Hearne: Chris Tucker Comeback Saga Unfolds @ Stanford’s

2014 Trumpet AwardsMake no mistake, Hollywood heavyweight Chris Tucker’s appearance at Stanford’s this weekend is a very big deal…

Say what you will about Tucker’s tax problems with the Internal Revenue Service and the 42 year-old “actor, comedian and humanitarian’s” somewhat stalled movie career, from the moment he hit the stage last night it was evident that this was no run of the mill comedy club show.

“Look at me. Look at me! I am the captain now,” Tucker told the audience in a nod to Tom Hanks hit movie Captain Phillips.

Dressed immaculately – unlike 99.9 percent of the comics who’ve graced Stanford’s stage, including heavyweights like Lewis Black – Tucker appeared larger-than-life in a black dress shirt and tie, black slacks, a burgundy silk brocade sport jacket and ultra-glossy, black patent leather shoes.

To say nothing of Tucker’s posse, consisting of a burly bodyguard and yes men.

“Thank you for supporting all the Rush Hour movies but Jackie Chan can get on my nerves,” he told the sold out crowd. “Calling me collect from Hong Kong…I love working with Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen makes me look good. Because I’d show up late for work and Charlie Sheen wouldn’t show up at all.” Continue reading

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Leftridge: Royals Look Like Royals After 15 Games


George Brett riding horse

So the Royals are above .500 again, and all of the nut-jobs that were predicting a World Series victory (or at the very least, a WS appearance) are back from the ledge…

This is good, as I hate to see people off themselves over under-developed sports standings.

I didn’t expect the Royals to win the World Series this year—or even get to the playoffs—and so far, an 8-7 record feels just about right. I don’t know that I would have had this exact record on the books, necessarily, but I figured they’d be up-and-down,  pretty frustrating and occasionally fun to watch.

In my preseason piece, I made a couple of salient points. I suggested that:

1) The bullpen would regress.

2) The rotation would regress.

3) The offense would improve, mostly due to the additions of OF Nori Aoki and 2B  Omar Infante.

4) Eric Hosmer would be huge offensively, Mike Moustakas would finally have his cherry-busting, “break-out” season and elder statesman Bill Butler would have a big bounce back, power-wise.

5) Lorenzo Cain would need to stay healthy to make this team a contender. (But I also suggested that he wouldn’t.)

I was wrong on some things, right on others, but mostly, the cake I baked has been contentedly edible. Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge, Sports | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Sutherland: Checking in with the Romance Writers of America

a2de7786975c0ad8986c14.L._V162924600_SY470_ I was at a party with my son and his wife two years ago when a young couple came up and introduced themselves. Their names were Sydney and Beatriz Williams.  Beatriz told us about a book she’d just finished and was about to publish. The book, “Overseas,” published by G.P. Putnam, is about a girl in her 20s working in 2007 as an analyst at a New York investment banking firm.  She meets a mysterious billionaire hedge fund operator who’s working on a deal with her firm.

The heroine, Kate, falls in love with the billionaire Englishman, Julian Ashford, little suspecting they have a shared past.  In fact she had a prior existence during the First World War and Julian is a time traveler from 1916, seeking to reconnect with “the enchanting woman who emerged from the shadows of the Great War to save his life.”

Six months later I saw a promotional poster for the book in the window of Rainy Day Books in Fairway, which included a photo of Mrs. Williams.

In the meantime, “Overseas” had become a runaway success and Mrs. Williams, a stay-at-home-mom with four young children, was headed for the New York Times Best Sellers List. Continue reading

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Mancow: ‘Diamond Dogs’ – David Bowie & Linda McCartney

IMG_2752I was listening to “Diamond Dogs” recently and came across this pic that David Bowie took for the album cover photo shoot circa 1974… 

And I was pretty blown away by how much it resembles Linda McCartney‘s androgynous stage persona of the same era which appears to be blatantly intentional.

Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” was well recieved. He was a critical darling but was not embraced in the states till the big success of the companion tour for the album.

