Monday, November 30, 2009

Concert Review: Pot Luck Fest at El Torreon (plus Fists Up! video)

Posted by on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 8:27 AM

What do you do with one day left in your Thanksgiving vacation? If you're Metal Mark, you throw a punk rock matinee at El Torreon and call it Pot Luck Fest. Everybody brings leftovers or some other food, and you get a chance to chow down one last time, see four bands, and still be home in time to watch the Simpsons.

Iron Guts Kelly frontman Boj.
  • Iron Guts Kelly frontman Boj.

Unfortunately, it didn't seem like very many people knew about the 3 p.m. show, as there were roughly 20 people in attendance by the time Iron Guts Kelly took the floor at 6 p.m. Yes, I did say "floor," because bands were set up in the club's northeast corner. IGK knocked out a quick set of old-school hardcore to the fan and bands still remaining. They played the title track to their most recent album, Axe to Grind, as well as numbers like "The Killing Fields."

It doesn't matter how many times I see the band -- I am never short of amazed at how tight they are. They can turn on a dime, and it seems like bassist Shawn Reynolds and guitarist Josh Leon don't even have to look at drummer Sean Riley to know when there's a change coming along. They just go, and hit hard as they move. And it's almost a blessing that frontman Boj's vocals were turned down, or the echo-y concrete box that is El Torreon would've given even more of a reverberant pummeling.

Bonus points to the band for covers of both Slapshot's "What's At Stake" and the closing hardcore version of "Caught In A Mosh" by Anthrax, featuring impromptu guest vocals by Ryan Leach.

Check out the rest of the bands, as well as a video from Fists Up!, after the jump.

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Slideshow: Fan love at the Border Showdown

Posted by on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 7:30 AM

The annual Border Showdown between the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri was Saturday, November 28 at Arrowhead Stadium. On the field, the two rivals battled valiantly to the very last play, when MU's Grant Ressel kicked a 27-yard field goal that won it for Missouri, 41-39.

Before it all ended, though, in the stadium's concourse, fans put on a halftime show of their own. Click on the hot guys below for a slideshow.

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And we're back ...

Posted by on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 6:00 AM


Finally, back home, and what's the lead story in Sunday's Star? A piece wondering why Mayor Mark Funkhouser's wife hasn't come back to City Hall. Did I step back in time? Must have because the story says nothing new.

Nice profile of the father of Ali Kemp, who was murdered in 2002, in the Star. He's making sure women of all ages know self-defense.

And make sure you read why Markus D. Lee's third murder trial ended in yet another mistrial.

Weekend Scoreboard

The Missouri Tigers won the Border War, ended Kansas' season and possibly drove a final stake in coach Mark Mangino's career at KU. Mangino didn't help himself with horrible play calling at the end of the game. You have the lead with less than three minutes to go and you pass on first and second downs? Why? Then Reesing gets stuffed for a safety. Fantastic. For those calls alone he should be fired.

By the way, ESPN has Missouri picked to play Minnesota in the Bowl.

The San Diego Chargers handed the Chiefs an ass whipping. It was ugly.

Take it away, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Comment of the Week

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Yolanda Walker
  • Yolanda Walker

We're done giving thanks for the week, but it's hard not to be extra thankful for the time we get to spend with our families. Some aren't so lucky. It's been a little  more than two weeks since Yolanda Walker's girlfriend shot her to death because Walker wanted to break up.

Walker was only 38. She was a mother of two. On her Facebook page, there were photos of her preteen son in his football uniform and

her daughter wearing a top hat and gown at graduation.

Earlier this week, someone named "Baby Girl" posted the following sweet tribute to Walker on on this post, "Killa City: Blanche L. Johnson charged with killing Yolanda Walker":

Well sweetheart it's been a couple of weeks and I still find myself calling your phone just to hear the one voice that made everything ok for me. You knew when I was having a bad day, having a good day even crying. Whatever it was you always knew.

I knew that I would miss you alot but never in my wildest dreams did I know I would miss you so much. The completeness and love of your heart you gave to me and I am so thankful God allowed you and I to share that love. I miss you so much. I wish you were here.

One day sitting at my dining room table you looked me in my eyes and said "YOU ARE GONNA BE MY WIFE" and I said your right and I will never forget that. I feel like a part of me has been taken from me. I find myself gasping for breath thinking about just YOU!!

I love you Mama more than words could ever show and you knew this. Please keep your arms wrapped around me and watch over me as you will your children. I will always be your WIFE.

Yeah, we're definitely extra thankful this year.

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This week's Pitch and 9 things we learned this week

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM


The Rock -- the church not the wrestler -- is reclaiming the bad streets of Northeast Kansas City. Pitch fellow Casey Lyons tells the story of The Rock aka Reclaiming of Christ's Kingdom, whose members are buying up former drug houses and rehabbing them in the 64127, statistically one of KC's most violent zip codes. Indeed, thank God for the Rock.

Also, in this week's issue, the Crap Archivist crows about "Cock-A-Doo_Dle_Do, I'm From Missouri," which was once the official song of the Kansas City chapter of the Ararat Shriners."

He's also full of holiday cheer with theater reviews of It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at the American Heartland Theatre in Crown Center and Christmas in Song at the Quality Hill Playhouse. Psst. He likes both.

Art critic Chris Packham appreciates the visually dramatic scenes in the late Andrew Wyeth's paintings, which are on display at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ferruzza tries the three-cheese tortellini at Cozzy's Cafe in Overland Park.

