ARTSPEAK RADIO – Robert Sommer, Stephen Johnson, Charlene Pryor, Wick Thomas and Katie Gilchrist

Wednesday March 21, 2018

Host/producer of ARTSPEAK RADIO, Maria Vasquez Boyd talks with author Robert Sommer, artist/writer Stephen Johnson, artist/writer Charlene Pryor, & performers/musicians Wick Thomas and Katie Gilchrist.

Robert F. Sommer-Losing Francis Essays on the Wars at Home
While Sgt. Francis D. Sommer was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, his father stood on a street corner in Kansas City with an antiwar sign. Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home reconciles that seeming contrast in a courageous dive into the personal cost of America’s wars. Fusing his eloquent meditations on nature, art, and grief with the political and social backdrop of these wars, Robert F. Sommer skillfully weaves a compelling narrative throughout these essays in the finely- honed prose of a master craftsman.

“Both harrowing and lovely, Losing Francis is a vibrant, indispensable document of life in
our time.” –Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant
“A poignant account of one couple’s journey through the shadow cast by the death of their son. Inextricably woven into the story is the nefarious reality of the nation’s ruinous recent wars. A compelling and insightful book.”
—Mark Karlin, Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Robert F. Sommer is the author of two novels, Where the Wind Blew (Wessex 2008) and A Great Fullness (Fomite 2016). His essays and stories have appeared in many literary and scholarly journals. Robert is a lecturer at the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, and works for the Sierra Club’s Kansas Chapter in support of its mission to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.
For interviews and readings, contact the author at [email protected]

Stephen T. Johnson-A three-panel mosaic by Lawrence artist and Caldecott award-winning children’s book author Stephen T. Johnson will become part of the new Johnson County library Lenexa branch.
The Johnson County Commission on Thursday approved $205,000 for Johnson to complete the three five-and-a-half by 24-foot panels that he bills as a celebration of language and letters. The pieces will be embedded in concrete and installed in a public commons area of the library. Once up, they will be visible through large glass windows from the outside of the building as well inside.
Johnson said the panels will be made from handmade glass mosaic pieces crafted in Germany and will consist of shapes and typography suggesting the letters. He also planned to weave some art from his children’s books into the mix.
Johnson’s Alphabet City features New York City scenes in which letters of the alphabet can be seen in such things as a “Z” fire escape and an “A” sawhorse. It won the 1996 Caldecott medal, plus some other awards. He’s also written numerous other children’s books.
Money comes from the 1 percent for public art set aside for capital improvement projects. Johnson’s proposal won over five other artists’.
The contract with Johnson was approved 6-1. Commissioner Michael Ashcraft, who frequently questions the use of public money for art, was the “no” vote.
The Library is expected to be completed and open in the fall of 2019.

Charlene Pryor-artist/author/illustrator, Pony Art Studio at the Livestock Exchange, Charlene discusses her books, “Truman the Cool Red Mule.” Share the adventures of this very cool mule named Truman. This proud mule has wonderful stories to tell. Learn to count and recite the alphabet with delightful illustrations and interactive animal sounds sure to delight kids of all ages!

Wick Thomas & Katie Gilchrist-The Pearl is very excited to present Drag Queen Storytime, an event designed to encourage early literacy and challenge gender stereotypes! Drag queens perform and read stories to kids in a theatrical setting, every first Sunday, beginning this February!

Broaden your kids horizons (and your own) by bringing them to a event at which they can get to know people who defy rigid gender restrictions with glamour, humor, and confidence.

This series is recommended for the whole family, and particularly for those with children from birth to fifth grade.

DQS is facilitated by The Pearl, in cooperation with educator and activist Wick Thomas, and will feature a rotating cast of professional drag queens from the Kansas City Area.

Feel free to dress up in your most fantastic princess, prince, Prince, animal, or any other costume that makes you feel fantastic!

Our intention is to capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and to give children positive, and unabashedly queer role models while encouraging literacy and exploration of the theatrical arts.

The Pearl KC 1715 Wyandotte KCMO 64108

April 1st/Easter Sunday tickets are on sale now


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