Jewish Community Center’s White Theatre Read More
KC Studio's JUMBO list of camps! Read More
The Music of Mexico
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán Read More
Kansas City Ballet
Celebrating 56 Years With Big Dreams Read More
Musical Theater Heritage Read More
Lyric Opera: The Mikado
Forbidden Love, Deception and a Little Fun. Read More
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Category Archives: Leisure
All Community Centers to Host Forums May 7-9
The Community Services Division of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation invites residents to participate in free Public Forums next week at KC Parks community centers. The purpose of these open meetings is to obtain information to assist with improving service and program delivery of the Community Services Division which oversees community centers, athletics and aquatics programming.
PUBLIC FORUM SCHEDULE
Tuesday, May 7
6 p.m.: Gregg Klice Community Center, 1600 John “Buck” O’Neil Way
6 p.m.: Tony Aguirre Community Center, 2050 W. Pennway
7 p.m.: Garrison Community Center, 1124 East 5th St.
Wednesday, May 8
6:30 p.m.: Westport-Roanoke Community Center, 3601 Roanoke Road
7 p.m.: Southeast Community Center, 4201 E 63rd St.
7 p.m.: Marlborough Community Center, 4201 E 63rd St. (held at Southeast CC)
7 p.m.: Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Road
Thursday, May 9
7 p.m.: KC North Community Center, 3930 N Antioch Road
7 p.m.: Brush Creek Community Center, 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.
7 p.m. Line Creek Community Center, 5940 NW Waukomis Dr.
Each forum is anticipated to last 1.5 hours and will be conducted by Pros Consulting, a management consulting and planning firm specializing in government and not-for-profit agencies. For more information, call 816-513-7500 or visit KC Parks website at www.kcparks.org.
My Name is Asher Lev By Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Cynthia Levin
Faith. Art. Identity
The powerful and emotional play My Name is Asher Lev, onstage at Unicorn Theatre, has been extended an extra week and will now play through May 19, rather than ending May 12 as originally scheduled. “With such positive response from the audience, and overwhelming ticket sales, we can’t help but extend the run of the show”, said Cynthia Levin, Unicorn Theatre Producing Artistic Director. Every weekend of the show so far has been sold out.
Due to the extension, Unicorn Theatre will hold an additional “Talk Back” performance on May 14, when the audience is invited to stay after the show for a Q-and-A session with the director and cast. Previous “Talk Back” sessions have been the largest in Unicorn Theatre history, with more than 100 patrons staying to participate.
The story follows the journey of a young painter torn between his religious upbringing and his insatiable need to fulfill his artistic passion. The struggle pits Asher against the will of his family, community and tradition and has moved audiences to tears and standing ovations.
This play is an excellent opportunity for families to see a show together. It is suitable for children ages 12 and up. (One scene includes partial nudity as a woman poses for Asher to paint.) The play touches on themes of faith, art and identity and may spark quite a discussion on the way home!
This new play by Aaron Posner is adapted from the famous novel by Chaim Potok (author of The Chosen). This production is directed by Cynthia Levin, Unicorn Theatre’s producing artistic director. The cast features Doogin Brown, Mark Robbins and Manon Halliburton.
“My Name is Asher Lev” now runs through May 19 at Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529), ext. 10, go online at www.UnicornTheatre.org or buy in person at the box office. Discounts are available for seniors (60+), students and patrons under age 35.
The Director, Cast and Creative Team:
Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin is directing this production. She is in her 34th season with Unicorn Theatre where she has served as a director, actor, designer or producer for over 260 productions. Previously this season she has directed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Soul Collector.
Doogin Brown (Asher Lev) has previously appeared at the Unicorn in Next Fall, Speech and Debate and Orson’s Shadow. Doogin has been fortunate enough to work at most theaters in Kansas City including Kansas City Repertory Theatre, American Heartland Theatre, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Coterie Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, New Theatre Restaurant and Musical Theatre Heritage.
Mark Robbins (THE MEN) is a founding member of the Kansas City Actors Theatre. At Unicorn Theatre he has appeared in Next Fall and Time Stands Still. He also played the title role in Titus Andronicus at the Living Room Theatre. Mark also directs, including this season’s KC Actors Theatre/Unicorn Theatre co-production of Good People and last season’s co-production of God of Carnage, both here at the Unicorn. He has directed The Mousetrap and The Real Inspector Hound for KC Actors Theatre.
Manon Halliburton (THE WOMEN) is appearing at Unicorn Theatre for the third time. She was in the just-wrapped Good People and previously in Farragut North. Manon has worked all over the country in regional theaters as well as film and television. She’s also a fine artist and professional photographer and keeps busy with teaching acting when she’s not on the stage or behind a lens. Other recent credits include The Kentucky Cycle at the MET, Number the Stars at the Coterie and August: Osage County in last season’s KC Rep production with an all local cast.
