Thursday, January 31, 2008

American Music Club Headed for Record Bar

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 at 1:55 PM

By SCOTT WILSON

More than a decade after his only solo visit to Kansas City -- and 19 years since his band, American Music Club, played its only local date* -- Mark Eitzel is coming back to cry for you.

Since reuniting in 2004, AMC has changed rhythm sections, but Eitzel's low wail remains the same. And the man's songwriting -- bitter laments, scathing self-reproach, acerbic political reprovals -- has only sharpened. No one song conveys the cumulative effect of an AMC album or an Eitzel performance, but check this one out anyway and reserve May 5 on your calendar.

American Music Club: "All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco" MP3, courtesy of Merge Records

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*probably at Harling's, not "Harding's"

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A Toast to Tommy — and His Dog

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 at 12:17 PM

By JEN CHEN

I’ve been to Tommy Farha’s Café & Bar only twice — both times in the context of Wornall bar tours — but I liked the bar’s laid-back diveishness. Located at 80th and Wornall, the cozy place draws a steady crowd of neighborhood regulars and serves up beer for cheap.

I never met the eponymous co-owner Tommy Farha, but I heard that he was quite a character — especially considering he named his dog after himself. The Lhasa apso Tommy Farha was described to me as the “most spoiled dog in Kansas City.” At one point, he even installed an electric fence at the door because the dog kept escaping out of the bar. Sadly, after this Night Ranger column came out about the place, I heard the health department descended and banned Tommy the dog from hanging out at the bar.

So, when I read this obituary in the Star that Tommy Farha (the human) had died, I was bummed that I never got to meet him or his dog. The visitation and funeral services will be held at 5 p.m. Friday. Farha’s friends will gather at the bar before and after the services.

As for Tommy Farha the dog, he was adopted by a couple about a year ago. “He’s got a good home with a big yard,” said Cat, one of the bartenders who also helps run the place. At least one thing hasn’t changed: “He’s very spoiled.”

For more information about the gathering, call 816-444-0990.

Daily Briefs: Phill Kline, Snowpocalypse, World's Sexiest Mayor

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 at 8:40 AM

By CHRIS PACKHAM

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• The Snowpocalypse is coming! Also, it has been downgraded from Snowpocalypse to Snownoyance. Yesterday, I heard 4 to 8 inches. Now they're saying 1 to 4 inches. At this rate, it's going to take 85.5 years to submerge the Statue of Liberty. Please note that I am a red-blooded patriotic veteran and that I don't want the Statue of Liberty submerged in snow, beheaded, worshiped by future apes or closed for cleaning and maintenance.

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• Phill Kline scoffs and struts around your uterus in a proprietary manner with his chest puffed out: A Johnson County grand jury has subpoenaed the medical records of 16 women who had abortions in 2003 at Planned Parenthood in Overland Park. The subpoena seeks identifying information already denied to District Attorney Phill Kline's office by the the googly-eyed Contra 4 boss monster of high courts, the Supreme Court. Checkmate, ladies.

Meanwhile, Kline's fight against abortion made the Los Angeles Times this morning.

• There's a forgettable Keanu Reeves film called Johnny Mnemonic, in which Henry Rollins portrays a black-market doctor who drives around in a van powered by natural gas, which fills a huge airtight bag on the van's roof. Despite the fact that Henry Rollins could wrap his arm around my skull and then crush it by flexing his biceps, I have to say that he's a pretty bad actor. And you know what? He was still better than Keanu Reeves. He also acted circles around Ice-T, obvs.

Anyway. There's a bill moving through the Kansas statehouse that would increase emission standards for two new coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas. It also calls for the state's fleet vehicles to be powered by natural gas. JUST LIKE HENRY ROLLINS' FUTURE-VAN! And to put the nanomechanical icing on the gene-spliced future-cake, I totally learned about this initiative in CYBERSPACE, as seen in Johnny Mnemonic:

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(Pictured: Cyberspace)

• Secretary of State Robin Carnahan will not run for governor, but she will block Matt Blunt's gubernatorial health plan, pending a review.

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• Just wanted to point out that there's another embattled mayor facing a recall election. Arlington, Oregon, Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist — whose last name sounds like the title of a series of barbarian novels with cover illustrations painted by Boris Vallejo — has been targeted by outraged constituents over pictures on her MySpace page that depict the Mayor in a variety of sexxxy poses. Click here for the sexxxy! My cursory Google image search only yielded the blurry Mayoral picture available at the link, so we've provided a Boris Vallejo painting at right.

