Monday, October 31, 2011

Drummer Ryan Lee performance

I don't care for drum solos. More often than not, the exercises are merely tedious displays of showboating. My bias once applied to drummer Ryan Lee. I used to consider his approach overly obtrusive and too flashy. One of us must have changed, because I like most everything I've heard Lee play in recent months as a member of Diverse and as he has backed the likes of Rob Scheps and Bobby Watson. I wasn't surprised to learn that Lee had won the district finals of Guitar Center's 2011 Drum-Off on October 25. Bash away, Mr. Lee.

more at Plastic Sax

Choral music weekend in Topeka

Voices of students from Shawnee Heights High School and Washburn University will mix Sunday on the stage of White Concert Hall at the university's fall choral concert. The free program at 3 p.m. will include three choral ensembles from Washburn and two from Heights and will conclude with works songs sung by a combined choir.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

KC Rep "History of Kisses" review by Alexia Lang

If there ever was one true statement, it would be that love is complicated. Award-winning playwright/director/performer David Cale has returned to the Kansas City Repertory Theatre to perform his one-actor play “The History of Kisses” that deals with the many complications of love.

more at the Vignette

Ghosts in Theatre Atchison

Atchison bills itself as the most haunted city in America. It's not just houses either, the community theater, which was once a church, has plenty of ghost stories. In 1984, Theater Atchsion moved into what was a Christian Scientist Church founded in 1914, but the ghost stories began once the building became a playhouse.

more at Fox4KC

Hank Williams play challenges Heartland audience

Saturday night the American Heartland Theatre pulled the curtain on what in retrospect has to be regarded as a gutsy roll of the dice.

more at

KC Ballet "Tom Sawyer" review by Alastair Macaulay

On Thursday I was exploring America’s oldest grand opera house still used for its original purpose, the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Over the weekend I was discovering its newest auditorium for opera and ballet, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts here in Kansas City.

more at the New York Times

[Thanks, Independent]

"Tar Creek" documentary preview

"Tar Creek," a film by Matt Myers documenting the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeast Oklahoma, southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri, will be shown at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in room 211 of the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College. A panel discussion will follow the film.

more at Infozine

Stephen Tenant, Hollywood Concert Series interview by Dale Brendel

Stephen Tenant is the coordinator of the Hollywood Concert Series in Leavenworth.

more at the Leavenworth Times 

[Thanks, Plastic Sax]

Columbia Civic Orchestra "German Tradition" preview by Jill Renae Hicks

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is beginning its 2011-2012 season with an unprecedented event: a record enrollment, so to speak.

more at the Columbia Daily Tribune

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Zac Eubank's "Funny Days" preview

After the 1996 Saturate Riots in Downtown Los Angeles* congress quickly moved the E.N.D.A. bill (H.R. 1858) through the Senate and into law. An act "that prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation, race, or cultural identity" Many native Zanni clowns rejoiced at the passing of the bill unaware that proposition 310 had been attached to the act. The proposition states "any employment of clowns, native or otherwise, with a net salary of over 50k must relinquish their colors and voice as a sign of allegiance to the United States of America." Those that chose to continue into the corporate world are often ridiculed by their peers and referred to as "Mimes"

*Sparked by the "Great Lay-Off" of Garrison Petroleum where over 3000 clowns lost their jobs. Documents were revealed to the media showing pressure put on the company from stock holders to "help cleanse the country from this joke".

Funny Days Coming Soon!

Starring:Ray Proscia, and Devereau Chumrau
Directed/Edited/Shot by Zac Eubank
Concept by Zac Eubank and Becca Scott
Produced by Brad Lavery, and Adrienne Garcia
Directory of Photography Cricket Peters
FX Make Up by Angie Johnson
Wardrobe by Vanessa Gonzales
Post Sound and Music by Alex Niedt
Gaffer/Grip William Sammons
Special thanks to Kyle Saylor

KC Rep "History of Kisses" review by Robert Trussell

That David Cale is an exceptional talent is beyond question.He’s a careful writer and a precise actor. And he creates a unique style of theater in which he somehow manages the neat trick of combining literary and cinematic values in pursuit of a coherent aesthetic for the stage.