The look and feel of the show are designed by: Gary Mosby (scenic design), Alex Perry (lighting design), Arwen Thomas (costume design), Caitlin Hall (prop design), Greg Mackender (music composer) and Michael Heuer (sound design). Tanya Brown is Stage Manager.
About the Playwright & Author:
Aaron Posner has adapted for the stage two beloved works of fiction by Chaim Potok. Potok worked with Posner as a co-writer for the script of The Chosen. After Potok died, Posner collaborated with Potok’s widow as he adapted My Name is Asher Lev. Posner is also a theater administrator and director in the Washington D.C. area, with an emphasis on Shakespeare.
Chaim Potok began his career as a novelist in 1967 with the publication of The Chosen, the first book from a major publisher to portray Orthodox Judaism in the United States. Throughout his writing career Potok continued to examine the conflict between secular and religious interests. During the 1950s, he became a conservative Rabbi and later he also taught at several universities. Potok died in 2002.
Quality Hill Playhouse Singers and Musicians Shine in You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers
A standing ovation is the form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding after an extraordinary performance of acclaim. The collaborative voices and musicians at Quality Hill Playhouse for the current show, You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers, deserved every round of applause and the standing ovations.
First and foremost, I have to add a sort of transparency and full disclosure to this review. I have had the joy and the privilege to interview founder/pianist/emcee J. Kent Barnhart several times. I have also interviewed singers Tim Scott and Jessalyn Kincaid and drummer/singer and all-around-terrific guy Ken Remmert. Then of course, I have made no pretense of being a huge fan of Molly Hammer and seeing and hearing Brian Wilson again was a treat. So with that said, I may be a smidge biased with the musical sparkle that is You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers.
I took my mom to the show. She and my father were married in the mid-1960s and my dad attended college right after their wedding. They are folk artist fans and I grew up with my dad singing songs from groups like the Kingston Trio. So I figured the music of James Taylor and Carole King would be good. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the music too.
Before I get to Taylor and King in the hands of the singers and musicians, let me step back and talk about Puff the Magic Dragon, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and At Seventeen. First, I am glad that Barnhart reminded the audience that Puff the Magic Dragon is not a drug song, but a song about growing up. The group also sings the little heard final verse. It is super sweet. Conversely, the seduction of the song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was apparent through Hammer’s rich voice. Kincaid took Janis Ian’s At Seventeen and gave the song that haunting quality that many of us could remember as we were on the cusp of adulthood.
Now to James Taylor … Scott, who I have seen in musicals, has a big voice that can fill a room. However, I want to describe him as “chameleon-voiced.” Let me define this … think about how a chameleon changes colors to blend with its background. Scott has that sort of uncanny ability to capture the sound of certain artists. While he is not mimicking them, there are tones and qualities that hit the audience. He’s also super talented and plays ukulele and guitar. His renditions of Fire and Rain and Something in the Way She Moves are fabulous.
After a brief intermission, the group jumped into Carole King. While Scott had his moments with King’s songs, the second half (minus Scott’s awesome and raucous take on Don McLean’s American Pie) really belonged to Hammer and Kincaid. The two women harmonize well together and support each other well through some of King’s hits, Beautiful, I Feel the Earth Move and It’s Too Late. When Kincaid started A Natural Woman, the song merges with Hammer and Do Right Woman, Do Right Man. Couple the two songs with Remmert, Barnhart and Wilson playing and the intimate theater of Quality Hill Playhouse could barely contain this performance.
The show ends with Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In from Hair, where everyone sings and plays. I always appreciate Barnhart’s wit and wisdom as he offers his own anecdotes as well as knowledge of the singers and songs, but I still get tickled, watching him play piano. Sometimes he gets to rocking and pounding the piano, I expect it to take off from the stage. He is passionate, to say the least! And those he unites to tell the stories share in that passion.
You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers runs through May 19.
Road to War: World Power and Imperialism, 1904-1914. Opens May 3, 2013, at the National World War I Museum
Examine the pivotal events that led to the outbreak of history’s first global conflict in the National World War I Museum’s new exhibition, Road to War: World Power and Imperialism, 1904-1914.
Opening Friday, May 3, 2013, in Exhibit Hall, the Museum’s inaugural Centennial special exhibition explores the 10 years leading to the outbreak of World War I, a decade that witnessed a series of conflicts between the major European powers over territory in Europe and overseas possessions. Visitors will learn about many other contributing factors including European colonialism, American imperialism, the rise of nationalism, cultural awareness and the social divides which led to unrest and revolt against the imperial monarchies.
“As we prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, we are proud to share the fascinating stories that led to this important time in history,” said Dr. Mary Davidson Cohen, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National World War I Museum. “From Manchuria on the Asian Pacific Coast to North Africa and the Balkans, Road to War embarks on an extraordinary journey you won’t want to miss.”
