Sounds Good: Flaming Lips@LibertyHall, Steve Martin@Midland, Split Lip@Crossroads

Storied Lawrence concert venue Liberty Hall turns 100 this week, and they’re throwing one helluva party to celebrate…

Fittingly, the party couldn’t be one night only, not for its 100th.  Nope, they’re doing it up right, with two nights of the Flaming Lips starting Thursday. How is Wayne Coyne going to squeeze his giant hamster ball inside the intimate venue you ask?  Not sure.  But I do know it’s going to be insane.  Definitely the smallest venue that the Lips have played in some time, I’m sure.

Remember, last summer they played the second stage at Kanrocksas in front of several thousand and killed it.

For Friday’s event, Mass. Street in front of Liberty Hall is getting shut down and turned into a psychedelic street party that I expect to be absolutely packed.  This looks to be one of those events that you simply cannot miss if you’re expecting to keep any of your Larryville cred.

On to the picks…

Thursday, June 21st

The Flaming Lips at Liberty Hall in Lawrence

I think Lawrence could get very, very weird in the next couple days.

Like I said, these guys are known mostly for their awesome live shows, and they’re very fond of Lawrence.  Their drummer lives there.  So when I heard that the Lips would be celebrating Liberty Hall’s big 1-0-0 I knew we were in for something special.  And I also knew tickets would be snatched up quicker than a PBR at Franks’ North Star.  So if you still want in you might have to get creative.

For those that haven’t seen the Lips, if you can still score a ticket, do so right now. 

Their live shows are epic, with visuals galore, huge anthems, and of course the giant hamster ball.  And if you can’t get a ticket, just come down to Mass. Street Friday night for the freakout in the streets.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers at the Midland in KC
Yes, it’s THAT Steve Martin.  But seriously, he’s pretty damn legit on the banjo.  Certainly, I likely wouldn’t be talking about the Rangers if not for Steve Martin’s involvement, but the band has been around for quite a while before they ever joined forces with the wild and crazy guy.  And for what it’s worth, Martin doesn’t make the performances all about himself, or about his comedy, or anything like that – usually.

This particular show is a benefit that features a silent auction and some other stuff, and is being billed as “An Evening of Bluegrass and Comedy” on the Midland’s website.  The actual benefit website, though, doesn’t say much about the comedy part.  Check it out here:

Saturday, June 23rd

MO Chainsaw Grassacre featuring Split Lip Rayfield and others at Crossroads KC

Kansas favorites Split Lip headline this bluegrass throw-down that also features Cornmeal, Sons of Fathers, Grass Crack, Truckstop Honeymoon, Goddamn Gallows, and Deadman Flats.  So if you’re in need of a country good time this might just be the show for you.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to go see Split Lip, no matter how many times you’ve caught their rebel speed-grass act.  I saw them a few weeks ago at Wakarusa for probably the 20th time and I must say, they absolutely killed it.  Probably the best show of the festival.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 4 Comments

Glazer: Scribe Gives His Blessing to Texas Ranch Worker Killing

Sometimes killing a person is fine, just fine…

A Texas rancher did just that, killed a man with his bare hands. He beat a 47 year-old worker named Jesus Mora Flores to death. Why? Flores was raping his 5 year old daughter. The father was never arrested for the killing.

A grand jury decided not to indict the rancher for the killing. His name is being withheld due to the nature of the crime – rape, molesting a child. Flores was seen running off to the woods with the little girl, according to Shinner, Texas police. The father also was in the area and saw what was about to happen. When he reached the rape scene, Flores had his pants down around his ankles, the little girl was undressed and Flores was in the process of raping the child.

The father jumped the child molester and beat him about the head and body. He then called 911 and asked for help. "Come on! This guy is going to die on me!" the father yelled. "I don’t know what to do!" 

The police didn’t know where the ranch was, it was in a remote area and it took them a long time to reach the ranch. The rancher/father put the soon to be dead guy in his truck and was about to drive him to the hospital.

Too late, he was dead.

Was he in the right? Was it OK to use deadly force? His own hands. Flores had been stopped. He was not able to fight back after the first several blows. Flores had no weapon and his pants were down. Did the rancher do the right thing killing the man who had been attacking his little girl?

I say, "Damn right, he did."

The best result would have been to beat the hell out of this animal and turn him over to the law.

Maybe the rancher wanted to kill the man, we’ll never know. If it was my little girl, I would have wanted the attacker dead. Five year-old child. Terrible. I think justice was done.

Other agencies outside the area likely wanted him charged with involuntary manslaughter.

A charge that could send him to prison. Not in Shinner, Texas. No sir. He’s a hero and I agree.

This is that rare example of courage, fear, and anger that makes sense.

I think we all have thoughts about what we might do in similar circumstances. You protect your family and loved ones. In fact all human life when the innocent are being attacked.

I also thought about Texas being the state that has sent many young people to prison for decades just for having small amounts of marijuana on them. Well, that was a few years back.

Sometimes good does triumph over evil. Just not often enough.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 40 Comments

Whinery: The War in Syria We Don’t Need to Fight

Isn’t America (and our NATO compatriots) in enough wars?

I think so, but the powers that be have that insane look in their eye again and Syria is appears to be the next target. The West has been emboldened by its faux victory in Libya and is now ready for the next “domino” to fall.

Syria- after Iran- should be the last country the West wants to play “regime change” in and here’s why…

The S-300 Missile System – the great equalizer as far as air defense systems go – was designed by the Russians and if there’s a war it will be operated by them. It’s a particularly nasty air defense system that can track up to a 100 targets at once and engage up to 12 at a time.

Its surface-to-air missiles are devastating with a range of up to 100 miles and they travel at up to six times the speed of sound which is a lot faster than an F-16.

Which means our big, bad aircraft carriers would be sitting ducks against Syrian anti-ship missiles. Namely the P-800 Oniks and the P-15 ship to ship missile systems. These are very nasty indeed, capable of Mach 2 speeds, skimming the water at 10 meters. We won’t even see them coming until they slam into the hull!

And this is only the tip of the iceberg where the Syrian defenses are concerned.

They have 500,000 troops in the army – between reserves and active duty- that are equipped with 5,000 tanks, 1,000 mortars, 7,000 anti-tank weapons launchers, 3,000 infantry vehicles and 1,700 anti-aircraft guns. Their Air Force is 60,000 strong and uses the infamous Mig-29 “Fulcrums”- which can go toe-to-toe with anything we Americans produce. And they have the Mil Mi-24 Attack helicopters equipped with Gatling guns, bombs and missiles.

About 3 months ago, Iran sent 3,000 special forces to Syria in anticipation of these events and the two countries have a mutual defense treaty where if one is attacked the other helps out. So we attack the Syrians we have to fight the Iranians too. And the Russians have, what is rumored to be at least 5,000 special forces and support staff ready to go to war with NATO.

We start a war here and this ain’t gonna be Iraq or Afghanistan, we’ll be going to war with the “Soviets."

And if Drudge is to be believed, China, Russia, Syria and Iran are coordinating war games in anticipation of a NATO attack.

Nuff said?