• The Humane Society of the United States released footage taken by an undercover investigator at a California plant revealing cows too sick or lame to walk even when electrically prodded and a variety of abuses in violation of state and federal laws. The horrifying punchline is that the plant apparently provides meat to U.S. schools. Also: SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!! Also: TO SERVE MAN IS A COOKBOOK!!!

There's a graphic video at the link. Be warned, because as I recall from the trailer for the overwrought Nicholas Cage film 8MM, "There are some things you can't unsee." But you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page, and the cow video won't start playing without your permission.

Back when I worked on the killing floor at a plant in central Iowa, the old-timers used to make fun of the guy who used the pneumatic cattle gun because in the '70s, they'd just let the cows die of malignant catarrhal fever and then slaughter them. And that was where meat came from. And I think I heard that they rendered those very cows into the chicken fried steak fed to orphans. So I have to ask: When did our immune systems lose their sacks? It's like we're all a bunch of wilting flowers whose leukocytes can't handle a few prions.

• Yesterday, I suggested that Conklin Fangman of Conklin Fangman Motors had the coolest name in Kansas City. In comments, someone called Heatherkay pointed out that The Pitch already declared Kansas City architect and transit activist E. Crichton "Kite" Singleton as having the coolest name. But now maybe we need to construct a list of cool Kansas City names. Please submit your nomination in comments, or send me an email.

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Bingo Goes Bust

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 at 6:57 AM

By CRYSTAL K. WIEBE

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In The Pitch’s recent Cheapskate Edition, we touted the joys of bingo and cheap PBR on Tuesday nights at the Brick. Sadly, though the weekly Game Night will continue with free Wii bowling, bingo will be part of the activities only once a month — on the last Tuesday, for Customer Appreciation Night. That means a lot fewer opportunities to hear hot host Alicia Solombrino whisper “Oooooo-sixxxxxxxxty-niiiiiiiiiiine” into the mic.

She said it a lot the other night. Unfortunately, O-69 appeared on none of my four bingo cards. I didn’t get a bingo all night. But, really, when you’re swigging from a bottomless cup of PBR (all-you-can-drink for $5 between 6 and 10 p.m.) and chowing remarkably tasty 75-cent tacos, not winning a box of 100 gumballs doesn’t really faze you.

My friend Sarah won the best prize all night, but too late. We could have used the toy set of “FBI agent” accessories before bingo started, when the Brick was still a virtual bowling alley, thanks to the powers of Wii. The video game portion of Game Night used to be Guitar Hero, but a couple of weeks ago it got changed to Wii bowling. We heard all about that multiple times from some drunk dude in a stocking cap and a Reggie and the Full Effect hoodie who said he and his friends were responsible for bringing in Wii and extending the PBR special for two more hours. I won’t argue with additional beertime. And I’m glad that the Wii freaks now have a place to wear their homemade Wii league shirts.

But I do wish Sarah would have had that nightstick when the duder started petting our friend Marc’s shoes and cooing about how the leather must be Italian. Weird.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Daily Briefs: Affidavit Action! Barack Obamania! And the Coolest Name in Kansas City!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 9:48 AM

By CHRIS PACKHAM

• A group of five Kansas City residents filed an affidavit with the City Clerk, seeking a recall of Mayor Mark Funkhouser. The petitioners were listed

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as Saundra Ross, Joycetta Silvers, Moniece Lovelace, Dwight Ross and JoAnn Mitchell. Now these five people have a new hobby: Collecting 16,950 signatures, equal to 20 percent of the voters in the election last March, in order to force a recall election. That breaks out to about 3,390 signatures per Recall Funkhouser Ladies Club member.

Except, WHOOPS: Your recall affidavit is invalid: The group is going to have to refile. Only two of the five petitioners are registered to vote at the addresses listed with the affidavit.

According to a group of five Kansas City residents, Mayor Mark Funkhouser should be recalled because:

• He caused a "breach of public trust" by seeking to fire City Manager Wayne Cauthen

• He hasn't yet accounted for a missing $80,000 in campaign funds

• He has put the interests of his wife "above the interest of the electorate."

• The Eight Wonders of Kansas turn out to be grade school field-trip destinations. But in case you weren't aware, the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene can actually be SEEN FROM SPACE! And it took an army of Egyptian laborers over 45 years to painstakingly quarry and transport the 2.5-ton blocks used to construct the Kansas Cosmosphere.

• Independence resident Sarah Everson faked the birth of sextuplets in order to con her neighbors into giving her cash and gifts; she's now been sentenced to four years in prison for violating her probation. But the whole upshot is that now I'm terrified because, like Everson, my dependents are imaginary. But only partly imaginary: I started claiming my fantasy football team as dependents on my taxes in 2006. Li'l quarterback Rich Gannon of the Kansas City Chris Packham Thunder Eagles just hit a growth spurt, and I'm not going to be able to buy him new shoulder pads or HGH injections without a fat rebate from the IRS.