Remarkable objects, documents and photographs of 1904-1914 colorfully illustrate many of the events, countries and people of the period. Drawing upon the Museum’s extensive collection as well as those of other museums and sources, the exhibition includes many items never before seen at the Museum.
From a nearly-complete Japanese infantry uniform, backpack and original documents of a soldier who served in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 to a Belgian art medal in honor of King Leopold II which celebrated the annexation of Congo by Belgium in 1909, the exhibition offers a thought-provoking experience for visitors of all ages.
Other highlights include:
- A distinctive uniform, worn by a male servant of an upper-class household, as an example of the division between the classes in the Imperial Powers of Europe and the wealth held by a few. It consists of a vest and breeches made of red velvet with embroidered edging of the coat of arms of Graf (Count) von Faber-Castell, Nuremburg, Bavaria.
- Numerous quotes from individuals of the time and historians of the period that give personal connections to the objects and events.
- A Russian periodical cartoon that features Serbia and Bulgaria butting heads over territory while the Russian bear and Austro-Hungarian wolf look on with great interest. Additionally, a scrapbook with an article dated January 9, 1911, shows the potential confrontation between Greece and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in the Balkans.
Road to War, open through April 20, 2014, is included with admission and free for Museum members.
For more information on the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, visit www.theworldwar.org.
Charlotte Street is pleased to host Sycamore House, a series of performances presented and curated by Kansas City composer and musician, Shawn Hansen. This May 4th showcase is the third in the series and features performances by local and out of town artists. For this spring installment of the Sycamore House Series, the focus is on improvisation. The spirit of improvisation is a part of all music making and creative endeavors. The Sycamore House Series strives to support improvisation across all genres. This spring show celebrates improvised music in one of its purest forms. The collaboration of out-of-town percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and saxophonist Michael Doneda focuses on exploration of sound and the pulse while not adhering to conventional rhythms and song structures. A different way of organizing sound comes out in every performance while still searching for and challenging what we see, hear, and describe as beautiful.
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Time: Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 9pm
Venue: Paragraph / 23 East 12th St. KCMO 64105
Tickets: $8 suggested donation
Out of Town – Tatsuya Nakatani, percussionist; and Michael Dondea, saxophonist
ABOUT TATSUYA NAKATANI
Tatsuya Nakatani is a creative percussionist originally from Osaka, Japan. He has been residing in the USA since 1994 and is currently based in Easton, PA. Since the late 1990s, Mr. Nakatani has released over sixty recordings in the USA and Europe and has performed countless solo percussion concerts through intensive touring.
Nakatani’s approach to music is visceral, non-linear and intuitively primitive, expressing an unusually strong spirit while avoiding any categorization. He creates sound via both traditional and extended percussion techniques, utilizing drums, bowed gongs, cymbals, singing bowls, metal objects and bells, as well as various sticks, kitchen tools and homemade bows, all of which manifest in an intense and organic music that represents a very personal sonic world. His approach is steeped in the sensibilities of free improvisation, experimental music, jazz, rock, and noise, and yet retains the sense of space and quiet beauty found in traditional Japanese folk music. His percussion instruments can imitate the sounds of a trumpet, a stringed instrument or an electronic device to the extent that it becomes difficult to recognize the source of the sound. He has devoted himself to a musical aesthetic where rhythm gives way to pulse, often in a way that is not always audible or visible, in currents that incorporate silence and texture. Nakatani’s primary music activities include solo percussion performance, N.G.O. (Nakatani Gong Orchestra) and collaborations with musicians and dancers both in live performance and recordings.
ABOUT MICHAEL DONEDA
Over the years, Michel Doneda (b. 1954) has developed one of the most extensive musical vocabularies in free improvisation. A specialist of the soprano saxophone, he has gradually moved from left-field jazz to the fringes of free improv ever since he began to lead his own sessions in the early ‘80s. His playing can be at turns lyrical, playful, or raucous, and can switch from the liveliness of street melodies to circular breathing, microscopic sounds, or shrieking outbursts. His most frequent recording and performing partners over the years have included singer Beñat Achiary, percussionist Lê Quan Ninh, hurdy-gurdy player Dominique Regef, and bassist Barre Phillips.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE STREET
Over 16 years, Charlotte Street has challenged, nurtured, and empowered thousands of artists, almost $900,000 in awards and grants to artists and their projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. Charlotte Street – with its community of artists – strives to be a primary catalyst in making Kansas City a vibrant, creative metropolis, alive with collaboration, passion, ideas, and surprise. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit www.charlottestreet.org
Performances during May and June First Friday in the Kansas City Crossroads District
The 2013 Song and Dance Project is a captivating collaborative performance between Kacico Dance and Kansas City Irish Band, Flannigan’s Right Hook. Five out of seven company dancers have created new and innovative choreography to covered and original songs by Flannigan’s. They will perform an hour long concert, live, during May and June First Friday’s celebration in the Kansas City Crossroads District. The Song and Dance Project continues Kacico’s tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration offering opportunities to talented performance artists in the greater Kansas City area.
