Live from Swope Park!
I joined Gina Kaufman and guests for a live broadcast of KCUR’s Central Standard to talk all things Open Spaces. It’s the first year for the festival, which opened today, and I think we’ve all had a difficult time wrapping our heads around the event(s). It’s two months+ of art and performances, all over the city, with local and international artists.
While we were broadcasting, the crew was setting up, wrapping the Pavilion, which is central to The Village, hanging up the banner on stage, positioning art work, fretting, running around putting on finishing touches.
I attended a preview tour Thursday and then spent some time exploring Swope Park on Friday.
On the radio, I stated, “embracing your nerdery is a valuable act of self-discovery. Just know what you like…there is something for everybody at this festival and there is something to discover.”
One of the things I love about this festival is that it’s all over the city, which means there’s probably something near where you live or work, but also gives you a reason to explore an area that is outside your normal routine, into a neighborhood you wouldn’t necessarily visit.
Another aspect I appreciated is that the weekend performance schedule varies from hour to hour, so that if you come for a specific show and stick around, you might experience something new-to-you and learn more about the amazing breadth of art in this city. Check out the schedule, but keep in mind that acts have been added since publication, so check in from time to time on the website.
Yet another component that thrilled me, frankly, is the Expanded Field. It’s a host of performances that already existed in Kansas City and are tied into the festival, though conceived separately. Kansas City and the surrounding region already has an amazing scene, and this is an impressive representation of that fact.
In keeping with the exploration, I’m intrigued by some of the walks and guided tours available or created for this event, like Karen McCoy’s Sound and Sight Walks, the Blue River Road Instigators and Shawn Bitter’s Burn Out.
Admittedly, I scoped out a few things with an eye for exploring more later, things I could share with my family. Some of the walks will be fun, of course, but the video installations will intrigue them even more, I suspect, like Nick Cave’s Hye-Dyve at Hope Center and Federico Solmi’s The Great Farce at UMKC’s Gallery of Art. There are also performance, activities and events each weekend geared towards families, with Stone Lion Puppets performing during opening ceremonies.
I’ve written (or will write) about some of the specific concerts, but please read Laura Spencer’s excellent overview, too.
I’ve posted more pics and video on my Instagram feed.