Much has been made in the news lately about Google Fiber finally hooking up Kansas City homes to its hotly-anticipated high speed network, but there are still lingering concerns about who will be left behind.
A survey this summer found that a quarter of Kansas Citians don’t have broadband Internet access at home. While Google is offering free internet service for a $300 hook-up fee in those neighborhoods that are lucky enough to be part of its roll-out area, that still leaves huge swaths of the metro area without affordable service.
Now Time Warner Cable is getting in on the act by announcing, at a big press conference with both Kansas City Mayor’s, a less than 10 dollar-a-month internet service intended for low income families living in nine area school districts.
Time Warner’s $9.95-a-month plan will allow anyone with a child enrolled in any of these school districts and who’s currently not a Time Warner customer to take advantage of the discount program.
You have until the end of January to apply. We’ll acknowledge that if you don’t have a computer, you won’t be able to check there. Here’s the telephone number in case you want to take advantage of this service: 1-855-746-8704.
Production in Kansas City begins on the upcoming PBS Arts special “Homecoming: The Kansas City Symphony Presents Joyce DiDonato,” which airs July 20, 2012 as part of PBS Arts Summer Festival. Pictured: Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato with Frank Byrne, Exec. Director of the Kansas City Symphony.
Homecoming: Day 1
On a misty Wednesday morning, KCPT’s crew kicked off a week of production as Kansas City Symphony’s Executive Director Frank Byrne officially welcomed home, Mezzo Soprano and Prairie Village native, Joyce DiDonato. With umbrella in hand, Joyce exited her car to a welcoming entourage of cameras as she got her first official tour of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - her “home” for the next several days.
Joyce, Maestro Michael Stern and the symphony’s new concert master Noah Geller led an afternoon of rehearsals in Helzberg Hall. These were just a tiny glimpse of what audiences have to look forward to this weekend when Joyce performs with the Kansas City Symphony (March 23 – 25) and KCPT captures it all for the upcoming PBS Arts special.
Although this weekend will be Joyce’s first performance at the Kauffman Center, she took the stage on Wednesday night (March 21) as part of the Symphony’s Master Class series. Students from UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Kansas and Wichita State University got the rare opportunity to learn vocal technique from the recent Grammy winner.
But it wasn’t just the students who walked off stage in awe of the vocalist; she had the audience of over 900 people equally inspired. Joyce spoke to the crowd about the importance of the arts saying, “I’m so happy to see a resurgence and a focus on the arts [on Public Television] because I think there is a real hunger in this country and other place for this kind of experience. Something that is deep and real and something that shows us what we can be: bigger than ourselves. An opera, a symphonic work takes so many people and so much effort to bring it together.”
Homecoming: Day 2
On day two of KCPT’s filming of “Homecoming: The Kansas City Symphony Presents Joyce DiDonato”, the documentary team on the production crew filmed rehearsals and behind the scenes interviews. At the same time, a production crew devoted entirely to capturing the concerts worked on coordinating the taping of Saturday and Sunday’s performances. Coordinating the duties and shot lists of eleven different cameras is no easy task!
Homecoming: Day 3
On day three of the production of Homecoming: The Kansas City Symphony Presents Joyce DiDonato, the crew put the pedal to the metal, literally. In the morning, the 63 foot long HD production truck arrived at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and a crew of engineers worked all day to pull about 7000 feet of cable from the truck, through the belly of the Kauffman to Helzberg Hall, where eleven cameras will capture the KC Symphony and DiDonato’s performance. About mid-day the Symphony and DiDonato did their final rehearsal before Friday evening’s performance. Adjustments to lighting design, camera placement and audio were also refined.
Homecoming: Day 4 and 5
During the final two days 0f taping, the major focus was capturing the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances. After the Saturday evening concert, producers worked into the early hours of the morning analyzing the shots captured by all eleven cameras and then updating the shot list and plan of attack for Sunday, which was the final opportunity to capture any missing shots.
The Homecoming camera crew sits around a table watching the previous evening's performance.
