Previous Special Events

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join us for a screening of a new documentary by noted director Werner Herzog, From One Second to the Next, part of the “It Can Wait” campaign to stop texting and driving.

The film includes a variety of vignettes featuring texting-and-driving perpetrators and surviving victims and their relatives who recount traumatic accidents and explain how their lives were forever changed. The “It Can Wait” campaign was launched to educate the public about the dangerous practice and secure pledges to abstain from it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century – and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. Biographer Terry Teachout sheds new light on this creative genius in a discussion of his new book about the grandson of a slave who wrote such classics as “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

Teachout, a Kansas City resident from 1975 to 1983, is the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and the play Satchmo at the Waldorf. For The Wall Street Journal, he is drama critic and the author of “Sightings,” a column about the arts in America. He is the critic-at-large at Commentary, and writes the blog About Last Night.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Even for those of us unfamiliar with history, the very name “Gettysburg” suggests a monumental clash of armies. But beyond the chaos of the battle itself, what was the impact of Gettysburg on the greater Civil War?

Four historians from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth address the question in Gettysburg: The Most Important Event of 1863?

Participants include Ethan S. Rafuse, professor of military history, and associate professors Terry Beckenbaugh, Gregory S. Hospodor, and Randy Mullis.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

In the late 1940s and 1950s, Kansas City native Tommy Campbell won 50 professional fights and became the world’s No. 2 lightweight. But thanks to a run-in with organized crime, he is now all but forgotten in the town that nurtured him.

Phil S. Dixon, author of Tommy Campbell: A Boxing Bout with the Mob, relates how Campbell became the only fighter to testify in court about how mobsters attempted to seize control of the lightweight division, muscling him into throwing one fight.

Sunday, November 17, 2013
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

A crime drama about a charismatic Paris thug (Jean-Paul Belmondo) who initiates a torrid affair with a beautiful young American (Jean Seberg), Breathless is among the most influential films ever made … not for the story but for its style. Director Jean-Luc Godard shot surreptitiously on real streets and cut the footage into jarring jump shots that seemed to kick the story forward.

Saturday, November 16, 2013
(All day) @ Plaza Branch

The Kansas City Public Library hosts the 2013 Young Adult Literature Festival with Rainbow Rowell, Jacqueline Woodson, and John Green, presented by Reading Reptile and sponsored by the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library. Meet leading authors of young adult literature, purchase books, and get autographs.

YA Literature Workshop: 8:00 to Noon
Tickets to the workshop have sold out.

Book Signing: 1 - 3 p.m.
Admission to the book signing is free and open to the public

Friday, November 15, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Run away with the circus as Happy Faces Entertainment ringmaster Dennis Porter takes you into the excitement of the big top. Enjoy an interactive program of music, magic, juggling, and more.

Porter has worked with communities, educational institutions, churches, amusement parks and professional theaters around the country, performing as a clown, actor, magician, storyteller, educator, and emcee.

Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Few journalists have studied the issue of global warming with the thoroughness of The New York TimesJustin Gillis, who has raised hackles by comparing global warming skeptics to opponents of evolution.

Now, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with Gillis about Covering Climate Change.

Gillis, who reports and blogs on the environment for the Times, warns that “the hour is late … To head off the worst consequences of global warming, we needed to get started 20 years ago and we did not. If we started today it would be hard, and we’re not starting today.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Several hundred spectators in Dealey Plaza witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Everyone else experienced it through the eyes of Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder, whose home movie of the shooting is among the most famous – and closely examined – films in history.

Journalist and historian Max Holland looks at the Zapruder film, delving into how it came to be, its exalted status as the dominant document of a national tragedy, and how it has helped – or hindered - our understanding of precisely what happened 50 years ago this month.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Patrick Rosal’s poetry, writes one critic, “skillfully navigates between despair and love, between violence and music, between loss and transcendence ... I’ve seen him make people cry during his readings. I’ve seen him play a guitar, play the piano, sing, and yes, dance.”

Rosal holds a discussion about his work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.