Blind to most everyone else, Bowie Had grown tired of Ziggy Stardust at this point, but was unaware how to move forward creatively into a paranoid future. A lot like Paul McCartney and his vision for his new band WingsContinue reading

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Sounds Good: 420 Fest @ Riot Room, Ben Kweller @ Riot Room, Dead Mockingbirds @ Replay

Might be a good weekend for a road trip…KC's 8th Annual 420 Fest

Yep, this weekend is the annual 4/20 Fest in Denver, featuring a solid lineup of hip-hop, reggae, and rock, with headliner Wyclef.  But don’t head out there thinking it’s just a free-for-all, in terms of blazing in public.

“Our main concern is the safety of everyone involved,” police spokesman Sonny Jackson told the Denver Post, “both participating in the event and in the area, as well as officers.”

Um, OK, so maybe it is a free-for-all, so long as you blaze safely.  If you can’t do the drive, check out the Riot Room‘s version on Saturday. Continue reading

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New Jack City: KC’s Summer Screen Sizzlers

 UnknownIt may not seem like it but as far as Hollywood is concerned we’re two weeks away from the official kick off to the 2014 summer movie season…

It all unfolds on Friday, May 2 as the Spider-Man legacy focuses on an untold story that tells a different side of Peter Parker’s beginnings.

Summer at the movies in Kansas City comes in two parts.

The first goes through June – the second, July through Labor Day.

Today I’m focusing on highlights from the first part of K.C.’s big screen summer sizzle: 

* May 2THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Andrew Garfield-Emma Stone)

* May 9NEIGHBORS (Seth Rogen-Zac Efron)

* May 16GODZILLA (Bryan Cranston-Juliette Binoche)


MILLION DOLLAR ARM (Jon Hamm)  Continue reading

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Hearne: March Radio Ratings Madness

Rockfest-Kansas-CityHere we go again, boys and grrrls…

Hot off the presses, the latest radio ratings for the merry month of March.

And again country is king with a nearly 18 percent share of  listeners.

Yep, the days of urban station KPRS FM ruling the roost are in the rearview mirror. Because forget the Christmas music factor, once again KFKF FM is large and in charge at the top of the heap.

And while The Rock 98.9 FM may still be able to draw 50,000 beer swilling headbangers to Liberty Memorial, the station’s reign atop the ratings slag heap are yesterday’s news. The station barely made the Top 5.

And speaking of nosedives, highway shootings and zoo riots aside, News Radio KMBZ fell out of the Top 10, despite the fact that it’s heard both on the AM and FM dials.

Oh and remember that station – what was it called – oh yeah, Alice? The Adult Album Alternative signal at 102.1 FM that sold its soul two months back for a nondescript slogan and a run at the adult contemporary market.

Well, looks like it’s starting to pay off as the station climbed more than half a share point (a 28 percent increase) avoiding a spot just shy of the bottom end of the Top 20.

So did Channel 19′s new baby The Bridge 90.9 FM finally make it into the ratings with its spiffy, new tower and a monopoly now on the Triple A format locally?

In a word, no.

Not only that, KTBG didn’t even garner a mention on the also ran list of unrated local stations that range in formats from “Religious Teaching” to “Regional Mexican.”

Not exactly a good sign, but let’s give ‘em a bit more time.

And now, on with the March ratings show… Continue reading

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Hearne: Ward Parkway Lowers Boom on ‘Walking Dead’

senior-citizen-mall-walking-in-shopping-mallFrom one extreme the other…

It’s no secret that for years Ward Parkway Shopping Center has had an on-again, off again problem with urban teens hanging around its movie theaters. Much like Cinemark’s Palace on the Plaza today and Crown Center and Cinemark in Merriam in the not too distant past.

For now however, the coast is clear at Ward Parkway

That according to nearby neighbor Jeff Glazer.

“The movie theater’s been improved – they cleaned it up – and you just don’t see any of that anymore,” Glazer says. “Not at all – zero – they completely got rid of the entire issue. I would say the last two years it’s just completely disappeared.”

That’s a lot bit for a dude who four years ago felt like he was in a race war.

“My home was vandalized a little over a year ago,” Glazer told me at the time. “The black kids congregate there at Ward Parkway after the movies – about 500 to 600 deep – and our neighborhood association complained and they put in a police officer there afterwards.”

Unlike Cinemark on the Plaza, that seemed to do the trick, Glazer says.

Because before the post movie action at night had been intense.  Continue reading

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Valentine: Kansas City in B Reel of a Batman Movie

kcbatIs Kansas City trapped in a Batman movie?

