incident and an introspective Library exhibit commemorating its 125th anniversary. Frozen in Time: Images of Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge, 1890-91 features more than 60 images of the aftermath and of leaders on both sides. It remains on display in the Central Library's Genevieve Guldner Gallery through March 13, 2016.

Sunday, January 24, 2016
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with psychological studies of films starring three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. A discussion follows each screening.

John Fowles’ acclaimed but complex novel is brilliantly adapted into parallel dramas, one entailing the 19th-century romance of Sarah Woodruff and Charles Smithson and the other tracking the modern-day affair between Mike and Anna – two actors playing Charles and Sarah in a filmed version of their story. Jeremy Irons stars as Mike and Charles. Streep earned an Oscar nomination Sarah/Anna. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.

Post-screening discussion led by psychoanalyst Sid Frieswyk and Jayson Quearry, adjunct instructor at the University of Missouri- Kansas City.

Friday, January 22, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Doo-Dads, a Kansas City-based band, have won a loyal following with its kid-cool, adult-friendly, rock- and-roll licks. Founder, lead singer, and songwriter Mike Niewald – aka Doo-Dad Mike – packs his solo performance with interactive, high-energy presentations featuring Doo-Dad favorites and other age-appropriate numbers. Appropriate for all ages.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Library, in partnership with American Public Square, launches a series of discussions of polarizing local issues – minus the incivility and insults that all too often feed polarity.

Kansas City’s new streetcar line will run from the River Market through downtown and to on Crown Center. Where should it go in the future? North to KCI? South to Brookside and Waldo? East? Is this the future for public transit in the city? If so, who pays for it?

Co-presented by American Public Square.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Over the span of 30 days a little more than two years ago, a group of female filmmakers made a 7,000-mile trek from Los Angeles to New York in search of stories and examples of inspiration for America’s next generation of women. The result was The Empowerment Project, a full-length documentary spotlighting 17 women in a variety of fields – from pilot and biologist to congresswoman, ballerina, and beer maker.

A screening of the film, directed and produced by Emmy winners Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook, is followed by a panel discussion revolving around its central question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”

Sunday, January 17, 2016
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The Library kicks off its 10th season of Script-in-Hand performances and launches more than six months of special programming surrounding one of the cultural events of the year – an exhibit featuring a rare, nearly four-centuries-old First Folio collection of Shakespeare’s plays.

Much Ado About Nothing, one of the Bard’s best comedies, is the first Script-in-Hand production to be staged by Kansas City’s Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Later performances will be produced by the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre and likewise revolve around Shakespeare, part of an extended celebration in conjunction with the First Folio exhibition at the Central Library from June 6-28. The rare volume will be on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Friday, January 15, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join a musical safari, encountering an array of African animals whose names are set to rhythm. Then, pick a percussion instrument and let the jungle jam begin. As the rhythms of the animals blend, a joyful sense of community begins to develop.

All Ages.

Kansas City Public Library Beta