Great City | Great Read - 2015 Signature Events

Signature Events

What Is It About Alice? – Mark Burstein

September 16 | 6:30 p.m.
Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
RSVP here or call 816.701.3407

September 17 | 7:00 p.m.
Woodneath Library Center, 8900 NE Flintlock Rd.
RSVP here or call 816.883.4900

Other than the Bible and Shakespeare's plays and poems, perhaps no literary work is more quoted, translated, and adapted than Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the 1865 publication of the tale of a precocious young girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a world full of curious characters.

Kicking off a citywide celebration of the book, Mark Burstein—former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America—discusses the impact that Carroll's story and characters have had on literary and popular culture. And he examines the life of their enigmatic creator.


Hollywood Wonderland: The Cinema and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – Mitch Brian

September 23 | 6:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
RSVP here or call 816.701.3407

Beginning with a silent, eight-minute short released in 1903, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland—and its theme of a strange girl cast into a stranger land—has intrigued both filmmakers and viewers. Lewis Carroll's 150-year-old book has spawned close to two dozen movie and television adaptations.

Mitch Brian, an associate teaching professor in the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Communication/Film Studies Department, surveys the story's on-screen history. Using clips, he explores how the character of Alice has evolved on film through the ages.


The Fairy Tale Explosion in Contemporary Media – Naphtali Faris

September 27 | 2:00 p.m.
Trails West Branch, 11401 E. 23rd St.
RSVP here or call 816.701.3407

Revamped, revised, reworked, and reimagined fairy tale characters and stories have seen an explosion in contemporary media from graphic novels to television to movies. These ancient tales have held perennial appeal for fans young and old. Children's literature expert Naphtali Faris discusses the enduring fascination with fairy tales, myth, legends, and folklore and how old stories are getting inventive twists for a modern audience.


Looking at Alice with an Artist's Eye – Peregrine Honig

October 14 | 6:30 p.m.
Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
RSVP here or call 816.701.3407

Internationally recognized Kansas City artist Peregrine Honig fixes her creative gaze on Lewis Carroll's classic work of children's literature, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and curates an exhibit that invites viewers to experience a sense of psychedelic discovery and bewilderment akin to Alice's dreams and conflicts while wandering the Wonderlandscape. Honig has assembled an acclaimed collective of award-winning artists and fashion designers for her exhibit Intimate Riot, on display from October 10 through January 17 at the Central Library. In this talk, Honig addresses the fascination Alice holds for artists and the many ways they find inspiration in Alice's dark journey through and strange encounters with the characters who inhabit Wonderland.


JazzAlice: An Adventure in Musical Wonderland – Angela Hagenbach

October 28 | 6:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
RSVP here or call 816.701.3407

November 2 | 6:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
RSVP here or call 816.701.3407

November 10 | 6:30 p.m.
The Pavilion at John Knox, 520 NW Murray Rd.
RSVP here or call 816.524.0567

Kansas City jazz legend Angela Hagenbach leads a diverse ensemble cast in an original and unique retelling of the Lewis Carroll classic. In this version, Alice explores Wonderland while accompanied by the music of John Coltrane (with original lyrics written by Hagenbach).

Hagenbach presents a perfect pairing, matching the unexpected wonders of Carroll's imagination with the improvisational magic of Coltrane's bebop sax for a performance that will delight and entertain audiences of all ages.

Known for interpretations of material by Duke Ellington and Henry Mancini, Hagenbach has performed at the Kennedy Center and toured 17 countries as a cultural jazz ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Since her debut album Come Fly with Me, she has earned critical praise for her mainstream jazz sensibilities from JazzTimes, L.A. Jazz Scene, and National Public Radio.