Hearne: Nosebleed Local Comedy Ripoffs Abound

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.45.35 PMTalk about really bad entertainment deals…

Allow me to let you guys in on a little secret; standup comedy sucks in giant arenas and stadiums. It really does.

The intimacy and immediacy of a comedy club environment – Stanford’s in Overland Park our the Improv up north for instance – is lost in venues much bigger than say the Uptown Theatre.

Because even at the Midland – with around a 3,000 capacity – even the better, upper level seats are just too far from the stage to make a legitimate connection. To see both the comic’s expressions and the people in the crowd up close that they invariably pick on.

Meaning, you’re basically paying big bucks to drive to downtown Kansas City, go through the hassle and expense of parking (and/or possibly getting a ticket or your car broken into), just to watch it on some so-so giant screen.

Trust me, I’ve done it and it’s a distant, far cry from the vibe you get – even with lesser, up-and-coming comics – in a nightclub atmosphere.

It’s a money grab.

That’s right, a year or two back you could have caught Amy Schumer up close and personal at Stanford’s for like 20 bucks and had an incredible, intimate experience. Probably even met her.

Now flash forward to November 3rd at Sprint Center where $39 nosebleed seats are actually gonna cost you $53 with the service charges added. Continue reading

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Hearne: A Front Page Correction By Any Other Name

 

Funny, this Woodstock crowd of 500,000 doesn't look that much smaller than the Royals rally

Funny, this Woodstock crowd of 500,000 doesn’t look that much smaller than the Royals rally

The definition of pathetic?

“Miserably or contemptibly inadequate.” Which pretty well describes a recent front page of the floundering by Kansas City Star.

Check it.

Up top was a prominently placed pic of a dejected Bernie Sanders trudging out of the White House after getting called on the carpet by President Obama. “Democrats move closer to unity,” the headline read.

Snoozer.

Does anybody today really think it’s the place of a daily print newspaper to inform folks of day old news that already’s been covered ad nauseam online and by television and radio? How out of it can the local newspaper editors be?

Put another way, how out of it do editors think their readership is?

However, the piece de resistance came in the form a centerpiece story about last fall’s World Series celebration. You know, the one that supposedly drew 800,000 Kansas City Royals fans downtown and to Union Station. 

“Whose count counts?” read the headline.

Mayor Sly James put the (crowd) estimate at 800,000 for the parade and rally after the Royals won the title,” the subhead continues. “But Alexander Kollaritsch estimates the true number to be a third of that.”

Excuse me…

Alexander Kollaritsch?

Hold it right there.

It took the local newspaper of record seven months to cobble together a front page story penned by a lowly copy editor in the sports department to unravel a myth that we busted here last year?

800,000 Royals Fans, Seriously?” read KCC’s headline. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | 28 Comments

Lefsetz: Climbing the Stairway to Heaven

hqdefaultLed Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is 72…

I don’t know whether he ripped off Spirit, whether he and Robert Plant will be held accountable by the jury, but I do know there will come a time when both of them won’t be here anymore. Or they will be, but they’ll be too infirm to play.

Been a strange year out there, from David Bowie to Glenn Frey to Merle Haggard to Prince. With Dan Hicks and a bunch of lesser lights extinguished to boot. They defined a generation. And now they’re gone.

My mother just told me that she’s the last one standing.

Do you have a deceased parent?

It’s a club you don’t want to be a member of. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up an orphan, although I’m not looking forward to that day, when there’s no context, when I realize I’m next…

Not that anybody my age acknowledges that. That’s the problem with Baby Boomers. They always think they’ll rule, that they’ll be here forever. But even Sumner Redstone is gonna pass – futurist Ray Kurzweil too. And as much as Steve Jobs changed our culture, Apple no longer even introduces one more thing. his signature style is gone. Kinda like the bands of yore, either you saw them or you didn’t.

But what’s even worse, so many of them have not survived into the second decade of the twenty first century. Does anybody under 20 know who 10cc was? Or even Gerardo? They’re bleeding edge, they’re on the oldies circuit, they become ill and then they die. Meanwhile life keeps moving forward. Continue reading

Posted in Bob Lefsetz | 12 Comments

Glazer: Who Says Cleveland & the NBA Don’t Matter?

main-qimg-61827dde6f9c55fc9381e4f3eded8232No NBA team had ever come back from being down 3-1 in the finals…

That is, until Sunday.That’s when LeBron James proved that he is ‘THE MAN’ in today’s NBA. James took Cleveland to its first championship title in more than half a century. It was 1964 last time Cleveland won a national championship in pro sports.