2013 Song and Dance Project
1.) Date: Friday, May 3, 2013
Time: Show starts at 7 p.m.
Venue: The Promise Wedding and Event Space, 1814 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64108
2.) Date: Friday, June 7, 2013
Time: Show starts at 7 p.m.
Venue: The Bauer, 115 W. 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108
Tickets: Free to the public/Accepting donations
Featuring: Kacico Dance and Flannigan’s Right Hook
Performance details: www.kacicodance.org
ABOUT KACICO DANCE
Kacico Dance is a professional nonprofit contemporary dance company from Kansas City, Missouri under the co-artistic direction of Allison McKinzie, Holly Noel Harmison, and Maggie Osgood Nicholls. These three artists are dedicated to preserving and developing the artistic excellence of the company. Kacico creates and maintains a diverse dance repertory facilitated by artistic skill, knowledge, creative questioning, experimentation, and collaboration. The company perpetuates the existence, exploration, and education of modern dance and its developmental forms. Kacico presents public concerts and programs locally and regionally in a variety of presentational forms for audience enjoyment, enrichment and cultural education. Kacico has presented work at the Folly Theatre, Gem Theatre, H&R Block City Stage Theatre, The Carlsen Center, and numerous non-traditional dance spaces in the Kansas City Metro Area over the past 8 years. Company dancers are Allison McKinzie, Holly Noel Harmison, Maggie Nicholls, Leigh Murray, Mallory Gittemeier, Chelsea Koenig, and Katie Metzger. Kacico Dance is currently a Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Resident. For more about Kacico, go to: www.kacicodance.org
ABOUT FLANNIGAN’S RIGHT HOOK
Flannigan’s Right Hook is a Kansas City band with Irish, Rock, and Folk influences. Band members Cameron Russell, Shane Borth and Michael Cochran started the band in 2006. Current play lists by the boys include classic Irish standards – ballads and tunes – and also a whole slew of songs from the world of American country music, classic tracks, bluegrass, as well as original compositions and songs. You can hear Flannigan’s Right Hook at several establishments across the Kansas City Metro area. They can be seen at Tom Foolery’s on the Plaza, Kelly’s Pub in Westport, The Dubliner in the Power and Light District, Lylwelyn’s and The Roxy in Overland Park, and O’Malley’s Pub in Weston. For more about Flannigan’s Right Hook go to: www.facebook.com/flannigansrighthook
By Kellie Houx, Editor | Photos Courtesy the Participaing Organizations
Arts summer camps are suitable for those children, tweens, teens and even a few adults who want to enhance their skills in artistry such as pottery, dancing, ceramics, painting, drawing, sculpture and more diversified skills and talents. Other possibilities include camps focused on theater, photography and computer animation. For the most part, teachers are working artists who understand the drive to create. The following camps are fine arts focused, fun and active where young artists and stars can grow and mature in their favorite fine art or try out one.
Lawrence Arts Center
Director of Programs and Partnerships Margaret Weisbrod Morris says the Lawrence Arts Center offers programs for children from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school. There is also an arts based preschool. Morris says the center has also added art to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math movement and now calls the movement STEAM.
The STEAM camps look at such subjects as space, the planet, Myth Busters, the World of Oz and superheroes. “The idea is that within this content, there are artistic principles. As an example, the Oz camp looks at principles of energy, force and motion, along with weather and climate studies. Artistic principles include creative movement, character development and cartography. Students actually get to map their own yellow brick road or recreate the story with flying monkeys and Munchkins. During BOXico City, campers will learn about urban planning and green design.”
In the summer of 2011, center staff created Arts Institutes aimed at middle school and high school students. These art classes for older children make explicit the connection between art and scientific innovation, classical understanding of the human form, the invention of perspective, early printing methods, fundamental animation techniques, theories of movement, and art foundations.
“The elementary programs focus on innovation and creativity. As the campers get older, the skills become more about self-direction and initiative, communication and developing critical skills. We are also offering a two-week intensive for high schoolers to help prepare portfolios. No matter the age, a participant will find a chance to be immersed in the arts. It’s a learning environment that is not as restricted as a school setting. I strongly believe the next Steve Jobs will come from a program like this,” Morris says.
The Bard of Avon awaits even the youngest camper during this year’s Camp Shakespeare, organized by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Camp Shakespeare programs offer summer arts adventure for young people ages 5 – 18. Education Director Ashlea Christopher calls the camp Shakespeare Exploration, aimed at older campers, 14-18, a more in-depth acting workshop. This conservatory-styled camp includes work highlighting vocal, physical, and acting techniques used in performing Shakespeare. Campers will focus on acting exercises, text work, rehearsal and performance of monologues and scenes.
