Friday, May 29, 2009

Reporter's Notebook: The Brown Bombers Live! Part III

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Here's the last of this week's poetry videos from the feature story, "Spit Happens." This is Marcus Brown, the uncle who helped Taylor become a poet, and who's been a driving force in KC's slam scene.

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JoPo didn't totally curse the Cavs and ruin the NBA Finals ... yet

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Joe Posnanski damn near ruined the NBA Finals -- at least the championship game NBA Commissioner David Stern fantasizes about -- LeBron vs. Kobe -- when he rubs one out. The finals that Nike assumes you want to see.

JoPo may have doomed his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and King James by writing a cover story in the cursed Sports Illustrated. The Orlando Magic led the Cavs three games to one going into last night's win or go home game five.

Just a few days before game five -- and after getting flooded with hate mail -- JoPo defended himself, pointing out SI features he'd written that didn't faze David Glass' golden goose Zack Greinke and jacked-up or St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols. Despite saying he was taking his share of the blame, JoPo praised the Magic's three-ball shooting, pointed out the Cavs' obviously lack of a sidekick

for LeBron and basically said his hometown Cavs had gotten their asses


Last night, JoPo lucked out; James and the Cavs beat the Magic and forced a game six. They're still on the brink of elimination, but the Cavs will play another game Saturday night, and JoPo can still show his face in Cleveland ... for now.

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Wayward Q&A: Crackin' Nuts with Darren Welch of In the Pines and Midwestern Musical Co.

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Darren Welch has seen a thing or two.

Todd Zimmer

Currently playing bass in chamber-folk ensemble In the Pines, Welch also is a co-owner of Midwestern Musical Company. I caught up with him via e-mail talked about art, the economy and the Kansas City Sound.

The Pitch: Where are you from?

Darren Welch: I am from Kansas City. I lived in Lawrence from 1988 to '94. I went there to go to school and quickly found out that my interests were geared more towards "unsupervised living" than scholastics. I indeed had a thirst, but not for knowledge. Since then, I have lived in KC.

How do you keep up with new music?

I worked at Streetside Records for eight years and I'll never have my finger on the pulse of music the way I did in that period, but I still try to keep up mainly through friends and the Internet. I frequent some blogs, MySpace and There's still nothing like hearing a song for the first time that you know immediately will find a place on your musical palette for the rest of your life.

Continue reading »

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Now's Your Chance: Host an official Mars Volta listening party

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Get out your aluminum-foil neutrino-blocker helmets and pink bodysuits, Lee's Summit-- it's time to claim your place in prog-rock history.


In a move of social-media marketing savvy, the Mars Volta is drumming up hype for its upcoming, June 23 Warner Bros. release, Octahedron, by holding a contest to allow 10 to 15 fans to host listening parties in their homes. Here are the rules:

Fans must submit an entry vying to host one of the listening parties. Entries can be submitted in any form, from youtube videos, illustrations, writings, to anything that expresses why the entrant deserves to be a "Host." "Official Hosts" will have their party pics posted on The Mars Volta's website ( One host and a guest will also be awarded a chance to see The Mars Volta perform anywhere in the US. Entries must be submitted by June 3rd to

Get into the mood by streaming two new songs at the album's dedicated site,

And then, I recommend you go with something along the lines of The Mutants of 2051 A.D.

"Fleshy-headed mutant, are you friendly?"

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Olathe's hidden barbecue festival: Har-B-Q

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 12:33 PM


Brian Harbaugh is just as surprised as everyone else that a small barbecue cook-out he started with friends seven years ago would evolve into an all-day competition with hundreds of guests. "Did I ever expect the event to grow like it has? Absolutely not. It was just me and like 20 friends talking smack back and forth about barbecue. But it's huge now ... last year we had 400 people and we're prepared to handle more this year."

All this for an event Harbaugh has never advertised or sought any publicity for. Har-B-Q has grown organically through word of mouth and this Saturday, several hundred friends, neighbors and strangers will likely descend into Harbaugh's yard. Yes, the event takes place at his house on a cul-de-sac in Olathe (17148 S. Bradley Drive).

The goal is that by the end of the day there will be no strangers. "I know how you can go to the American Royal and you have to pay a cover, and then pay for food and they're not allowed to hand out samples. We're not like that ... we're all about having fun and handing out samples ... this is the friendliest barbecue event you'll ever go to."

