KC Performs


Episode 7

Owen/Cox Dance Group collaborates with Kansas City Chorale to present ‘And The Darkness Has Not Overcome It.’ Plus; S#arp Women’s Krista Eyler shares her favorite song, ‘Another Hat’ from “Overture the Musical”; Inspired by Kansas City’s Black History Project, Glenn North recites his work ‘I Sing Their Names; and Vanessa Severo takes an inward look in ‘Frida: A Self-Portrait.'

AIRED: September 21, 2021 | 0:26:59

(upbeat violin music)

- Hi, I'm Jennifer Owen,

and I'm the Co-Founder and Artistic Director

of Owen/Cox Dance Group.

I'm excited to share with you a piece called,

"And the Darkness Has Not Overcome It."

A work we created in collaboration

with the Kansas City Chorale,

to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Originally, the Kansas City Chorale and Owen/Cox Dance Group

were to do a live performance in October of 2020.

And when the pandemic hit,

we found creative ways to still work together.

This piece features two movements from Rachmaninoff's

"All Night Vigil," and was filmed on stage

at Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.

I hope you enjoy it.

(singing in foreign language)

♪ Amen. ♪

(singing in foreign language)

(singing in foreign language)

- I'm Krista Eyler.

I'm the composer and co-writer of Oveture the musical.

You're about to see a number from

the show called "Another Hat."

It's my absolute favorite song in this entire show.

Now to give you some context, this takes place in 1953.

At that time, when women would go to the theater

or an orchestra performance, they'd wear a hat.

And so this song is about our main character, Lily,

her first experience at the theater,

and it is beautifully choreographed by Valerie Martin.


- Receptionist.

- A lady's got to work, right?

I actually came here following the Philharmonic.

- Really

- Oh, many years ago, mom heard

that the Philharmonic would be touring

and there would be coming through

Topeka high so she got us tickets.

She went and she got out her red hat.

It was one with gold embroidery.

So we knew that this was something special.

And so we drove there and as we were walking

into the auditorium, she showed me the program

and it said, ladies, please remove your hats.

I sat down. And as I looked up,

I saw hat after, hat after hat letting go,

it was almost like balloons being freed

all different shapes, all different colors,

all different sounds.

♪ I heard the pins release and grasp. ♪

♪ I heard the rustle of gloved hands. ♪

♪ My mother led them all flick of her wrist. ♪

♪ A conductors twist they moved the same. ♪

♪ She removed her hat ♪

♪ And as she did I heard the tap ♪


♪ On the sand ♪

♪ My ears hath command as each arm bowed into space. ♪

♪ And work of grace and color ♪

♪ I flew from one world ♪

♪ To another and ♪

- The music began?

- Yes, it was my mother's favorite Dvorak 'Largo'

(singers singing melody)

- So you knew the music

- By heart I was seven and It was like magic

♪ I got lost in the notes enveloped in smoke ♪

♪ A musical haze I stole a look ♪

♪ And caught my mother's gaze ♪

♪ Tears down her face and she said ♪

♪ Lilly remember the feeling ♪

♪ You have in this moment it stays ♪

♪ As long as you hold it ♪

♪ When the world tries to whittle you down ♪

♪ When the world tries to whittle you down ♪

♪ Find the sounds, ♪

♪ Find the sounds ♪

♪ And just like that ♪

♪ Another hat ♪

♪ And just like that ♪

♪ Another hat, ♪

- Another hat.

- Another hat.

- Hello my name is Glenn North.

And the poem you are about to hear

was inspired by Kansas city's Black History Project.

Something that I've been working on

for the past several years with

the Black Archives of Mid-America,

the Kansas City Public Library and LINC.

With this being Missouri's bicentennial,

we wanted to do a commemorative edition.

And so I was asked to write the poem.

'I sing their names' that was inspired

by great Kansas city African-Americans

and my grandparents, Louise and Basal North.

'I sing their names' I hope you enjoy it.

(Slow violin music)

I sing their names.

"History is not the past it is the present.

We carry our history with us we are our history"

James Baldwin.

I know of a place on the confluence

of the Missouri and Kansas rivers,

home of the Missouri and the Kansa

and the Osage people where York strolling ahead

of Lewis and Clark set his left foot down.

And the whole world tilted west a place

that called out to my grandfather Basal North Senior,

who came here from Hartville, Missouri,

which he left when he was 16 on a mule

that he bought and rode 118 miles

to Jefferson city, Missouri to attend Lincoln university,

praise God for HBCU's.

He later saved up enough to send

for my grandmother, they both became educators.

Then moved here to Kansas city.

Perhaps that is my origin story,

perhaps that is why I love the city more than it loves me.

Still proud to say, it's where I'm from,

because I know who came before me.

My feet are firmly planted on their shoulders.

Those who shine brightly beyond February,

right until eternity and so I sing of Langston and Parker,

Ms. Bluford and Mary Lou, old buck, Leon Jordan,

Horace and Bruce, Sarah Rector, Junius Gross,

Tom Bass and Anna Jones, Count Basey,

Chester Franklin, Bernard Powell, and D.A Holmes.

