You've heard it from your friends, and we've heard it from ours: Dating in Kansas City is hard. Well, sure — dating anywhere is hard. Sometimes you're the heartbreaker, sometimes you're the heartbroken, and sometimes there's no heartbeat to start with. But now and then, we see a couple who clicks. We notice the way they look at each other, we admire their ease and chemistry, and we feel a little hopeful. Because there are still smart, talented, sexy men and women out there, and they're single. In fact, here are 14 of them: our crushworthy Heartbreakers. Consider yourself introduced.
If you're going to win Sarah Miskew's heart, you better make nice with her shepherd-chow-mutt mix, Lil' Chew. Do that and you might — might — make your way onto this animal lover's packed calendar. As director of marketing for the Independence Events Center, she's behind some of the metro's biggest events: Missouri Mavericks hockey games, Comets soccer matches, and big concerts like the Band Perry. But it's not all games with Miskew, who melted our hearts by dressing up for the Mavs' Star Wars Night as Princess Leia. Adorkable.
Occupation: Director of marketing at the Independence Events Center
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? Chilled glass of white wine
Andre's or Elbow? Why not both?
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Reality-TV shows about tattoo corrections, which is odd because I don't even have a tattoo.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Princess Leia — I loaned my Mr. McGibblets costume from FXX's The League to a friend.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Those ASPCA commercials get me every time. I wish more people would adopt from local shelters.
What's on your nightstand? Cellphone charger and several books, magazines and newspaper articles I've been meaning to read.
What's the coolest thing in your home? My dog, the Lil' Chew
What are you most vain about? Let's just say I'm hesitant to renew my driver's license, especially if it means I have to walk around with a picture I don't like for the next 10 years.
What's your workout? Running around the Independence Events Center.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? A great smile
Who's on your crush list? Seth MacFarlane
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Turn on the charm.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? A stormtrooper said, "Phasers set to stunning!" to me at this year's Missouri Mavericks Star Wars night.
The date I want: Great conversation, lots of laughs and a night out on the town.
The date I usually end up on: An awkward dinner with the male version of Saturday Night Live's Debbie Downer
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Bluestem
If you want to impress me, feed me: Anything. If you know your way around a kitchen, consider me impressed because I can't even boil water.
What's your deal breaker? A guy who would ask me to choose between him and my dog. FYI, the Lil' Chew will win every time.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Heartbroken
Kansas City scream king Adam Roberts knows you love scary movies almost as much as he does. Along with his brother-in-law, the witty 26-year-old has transformed North Kansas City's Screenland Armour (and its opening-soon Crossroads outpost) into a destination for movie fans and craft-beer lovers — the perfect place for, say, a date. It's also a magnet for horror buffs, and Roberts writes and directs his own spooktacular features. Which means Roberts could invite you to a screening (lucky you) or maybe cast you in a project (luckier?).
Occupation: Co-owner and operator of Screenland Armour and Crossroads, filmmaker
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? People who know me know I'm a beer snob but also a beer whore. I'm always sipping down delicious beers from Cinder Block, especially its Paver's Porter.
Andre's or Elbow? Is this a wrestling question?
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? I'm not sure it's totally "guilty," but I'm a big fan of Lena Dunham's Girls. Any show that can go toe-to-toe with male perverted awkwardness, I'm in for.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Patrick Bateman.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Probably that movie Blackfish if I watched it. And every song by Seal.
What's on your nightstand? Scott Pilgrim vinyl, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and a half-drank glass of water.
What's the coolest thing in your home? My camera
What's your workout? Punch-dancing my rage out in the forest.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? A good smile
Who's on your crush list? Kelly Kapowski, Cassie McCrady, Emma Stone
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Quick wit
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? A guy at the bar was asked, "What can I get for you?" by the bartender. He responded, "Your number because I don't have it."
The date I want: Funny Girl
The date I usually end up on: Drunk and dumb girl
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Always a fan of Nara or Anton's. Fortunately, they are across from each other.
If you want to impress me, feed me: Something with garlic. Spice. And delicious booze pairing.