Wow.

LeBron was hated by many in Cleveland for leaving for Miami a few years back, in order to win a championship. But now he’s THE MOST LOVED man in the city’s history. He did the impossible,

LeBron now holds about every record one could attain in the NBA Finals. He even had a triple double in game 7 and scored plus 40 in games 5 and 6, things nobody not even Michael Jordan ever did. More important he now has three rings and two championships for both Miami and Cleveland. Of course he was the voted MVP of the series.

We in Kansas City can appreciate the long wait for the city of Cleveland. Continue reading

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Glazer: Kevin Farley Tonight @ Stanford’s in Overland Park!

tumblr_inline_mopib8P8jh1s0yjq8Too few remember how big a star John Belushi was back in the day…

His Saturday Night Live skits and hit movies like Animal House made him a household name in the 1980’s. Unfortunately Belushi died of a drug overdose way too young.

His younger brother Jim Belushi emerged shortly thereafter in movies like Thief with James Caan. Few expected Jim to become as big or bigger than his older famous brother. However in time that’s kinda what happened. The younger Belushi became a movie comedy sidekick to stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Red Heat and later a leading man in movie after movie. Jim later hit it huge with his nine year television series, According to Jim.

The same thing is starting to happen today with Kevin Farley.

Kevin is the younger brother of comedy superstar Chris Farley who also died too young via drug and alcohol problems.

Several years ago Kevin Farley entered the scene in film and TV parts – including the memorable Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | 21 Comments

Hearne: American Royal BBQ Needs Reality Check

WS-BBQ-Banner-AdIt’s complicated…

That’s one way to look at KC’s vaunted American Royal World Series of Barbecue, an institution that appears headed for endangered species status.

Along with of course, the American Royal horse and livestock show which seems to draw more horse flies these days than paying customers. Sad though it is, these days nobody really seems to much care about it.

Not much more than a year ago, big shot corporate supporters of the dying, annual livestock and horse shindig tried to muscle Kansas City officials into tearing down Kemper Arena  and erecting a smaller but still wildly expensive replacement. To be paid for mostly by taxpayers, naturally.

Well, for the time being anyway that ship seems to have sailed.

Fortunately the barbecue contest still matters, but for how long?

The unfortunate part of it being that rival, forward thinking city Memphis has turned its rival World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest into a world class event via a killer riverside location right off its bustling blues-themed entertainment district and pairing it with a music fest that rivals some of the nation’s best.

This year for example, Memphis hosted Neil Young, Paul Simon,  Beck, Weezer, John Mayall, Lucinda Williams, Gin Blossoms, Barenaked Ladies, Panic at the Disco and dozens more.

And so who’s playing at this year’s BBQ World Series at the Kansas Speedway?

Beats me.

Nobody as of yet, based on a careful reading of the American Royal website. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Central Intelligence’—a Little Hart with a Big Johnson

central-intelligence-trailer-poster-hart-johnsonIndividually each one of them has a big following.

And pairing Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson with Kevin Hart in the same movie is casting genius.

So hats off to the brains behind CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE who are giving us this certified summer slapstick action-comedy guaranteed to keep the popcorn a poppin’

Kudos also to Warner Brothers’ distribution machine for wisely slotting the picture into FINDING DORY territory which is expected to set Pixar animation records this weekend—primarily with girls and women.

It’s counter programming in the truest sense of the meaning.

As to the storyline for CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, it plays as if it were custom made for the two stars who play opposites to their norm in this film.

Dwayne Johnson is a one time geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA operative who is coming home for his high school reunion.

The opposite happened to former big man on campus Kevin Hart who now labors as an accountant and misses his glory days.

Will these two hook up? What do YOU think? Continue reading

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Lefsetz: The Trouble with Concert & Event Tickets

beyonce_1200x628We’re leaving eight billion dollars on the table!

