Last October, Stephanie Iser, director of kids programs at the Louise H. Bluford Branch Library, surveyed teens about what kinds of programs interested them. Most said they were interested in hip-hop music.
Iser, who is 26, was unsure how hip-hop might mesh with the library. Did she need to start wearing a gold chain? Fewer books, more 808 speakers? Jeremy McConnell happened to walk through the library doors at the height of her confusion. McConnell is the spokesman for the Hip-Hop Academy, a collective of artists interested in using music to foster learning and creative thinking among kids.
McConnell hooked Iser up with volunteers from Kansas Citys music scene who were willing to teach an array of hip-hop-themed classes for teens. The Kansas City libraries participating so far, which include Bluford and the Southeast and Northeast branches, have held mural-painting parties, breakdancing exhibitions and lyric-writing sessions.
Today, the theme continues with a turntablism workshop. DJ Mythik (30-year-old Jonathan Miner) will school youngsters on the art of scratching, matching and blending records. During the two-hour session, hell show segments of the 2001 documentary Scratch and demonstrate techniques before allowing the teens to try out his turntables. Miner has a regular DJ gig at the Peanut (418 West Ninth Street, 816-221-7470) as co-host of Jump-Off every Wednesday night. By day, hes a behavior specialist for the special-education department of the Blue Valley School District.
Miner says he bought his first pair of turntables from the back of Source magazine in high school for $99. He remembers what it was like to be a novice. Im gonna bring my not-so-nice needles for the beginners, he says. The workshop starts at 2 p.m. at the Bluford Library, 3050 Prospect. To reserve a spot, call the library at 816-701-3689.
Starts: Jan. 9. Daily, 2007