Library Screens New Documentary Hot Type, A Look Inside the 150-Year-Old The Nation

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Steven Woolfolk

(Kansas City, Missouri) - The Nation, the self-described "flagship of the left," is the country's oldest continuously published weekly magazine, jabbing at political sensitivities since its founding by Republican abolitionists at the time of the Civil War.

The new documentary Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation marks the publication's sesquicentennial, spotlighting current and past writers and editors in chronicling daily life working on the magazine. Directed by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple, the film also follows participants in The Nation's much-sought-after internship program.

The 93-minute film is screened Thursday, April 9, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., in conjunction with the 2015 Kansas City FilmFest.

Hot Type was released in February as the magazine began a yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary. Kopple makes Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel the centerpiece but is particularly effective with sequences revolving around The Nation's reporters, combining clips from the site of assignments with the writers' personal accounts of their stories.

The film deftly connects stories past and present-day - spotlighting, for example, the publication's coverage of the 2012 gubernatorial recall vote in Wisconsin and then recalling its scathing pieces on witch-hunting Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

The magazine, founded in July 1865, has been home to such writers as Henry James, Ezra Pound, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Admission to the documentary screening is free. RSVP at or call 816.701.3407.

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