You’ve got to listen to Live Nation head Michael Rapino on Peter Kafka’s podcast. Or maybe not. You haven’t got that much time and don’t care.

But then you can’t get a ticket to a show you want to see and need a scapegoat so you denigrate Ticketmaster and illustrate your lack of knowledge and contribute to the problem. And there you have America in a nutshell…a land overloaded with information where everyone complains and points to inaccurate facts.

Within the podcast Rapino delineates Live Nation’s complete business model and tells more about the company’s vision than you can get by reading a lifetime of Rolling Stone pieces. This is the music business education you’re yearning for.

It’s definitely business…and Rapino is one of the two most powerful people in the music business!

The $8 billion figure is the amount by which we underprice tickets.

Let’s go back a step.

If Drake or Beyonce play Madison Square Garden, what are the odds you can get tickets anyway? Superstar acts might tour every three or four years and millions want tickets, but not everybody can go. Just because you can tweet and pontificate on Facebook that doesn’t mean you can get inside the building. Which flummoxes you, that you have access on Ticketmaster, but you can’t conclude the transaction.

Because of the bots.

However this is not a technological problem, no, this is all about economics! Continue reading

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Glazer: Is Donald Trump Right About Isis?

donald-trump-isisSeems like mass murders by radical Islam and Isis are becoming a regular event…

This past weekend the United States suffered the worst massacre since 911.

Fifty people were shot to death in Orlando Florida 50 with more than 50 others wounded by gunfire from a single terrorist. The details are still coming in, but it was a prolonged event of killing and murder in a gay nightclub targeted for no reason other than a terrorist attack on the United States.

While President Obama and democratic nominee for prez, Hillary Clinton condemned the murders, neither would refer to them as attacks by radical Islam.

Does it really matter?

These events are growing in number in the United States. \

And it’s clear these suicidal maniacs have no regard for human life and only want to deliver death and destruction to our country and our people. The targets are innocent people who for the most part are killed by cowards due to the fact their victims have no defense and are attacked in shopping malls, movie theaters, airports, night clubs and public places with no clear pattern.

One thing is consistent, the young men who commit the murders; their ages tend to be late teens to late twenties and they’re of Middle Eastern decent. They swear loyalty to Isis or radical Islam and are ready to die for their beliefs.

So what can we do? Continue reading

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Glazer: At Least the So-So Royals Still Have a Chance

Blank blackboard with colored chalks

Blank blackboard with colored chalks

We all know what’s behind with the Kansas City Royals seven game losing streak…

No hitting and no starting pitching on the team’s road trip. Result: Royals fall out of first and now trail Cleveland by 2 1/2 games. The good news: Its only 2 1/2 games with more than half the season left. The bad news: This isn’t last year’s team and likely won’t be with the current line-up.

Losing Moose and Alex Gordon was a blow, although Alex will soon return. No, starting pitching is the biggest issue with the Royals right now. Pitching is what wins games and championships. And right now the Royals have a three and a four pretending to be the No. 1 and 2 starters in the rotation. That would be Edison Volquez and Ian Kennedy. Yes, Danny Duffy is coming on and may well become the Royals Ace. Unfortunately, ‘Ace’ Ventura seems lost and word is the Royals are looking to trade him.

So how can Royals fix these problems? Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 15 Comments

Sutherland: Interpreting Thomas Frank’s “Listen, Liberal”

article-2403775-1B81A10A000005DC-27_964x611I heard Tom Frank speak recently at the Kansas City Public Library about his new book, “Listen, Liberal”.  I’ve known Tom since 2003, when he interviewed me for his earlier book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?

His latest book does to the Democratic Party what the latter did to the Republican Party, i.e. strips away all the ideological window dressing and shows what the real motivations of the party’s leaders are.

Frank’s book doesn’t disappoint, nor did his March 24 speaking appearance.

The organizing principle behind the book is very straightforward.  Frank contends the last two Democratic administrations have quietly but effectively taken the party away from its role as champion of the American working class and economic equality.

Instead, Tom shows how the real loyalties of the Democrats have shifted to the professional class, i.e. affluent, well educated, liberals who may have all the politically correct positions on social issues (“gays, guns, and God”) but who are just as adept at promoting their own financial self-interest as any reactionary Republican business mogul.

Indeed, the author gives dozens of examples, large and small, of how the Democratic leadership has betrayed their own political heritage.

Frank makes exactly the same point I’ve made in many of my posts here.

To the extent the Great Recession was caused by federal deregulation of business – which is debatable – almost all the deregulation occurred under Democratic administrations, a fact which is not debatable.

From promoting subprime lending, to repealing banking regulations, to striking trade deals that cause jobs to flow out of the country and cheap imports to flow in, Frank lays the blame squarely at the feet of the Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Obama administrations.  Continue reading

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Valentine: Muhammad Ali was Donald Trump of His Day

AliRefrain for a moment from cherry picking the beautiful things Muhammad Ali said…

Consider instead the total of Ali’s words. By far, most of what he said was basically, “I am the best.” The second most common thing was, “I will publicly ridicule those who oppose me.” And there was also a large dose of, “I don’t like the people in power right now.”

Sounds a lot like Donald Trump.

So what was the public reaction to Muhammad Ali? At the time, he was polarizing. At the time, many people vehemently hated him.  Sports writers likened him to “unwashed punks who picket and demonstrate” and said “boxing should throw Clay (Ali) out on his inflated head.”

Even Sports Illustrated labeled him, “The Louisville Lip.”

The New York Times official policy was to refuse to refer to Ali as the Heavyweight Champion while continuing until 1970 to call him “Cassius Clay.

Many Americans are appalled that Trump calls people names.

And this past week Hillary said Trump couldn’t insult his way to the presidency. Continue reading

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Glazer: My Time With Muhammad Ali

cfposterI spent Saturday doing interviews on Muhammad Ali and a movie I did years ago…

We’ll be seeing tons of stories and clips on his life over the next several days until his funeral Friday. In 1989 I was hired to co-produce a movie, Champions Forever. The film covered the lives of the five greatest heavyweight champions of the era: Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes and George Foreman.

It was unique in that the five had never before been gathered together as a group.

They never would be again.

We were able to get Reggie Jackson to serve as host. Sly Stallone and others wanted the  job but Ali wanted Reggie.

The movie came out in 1990.

It was a coming out event for Ali.

Most of the former boxers had fallen on hard financial times except Holmes who made millions in real estate.

Ali was nearly broke, as was Frazier. Foreman had started his comeback and was making decent money, later he would make millions via his celebrity and regaining the title in his late 40’s.

Ali disappeared from the scene mostly after his loss to Holmes in 1980.

Few knew of his illness. Continue reading

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Glazer: Does Louis CK Hate KC & Love Stanford’s

FX_Louie_Rose_0506.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeComedy super star Louis CK will be at Sprint one July 7th…

Louis did an interview with the Kansas City Star this week wherein he explained that he didn’t hate Kansas City as he’d ranted a while back on late night talk shows. Louie had done a national tour that included the Midland and it seems most of his shows sold, However he didn’t draw well here, thus his anger.

He compared KC to Cleveland.

However he did say he liked Stanford & Sons were he’d played a few times on his way to the top. So Louis now says he was kidding and is pleased his show at Sprint will be loaded with fans. He even told the Star he’d had great shows at Stanford’s.

Louis has a thing for Stanford’s.

He put the club in bits on his TV shows more than once. He even had actors playing me and Johnny Dare on a goof about his morning radio promoting his theater show on 98.9. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Popstar’ Goofs On Pop Scene—And Then Some

maxresdefaultFinally, an SNL spin-off that works!

It’s POSTER: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING, a savage parody from the sketch comedy group ‘The Lonely Island” taking on today’s musical pop flavors and boy bands.

Justin Bieber anyone?

Style Boyz Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone are at the top of the boy band wave. But Samberg figures he’s above it all and goes solo as white rapper Conner4Real.

So far. So good.

But crisis sets in when Conner’s first solo album tanks and his concert performances are on life support.

Now what?

Frankly I didn’t know what to expect, but this spoof had me, along with the rest of our screening audiences, in stitches. Continue reading

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Hearne: Repatriate Kemper Arena

21c722_b02b041c5e6b4991b8a73316e65e83f9-1.jpg_srz_498_746_75_22_0.5_1.2_75_png_srzJunk sports, anyone?

How about we give Kemper Arena back to the Kempers. You know,  let the rich dudes work it all out. Isn’t that what Donald Trump and the Republican Party are all about? Free enterprise taking care of biz.

So why force impoverished Kansas City taxpayers to choke out seven figures every year to keep Kemper on life (death) support?

Because Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes sealed a really bad deal on Kemper 10 years back when she gave away the farm on the Sprint Center. Kemper was being managed at the time by Philadelphia’s Comcast Spectator and had been cleaned up nicely and was in the black.

Unfortunately Barnes kicked Spectator to the curb and gave new Sprint operator AEG the right to run Kemper. That turned out to be a conflict-of-interest, kiss of death disaster.

Which brings us to the here and now. Continue reading

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Glazer: ‘I’ll Have an Extra Large Helping of Crow, Please”

crow-on-the-cobThe Kansas City Royals have proven THEY ARE LAST YEAR’S ROYALS…

Down early in the season by seven games to the Chicago White Sox and looking lost, the Royals have found themselves and then some. Just three weeks later, they’re in first place with a sweep of the White Sox at home and three straight come from behind late inning wins.

Wow!

Once again the team to beat in the American League is Kansas City.

We all had our doubts a few weeks ago. How could we not?

The Moose is out for the season. Alex Gordon is on the DL. And now Sal Perez is hurt.

But it doesn’t matter, the Royals called up three young players, Cheslor Cuthbert, Brett Eibner and Whit Merriefield and –  Oh, my God – they look like three potential All Stars already.

In fact Eibner had two hits in the ninth inning the other day to lead the Royals to a 7 run, bottom of the ninth inning comeback, including the game winning final hit. He’s batting over .400 early, Whit is near .400 and now Palo Orlando is red hot hitting near .400. Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | 34 Comments

Valentine: Proving Anything Is a Bad Slogan is Good Challenge

HRCThe problem with discussing national politics when you’re from Kansas City is nobody thinks you know much beyond what’s already been said by people in Washington D.C. or New York…

However sometimes you need to get a some distance from a problem in order to get a perspective that people more closely involved can’t.

Like that Hillary Clinton’s private server allowed her to trade state secrets. Because the Clinton Foundation actively traded this sensitive information for cash, influence and favors through her “unsecured” server.

Putting that information on the server was like leaving a folder on a table at a restaurant.

And informing “donors” where to find the information was the same as a covert drop. This really isn’t a hard concept to understand.

Thus the Clinton Foundation amassed several hundred million dollars in a short time.

And its only real product is access. Continue reading

Posted in Mark Valentine | 46 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Alice’ Shines Through The Looking Glass

 

Alice In Wonderland: Through The Looking GlassDisney’s sequel to its 2010 box office smash ALICE IN WONDERLAND is a visual extravaganza to behold…

Now some six years later with ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS the Mouse House taps back into the fertile imagination of Lewis Carroll’s fantastical world and delivers a striking fantasy playing out way beyond most expectations—including mine.

Attention to detail in this sequel is stunning.

The story has Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returning from her high seas adventure as the ship’s captain.

But things aren’t good upon her return thanks to deals made by her mother, and soon everything is lost.

However fearless Alice won’t be stopped as she travels through a magic mirror to return to the world of Wonderland where her old friend the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is in a state of mad depression as he fears his family’s still alive, but is unable to locate them. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Delivers—Too Much?

xmenapocalypse-storm-apocalypse-psylockeWill the general public ever tire of superhero movies?

Well, 20th Century-Fox sure hopes it won’t be with their latest edition in the highly profitable ‘X-Men’ series poised to rule the box office this Memorial Day weekend.

Advance tracking has it opening in the $100 million range.

So here we are already at the end of May.

And we’ve already experienced DEADPOOL, BATMAN v SUPERMAN, THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR—and now here comes No. 5.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE brings the emergence of the world’s first mutant—forcing the X-Men to unite to defeat his plan of global extinction.

He is the immortal Apocalypse who rises in 1983 after thousands of dormant years.

Now, along with his Four Horsemen and unlimited powers, he sets out to create a new world order.

And as the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, Professor X, Mystique and a handful of new troops set out to stop this seemingly invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.

So far. So good. Continue reading

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