While the event lasts all day -- most teams will be out prepping by 6 a.m. -- the true party gets started around 1 p.m. That's when Harbaugh expects the crowd to start arriving. (Though people are welcome whenever.) Around 7, barbecue awards get handed out in six categories including beef, pork and the most creative team booth. Each team has a theme; Harbaugh's is Grilligan's Island. Another team calls itself Pirates of the Grillibean.

After the awards is when most of the samples are handed out and the party really starts. It goes "until whenever it ends ... last year we stopped at midnight and there was still 200 or so people around."

No reservation needed for Har-B-Q. Just show with a hungry stomach, a mind open to meeting new people and preferably your own booze if you feel like drinking.

Image via Flickr: Shainelee

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Me and Esquire give advice to graduating young'ns

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 12:00 PM


Sadly and surprisingly, I was once again passed over to give a commencement speech this year. It's a shame because I believe I've got some valuable advice to offer graduates, especially from high school.

I actually only received this valuable advice myself two days ago when it was printed in Esquire and like many things in the magazine it concerns drinking.

Now I know what you're thinking -- high schoolers aren't of drinking age. Yes, there are many who wouldn't dare dream of imbibing illegally, but the ones who do might as well learn the proper way to do it. Just as I don't condone underage sex but I know that Bristol Palin teenagers are going to do it anyway and might as well be safe, I believe high school graduates could save themselves much humiliation by knowing some basic drinking rules.

When a person starts drinking casually, there are many things that need to be understood. Some highlights from Esquire's article:

Continue reading »

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Bigger news: Kavya Shivashankar winning spelling bee or Funkhouser's shitty city?

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 11:15 AM

You know what's bigger news than oversized novelty Mayor Mark Funkhouser's second -- and possibly final -- "State of the City" speech? A spelling bee.

Thankfully, the huge above-the-fold photo in this morning's Kansas City Star wasn't Funkhouser smooching on wife Gloria Squitiro. The Star is still trying to sell newspapers, right? (And is "Mr. Potato Head" Chuck Eddy trying to block his view?)


It was Olathe's best speller, Kavya Shivashankar, getting the big gold cup. The Scripps National Spelling Bee championship: Where amazing happens. See for yourself.

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Having a truly happy Happy Hour

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 11:00 AM


KC Beer Blog has brought up an interesting subject that doesn't get enough attention: happy hours.

Yes, Fat City tries its darn-tootingnest to highlight all the best happy hours in town but there are many restaurants we never talk about because their happy hours leave lots to be desired. By following KC Beer Blog's seven rules to a great happy hour, they could be on their way to more business. Rule number one, for example, states that happy hours should be at least three hours long. Shorter than that and restaurants are just limiting the good times. Rule number four:

Make it easy to take advantage of the happy hour, people are coming and

going constantly so you don't want it to be complicated. Buy X get Y

for 1/2 price is annoying, just give us Y for 1/2 price. The goal is to

get people to drink in your place, not get them to buy something you're

not willing to discount.

I tried to find a happy hour that fits all seven rules and I came close.

Continue reading »

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KC Magazine's ones to watch in '84

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 10:44 AM


This week's column involves a shopping center in Lee's Summit that's getting taxpayer assistance. Nowadays, big retail centers receive incentives as a matter of course. Curious to know what cities did (if anything) for the malls of yesterday, I went to the Missouri Valley Room at the Central Library to look at old newspaper and magazine articles.

One source turned up in a 1984 edition of Kansas City Magazine. The article described the effects of Bannister Mall on Truman Corners in Grandview. The piece mentioned that Bannister Mall's developers negotiated with government authorities to improve nearby roads and highways -- a process that tax-increment financing would standardize in years to come.

I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the story about the malls, however, because a 25-year-old edition of a city magazine is mesmerizing. The first article to grab me featured 84 Kansas City faces worth watching.

Continue reading »

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The Baltimore Sun really, really wants people to vacation in Kansas City

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 10:11 AM


This is such a quaint portrait of Kansas City -- fun for the whole fam, cheap good times and a whole lot of HTML linking (! Everything's super swell here in ol' KC, so come on down and eat our barbeque and spend your money here -- but you won't have to spend a lot. Everything's super cheap! And the kids, well, here's a snip of what the kids will enjoy at the World War 1 Museum:

Kids will love the chance to create their own War Bonds poster -- and then email it home.
What kid doesn't love creating propaganda?

The story reads like travel writer Eileen Ogintz is auditioning for a job at the Convention & Visitors Association. We've seen how news copy can lead to jobs for other journos.

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