And bear in mind the Assad Family that run Syria are of an obscure branch of Islam called the “Alawi’s” who comprise only 17% of the population and know they will be exterminated if they lose control of the Country.

So will our Nobel Peace Prize winner- El Presidente Obama- start another war?

He’s tanking in the polls and is getting more and more desperate every day. Does Obama launch ANOTHER war to salvage his re-election?

At the very least, World War 3 ought to be reason enough to call off the election.

Because we are not gonna be able to beat the Syrians without pushing the World to the brink.

Posted in News_and_Views | Tagged | 13 Comments

Leftridge: Carlos Beltran; from the “Ah, What Coulda Been” Files

So this past weekend, the Kansas City Royals traveled down I-70 to play the Cardinals. We all know how this goes.

For the Cardinals and their fans, this weekend usually doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. St. Louis is usually playing much better ball and doing that whole thing where they perennially contend while the Royals, God love ‘em, are throwing out a bunch of washed up rejects and young kids who are apt to be gone once they fall out of affordability.

One of these latter types who we lost to the highest bidder—long since gone from our humble burg, now—was Carlos Beltran.

And now that the current Cardinals outfielder is fast cementing a Hall of Fame candidacy, this is particulary depressing.

After being traded to the Houston Astros in the midst of their 2004 playoff run (for Mark Teahan! And John Buck! And Mike Wood! And wait—an Astros’ playoff run??!! What?), Beltran excelled in postseason play, ultimately setting himself up for a big-ass contract, the likes of which the Royals couldn’t have even started to dream about beginning to imagine thinking about affording (well, you know… unless they’d sunk early-funds into Beltran instead of Mike Sweeney).

In 2005, he signed a seven year deal with the New York Metropolitans worth $119 million. He hit 41 homeruns in 2006, setting the Mets’ single season record, and won his first Gold Glove. In that year’s NLCS, he hit three homeruns, bringing his playoff total to 11 knocks in 22 games. Before being traded to the San Francisco Giants in the middle of the 2011 season—he was due to be a free agent and the Mets were in cost-cutting mode—he’d tallied 3 Gold Gloves, won 2 Silver Slugger Awards and had made 6 All Star appearances. In December of last year, he signed a two year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals for $26 million.

And though his career has undoubtedly been hampered by injuries—his legs are particularly troublesome—he has put up the sort of career figures that everyone in Kansas City always expected him to.

Over the weekend, he recorded the 300th stolen base of his career. Coupled with his 300 homeruns, he is now in an elite fraternity with only eight other players, and the only switch hitter amongst the group. He just turned 35, and, if his recent return to astounding productivity is any indication of future successes, he could easily end his career with 400 homeruns, 350 stolen bases, 2,500 hits, and close to 1,500 RBI. Couple this with his previously referenced defensive hardware, and a very strong case can be made for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. VERY strong.

The frustrating thing as a Royals fan is that WE HAD HIM. He was ours to watch flourish and grow, but unfortunately, we never found the pieces to fit around him. Therefore, he languished and, when it was brutally apparent that there was no intention of him remaining a Royal, he was dealt for a bunch of long-departed promises.

This is nothing new.

As KC sports fans, we’re used to it. Unlike losing Jermaine Dye or Zack Greinke, however, we rarely have to deal with the loss of a future Hall of Famer. We lose good players—sometimes REALLY good players—but rarely do they go on to quietly achieve the sorts of amazing things that Beltran has. The unfortunate part—the one that not only kicks us in the teeth but then shits in our cereal—is that, unless the current regime does something to change the course of history (which TOTALLY sounds like the description of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film), he’ll head into Cooperstown rocking a New York Mets hat.

So hear me out: his current contract ends at the end of the 2013 season. He will turn 37 in April of 2014. Presuming that he’s still in working order—that his knees haven’t blown into a thousand pieces or anything equally as grotesque—we need to sign him to a two year deal worth, oh, I don’t know… he’ll be old then, so… $24 million? He can DH and maybe collect his 400th homerun as a member of the Royals. Maybe he’ll have fun, and maybe this eternal “youth-movement” full of ridiculously talented youngsters will be firing on all cylinders and maybe we’ll be winning. And maybe, just MAYBE, he’ll decide that he started here, he ended here, and when the committee asks his preference (they listen to the players’ wishes, though ultimately, they make the decision themselves) he’ll petition to go in as a Kansas City Royal.

Fools can dream, right?

Posted in Sports | Tagged | 7 Comments

Starbeams: The Top 5 Ways to Spot a Kansas City Terrorist

Federal officials have arrested a Kansas City businessman for allegedly being part of an al-Qaida terror cell.

Top 5 Ways to Spot a Kansas City Terrorist:

#5. He gripes about having to drive 45 minutes north of town just so he can fly an airplane into a building.

#4. Drives around town all day looking for something worthy of blowing up.

#3. Lives in a cave called Hunt Subtropolis.

#2.  Gets really irritated when other terrorists ask if he has a dog named Toto.

#1.  Answers terrorist hotline with, "Hi, may I help you?"


Kelly Urich hosts the morning show on The Point 99.7 FM

Posted in Starbeams | Tagged | 2 Comments

Hearne: Life After Missouri’s Tigers; KU Football Renaissance Explained

There’s been no shortage of hooting and hollaring about KU football and new head coach Charlie Weis...

Last year’s slogan for KU’s football team was "Believe." Which worked just fine for the two meaningless, winning games at home against McNeese State and Northern Illinois. From there however the Jayhawks went 0 and 10 against K-State, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Missouri and every other team they faced.

It was ugly and cost KU coach Turner Gill his job.

Which brings us to sexy new head coach Weiss and the hopes and dreams of the KU football faithful who can scarely remember the good, old days when the head coach was "phat" and abusive to student athletes and delivered winning seasons and bowl games.

So how high are those high hopes lately?

"Pretty modest actually," says promoter, and KU football follower Brett Mosiman. "I think everybody’s excited to have Weis but people realize that the last coach was like Terry Allen. He was a horrible coach and a horrible recruiter. He was a wonderful human being, but a horrible Division One football coach and the cupboard is bare."

Put another way, a four win season for KU this year would be a godsend, Mosiman says.

Here’s why…

"The Big 12 is the most horrible gauntlet to run in all of college football because they play nine conference games – some leagues only play seven," Mosiman says. "But even with a couple of cupecakes to start the season, KU still has to play Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia and Baylor.

"I mean, the two baby teams in the Big 12 are Iowa State and Kansas, so there are no easy games. And when you’re Kansas you’re playing nine very tough games. In the Big 10 they’re playing games against teams that are really bad like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern and Minnesota. There’s five teams that probably haven’t been to as many bowls as Kansas. I mean, KU could compete against those teams. But nine games against bowl elligible teams is what KU has and that’s a huge deal."

And getting Missouri off the schedule doesn’t make it any easier, Mosiman says.

"No, because we replaced Missouri with TCU and TCU’s been in the Top 10 seven times in the past 10 years," Mosiman says. "And West Virginia, I think most people would say is equal if not better than Missouri. The point being that KU is not only the 10th team in the most solid league, they’re playing nine bowl elligible teams. And on top of that the Big 12 gives us four home games and five road games, so what chance do we have?"

