Friday, February 26, 2010

Night + Day Trivia: Night of Fame VIP Winner

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

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Counted among the revelers will be Devon Abels, winner of this week's Night + Day Trivia Contest.

On Monday, we asked how many party rooms are in the Uptown Theater. The answer is five -- the Theater Room, the Broadway Room, the Valentine Room, the Cabaret Room and the Conspiracy Room.

Abels, one of multiple people who responded correctly, was randomly selected to receive VIP treatment in the form of two spots on the guest list and a free $20 bar tab. Congratulations to our winner, and thanks to everyone who played.

A new Night + Day Trivia Contest and prize will be announced Monday.

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Night + Day picks: What to do this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 8:00 AM

"Covenant"
  • "Covenant"

This is the last weekend of February. Wish the shortest month of the year farewell by having some fun. We recommend:

Thinking hard about urban sprawl.
That's what 50 artists do in Faraway Nearby: Addressing Suburbia, an art exhibit opening today with a 6 p.m. reception at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

"Covenant"
  • "Covenant"


Stay up for a late-night screening.
Reservoir Dogs shows at KU's Woodruff Auditorium, for free, tonight at 11.

Play poker on a bike
. Poker races are usually associated with motorcycles, but bicyclists will engage in a poker race (with PBR) starting at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Drink like you just turned 21
. Musicians, aerial performers, belly-dancers and a quarters tournament are on the agenda for Donkey Show XXI, Saturday at 9 p.m. at Crosstown Station.

Do the macarena, er, Lambarena.
Scratch that -- just watch professional ballet dancers do the Lambarena during the Kansas City Ballet's winter performance, which opened Thursday and continues through Sunday.

For more weekend amusement, see The Pitch calendar.

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Decline and foreclosure: The story of the CDC-KC's other shopping center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Instead of renovation, the Linwood Shopping Center went into receivership
  • Instead of renovation, the Linwood Shopping Center went into receivership

In 2007, when I first met with William Threatt Jr., he described the Linwood Shopping Center as a "resounding success." The former president of the Community Development Corporation of Kansas City pointed to new tenants and recent renovations as proof that the strip mall was on solid ground.

From the outside, though, the shopping center looked run-down. The largest retail space was dark behind cracked windows. The anchor tenant, a grocery store, had fled. The deeply potholed and uneven pavement in the parking lot posed a hazard to even the sturdiest SUVs. Still, Threatt claimed Linwood Shopping Center was top-notch. "Go into Ashley Stewart or Foot Action, and you don't know if you're at 31st and Prospect or Oak Park Mall," he suggested.

Even as we spoke in 2007, the development was faltering. Back taxes piled up. A loan from Bank of the West came due. In November 2009, the Linwood Shopping Center went into receivership.

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John McPhee, nonfiction master, coming to the library

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

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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 25, 2010

Yelp is guilty of "extortion," says attorney Jared Beck

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 6:37 PM

More on the proposed class action lawsuit against Yelp we reported on earlier today, this time from Fat City's sister paper in Miami:

It's gonna be ugly.

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Beck & Lee
The guy who's going to make it that way is Jared Beck,

a Harvard grad who plans on being the bulldog. The Miami lawyer --

who also practices in California, where the suit was filed -- reads the

paper, as you can tell from his Twitter account. Though he works in real estate (in Miami? shows he's smart), this is one nasty litigator.

Here's what he has to say:

"This

case goes to the heart of Yelp's business practices. It is a very

popular website that has gained tremendous reach. The essence of our

lawsuit is unfair business practices. Some have called it extortion and

others blackmail.

"Our client is a veterinary hospital in Long

Beach. They came with an issue that a number of

negative postings were there about them. Flat-out falsehoods. They

contacted Yelp directly. 'What can you do about these negative

reviews?' they asked. 'The content is completely false.'

"The

response from Yelp was that, 'We can do this for you if you enter into

an advertising

contract for $300 a month for 12 months. We can manipulate the content.

We can bury

them so the visitors won't see them.' They demonstrated this to our

client, who decided it was unethical and wanted no part of it.

"We looked into the situation further. We realized it wasn't a rogue sales rep, but a company-wide practice.


"We feel that filing this as a class action is the way to go. Since filing it, we

have been inundated with calls from around the country by people claiming the

same kind of conduct. We expect to be adding a number of other businesses to

that lawsuit as representatives. We have received dozens and dozens of calls.