Camp Shakespeare improves reading skills and concentration. Campers rehearse their own work for a performance of scenes, sword fights, and a shortened version of the Festival’s 2013 play, As You Like It, on the Festival stage in Southmoreland Park. “We even have older students who are returning as camp interns. They even bring back the swords they made. Combat training, no matter the age, is always exciting.” This year’s play will be set in the Summer of Love so Christopher expects some crafts to be built around the theme such as love beads. “Costume creating is also popular. I can see ponchos too,” she says.
“There has been proof that those who participate in the arts will excel. Arts camps can inspire creativity. Look at Shakespeare and see how many new words we learn. These vocabulary words find their way onto standardized tests. Plus they learn that what Shakespeare wrote more than 400 years ago is still relevant – love, heartache, friendship and more.”
Oxford School House City of Leawood Fine Arts
How about finding a program that encourages reading? At the Oxford School House in Leawood, the weekly reading club meets on Wednesdays where they read a story of historical fiction and do a related activity such as a craft or game. Cultural Arts Coordinator April Bishop says she may be leaning toward Tom Sawyer too. “The kids are at the schoolhouse most of the morning,” she says. “They can come one week or all and no reservations are necessary.”
They also offer monthly American Girl doll events. The kids can bring their dolls. Each session is about a specific doll and the kids learn about her life and times. They hear a story generally about the girl’s education and then they make a related craft. American Girl Doll Series will also continue with Samantha, Kirsten and Molly.
Miller Marley school of Dance and Voice
Shirley Marley has owned and operated Miller Marley School of Dance and Voice for 50 years. In that time, her faculty and she have produced actors and dancers who have gone on to Broadway and Hollywood. Miller Marley’s Summer Intensive is coming up in late August for two weeks, Aug. 19-22 and 26-29. Where else but at Miller Marley could a dancer study with a Broadway star, an alumnus teacher and nationally recognized dancers and choreographers from across the country?
Miller Marley School Director Brian McGinness says the school doesn’t really slow in its classes. “We train year round. We have performing companies that start at 9 a.m. and dance until noon. Some kids then get lunch and return to dance until 8 p.m. Our students appreciate the chance to devote themselves to dance during the summer. It’s a positive environment.”
Kansas City Young Audiences
“We are trying to present some new offerings for teenagers,” says Arts Education Director Kara Armstrong. “There’s Teen Hip Hop Studio Express; it’s a class aimed at 13 to 18 year olds. Then there’s Teen Radio Theatre Camp, Advanced Stage Skills including Combat/Directing and Let’s Put on a Show: It’s a Mystery. In music, we offer Teen Garage Band.”
Another plus for this year involves an extended day option. Armstrong says camp will continue in the afternoon with structured projects centered on a theme such as fairy tales, animal stories or magical lands. “More structured arts time appeals to parents. Maybe their child is not a morning person or on a swim team that practices early. This allows for engagement.” Other popular camps include the Arts Sampler where campers experience visual and performing arts.
Armstrong hopes parents and kids consider an arts camp. “A child may blossom in the arts or perhaps this might be a safe place to try a particular art form. They get to engage with peers who want to be here. The pursuit of the arts can aid in learning collaboration, physical wellness, improve reading … the whole picture of the arts can benefit young people. They can learn skills such as critical thinking and communication. They are life skills that transfer. Just think about your child gaining the ability to promote an idea or lead a team project because they got the chance to do so at summer camp.”
Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp
The Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp may be a little different from the typical summer fine arts camps. This camp is open to students from high school through professional players. Mark Wood says even a few accelerated middle schoolers have been invited. “Basically we have players from 14 to their 80s who join us,” he says. “This will be our fourth year in Olathe at MidAmerica Nazarene University. It really is an amazing place to play.”
Wood has traveled the world with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and now offers up Electrify Your Strings! (EYS) is a music education program that gives students, teachers, and local communities a high voltage dose of rock into a school’s music education program. He comes in as well as other guest teachers such as classical violinist Rachel Barton-Pine teaches classes in thrashing, which is learning some of the most challenging and fun riffs to favorite metal tunes. Wood calls her “a queen of the Viper and one of the top five violinists touring today.” His wife Laura Kaye, who handles all the vocal teaching, will come in as well as their son and drummer Elijah.
“We want to create an environment that not only has participants gaining from a mentor, but also from the interaction with each other,” he says. “That is confidence building. I also want to see participants looking at technology in computer labs and working on compositions. I had a vision that someday I wanted a camp built on integrating technology with the historic landscape created by a 400-year-old history of classical music. Of course, it’s fun to rock out to the Beatles and Zepplin.” Participants also build an electric violin.