There is hope however, Mosiman says.

"In two or three years we’ll be in a lot better shape, but playing a lot better this year probably means we’ll win two or three games. I’d say the over/under on the season is probably 3 1/2 to 4 games. So in a rosey scenario we might be four and eight maybe. I predict four and eight."

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 10 Comments

New Jack City: Hollywood Figures It Out…from Kansas City

If I told you Hollywood’s major studios turn to Kansas City for information and insights about their latest movies you’d probably think I was nuts…

Well they do, and I’m not!

THE BOX OFFICE ANALYST, LLC here performs important services that only a handful of similar companies provide—worldwide. Think of it as an analytical think tank that its movie making clients draw to shepherd their movies through the jigsaw puzzle of film distribution.

Box Office Analyst started in 1982 as ex-Kansas Citian John Shaw‘s Movieline International in Texas and since 2010 has been helmed by Douglas Stone in K.C.

And Stone’s no stranger to the movie biz.

His family booked and marketed a number of Drive-In theaters here and later operated the Mid-America Cinema chain. When AMC became Mid-America’s new owner, Stone joined Stan Durwood‘s operations and for 20 years oversaw the circuit’s analytical projects, eventually rising to the position of Vice President of Strategic Analysis for American Multi Cinema.

As a Box Office Analyst Stone provides movie data to studios, including opinion tracking, consumer interest, the boxoffice potential of films, statistical comparisons to similar past and present releases and ticket sales forecasts.

How close are his predictions?

Stone claims an 85% on-target average.

His predictions come from a myriad of sources which include industry insiders, statistical comparisons and deciphering volumes of data and other materials available today.

Put another way, Stone’s company is a data interpreter.

He’s got Warner Brothers, 20th Century-Fox, Universal, Paramount, Disney, Sony (Columbia-Tri-Star) and Lionsgate among the buyers of his services.

And his client list doesn’t end with the studios.

The nation’s biggest exhibitors, including Regal, AMC, Cinemark and Carmike also make weekly use of Stone’s forecasts and analytical data.

With the motion picture industry being closely followed today by financial and investment entities, Stone counts a number of them also as end users of The Box Office Analyst’s consulting services.

Why? For trend analysis, baby.

Can the general public access Stone’s insights? Not really, but he offers some weekly industry data free of charge via the website.

With three updated newsletters a week from Kansas City to his worldwide client base, Doug Stone’s Box Office Analyst, LLP keeps the movies on track right where it counts – in potential ticket sales.

Posted in Jack_Poessiger | Tagged | 4 Comments

Glazer: The Real, True Hollywood Story of Why the Government Doesn’t Like Roids

Roger Clemens, NOT GUILTY…

Boy, you don’t hear those words often in federal court. They win nearly 95% of their trials. Which doesn’t mean the defendant is guilty, the Feds just have the power to always win. But not this time.

In fact, the government has now wasted millions of dollars and manpower to stage yet another public witch hunt that the public did not want to go along on.

Remember, Barry Bonds also walked.

Bonds was convicted of one minor charge but did no jail time. Clemens was cleared of everything. The government chose not to indict Lance Armstrong.

Did all three of them do steroids? No doubt.

The problem is, so did thousands of other baseball, basketball, football players just to name a few sports. "Roids" are now a common "vitamin" amongst not just pro and college athletes but Americans in general.

With the Clemens case over, it’s unlikely the government will ever again try a steroid/pro athlete case.

The public has spoken; "We don’t want to hear it."

For many reasons. For one, we love our superstars – even Bonds is loved in his city. Clemens is arguably the best baseball pitcher of all time. He’s won more Cy Young Awards than any other pitcher, including one at age 42 just seven years ago. Amazing. Even with steroids.

And you still have to be better than pretty good to do all that, huh?

Yes, steroids make you play better, especially in muscled up areas like home runs. However, it’s not fair to go after a chosen few when the entire NFL has to use them to not get KILLED out there.

So why slice and dice a few super star baseball players?

Simple, the government wants to slow down the use of steroids among young people.

Yet there is NO proven harm from the drugs when they are used correctly.

You can overdose on almost all legal drugs. The best examples of that being Arnold, Sly and Mickey Rourke – all movie stars who over used. Still they all seem to be in pretty good shape and healthy.. Stallone and Swartzenegger are now 70 and looking pretty good. 

That being said, we live in a dangerous world. Our nation has a high crime rate with the less educated Latino and Black groups.

Rampant steroid use would only grow young potential violent criminals to massive sizes.

It’s as simple as that.

Imagine 10 or 20 million thugs the size of Lebron James. Not a good thing.

So this is the major reason steroids are a no-no with the Feds. They don’t care about your health. Please.

Steroids are the new "fountain of youth." 

This is the only major way to slow down the aging process, look fit and young even into your 70’s. Nothing else can do that. Nothing. Sure it helps to eat right and work out, but again, PLEASE.

Testosterone and HGH are both legal today when doctor approved. So how bad can they be when used properly?

In generations to come these drugs and other steroids will allow people to live to be well over 100, maybe even 120. More importantly, they’ll look damn good even at 80, maybe 90.

Just think 80 will be the new 40. Damn. Sadly we won’t be here to see that.

Clemens and Bonds did pay a price.

Roger likely won’t go into the Hall of Fame for some time, and who knows if and when Bonds will ever be voted in? Plus they suffered great financial losses with lawyer bills and many sleepless nights. Most of all it hurt their families, their pride and their legacies.

Yes, they were all guilty of using steroids, but so were most of your pro heros.

My favorite Roger Clemens story – I’ve told it before but it bears repeating – was when Clemens and Red Sox pitcher Matt Young came into Stanford’s in Westport years ago. It was around 4 PM and they were in town to play the Royals. I walked up to Roger, introduced myself and we spoke for a bit. When I walked away he said, "Hey Craig, aren’t you gonna buy us a drink?" 

I turned and said, "Roger you make more money in a year than all the people in this restaurant put together, you should buy us a drink."  Roger smiled and said, "You’re right. Bartender, buy everyone in this joint a cocktail on me." 

And he did just that. Great guy.

But damn, I wish it had been later at night – we’d have been busier and made a killing!

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 17 Comments

Today: Can Alamo Drafthouse Lure Enough Geeks to AMC Mainstreet to Make a Buck?

They’ve got their work cut out for them…

It may sound like no big deal – other than the Nazi-like rules and regs about talking and texting – but when Alamo Drafthouse takes over the AMC Mainstreet later this week (after AMC gets kicked to the curb), there’s gonna need to be a whole lotta remodeling shaking going on.

That is if Alamo intends to sell enough upscale food and booze to its patrons at the downtown movieplex to make a profit.

Don’t believe me? Check out how roomy other Alamo theaters are in these crowd shots.

The Mainstreet has spacious seating, don’t get me wrong. But nearly 80 percent of its seats are downstairs where it’s not designed (and all but impossible) for servers to deliver the gourmet food and booze the Alamo must sell to survive.

Not without wreeking more movie havoc than merely peering into one’s purse to check a text.

