Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Streetside: Everyone has an agenda for the Nelson-Atkins’ ambitious improvement agenda

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:30 AM

A Weiss/Manfredi architect patiently absorbs a cascade of neighborly opinions.
  • A Weiss/Manfredi architect patiently absorbs a cascade of neighborly opinions.

Talk about urban planning long enough — as about 75 citizens did recently as part of a community meeting organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (held at the Bancroft School, at 4300 Tracy) — and you begin to see certain civic blights and unexamined potential hiding in plain sight.

Why, for instance, is the intersection of Main Street and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard so congested and so pedestrian-unfriendly, and how could it be improved? What could be done to better connect the Nelson to the equally iconic Country Club Plaza? How could Troost — just as close to the Nelson as the museum is to the Plaza — become part of a reimagined district? Why is there no development along Brush Creek? Why is the museum buying nearby historic houses, and does that chip away at the fabric of the Rockhill and Southmoreland neighborhoods? Can Volker Park, nestled in a prime location but underutilized outside the handful of events held there each year, become more vibrant and appealing?

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Watch as the Fairfax Bridge explodes

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 3:37 PM

  • Wikipedia
The Fairfax Bridge, which connects Fairfax, Kansas, with Riverside, Missouri, via Highway 69, over the Missouri River, is being demolished and replaced with a new bridge.

What happens when a bridge built in the 1930s explodes? Why don't you watch this deeply satisfying 16-second video, taken earlier today: 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Streetside: Fiery Stick, a pop-up country club, tries to keep millennials on the KC course

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Sticking it out.
  • Sticking it out.
Among the crimes of what we inexactly refer to as the millennial generation — a group I belong to, though just barely — is the misuse and abuse of several words and phrases in the English language. I keep a regularly updated list in my brain of these buzzwords, along with various other tics and affectations. (I know, right? So random.) Persons guilty of such utterances are subject to my silent but semi-permanent scorn.

Here’s an example of a major offender: curate. You made a Spotify playlist and embedded it on a Tumblr page? That’s not just clicking things you like on the Internet — far from it! That’s curation. You invited some people over for dinner and made some hard choices about how to dress the salad, what vegetable to put with the main course and where to pick up dessert? My friend, you may not know it, but you’ve curated that meal. Congratulations and welcome to the creative class.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Roeland Park equal-rights ordinance takes a hit from a dubious hired gun

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 8:07 AM

The LGBT community will be fine without protection under the law, says group that has protection under the law.
  • "The LGBT community will be fine without protection under the law," says group that has protection under the law.
It is a testament to how far the gay-rights movement has come in America that those who oppose providing the LGBT community equal protection under the law are no longer comfortable coming right out and saying so. Even in late-adopting states such as Missouri and Kansas, anti-gay sentiment is now widely perceived for what it is: ugly. Under such conditions, non-bigoted-sounding reasons must be invented to perpetuate the denial of equal rights to gay persons.

These faux concerns range from financial ("It'll cost too much taxpayer money to implement and enforce these new laws") to constitutional ("You can't tell a private business owner who he can and cannot serve"; "Selling a cake to a gay couple's wedding goes against someone's religion") to wildly theoretical ("A transgender woman could rape women and children in a public restroom").

One ridiculous battle in this war is playing out in Roeland Park. On March 3, City Council members Megan England and Jennifer Gunby introduced an ordinance that would add sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI, as it is known in legal and civic shorthand) to the group of classes protected by the Kansas municipality's anti-discrimination law. Roeland Park's laws already protect individuals against discrimination on the bases of race, religion, color, age, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry and familial status. Under the new ordinance, LGBT individuals could no longer be discriminated against in employment, housing and business regulations.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Streetside: Chatting with KU's Jeffrey Hall, the anti-pickup artist

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Flirting guru Jeffrey Hall.
  • Flirting guru Jeffrey Hall.
It has been the observation of several women I've known that among my deficiencies as a mate is a stubborn aversion to expressing my feelings. I used to think this characteristic was native to my gender rather than a failing specifically mine. But at a certain point, you have to acknowledge your blind spots and try to correct them.

In my defense: I was raised Catholic in a German-Irish family in the Midwest. My people prefer to suffer and to do so in silence. I really never had a chance.

I would further suggest that the ocean of my True Feelings is perhaps not worth diving into. Wade past the obsessions with food and sex that dominate my daily existence, and, depending on my mood, the waters get pretty dark pretty quickly. When you wondered aloud about my feelings, were you wanting to discuss how all the things that humans spend their lives thinking about - relationships, careers, religion, mortality - are ultimately just distractions that serve to keep at bay the terrifying likelihood that our lives have no real significance? Because that is maybe what was on my mind when you asked.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Streetside: Going it alone at Temptation at the Station

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 2:45 PM

VIP livin'
  • VIP livin'

I keep agreeing to spend precious weekend nights covering events like Temptation at the Station, the annual sexy Halloween party for KC's young-professional set that was held Friday, October 25, at Union Station. Why? I try not to think about it too much, but it obviously has something to do with hating myself and believing that I deserve to suffer.

Do I dread these events? Yes. But that doesn't really mean anything. I dread everything. It can take me up to an hour to work up the courage to get in the shower. I just stare at the wall, sighing and frowning and shaking my head. Getting to the grocery store is a whole other set of emotional gymnastics. You don't even want to know.

General-admission tickets to Temptation at the Station, which was presented by the philanthropic organization the Bacchus Foundation, cost $45. But in a rare show of extravagance, my boss agreed to splurge for an $85 VIP pass. "I want you to have the full experience," he said.

"You realize I'm just going to get drunk and lurk around, right?" I said.

"I trust your process," he said.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Streetside: Not fitting in at Kansas City Fashion Week

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 11:07 AM

House of Cochon brings it.
  • House of Cochon brings it.
Shuttles were running between Union Station and the American Royal barbecue competition in the West Bottoms Friday night, and parking attendants were directing the long line of cars on Pershing Road out front. I rolled down my window, and someone came over.

"American Royal?" he said.

"No, Fashion Week party," I said.

He looked at me and then he looked at my car. The little door to my gas tank has been broken since sometime this past spring. Initially the problem was that the door wouldn't open, and I would have to pry it loose with a screwdriver. Then one day, I was too aggressive with the screwdriver, and I dislodged some part of it. Now it hangs off the side of my car, and people honk at me and point at it when I'm waiting at traffic lights. "Yeah, yeah," I say, nodding my head and waving them off. "I know, I know."

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