What's your deal breaker? Mega religious, judgmental, nonfunny jerkface jerk
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? The Heartbreak Kid
"It's one of those songs that just takes you back to ... " Dionne Jeroue pauses. The singer has taken maybe half a second to name Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" as her favorite song, but now she's trying to explain why. "It makes me feel so much," she finally says. "I was a two-sport athlete in college, I was in the Army, I had a kid early — I've done a lot and so I identify with a song that says, 'Screw it, I'm just going to sit down right here and think about some shit." Jeroue doesn't get to do much sitting, busy as she is with her day job (working at a River Market law firm as a medical-malpractice consultant) and with modeling and acting. And, of course, there's all the singing she does around town. So when she gets to that Redding number, she makes it count. "It feels good to my soul," she says. Cue the whistling.
Occupation: Medical malpractice consultant, jazz singer, model, actress
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? Jameson
Andre's or Elbow? Elbow
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Nancy Grace Mysteries. I feel dirty just typing that.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: a naughty, naughty devil.
What's the last thing that made you cry? My Aunt Re. She raised me but passed away in 2007, and her birthday was January 5. Still think about her every day.
What's on your nightstand? Glad you didn't ask what's in it! A lamp, an alarm clock and a bottle of water.
What are you most vain about? Apparently, my hair. A few months ago, I went to a salon for a trim, and the girl jacked it up, and I had to get it all cut off and start over. I've never been more preoccupied and upset by an aspect of my appearance before. And by upset, I mean I have to stop myself from fantasizing about waiting for her in a parking lot and shaving a strip of hair right down the middle of her dome, like a reverse skunk.
What's your workout? Distance running. I love to listen to music, zone out and just go.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Lips. A man's mouth is one of the first things I notice.
Who's on your crush list? President Obama, Idris Elba and Denzel Washington, forever and always, amen.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Not to hit on me. Just say hi and act like a grown-ass man.
The date I want: Dinner somewhere tasty, then live music. I'm a big foodie, and I want the opportunity to really talk and get an idea of who he is.
The date I usually end up on: Dinner and abject disappointment
What's your foolproof date restaurant? PotPie
If you want to impress me, feed me: Cow ass — I am obsessed with steak. I'm drooling right now just thinking about it, and I just ate one yesterday.
What's your deal breaker? I have a few ... hundred: assholery, bad hygiene, rudeness, deception, ignorance, intolerance, creepy shit, smacking while eating, chewing with an open mouth, anything apelike. And Republicans.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? I might be struck down if I say anything otherwise: heartbreaker fo sho.
Kelly John Clark
A word now about Kelly John Clark's arms: nice. "There was a Facebook page that some of the students set up, a secret page," the artist and Kansas City Art Institute instructor says. "I was spoken about as having very nice arms." Clark has other reasons to feel confident these days. He's a couple of months into a new relationship, and his artwork is all over the place: His drawings are part of a Plug Projects group exhibition at Omaha's Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and when we called him last Friday, he was on his way to Rockhurst's Greenlease Gallery to help install Sunday Painter: Kansas City Plein Air Coterie, a show celebrating the outdoor-painting group he co-founded. But wait — are his arms that good? "I'd agree with it," Clark says of that anonymous assessment.
Occupation: Artist working in drawing, printmaking and painting, instructor in the printmaking department at the Kansas City Art Institute
Relationship status: Dating someone.
What's your go-to drink? Whiskey and soda water, with a lemon wedge. Also, the Rieger used to have a fig-infused bourbon I liked very much.
Andre's or Elbow? I like Annedore's. Everything is adorable there.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: a humorless college instructor. It was entirely effective.
What's the last thing that made you cry? A funeral
What's on your nightstand? An alarm clock, a broken lamp, a set of reading glasses from the drugstore, and probably one of my cats.
What's the coolest thing in your home? I have a small but growing collection of drawings, prints and paintings, which I keep in a flat file in my home and take out from time to time to look at.
What are you most vain about? My arms have been assigned to me as my best feature. I am, however, most vain about my jawline, though it is covered with a beard right now.
What's your workout? Running
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Top knots
Who's on your crush list? My worldwide list includes Helen Mirren. My local list just became empty again.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? I encourage you not to hit on me, please.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? Used on me: "I find you very photogenic." Yuck.
The date I want: I would prefer not to drive.
The date I usually end up on: I drive somewhere.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Westport Café
If you want to impress me, feed me: Cajun, Puerto Rican or Ethiopian.