more at

KC Symphony "Deutsche Requiem" review by Timothy McDonald

There’s nothing ordinary about Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), and there was little that was ordinary about the performance Friday night at Helzberg Hall by the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus.

more at

Blue Springs class teaches kids "Thriller" dance

Andrea Mynatt remembers being scared to death the first time she saw Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video on TV. The year was 1983, and Andrea was 9 years old. Everyone was tuned into MTV to watch the video, and never did Andrea think that one day, her own 9-year-old daughter would be taking lessons to learn the famous zombie dance.

more at the Examiner

Lisa Henry "Jazz, Scat and Math" interview by Melissa Treolo

“The First Lady of Song” had no idea her music and legendary use of scat singing would later be used to help youths at Bonner Springs City Library learn how to add and subtract.But Ella Fitzgerald had a clear presence in the room Thursday during “Ella, Scat & Math,” a program developed by Kansas City Young Audiences that teaches beginning math to youths ages 3-6 using jazz music and scatting as inspiration.

more at the Chieftain

[Thanks, Plastic Sax

Amanda Hall "Cosi Fan Tutte" interview by the Lyric Opera

Amanda Hall 
Amanda Hall is making her Lyric Opera debut singing the role of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte.  She recently took some time to answer 10 questions.  Read below to learn how Ms. Hall got started in opera, what roles she is interested in performing and why music education is in her genes.

more at the Lyric Opera

Through a Glass Productions seeking motion graphics designer

Through A Glass Productions is seeking a full-time Motion Graphics Designer to also act as an assistant editor. The position will start in January 2012 and will be located at our office in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.

more at the Kansas Film Commission

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Dead Wait" episode 10 by Happy Underground Productions

Adam once again finds himself fighting for his life as he realizes staying in his apartment building may no longer be an option.

Actor T. Max Graham died on Thursday

T. Max Graham, one of Kansas City’s most popular actors, died Thursday after a struggle with cancer.

more at

Harriman-Jewell, Midori review by Libby Hanssen

Midori made her fourth appearance with the Harriman-Jewell Series on Thursday night at the Folly Theater, Kansas City’s grande dame venue. She displayed her legendary virtuosity and versatility on the violin in recital with pianist Özgür Aydin.

more at

Lyric Opera "Cosi Fan Tutte" preview by Patrick Neas

When a genius with words joins forces with a composer of genius, the results can be pure magic. Just think of Verdi and Boito, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. One of the most brilliant collaborations between a librettist and composer was that of Lorenzo Da Ponte and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City will present one of their masterpieces, “Così Fan Tutte,” beginning Saturday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Leif Jonker, KC Creepfest interview by Abbie Stutzer

Halloween weekend is this weekend, guys. All sorts of sexy something-or-others, zombies, and bloodied freaks will fill bars and drunkenly dance to “Thriller.” If you yearn for something a tad more frightening and definitely more interesting, head out to KC CreepFest. The two-day festival will feature freaky horror films directed by Midwestern directors/producers, a short film festival, and other devilish events.

more at the Pitch

Andrea Williams, Daniel Ordonez interview by Deborah Shouse

Andrea Williams was performing African dance at a friend’s studio and she noticed a nice-looking man in the audience.  Several weeks later, she attended an event at Café Seed and saw the man again. He was playing an impromptu game of soccer with Andrea’s 6-year-old son.

