Previous Special Events

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The same fictional twosome at the center of David O. Stewart’s The Lincoln Deception delves further into alternative history, sorting through the deviousness of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, in Stewart’s latest book, The Wilson Deception.

The lawyer-turned-author discusses the history behind his novel, centered on the months-long negotiation of the end of World War I and its Big Four participants: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando.


Friday, October 23, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

It’s a fun-tastic, non-scary Halloween spooktacular. Pumpkin Man drops in on this cabaret show along with the invisible couple, spooky skeletons, Martians, ghosts, and trick marionettes. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

A century and a half ago, trains hauling cattle and cowboys brought the real west from Amarillo, Texas, to Kansas City. Return trips carried a trove of materials to Amarillo — canned and dry goods, chemicals, furniture, and fashionable clothing — and Kansas City’s influence there ultimately extended to banking, education, architecture, and art.

Amy Von Lintel and Michael R. Grauer, both native Kansas Citians who are now art historians in the Amarillo area, discuss KC’s role in reshaping Amarillo’s culture and the lasting connections between the two cities. Von Lintel is an assistant professor of art history at West Texas A&M University in Canyon. Grauer is associate director for curatorial affairs and curator of art and Western heritage at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, also in Canyon.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Winston Churchill discovered painting when he was in his 40s, and after that rarely traveled without his paint box. It was a source of tranquility — “a friend who makes no undue demands” — said the renowned British statesman, who produced more than 500 pieces now housed in museums and private collections around the world. They range from landscapes and seascapes to still-life subjects and portraits, most brushed in oil.

Timothy Riley, the curator of paintings at the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, discusses the hobby that became Churchill’s passion. Co-presented by the British Consulate General, Chicago, the presentation underscores Churchill’s historic ties to Missouri — he gave his Iron Curtain speech at Fulton’s Westminster College in 1946 — and is part of a week of events and activities in Kansas City designed by the consulate to strengthen links between Britain and KC.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jesus was a perceptive teacher and skilled storyteller who taught in parables, short stories using everyday images to speak about the Kingdom of Heaven. But life in first-century Galilee and Judea was very different from our world today.

As renowned New Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine notes in her book, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi, many traditional interpretations of his teachings not only ignore the disparity but also import anti-Jewish and sexist views.

Levine, the University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, shows how hearing the parables in their Jewish context allows us to recover their original provocation and thus recognize what they might say to 21st-century listeners.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Kansas native Antonya Nelson stands out on multiple literary fronts; she is the author of four novels and seven short story collections and has published her work in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook, and other magazines. She is the recipient of a USA Artists Award, a Rea Award for the Short Story, and National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships.

Nelson, who teaches at Warren Wilson College and the University of Houston, discusses her works with Angela Elam, the producer and host of KCUR-FM’s New Letters on the Air. The conversation will be taped for later broadcast on New Letters.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The words are iconic, part of a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and inscribed on a bronze plaque in the museum inside the base of the Statue of Liberty: Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. They underscore America’s melting pot identity.

Throughout its history, however, the country has had a love-hate relationship with immigration, and the subject seems particularly thorny today.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

In 1926, Sinclair Lewis, America’s premier contemporary novelist, came to Kansas City to do research for his “preacher novel” – the book that became the acclaimed Elmer Gantry. For background information on this sensational piece of fiction, where did the author of Main Street and Babbitt go? To whom did he talk? And what did the eventual Nobel laureate learn from the city’s leading clergy that contributed to his controversial views of Midwest Protestantism?

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s Tyler Blake tells how Kansas City, its churches, and a circle of fascinating individuals — free thinkers and fundamentalists — became the subjects of study in Lewis’ “laboratory.”


Friday, October 16, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Calling all young Chiefs football fans and fans-to-be!

Join the Library and mascot KC Wolf in celebrating the release of the new picture book Kansas City Chiefs ABCs and 1-2-3s, illustrated by Kansan Rob Peters. Listen to football stories, play games, and have your picture taken with the Wolf. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, October 15, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

As our 27th president from 1909-1913 and then as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930, William Howard Taft was the only man ever to head two of America’s three governing branches. But between these two well-documented periods in office lies an eight-year patch of largely unexplored political wilderness — a time when Taft somehow rose from ignominious defeat in the 1912 presidential election to leadership of the nation’s highest court.

Monmouth College historian Lewis L. Gould delivers the first in-depth look at this interval in Taft’s singular career in a discussion of his book Chief Executive to Chief Justice: Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court.


Kansas City Public Library Beta