What's your deal breaker? Can't deliver a joke or tell a good story.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? On average, heartbroken
"I used to joke that I was living my whole life inside of rectangles," Matt Jacobs says. But the more work he does at Dolphin Frames, the more he finds his taste in art evolving. He recently fashioned a custom frame for an Ahram Park photo he acquired last year, a piece that's more than just art to him. "It's a reminder of friendship," he says. "Ahram is great, and I love his work." Jacobs also likes another of our Heartbreakers, Paul Anthony Smith; the two were once roommates, and Jacobs has one of Smith's ceramic pieces. "It's, like, a shell cast of a bomb," he says. Park and Smith are advised to visit La Esquina, where Jacobs' own art is now on display.
Occupation: Artist, framer at Dolphin Frames
Relationship status: Complicated
What's your go-to drink? Old-Fashioned
Andre's or Elbow? Elbow!
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? RuPaul's Drag Race
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Last year was kind of lame, but I was a busy drag queen the year before.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Honestly, I'm not really a crier, but it was probably some adorably funny Internet dog video.
What's on your nightstand? A lamp, a Henry Miller book and a very nice square of Plexiglas
What's the coolest thing in your home? I can't say how I got this, but I have a cast from a mold taken off the original Venus of Willendorf.
What are you most vain about? I started sporting this beard a couple of months ago. At first, I was pretty self-conscious about it, but so far it's been well-received.
What's your workout? I'm a swimmer by choice, but lately I've taken up yoga.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Always been a sucker for blond hair and blue eyes.
Who's on your crush list? Friend crush: Hank Eddins. He's just one of my favorite people. Art crush: Garry Noland, Kansas City's art sensei. I'm also onboard with America's crush on Jennifer Lawrence.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Sincerely.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? I'm not big on pickup lines. But I used to joke with friends in art school about trying to get dates by telling someone: "I think you would be great for my work." Yuck.
The date I want: Summertime weekend camping trip
The date I usually end up on: Cold, fireless night at a KOA in Topeka
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Home cooking, for sure
If you want to impress me, feed me: Something I've wanted to try for a while.
What's your deal breaker? Guys with long nails or manicured eyebrows.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? My record is 50/50 right now.
Yeah, we could have asked the man who spends his nights as DJ Thundercutz to talk about his grooming habits (but you can see some of that for yourself) or his exes. But he's a music man, and we had a music question. What are your V-Day make-out musts, dude? There's no arguing with stone classics. To wit: Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love," Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," Keith Sweat's "Twisted," Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" and Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine." What about those legs, though, DJ Thundercutz?
Occupation: DJ Thundercutz
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? I'll take a scotch and water, hold the scotch — or a Kenyan coffee from Oddly Correct.
Andre's or Elbow? I'm ashamed to admit I've experienced neither. If either company would like to change that, then hit a bearded brotha' up!
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Creepily observing awkward interactions among strangers.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: A Rastafarian.
What's the last thing that made you cry? PBS's Independent Lens had a piece on Arizona's recently implemented immigration laws. Jorge Martinez, featured in the piece, was arrested and sent to Immigration Services to possibly be deported to Mexico but was released on humanitarian grounds. That moment when he was able to re-embrace his son ...
What's on your nightstand? 45 RPM records. Everything else is irrelevant.
What's the coolest thing in your home? The roof over my head. Shelter is coooool!
What are you most vain about? My opinions, because they are superior.
What's your workout? I was selected as a "Heartbreaker" for a reason. Eh, who am I kidding? Bicycling.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? A drop-dead-gorgeous face! A natural dame makes me weak in the knees, and every other pleasant feature after that is just a bonus. I'm willing to broker a deal: If women wear a little less makeup, men must remove the sock(s) from their pants, ya dig?
Who's on your crush list? Your mom
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Just make fun of me. I love to laugh at myself, and you should, too.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? "I know milk does a body good, but damn girl, how much have you been drinking?" It's all in the delivery.
The date I want: Royals day game, sushi at Nara, music at Riot Room, sweatpants at home
The date I usually end up on: The one where I'm waiting for a text-message confirmation: "We're still on for this evening, right?" I'm still waiting.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? The Drop. Their bruschetta is affordable and muy delicioso! I find that eating with your fingers just takes the undesirably formal edge off that usually accompanies dating.
If you want to impress me, feed me: Boobs or baklava. Both are equally gratifying.
What's your deal breaker? Refusing to treat your fellow human with dignity and compassion.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Depends on which day of the week it is. I've worn both shoes, and neither is appealing.