At the end of the camp, the Woods watch their family of musicians grow by about 150 students. “Sure we get campers from all over and we became a melting pot. The other joy is in celebrating the joy that is magic. You can’t predict when we are creating beautiful music, art or dance, when and how inspiration will occur. We get to put all these pieces and integrate them into our soul, spirit and intellect.” At the end of each day, the participants and instructors have concerts which the public can attend for a small price.
SUMMER ART CAMPS DIRECTORY
Here is a collection of just some of the many Summer Art Camps available in the Kansas City area. There are camps that run half days, two days, four days, or two weeks. There are classes and events that make the summer enjoyable. These camps specialize in art, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing and can be found all over the metropolitan area. Just visit the Web sites to learn about the camps, registration forms and fees.
Act One – Academy of Christian Theatre
Blue Springs Summer Day Camp
Blue Valley Recreation
(Camp Center Stage)
Camp Wood YMCA
Christian Youth Theatre
Creative Arts Academy
Culture House Arts Academy
David Smart Summer Jam
Earnest Shepherd Memorial Youth Camp
Gallery Off Broadway
Heart of America Shakespeare
Heartland Music Academy
Ibsen Dance Theatre
Jackson County Parks & Rec
Jewish Community Center
Johnson County Community College
Johnson County Parks & Recreation
Kansas City Art Institute
Kansas City Ballet
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey
Kansas City Parks & Recreation
Kansas City Jazz Camp
Kansas City String Quartet Program
Kansas City Writers Group
Kansas City Young Audiences
Lawrence Arts Center
Leawood Parks & Recreation
Lee’s Summit Parks & Recreation
Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp
Martin City Melodrama
Mattie Rhodes Art Center
Metropolitan Community College
Miller-Marley School of Dance & Voice
Music House School of Music
Music Theatre for Young People
Notre Dame de Sion School
Paint Glaze and Fire
Pembroke Hill School
Pulse Performing Arts Center
Red Star Studios
Rockhurst High School
St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School
St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Shawnee Mission Summer Programs
Theatre for Young America
Theatre of the Imagination
Toy & Miniature Museum
Trilogy Cultural Arts
Stop-Motion Animation Part of Playful Art Exhibit at Toy and Miniature Museum
The Curious Items and Strange Artifacts of Just Colcord, the first museum exhibition of the RAW artist, runs through June 9, and includes some of the hippest like stop-motion animation shorts featuring Colcord’s own creations.
Colcord explores the streets of Kansas City for discarded treasure to transform into characters with elaborate stories— a robot or a wizard with a miniature lair. Each creation evolves from the trash of others, repurposed and reborn into a new life cycle. For Colcord, art is an experimental process, an expression of nostalgia for his own childhood. “Each of them practically builds themselves. I put together the screws and the materials with love and a little hope. The animation comes from my own curiosity to see if the creations can be played with.”
Yes, he said play, but don’t get Colcord wrong, he also likens his works to a sort of alchemy when a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aimed to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold. “I suppose in a way, I am going in reverse. I find the remains of things and through my works, I bring them into a new light. Then I get to be both the creator and the player.”
Trash or Treasure? begins with found and repurposed materials as unassuming as bottle caps and screws melded with literature and pop culture inspiration and Colcord’s own imagination. He will pick up materials on walks around his neighborhood. “Actually I came here and bought a membership and started taking workshops.” From there, figures are born with definitive personalities, unique life experiences, companions, enemies, friends, and even birthdays. Colcord’s figures, along with his handmade sets, star in several stop motion films included in the exhibit.
“With toys, you want to play and get a feeling for what the toys are. Why do we call certain toys action figures? They should be in action,” he says. “The trick is to see them in motion. It’s almost like a commercial. I wanted a choppy feel to the shorts. I am just learning how to play and so the shorts are simple. I also wanted to show my own learning process. I really believe that when people start something new, I want to see their failed attempts. So these shorts are me showing my work. I started playing in my house; it’s not a controlled studio. I’m playing to learn.”
If the shorts look a little like footage from a store security camera, Colcord would be pleased. “What’s funny is that the brain will fill in the missing images, just like when we blink. I find this sort of work appealing.”
His first character, Gonzo, went on a Caribbean cruise. After that, he created Oznog and Zongo. “Art is my focus, but I do enjoy playing. This has been a good melding of both. I also want to inspire others, especially younger kids. If a kid comes to the museum and sees one of my shorts, isn’t that a gift if he looks at his parents and says he wants to try that. The dreams that we have are infectious.”
“His art is a reminder that toys are not just for kids and play is not just for childhood. Art is play. It is something evolving and organic that you engage with,” says museum educator Laura Taylor. Featured in Colcord’s universe of figures on exhibit are a heist team of eight headed by Mr. Fixit, a dark character outfitted with rope and suction cup to scale the museum’s cases after hours.
Colcord is a self-trained artist who began creating toys out of found materials in 2011. He usually spends a year exploring a particular vein of art—his past endeavors have included a cast of puppets, handmade jugging balls, and carved wooden wands.
