Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Biographer James Grant discusses his new portrait of late nineteenth-century Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas B. Reed, who served with greater influence than any Speaker who came before him.
Until 1890, members of the House would often filibuster by refusing to answer roll call – even if they were present – depriving the chamber of a quorum. During one such filibuster, Reed directed the clerk to count anyone in attendance as present.
Grant is editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
In his New York Times best-selling book, Frank Schaeffer uses his life as a lens through which to view a larger narrative: the rightward lurch of American politics since the 1970s.
The central character is Schaeffer’s far-from-prudish evangelical mother, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual throughout Schaeffer’s childhood.
Schaeffer asks what the leading right-wingers and the paranoid fantasies of their “echo chamber” are really about. Here’s a hint... sex.
Monday, September 26, 2011
The Reading Reptile and the Kansas City Public Library present the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka. A portion of the proceeds from books sales will be used to build and stock portable classroom libraries for the elementary schools destroyed by the Joplin tornado.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
On the evening of May 20, 1957, an F-5 tornado tore into the communities of Ottawa and Spring Hill, Kansas, and Martin City, Grandview, Hickman Mills, and Ruskin Heights, Missouri. The storm left 39 people dead and 531 injured. More than 840 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.
Author Carolyn Brewer tells the story of the tragic event, as well as the rebuilding effort, through a series of first-person narratives collected during a 50-year reunion and memorial rededication.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Enjoy an interactive music and story telling performance for the whole family by award-winning songwriter Dino O’Dell.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The third annual Power of Reading celebration features Kansas City authors and new adult readers sharing inspired stories about the role reading plays in their lives.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Columnist and political commentator John Avlon discusses his new book Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns.
Deadline Artists is a celebration of the American newspaper column. It includes columns by several masters of the craft, including: H.L. Mencken, Ernie Pyle, Murray Kempton, Jimmy Breslin, and Mike Royko. It also includes columns written by public figures, including one by Theodore Roosevelt that appeared in The Kansas City Star.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Public art and its accompanying community participation contribute significantly to the identity of a city. In addition to inspiring dialogue and providing visual appeal, a varied civic public art collection often symbolizes the vitality of the city it inhabits.
Jack Becker, executive director of Minnesota-based Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review, discusses the complex, beneficial, and sometimes contentious role that art plays in the public realm.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in such a fashion that his first novel simultaneously addressed two divergent audiences: the young and the formerly young. At times, his story ridicules boyhood fantasies (such as finding buried treasure and rescuing a damsel in distress) and later grants these same ridiculous hopes and dreams. In creating a text that speaks to two age groups, Twain appears as the literary forerunner of Pixar Animation Studios.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Already an established artist of worldwide fame, Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton was a natural choice for the Limited Editions Club’s illustrated version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Likewise, the boy from Mark Twain’s most accessible novel was a perfect subject for Benton, whose influence on the Regionalist movement emphasized a need for works that conveyed a uniquely American character. But Tom Sawyer presented a challenge as the artist strained to translate the humor and ease of the vernacular prose into a modern visual style.