"I feel like I cheated," Winifred Wright says. And by any reasonable measure, she's right — it's unfair how fast she and her boyfriend of a month and a half were able to figure each other out. But that's what happens when a style-eyed man who has been living in another city starts dating a self-described "architecturally inclined" woman with her own knack for detail. (Wright has a master's degree in architecture, and she just wrapped up 18 months of work on the National Museum of the United States Army, a Virginia space that should open later this decade.) "We're very like-minded about what we like in a living space: a good kitchen, natural light, efficiency." They agree about what they dislike in a home, too — but they can worry about that later.
Occupation: Museum designer
Relationship status: In a relationship
What's your go-to drink? Alcoholic: gin gimlet; nonalcoholic: grapefruit La Croix or hot jasmine tea
Andre's or Elbow? Growing up, I remember hearing how my parents' wedding cake was from Andre's, and it was always an extra-special treat to go with Grandma to the tearoom. Now that Kansas City is expanding and new concepts are emerging, I really do enjoy the contemporary freshness Elbow has to offer. Christopher's chocolate is sexy and hip, which really draws me in.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Klondike Solitaire, for sure. If we are talking TV or film, I will have to go with Downton Abbey or Harry Potter.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Leeloo Dallas from The Fifth Element.
What's the last thing that made you cry? A pretty rough breakup. That took a lot of tears, but I learned a lot during the process of grieving, mostly about myself.
What's on your nightstand? A cookbook, eucalyptus, a La Croix, and my phone
What are you most vain about? This is a tough question to answer because I don't really like being vain, but I suppose everyone is to some extent. I'm probably most vain about my personality.
What's your workout? Does eating count? I'm pretty sure chewing food burns calories.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Definitely kind eyes
Who's on your crush list? My boyfriend, Dayton, is totally at the top of my crush list. He's pretty much the best. A close second is Jennifer Lawrence. I have a total lady crush on her.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? I really don't like being "hit on," per se. I enjoy a more organic connection through sincere conversation. But if someone were to attempt it, I would suggest they ask me out on a real date.
The date I want: I'm going to change "want" to "most enjoy." The date I most enjoy is one where thoughtfulness has been employed. If it is unique or quirky, that's great. I don't like to work too hard to have a good time, so something simple is always a sure bet.
The date I end up on: Maintaining a certain amount of flexibility has always proved an asset. The date I normally end up on is a fun one, because I make sure of it.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Vietnam Café, hands down.
If you want to impress me, feed me: Knowledge.
What's your deal breaker? Deal breaker in a potential partner is an inability to listen. Differences are much easier to handle and celebrate when both people can listen well.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? I've been on both sides of this fence many times, but I think people generally perceive me as more of a heartbreaker due to my independent nature.
Aaron Chvatal is serious about his old yarn — even if his new boyfriend isn't. "He thinks it's kitschy as shit, but I love it," Chvatal says. That would be the crewel pieces he finds in thrift stores. "The start of my collection was my aunt. That's what she did when she was first married." (The marriage didn't last, but the fabric presumably did.) Chvatal is even more serious about costuming performers, work he has done since high school. He just finished his master's degree at UMKC, with an eye for the opera house. "I really like going into fantasy world — historic costumes that don't exist anymore or pieces that never existed," he says. Also, OK'ing his boyfriend's street clothes. "He's got pretty good taste. I just like to change his jeans wash sometimes."
Occupation: Freelance costume designer
Relationship status: Seeing someone
What's your go-to drink? Whiskey ginger (bourbon and ginger ale)
Andre's or Elbow? Both — I can't play favorites when chocolate is involved.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Connie Carlysle. Love her vintage style.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Brian's death on Family Guy
What's on your nightstand? A vintage Lucite grape lamp and a copy of Dan Brown's Inferno
What's the coolest thing in your home? My wall of crewel work (vintage yarn art)
What are you most vain about? My hair
What's your workout? Hauling costumes in and out of theaters
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Eyes and chest hair
Who's on your crush list? Ryan Gosling
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Didn't I already mention I was vain about my hair? Or tell me you saw a show I costumed, and that you loved it.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? "I wish you were my little toe, because I want to bang you on every piece of furniture in the house."
The date I want: My boyfriend takes me out for pho, then we hit up a vintage store or a thrift shop, and end up with a movie and a fire in his fireplace. I'm a simple guy.