I chant their names almost as if holy,

because you have to be careful about

who you allow to shape your history.

Like Malcolm said, folks that won't treat

you right won't teach you right.

We must tell our own stories, reclaim the narrative.

I say, read, research, collect, interpret,

curate, archive, document, observe, and report.

There is a little brown girl in the classroom who has no

idea how beautiful her Afro puffs are

and she needs to know,

there is a little brown boy who doesn't see himself

reflected in a bias curriculum so he loses interest,

gets labeled with the behavior disorder,

drops out, runs across the right cop on the wrong day

and becomes a headline and a hashtag.

He needed to know

there are little white children in schools,

all over America being taught that

the world revolves around them

before they grow up to believe

that it does, they need to know.

I know of a place on the confluence

of jazz, blues, baseball and barbecue

home of countless black lives that surely mattered.

I have no choice, but to sing their names.

- Hi, I'm Vanessa Severo.

I am the writer and performer of Frida a self portrait,

a play about the tumultuous life of Frida Kahlo.

In this section I will be performing

the opening monologue of the production.

And to give you a little background,

Frida lived in the same house

her entire life, 'Casa Azule'.

And there was an architecture magazine

in America that wanted to interview her

and Diego about the architecture of their house.

Unfortunately Frida died before that interview could happen.

But I thought, what if it did take place?

So that is the opening monologue

here of Frida a Self Portrait Enjoy.

I painted these in 1939 it's called

(speaking in spanish)

It's called What the water gave me

or sometimes referred to as what I saw in the water.

My toes are what dominate the painting,

they are peeking out from the waters of my bath.

But if you look closely around the sides of my painting,

you will see that my pain is not pain at all.

It is the evolution of love surrounding me

is comfort and loss while I am

submerged in their waters of my life.

I am submerged in life even though death

is dancing around my legs, my toes are saying,

ha, no

(speaking in spanish)


And I am being very honest you see,

I do not paint myself more or less

beautiful than I really am

(speaking in spanish)


I look just like that

(speaking in spainsh)

I use the oil paints in this one

because I liked the fact that you can play

with oil for days before it dries

and seals your fate like a cat

with a mouse it will not kill.

You can beat it there swatted there bat it there

(Frida making bating sound)

and it's still alive, you could make love to

it for days bathe and then make a love again.

And then change your mind surrealism.

(speaking in spanish)

Mr.Clive Powell from ID architecture magazine

come closer come I will not bite you, not with my teeth.

So you want to know about "La Casa Azul".

You want to know about the house,

the architecture of the house.

I will tell you about the house

and give you the secrets that lie

in the cracks of the house and

then you are free to explore the house alone.

I cannot walk not well I can walk,

but it'd be like waiting for a toddler to catch up.

I have to make sure my corset is on for my spine.

And my leg is not, you'll only be annoyed

that you asked me to join

(speaking in spanish)

I must tell you that the house is just a skeletal structure.

A body, I am not the body of this house.

I am the brain of this house

the most important part of the body is the brain.

And I am very glad you are here today,

Mr. Clive Powell, because there is a secret in this house.

There is, there is a secret that

no one has ever discovered before,

a riddle and I'm going to lay it

out for you today Mr. Clive Powell

from ID architecture magazine that's

hard to say lover

(speaking in spanish)

ah start, start writing Latin women

repeat themselves, but only twice.

So you're gonna want to start writing,

ah, the house "La Casa Azul"

beautiful, strange, elaborate.

(speaking in spainsh)

Loud, unapologetic, Casa Azul

I will get to the house, but first I must know.

Am I everything you heard?

Oh, it's all right.

I know what people say.

Oh I hear she is on death's door.

I hear she is so filled with morphine.

She glazes from reality to fantasy.

I am told you can hear her talking to Diego,

but the Diego is not there si it's true

(speaking in spanish)

I am talking to the Diego, but believe me,

when a man loves you, no matter where he is,

he always hears you.

Go on, come closer.

(speaking spanish)

What do you see?

Upon first arrival you are thinking,

oh, she looks sad.

No, I tried to drown my sorrows,

but the bastards learned to swim.

And now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.

(Frida whimpering)

(slapping leg)

(Frida whimpering)

We are born, mid scream,

gasping for air testing out our lungs.

We die the same way we die in the middle of our lives.

In the middle of a sentence.

Dying is an art just like everything else.

I will die in this room.

(speaking in spanish)

This has been my room since I was

six years old, six years old

and at six I spent with felt like a lifetime in this room,

staring at the walls, listening to the children play

in the street unable to join them because

polio had decided to become my companion.

My mother would make me lay down all day because walking

with polio is like trying to make

a beaten horse run again but not my father.

He was German and Germans are the ultimate taskmasters

no, no, no, no he loved me very much

my father loved me very much but Germans

don't like to give up on things.

He would make me...

(Frida hisses)

The walls and I have our own language

I have to speak before they do

(speaking in spanish)

quiet walls.