Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Breakfast Buffet: Tuesday, June 30

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 9:00 AM

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One blogger is kind enough to share everything he has consumed in the past couple of days. [KC With a Russian Accent]

After 17 years of never eating Ben & Jerry's, a non-dairy-eating blogger decides to take the plunge. [Frighteningly Uncommon Sense]

Coupons at local restaurants are always good, even if the company has a little trouble figuring out what they are good for. [The Wort Hog]

If you think Bud Light is bad, what about Bud Light that has been purposely doctored to be three times worse? [Gone Mild]

Alcohol-related deaths are on the rise again. [Time]

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New releases, Tuesday, June 30

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Killswitch Engage release their self-titled fifth album. It will inevitably be described as "melodic" and / or "pummelling."

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The biggest release this week is Wilco's Wilco (The Album), which seems to be getting great reviews, even though every person I know who considers themselves a "big Wilco fan" thinks it's awful and boring. My coworker Dylan has purchased every Wilco release on the day of its release, to the point of taking his break at 10am, so he could walk into Love Garden as it opened and buy the record, DVD, et al. His take on Wilco (The Album) can be summed up in one word: "disappointed." And he thought Sky Blue Sky was pretty good.

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty puts out his second solo album, Cradlesong, and the only reason I'm even mentioning this is because it's either this or Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and the only thing I have to say about them is that I heard "First of the Month" when I was working at the Rennaisance Festival in high school, and I always thought it was a way better song than "Crossroads." Then again, all I have to say about Rob Thomas is that Yourself or Someone Like You sold 12 million albums, and I'm convinced they can all be found for a dollar on clearance racks at Half Price Books. No, seriously though, it appears that Thomas is trying for something akin to Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints, and the guy's far less annoying when he steps away from alt-rock ballads, so that's at least a step in the right direction.

The Weakerthans release their recent iTunes session, recorded at Metal Works in Mississauga, Ontario, while the band was on the Rolling Tundra Revue Canadian Tour. The session includes songs from Reunion Tour as well as a couple of tracks from 1997's Fallow. Sadly, neither is either "Illustrated Bible Stories For Children" or "Confessions Of A Futon-Revolutionist."

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Lastly, Moby comes out with Wait for Me, which was produced by Ken Thomas from Sigur Ros. This means that regardless of what tack Moby takes on this record (dance, electronic, punk), it's going to sound fantastic. Spin says "it's easily his loosest, most consistent work in quite a while." Considering it's been a downhill slide since Play (although I think he peaked with "Go"), it's nice to see hims sticking with something for a while.

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Concert Review: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 8:38 AM

BY ELKE MERMIS

Conor Oberst has endured a slew of slightly painful Bob Dylan comparisons since he penned his very first sprawling story-song in his Midwestern hometown in the late '90s. Yeah, he's got a weird voice; yeah, he's a masterful lyricist; yeah, he's from a smallish town in the middle of the country, hates fame, whatever, we get it. But the truth in these comparisons never struck me with the sheer force that they did on Sunday night, when Conor Oberst unveiled his latest incarnation in Kansas City by the dim lights of the Beaumont Club: The Mystic Valley Band.

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Spilling out onto the stage without a second to waste, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band barely reached their instruments before recklessly launching into a raucous version of "Sausalito," thrilling the crowd with a surprisingly feel-good bluegrass sound, heavy on the folk and alt-country influences.

Even though a refreshing swagger accompanied the tone of Oberst's signature quavering vocals, the band's frontman was immediately clear about his intentions, refocusing both the band and the crowd on whatever was Not Conor -- whether that be by hiding behind his guitar (literally), hiding beneath his gigantic Amish black hat, or, more obviously, refusing to play a single Bright Eyes song.

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Continue reading »

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It's patriotic: Bid on a Harley, help an abused kid

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 8:00 AM

And now, a word on behalf of some good people who do a really hard and often depressing job -- and need a little help.