The date I usually end up on: See above. I caught a good one.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Vietnam Café at Sixth and Campbell. Pho is my comfort food, and theirs is the best in town. It's also a litmus test. If they aren't willing to try something new, they aren't the one.
If you want to impress me, feed me: A steak with a glass of bourbon on the side.
What's your deal breaker? Physically? Lack of chest hair. Mentally? Lack of passion, in whatever your field may be.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Heartbreaker
Kristin Kenney wants to start you up. As a technology lawyer at Polsinelli, she helps the city's dreamers and doers go from startup to seller. And she doesn't stop starting at 5 o'clock. Kenney helped found the Athena League, dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs across many fields. All of this is impressive, but she also knows how to make a style impression: Think Audrey Hepburn and a blue tuxedo for New Year's. Color us disrupted.
Occupation: Technology attorney at Polsinelli
Relationship status: Dating someone new
What's your go-to drink? A great glass of red wine or cider. (And, yes, I know it tastes just like the apple juice you drank as a kid. I still love it!)
Andre's or Elbow? No question — Elbow! My two favorite Christopher Elbow chocolates are sea salt and rosemary.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Every few months, I'll discover a new show on Netflix or Hulu and binge-watch the entire series, like Sherlock, Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Bridges of Madison County. Gets me every time!
What's on your nightstand? My phone, East of Eden (one of my all-time favorites) and a bunch of other books I haven't gotten to yet.
What's the coolest thing in your home? I have three brain-scan lightboxes that are part of a beautiful series created by Lee Tracy, a friend and artist I worked with in Chicago.
What are you most vain about? Fashion. I spend way too much money on clothes and shoes.
What's your workout? Combination of weights and cardio
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Tall guys with great smiles
Who's on your crush list? Funny nerds! I like guys who are smart, confident and have a great sense of humor.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Be confident and genuine.
The date I want: Involves lots of laughs, wine and good food.
The date I usually end up on: Usually, it still involves lots of laughs, wine and good food, but may be in yoga pants on the couch instead of going out.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Julian in Brookside. Not only is the food amazing but the owner/staff are great, and they allow dogs on the patio. Bonus: It's really close to my house!
If you want to impress me, feed me: Something I haven't tried before. Or steak. Who doesn't love a good steak?
What's your deal breaker? For me, it's important that my guy and I have chemistry, mutual respect and lots of fun.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Both
Michelle Dreher isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. That's her job when she's hand-carving illustrations and working with three vintage Vandercook letterpresses and an 1898 Chandler & Price platen press. We've long been admirers of Dreher's colorful, bold prints of dinosaurs, ghost ships and alien abductions. But the creative force behind Two Tone Press won our hearts with her anti–Valentine's Day cards, holding such snarky slogans as "You'll do ... for now" and "Cupid makes me cringe." We'd be happy to get the one that reads, "I hate you" — as long as Dreher was the one sending it.
Occupation: Co-owner of Two Tone Press
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? Gotta have my coffee in the morning ... nectar of the gods. Later on, a good dry red Malbec is a nice way to end the evening.
Andre's or Elbow? C. Elbow all the way. They're almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? I love board games, like Cranium and 7 Wonders. Also, my marathon nights of The X-Files.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: A Gypsy.
What's the last thing that made you cry? I'm a sucker, so it doesn't take much to make me tear up. Could be sad puppies on TV or inspiring story I read about or the part in The Wrath of Khan when Spock dies ... gets me every time.
What's the coolest thing in your home? A giant bathroom mirror made by a friend of mine. It has a handmade ceramic frame around it with the word "VANITY" across the top and a bunch of round globe lights. It makes you feel like a rock star.
What are you most vain about? Being the owner of a print shop. I have four presses, which are all named after '80s pop stars.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? I like facial hair like that rough 5 o'clock shadow look over the clean-cut look. That look that says you don't mind getting your hands dirty.
Who's on your crush list? Chris Pine is pretty hot, but I know Paul Rudd is from Kansas City, so I wouldn't mind bumping into him on the street.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Just make me laugh. I like a good easygoing sense of humor. However, I have more of a dry sense of humor, so I probably find things funny that other people might not.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? I can't really think of any lame pickup lines, but this one time, I was taking a nude-figure drawing class, and the male model asked me out afterward. Awkward.
The date I want: I think it's really attractive if a guy can cook, so I would love for someone to make me an awesome meal complete with a nice red wine or a good stout beer. I don't think there are too many ladies out there who like stouts the way I do.