Nick Spacek warns indie headliners against following Rooftop Vigilantes.

And the Buckle Bunny chats with Queens Club about their Zack Greinke tune ... and more.

On the Plog, we learned that ...

More deer will die.

Hearne Christopher Jr. was busted for DUI.

The phallic Florida controversy continues at Shawnee Mission.

The list of convention hotel contenders is down to four.

Arturo A. Vera-Felicie mixes a helluva drink.

Another former Phill Kline deputy is in trouble.

Dennis Moore won't run for re-election.

You can adopt a part of Troost.

Valero doesn't sell single beers.

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Public Service Announcement: Trouble in Toyland

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Who will think of the children?"quoth Maude Flanders. Around this time of year, it's the no-fun folks at the Missouri Public Interest Research Group, who on Tuesday called a press conference to warn holiday shoppers about dangerous toys. But isn't a dangerous toy just an educational opportunity in a bite-size bit?

Here, then, are the three of the year's most educational toys and the three lessons they teach.

Toy: Real Wood Shape Sorter Barn
Lesson: Choking is scary

Anyone with kids knows the lengths precocious little ones will go to find something to chew on (hello, litter box). But taste is so fleeting; fear makes lessons stick. Enter the Real Wood Shape Sorter Barn.

Some of the wooden numbers (see picture below) are small enough to fit through the Consumer Product Safety Commission's choke tube -- a toilet paper tube is a good at-home approximation -- which means they will lodge nice and tightly in the windpipe of a 0-6-year-old. Kids will never take air for granted again.

To maximize educational effect, give the "choking is scary" lesson up to a minute to sink in.


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Kickin' it with the Homies in Union Station's model train exhibit

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 2:00 PM

I was at Union Station last weekend, enjoying the model trains weaving around the extensive set-up in the lobby, when I noticed some familiar faces among the exhibit's tiny populace.


Not far from the accident scene that C.J. Janovy recently photographed, a cluster of little dudes are hanging out on a rocky ridge. But unlike the multitude of other plastic people in the set, likely acquired from hobby shops and model-railroad enthusiast kits, these are Homies, the collectible 50-cent characters once sold in vending machines in the lobbies of grocery stores and laundromats.

For a while, the little dudes had quite a niche in pop culture. But you don't see 'em around so much anymore -- and I definitely didn't expect to see them kickin' it in the quaint world erected by Union Station's model railroad club.

Luckily, Mike Laboi, vice president of the Union Station Model Railroad Society, was on hand to tell me the story of how these Homies found their way to this side of the tracks.

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Now you have plans for the weekend

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM


You need plans. Fat City has a recycle bin full of listings. In this post, all our problems are solved.

You don't get many opportunities for tea service, so when the kettle

whistles, you should come running. Chef Megan Garrelts has put together

a sit-down tea session at Bluestem on Saturday with seating from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tea

sandwiches, holiday pastries and freshly steeped tea are available for

$30 a person, $7 for those under 10 years of age.

Those who want something harder than tea should pop over to Barley's Brewhaus in Shawnee. After 6 p.m., you can down $3 pints, $4 Jager bombs and $5 Red Bull and vodkas that will ensure your holiday spirit lasts the entire weekend.

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Walk tall at KCAI's open call next week

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM


Listen up, dancers, gymnasts and circus refugees -- you have a week to rehearse your moves.

Next Friday, the Kansas City Art Institute holds an open call to select 20 to 30 performers for the school's upcoming 125th-anniversary celebration. The February 20 black-tie gala will feature KCAI alumnus Nick Cave (no, not that Nick Cave), and the dancers will perform in the 1982 grad's "soundsuits" (one of which is pictured on the right; they're a little bit Broadway Lion King and a little bit wookiee-fied George Clinton). The casting call notes that "the ability to do gymnastics and/or stilt walk is a plus." Those skills are always beneficial; the real bonus: being at the party, tickets for which start at $125.

The auditions are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, December 4, at the Art Institute's Epperson Auditorium, inside Vanderslice Hall (4415 Warwick). For more information, e-mail

Photo from KCAI

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Friday Book Review: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's The Sky Begins at Your Feet

Posted by on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
  • Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Cancer patient. The phrase brings to mind a bald head and a frail body, chilly in a thin hospital gown. The loss of hair, strength and tissue can reduce anyone to the basics of skin and bone, as the body undergoes war at the cellular level, invasive surgeries and waves of radiation and harsh chemicals.

But while the framework is generally the same -- diagnosis, acceptance, treatment, survival or death -- the stories of cancer are unique to the people affected. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, poet laureate of Kansas, shares hers in The Sky Begins at Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community and Coming Home to the Body (Ice Cube Books, 229 pages, $19.95).

Although obviously an accomplished poet, in this volume Mirriam-Goldberg uses prose to describe breast cancer's affect on her body, soul and family. Her writing style is straightforward and conversational, glittering occasionally with poetic images as the "bright green spread of swaying trees." Nature is a powerful symbol for Mirriam-Goldberg, who lives on an acreage near Lawrence.

An environmentalist before cancer, she is actively protesting highway development that would displace people and encroach on native species when she's diagnosed. Mirriam-Goldberg soon begins to view her own body like the earth -- threatened and so very mortal, a home that she's taken for granted most of her life. Cancer reminds her of the usual facts about life (it's short) and what's important (family and friends) as she undergoes treatment. But the writer's analytical and creative mind helps her also draw connections between herself and the world outside.

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