Off the Clock

Fridays at 5:20pm

KBIA News brings you a look at the arts and entertainment this week in mid-Missouri.

Growing up in ragtime: musician Johnny Maddox

Jun 14, 2013
Andrew Nichols / KBIA

Famous ragtime pianist Johnny Maddox visited Columbia this week as the guest of honor at the Blind Boone Ragtime Festival.  In the height of his career in the 1950s, Maddox performed with names like Patsy Cline and released the first all-piano record to sell over 1 million copies.    With millions of albums sold and more than 60 years working in the music industry, many ragtime fans would call Maddox a legend.   

Lukas Udstuen / KBIA/Project 573

One in five Americans now report having no religious affiliation. This number is increasing rapidly. And church attendance in America and Europe is increasing.

But our communities are filled with instances of people finding meaning outside of religion. The Boone County Veterans of Foreign Wars post, for example, offers veterans a place to unite around their experiences of serving in war. While people find meaning in all sorts of places, the VFW in many ways resembles a church.

Author Gennifer Albin is a self-described “recovering academic” – she got her Master’s in English from MU in 2006, then she and her husband settled down back near family in Kansas, where she was a stay- at home mom with young children. But after an unexpected lay-off she and her husband found themselves struggling to make ends meet.

Albin’s answer? Write a novel, of course. Albin went from bankruptcy filing, to living the writer’s dream … complete with agents and publishers competing  for her first novel, Crewel.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

Every Monday morning in Mexico, Missouri, a group of people pull out their cowboy boots and head to dance lessons.  Except in this class, no one is younger than 65.  The group is led by state champion line dancers JoAnn Roth and Beverly Talley.  For these women, you’re never too old to dance. 

At the Garfield Community Center in Mexico, Mo., JoAnn Roth and Beverly Talley’s class is standing in straight lines and ready to dance by 9 in the morning. 

Blind Boone Heritage Foundation

So, you know your Missouri and CoMo history, and you think you know all about “ragtime” musician Blind Boone, yeah? Think again. If you think he was all ragtime, and he was blind, you still might have a lot to learn.

It turns out John William “Blind” Boone was one of the first musical composers to blend European classical styles with folk music. He took African-American and Afro-Caribbean folk styles such as plantation melodies and minstrel tunes, and put them in classical forms, then performed the pieces in concert halls. 

From sketches to pitches at Startup Weekend

Oct 5, 2012
water bottles
Cale Sears

Last Friday, more than a hundred would-be entrepreneurs got together for an annual event called Startup Weekend.  The fast paced, company building workshop brings big ideas down to earth in just 54 hours.  125 participants with laptop and smartphones gather to build small, lean companies that might grow into something much bigger.

Lee Jian Chung / KBIA

This week: A volunteer in Columbia is using video games as an opportunity to teach kids about math, science and technology. Plus, the fourth installment of My Farm Roots, a series from Harvest Public Media in which we hear Americans’ stories and memories of rural life.

When author Pamay Bassey suffered the loss of two family members and the end of  a relationship she embarked on a unique journey – she visited a different place of worship, every week, for a year, in search of guidance.

That experience became a book called My 52 Weeks of Worship, Lessons from a Global, Spiritual, Interfaith Journey.

Kristin Torres, reporting for KBIA and the Columbia Faith and Values desk, spoke to Bassey, before her appearance in St. Louis this weekend.

My Farm Roots: Just taking notes

Aug 3, 2012
Donna Vestal / Harvest Public Media

Sometimes farm roots don’t blossom into a farm life.

But those memories can still have a huge influence, perhaps even determining a career choice.

That’s the case for Tom Karst, a soft-spoken, well-respected journalist who’s been covering the fruit and vegetable industry for more than 25 years.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

It’s not every day that a trip to the drug store can change your destiny.

For 20-year-old Nan Arnold, it was a day in 1956 in Ashland, a small, dusty dot on the open range of western Kansas near the Oklahoma border.

Nan had landed her first job as a music teacher at the Ashland school just a year before. She lived with the store’s owner because her parents thought she was too young to live alone.  

U-pick blackberry
Camille Philips / Harvest Public Media

Picking fruit, tasting wine, petting a goat, roping a cow. When customers pay for the honor of taking on such farm chores ... or delights … it’s called “agritourism.”

Edgar Ailor III / Iniversity of Missouri Press

The call of the open road has long beckoned Americans … and in 1978, William Least Heat-Moon answered the call and embarked on a drive around the country, taking the roads less travelled. Starting in Columbia, he followed a circular route that totaled nearly 14,000 miles. The result was Blue Highways, a New York Times Bestselling book.

Andrea Silenzi / Harvest Public Media

This is the first installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s new series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land.

