We’re back again with more weekend calendar picks from KC Studio editor, Alice Thorson. Tonight, Cuba Bound: Photographs by Jesse A. Fernández opens at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In connection with this exhibition, Friday night the American Jazz Museum presents Cuban jazz musician Candido Camero at the Gem Theater. Also opening Friday night: exhibitions at PLUG Projects and Greenlease Gallery, along with Surveillance at the Nelson. Saturday, Kansas City Kansas Public Library presents their 2nd Annual Library in the Park, with special guest Newbery Medal winner Matt de la Peña. Saturday night, see The Destruction of Memory at the Nelson or Lyric Opera Kansas City‘s production of Hansel and Gretel. For more ideas this weekend, visit Kansas City’s most comprehensive arts calendar at kcstudio.org/events.
Cuba Bound: Photographs by Jesse A. Fernández
September 15, 2016 – December 31, 2016
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Cuban-born Jesse A. Fernández (1925–1986) lived intermittently in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. With an extraordinary ability to connect with the expressive essence of each place, Fernández photographed the artists, performers, dancers and writers within the intellectual circles through which he moved.
Portraits by Fernández will be shown simultaneously at three venues: artists at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, writers at the Kansas City Public Library, Central Library and jazz musicians at the American Jazz Museum.
September 16 @ 8:00 pm | Free
American Jazz Museum – Gem Theater
So well known and respected, his first name alone — Candido — is all that is necessary for jazz aficionados to know who he is. Credited with being the first percussionist to bring conga drumming to jazz, Candido Camero is also known for his contributions to the development of mambo and Afro-Cuban jazz.
Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1921, Camero first began making music as a young child, beating rhythms on empty condensed milk cans in place of bongos. He worked for six years with the CMQ Radio Orchestra and at the famed Cabaret Tropicana.
He came to the United States in 1946 with the dance team Carmen and Rolando, and very soon after was playing with Billy Taylor, who wrote in 1954, “I have not heard anyone who even approaches the wonderful balance between jazz and Cuban elements that Candido demonstrates.”
By the early 1950s, Camero was a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, with whom he toured the U.S. playing three congas (at a time when other congueros were playing only one) in addition to a cowbell and guiro (a fluted gourd played with strokes from a stick). He created another unique playing style by tuning his congas to specific pitches so that he could play melodies like a pianist. He became one of the best known congueros in the country, appearing on such television shows as the Ed Sullivan Show and the Jackie Gleason Show.
He has recorded and performed with seemingly everybody in the jazz field, including such luminaries as Tony Bennett, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Slide Hampton, Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and Clark Terry. Among his many awards are the Latin Jazz USA Lifetime Achievement Award (2001) and a special achievement award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers as a “Legend of Jazz” (2005).
The subject of the 2006 documentary, Candido: Hands of Fire, Camero continues to perform throughout the world.
Also opening Friday night…
Yoonmi Nam: Momentarily
September 16 – October 29 | Free
Opening reception, September 16, 6-9pm
There is an ever-present, yet always changing still life of a sort that occurs on my kitchen table. The set-ups are brief and temporary – the top of the table becomes a site for staging a take-out dinner, grocery bags, and the daily mail. Quickly, these objects exit the stage and are discarded. However, these disposable objects can also suggest a different sense of time. Immediately after their intended use, they become useless and disposable. But, as materials, they often last longer than their intended lifespans. I am drawn to man-made objects that we surround ourselves with, especially when they subtly suggest a contradicting sense of time that seems both temporary and lasting. In this exhibition titled “Momentarily”, I use objects and their materiality to explore a sense of time and place that is both momentary and timeless.
Greenlease Gallery Presents: Travis Pratt “There Then”
September 16 – October 29 | Free
Greenlease Gallery at Rockhurst University
Missouri artist Travis Pratt will unveil a new collection of large-scale paintings to kick off the newest season of the Greenlease Gallery at Rockhurst University.
Opening with a talk by the artist at 6:30 p.m. followed by a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, in the Greenlease Gallery, Pratt’s exhibition There Then weaves together places and objects relating to moods that tell his personal story. Mossy oak trees, cypress knees and the black waters of Florida’s St. John’s River are the backdrop for his works. The reflections of roots in the water — still and clear or turbulent and distorted — represent the artist’s pursuit and examination of universal truths, while bands of cool gray and hot citrus hues express different emotions and an exploration of complex events.
Pratt is a 2008 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute’s ceramics program. In 2011, after an F5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, Pratt returned to his hometown to help with cleanup and spent three years creating a body of paintings based on photographs taken during this period.
September 16, 2016 – January 29, 2017
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Who is watching you? In the 21st century, it is hard to escape the camera’s all-seeing eye. With every movement recorded by cameras, it is difficult to remember that surveillance is not a modern construct. This exhibition examines photography’s role in secretive looking from the 1860s to today.
2nd Annual Library in the Park
September 17 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm | Free
Big Eleven Lake
Do you love food, music, and fun? Join Kansas City, Kansas Public Library for the second annual Library in the Park on September 17 from 10 am to 2 pm at Big Eleven Lake in KCK. We’ll have a taco contest with KCK taquerias, great local bands, and fun activities for kids and adults.
This year, we will have a special guest! Author and current Newbery Medal winner Matt de la Peña will be reading from his award winning book Last Stop on Market Street. We will be giving away 1000 FREE copies of the book to the first people to arrive.
Find more info at http://libraryinthepark.org/
Film | Reel to REAL: The Destruction of Memory
September 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Free
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
A new series needs your voice! Engage in this seasonal film-and-dialogue series featuring movies and documentaries that spotlight challenging issues such as race, sexuality, economics, poverty and culture. Each screening is followed by a conversation between film scholars, subject experts and you!
September’s Theme: Cultural Destruction
The Destruction of Memory Not rated | 85 min.
THE WAR AGAINST CULTURE, AND THE BATTLE TO SAVE IT: Over the past century, cultural destruction has wrought catastrophic results across the globe and this war against culture is not over – it’s been steadily increasing. Based on the book of the same name by Robert Bevan, The Destruction of Memory tells the whole story – looking not just at the ongoing actions of Daesh (ISIS) and at other contemporary situations, but revealing the decisions of the past that allowed the issue to remain hidden in the shadows for so many years. Legislation and policy have played a role, but heroic individuals have fought back, risking and losing their lives to protect not just other human beings, but our cultural identity – to save the record of who we are.
Following the film will be a moderated, audience discussion led by The Destruction of Memory’s director, Tim Slade and Associate Professor of Classics at KU, Philip Stinson.
Hansel and Gretel
September 17 @ 7:30 pm
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
This opera, based on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale of a brother and sister, was actually written by a brother and sister. Humperdinck was persuaded to write the music by his sister, Adelheid, who wrote the libretto. The setting for this production has been reimagined as a fantasy carnival world delightfully enhanced by performers from Doug Varone & Dancers with set and costumes by Tony Award nominee David Zinn. Sprinkled with familiar melodies and topped with a happy ending, Hansel and Gretel promises to be a sweet start to the season.
Sung in German with English subtitles and suitable for children (and adults) who aren’t afraid of clowns.