Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Views without a Room: Skies and Benton's close tonight

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 5:50 PM

The days of high-altitude restaurants is over in Kansas City
  • The day of the high-altitude restaurant is over in Kansas City

You still press the "B" button on the express elevator in the lobby of the Westin Crown Center Hotel to get to the restaurant on the 19th floor.

That dining room has been, for the last 17 years, a steakhouse named after artist Thomas Hart Benton; there have been several incarnations of the name, most recently Benton's Prime Steakhouse. After tonight, the 12 signed Thomas Hart Benton prints that have hung in the venue for over two decades will return to their original owner (a trust that had the art on loan to the restaurant). More than a dozen longtime employees, including chefs, servers, bartenders and manager Brent Grider, will move on to other jobs in the two Crown Center hotels — the Westin and the former Hyatt — now both operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Starwood will rebrand the Hyatt as a Sheraton Hotel in January.

Tomorrow morning, at 8 a.m., Grider — general manager of Benton's for the last four years — starts his new job as general manager of Milano, the Italian restaurant in the Crown Center complex. The Benton's head bartender moves downstairs to the Brasserie restaurant, which will become the only restaurant operating in a hotel that once boasted three of the snazziest dining rooms in the city: Benton's, the Brasserie, and Trader Vic's.

Today marks the end of an era.

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Ponyboy, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, and the Bill Larson Benefit: Wednesday's Best Bets

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Ponyboy.
  • Ponyboy.
Destroy Hump Day with these Best Bets.

Tonight:

Ponyboy, Radkey at Replay Lounge
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Jon McLaughlin, Graham Colton at the Bottleneck
Benefit show for Bill Larson with Outlaw Jim & the Whiskey Benders, Justa Billy & the Bullhaulers, Middle Creek, Levee Town, Dan Doran at Knuckleheads
Flaming Death Trap, Sleep Agents at RecordBar

Closed: Cafe Roux in Leawood

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Will anyone boo-hoo over the loss of Cafe Roux?

Bringing the cuisine of the Big Easy to the Kansas City metro just hasn't been that easy, particularly in the Kansas suburbs where the Eddy family's Big Easy Cafe failed several years ago, followed by Copeland's and the short-lived Boudreaux's Louisiana Seafood & Steaks in Leawood. Last weekend, another Leawood restaurant serving New Orleans-influenced dishes closed its doors: restaurateur Jen Coniglio's Cafe Roux at 11554 Ash in the Park Place Center.

Fat City wasn't able to reach Coniglio for comment, but a spokesperson for Park Place confirmed that the restaurant is now closed. "That's all the information we have at this time," she told us.

Any thoughts on why so few local restaurants — Jazz seems to be the exception — serving the spicy cuisine of Louisiana seem to be able to succeed in the metro? Add your two cents in the Comment section.

Don Harman, Fox 4 meteorologist, dead at 41

The fun-loving weatherman had been on air locally since 1999.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Don Harman has died.
  • Don Harman has died.
Fox 4 meteorologist Don Harman died Tuesday evening. The station confirmed Harman's death at the top of its noon news broadcast.

Harman has worked the morning news show since April 1999. He is survived by his wife, Monica, and daughter, Avery. He was 41.

UPDATE:
Fox 4 issued a statement on Harman's death on its website. Fox 4 President and General Manager Cheryl McDonald said: “We are very saddened by this tragic loss. Don wasn’t just our Meteorologist, he was a part of our family and we loved him. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed.”

The statement on the website continued: "Don brightened our mornings for more than 10 years and he made his mark on Kansas City television. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we ask that in this time of sorrow that you respect them and their need for privacy in their moment of grief."

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  • The fun-loving weatherman had been on air locally since 1999.

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback learns that the Internet can be mean

The state's highest office is in a Twitter spat.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Brownback is feeling the wrath of Twitter.
  • Brownback is feeling the wrath of Twitter.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is so fragile. We found out last week just how delicate the Republican’s feelings are, after a teenager made a rude comment about him on the Internet. Emma Sullivan, an 18-year-old senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, grabbed headlines with a tweet directed at Brownback. She had just heard the governor speak to her Youth in Government group in Topeka, and she wasn’t impressed. She tweeted to her followers, who numbered just 65 at the time: "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot."