Filmmaker Justin Parlette interview by Justin Kendall

Occupation: Independent filmmaker, social media consultant, Apple evangelist at UMKC, time traveler.

more at The Pitch

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rhythm and Ribs photos by kcjazzlark

The weather was perfect. The friendly crowds grew throughout the day and night, swaying to and so clearly enjoying all the acts.

more at kcjazzlark

Harriman-Jewell Midori review by DSM

There is a sense of space and gravity... of invisible forces and large-scale coherence in the moves by Midori (五嶋 みどり, Gotō Midori), especially in her performance of the Shostakovich, Op. 134, with pianist Özgür Aydin. It is as though each phrase is a consequence of something more remote than what the immediately preceding bars contained. Her recital tonight was like an expedition.

more at Chamber Music Today

Friends of Alvin Ailey Gala preview by Kris Baker

Dancing, dining and celebrating the works of one of the most important figures in American dance will be on tap for the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey’s Gala 2011. KCFAA presents Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts from Wednesday, Nov. 16, through Saturday, Nov. 19. Performance week culminates Saturday evening with Gala 2011.

more at the KC Jewish Chronicle

UMKC "Comedy of Asses" review by watchNwrite

By Castor, is that a Penis??
Rating: 3

The Comedy of Asses
UMKC Theatre

"The Comedy of Asses" at UMKC got off to a very slow start on Oct. 26th. Though the musical introduction was entertaining enough to merit its place at the top of the show, the first lines spoken by Mackenzie Goodwin (Barker) left something to be desired; namely, charisma. And the next couple of scenes would follow in that tradition. However, soon this production, directed by Stephanie Roberts and Theodore Swetz, and with original music and words by Stephanie Roberts, Theodore Swetz, and Cynthia Postlewait, would come to life and offer its audience many truly priceless moments.

The comedy, written by Plautus, tells the story of a young man's desire to have (yes, in that special way) possession of a courtesan for a year. It also tells the story of an old man's desire to have (yes, in that dirty way) raunchy sex with the same courtesan. And ... it tells the story of 2 slaves who merely want to have (yes, in that life-changing way) fun ... and a little bit of freedom. Sadly, though, all three plots are all disastrously dependent on whether the slaves can get their hands on a set amount of silver (the price named by the courtesan's mother). The play is pure chaos infused with bawdy, underhanded jokes and a little butt-squeezing (which, honestly, is no surprise for a satirical Roman-but-about-Greeks play).

The many set pieces and decorative treasures existed so fittingly in this world, and it's thanks to Erin Walley (scenic designer), Aaron Wilson (technical director), and their crew that the actors had so much to play with and around during the play. The ornate ... features ... on the courtesan's place of business, though they were not really played with, were so subtle, yet so pleasing that when they were finally noticed, it became hard to look at anything else. As far as properties go, Lee Berhorst and the properties construction team handled their business and came up with some very believable and appropriate props. Costumes (Allison Dillard) and makeup pulled it out for this production. The costume creations made for these actors (along with their makeup) affected the way the actors performed to an extreme extent and the way the audience reacted to the characters. The costumes controlled this show - and this production company is lucky for that. Artemona, Damaenetus, and Cleareta are pointedly the strongest creations by the costume team - especially Artemona, whose garb and makeup made the audience have the same sick reaction the characters all had at the mention of her. In fact, all the costumes and makeup and hair designs fit the absurdity of the piece so well - from Artemona's saggy breasts to Libanus' hair to Argyrippus' shoes.

Directorially, it seemed like this production went from lying in a coffin, about to die, to razor-sharp mania in the span of about 15 minutes. The play did not really even seem to start until the scene between the two slaves, Libanus (Greg Brostrom) and Leonida (Grant Fletcher Prewitt) captivated the audience's attention and held it at ransom for the rest of the play. The blocking was extremely flat and boring in one scene (Cleareta's first scene), but it would be awesome in the next (the slave scene). One joke would soar and the next would fall heavily on the floor. Every time a new character entered, the audience's confidence in the coming scene's freshness and entertainment value wavered because of the prior lack of continuity. That being said, though, the play did increase in its humor and freshness. And eventually, it became a laugh riot during the begging scene and the following love-making scene. Bragging rights go to Scott Stackhouse and the directors for the myriad of dialects found in this performance - all leading up to Artemona's southern dialect. None of the dialects made any legitimate sense, and by Hercules! it was funny.

