Previous Special Events

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A now forgotten advertising slogan once proclaimed that Kansas City — proud of its “cowtown” heritage — was “where the steak is born.”

Local food critic Charles Ferruzza explores our town’s carnivorous proclivities, connecting the historical and cultural dots between the iconic Kansas City Stockyards, local steak joints, and the changing eating habits of the American people.

Ferruzza writes a weekly restaurant column for The Pitch, appears regularly on KCUR-FM and hosts the talk show “Anything Goes” on KKFI-FM.


Sunday, May 18, 2014
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Lady Eve is one of the great screwball comedies. Barbra Stanwyk is a con artist who sets her sights on the bumbling heir to a brewing fortune (Henry Fonda). He’s not all that bright to begin with, and having just come off a couple of years in the South American jungles catching snakes he’s particularly vulnerable to the lady’s charms.


Friday, May 16, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Chain Reaction serves up solid science with a side of silliness. One thing leads to another in a hilarious chain reaction machine comprised of audience volunteers. Come enjoy this adventure with Jay and Leslie Cady of Laughing Matters.

In celebration of Children’s Book Week, Plaza Branch staff will also recognize the winners of the Kansas City Public Library’s annual Children’s Bookmark Contest.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

For most of the Civil War, the role of cavalry was limited to reconnaissance and screening infantry movements. But at the Battle of Yellow Tavern (Virginia) on May 11, 1864, a mounted federal force defeated the legendary rebel cavalry of J.E.B. Stuart, who was mortally wounded and died a day later. The North realized that cavalry could be an essential offensive tool.

Observing the 150th anniversary of the battle, Louis DiMarco of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth examines the role of mounted combat in the Civil War.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jonathan Swift is known today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the classic satiric fantasy. But during his lifetime, Swift was famous as a major political and religious figure and as a national hero who fiercely protested English exploitation of his native Ireland.

In a discussion of his new book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, Harvard’s Leo Damrosch shows how Swift’s public version of his life — the one accepted until recently — was deliberately misleading.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Thirty years ago Eddy Harris took a solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River. The result was the acclaimed Mississippi Solo: A River Quest.

As he prepares a second journey down the big river, Harris discusses his past and present and the changes the intervening years have wrought — on the river, on the country, and on himself.

Harris’ penetrating accounts of his travels — among them Native Stranger and Still Life in Harlem — center on his own identity and the identity of blacks in general, and how places either embrace or alienate black culture.


Sunday, May 11, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Two American originals—baseball and musical comedy—meet in this 1955 fantasy which updates the Faustian legend to the modern American baseball diamond. An aging baseball fan sells his soul to the devil in return for newfound youth and the batting skills to lead his home team to victory over the hated New York Yankees. Among the hit tunes from this Tony-winning Best Musical are “(You Gotta Have) Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”

The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre performs its eighth season of Script-in-Hand – a series of classic comedies called Exit Laughing.


Friday, May 9, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Enjoy a performance by the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts Band! Here’s a chance to see what some of Kansas City’s talented youth have to offer.

Paseo Academy is a signature school in the Kansas City Public School District. Students with an interest in fine and performing arts audition for admission.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, May 8, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Authors Dav Pilkey and Dan Santat introduce young readers to the newly re-illustrated Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot book series – written by Pilkey and drawn by Santat.

Pilkey is the man behind the popular Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby series of children’s books. Santat, an award-winning author and illustrator, created the animated Disney Channel series The Replacements.

Books purchased during the event will be available for signing after the presentation.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

A writer and a filmmaker join creative forces to craft a unique work that can only be read the old-fashioned way, by turning the pages. A layered literary mystery, S. uses the story of a nameless man without a memory to tell another story of two college students’ romance and their life-threatening pursuit of an author’s carefully hidden secret identity.

In a conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Doug Dorst explains how he and co-creator J.J. Abrams (TV’s Lost and Alias) conceived of and created S., in which the story on the printed page dovetails with the scribblings of two readers in the margins and the various objects — photos, maps, telegrams, postcards, letters — found hidden between those pages.