Colcord plans on continuing with his stop-motion works. He has been trying to create new shorts with sculptures. “I have a theory that I need to try something for a year to see if I like it and that I can move from the concept to an actual product. Like here, I was fortunate to move from a concept to an art and film exhibition in less than 365 days. That’s pretty cool.”
By Kellie Houx, Editor | Photos Courtesy Judith G. Levy
Multidisciplinary artist Judith G. Levy’s film on envy may resonate with a few artists and others who struggle with their own envious feelings.
In contrast and almost with a sort of wink and nod from Levy, the process to make the short film represented the epitome of benevolence and a spirit of collaboration. “It was interesting to consider this topic as I gained lots of support. All over, this is such a supportive, cooperative and collaborative community,” she says.
NV in KC: a Story about Artists and Envy in Kansas City started with Levy receiving an Andy Warhol Foundation Rocket Grant award. The program, made possible by Charlotte Street Foundation and the KU Spencer Museum of Art, with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, “fuels the energy of the Kansas City regional visual arts community by encouraging and supporting work that is innovative and
inventive and engages an audience outside of established arts venues, museums, theaters, art galleries or arts districts. The grants enable artists to take new risks with their work …”
Levy developed the full script and had many of the more than 30 performers and crew already in mind. Some were artists, musicians, actors and neighbors she already knew. Then she tapped some arts leaders in town to provide some of the expert voices for the story and to create documentary-like interviews that capture the complexity of a challenging emotion, Levy says. “I play an artist, Lee J. Ross, who is working on a conceptual art project about envy, and in spite of its limitations, my character sees her project as a worthy one. Throughout the course of the film, Lee J., inadvertently upsets her friends, when she was hoping to enlighten them.” “The topic of envy is a challenging one,” says Levy, “and that is why I wanted to create something that is entertaining, has humor and also addresses an emotion we rarely talk about.”
The fictional artist that Levy has created shares her home, her studio, her friends, her therapy sessions, throughout the film, as she tries to understand why her project isn’t achieving what she’d hoped it would accomplish. The arts leaders that perform in this film are Dr. Julián Zugazagoitia, CEO and president of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Sherry Leedy, director at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art; Raechell Smith, H&R Block Artspace director/curator; Spencer Museum director Saralyn Reece Hardy; and Rachael Cozad, former director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and current director of Rachael Cozad Fine Art.
Levy filmed from February 2012 and into the fall, working around people’s schedules and her other obligations. The film is required to have a public showing to fulfill part of the Rocket Grant requirements. To that end, Levy is offering cast and crew screenings that are open to the public on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tivoli in Westport and on May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Lawrence Arts Center. The events are free, but reservations are required for the May 2 screening. To receive free reservations, visit www.nvinkc.com.
“I felt like I had to define the words envy and jealousy, and I do this in the film. It’s really interesting to explore those two,” she says. “I don’t want to give too much away, but there is some drama in the mix of this invented narrative.” Along with Levy, who stars in the film, some of the local actors who have key roles are De De DeVille, Carol Holstead, Erin McGrane, Shannon Michalski, Garry Noland, and Jaimie Warren. “I consider this a community filmmaking project.”
Levy says that she was inspired to make this film, because, “I wanted to write a story that would be entertaining while it explores a difficult, universal emotion. The challenge is to learn to use envy and make it productive. Sure envy can make us feel badly about ourselves, because it often causes feelings of resentment and shame, but it also can be a tool to identify goals.”
Levy says she is “grateful to the Andy Warhol Foundation for funding Rocket Grants and to The Charlotte Street Foundation and The Spencer Museum of Art for administering this program.” She also believes that she “would not have pushed herself to make a film that is almost an hour long, without the support and funding.”
Exploring emotion among a wide range of people is nothing new to Levy. Last year, she had a sort of short film integrated into a piece of art. A kitchen table is set with a place for person to sit in and 18 different people greet the participant, exploring culture and the association to food. The piece is titled You Never Dine Alone.
“No matter what I am working on, I want to explore challenging issues,” she says. “I want to look outward toward things like how our cities grow or racism. Then I want to turn inward and look at how we got to be who we are as a culture and as a nation. Then the work has to be accessible and engaging. Getting the Rocket Grant helped so much so I could address the issue of envy.”
NV in KC could be entered into film festivals, she says. In 2012, her short video, On the Seventh Day, was screened at seven national and international film festivals, including the New York City International Film Festival. She has a studio in the Crossroads and is currently working on an installation, Memory Cloud, for a fall group exhibition at the University of Rochester in New York. She is also continuing her ongoing Panoramic Postcard series. “These postcards are an amalgamation of other postcards, but with a commentary that the viewer has to see. I am hoping for an array of 12 cards when I am done,” she says. “And I have a kernel of an idea for another short film.”