Which, by the way, will get you kicked out of the Alamo quicker than you can say "Davy Crockett."

With no refund, no less. Here’s your coonskin cap, what’s your hurry?

There’s no problem serving food and drink in the Mainstreet’s three tiny screening rooms upstairs. Those theaters were designed for dining and drinking during movies, but they only hold 68 people in the "big" room and 23 in the two smaller ones.

It’s the 431 regular movie seats that are the problem.

And if Alamo hopes to make a profit at the Mainstreet – unlike AMC – it will need to fill those downstairs auditoriums which range in size from 283 seats for the largest to 74 seats for each of the two smaller theaters.

The trick is how to reconfigure the downstairs auditoriums without losing half the seats.

Or forcing patrons to slosh their way to and from their seats while balancing pitchers of beer and upscale food.

From the get go movie insiders were skeptical about AMC being able to make money after sinking $25 million into the Mainstreet with so few seats to sell. Even AMC honcho Gerry Lopez put it this way to the Star yesterday before his comments were taken down by the newspaper an hour later:

"…With six screens…there’s not enough oxygen in that fish bowl for all the fish to live."

It won’t make things any easier for the fish if Alamo has to remove rows of seats so the servers can swim past.

And with $25 million already sunk in the tiny movie money pit, how much more will Alamo have to spend to make the Mainstreet right?

Nobody bothered to ask those questions of Alamo, which has declined to discuss the matter thus far.

"For the time being, the Mainstreet will continue to operate business-as-usual on its own while signature Alamo Drafthouse touches are implemented," Alamo’s Web site teases. "Touches like our ad-free custom preshows, ironclad no-talking/no-texting policy, and the elimination of the traditional front row for a better viewing experience."

The $64 million question being, how many more rows may have to bite the dust before Alamo’s "signature touches" free up room for it to do its food and drink thing?

And after looking at the audience shots from other Alamo’s plexes I have another question.

Does Kansas City have enough movie geeks, dweebs and film snobs downtown to make Alamo’s Mainstreet pay off?

Tough one.

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 26 Comments

Hearne: AMC Head Lashes Out at Cordish in Star Before Story Vanishes

You know it’s an ugly divorce when the CEO gets nasty and goes public…

For months rumors have flown about a pending nasty split between KC-based movie giant AMC Entertainment and Cordish Company. According to a source heated-beyond-belief emails were exchanged between AMC honcho Gerry Lopez and the operator of the Power & Light District.

Extremely heated.

Which explains why rather than simply divvying things up – AMC’s Mainstreet and Midland by AMC – AMC was effectively kicked to the curb in favor of tiny Texas movie exhibitor Alamo Drafthouse. Embarrased in its home town no less (to the extent that the Chinese-owned firm ever gave a you-know-what about KC since the money lenders – including Bain Capital – took over a handful of years back.

How ugly did it get?

Check out the comments fed to the Star by Lopez that went up then quickly came down this afternoon:

"(Lopez) said today irreconcilable differences between the two companies over the operation of the Mainstreet, formerly the Empire Theater at 14th and Main street led to the divorce," it reads.

"When the operation came under distress, we’re not apt to cut corners and other folks had a different point of view," Lopez seethed. "It’s a stressful working environment with six screens. There’s not enough oxygen in that fish bowl for all the fish to live."

Hello, when you’re hemorrhaging red ink like the Mainstreet, there’s not enough oxygen for even one fish.

Another example of how ugly it got; AMC has until Wednesday to not let the door hit it in the butt before it gets the heck out.

Meaning movie titan AMC’s one-time pride and joy will almost instantly be disrobed, taken over and run by a small, control freak exhibitor out of San Antonio. 

Now here’s the funny part…

The Star posted Lopez testy comments at 3:23 pm. but replaced the story an hour later at 4:24 p.m.

Minus the parts with Lopez fuming and dissing Cordish.

Like I said, this divorce was an ugly one.

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 7 Comments

Edelman: There is Life After Jardine’s for Kansas City Jazz

Rest in the Peace, Jardine’s

All that’s left of my favorite KC jazz spot is the occasional story about Beena‘s travails here in KC Confidential. With its liquor license coming due, I’m afraid that may be all she wrote for a club that gave up plenty of smiles in its long hey day (and kept alot of musicians working).

Beena gave us some great shows.

I had my "killing me softly" moment the first time I heard Karrin Allyson on the tiny Jardine’s stage. Billy Stritch, Marilyn Maye‘s musical director, brought the cool for a $5 cover– that would be $35 and a two drink minimum in NYC.  The Sons of Brasil (and  all of Stan Kessler‘s musical amalgamations), Alacartoona, Professor Cartwright‘s KC series, Julia Othmer, Bram‘s jumping septet, Friday nights with Angela and Saturdays for Ida McBeth–it all sounded good,

I, for one, miss the place.

Like the Reno Club, Tootie’s Mayfair, the Inferno, Milton’s and a hundred other nightspots, the doors are closed but the music lives on. Don’t despair; move on.

Speaking of which, here are some places to catch great jazz in Kansas City this week:

Tonight (Monday): Mark Lowrey‘s trio plays the Majestic Steakhouse from 6 to 8; the Phoenix has shimmering vocalist Millie Edwards with the talented Michael Pagan on keyboards 7 to 11.

Tuesday: New Jazz Order Big Band kicks out the jams with some of the town’s best young cats at Harling’s, upstairs where Main Street meets Westport Road, 9 to midnight. On the intimate side, Chaz at the Raphael hosts two of the best guitarists you’re likely to hear in a summer of Starlight and Sandstone concerts– Jerry
and Danny Embrey, 6 to 10. Monitque Danielle croons with Rick Bacus and a plate of warm beignets at the aptly-named Jazz: a Louisiana Kitchen 6 to 9.

Wednesday: Another "new" music spot– McCormick and Shmick’s on the Plaza– presents the aforementioned Stan Kessler laying down some smooth samba sounds with Beau Bledsoe and Luis Orasano 5 to 8. Mark Lowery shifts to the Cafe Trio (just down the block from the shuttered Jardine’s) 6 to 9. And way out south in Leawood, Lonnie McFadden holds court at the West Chase Grille for dinner while Lynn Zimmer plays for the swing crowd at the Gaslight Grill, 137th and Roe, from 6:30 to 9:30.

Thursday: As we get closer to the weekend, our jazz scene heats up hotter. The Record Bar in Westport welcomes the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Dan Tedesco, 10 to 1am.
Kerry Strayer fronts the New KC 7 at the Take Five Coffee Bar, 151st and Nall, from 7 to 9. Solid jazz organist Everette DeVan takes his groove to Leavenworth for a gig behind vocalist Anne Trinki 6:30 to 9:30. The Hotel Phillips gets into the jazz scene with Millie Edwards on the bandstand 5 to 8. And the Sons of Brasil bring the cool to Zona Rosa outdoors from 7 to 9.

Friday: Still more new nightspots join the weekly calendar. Lisa Engelken warbles at the Blue Room 8:30- 12:30. Saxophonist Dave Chael guests with the Ron Carlson Trio at the Lucky Brewgrille. Speaking of lucky, 7 to 11’s the time and the Drum Room at the President Hotel, 14th and Baltimore, the place where Monique Danielle and Rick Bacus will keep the P&L District hip.