The original songs in this piece, ultimately, fell flat. Many of the jokes built into the songs did not work, and many of the actors singing the songs clearly felt awkward about them. The Doo-wop backup performers were a cute idea, and with just a little bit more confidence, the ruse would have played. But most of these songs just existed in this production and were not the highlights they should have been. Matthew James McAndrews (Argyrippus) sang his song with all the energy he could muster (and what a beautiful falsetto he had), and this song, if it had not been so long, would have not been included in the list of songs that fell flat. Two songs that were anything but flat were, surprise surprise, the slaves' songs. Their duet, and "Freedom" at the end of the play were very much crowd-pleasers. And the 5-part song after Artemona finds out what her husband has been up to is the most living, breathing, exciting song in this entire play. What a shame that the audience had to wait that long to experience a song worthy of this style of theatre.

The acting, like the directing, was lacking continuity. The play started off with Goodwin (Barker), whose less-than-ecstatic vocals left her audience quite pessimistic in wondering what the rest of the play would be like. Molly Kate Banks (Mute) played a very adorable character, but she, like Goodwin, had a not-quite-there-yet character. Almost all the actors, for that matter, were lacking something in their portrayals that made their audience think "Ooo, you almost have it." Eva Biro (Cleareta) was missing some of the energy she needed to play that part - especially during her song (which, to be fair, did not sound like it was in her octave at all). Her gestures, facial expressions, and voice tone were repetitive and decidedly uninteresting. Rufus Burns (Demaenetus) actually had a very gripping portrayal of his character - to the point of making his audience choke on their puke every time he thrusted his hips. McAndrews (Argyrippus) was believable as his role, but again, he  lost us eventually during his song. Andrea Morales (Phiaenium) and McAndrews had some of the most believable and steamy making-out as has ever been seen onstage. It was almost uncomfortable - almost. And Morales voice was perfect for the role: high-pitched and whiny. Kelly Rebecca Gibson (Artemona) sort of missed the mark in that she could have been even bigger and more absurd than she was - the performance did not quite live up to the costume - but she played her role well enough to make her audience laugh (and the Othello reference was pure magic). The presence of Frank Oakley III (Diabolus) was confusing for the most part. Given that his role in the events is necessary to the plot, his role is merely that and nothing more. That being the case, his scene was too long, and most audience members were confused as to why it was there at all. But Oakley was physically perfect for the role, and he did a fair job at playing it. But two actors who stood out in excellent form were Greg Brostrom (Libanus) and Grant Fletcher Prewitt (Leonida). The chemistry, blocking, execution, comedic timing, and teamwork of these two men were fantastic. They were the absolute highlight of this production and the dirty, deceitful apples of this reviewer's eye. A general note about the performers in this piece is that it was impressive to see actors doubling as musicians (and the other way around). Although pieces of the puzzle were missing in this production company, many a spectator is going to be left reeling at the diversity of talent contained in the cast.

"The Comedy of Assesssssssss", once you get past the first couple of scenes, is very much worth seeing. If a spectator has seen this production before at a more professional venue, though, slight disappoint lurks in that spectator's future. The technical aspects of this production are outstanding, but the performance quality leaves something to be desired. Still though, some of the actors have great potential, and they make the trip and the money for the tickets seem like little sacrifices to see this production. Performance dates and times as well as ticket prices are on the UMKC website!

ArtsKC Arts@Work program by Kellie Houx

Kansas City boasts one of the largest corporate challenges in the country for displays of physical endurance and teamwork, but the region also is home to another type of corporate challenge — one in which creativity and innovation deluge the workplace.

more at KC Studio

Unicorn "God of Carnage" review by timlovestheatre

Collaboration crucial to 'God of Carnage'
Rating: 5

God of Carnage
Unicorn Theatre

There is a great trend going on in nonprofit arts organizations. In order to survive the difficult economic times organizations are finding ways to collaborate and share the costs and blend their creative products. "God of Carnage", a collaboration between the Unicorn Theatre, the Kansas City Actors Theatre (KCAT), and UMKC Theatre is an excellent example of what happens when these elements are all working together smoothly.

The play was written by Yasmina Reza and translated from the French by Christopher Hampton. It focuses on two couples who meet to have a well-mannered discussion regarding a schoolyard fight between their sons. The results of the meeting involve some hysterical moments, tantrums, and tears-and the kids aren't even there!