For years, JJ’s Restaurant united diners under its stylish tiled roof until the explosion and fire Feb. 19.
Authorities say the blast occurred after a contractor hit an underground natural gas line outside the restaurant. Fumes collected inside the building and were ignited, possibly by the pilot light of a stove or water heater. The only fatality was Megan Cramer.
JJ’s was rated by the Zagat’s as one of the top restaurants in the Midwest. The menu included KC’s best steaks, fresh seafood and innovative pasta dishes. The brick restaurant with the tile roof at the corner of 48th Street and Belleview Avenue was founded by Jimmy Frantze in partnership with his brother, lawyer David Frantze.
Obviously the focus has changed. “Each day is another step forward, but it is not easy,” Jimmy Frantze says. “There really isn’t a plan for the building yet as the police and investigators still have the site closed as part of the ongoing investigation. Every time I stop by, I think about what a cruise missile hit might look like.”
Frantze is still aiming for the street party on Aug. 25 where he wants customers and friends to celebrate. “This will be our fifth Street Party and we would have been 28 ½ years in August. The anniversary date is Feb. 1, but that’s always a little chilly for a street party, but we still want a celebration.”
Café Trio Proprietor Christopher Youngers, who also is the current president of The Kansas City Originals, says Jimmy Frantze helped found The KC Originals and JJ’s has been one of Kansas City’s finest local eateries and an icon of what it means to be a KC Original. “As an allied group of restaurants we help each other out every day, but when tragedy struck at JJ’s, Jimmy and his staff needed more than just our help. It was the least we could do and we stand ready to do with whatever else is needed,” he says.
Frantze says The Kansas City Originals represents fellow independent restaurant owners so the trials and joys are similar for all. “If I was to rebuild, I would want to reopen a JJ’s pretty much as it was. It was like Camelot … a life and presence of its own that our employees and customers shaped.”
Youngers hopes to see Frantze rebuild. “It is my own personal hope that Jimmy and his staff rebuild as soon as possible and that the process of rebuilding may help to bring healing. Not to mention that Kansas City just wouldn’t be the same without JJ’s.”
Sometimes I run across organizations with programs that strike a personal nerve just a little bit closer. The Whole Person is one such organization. I grew up around special needs people. I have two cousins who have been loving and entertaining. One works in a vocational site and the other spends his days, retrofitting and perfecting model cars.
Now, I am also the grandchild and child of grandparents and a father with visual impairments. So when I discovered The Whole Person, it thrilled me that the creativity of their clients brings about an arts education for so many. The group also collaborates with the VSA Missouri, which aims to provide an inclusive community where artists, students and audience members with disabilities have the same opportunities as those who don’t have disabilities.
In early May, for the past two years and again this year on the First Friday in May, a selected group of artists have had a traditional art showing in the Crossroads called Expressions at the Jones Gallery. The art may seem typical art gallery works with paintings, photography, textiles and jewelry, but the artists who have created the pieces are anything but typical. Last year, artist Lesley Johnston shared her beading. She is confined to a wheelchair after a stroke, but she directs an assistant on how her work should be strung to create wearable pieces of art.
Angel Goben suffers from physical disabilities including surgical dwarfism, scoliosis, and arthritis, as well as dyslexia and kidney disease. Angel has been drawing since she was two years old. Angel enjoys using art to help others and has volunteered at MOCSA, Mattie Rhodes Center, and Comprehensive Mental Health Services. She says she once was so sick she couldn’t talk, but she could draw her feelings. Roz Roush calls art a freeing experience even though painting can be hard on her as she lives with spinal stenosis. Jorge Castillo is deaf, but finds art as a constant interest and an interest others have too. He paints and finds a chance to focus on his art instead of his problems. Other artists deal with ADD, depression or bipolar illness.
Development Manager Elizabeth Wheeler at The Whole Person says the artists come from some of their own programs. The Whole Person strives to help people create an independent life. “We found in our conversations that art has a way to give people of all abilities a way to that they can express themselves. Art can express the disability or a way to process the differences. It’s therapy. Our arts programming tends to be more of an opportunity that allows for integration.”
TWP has also partnered with Theater for Young America to present a play called Bully Bot and the Gang of Geeks, written by TYA director Gene Mackey. The play, which just finished its second run, has an anti-bullying message, specifically bullying and kids with disabilities. Theater director TWP staff members Letiah Fraser, disability rights advocate, Youth Services and Sean Houlihan, assistive technology advocate, along with the actors, engage the audience to ask questions and share experiences about bullying in their schools.
“Bullying gets a lot of attention, but it’s often not brought up about the disabilities community. We invite kids to watch the play and we also offer a question and answer session. One had a disability that could be seen and one that was hard to detect. We want to continue Bully Bot and take the play around the community. Bullying is a serious issue for people of all ages,” Wheeler says.