Suddenly, villains and mayhem are at every turn. The vile stream began with the wild shoot out at The Zoo. It was a nice day in a peaceful setting when evil erupted upon an unsuspecting populous. Shaken, but believing it was an isolated incident, the metropolis moved on.

Then before the citizens could catch their breath, news of random highway shootings put them in the national spotlight again. How many shootings? Was it 12 or 20? Are they connected? The pompous local mayor took to the airwaves to try to restore the calm.

“It is nothing unusual. This is going on right now in other cities,”the mayor told  innocent city dwellers as they awaited a plan from the mayor that never was spoken. Continue reading

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Paul Wilson: Finding Meaning & Purpose in the Face of Ignorance & Hate


Adam Hamilton

This past Sunday Kansas City and the nation saw another needless outpouring of hate…

When Frazier Glenn Cross - a white supremacist from Aurora, MO –  shot and killed three people, one at Village Shalom, a Jewish run nursing home, and two in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center a few blocks away..

Most of us have moments in our lives when we reexamine or change previously held fundamental tenets of faith or our belief system – interracial marriage, homosexuality, religious viewpoints and any number of other social norms that evolves with time.

No such nuance existed in Cross.

He’s held fast to his beliefs for decades and it’s a pretty safe bet what was on his mind when he got in his car and made the three hour drive to his own personal killing fields. Seems Cross has had basically but one motivation his entire life, that of racial and religious bigotry. Clearly, he’s no garden variety disgruntled man, merely testy about a few things that rubbed him the wrong way.

No, there simply was no room in Cross’ world for blacks, Jews, “mud people,” or anyone that was not white or didn’t see the world through his horribly clouded vision. Continue reading

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Sutherland: Predictable Round Up of the Usual (Conservative) Suspects

bqRvbfOI was wondering how long it would take the Kansas City Star to place the blame for Sunday’s shootings at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park on conservatives…

Forty-eight hours after its first story appeared the Star ran an story under the by-line of Dave Helling and Judy Thomas which talked about alleged shooter F. Glenn Miller’s prominence in “ultra-conservative” political circles.  It’s not that big a jump to blame it on conservatives in general, as well as the Republican Party and its adherents in particular.

I went on-line and found dozens of images posted by Occupy Wall Street on its website.

The movement clearly has an open and pronounced anti-Semitic aspect but has been publicly embraced by prominent Democratic office holders, including President Obama and former Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee even solicited petitions expressing their party’s solidarity with the Occupy movement. Continue reading

Posted in Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. | 23 Comments

Hearne: A Moment of Silence for Kanrocksas Promoter Who Cared

984259_607980282546128_1903669953_nLet’s give credit where credit is due…

Nobody gets in business to fail or go broke – including now-former Kanrocksas promoter Bill Brandmeyer.

Brandmeyer went down hard last summer after failing ticket sales forced him to cancel what would have been his second huge summer spectacle at the Kansas Speedway. And while he was on the receiving end of some ultra harsh criticism from both music fans and the very industry insiders who encouraged him to absorb yet another multi-million dollar hit, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that Brandmeyer’s heart was in the right place.

Was he naive to think he could come out of nowhere and swack one out of the park?

Obviously. Continue reading

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Starbeams: Miley Beams



Miley Cyrus cancelled her Tuesday night concert at Sprint Center due to an allergic reaction to antibiotics.  Actually, it was the antibiotics that had an allergic reaction to HER!


I guess this is what happens when you lickeverything.

*******  Continue reading

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Hearne: Life After Kanrocksas – Crossroads Gears Up for Biggest Concert Season Yet

kanrocksas-headerTalk about the Top 40

With Vampire Weekend, O.A.R., Pat Metheny, 311,  Ziggy Marley, The Rainmakers, Robert Randolph and 33 more acts – and still counting – this summer at Crossroads KC promises to be the biggest and brightest yet at the 8 year-old outdoor venue in downtown Kansas City.

“Yeah, there are way more bigger shows this year and there’s a reason for that – no Kanrocksas”  says promoter Brett Mosiman. ”We’re barely into April and we already have 40 shows booked and we’ll probably have another 5 or 6 shows.”


