Previous Special Events

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Piloting a bomber nicknamed "Bottoms Up" during WWII, Lee Lamar was shot down over northern Italy on this day 65 years ago. Hit not once but twice, the plane veered out of control and crashed in Croatia. Lamar was the last crewman to parachute away, landing in the hands of German soldiers, who sent him to a POW camp for the final six months of the war.

In 2007, Lamar returned to Croatia to visit the site of his bailout and capture, upon invitation of a Croatian archaeological team that had recovered the remains of "Bottoms Up."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Recommended reading:
Staff Picks: James K. Polk & the Mexican War

The Library’s Presidential Series continues when Robert W. Merry discusses his new book about James K. Polk, one of the most controversial—and arguably one of America’s most successful single-term—presidents.

Monday, November 16, 2009
Recommended reading:
Staff Picks: The Little Rock Nine: Everyday Heroes of Civil Rights

Carlotta Walls LaNier made history 52 years ago as one of "The Little Rock Nine." After years of silence, LaNier shares her story for the first time with her book A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.

On September 25, 1957, LaNier and eight other students only wanted to make it to class. Descended from a line of proud black landowners and businessmen, LaNier was raised to believe that education was the key to success and she excelled in her studies at segregated schools throughout the 1950s. With Brown v. Board of Education erasing the classroom color divide, the teenager volunteered to be among the first black students—of whom she was the youngest—to integrate Central High School.

Monday, November 16, 2009
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch
Recommended reading:
Staff Picks: Robert Altman: American Filmmaker

Mitchell Zuckoff joins a discussion of his new book Robert Altman: The Oral Biography, which presents the visionary director in a cinematic biography that is told in an Altmanesque chorus of voices. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Before Kansas City developed a jazz scene, ragtime was the music of choice. Many important ragtime composers hailed from Kansas City, which was often described as the "cradle of ragtime." The pioneering E. Harry Kelly worked for local music publisher Carl Hoffman when he wrote his first hit song, Peaceful Henry. Charles L. Johnson was working for the same company when he sold one million copies of his Dill Pickles Rag (1910).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Professor Farquar's "Great American Medicine Show" is an authentic re-creation of one of the 19th century's most popular diversions; presenting traditional toe-tapping tunes, incredible magic, plus lots of laughs and audience participation. A special feature of the Medicine Show is Polecat Annie. She gives hands-on instruction in rope twirling, plate spinning, Victorian amusements, Indian games and palm reading.

Friday, November 13, 2009
7:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Its Ruby Booker’s birthday and we’re gonna have a party! Local author Derrick Barnes will be here to talk a little about the popular series.  We’ll also have a DJ spinning the Booker family’s favorite tunes. Plus, there will be yummy cupcakes for everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Octarium, the Kansas City-based choral music ensemble, marks the release of its fourth album, Modern Masters, with a lively performance and presentation exploring the State of Choral Music in an American Idol Age on Friday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Thursday, November 12, 2009
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Author Andrew Smith discusses his new book, chronicling 30 major events that helped shape contemporary American cuisine.

Eating History is a collection of essays – on topics ranging from Cracker Jacks to Rodale’s organic gardening – intended to shed light on how the modern American diet became what it is today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Recommended reading:
Staff Picks: Chinese Economy

Economist Zachary Karabell discusses his new book Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World's Prosperity Depends on It.

China's emergence as an economic superpower is widely recognized, but that is only one aspect of the story. Over the past decade, the Chinese and U.S. economies have fused—and this new dynamic to the superpower relationship will determine whether the coming decades witness increased global prosperity or greater instability.