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Friday, February 26, 2010

John McPhee, nonfiction master, coming to the library

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM


A giant in the nonfiction world will appear at the Kansas City Public Library on March 29. The Writers at Work series has scheduled an evening with Pulitzer Prize winner John McPhee.

In 1965, McPhee published a profile of Bill Bradley in The New Yorker, which continues to print his work. In fact, the magazine's current editor, David Remnick, took the writing class McPhee teaches at Princeton University.

The environment is one of McPhee's favorite subjects. He draws on "innate powers of description, lucid exposition and easy rapport with his subjects" in the words of writer Kevin Kerrane.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ira Glass on fakery, musicals and the incredible whiteness of Lawrence

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 8:00 AM

It's weird to dial a phone number and have Ira Glass pick up on the other end. It's kind of like calling the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny. At first, it feels surreal.

Radio host, Ira Glass, mixing live onstage
  • Radio host, Ira Glass, mixing live onstage

If you're a fan of the public radio program This American Life, Glass' voice is unmistakable: definitely nerdy, a little bit nasal, lined with an undercurrent of laughter or irony. Each week, that voice brings millions of radio listeners a one-hour package of perfect storytelling. And with his pithy introductions and seamless interviews, Glass comes off as the coolest, funniest and smartest person you probably only wish you knew in real life.

This weekend, Glass will be in Kansas in the flesh, bringing his radio equipment to the stage of the Lied Center, where he'll re-create the magic of TAL in front of a live audience. In anticipation of Glass' Saturday-night appearance, I spoke yesterday with the famous radio host about his interview technique, a soon-to-air investigative series (possibly in song) and his favorite story about Lawrence.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

R Bar, Manifesto get props from Esquire

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 9:44 AM


Nice mentions in the latest issue of Esquire (the one with Leonardo DiCaprio) for Manifesto and R Bar & Restaurant, in the mag's ongoing list of "Best Bars in America." Manifesto (1924 Main) gets accolades for being "an excellent modern speakeasy," but the bulk of the blurb is about R Bar (1617 Genessee). Here's what the lad mag says:

... the new R Bar is a classic-looking, almost patina-ed bar and grill with good modern food and, best of all, speakeasy-style drinks: real cocktail -- the julep is excellent -- nothing too fancy but not the same-old same-old, either. Plus, if it gets a band in, and it does, it's a good one, playing just the kind of music you'd expect in a part of town called the West Bottoms.
Haven't been to either yet but will have to drop in soon.

For more news about the building at 1924 Main, check out Fat City's report as well as comments from Manifesto's Ryan Maybee.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Slideshow: CANstruction at Union Station

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Architects, engineers, builders and students used their imaginations and non-perishable food items to build playful sculptures. The exhibit, CANstruction, opens to the public on Friday and benefits Harvesters, the food bank. A preview party (admission: $20) takes place at 5:30 p.m. today

Click here to see a slideshow.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Slideshow: Backfire BBQ Opening at the Legends

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Last night, Steven Schussler opened Backfire BBQ, his second Legends restaurant. Much like his other venture, T-Rex Cafe, the biker-themed, Orange County Choppers branded joint is a visually stimulating tourist draw.

In fact, Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Joe Reardon was on hand to proclaim December 7th "Backfire Barbecue Day."

The Pitch
's Berry Anderson captured the opening in this slideshow.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Kansas City Rep extends A Christmas Story well past Christmas

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:00 AM

Zachary Carter Sayle as Ralphie.
  • Zachary Carter Sayle as Ralphie.

The big news here isn't that the Kansas City Repertory Theatre has a hit big enough to hold it over, a once-rare occurrence that now seems to be the norm. To me, the big news about the Rep's Broadway-bound A Christmas Story: The Musical! is that for once, everywhere I go in Kansas City, people want to talk about theater.

In the past week, I have been phoned, e-mailed, Facebooked, texted, queried at lunch and approached at the Sun Fresh, all by local folk who want to dish about the show. In all the years I've been writing about theater, that's never happened. Like the official reviews -- my mixed but excited write-up is here, and here's Robert Trussell's more generous take -- the word-on-the-street ranges from thrilled to disappointed.

There's the local actress (who asked not to be named) who said the show as a whole and the "Take That" number in particular are as good as anything on Broadway.

There's the old friend from high school who has never seen a musical since we did The Pajama Game suddenly asking me what else is worth seeing.

There's local video-remix genius Pat Vamos dismissing the show as A Christmas Story: The Musical: The Ride.

You have a chance to make of it what you will all the way into 2010. A Christmas Story: The Musical! now runs until January 3. For tickets visit the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Also, anyone missing the Rep's traditional A Christmas Carol, you have two chances to catch up on the whole three-step ghost self-improvement program. At 7 p.m. this Saturday, at Wesport Prebyterian Church (201 Westport Road), local actors like Jennifer Mays and Martin Buchanan perform a staged reading of Dickens' classic. Then, next weekend, the great Nathan Granner's one-man reading of the tale at 7 p.m. December 10 and 11 at the Hemingway Gallery, 132 W. 9th Street. Tickets are available here.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogger Ramsey dances badly all over KC for a good cause

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 6:30 AM

Kansas City blogger Ramsey Mohsen, that's him in the ugly sweater dancing, put together this video to help promote the annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, with the proceeds going to Operation Breakthrough, which helps children living in poverty.

The party is December 11 at Tower Tavern, so you can show off your own dancing skills while kicking it to Dolewhite.

Tickets range from $50 to $1,000 (click here to order). Their goal is to raise $10,000 this year. They hit $7,000 last year.

Help 'em out if you can.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday is Buck O'Neil's birthday

Posted By on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Buck O'Neil
  • Buck O'Neil

Tomorrow would have been Buck O'Neil's 98th birthday.

In honor of the true Kansas City legend, all 10 local First Watch breakfast spots are donating all -- all -- of Friday's profits to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Pretty sweet deal.

Several old ballplayers will be signing autographs at the First Watches around the city. The NLBM knows who and where.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (1616 E. 18th St.) also has a day of events planned for Saturday, including $1 admission and free cupcakes!

It's still a shame that we can't get Buck in the Hall of Fame.

Photo via the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Olathe Animal Shelter needs help

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 6:00 AM


The Olathe Animal Shelter needs help. A lot of help.

Earlier this week, KMBC Channel 9 reported that the shelter could be shut down. Hey, Bite Club, how about you make yourselves useful? Adopt a pet. Or drop off some kitty litter or dog food.

The shelter is holding a fund-raiser on Saturday at noon on the corner of Park and Cherry streets in Olathe. There'll be pet weddings (I think) and a pet costume contest and parade. It's $7 to enter your pup (check out the flier for more info).

We can only hope that breastfeeding cat lady crosses the stateline and makes an appearance.

Photo via Costume Craze.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Beast is the scariest place in the country

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 6:00 AM


​West Bottoms haunted house, The Beast, has topped the Best Haunted House list at Haunted House

The site names the top 31 haunted houses in the country based on user reviews. Another KC haunted house, The Edge of Hell, came in at number 13.

Kendall and I visited both last year. Full-disclosure: I was three sheets to the wind, and well past scaring. I did have a great time, though. This year, I'll try it without taking the edge off, and see how that goes.

Hat tip to NBC Action News.

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