The 1 a.m. jam is still going strong at the Mutual Musicians Foundation, 1823 Highland.

And add Accurso’s at 4980 Main Street to the talent round-up with City Lights veteran Tim Whitmer on the 88s starting at 6.

Saturday: Cascone’s out in OP primes the pasta with saxophonist Jim Mair 6 6:30-9:30. Pieropos in Briarcliff presents Candace Evans handling the vocal and piano chores, while the hat hisself, David Basse, keeps the frogs and snakes and topless statues happy at the Overland Park Arboretum 6:30-10:30 (don’t get lost out there, DB). Sullivan’s at 119th and Roe hosts Ryan Howard from 7 to 11; half a block away, Megan Birdsall sings at West Chase from 6:30-9:30. And try Taste in downtown OP for a taste of Steve Gray, 6:30-10.

In all, I count 23 different music spots. Perhaps we CAN get by without Jardine’s — though I’ll miss it.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 5 Comments

Katie: No Lie, ‘Badass’ Alice Cooper Delivers the Goods @ Midland by AMC

We sent ace photographer Katie Grogan out into the trenches over the weekend to check out the freak show going down at the Midland

Sure, Alice Cooper is old enough to be her granddad, but in order to appreciate the new, you’ve got to understand the classics, right?  And Alice has been reaching out to younger generations for years, playing at Bonnaroo last week and incorporating a Lady Gaga cover into his set, of all things. 

Reviews have been positive across the board, almost every one of them mentioning the fact that Alice can still bring it with gusto. 

Just as KC Confidential‘s Brian McTavish found three years back when he wrote:


"The intervening years have not diminished his effectiveness…Time may not have stood still, but it sure as hell got punched in the face for 90 minutes as fans (I’d say mostly in their forties and fifties) pumped their fists, played air guitar and otherwise pulsated to the furious flashback that they had clearly come to experience: Classic Cooper."

Katie was certainly impressed.

"Not gonna lie, this was one of the coolest shows I’ve ever shot," she says. "The set-up and the atmosphere was awesome! Alice doesn’t let being 64 stop him from rocking and having a freaking blast on stage with his band. What a badass."

Here’s what it looked like… 




The Black Widow
Brutal Planet
I’m Eighteen
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Hey Stoopid
Is It My Body
Halo of Flies
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Muscle of Love


Only Women Bleed
Cold Ethyl
Feed My Frankenstein
Wicked Young Man
I Love the Dead
School’s Out
Encore: Elected.


Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 6 Comments

Donnelly: Biggest Crowd of Season Witnesses Two World Class Sporting Goals

On a hot humid Saturday, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park was packed – even the standing room- for a game against one of the worst teams in the league…

The club reported it was the highest attended game of the season despite that Toronto entered the contest sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with only one win to its credit.  And Toronto coach and Dutch legend Aron Winter, was canned just a week or two ago after failing in his effort to bring total soccer to Canada.

Judging from Toronto’s play Saturday, current coach Paul Mariner may not be long for this world either.

Sporting started the game with a bit of a new look due to the fact that Matt Besler had an emergency appendectomy last week, and Kei Kamara is still out for national team duty with Sierra Leone. (Kei scored two goals for his country on Saturday night).  Filling in for Besler at center back was little-used Lawrence Olum, and Jacob Peterson got his second start for Kei on the wing.  Also, Roger Espinoza returned from his duties with Honduras, so fill-in Peterson Joseph was relegated to the bench.

From the get go KC was pressuring Toronto, pumping the ball into its box and creating a few legit half chances.   For the first 20 minutes Toronto saw very little of the ball and were largely pinned in their own defensive third, struggling to create anything or keep possession.

Then in the 18th minute the inevitable happened. 

KC’s CJ Sapong stuck a one-timer in the back of the net off a low cross from Jacob Peterson to put the boys in blue in front 1-0.  Sapong celebrated his team-leading 5th goal with a back-flip ala Ozzie Smith

Sporting never looked back.

There were a couple scares. For example when in the 30th minute Toronto forward Eric Avila got in behind the KC defense after German international Torsten Frings played a classy ball over the top. Jimmy Nielsen was forced to come off his line and beaten by the shot, but the ball caromed off one post and then the other without going in before Aurelien Collin was able to clear the ball over the end line.

Minutes later KC’s Julio Cesar stomped on the Canadians’ necks with a goal for the ages.

It came off a full volley off a long Graham Zusi corner that the Brazilian rifled into the top of the net. 

"What a finish that was," Zusi said after the game. "That’s one of the goals of the season, for sure—just a perfect volley. It’s a great moment for him. I can’t take credit for any of that one."

After that Toronto might as well have loaded up its flannel and headed for the border because this puppy was over by half with KC dominating possession 70%-30%, and virtually every other statistical category.

KC almost notched its third a mere 10 seconds into the second half when Sapong flicked a header into the path of a streaking Teal Bunbury, but Toronto’s keeper did well with it and came up with a nice diving save.

Teal continued to give Toronto fits using his speed to track down long through balls in the corners and sending in crosses or cutting back to the top of the box.  Although he didn’t get on the board, this was definitely one of the better efforts from Teal this season.  Let’s hope he continues to be aggressive like this going forward.

With the 2-0 win, Sporting put itself in 2nd in the East at 28 points, just two points behind DC who have played three more games than KC.

Sporting has a quick turnaround, heading to Seattle for a Wednesday game before jetting across the country to Philly for a Saturday showdown with the Union.      

Posted in Sporting_Kansas_City | Tagged | Comments Off

Glazer: Good Riddance, Rodney King Was a Joke

Forty-seven year-old Rodney King died this weekend…

King drowned in his backyard pool – a pool paid for by a lawsuit from his 1991 beating by LAPD. It was a beating we’ll never forget, caught on video and which led to the LA riots that killed 55 people, injured 2,000 and caused millions of dollars in damages.

King became a "black leader" because of the incident but many white people had a problem with that.

Hey, there’s no doubt King was beaten and no doubt it was wrong. There’s also no doubt the police in LA and everywhere else in this country have no right to behave like animals.

But the problem with the entire mess is Rodney King himself.

King had a lengthy criminal record, but so did Malcolm X.  However Malcolm X became an educated, powerful leader and role model for millions. And at the end of his career he spoke to people on non violence. And if nothing else, Malcolm X was a brilliant man, right or wrong.

King on the other hand was not sharp, not a good example, uneducated and a lifelong punk.

He was given the chance to lead and set an example but what did he do with it? He parlayed his beating into more than million bucks and ended up on "Drug Rehab" reality shows. A real genius.

Now the guy’s being mentioned alongside Whitney Houston, Donna Summer and hoody-wearing victim Bobby Trayvon.

Really? Does King deserve to be enshrined in THAT group? Hardly.

In 1991 Rodney King was running from the LAPD while driving over 100 miles an hour. In all likelihood he was leaving the scene of a crime, had dope on him and more. That he ran because he was dirty is almost a given. His excuse: "I thought the cops would kill me because I am black."

