It's been a nasty, bad week in (and out of) Kansas City, and this week's featured comment reflects the sad state of our city. This comment -- which is also a plea for help -- was left by Shanae Gibbs on "Killa City: KCMO homicide No. 66, James Ragsdale dies from injuries sustained in weekend shooting."
I really miss my brother and will struggle with this loss for awhile. The community is tired of the violence within our on community and it needs to stop. The innocent suffers, the family is only left with the memories and the guilty goes free. Any information in this case is useful, names, numbers, etc... Please those involved and/or those with critical information for once in your lives stand up! James Ragsdale wasn't just a name that you heard, he was a father, employee, son, role model, brother, friend, business owner and future husband. Please don't let him be just another unsolved murder. It stops when we stop it. Have you done something good for your community lately? 474-TIPS.Be good to each other this weekend.
Just saw these pics of Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing on Deadspin. Looks like someone knows how to party.
Don't think this came up during Big 12 media day. But hey, the Jayhawks are probably going to win the Big 12 North so you got that going for you, KU fans.
See the rest of the pics after the jump.
Tired of that low-income, dead-end routine of playing small bars in one-horse towns? Take your band to college. That's what local three-piece Antennas Up did. Acting on a tip from their friends in Springfield, MO, phenom Ha Ha Tonka (with whom they share a booking agent), Antennas began hustling the university circuit, thanks to the non-profit National Association for Campus Activities.
The NACA holds regular conferences where entertainers such as bands, magicians, comedians, singer-songwriters and so forth gather to audition for student groups from various schools. If the kids like your performance, they might book you for their campus events.
"The colleges have good budgets to spend, and they treat the bands right," Antennas Up bassist and singer Kyle Akers told me over the phone earlier today from Seattle (where he's on tour running sound, lights and video for Ha Ha Tonka). "It's a great thing for any band to do if they can get into it."
Last year, Antennas Up took their electro-funk-rock party jams to between 15 and 20 schools, including Drake University in Iowa. "That was one of the best shows we played the entire year," Akers says. "There were 500 kids there just for the music, they were crazy into it, and we sold all kinds of merch."
Breaking into the circuit can be tricky, however. NACA is membership-based, and short of paying expensive fees for your band to become a member, you have to hook up with a booking agency that specializes in colleges, which is what Antennas Up does, according to Akers.
Additionally, bands interested in auditioning at NACA conferences go through a sort of screening process where students from various schools review the bands' Sonicbids electronic press kits to determine which bands get to take part in a conference.
How to boost your band's chances?
"Just make a good promotional video cut up from live shows, and put it to a catchy song," recommends Akers. (You can see AntUp's video here.)
Monday, August 3 at the 8th Street Taproom in Lawrence brings the latest in Chomp Womp's series of Family Night concerts. These shows always fall on a Monday, come exceptionally cheap (in this case, three bucks), and present four bands worth checking out. Taking a risk on bands is much easier and likely when you don't have to part with much of your hard-earned cash, no?
Chomp Womp is a collective that puts on shows, makes art, makes music, and generally presents music that might be considered "crazy-ass" from time to time. Bands in the collective include Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk and Weird Wounds, amongst others.
As to why this got flier of the week distinction this go-around: I'm usually not that into fliers that use the whole cut-and-paste aesthetic, but the fact that Drew and company used bits of map, hand lettering, and some crazy surf imagery to create something that POPS so well is fantastic. The black and white background makes the colors (especially in "Chomp Womp") just burst off the page. I know it's not cheap, but more bands need to use color copies more often.
Embattled anti-violence organization Aim4Peace will be around for a while. The organization announced today that it had received a $300,000 grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to keep the program alive for another six months.
That's good news for Aim4Peace, since the city slashed its budget from $773,083 to $150,492 this year.
Back in November 2008, we dissected the program's false starts and bureaucratic mismanagement in the story "117 Homicides and Counting," but word since then is that they've been doing their best to fix problems and make the program better.
