Ferruzza

Monday, July 2, 2007

One Angry Mango

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2007 at 2:48 PM

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Restaurateur Thelma Oliver is three times hotter than the fiery peppers she uses in her green chili pork. The owner of the two-year-old Mango Room at 1111 Main Street has had about all she can take of downtown construction hurting her business. The current spate of construction -- which has the Mango Room’s main entrance wrapped in orange netting and ripped-up sidewalks – is the third major project on this corner since Oliver opened in May 2005. These construction nightmares – one was the destruction of the old Jones Store building across the street – are all part of the so-called downtown renaissance that promises a revitalized urban zone filled with shops, entertainment and restaurants.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Will the Real Tommy Rall Please Two-Step Up

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2007 at 6:35 AM

It’s not unusual to hear about people impersonating celebrities. A decade or so, a young blond woman was having a grand old time going to restaurants in Kansas City and whispering to the servers not to tell anyone that she was Tori Spelling. She wasn’t, but a lot of star-struck waiters went overboard fawning over the chick.

And then there’s the strange case of a Texas dance instructor who got caught impersonating Tommy Rall.

Tommy who?

Back in the 1950s, at the tail end of the era of big studio movie musicals, a handful of famous male dancers were making a splash on the movie screen: Gene Kelly, of course, and Donald O’Connor, Dan Dailey, Russ Tamblyn and a wispy-haired blond from Chicago named Bob Fosse, who would become a lot more famous as a Broadway choreographer.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Happy Birthday, Madame

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2007 at 6:36 AM

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There’s a kind of irony that just one day after national headlines reported that former University of Pittsburgh star and NFL first-round draft pick Bob Buczkowski pleaded guilty to helping operate an estimated million-dollar prostitution ring – out of his mom and dad’s house, no less – that we celebrate the birthday (here at the Pitch, anyway) of Kansas City’s most famous brothel keeper of a different century.

Today marks the 164th anniversary of the birth of Kansas City’s most famous madam, Annie Chambers.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Tribute to the Smart Twin Oaks

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2007 at 10:33 AM

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Now that the Twin Oaks apartments at 50th and Oak have been reduced – after nearly five months of demolition – to a mound of rubble, it’s time for a fond farewell to the two 11-story residential towers. But not a sad adieu to the memory of the buildings at the unattractive end of their 60-year life, but in the flush of the glamorous early years, back when Twin Oaks was considered the address for sophisticated Kansas Citians.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Queens and Cowboys

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2007 at 6:42 AM

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Next month, the 2007 Tony Awards – named for the late actress and director Antoinette Perry (1888-1946) – will be presented at the historic Radio City Music Hall and aired on CBS. The event honors excellence in New York City’s theater community.

In July, the 2007 Zoey Awards – named for the very-much-alive veteran Kansas City femme illusionist Zoe Kelly – will be presented at the historic Athenaeum at 900 East Linwood Avenue. The event honors, according to Ms. Kelly, “all aspects of Kansas City’s gay community, including best bar owner and best male vocalist.”

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

KC Made Billie Into Joan

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2007 at 5:59 AM

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Thirty years ago today – May 10, 1977 – the big story on most of the morning TV shows was the announcement that one of Hollywood’s most legendary movie stars, Joan Crawford, had died at age 72. Although Crawford was technically a native of San Antonio, Texas (she was born there as Lucille Fay LeSueur in 1905), Kansas City claimed her as a hometown girl since she arrived in town as a 10-year-old with her mother, her brother and her stepfather. She went by “Billie Cassin” back then, and she spent most of her formative years here. She lived in Kansas City, in fact, right up to the day she hopped on the Missouri Pacific westbound train for Hollywood on New Year’s Day in 1925.

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