I guess several million black men who get pulled over in LA all the time are lucky. They all lived somehow and managed not to get beaten. Oh yeah, King was on parole for armed robbery.

We’ll probably never really know what may have set off the beating. And again, it was wrong, very wrong. Maybe King got out of the car, yelled something at the cops and was scary and aggressive. Maybe the high speed chase and his record made the cops crazy. Still that beating was too much.

In the end, three cops were acquitted in a trial by a jury of all whites. Hey OJ, see how that works? Later the Federal Government had to make an example so they gave the two main "beating cops" 30 months in prison.

King then half ass tried to be a black leader and celebrity.

However he didn’t do either very well. So in the end the pool killed him and TV had him on only as a joke. The stupid, dope addict angle. The guy was not much of a speaker. I know, "Can We All Get Along."  That was his one-and-only best moment.

Do I sound down on Rodney King?

Yes, but only because he proved to be such a bad example – an uneducated black man who managed to make whites feel guilty. That’s the truth, he had no talent.

A better example of a black hero during the LA riots was when white truck driver Reginald Denny was pulled from his cab and nearly beaten to death and a black man, Bobby Green, raced in, pushed him back into his cab, and drove him to the hospital, saving his life.

That’s a hero. That’s a good example of a real man.

I don’t hold it against King that he had a bad record, so did I. It’s what he did after the "beating."

Which was not much.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 25 Comments

Glazer: Scribe Flashes Back to ‘That’s My Boy’ Star’s Kinky Stanford’s Misadventure

It was the best of times and the worst of times…

Stanford and Sons was probably the comedy spot here in the late 1990s and it seemed like every up and coming comedy star was on our stage at some point back then. The late 90’s launched so many multi-millionaire careers it’s hard to name them all.

One of the most notorious events there went down in 1996 with "That’s My Boy" star Adam Sandler.

A comic named Nick Swardson was doing a feature week at the Westport club. We had no idea his best pal and soon to be partner in many films was the hottest comedy star going, Adam Sandler. In fact Adam was playing a one night stand at Sandstone the same week. 

So Adam and his crew showed up at Stanford’s with no advance warning. Sandler and three of his producing/writing buds had come to a Swardson show on a weeknight I happened to be there and Adam introduced himself. He was very nice and we all sat down and talked about his newest film "Happy Gilmore" and his upcoming show at Sandstone. He told me Nick was his pal and they all had come to watch his shows. In fact, Adam even did a brief set on our stage, singing his hit, THE HANUKKAH SONG.

When word got out Adam was hanging nightly at Stanford’s it got pretty crazy.

It was common knowledge that Sandler was dating TV/film star Alicia Silverstone.

Which of course didn’t stop the guy from eyeing our hot little wait staffers. Adam had a thing for two of our cocktail babes, one was Lori King, the other I called Crazy Kari. King was my kinda gal friend and Kari had a crazy hot body. Both were blondes and both around 20 or 21. Remember, in Missouri you only have to be 19 to serve liquor.

So Adam wanted to meet them both.

Seems Kari was the one most willing. She had no boyfriend really and she and I would hang out at times.

Kari had a wicked body – just wicked – and Sandler was in lust.

They did a couple nights together and Hearne Christopher at the Star found out about it and spoke to Kari about her fun times with Sandler.

Oh boy.

"Collectibles? These days most anything will pass. In the case of comic Adam Sandler, a pair of his size 36 Polo boxer shorts fit the bill for Kari Stevens, a part-time data entry clerk for a local tire company and an on-again, off-again waitress at Stanford & Sons," it began.

Stevens told me she had no illusions about seeing Sandler again.

“I’m not depending on it. But I gave him my picture and my phone number,’ she said.’

As for the undies Stevens Sandler gave her as a souvenir, “I asked him if I could have them, and he said no, they were his lucky underwear,” she said.

But on a couple days later, Stevens asked Sandler: “ ‘So where’s my lucky shorts? ‘ And he said, ‘You can have these (instead)… ‘ I roll ‘em down and they fit perfect. ”


She was telling everyone about it.

She was so proud of the fact that she’d done Sandler, and then Kari and the pair of signed boxer shorts ended up on the FRONT PAGE OF FYI in Hearne’s section which caught everyone’s eye.

"Hey isn’t he with Silverstone?" people wondered. Well, not anymore.

The story got picked up in LA and Adam and Alicia broke up shortly after that.

To be fair, it likely would have happened anyway, this just spead up the ending some. 

Naturally, I got the complaint calls from Sandler’s people. In the end it was forgotten, but comedy stars and sex seem to go hand in hand.

Adam Sander went on to become one of the most successful comedy stars and movie producers of our generation. Nick Swardson went on to a big career as well with TV shows like Pretend Time and writing movies, including "Benchwarmers" and "Malibu’s Most Wanted."

So Nick is still a Sandler guy and has made millions himself. Kari, well she went out to LA to be a star and became a porn star if there is such a thing. You can catch her in movies like "Wanda Play" or see some of her body of work online if you dig.

Today she’s back in KC, still a handful and still has the memories her time with Sandler.

Oh yeah, along with her signed boxer shorts from her nights with Pauley Shore.

By the way, Sandler gave me tickets to his show at Sandstone. He was not as big a star then so the crowd was maybe 4,000. Today it would be the Sprint Center, but with Adam’s bank account in the hundreds of millions, I guess that’s not likely.

Like I said, those CRAZY times.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 10 Comments

Starbeams: KCI, Why? Rockville’s Horses, Madonna Goes Senile & Royals Wave Brewers

A plan to replace Terminal A at KCI with one giant and modernized terminal has been presented to city officials. Terminals B and C could be turned into office space. Still no word on when they plan to build a terminal near where people live.


The city of Rockville, Missouri is embracing the prospect of a horse slaughtering plant being located in their town.  One hundred and fifty people packed a city council meeting this week to voice their support for the idea.  You might say they’re sticking together like glue.


In recent days Madonna has flashed her breast and her butt while performing on stage in Europe.  You know what that means.  It’s time to think about putting her in a home.


The Royals just swept the Brewers at home.  Fans hardly noticed because we refuse to let the game interrupt ‘the wave.’

Kelly Urich hosts the morning show on The Point 99.7 FM

Posted in Starbeams | Tagged | 1 Comment

Leftridge: Let’s Do Away With Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a crock of shit.

Allow me to explain.

There are two types of dads in the world, my dad and my cousin Brian.

See, my dad is great. He made me what I am today. When I was 14 and wanted a pair of Nike Air Force Ones, he did what any good dad would do: he said, “if you want $100 sneakers, goddamnit, you’re buying them yourself.” With this understanding, I did what any normal 14 year old does—I lied about my age and got a job bussing tables at a Japanese steakhouse.

Good fathers are always teaching, always fostering. They take their role as caretaker seriously, using small things like athletic footwear to impart life lessons.

My dad never let me go without, however, on basic life necessities like Rustler jeans, toilet paper and Hot Pockets. He begrudgingly gave me checks for community college tuition, and when I grew into a derelict pizza delivery guy living in a flophouse with a bunch of buddies, he was always there when I inadvertently tangled my beer money with rent money.