When asked about her inspiration for the script, Reza told the "Los Angeles Times": "In the street, while returning from school with my son, I was talking to the mother of one of his classmates. Her son had suffered a broken tooth following a fight on the playground, and she said this to me: 'Do you realize: the parents haven't even called to apologize!' I immediately thought that there was an interesting theme here."  And indeed she was right.

Cynthia Levin, Unicorn producing artistic director, discovered that both the Unicorn and KCAT were interested in the show and after their successful collaboration with last year's "Seafarer" they were looking to work together again. "Carnage" seemed a perfect fit.

The play is under the direction of Mark Robbins, a KCAT founder and a familiar face for both theatre companies as well as around the city, who first put together a team of talented Kansas City actors. Fresh from the Kansas City Actors Theatre's acclaimed "Pinter Project" comes John Rensenhouse, Melinda McCrary, and Brian Paulette. In a strange example of art imitating life Cinnamon Schultz, Paulette's real-life wife was brought in to play his on-stage wife.

To write out all of the characters and theatres that these four local actors have played would require far more space than we can take here. The foursome worked very well together and kept a remarkable crispness to the lines and their delivery that was highly enjoyable.

Added into the mix of these two veteran companies is the energy and potential of graduate students from the UMKC Theatre. The Jerome Stage at the Unicorn is not the finest KC stage of its size. It can be an unforgiving space acoustically. Scenic designer (and recent UMKC grad) Jordan Janota does a great favor to the actors and the sound design by creating a virtual band shell with his modern curved room. Not only does the design assist in creating a sense of place through clean lines and sharp colors it enhanced the acoustics immensely! The un-miked actors were easy to hear even in the quietest of moments, which has not always been the case in this space.

Properties designers go mostly unnoticed; however, the set was dressed very well and at least one "prop-stunt" earns Kristin Yager and Matthew Mott kudos. Two more UMKC grad students to watch for! The lighting and sound designs by UMKC students Brandon J. Clark and Daniel C. Warneke were seamless and put to good use in a bit of innovative staging by Robbins.

"God of Carnage" runs at the Unicorn Theatre through November 13th which gives about a month for split sides to heal before Roman Polanski's film version "Carnage" hits movie houses on December 16th.

Jeff Church, Joette Pelster, Coterie Theatre interview by Kellie Houx

Coterie (noun) “A group of people with shared interests or tastes.” This definition still holds true for the Coterie Theatre. However, the reach has expanded beyond the confines of the theater and far into the metropolitan area with traveling school tours and theater classes. In the last 10 years, the scope has moved even beyond the metropolitan community with commissioned works that resonate nationally.

more at KC Studio

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crosscurrents review by Plastic Sax

A musician I know suggests that the jazz audience is diminished because Americans have become undereducated and overstimulated. As he bemoans the dumbing down of our citizenry, I don't dare tell my friend that I like "Mr. Carter" as least as much as James Carter.

more at Plastic Sax

NEA gives final "No" to Kansas Arts Commission

Kansas has been told again by the National Endowment for the Arts that it won't receive federal funds, prompting the state Arts Commission's chairwoman to declare that the group will move forward with a "truly Kansas" plan for supporting arts programs with private money.

more at the Lawrence Journal World

River City Community Players "Dracula" preview by Tim Linn

The River City Community Players are hoping to raise the stakes for its annual Halloween production this year. For the first time ever, the Leavenworth-based theater group will have one performance that begins at 11:59 p.m. — just before midnight — in honor of Halloween weekend. The play this time around is appropriately spooky, given the occasion — the 1996 Steven Dietz adaptation of Bram Stoker’s immortal gothic horror novel “Dracula.” At the helm of the RCCP’s version will be Nino Casisi, who said Dietz’s version sticks fairly closely to Stoker’s source material.

more at the Leavenworth Times

"Slasher Kings" preview by Robert Trussell

Some folks in our rich Kansas City theater community place no restrictions on their creative imaginations. One of them is Kyle Hatley, a director who has dreamed up things like putting audiences on rolling platforms and shoving them around the playing area during a performance. Another is Ron Megee, who always seems to have one more mash-up of junk culture to put on stage. His “Children of the Damned Corn” is entering its final weekend at the Just Off Broadway Theatre. And then there’s Ron Simonian, who’s mainly known as a playwright, but who can also act, direct and play a mean electric guitar.