In addition, during Sunday’s concert there was a short “patch performance”, where the KC Symphony and DiDonato re-did a few measures to ensure that not so much a cough from the audience would detract from the taping. After Sunday’s performance, KCPT’s engineering and production worked feverishly to load out all the cameras, the 7000 feet of cable and get the HD truck ready to go in just few hours. During pack-up part of the documentary crew followed Joyce DiDonato back to her loft to capture a special family celebration of the monumental weekend. The family shared Jack Stack BBQ and Joyce showed us the amazing view of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts from her window.
After a monumental homecoming, Joyce DiDonato looks at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts from the window of her loft.
This week, in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine, our performARTS Series takes a look at the Charlotte Street Foundation. Named after a house near UMKC where poets, painters and music makers would gather to eat, drink and talk shop, Charlotte Street celebrates turning 15 this year. Randy Mason has more about this unique operation, which through cash awards and other forms of assistance helps the region’s artists do more of what they do best.
Named by Time Magazine as “One of the five best theaters for young audiences in the U.S.,” the Coterie Theatre has been delighting audiences, young and old alike, for over 30 years.
This week, Randy Mason goes behind the curtain at the Theatre’s home on the first floor of Hallmark’s Crown Center shops to see how Producing Artistic Director Jeff Church and Company produce a variety of youth-oriented shows and community programming. From their current show Seussical and their New-York bound musical Lucky Duck to the Young Playwrights’ Festival and the free classroom-touring Dramatic Aids Education Project, the Coterie continues to provide important entertaining and educational theater to Kansas City audiences and beyond.
For more information, please check out the latest issue of KC Studio.
Jewish Community Centers sprang up in many American cities around the turn of the 20th century, in part because Jews were excluded from other organizations.
But unlike the YMCA, for example, these centers didn’t focus solely on physical fitness. They also stressed the growth of the whole person, including artistic endeavors. In this installment of our performARTS series, we’ll take you out to Overland Park to see some of the impressive work going on inside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, a place its own Cultural Arts director calls the “best kept secret around.”
The center’s season will conclude with Hairspray, July 13-28 in the White Theatre, which will then move out to Johnson County’s Theater In the Park, the first time that arrangement has ever been tried.
This next story begins about ten years ago when the artistic director of a theater we won’t name decided not to cast local actors in major roles. Not surprisingly, that didn’t go over too well with some very talented people here in town. And it soon led to the birth of the Kansas City Actors Theatre.
Since then, that other organization has changed its policy, but the Actors Theatre goes on, gearing up this summer for its eighth season.
With a concert coming up at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on May 12th and a new CD on the way this summer, the Kansas City Chorale continues to be a vital part of our city’s cultural life with 30 years of music-making that has been honored with Grammy Awards and international acclaim. This week, in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine, our performARTS series zooms in on the Chorale.
The Kansas City Chorale, with guests from the Phoenix Chorale, will perform masterworks by Russian composers in Helzberg Hall on Saturday, May 12.
Twenty-five years. That’s how long Paul Mesner and his puppets have been a part of the Kansas City arts scene. In fact, old favorites like Anansi the Spider, Rapunzel, and Wiley & The Hairy Man are now playing to a whole new generation of metro youngsters. But Paul’s act also spends a lot of time on the road and on some projects that might surprise you as Randy Mason discovers in this installment of our performARTS series, in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine.
Our performARTS series, in conjunction with Studio Magazine, is an effort to spotlight some of the groups and troupes around town doing outstanding work in music, theatre and the arts. This week, Randy Mason takes you downtown to learn more about the Quality Hill Playhouse.
Quality Hill Playhouse is dedicated to excellence in the live performance of works from musical theatre and the American Songbook, employing the finest local talent, and contributing to Kansas City’s cultural and economic landscape.
Quality Hill Playhouse produces six musicals and cabaret revues each year in a charming 153-seat theatre. J. Kent Barnhart serves as pianist and emcee for the cabaret revues, offering interesting tidbits about the music as well as his unique, humorous anecdotes. Professional singers and the relaxed yet elegant atmosphere make for entertainment you won’t find anywhere else. Discover why The Kansas City Star said it is ”like being invited into someone’s home.”
Joyce DiDonato and Rosanne Cash will grace the stage there, this weekend. But decades ago, Kansas City came perilously close to losing the Folly to the wrecking ball, a fate that befell all of its contemporaries.
But as your about to see, in this edition of our performARTS series, in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine, against all the odds, this 112-year-old theater at 12th & Central is very much alive and well.