Melissa Lenos, assistant professor of English at Donnelly College, answers The Pitch's questionnaire

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Melissa Lenos is faculty mentor for Donnelly College's Multicultural Festival on Friday, April 11. - SABRINA STAIRES
  • Sabrina Staires
  • Melissa Lenos is faculty mentor for Donnelly College's Multicultural Festival on Friday, April 11.


Name: Melissa Lenos

Occupation: Assistant professor of English, Donnelly College

Hometown: Norton, Ohio. I know you haven't heard of it; it's south of Cleveland.

Current neighborhood: Old Hyde Park

What I do (in 140 characters): I teach English, film studies and popular culture to the most amazing students in Kansas City. When I'm not doing that, I research and write.

What's your addiction? All of the coffee, forever.

What's your game? Kingdom Hearts. It's a completely bananas Final Fantasy/Disney-universe adventure mash-up.

What's your drink? Buffalo Trace, neat.

Where's dinner? Westport Café

What's on your KC postcard? A landscape painting by one of the members of the Kansas City Plein Air Coterie.

Finish this sentence: "Kansas City got it right when ... " We decided to continue investing in the arts. We don't always do it perfectly, but the arts are a consistent focus, which is terrific.

"Kansas City screwed up when ... " We failed the students in our public school system.

"Kansas City needs ... " Extensive, affordable, reliable public transportation on both sides of the state line.

"In five years, I'll be ... " Teaching, researching and writing. I have it pretty good.

"I always laugh at ... " The humorless. They're asking for it.

"I've been known to binge-watch ... " Twin Peaks, at least once a year.

"I can't stop listening to ... " Iggy Azalea.

"I just read ... " A big ol' stack of student papers and Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue.

The best advice I ever got: "No regrets"

Worst advice: "Screwdrivers have so much orange juice in them, they're basically a healthy drink."

My sidekick: Corey Antis and one small gray cat.

My dating triumph/tragedy: On our second date, I took him to see a 35 mm print of The Adventures of Robin Hood. (The film is gorgeous but also sort of ridiculous.) He didn't hold it against me, and 10 years later, here we are.

My brush with fame: I worked as a barista when I was in grad school in Pittsburgh, and once I made a latte for Richard Gere. I am aware that this is a totally pathetic "brush with fame," but it's all I've got.

My 140-character soapbox: We must do better by K-12 teachers and higher-ed contingent faculty. When we shortchange education, we run our future further into the ground.

What was the last thing you had to apologize for? Oh, constantly - usually for making inappropriate, borderline-offensive or stupidly obscure jokes.

Who's sorry now? Connie Francis

My recent triumph: Acting as a faculty mentor for this year's Multicultural Festival at Donnelly College. The tables range from ethnic groups and nationalities to religion, hip-hop and gaming. The students get to show off, and there's always a ton of food and dancing. It's my favorite event at our school.

Donnelly College's 2014 Multicultural Festival (608 North 18th Street, Kansas City, Kansas), featuring international food samplings, henna body painting, live music and dance performances, is from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 11. Admission is free.

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