Thursday, March 20, 2014
For nearly a half-century, Eric Mann has worked on anti-war, labor, and environmental causes. He looks at how race, labor, and immigration are reshaping the political and social lives of our urban areas. And he talks of forging coalitions, nurturing inclusion, seeding innovation, salvaging identity, and building community.
Mann is director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles, a “think tank/act tank” that trains organizers to work for “environmental justice, mass transportation, and civil rights.”
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The U.S. government is disintegrating … and that’s a good thing, according to National Review contributor Kevin Williamson, whose new book sees innovative solutions to various social problems emerging from the failure of politics and government.
Politics, he argues, cannot deal with crucial problems in education, health care, social security, and monetary policy. Meanwhile, those who don’t look to the state for goods and services — from home schoolers to Wall Street to organized crime — are experimenting with replacing the state’s outmoded social software with market-derived alternatives.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Best-selling urban fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses and reads from her new novel (written with Victoria Christopher Murray) about the rival wives of Baptist preachers who team up for a reality TV show that will expose their lives in uncomfortable detail. Fortune & Fame reunites the fictional Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Larson Bush, heroines of previous best sellers Sinners and Saints and Friends & Foes.
The author of almost two dozen books for adults and teens, Billingsley is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Barry’s 1939 comedy—about a ditzy socialite whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and a newspaper reporter—was written specifically for Katharine Hepburn, and became her first great triumph after a number of commercial failures. It subsequently became a hugely popular film starring Hepburn and Cary Grant, and was the source of the musical High Society.
The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre performs its eighth season of Script-in-Hand – a series of classic comedies called Exit Laughing.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
In the years after emancipation, many African Americans remained in virtual slavery through such insidious practices as prison labor and sharecropping. This documentary, nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, exposes a brutal system that would persist until the onset of World War II.
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.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Get your game on! Board games are a great way for families to relax together, bond, and learn along the way. Join Plaza staff members in the Kid Corner for an evening of Sorry, Jenga, Boggle, or new favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch.
We will have games for all ages, so bring the whole family and get ready to PLAY!
Appropriate for all ages.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Despite a Union advantage in men and resources, the Confederates dominated in the early months of the Civil War. Only one federal general seemed to have the will and skill to beat them: Ulysses S. Grant.
The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s Ethan S. Rafuse analyzes Grant’s personality, the factors that led to his rise to supreme commander, his military strategies, and the operations he personally directed in 1863-64 against the North’s most dangerous foe, Robert E. Lee.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Some countries are so good at educating children that virtually all their youngsters can make complex arguments and solve complex problems. In other words, they are learning to think.
In her bestselling book, author Amanda Ripley, an investigative journalist for Time and The Atlantic, follows three young Americans who have opted to study in Finland, Poland, and South Korea — hotbeds of education where rigorous teaching, parental input, and eager students are revolutionizing learning.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The 1964 murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese has become a defining moment in American social history. Early reporting described how she was stabbed to death on the front stoop of her New York City home in full view of 38 neighbors who “didn’t want to get involved.”
Fifty years after that notorious crime, Kevin Cook argues in his new book that much of what we think we know about the incident is just plain wrong.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath spends two hours rubbing our noses in poverty and economic exploitation, yet somehow sends us off with hope-filled hearts. Cinematographer Gregg Toland (his next job would be Citizen Kane for Orson Welles) shot the film like a WPA documentary. His black-and-white images are utterly realistic yet achingly beautiful. And the performances from Jane Darwell (who won an Oscar) and Henry Fonda – who in Tom Joad found the greatest character of his storied career – are quietly spectacular.
Movies That Matter – The Sequel continues with screenings of great films with opening and closing remarks by former Kansas City Star film critic Robert W. Butler (now a member of the Library’s Public Affairs staff).