Kauffman Center architect Amy Slattery interview by Stacy Downs

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts feels like a family member to BNIM architect Amy Slattery.

more at Ink

Lied Center "Intergalactic Nemesis" preview by Ben Pfeiffer

The year is 1933 and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Molly Sloan and her assistant, Timmy Mendez, are traveling through the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe during a blizzard. Molly is meeting a contact for a story she’s writing about an international smuggling ring; however, the contact warns Molly that her story is dead, because the smugglers have been disappearing. As their adventure continues, Molly and Tim meet Ben Wilcott, a mysterious librarian, and together they attempt to survive an impending invasion of sludge monsters from the planet Zygon.

more at

KC Rep "History of Kisses" preview

David Cale performs 'The History of Kisses' at Kansas City Repertory Theatre October 21-November 27. Visit to order tickets! We're also on Facebook

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Jazz Museum Us 5 review by Bill Brownlee

All eyes were on the bassist Friday at the Gem Theater. Saxophonist Joe Lovano is the ostensible leader of the adventurous Us 5 band featured at the opening concert of the American Jazz Museum’s Jammin’ at the Gem season, but bassist Esperanza Spalding possessed the majority of the star power.

Straight No Chaser performance

Straight No Chaser gave KCPT a wonderful testimonial at the concert on Sunday at The Midland by AMC in Kansas City, MO

KCPT and PBS got a great endorsment from Straight No Chaser at the evening concert at The Midland by AMC on Oct. 23, 2011.

Charles Bruffy, KC Symphony "German Requiem" interview

In this video, Symphony Chorus Director Charles Bruffy talks about what makes the Brahms' German Requiem so special and how spectacular the Chorus sounds with the Symphony in the new Helzberg Hall. Brahms' German Requiem will be performed this weekend by the Kansas City Symphony and the Symphony Chorus in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center

Olathe Community Theatre "Twelve Angry Men" review by Thedater200

The best show in town!
Rating: 5

Twelve Angry Men
Olathe Community Theatre Association

This show is one of the best currently being presented in the Kansas City area. The cast did extremely well in capturing the essence of what Mr. Rose envisioned, even though three women were cast as jurors. This in no way hindered the performance. In fact, I believe it enhanced it. David Martin perhaps took a risk in doing this as well as putting the show in current times. But, he pulled it off very well.

The performances of all the cast members were admirable, with special notes. Mr. Rubin played the role of Juror #3 (the hold out) with plenty of ethos and pathos. Andy Penn did well in the role of Juror #8 (one who first voted not guilty). His portrayal was one that would make you want him in the jury room if you were on trial. Michael Nemeth playing Juror # 10 (the bigot) managed to piss off all of the other jurors by the end of act one. His excellent ranting and raving made me exhausted as well as perhaps himself as well. Tracy Fox playing juror #4 (Ms. Logical) played the role with sensibility and subtleness befitting of the character. Only at the end does she display a dose of anger when she tells Juror #10 to sit down and shut up.

The cast as a whole was seamless. This was a true ensemble with very natural interaction.

Thank you for a wonderful evening of drama.