John Martin, Kansas City's new school superintendent, has taken office.

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Barack Obama came to the area last night. The difference between people who turn out in bitterly cold weather for Hillary Clinton and people who turn out in bitterly cold weather for Barack Obama is that when the Hillary supporters do it, it's with the superior sense of dispatching a civic responsibility, and when the Obama supporters do it, they barely notice the weather. The 1,900 people who packed into the gym at Butler Community College constitute an impressive turnout, but the 400 people in overflow areas? In other buildings? That's in the ball park of getting up at four in the morning because you heard Gamestop was getting some Nintendo Wiis.

• Overland Park police are going to be watching for children not tightly secured in cars. I recommend a combination of bungee cords and a trucker's tie-down with nylon straps.

• I think it's clear that the current holder of best name in Kansas City: Conklin Fangman, owner of Conklin Fangman Motors. It is impossible for me to drive past Conklin Fangman Motors on Main without intoning the name "CONKLIN FANGMAN" in a stentorian, broadcast-quality basso profundo. The link goes to a stupid press release, but I'm including it because it reminded me of Conklin Fangman.

Obama Disses the Royals

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 9:45 AM

By ERIC BARTON

When Barack Obama asked the crowd yesterday in Kansas City whether there were any Cardinals fans in the audience, it first seemed like he had pulled one of those classic rock concert screw-ups by mixing up what town he was in.

But with his quick recovery, it was clear that the presidential hopeful was just giving the Royals shit. And let's be honest, David Glass' Royals deserve it.

Between the Political Lines

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 6:49 AM

By DAVID MARTIN

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Guys who talk about sports for a living can get into trouble when they veer into politics.

On a recent installment of Between the Lines on 810 WHB, host Kevin Kietzman drew a flummoxed difference between politicians and sports figures. Kietzman talked about how strange it was that coaches acted like gentlemen next to dirt-slinging candidates for public office.

Kietzman’s right to suggest that KU basketball coach Bill Self talks less trash than Bill Clinton. But the reasons should be obvious: Politics is a hearts-and-mind game, fought between people whose policy ideas may be indistinguishable. Sports rivalries, by contrast, determine winners and losers on fields and courts of battle, where opinion means nothing. (The exception, of course, is boxing, whose combatants freely trade literal and figurative jabs.)

Kietzman shared his thoughts with play-by-play man Kevin Harlan, who came up with a gaffe of his own. Citing a book about Abraham Lincoln he recently read, Harlan said that rough-and-tumble politics were hardly new. Harlan then said that Lincoln had jousted with “Frederick Douglass,” confusing the abolitionist with debate partner Stephen Douglas.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Five Unknowns File Petition to Recall Funkhouser

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 3:42 PM

By ERIC BARTON

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This petition, filed today with the City Clerk's Office, seeks to recall Mayor Mark Funkhouser and install former Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Brooks.

The petition says Funkhouser should be recalled for five reasons, including the claim that he has cost the city millions by losing conventions, caused a "breach of public trust" by seeking to fire City Manager Wayne Cauthen, lost $80,000 in campaign funds and has put his interests and the interests of his wife "above the interest of the electorate."

It was filed by five people relatively unknown in political circles: Saundra Ross, Joycetta Silvers, Moniece Lovelace, Dwight Ross and JoAnn Mitchell. Kendrick Blackwood, a spokesman for the mayor, said nobody in Funkhouser's office recognized the names. Calls to the petitioners' homes by The Pitch today were not immediately returned.

Ross added her signature to the petition. She works for the Department of Health and Senior Services. The department's Web site calls Ross a "lead risk assessor." She didn't return a phone call left at her office, and a co-worker said she had left for the day.

Yacht Rock: New Episode!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Yacht Rock debuted in 2005 and gained enough of a local following for people to start singing "What A Fool Believes" at Brodioke and for local DJ Bill Pile to host one or two smooth-music themed nights at a local club. Anyway, we were fans from the beginning, following it right up to its tenth and supposedly final episode a year ago.

Waves of pineapple-flavored joy churned in our colons when we saw that Yacht Rock returned to YouTube only yesterday!

In this episode, Kenny Loggins returns in all his inexplicably karate-enhanced glory to movie soundtracking, composing "Footloose" in a burst of bloody mayhem while escaping from Margaritaville. Jason Lee stars as Kevin Bacon, and James Ingram gives the most accurate description of Jimmy Buffet's music ever: "Mellow. But not smooth. Kinda shitty."

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