Joss Stone

For example, yet to be announced are shows featuring acclaimed British soul singer Joss Stone (September 7th), Bruce Hornsby (July 26th) and the Under the Sun tour with Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler and Uncle Kracker. Continue reading

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | 19 Comments

Starbeams: Weather Channel Love, Royal Bust & Cool Crest

maxresdefaultThe Royals have been a great symbol for Kansas City this season.  They’ve been completely shot on the road.


A string of warm days finally reached the metro last week.  I made some extra money by renting myself out as a caddie at Cool Crest.

                                                               ******* Continue reading

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Sounds Good: Particle @ Bottleneck, Bill Maher @ Midland

New record to check out: The Nels Clines Singers’ Macroscope, which drops on tax day, April 15th.

For those unfamiliar, Cline is the short-pants wearing, mad scientist guitar virtuoso for Wilco (and he also kinda looks like Hearne).  But he’s also one of the most recognized and experimental jazz and free-form guys around, treading into massive improv, odd meters, weird sounds, you get the deal.  He’s consistently named in every publication’s “Top 100 Guitarists of All-Time,” and that’s due in no small part to his vast versatility.  He can literally play anything.

Check it…  Continue reading

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Hearne: From Worst to First — Kansas City’s Best BBQ Ribs & Burnt Ends

65b52051121aec96574b00cb4bd74038Once upon a time there were only private clubs

So when you wanted to go out to a nice restaurant in Kansas City – with rare exception – it wasn’t in the state of Kansas. Kansas City, Missouri was where the action was at when it came to credible dining options. Because in the 1970s Kansas was still sorting out its antiquated liquor laws and you had to “join” a “club” to be able to order liquor by the drink with your meal.

But as the 1980s unfolded a bold Johnson County barbecuer by the name of Hayward Spears bought up a bunch of land at College Boulevard and Antioch and moved his popular rib roost south from 95th Street into a gorgeous, new space with a scenic view of the city to the north. Oh and he got one of those new-fangled liquor licenses Kansas was starting to give out and – just like that – fine dining was born in Overland Park.

However unlikely though because Hayward’s was a mere barbecue joint. Continue reading

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Sutherland: The Kansas City Star’s Exploitation of ‘Po’ Folks’

fatandyz_94671345233243 “Po’ Folks” was the name of a treacly country and western song from 1961 by “Whisperin” Bill Anderson.  It’s about a family so poor that even a wolf would know not to bother coming to their front door without bringing his “own picnic lunch.”

As music critic Richard Peterson says in his You Wrote My Life:  Lyric Themes In Country Music, Anderson’s impoverished family; “had in their shack something ‘money can’t buy,’ and when they become hungry and cold they ‘simply patched the cracks and set the table with love’.”

 This romanticized view of poverty was bad enough as far as exploiting other peoples’ suffering for financial gain.  (The college-educated Anderson was careful to hide his background from his peers in the music industry in Nashville.)  What made it doubly exploitative (and a wonderful example of poetic justice), didn’t become clear until almost 30 years later. Continue reading

Posted in Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. | 17 Comments

Leftridge: TV Time; Channeling Fargo

fargo-fx-tv-series-posterA month or so ago, my wife made a startling revelation: she’d never seen the darkly comedic, melodically disturbing 1996 masterpiece Fargo

After consulting a divorce attorney—who hung up on me after explaining that this was “a grotesquely ridiculous reason to consider marriage dissolution,” and that, “if (I) didn’t stop calling, (he’d) call the cops,”—I decided that things could be saved if we just watched the movie.

And so we did.

Much to my disappointment, however, it wasn’t as good as I remembered. It had been years since I’d seen it, and I’d gone into the viewing thinking that I LOVED it. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good movie; it is not, however, a great movie. Continue reading

Posted in Brandon Leftridge, Entertainment | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Starbeams: Sebelius Escape, Chimpanzee Escape, Bed, Bath & Blasphemy

Kathleen SebeliusFormer Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her post as Health & Human Services Director following the Obamacare rollout debacle.  She plans to spend the next several months figuring out how to navigate JOB.COM.


Seven chimpanzees escaped from the Kansas City Zoo Thursday afternoon.  They quickly returned once they heard gunfire on I-435.

                                                                 ******* Continue reading

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