The date I usually end up on: I usually end up going out to dinner on dates, which is OK, too. I do think going to the movies is the worst idea ever. I love movies, but the point of a date is to get to know the other person, so why would you go to a place where you're not supposed to talk?
What's your foolproof date restaurant? I like Harry's Country Club, which is nice and casual. The food is simple, and they have quite a beer list. Top that off with the best jukebox in town, and I'm a happy camper.
If you want to impress me, feed me: Something homemade (hopefully something good so I don't have to pretend to like it just to be polite).
What's your deal breaker? Smoking is a deal breaker for me. When I worked at a coffee place, people would come in from outside, and the smell was just overwhelming ... total turnoff.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? I'd have to say a little of both.
Paul Anthony Smith
This weekend, Paul Anthony Smith makes Dallas his valentine by showing up to open his part of a group exhibition in that city's Oliver Francis Gallery. "It's part of my occupation as an artist, traveling for exhibitions and shows," he says. That includes his trip to last year's Venice Biennale. With bookings likely to come this year in New York and Chicago, the former art handler and preparator at the Nelson-Atkins may not be around here long enough for your crush to go nuclear. That's probably safer for you, though, right?
Occupation: Visual artist
What's your go-to drink? Guinness extra stout
Andre's or Elbow? Elbow
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Traveling
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Myself.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Speaking to a friend of past events.
What's on your nightstand? It's usually my phone.
What's the coolest thing in your home? Photo albums of images
What's your workout? Thirty minutes elliptical and various weights afterward
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Confidence
Who's on your crush list? Esther Honig
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? A compliment
The date I want: The date I want is more of a fishing excursion followed by an evening of fun.
The date I usually end up on: Lunch date. I go out for lunch a few times a week, and why not share a meal with someone while getting to know them.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Korma Sutra in Westport
If you want to impress me, feed me: Dark-chocolate croissants.
What's your deal breaker? Cigarette smoking
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Both
If you get a chance to hear Rebecca Armstrong talk about her art, listen. She'll explain that she makes gig posters for friends' bands —and does it for free — because it makes them happy. (It also gets her art out in the world.) While you're at it, ask her about the pro bono work she does for American Advertising Federation–Kansas City, which each year serves as the agency of record for a nonprofit, such as Sleepyhead Beds (which gives beds to children in need), reStart (which helps the city's homeless population) and REbel (which educates kids about disorders). It's no wonder she was named Ad 2 Council's 2013 volunteer of the year. Are you ready to volunteer your heart to her?
Occupation: Freelance designer, part-time marketing coordinator and designer at Charlotte Street Foundation
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? Whiskey ginger ale or Boulevard Double-Wide
Andre's or Elbow? Elbow. I'm a sucker for the lavender and champagne chocolates.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Alton Brown (Good Eats on Food Network). He's a genius.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Katniss Everdeen.
What's the last thing that made you cry? Her
What's on your nightstand? On the Road by Jack Kerouac and my Wacom tablet
What's the coolest thing in your home? My signed Radiohead poster or my life-size skeleton that my roomie and I dress up for the holidays.
What are you most vain about? My design work. Sometimes I think it's pretty rad.
What's your workout? Roller-skating or yoga
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Big, pretty grins
Who's on your crush list? Young Paul Newman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tina Fey if I were into gals.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? Heard: "Let's get out of here. You be Lewis, I'll be Clark, and she [pointing at my friend] can be the Trail." Inventive, though, I'll give them that.
The date I want: Monet's gardens in Giverny, France. OK, realistically, a nice local restaurant (extra points for trying somewhere new), craft beers and some live jazz or local band.
The date I usually end up on: Some kind of sports bar and grill, and I don't even watch sports.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? Jerusalem Café
If you want to impress me, feed me: Drinks at Manifesto.
What's your deal breaker? Drummers. No, just kidding! Bad hygiene and/or no goals in life.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? I've probably been a little of each.
Dustin Racen was just like any other dude, talking about opening a bar with a buddy. Except that he and Chadwick Veach bought the vacated storefront at 1813 Grand and opened the Tank Room. Cool things from a sweet guy with a soft side. Ask him his guilty pleasure, and he'll tell you that he likes to watch Disney movies. Ask him about his prized possession, and he'll tell you about his great-grandfather's baby grand piano. Ask him out, and he might just say yes.