"New and Improved Just Off Broadway Theatre" by Bryan Colley

This article is from the September 2011 issue of KC Stage

The Just Off Broadway Theatre will have its grand re-opening on September 18, the same day as the opening of the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. Granted, the opening will be a much smaller affair, but it is an important event for local performing artists, who will find the renovated and expanded performance space much more suitable for their craft (as well as Equity compliant).

more at KC Stage

Village Presbyterian "Lament for Jerusalem" review by Happy in Bag

A blurb on the cover of the program for Sunday's performance of the 2003 composition Lament For Jerusalem: A Mystical Love Song suggests that the concert was the "Mid-west" [sic] premier [sic] of a new choral/orchestra work by John Tavener". Awkward and misleading wording aside, it's surprising that Tavener's work had yet to be performed in Kansas City.

more at There Stands the Glass

UMKC "Comedy of Asses" review by Lindsay Adams

This production was an adaption of “A Comedy of Asses” with modern language and allusions added to Plautus’s script. It was a freak show of bizarre and grotesquely comical characters. The production chose actors of such disparate sizes and shapes that next to each other, they all seemed like a terrible police line-up. The awkward comparisons of the sizes between actors were played up by a set full of angles and levels.

more at the University News

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Dead Wait" episodes 8-9 by Happy Underground Productions

Adam (Dan Hillaker) decides he should save Zoe from the building's undead residents - but who will save him?

Adam continues to explore Zoe's apartment finding more questions than answers until he's rudely interrupted by a familiar foe.

Renaissance Festival performers in the off-season

Where do all those knights, peasants and assorted royalty go during the rest of the year?

more at KCUR

"The Magician" silent film preview by Bill Blankenship

A mad scientist trying to create life in a laboratory in a high tower atop a craggy mountain as thunder and lightning terrorize superstitious villagers below might seem a horror movie cliche, but Rex Ingram was setting a paradigm in 1926 when he directed "The Magician," the feature film Friday at the 14th annual Silents in the Cathedral program.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Straight No Chaser review by Timothy Finn

The entertainment world is full of stories about performers whose first big break came via YouTube, the Internet’s powerful trendsetter. The 10-man a cappella troupe Straight No Chaser is among them.

more at

Kauffman Center, Helzberg Hall canopy photos by Eric Bowers

 While shooting some portfolio pics for GKD Metal Fabrics, a subcontractor on the Kauffman Center building that installed some stainless steel in Helzberg Hall around the ceiling and pipe organ, I also had the chance to go up on top of the canopy hanging from the ceiling inside Helzberg Hall – accessible by a small lift you stand in to get from just under the roof of Helzberg Hall through a hole in the floor to the top of the canopy. They had me harness up to get near the edge.

more at Eric Bowers Photoblog

[Thanks, Tony]

Mystery Train "Extra! Extra! Murder All About It" review by Patricia Barra

KC Mystery Train is a murder mystery dinner theater with you as a participant. This is one of the most unique things I have experienced in Kansas City. KC Mystery Train performances are hosted by local KC restaurants. I attended the performance at the Golden Ox restaurant located in the West Bottoms. The conductor was played by Director Wendy Thompson.

more at the University News

Actor/artist Don Carlton interview on "It's Our Community"

Don Carlton: Inker for the comic strip Doonesbury.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"A Tribute to Kansas City Jazz" by Jazz Alley TV

Welcome to another edition of Jazz Alley TV!! In this episode, host Ken Martinez Burgmaier takes you to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz for A Tribute to Kansas City Jazz. Kansas City has a rich history of Jazz music, and during this episode of Jazz Alley TV you're taken back in time through interviews with some of Jazz's greatest musicians.

[Thanks, Plastic Sax]

MU Homecomeing talent show by Xia Jiang

Dressed up as characters such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Santa Claus and zombies, MU students showed up at the stage door of Jesse Auditorium on Monday evening for the 2011 Centennial Homecoming Talent Production.

more at the Missourian

Deadline looms for Kansas arts funding from NEA

The clock is ticking toward another crucial deadline for the Kansas Arts Commission, which already lost a year’s worth of federal matching dollars — approximately $1.2 million — because of Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of state funding.

more at the Lawrence Journal World

She&Her "Urinetown" review by Lindsay Adams

The play “Urinetown’”s premise is based on the conceit that somewhere in the indeterminate future, there is a 20-year drought. To conserve the water, people are not allowed to have any private toilets. A company called UGC has taken over public toilets, calling them “public amenities,” and charge people ridiculous fees to urinate. They are in cahoots with the government and police, making urinating anywhere other than a public amenity illegal. As Penelope Pennywise, a rough and tumble woman who is in charge of Public Amenity #9, sings, “It is a privilege to pee.”

more at the University News

Unicorn "God of Carnage" review by Robert Trussell

There’s nothing novel about dramatic entertainment that argues that we’re all savages underneath our gossamer-thin façades of civilized behavior. But playwright Yasmina Reza toys with it in unpredictable ways in her short, volatile “God of Carnage.”