For this, I am grateful and forever in his debt.

Then there’s my cousin Brian.

Brian’s first foray into fatherhood was when he impregnated his “alternative school” teacher at the age of 15 (this was AFTER he got kicked out of public school for slicing a kid with a box-cutter). Fearing shame—and possible legal persecution—the teacher fled with the child to Idaho. To my knowledge, Brian has (thankfully) never seen this child.

His next child came shortly thereafter. Though he was never a part of her life (again—thankfully), they share contact on Facebook. It is on this fantastic site of social interaction that she can find pictures of her “dad” wearing Marilyn Manson makeup, and Korn-style braids, a 9mm handgun pressed to his temple while he grins.

She is now 16. He is 31.


Oh, but this wouldn’t be a story, nor would it illustrate the point I’m trying to make if he were done after only two chirruns, now would it?

After having his second child, he took a brief break (incarceration?) before shooting out children faster than a machine gun spraying a porch in South Central Los Angeles.

He had a second, then a third, a fourth and then a fifth. His inseminatory powers were only felled by his stints in jail, for various transgressions, frightfully hillbillian in nature: domestic violence, statutory rape, failure to pay child support (I know, what??!!).

Though records are sketchy—and to be perfectly honest, he may not even know for sure himself—he has something like eight or nine kids by about four different flowerpots. Again, he is THIRTY-ONE YEARS OLD.


(Bonus side note of hilarity that serves to provide a bit more insight into the mind of this amazing human being: his most recent two children—the only two whom, to my knowledge, he has any sort of contact with, are named Damien Morrison [after the spawn of Satan and the Lizard King] and Cobain Lavey [after the late Nirvana front man and the founder of the Church of Satan]. SPLENDID.)

So my point is, not all dads are created equal. Some dads are grey-meat McDonalds hamburger patties and others are filet mignons. And that’s why Father’s Day sucks. It’s a ubiquitous holiday that forces everyone—except orphans—to honor thy father, when in fact, some dads don’t deserve shit.

Furthermore—and quite ironically so—it’s EASY to get Father’s Day gifts for someone like cousin Brian. You can get your shit-dad a carton of Kool cigarettes, a 5th of Hy-Vee brand whiskey or a hoodie emblazoned with the Slipknot logo. If you’re the conscientious sort, you can even spring for a Groupon on a discounted vasectomy!

My dad, however, is another story.

He’s quiet, stoic and lives his life mostly without hobbies. Every couple of years, he decides he likes golf, but by the time you decide to get him something golf-related, he’s no longer playing. He doesn’t build ships in a bottle, feel particularly passionate about any singular sports team or really like giraffes or cigars.

He is the single hardest person in the world to shop for.

So, while we ply our fathers with ties that will never be worn, grill attachments that won’t be used and gift certificates to have golf clubs recalibrated, let’s stop and think: Is any of this really necessary? Don’t we all love our dads enough already? Is it fair that dirt-bag Brian gets the same day that YOUR dad does?

That’s why I say, fuck Father’s Day. I don’t need a card to prove how much my dad means to me. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some felt-covered executive desk doo-dad for my dad’s non-existent work-desk.

Posted in Sports | Tagged | 23 Comments

Hearne: The Problem with Journalism Today

Here’s what I’m talking about…

The Crown Center fountains controversy is a perfect example of what’s wrong with much of what passes for journalism today. Media organizations sending random, often rookie reporters to cover a story in which they have no background or history. They’re armed only with the intention of answering the very basic questions of who, what, where, when and – if we’re lucky – why.

The latter often being the most telling, but least told part of the news story.

Instead what viewers and readers get more often than not are a handful of inconsequential man-or-woman on the street takes and maybe a thin veneer of reasons and or answers with little to no followup or probing questions.

In short, news lite.

Now read automotive giant Bob Lutz‘ take on the practice of journalism today from his new book Car Guys:

"Then there’s the American media," the former chairman of General Motors begins. "With relatively rare exception, these men and women are well left of center, with over 70 percent of the profession cheerfully declaring themselves ‘liberal’ in surveys. Products of a higher education system that is itself riddled with professors who are anything but conservative, most journalists receive a massive dose of anti-free market, anti-big business programming in college…"

That of course, only speaks to the self-evident politics of reporting (which most print journalists naively but strongly deny).

Now here’s the money quote:

"A compounding factor is that, unlike in Europe, where an economics correspondent typically has a degree in economics, a journalism student in the United States merely learns journalism: how to write, how to interview, how to develope sources, journalistic ethics…..all good and legitimate skills when superimposed on some specific background in the area being covered. But that’s never the case here. And so we have people reasonably adept at writing and interviewing not only reporting but pontificating on corporate or financial matters of which they have only the most superficial understanding. What can one expect when reporters start on the society beat, move up to restaurant reviews and follow by a stint in crime reporting before suddenly being assigned to business reporting? How can sensible, accurate writing about such complex subjects possibly result?"

When I was a securities and commodities broker reporters from the Kansas City Business Journal and Star would conduct interviews with our research analysts and brokers who would laugh and ridicule their naivete after they departed.

They could tell them almost anything and they’d believe it!

Want examples?

When former Star food critic John Martellaro moved to Kansas City several years back he sought a position as news reporter but since there were no openings, he took the job as food critic in features. Martellaro later switched to the news side before having some reporting problems and departing the newspaper for the world of public relations.

Was Martellaro qualified to play the role of foodie? Well, he obviously knew how to eat and to write, so as far as the Star was concerned, the answer was yes.

He was later replaced by a copy editor – a dude responsible to cleaning up typos, spelling errors and the like in news reporters and columnist’s copy. A dude who then did the music and restaurant reviews for a time until he got busted for writing a scathing review of a restaurant after getting his food to go and transporting it to his home in Liberty to consume.

The restaurateur "made" the Star critic and called the FYI editor to complain after taking it up the you-know-what on the review. To be fair of course, the food should have been eaten at the restaurant at the time it was served. The FYI editor agreed and that journalist is now limited to reviewing concerts only.

After that his photographer wife was appointed to the food critic post at the Star, whereupon she violated every journalistic rule in the book by letting some of the restaurants know who she was and that their food was being reviewed.

I personally witnessed a series of chefs at Lydia’s downtown individually deliver and explain each course being reviewed. She got a wrist slap for that but continued the practice, albeit on a more dialed back basis.

Obviously, a restaurant critic should go in anonymously in order to sample the dining experience exactly as any local diner might. And not be custom-presented with courses specifically prepared with the idea that it was to be reviewed.

Another aspect of reporting that Lutz finds distasteful:

"Add to all of this the intense compeititive pressure for scoops," he writes. "With speed of the essence, quality and accuracy are relegated to the back of the bus."

I will say here that the Star is more often than not careful to a fault in this regard. Unless of course it’s somebody on the newspaper’s enemies list such as former KC mayor Mark Funkhouser.

Lutz bottom line:

"I naively grew up believing that the media existed to provide new facts and information and, in the case of controversial subjects, to confine the publication’s own opinions and bias to the editorial page."

