Previous Special Events

Thursday, January 30, 2014

As a self-taught human rights worker who relies on local libraries for his primary research, the Kansas City Public Library's 2013 scholar in residence Alvin Sykes works with the justice system on behalf of minorities and the poor.

In a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, Sykes talks about testifying before Congress, bending the ears of politicians, and his role in creating the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which gives the U.S. Department of Justice the means to investigate long-ago cases of civil rights violations.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When a Serbian assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, there was nothing to suggest the event would lead to a horrific world war. In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of statesmen used the Archduke's murder to set up a long-awaited showdown among the European powers. July 1914: Countdown to War reveals how in a single month a handful of men changed the course of the 20th century.


Sunday, January 26, 2014
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

A free series of films by Alfred Hitchcock who used film to explore his own neuroses and phobias, in the process revealing the psychological complexities we all share.


Friday, January 24, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Coterie Theatre presents the tale of a fifth-grade boy obsessed with the mythical god, Zeus.

This program is appropriate for grades 1 – 5.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the year when Europe faced what Winston Churchill memorably called “the gathering storm” — a period of escalating political tensions, diplomatic crises, and armed aggressions that culminated in the German blitzkrieg of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.

Hal Wert, professor of history at the Kansas City Art Institute, examines the key events of 1939, a year that saw Fascist victory in the Spanish Civil War, the final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and the Russian invasion of Finland. In the U.S. the economy looked as if it might emerge from Depression, Hollywood produced some of its greatest films, the New York World’s Fair wowed audiences from around the globe, and the ailing Lou Gehrig retired from baseball.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Trumpeter Miles Davis once said: "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker."

Saxophone virtuoso Charlie "Bird" Parker — a Kansas City native — began playing professionally in his early teens, became a heroin addict at 16, changed the course of music, and then died when only 34 years old. For his new book on Parker, Chuck Haddix weaves together firsthand accounts from those who knew the legendary jazzman and in-depth research into previously overlooked historical sources to create a compelling narrative portrait of a tragic genius.


Sunday, January 19, 2014
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Called by some “the Citizen Kane of silent cinema,” Sunrise was the last masterpiece made before sound took over, a bold visual experiment seething with human emotions. Directed by German-born F.W. Murnau (whose silent vampire classic Nosferatu was screened in 2012 as part of this series), it’s the simple story of a man (George O’Brien), his wife (Janet Gaynor), and the seductive woman from the big city (Margaret Livingston) who threatens their rural happiness.


Friday, January 17, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Enjoy a silent, one-man circus act as pantomimist Richard Renner entertains with physical comedy, pratfalls, and a marriage of circus talents with everyday life.

This program is appropriate for all ages.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In the face of federal gridlock, economic stagnation, and fiscal turmoil, power in the United States is shifting away from Washington and toward our major metropolitan areas.

In a discussion of his new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz describes how the emerging metropolitan-led "next economy" will produce more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports, and sustainability.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

For nearly a quarter of a century, journalist and educator John C. Tibbetts spent most of his weekends hobnobbing with actors and filmmakers on Hollywood press junkets.

But he did more than just interview his famous subjects. With ink and watercolors, Tibbetts created portraits of the famous folk with whom he visited. And his subjects almost invariably autographed the finished work.

Tibbetts will discuss the creation of these portraits — featured in the Library’s current exhibit, Stargazing — and share stories about many of his celebrity encounters in a talk complementing the exhibit Stargazing, which remains on display through January 31, 2014, at the Central Library.