Though this was an exaggeration — Sullivan hadn’t spoken directly to the governor — it was nothing uncommon or even especially critical in the joke-heavy Twitterverse. But it would not stand in Brownbackistan. Someone in the governor’s administration saw the tweet and blew the whistle on Sullivan to Youth in Government, which then alerted Shawnee Mission East principal Karl Krawitz. Krawitz, apparently believing that children should be seen and not heard, pronounced the school “embarrassed” and asked Sullivan to apologize to the bruised governor. Sullivan told The Washington Post that Krawitz gave her talking points for the proposed mea culpa. Meanwhile, news of Suckedgate spread, and Sullivan’s Twitter following ballooned with supporters.

The Shawnee Mission School District announced Monday that it wouldn’t require Sullivan to apologize, and by that afternoon, Brownback had issued his own apology to Sullivan. (The governor’s staff and Krawitz owe her a stack of Hallmark cards as well.) After this PR nightmare, Gov. Poutypants could use a pick-me-up, so we offer him a few apology tweets after the jump in lieu of Sullivan’s:

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  • The state's highest office is in a Twitter spat.

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Watch the Throne — Jay-Z edition — last night at Sprint Center

The rap icon in Kansas City.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Well before the Throne was Watched last night at Sprint Center, the concourse was heavy with the stench of weed and cologne. A haze of smoke hung above the jittering crowd. Everywhere you looked: tight miniskirts. A group of 19-year-old sorority girls toting Coach bags huddled together in the middle of the foot traffic, rehearsed smiles glued to their faces, waiting for a camera to flash. Two guys with red XL hoodies bearing with the words “HITM BOYZ” strode past, shaking their heads. Over by the QuikTrip snack area, a legitimate Jay-Z-Beyonce look-alike couple basked in gawkers’ glow.

Past the curtains, inside, on the floor of the arena, a smaller, secondary stage had been planted on the opposite end from the main stage, and it’s there that Jay-Z materialized after the lights went black a little after 9 p.m. Then Kanye West emerged on the main stage. Green and pink prisms of light shot across the crowd, and they blasted into three or four straight Throne cuts, shouting alternating verses at each other from their stage islands. Their respective platforms elevator-ed up about 50 feet in the air. Menacing Rottweilers were projected onto the video screens. Jay and Ye were towering above us all, encased in pyramids of light, spitting fast and hard. The crowd was one big fucking sea of shaking bodies. Ahhhhh, maaannnnnnn, you shoulda been there.

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  • The rap icon in Kansas City.

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Google Maps will now guide you through KCI

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:30 AM


Next time you're lost in a gigantic mall or a baffling airport, don't bother looking for those old-fashioned back-lit map monoliths for guidance. Instead, whip out your Android smartphone and pull up Google Maps. Having apparently conquered the terrestrial world, Google is now in the business of mapping buildings, including our own Kansas City International Airport.

A Google blog post explains: "Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you’re viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available. The familiar 'blue dot' icon indicates your location within several meters, and when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you’re on."

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Watch the Throne — Kanye edition — last night at the Sprint Center

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I’m not sure that the Sprint Center has ever had to contend with the levels of swagger that it was dealt last night, but it has also never had to contend with Jay-Z and Kanye West on the same stage. The two artists (and particularly West) are often discussed in terms of ego, and everyone expected and received a display of it in the performance. Who else has no opener, no live band, and plays the same song three times in a row (and pulls it all off, to boot)? That Jay-Z and Kanye West might have big egos is no shock. What was surprising was how hard the two artists work live, how different their styles are, and just how much fun it all was.

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Port Fonda and Boulevard team up on Ugly Christmas Sweater Party auction

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:30 AM

There will be no shortage of ugly sweaters on display next weekend.
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
  • There will be no shortage of ugly sweaters on display next weekend.
You've got one last shot at a dinner around El Comedor — the lacquered wood table inside the airstream trailer known as Port Fonda. And this four-course dinner is going to be special (and likely a bit raucous) because Boulevard will be providing the beer pairings with a few bottles from their Smokestack line.

The last dinner of the year will be in the parking lot outside Tower Tavern on Friday, December 9, from 8 to 10 p.m., auctioned off as part of the seventh annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party — a benefit for Operation Breakthrough. The current high bid is $460, which you have until Monday to best.

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The cult classics of Kansas City (Slideshow)

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Nothing has changed at Villa Capri and thats the idea.
Some restaurants are frozen in time, and that's just the way the regulars like it. In this week's print edition, Charles Ferruzza set out to uncover the secret formula that has kept Villa Capri, In-a-Tub, Don Chilito's, Sharp's and YJ's Snack Bar in the hearts of Kansas Citians for years. Sabrina Staires put together a collection of photos for a slideshow to accompany Charles' description. Click here or on the picture above for the photos.

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