Kate Edwards hasn’t always been a farmer. No, she came back to the farm after college, grad school and a stint as an environmental engineer.

Now, she farms a small one-acre plot near Solon, Iowa. On her small farm, she feeds 30 families through a Community Supported Agriculture project, a CSA. Edwards was drawn back to farming, she says, because of family memories.

Staying or going: 'My Life, My Town' in Glasgow

Jul 13, 2012
Lizz Cardwell / KBIA/Columbia Missourian

A high school senior, Madelyne cheerleads, serves as the Glasgow FFA President, and participates in Band and Choir. On the weekends, she works at the local bank. She cannot wait to leave the small-town life and the farm.

Off the Clock: Faith and Fiestas in Mexico, MO.

Jun 29, 2012
Lydia Mulvaney and Andrew Schriver / KBIA/Columbia Missourian

On this edition of Off the Clock, we visit Monica Martinez, a teen whose Latin American family is putting down roots in Mexico, Missouri.

KBIA and the Columbia Missourian have been working with rural teens all over Missouri to get their stories about … being a teen, in rural Missouri. Called “My Life My Town,” the project worked with teens to create multimedia portraits about their lives – some of the teens where a pink triangle, some of them camouflage or a tiara. Over the next few weeks, we’ll hear the audio versions of these portraits on “Off the Clock."

Katie Currid / KBIA/Columbia Missourian

On this week’s show: It’s summer. We’ll look at stories about playing croquet in Mexico (Missouri, that is), gardening in Columbia (Missouri, also) and life as a teen in a small town.

Marriage: arranging her own path

Jun 15, 2012

Spring is in full bloom and that means wedding season.

J. Caldwell / Photo courtesy of Illegal Art

You might not know who Gregg Gillis is, but chances are you’ve heard of his music created under the moniker Girl Talk.

Pinball wizard

Jun 1, 2012


This week, we uncover a three-letter mystery.

circuit bending
Scott Pham / KBIA

When you imagine a hacker, you’re probably thinking of someone banging away at a keyboard, doing something shadowing and illegal on the internet.  These days a lot of hackers are banding together, and it’s far from illegal.  They’re forming groups called hackerspaces--community workshops where hackers (some of whom prefer the term “makers”) get together to build robots, modify electronics and socialize.

Photo courtesy of StoryCorps

This week’s show is all about moms—and we have the good, the bad and the ugly. First up, we’ll hear about a book of portraits on the life of the American mother and later we have an audio essay on the complicated mother/daughter relationship.

Tarina Westlund

Portland Cello Project is a collective of classically trained cellists that came out of, you guessed it, Portland, in 2007. And they’re bringing the cello to pop culture, playing music that you may not normally associate with the instrument.  They’ve played everywhere from a punk rock club in Fargo North Dakota to a sports bar in Lubbock Texas.  I spoke with the group’s artistic director Doug Jenkins who started off by explaining how the group began.

Photo courtsey of Nancy Rice

This week: St. Louis area entrepreneur Don Robinson died last month, leaving 843 acres of land to Missouri—the same size as New York's Central Park.  And an audio postcard of a notorious outlaw's mock trial.

Lunafest travels to Columbia

Apr 13, 2012
Photo courtesy of Lunafest

This week's show highlights a film festival by for and about women. Andlater in the show: an audio essay from a woman who gives a unique perspective to  kissing and being kissed.

Down by the river

Apr 6, 2012
Scarlett Robertson / KBIA

This week we head down to the Missouri River, hear a technology-centric essay about cell phones and celebrate Easter a few days early.

Riding with the Bike Brigade

Mar 30, 2012
SFBike / Flickr

This week, we hear how one person deals with homesickness, when home is almost ten thousand miles away. But first, we hit the streets of Columbia on bikes.

Matt Veto / KBIA

This week we hit the basketball court for a story about how, sometimes, the game can take on a deeper meaning. And stay tuned till the end of the show, where we have a new Sonic ID, this time from Speaker’s Circle.

Harum Helmy / KBIA

This week, Janet Saidi sits in for Scarlett Robertson as host of Off the Clock. A week after True/False weekend, Columbia was home to another cultural spree: Independent Actors Theatre’s fourth annual short Women’s Play Festival. KBIA’s Harum Helmy brings us some highlights from the event, which featured six short plays, four different playwrights and three local directors.

“Undefeated” is the Oscar winning documentary from MU grad Dan Lindsay which will open and close True/False this year. The film  follows an underdog high school football team in North Memphis, Tenn. KBIA’s Nick Gass spoke with Lindsay about the biggest challenges the directors faced and the process that went into making the movie.

Renee May / Flickr

As Columbia gears up for the True/False Film Fest, this week we're giving you a preview of a few of the best things happening at this year's fest.