Previous Special Events

Sunday, February 21, 2016
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with psychological studies of films starring three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. A discussion follows each screening.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Michael Cunningham, this film focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are connected by the Virginia Woolf novel Mrs. Dalloway. Streep plays Clarissa, a New Yorker preparing a party for her AIDS-stricken friend in 2001. Julianne Moore is Laura, a pregnant, California housewife with a young son and an unhappy marriage in the 1950s. And Nicole Kidman is Woolf, in England, struggling with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel in the 1920s.

Post-screening discussion led by psychoanalyst David Donovan and Julie Farstad, associate professor at the Kansas City Art Institute.


Thursday, February 18, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Library joins the UMKC Black Studies Program and the Black Archives of Mid-America in presenting a series of screenings of four memorable films adapted from books by African American authors. Funding provided by the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Author Greg Weiner maintains that today’s politically polarized America badly misses Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the former presidential aide, United Nations ambassador, and four-term U.S. senator from New York who died in 2003. He was a liberal who thought outside the liberal box, who respected both the indispensability of government and the complexity of society. In that respect, Weiner says, he echoed British statesman and scholar Edmund Burke, who set the stage for modern conservativism but exercised a similar broad-mindedness in the 1700s.


Sunday, February 14, 2016
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Hollywood has adapted, sampled, and stolen from William Shakespeare for more than a century – seeing his works as a source of prestige as soon as the commercial possibilities of narrative movies were apparent. The Ciné Shakespeare series features four of the best films featuring the Bard or his works in the past 20 years. Joan FitzPatrick Dean, the Curators Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, introduces the selections and leads a discussion after each Sunday afternoon screening.

Winner of seven Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture, this romantic comedy depicts an imaginary love affair between the up-andcoming Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and the beautiful, betrothed Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) during the writing of Romeo and Juliet. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Islamism – or political Islam, the movement to infuse Islam in all areas of life – is hardly a 21st century phenomenon. Winston S. Churchill was a young second lieutenant and war correspondent when he participated in 1898 in the Battle of Omdurman, which retook Sudanese territory that Mahdists had dominated for more than 13 years in their quest to establish an Islamic empire. He published an account of the Mahdist rebellion and reconquest of the Sudan in his book The River War, in which Churchill showed sympathy for Muslim rebels but also warned against what he saw as the dangers of political Islam.

James W. Muller, a University of Alaska, Anchorage, professor and academic chairman of the Chicago-based Churchill Centre, discusses the great British statesman’s reflections on empire, war, race, and religion.


Saturday, February 13, 2016
11:00am @ Plaza Branch

The name – the Black Panthers – is seared into ’60s history, evoking both clenched-fist activism and leather-jacketed, Afro-coiffed cool. The radical group stood at the vanguard of the era’s movement for social change in America before its decline and eventual disintegration in the 1970s and early ’80s.


Friday, February 12, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

While the best-known cowboys of the Old West were white, it’s believed one in four were African-American. Through storytelling and song, vocalist and cultural historian Brother John Anderson helps young audience members explore their history. Appropriate for ages 5 and up.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare rose to prominence centuries and continents apart. But one of America’s greatest presidents felt a real connection to one of mankind’s greatest writers, beginning with their shared belief in the power of language. Lincoln read Shakespeare and quoted him often in conversation, finding particular resonance in Hamlet, Macbeth, and their reflections on the dangers of excessive ambition, the horrors of civil war, and the corruptions of illegitimate rule.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

They are the most famous and controversial directors in the history of the CIA – Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey – and they shared a professional history from start to finish. All were recruited by William “Wild Bill” Donovan to the CIA’s forerunner, the Office of Strategic Services. Each would see his career end badly.

In a discussion of his new book, a follow-up to his earlier, acclaimed biography of Donovan, former TIME magazine correspondent Douglas Waller examines the four protégés who adopted Donovan’s adventurous ways in overseeing missions during and immediately after World War II.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Kansas City’s Barkley advertising agency hatched the enormously successful “Two Guys” campaign for Sonic Drive-In a little more than 12 years ago, letting a couple of improv actors comically pitch tater tots and slushy drinks from the front seat of their car. It became a pop culture phenomenon.


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