ARTSPEAK RADIO with 30 Americans, David George, and Shawn Stewart

Wednesday July 31, 2019 noon -1pm CST, 90.1fm KKFI Kansas City Community Radio streaming live

Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd talks with producer/songwriter/musician David George, singer/songwriter Shawn Stewart, and Manager Audience Engagment Kreshaun McKinney and Curator of American Art Stephanie Fox Knappe with the Nelson Atkins Museum.

Shawn Stewart (Formerly JohnnySuperColossal) Shawn started playing the Kansas City clubs after he moved here from Chicago in 1991. His band, “Tin Roof Echo” was booked at the clubs around town through 1993 via United Entertainment. In 1994 he retired to the suburbs to raise a family as a stay at home dad. In 2014, kids grown, he moved midtown to pick up where he left off. He released four albums under the “JohnnySuperColossal” moniker through 2018. In 2019, in collaboration with “Helkat”, he is trying to get his songs on the radio with a vengeance and to Nashville and Los Angeles publishers. In January, he’s taking his trailer for three months to Los Angeles for that purpose.

Helkat bio – In December, I had this crazy idea to form a band that was equal parts WWF and punk pop. It didn’t matter if the band could play, I just wanted flash and image and hopefully a lead singer with a massive personality who wasn’t too flat. The reception to my idea was lukewarm from most people. I decided to run the idea by Jen Harris though before giving up. She loved it and impressed upon me the importance of having each character develop a unique persona. She also told me Helen Proctor was the lead singer I needed. Helen and I met. I told her we would record Spotify singles and schedule a series of faux shows which would consist of her kicking the crap out of a strategically placed actor each time: unruly sound tech, loud cell-phone talker and sometimes even physical altercations with me, the manager. As Jen had predicted, she loved the idea! She was quite enthusiastic and crafted the role of “hot lesbian lead singer who seduces the crowd and occasionally assaults men.” We added Laura Fred (the perpetually intoxicated one) on drums and Phia (the broody quiet one) on bass. I gave Helen the song with which I wanted to lead- “I Want You”. We took black and whites of our first “show” a NYE house party at which Helen had beat some guy up for taking unauthorized pics. I received a series of Instant Messages from people disappointed they had not been invited to the house show and imploring me to invite them to see this spectacle of a band’s future outings. As things progressed, it became clear that there was a lot of actual talent and musical compatibility within the fake band. The meetings organically turned into practices and we were jamming. We were writing new songs, bringing old songs to practice and reworking them together. Helen showed us an acoustic breakup song she’d written a few years back and now it’s a groovy reggae-punk tune. We added Rozz Petrozz on drums, Dylan McGonigle on guitar and with great reluctance, and mostly because Phia was leaving the country, me on bass. Helkat is releasing the Spotify single of “I Want You” on May 21, and playing shows through August only before we lose Dylan to The Iowa Writers Workshop and Shawn to Nashville. Helkat is a meteor, not a planet.
As it stands, Helkat is releasing a new Spotify and iTunes single monthly near the first and Shawn is releasing their’s near the 15th. Here are the one we have released thus far:

“Poppies and Puppies”- Shawn, 17 May-
“I Want You”, Helkat, 30 May-
“Surprise, I’m Never Coming Home Again”, 14 June

KRESHAUN MCKINNEY- Nelson Atkins Museum, Manager, Audience Engagement and STEPHANIE FOX KNAPPE- Nelson Atkins Samuel Sosland Curator of American Art
Drawn from the acclaimed Rubell Family Collection, 30 Americans presents American experiences as told from the distinct perspectives of 30 African American artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.
Through more than 80 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and videos, the influential artists in 30 Americans are significant contributors to the complex dialogues surrounding race, history, identity, and beauty that have shaped contemporary American art and life for the past four decades.
Although it has traveled the country for a decade in various iterations, 30 Americans is tailored to be a unique experience at each venue. Based on our communities’ histories and in relation to ever-evolving contemporary conversations, the exhibition and its robust accompanying programming will reverberate throughout Kansas City and the region, making 30 Americans fresh, powerful, and as relevant as ever. Art will be a catalyst for community and conversation.
The project as a whole is a reflection of a deep collaboration between The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and a dedicated community advisory group for whose valuable voices and contributions the museum is most grateful.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 4525 Oak Street, KCMO 64111
[email protected]

DAVID GEORGE-Recently I started this Go Fund Me Campaign to raise money to do a reading later this summer for my big band musical revue, Christmas Ain’t A Drag. I graciously thank all of our donors who helped to reach our original goal. My partners, Abbe Sparks and Ric Zivic, and I have decided to produce the full musical revue in New York City in December instead of another reading! The show is ready. Putting on the full musical revue will allow us to present the show to the general public and place tickets on sale as well as provide another opportunity for potential investors, tour operators and New York/Broadway Theater people to see the full show and be a part of this amazing event! THE SYNOPSIS Christmas Ain’t A Drag is an original, light-hearted musical filled with surprises about four lonely individuals whose lives intersect on Christmas Eve at a lavish Midwest nightclub owned and run by a bah humbug of a man. The show’s theme is about the love and magic we discover at Christmas with an underlying theme of acceptance. Book by David George Original Lyrics and Music by David George and George Johnsen

I created Christmas Ain’t A Drag over a period of 10 years starting back when I lived in Los Angeles and worked the stage for the Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Show. It was such an amazing show that I was inspired to write songs that were uplifting and fun like those I had heard at the old Gibson Amphitheater at Universal. I previewed an early version of Christmas Ain’t a Drag – The Musical in 2015 at The Madrid in Kansas City, which was an amazing learning experience. Since then, I have teamed up with Ric Zivic (Producer, Tony-nominated A Christmas Story-The Musical on Broadway)and Abbe Sparks (Abbe Sparks Media) in New York to form CAAD Partners LLC. Ric and Abbe serve as the executive producers of my show. Over the last two years, we have held numerous readings and a musical showcase in New York to develop and fine tune the show. These readings enabled us to introduce the show to potential investors and interested people of the New York/Broadway/Theater scene.

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