The folks over at the Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates recruit volunteers who go through rigorous training so they can speak for abused and neglected kids who end up in the family court system. Last year, CASA officials say, their volunteers served 708 kids out of 2,000 who are currently in the system.

This bike could be yours for $20.
  • This bike could be yours for $20.
The effort takes money, so they're raffling off a brand new Harley -- but the bidding's been slow and time's running out. So: Tickets are a measly $20 each, or six for $100. Buy a few here. The deadline's 8 p.m. on July 23, and the drawing's July 24 at the Power & Light District.

Do it for the kids, y'all.

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The 2009 Pitch Music Showcase Lineup

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 7:27 AM

Ask off from work on Friday, August 7, ASAP. This year's Pitch Music Showcase is signed, sealed and ready to be delivered to a Westport near you on Thursday, August 6. The lineup is subject to change, but I kinda hope it doesn't, because, holy shit is this gonna rock. Lots 'n lots of new blood.

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Wristbands (21-and-up) are available at any of the venues or at The Pitch for the every-year low, low price of $5. This year, for $12, you can get a showcase wristband, a ticket to the awards show at the Uptown on August 16, and a fly-ass Pitch showcase T-shirt. If you buy that package for yourself and five friends, I might just kiss you. Without no furthermore ado...

The Riot Room DJ deck

9 p.m: Max Justus (Electronic/Dance)

10:45pm: Reach (Hip-Hop/Rap)

12:30am: Nomathmatics (DJ/Dance)

The Riot Room indoor stage

8 p.m.: Sailor Sequence (Indie Pop)

9 p.m.: Oriole Post (Folk/Americana)

10 p.m.: The Rich Boys (Frontman)

11 p.m.: James Christos (Hip-Hop/Rap)

12 a.m.: Waiting for Signal (Rock)

1 a.m.: Thunder Eagle (Rock)

Continue reading »

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Hispanic eco devo group expands its services to Johnson County

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 7:00 AM

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to a presentation from Rob Paral, a researcher who suggests Mexican immigrants are coming to the Midwest is such large numbers that shunning or criminalizing workers from the other side of the southern border is both unrealistic and self-defeating.

In his definition of "Midwest," Paral didn't include Kansas. But Johnson County is very much part of this picture.

Bernardo Ramirez, executive director of Kansas City's Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, was at Paral's presentation, too. He says the rising number of immigrants on the Kansas side of the metro is dramatic. In fact, it's so significant that HEDC recently opened an office in Overland Park to serve the growing crop of Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Continue reading »

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Dispatch from the 2009 KCK Street Blues Festival

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM


This past weekend, I headed west to the KCK Street Blues Festival, a completely homegrown gathering on 13th and State Avenue.

Dawayne Gilley, president of the KC Blues Society presents Diane "Mama" Ray with the Living Heritage Tribute Award.
  • Dawayne Gilley, president of the KC Blues Society presents Diane "Mama" Ray with the Living Heritage Tribute Award.

Folding chairs and cooler in tow, my friend and I found spots in the grass around 6:00 and relaxed amongst the diverse crowd while the donation buckets came around, the kids chased each other and smells of grilled goodness wafted through the thick evening air.


There were a few honorees of the ninth "almost annual" festival (there was no event in 2007 due to lack of funds), most notably, the recently passed repeat performers Tommy "Soul" Williams and King Alex Littlejohn.


The festival, though, belonged to Diana "Mama" Ray, leader of KC's longest running jam session and assiduous fundraiser for the past 47 years in these parts.

Click here to see a slideshow of the event.

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Vigil for Iran tonight

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 4:06 PM

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Large demonstrations met by heavy-handed police action have become a near daily occurence in Tehran, as thousands of Iranians gather in record numbers to protest the shady results of the June 12 presidental election. At least 17 citizens have been killed in the resulting violence.

Today, Iran's Guardian Council announced that a partial recount of the ballots confirmed the controversial victory of current leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tonight, Kansas City's Iranian community will host a candlelight vigil, the second in the past week. The group will gather at J.C. Nichols fountain near the Plaza from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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