"Ultimately,

when you go up against a well-capitalized firm like Yelp, you want to

bring as much manpower as possible to the plaintiff's side. That's why

we are getting involved with the California firm in this case. We think

they are going to get high-powered lawyers. We think you need to muster

all the troops you can get. My partner -- my wife -- and I are both on

the bar in Calfornia.

"We just got a case number in this case,

and the judge will probably schedule a conference soon. There is no

date for a hearing as of yet."

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Inside this week's Pitch print edition ...

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 3:40 PM

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Kansas City's Community Development Corporation is a hot mess. Pitch reporter Carolyn Szczepanski digs through the broken promises and finds a bunch of business owners screwed over by CDC-KC in this week's feature, "Screwed."

Also in this week's issue ...

  • Art critic Chris Packham tries to untangle what the hell happened to the Ripe, the exhibit of erotic ink drawings that were removed from the walls of the Keyhole gallery although the exhibit had been advertised for Saturdays through February. Nevertheless, the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center resurrects Ripe March 5.
  • Cursive is coming to The Granada on Friday, and frontman Tim Kasher who explains why he's living in Montana. 

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Battle of the dishes: Missouri vs. Kansas table wine

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

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For this week's battle, I went in search of two dry table wines -- one for each side of the state line. I grabbed a bottle of the Somerset Ridge Winery's Flyboy Red as my Kansas representative and selected Les Bourgeois Vineyards' Jeunette Rouge as the standard bearer for Missouri.

And with a bottle of red in each hand, I set out to discover which wine should represent the region as the table wine of choice. The victor is after the jump.  

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Rock of Pages: The Two Tone Story

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

This is the one and only time I will ever suggest you go out and spend $40 on a book. However, George Marshall's definitive history of the Two Tone ska label, the Two Tone Story, is one of those books that's essential to any music library.

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If you want to be able to understand the UK punk scene, you have to understand that when the shows at the Roxy in London first started, there were no punk singles to play before and in between bands. So, when Don Letts would spin records, he'd play a lot of Jamaican ska and reggae. That means that right from the start, punk and reggae were intertwined.

While the Clash mixed reggae and punk on tunes like "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" and "Rudie Can't Fail," no bands would ever so effortlessly fuse ska and punk as well as the bands on Two Tone. The bands on the label released a series of singles that to this very day can get folks up and dancing: the Specials' "Little Bitch." The Selector's "On My Radio." The Bodysnatchers' "Easy Life." Madness' "The Prince."

I could go on and on, but Two Tone was this bright little flame that made ska that was at once a tribute to the music of the '60s (with every band on the first Two Tone tour covering Prince Buster's "Madness" every single night), as well as addressing the politics of the Thatcher era in ways that were plain-spoken:

Too Much Too Young was as socially aware as any record that has topped the charts. It hit out at all the unwanted teenage pregnancies and in that sense was pro-abortion and pro-contraception.

The label sadly only lasted about five years. The first release, the Specials' "Gangsters" hit in 1979, and the last relevant release was the Special A.K.A.'s In the Studio in 1984, although most of the records which meant much of anything were released between 1979 and 1981.

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Marshall's book takes the reader from the days of the Coventry Automatics in 1977 all the way up to the release of The Compact Two Tone Story four disc CD set in 1993. It's got all the infighting, politics, and assorted other esoterica one would expect from a niche label history. The Two Tone Story is even more relevant today, considering the Specials have reformed (still lacking Jerry Dammers, however) and are playing a few select U.S. dates prior to their appearance at Coachella.

It'll cost you an arm and a leg to buy George Marshall's book, and even though the idea of spending $40 for a book the size of two seven inches stacked on top of one another might seem a tad exorbitant, you get the most complete history, discography, and collection of rare pictures any fan of '80s music could ever hope for.

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Happy Hour: Twin City Tavern

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 2:00 PM

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The Twin City Tavern (1815 Westport Road) is the type of corner bar where you intend to have one beer but suddenly find yourself drawn into a conversation. It's also a fine place if you're just looking to have a few beers and keep to yourself.

The long, rectangular room grows warm as it fills up with the after- work crowd. All of the specials start after 5 p.m., so there's no time limit on happy hour here.

The service is quick, but you'll have to catch the attention of the bartender or servers, who are in constant motion once the crowd shows up and takes over the black booths that line one wall. So be patient, because the sign above the bar warns, "there's a $5 charge for whining."

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