During the summer of 1999, fourteen kids from Kansas City's urban core came together and followed that age-old advice for writers: "Write what you know." The result is a brightly colored mix of confessions and fictional tales compiled in a new book called Your Name Ain't on the List. In it, city kids Crystal, Kevin, Reggie and Brandy embark on a ghetto odyssey through their neighborhood, encountering various hazards -- such as the drunk bum they nickname "Preacher" -- on their way to a block party. The loosely structured plot is reminiscent of a John Singleton movie, an observation that makes Michele Bridges laugh.
"We were really going for honesty," says Bridges, the Storytellers Inc. representative who directed the project. A summer job-training and placement program brought the fourteen young artists and writers together to learn entrepreneurial skills as paid interns. At the same time, Bridges says, she helped them to "create an artwork that accurately expresses the hopes and fears of youth living at risk in urban areas of our community."
Supplemented by snippets from the kids' journals, the narrative is as much a collage as the book's art -- which combines photographs, sketches and digitally manipulated images.
The book should be available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com soon, but for now you can get your hands on it by calling 816-304-7380 or ordering it from www.storytellersinc.org/book.htm. It sells for $9.95.-- Nadia Pflaum
Crown Center hosts pumpkin preparty.
Depending on what kind of candy the neighbors hand out this year, the Crown Center Square's pumpkin patch might be more fun than Halloween itself. This Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., Crown Center Square (2450 Grand Boulevard) will be filled with 30,000 pounds of pumpkins for sale, with all proceeds going to the Children's Therapeutic Learning Center. What's so fun about this pumpkin patch, your kids ask? How about three inflatable moonwalks, a petting zoo, games, entertainers (including two puppet shows), a fire truck, an ambulance and even a team of martial artists. Admission is free, but tickets for the games, concessions, rides and pumpkins cost fifty cents each. Pumpkins go for five tickets, or $2.50. For details, call 816-274-8444. -- Michael Vennard