"WaterFire" photos by Ekey and the Librarian

Although it is in its sixth year, this was the first time The Librarian and I had ever been to the arts and music event. Music, arts and more importantly FIRE!

more at Wednesday Weekly

Charlotte Street, James Mobberley review by DSM

The Charlotte Street Foundation’s annual Generative Performing Artist Awards Celebration at the H&R Block ‘City Stage Theater’ in Kansas City’s Union Station last night was really excellent. I especially enjoyed the part of the program honoring UMKC Conservatory composition faculty member James Mobberley, featuring two of his compositions.

more at Chamber Music Today

Music therapist Janalea Hoffman interview on "It's Our Community"

Janalea Hoffman: Music Therapist. Owner, Rhythmic Medicine.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Kanza Art" short film by Stephen Locke

The Kinatic art of M.T. Liggett

Mullinville, Kansas

Soundtrack Moby Love Song

Precision Motion Control Systems for Film and Photography

Tokyo String Quartet review by Timothy McDonald

It’s always a special occasion when the Tokyo String Quartet, one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles, comes to town. A moderately sized yet fervent audience at the Folly Theater Friday night seemed to agree as the ensemble, presented by the Friends of Chamber Music, displayed an elegant and finely wrought sound.

Coterie "Children of the Damned Corn" review by tragicomedy

Deliciously Corny
Rating: 4

Children of the Damned Corn
The Coterie Theatre

I was looking forward to this play ever since the Coterie announced this season's offerings.  Although poking fun at horror movies is not a unique idea, writer and director Ron McGee made the perfect choice in penning this script using iconic B-movies and memorable characters.

Set in the 1950's, sugary sweet couple Milt and Betty find themselves stranded in Gatlinville, Nebraska after a car accident.  The town, home to an old creamed corn factory, is deserted save a few surviving adults.  Crazed child leader Malaki has taken over the factory with his cult-like group, whose white haired, red-eyed followers aim to kill anyone that gets in their way.

If you're looking for a night of fun, the script alone will do you good.  Several nods to well-known fright films are peppered throughout the scenes and McGee's laugh factory of a show produces on-the-spot humor for both adults and children alike.  (Yes, even some jokes that only the adults will get.  We'll tell the children when they're older.)

Most of the lead actors, especially Pete Weber, Teisha M. Bankston, B.J. Allen, Martin Buchanan and Kimberely Queen, do a fine job in delivering the script's corny (couldn't help it) humor and campy melodrama.  Bankston and Buchnan especially won me over with their smart comedic timing and ability to connect with the audience.  McGee's large cast of child actors appeared to relish their roles.  Despite a few opening night hesitations with line delivery, entrances and exits, the kids provide excitement and movement to the play - they are what the audience looks forward to seeing on stage.  I would love to say more, but I won't spoil some of the fun for you.  Let me just add that the costumes (by Megan Turek) and highly anticipated massacre scenes are a delight.  Kudos to the playwright-director for orchestrating this ensemble (with two child casts!) into what became the highlight of my fall theatre experience.  Don't let the words "corny" and "campy" that I use in this review drive you away from seeing this spectacle.

McGee and Scott Hobart, co-set designers, did a marvelous job with constructing the corn factory.  It's just so much fun to look at – the child in me wanted to explore the set.  I also delighted in the sections of cornfields that the children moved around the stage.  Art Kent should also be mentioned for creating a spooky atmosphere with his lighting design.

"Children of the Damned Corn" will be performed through Oct. 30 at the Just Off Broadway Theatre.  Make sure to look up directions on the Coterie's web site instead of relying on your GPS.  (My GPS was confused.)  Children under 13 will not be admitted to the show.