Previous Special Events

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thanks to Shakespeare, Julius Caesar’s stabbing is the most famous assassination in history. But what actually happened on March 15, 44 B.C., is even more gripping than the Bard’s depiction.

In a discussion of his newly released book, Cornell University’s Barry Strauss details the true story. While Shakespeare portrayed Caesar’s murder as an amateur and idealistic affair, it actually was a carefully planned paramilitary operation executed by disaffected officers. Brutus and Cassius were, indeed, key players but had the help of a third man, Decimus, a leading general and lifelong friend of Caesar who became a mole in his entourage.


Sunday, March 29, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The Library’s ninth season of Script-in-Hand performances, featuring the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre continues with Barefoot in the Park.

Neil Simon’s longest-running Broadway hit, which became a 1967 movie starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, focuses on newlyweds Paul and Corie as they begin their life together in a tiny, fifth-floor apartment in a New York City brownstone. He is a strait-laced attorney. She’s a far more spontaneous free spirit who wants him to loosen up — to walk barefoot in the park. The young couple also must contend with a lack of heat, a skylight that leaks snow, several long flights of stairs, oddball neighbor Victor Velasco, and Corie's well-meaning mother. Marriage, it turns out, isn’t so easy.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

There is a movement along the nation’s political right encompassing younger voters who cling to the tenets of smaller government, fewer regulations, and fiscal conservatism but not necessarily social conservatism. They take a more libertarian approach to such issues as gay marriage and drug control.

Can these “conservatarians” feed the momentum gained by Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections?

National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke examines this hybrid constituency in a discussion of his new book – what defines them, where they stand on the hot-button issues of the day, and how they could instigate change within the GOP.

Co-sponsored by the National Review Institute.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

For the Greatest Generation, memories of World War II replay as vividly as motion picture newsreels. Whether they parachuted into France or joined an assembly line, virtually every American—every Kansas Citian—went to war.

Launching a new series, War Stories: World War II Remembered, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle interviews three of the city’s most recognizable veterans of the six-year conflict. Civic giants Henry Bloch, Edward T. Matheny Jr., and Bill Dunn Sr. were barely out of their teens when they rallied to the cry of “Remember Pearl Harbor." Now, 70 years after the war's end, they share their personal stories and reflect on the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, their hometown commander-in-chief.


Friday, March 20, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

You don’t just sit and watch a Peanut Butter Hamster performance. Terry and Melissa Wright make you a part of an interactive show – singing, dancing, laughing, having more fun than humans young or old should be allowed. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

As underscored by The Huffington Post six months ago, when it named Kansas City one of America’s “coolest” cities, things are looking bright for the onetime cowtown. While much of the buzz is about downtown’s revitalization, the historic West Bottoms has slowly and quietly undergone its own transformation over the past decade, emerging as a destination for restaurants, art studios, vintage shops, and other businesses.

What is behind the revival, and what does the future hold for the West Bottoms? Gina Kaufmann, host of KCUR’s Central Standard, moderates a timely conversation with local stakeholders.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kansas Citians go to the polls in April and June to elect a mayor and 12 city council members who will direct the city for the next four years. What are the talking points? The priorities?

Concluding the second season of Citizens Project forums, outgoing city council members Melba Curls, Ed Ford, Jan Marcason, and John Sharp identify and discuss the issues they believe the candidates ought to be addressing. Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star moderates.

The series is co-presented by the nonpartisan Citizens Association of Kansas City. Two previous discussions featured the perspectives of the media and city administrators.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bordered by rugged cliffs and the Missouri and Kansas rivers, the West Bottoms provided the spark for a rugged cowtown to become an urban metropolis. Steve Noll, executive director of the Jackson County Historical Society since 2004, draws from his personal collection and from Cowtown: Cattle Trails and West Bottom Tales, a new book by longtime attorney and civic leader Edward T. Matheny Jr., in recounting the epic story of how cowboys, stockyards commission men, meat packers, railroaders, and assorted hangers-on formed a vibrant, now-vanished Bottoms community.

Cowtown is the product of an innovative collaboration between a local author, the Jackson County Historical Society, and Woodneath Press, a new print-on-demand service developed by the Mid-Continent Public Library.


Thursday, March 12, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Short, balding, and soft-spoken, James Madison was overshadowed by many of America’s other, more dynamic Founding Fathers. His list of accomplishments ran long, however: outlining what became the Constitution, co-writing the Federalist Papers, creating the Bill of Rights, forming America’s first political party, supervising the Louisiana Purchase, and serving as the country’s first wartime president (during the War of 1812).

In a discussion of his new book, Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, author David O. Stewart reveals a rare leader who artfully collaborated with others toward common goals while worrying little about who got the credit.

The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Comedian, columnist, broadcaster, and author Colm O’Regan is renowned throughout Ireland for his hilarious standup routines and series of bestselling books celebrating the wit, wisdom, pragmatism, and warmth of the women he admires as Irish Mammies.

You know a Mammy. You might be one. There are matriarchal equivalents around the world, advising “you’ll get another wear out of that” and admonishing “I don’t care WHO started it. I’m FINISHING it.” They establish tea towel hierarchy and the importance of airing clothes properly.

Less than a week before St. Patrick’s Day, O’Regan — whose popular Twitter account spawned the books — examines the global influence of the Irish Mammy through history, science, politics, and literature. Were you aware, for instance, that Hamlet had an Irish Mammy?