Search the Signature Event Archive to discover past Library events. Watch videos, hear speaker interviews, and listen to audio recordings of previous presentations. Search by keyword (event title, subject, or presenter name), location or by date range.
UMKC professor and author Clancy Martin joins Angela Elam, formerly of public radio’s New Letters on the Air, in a discussion of Martin’s new book How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of a Suicidal Mind – about living with addiction and suicidal thoughts and his several attempts to take his life. He assures others who similarly struggle that they’re not alone and self-destruction is almost always avoidable.
Poet Brian Daldorph, novelist Barbara Stuber, and Journey House Manager Samantha Pettus join the Library’s Anne Kniggendorf in discussing how story writing and poetry benefit those who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. Greater public understanding of those who’ve spent time behind bars can ease their reintegration into outside life, benefiting all of society.
Former Sumner High School band and orchestra teacher Leon Alexander Brady recounts an impactful career and its 1972 pinnacle: the Sumner stage band’s victorious performance in the Paris Jazz Internationale Festival, stamping it as the best in the world. He joins author Steve Penn in a discussion of Penn’s book From the Heart of the Hood to the Pinnacle of Paris.
Military historian Brian Steed of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College recounts the history-altering chain of events in the Middle East in 1979, including the Islamic Revolution in Iran and Saddam Hussein’s ascension to the presidency of Iraq. And he looks at their impact, including the lasting alteration of relations with the United States.
The full truth of the deadly collapse of two 120-foot skywalks in Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency hotel in 1981 rested for decades in a manuscript written – but never published – by an attorney immersed in the legal aftermath. In a presentation marking the launch of his new book Skywalks, historian Eli Paul explores Robert Gordon’s explosive findings and effort to set the record straight.
A little more than a year into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and current senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center in Washington, D.C., examines the besieged country’s new place in the world, the origins of the current conflict, and what might lie ahead. This event is co-sponsored by the International Relations Council.
Lawrence, Kansas, photographer Ann Dean discusses the impact and inspiration found in three seminal books – The Learning Tree, A Choice of Weapons, and Half Past Autumn – by Kansas-born Black author, photographer, and filmmaker Gordon Parks, one of the most renowned documentarians of American life and culture in the 20th century.
This year’s Searching the Psyche Through Cinema series wraps up with a screening and discussion of The Apartment (1960, NR, 125 min.), revolving around an insurance clerk (played by Jack Lemmon) trying to climb the corporate ladder by loaning out his apartment to higher-ups for trysts. Co-presented by the Greater Kansas City-Topeka Psychoanalytic Center.
A year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a panel of military experts from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College examines the impact of the costly, globally fraught war – including the intensification of tensions between Russia and the United States. It launches a series, Conflict and Crisis, exploring America’s chief sources of international stress.
Drawing from his book Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap, University of Connecticut history professor Jeffrey Ogbonna Green Ogbar explores the genre and its performers. He also challenges the notion that hip-hop is socially dangerous, noting how many rappers critically view the crime-focused lyrics and antisocial messages of their peers.