Previous Special Events

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

John Bluford, the chief executive officer of Truman Medical Centers, has been recognized by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the most influential people in health care. As he prepares to retire after 15 years at Truman, he looks back on his career and ahead to the future in a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III.

Bluford has overseen major improvements in cardiology, radiology, emergency, diabetes, and operating facilities in his tenure at Truman, and he established the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute. He served as chairman of the American Hospital Association, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems and the Missouri Hospital Association.


Sunday, June 1, 2014
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The greatest swashbuckling film of all time almost bit the dust with a mid-production change in directors. But from a potential disaster arose what the New York Times’ Frank Nugent deemed “A richly produced, bravely bedecked, romantic, and colorful show … it can be calculated to rejoice the eights, rejuvenate the eighties, and delight those in between.” The Technicolor production is spectacular with castles, pageantry, gorgeous costumes. The style is lighthearted yet mythic, crammed with both bravura heroics and comic panache.


Friday, May 30, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Doo-Dads, a kid-cool rock and roll band, was founded in 2002 by four friends, all fathers and veterans of the Kansas City music scene.

The band puts on a high-energy show that has every hallmark of a real rock concert: fun, excitement, and . . . bubbles!

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, May 29, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Marine biologist Nancy Knowlton knows the wonders of our oceans and the weird and wondrous creatures that call it home. She also recognizes how ocean life is threatened by human activity and what is being done to turn the tide of destruction.

Knowlton’s talk is the kickoff event of Conserving Our Dynamic Planet, a series presented by the Smithsonian Institution and co-sponsored by the Linda Hall Library.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In 1982-83, William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways, a chronicle of traveling America’s back roads, spent 42 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.

Thirty years after his 14,000-mile, 38-state journey, Least Heat-Moon re-examines the making of the book in a discussion of Writing Blue Highways: The Story of How a Book Happened. He reflects on the stops and starts in his composition process, the numerous drafts and painstaking revisions, and the depressing string of rejections by publishers.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Less than two weeks before Victor Espinoza tries to guide California Chrome to a Triple Crown-clinching victory in horse racing’s Belmont Stakes, Emory University professor Pellom McDaniels III looks back at a man who, more than a century earlier, set the standard of excellence for all jockeys. Isaac Burns Murphy was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times, and his 44 percent overall win rate — nearly three times higher than Espinoza’s — remains unmatched. He was the highest-paid U.S. athlete of his time. And he happened to be African American.

McDaniels, a former Kansas City Chiefs lineman who now is faculty curator of African American collections at Emory, discusses his new biography of Murphy, whose life spanned the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the adoption of Jim Crow legislation. Before dying in 1896 at age 34, Murphy became an important figure not only in sports but also in the social, political, and cultural consciousness of African Americans.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The 2014 edition of the long-running Off-the-Wall Film Series, co-presented by The Kansas City Public Library and The Pitch, features musically-themed titles from 1984.

The series kicks off with this perennially popular film about a city kid (Kevin Bacon) who moves to a small town where the local preacher (John Lithgow) has banned rock music and dancing. But this young man just can’t sit still — nor can audiences watching this movie.

Films are screened outside on the Rooftop Terrace. Filmgoers are welcome to bring blankets and folding chairs. In cases of inclement weather, screenings will be moved indoors to Helzberg Auditorium. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


Friday, May 23, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Emcee and vocalist Neil McIntyre (aka Mr. Kneeel), comes to town with a blend of hip-hop and beatboxing that’s both inspiring and fun.

McIntyre’s music is high energy and engaging and never insults a child’s intelligence. This is hip-hop that focuses on who kids are and what they enjoy.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Incredibly wealthy individuals and corporations are radically redefining our electoral process in a way that, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy.

That’s the alarm raised by John Nichols in a discussion of his new exposé (co-written with Robert McChesney) of pay-to-play billionaires, election-buying corporations, activist judges who advance their agendas, and the media conglomerates that have blown off journalism for the sake of political advertising.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Best-selling urban fiction author Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from the latest novel in her popular series about the Rev. Curtis Black and his frequently dysfunctional family. Here the Reverend tries to win back his estranged son Matthew while dealing with long-hidden offspring Dillon, the result of a youthful dalliance.

Roby self-published her first book 17 years ago. She has written almost two dozen novels, among them The Perfect Marriage, Be Careful What You Pray For, Changing Faces, and Casting the First Stone. She is the winner of a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction.