Today: What’s in a Name? Jazz Club Owner Changes Name…Again!

Where to begin…

See, there’s this woman who worked her way up through hard charging, powerful partying and blind faith into becoming the most powerful and influential person on the Kansas City jazz scene. She’s from India, of all places and you probably know her as Beena.

For me it’s a bit more complicated…

Because when I first met Beena while I was working at the Kansas City Star, she was a cocktail waitress-turned club manager and about to turn owner of the jazz joint known as Jardine’s just off the Plaza. She married a local blues guitarist named John Brandsgard shortly thereafter and rapidly rose to become one of the most colorful, prolific characters in my column, alongside luminaries such as Craig Glazer, Clay Chastain, Will Gregory, Chris Fritz, Jeff Fortier, Larry Sells and Holly Starr.

In other words, there was almost nothing she wouldn’t do or say to further the interests of the jazz club she loved so dearly. Within reason.

From throwing testy-tempered Karrin Allyson under the bus to you-name-it. In short, Beena was my kinda grrrl.

Now here’s where it gets a bit prickly…

She started out as Beena Brandsgard – simple enough. But then she got divorced, naturally I reported on the D in my column. Then she flew the coup back to India for like four years and when she moved back to KC two years ago, she told me her name was now Beena Rajalekshmi.

So Tony and I faithfully reported on her ensuing trials and tribulations under that name. Trouble is, she never bothered to change it from Brandsgard and ultimately we were forced to abandon ship on "Rajalekshmi" and revert back to calling her "Brandsgard."

Kind of a pain and slightly embarrassing but we survived.

But as of tonight, Beena’s back to her old tricks – she’s changed her name again. Who knows if it’s legit, but who are we to explain to somebody who they actually are?

And so – against my better judgement – I’m here to tell you that there no longer is a Beena Brandsgard nor a Beena Rajalekshmi.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Beena Raja.

"You know, Rajalekshmi is too long," Raja says.

Oh, great, does it stand for anything?

"Raja is like ‘the king’ in India," Raja says. "And Rani is the queen. The real reason I want to change my name again is Brandsgard is kind of a bad karma. So that’s a small step for mankind."

But something approaching a giant leap for the readsers of KC Confidential…

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6 Responses to Today: What’s in a Name? Jazz Club Owner Changes Name…Again!

  1. harley says:

    come on hearne…loet glaze write all the posts. Step aside…your stories are not only
    pointless but boring.
    Lets have a contest….since this story is worthless…
    Give the winner a free flea burger, tickets at sanfords to see jj walker, and a free toilet
    repair (valued at $1300) from roger the plumber.

  2. smartman says:

    What’s in a Name?
    Cokie would have been a better name.

  3. Robertoe says:

    So its not Beena Rani?
    Come on Hearne. We know you’re holding out on us. We all know you have better Beena stories than this one. Devious smirk.

    Shoot, I could write a column here just about old Jardines stories that would really tantalize. I know you could too. Wow, those were fun!! I wandered into Jardines the first week it opened in 1992, became a fixture and spent the next decade drinking Heineken dark and watching the vastly entertaining Halstead & Beena escapades. They really had a great staff too. Did lots of partying with those gals and got to know lots of great local jazz musicians after hours. Some say Jazz can be boring but it sure as hell wasn’t back then. Its too bad I have to use the past tense.

    I like the new name, Beena! Much simplier. And she’s basically naming herself ‘King’? Yeah. I can believe this.

  4. Hearne Christopher says:

    Why don’t we start the contest with you weighing in with what real name you changed yourself from into Harley? You out yourself and KCC will provide the Flea Burger, tickets to Stanford’s and backstage to meet JJ and the free toilet repair.

    I’ll even throw in use of a new Mercedes for a weekend?

    Mr H?

  5. Kellys Man says:

    Coke Head You Mean
    Thats what they do up there. Not at Kellys. She is the ringleader. With all those Jazz people. Wierdos.

  6. Johnny S says:

    hmmmmm. sounds like the horse corral too
    “”In other words, there was almost nothing she (we) wouldn’t do or say to further the interests of the (horse corral) jazz club she (he) loved so dearly.””

    hmmmmm. this sounds familar…. oh yeah, crossroadskc…. another buddy owner/promoter of yours.

    Just pay off the local flibbity flub..and they will say (any)thing like….
    “110 degree is a fine temperature to attend an outdoor summer show,
    if you cant handle that, then you are a pussy and should just stay home and watch TV”

    ANYTHING TO FURTHER THE INTERESTS OF ….. etc etc…. [yup… hear(ne)d and understood]

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