Mainstream reporters and journalists will argue until they are blue in the face that their you-know-what don’t stink, but there’s absolutely no doubt that reporters – with rare exception – have views that tend to find their way into news stories.

Call it the human condition.

And don’t think news editors don’t have a heavy hand in this game either.

When Nebraska Furniture Mart first hit town a number of established local players in the audio/video and furniture games felt the company was practicing predatory pricing to eliminate the local competition.

Anybody remember a KC institution called BrandsMart?

I aired many of those grievances in my column in the FYI section. That is until the company head came to town and met with Star editor Mark Zieman. Needless to say, Nebraska Furniture Mart was a HUGE advertiser in the newspaper and remains one of the largest today.

Was I invited to sit in on that meeting? Of course not.

However, from that day forward I was ordered not to write anything more about the company.

Funny game, journalism…

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 12 Comments

Glazer: Kansas City Puts Worst Foot Forward at KCI Airport

Let’s be blunt, we have the nation’s most boring airport…

It’s all wrong for the most part. The best thing about our KCI dead zone is you can get on and off flights quickly. And that, in and of itself, does matter. Rarely are there lines or waits, even on holidays. However, the main reason for that is quite simple.


We pretend to be a large, major city, but in so many important ways we just are not.

A city’s airport is kinda like a business card. Ours is boring, slow and all but blank. There’s nothing to do or see at our airport. You can’t even see much, if any, of what our city looks like. Not even as you land. The town looks dead coming into our airport – just like KCI.

Don’t you love it? There are no real restaurants or bars. NONE.

Yes, we have a dump off fast food place here and there…barely. and of course one Starbucks, which is always 500 yards from wherever you might have landed or come in at.

And there’s ONE bookstore that also sells gum and candy. ONE. For the love of….are you kidding me?

I recently flew in from Charlotte, not a city I expected to have much of an airport.

My God, it was hopping! Tons of places to eat, drink, shop – a mini mall. Nowdays most airports have all of this in some way or another. Except ours. People were actually in the airport bars in Charlotte watching the NBA playoffs, laughing, drinking and having some fun while waiting for their flights. And this was at nearly 11 PM on a Monday.

I picked up my friend at KCI this past Friday at 10:30 PM. The TV’s – at least the one I could find – was on, but only in the security area waiting for incoming or outgoing flights. So nobody from the public could sit and watch anything.


Except for a small, self-serve pie and bread shop it looked like Zombie Land. No people.

Five years ago I said Kansas City was the slowest growing of all major cities in the top 30.

I was wrong. Buffalo, New York has us  beat, but just by a hair.

Now KCI is getting a much needed facelift and will be redone into one big, new terminal.

Unfortunately, it’s more about security and the congestion of planes than making our airport modern like the others. I do understand. We’ve lost tons of airlines, routes – and hell – didn’t we used to be a hub for TWA and Braniff?

Those guys are done.

Today we’re a shell airport – empty, usually very slow, more of a stop off to change flights than a place to go.

We do have all those nice photos on the walls of the KC Zoo, 18th and Vine and more.

Wow, that’s exciting.

But Lord help you if you’re looking to get a bite or a drink anytime soon. Something halfway decent.

Pray that your next flight isn’t three or four hours late. The bathrooms are decent. You can hang out there, I suppose.

We have a beautiful city and there are many things to see and do. We just don’t promote it, never have.

Nobody knows much about Kansas City, unless they live here.

So an airport is important. It’s the first thing you people see when you come to our city and the last place they go when they say goodbye.

We can do better, much better.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 34 Comments

Hearne: Silly Season in Media Surrounds ‘Crown Center Country Club’ Closing

Funny how everybody with a keyboard becomes an expert when a news story breaks…

Take Crown Center closing its fountains this week to public bathing. On one hand you’ve got a local blogger claiming a "TKC exclusive" because he says he was first to "break" the news. Hello. When a large, local corporation makes a grand announcement and sends out press releases that’s not a scoop.

Then there local TV stations to whom capturing a live body on location comes first. To the point that a nearby snowcone truck sales dude’s opinion of what the fountain’s closing means to KC got front-and-center treatment.

Ridiculously, Fox 4 News even managed to get a local lawyer to say that if a "kid was running around there and slipped and bumped their head I probably would not take the case."

The idea being, why would Crown Center close its fountain over of minor liability worries?

However, in the wide world of clear, intelligent thinking, while the attorney probably wouldn’t take the case if a kid scraped his knee either…

What if he fell while playing in the fountain and was paralyized from the neck down?

So of course we got some meaningful TV reporting there.

Finally, a Kansas City Star columnist with a nose for uninteresting news finally found a topic she could get some traction on and penned a very well-written column. Unfortunately it was based on the faulty premise that "behavior by a few ruined Crown Center fountain."

Quite the opposite.

It was behavior by the many that "ruined" public use of the fountain. Too many people were going, hanging out and racing about while probably going to the bathroom while in it. More kids were going – not fewer – according to Crown Center, because of its new Lego and aquarium kiddie magnets.

So great column, but not very great thinking.

Hats off however to said columnist however for noting that – unlike virtually every swimming pool in the town – there are no bathrooms near the fountains. And to my knowledge, no clearly posted signs directing people to where such distant bathrooms might be found.

So of course the kiddies were gonna go…just like the birds overhead.

In response to my reporting update from 1998 in which the KC Health Deptartment said it had no jurisdiction over the fountain because it was not a swimming pool, Fox 4 fired back: "The Health Department says Crown Center has always passed water inspections."

Au contraire.

Always is a pretty long time – 40 years in this case. And as far as Health Department spokesman Jeff Hershberger knows, "always" at Crown Center began in 2008 after "some pretty big changes when the pool ordinances were expanded to include spray grounds and Crown Center started applying for permits to have (the fountain) as a spray ground," he says. "And they do have a water filtration system in place that is similar to what swimming pools have."

That’s the good news. Now the bad.

"It’s very difficult for any spray ground to keep the chemicals perfectly in line because there’s so many people running through them, playing and sitting on the nozzles," Hershberger says. "I mean, it’s difficult enough for pools."

And again, not because there are so "few," but rather because there are so many using it.

With everything else the faraway bathrooms couldn’t have helped, Hershberger says.

"When I was a little kid you had to go through the bathroom and take a shower before you could get in the pool," he says. "That’s not the case at Crown Center, and it’s hard to collect the water (to treat it properly) on a spray ground. And while people today have swim diapers, they don’t necessarily change diapers properly."

In 1998 now-deceased Health Department honcho E.J. Olomiye told me, no way he’d let his kids go in the water at Crown Center Country Club.

Raising the question, would Hershberger?

"With the system they have now, I’d be more comfortable," he hedges. "But would I put my face in that water? No. I have enough problem putting my face in the private pools where I know how the water is being kept up."

Hershberger’s take on why Crown Center came to its senses so suddenly and decided to close the fountain to the public?

"I think at the heart of it is it’s because of what the national trends are for spray grounds," he says. "And that is to have a secondary water treatment system in place rather than just a regular system like you would see in a pool. But I don’t know if they’re looking ahead or if they’re looking at the liability or what."

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 8 Comments