Occupation: President of Fountain Town Media and co-owner of the Tank Room
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? Boulevard Wheat for lunch, Whiskey Coke at night, Coors Light with the boys
Andre's or Elbow? Elbow for sure! I used to work in California for my aunt and uncle, who owned a fine-chocolate shop very similar to Christopher Elbow, and really came to love the artistry involved in making chocolates like that. Besides, Elbow is local. I have bought quite a few chocolates from there in my day.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Probably some of the older Disney movies. I love The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, and The Fox and the Hound. In fact, I have watched all three of those in the last month.
What's the last thing that made you cry? I don't remember specifically, but I am sure it was a movie I watched. I can definitely get choked up over a sad movie.
What's on your nightstand? Lamp, clock, phone charger, home protection
What's the coolest thing in your home? Hmm, I think it would have to be my great-grandfather's baby grand piano. It is an early 1900s Chickering that he got when he was pretty young and has been passed through the family.
What are you most vain about? Probably shoes and jackets. I am sure I own too many of both.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Piercing eyes are always something that will catch me off-guard. Attitude goes a long way, too, in making physical features pop. Confidence is sexy, shyness can be cute, etc.
Who's on your crush list? Well, if we are speaking about celebrity crushes, I definitely have to go with Natalie Portman. Beyond her obvious physical attractiveness, I really like the roles she seems to put herself in, and I feel like that gives insight into the kind of person she is ... although, that assumption could be way off-base.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Directly, I suppose.
The date I want: The company makes the date. It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing. If there is no connection, it can be awkward for everyone. So I guess a date with good company is the best place to start. If that's there, the rest will be fine.
The date I usually end up on: I guess I don't date enough to have one that sticks in my mind as one I usually end up on.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? If she's cool with Grinders, I'm cool with her.
If you want to impress me, feed me: Anything homemade.
What's your deal breaker? Even though I don't speak about them too much, I have pretty strong political, philosophical and religious views. If someone's worldview is drastically different than mine, it doesn't mean it's wrong, but we would probably not last too long.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Hasn't everyone been both?
Anna Louise Hoard
Like professional singers far and wide, Anna Louise Hoard won't do without tea. Unlike your average diva, though, she doesn't skimp on the spice on a big night. "I need pho," she says. "I like hot, spicy soup before a performance." She's eating a lot of it lately because her gig calendar is full and getting fuller. It's her first season with the Kansas City Chorale, which means traveling to Arizona and Canada and a recording session, and she's part of the new-music-intensive Black House Collective, among other ensembles. "I have to schedule two weeks out with friends," she says. Totally worth the wait.
Occupation: Mezzo-soprano and collaborator-at-large
Relationship status: Single
What's your go-to drink? This winter has been perfect for hot toddies at home. I make them with rye whiskey, maple syrup, and a pao flower tisane from Kansas City's own Shang Tea. I'll add a grapefruit wedge if I'm feeling fancy.
Andre's or Elbow? I'm sorry, what did you say? I was distracted by this Manos Chocolates citrus-hibiscus bar.
What's your guiltiest entertainment pleasure? Sci-fi as dreamed up by Joss Whedon.
Last Halloween, I dressed up as: Wednesday Addams.
What's the last thing that made you cry? A prison documentary
What's on your nightstand? Aromatic houseplants
What's the coolest thing in your home? A twisty, fuzzy, Seussian purple houseplant
What are you most vain about? My houseplants
What's your workout? I walk a lot, and then I stretch, and sometimes I go dancing.
What physical feature are you a sucker for? Shoulders!
Who's on your crush list? Jeff Buckley, Sandra Oh, Joyce DiDonato as Bellini's Romeo.
What's the best way for someone to hit on you? Beauty- and justice-oriented innovators get me all Twitter-pated. Be excited about what you do and explain it to me.
What's the lamest pickup line you've ever heard (or used)? "Can I get 50 cents and your phone number?" It half worked.
The date I want: I love a good project. Who wants to build a vermicompost bin or go mushroom hunting or reupholster the antique chaise longue that's been languishing in my basement?
The date I usually end up on: Brunch. I love brunch, too.
What's your foolproof date restaurant? The Farmhouse. For brunch!
If you want to impress me, feed me: Guess.
What's your deal breaker? If a suitor didn't enjoy my family, it would never work out. They are the best.
Heartbreaker or heartbroken? Enough of each, I hope.