The press release touting the grant claims Aim4Peace officials have intervened in 22 conflicts between rival gangs this year. But since the program's inception, the homicide rate has risen. Aim4Peace's measures of success are based on crimes they claim that their mediators have prevented. Those assessments are difficult to quantify.
By far, the best new-to-me news of the day is that the 2009 G.I. Joe Convention will be held in Kansas City at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center two weeks from now. Can't wait for all the folks dressed up like Destro, Cobra Commander and, of course, the Baroness.
The convention comes a week after the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (August 7), so maybe we can all share a good cry over how terrible the movie was for all of the obvious reasons (Marlon Wayans, power suits, giving Cobra Commander a new outfit because he supposedly looked too much like a Klan member). That movie better have PSAs at the end.
The convention runs August 13-16. Friday morning, they'll be parachuting 300 limited-editon action figures from 42 floors up, but the big shows will be Saturday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for children (although kids 4 and under get in free). Here's the full brochure.
Knowing is half the battle.
And once again, we bring you Friday Freebies, wherein we present things to do this weekend that won't cost you any more than the gas it takes to get to 'em.
Friday night's free movies appear to be for musical fans. You can choose between the new and the classic. Crown Center's Friday Night Flick this week is the ABBA musical, Mamma Mia!, with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. City Market Cinema in the (surprise!) City Market shows Little Shop of Horrors. Really, it all boils down as to whether you prefer doo-wop or Swedish pop. Both movies start around 9pm.
For live music Friday night, you've also two choices: Liverpool, Kansas City's premier Beatles tribute, plays as part of FREE Olathe Summer Concert Series at Frontier Park, 15501 Indian Creek Parkway in Olathe. The show starts at 7pm. Blankets or lawn chairs are recommended and encouraged.
If you'd like something a little less pastoral, Pomeroy plays the Power & Light District's Friday Night Live concert series at 8pm. The Pomeroy show, unlike everything else mentioned here, is 21 and up.
Saturday night, Budd Park, at St. John and Brighton avenues, shows Tale of Despereaux, which wasn't really seen by anyone during its original theatrical run. It's as if Stuart Little thought he was a knight.
If you're looking for more adult fare Saturday night, the DotDot Artspace in Lawrence offers up "Naked Leftovers: William S. Burroughs' Art Objects." It's a one-night only event, and an excellent way to check out some rarely-seen pieces. DotDot Artspace is located at 1910 Haskell, and the retrospective runs from 6-9pm.
For those who weren't able to make it to last weekend's San Diego ComiCon, Craig Klotz and the folks at Kansas City Fan Conventions present KC Fan Con #22 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel this Sunday. The con is certainly smaller than ComiCon, but far more friendly.
This con's special guest is Brent Engstrom, artist for Garbage Pail Kids and Hollywood Zombies trading cards. The Wyndham Garden Hotel is located at 7000 West 108th Street, in Overland Park, and the con runs from 10am-4pm. You'll be asked to give your address, both mailing and e-mail.
"In most areas, making your own wine is perfectly legal, but you are not allowed to sell it."At Winepress.Us, one forum member argues that it probably tastes like "water wine with color." Another suggests that orange Kool-Aid mixed with a peach wine kit made a "pretty decent fuzzy navel wine." With a cost average of $1 per liter (a decent wine will run you $10 for .75 liters), "pretty decent" is a ringing endorsement.
After 25 years in the local jazz scene, the subject of this week's feature, "Crash," Bill Laursen, finally put out an album. Released in late 2008, The Right Time was described in reviews as a decent album of standards and original compositions. He was also, apparently, quite optimistic about the future before federal agents busted him on child pornography charges.
Here's an excerpt from The Pitch's review.
Lyrically, Laursen is unfailingly optimistic, whether pledging his undying devotion on "I Will Be Here" or noting that "you'll be happy every single day" in Kansas City, where you can breathe "fresh healthy air."
Laursen is still awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty but even if the judge is, it'll be at least another five years before he's breathing fresh, healthy air.
Keep it ganster homie
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