Mancow: How the Hyatt Disaster & Bob Walkenhorst Derailed KC’s Rainmakers

In 1986 "Rockin’ at the T-Dance" by Kansas City’s Rainmakers was forbidden @ my former station Q104 back when it was a hit music station.

The song dared to blame the Hyatt Corporation for the Hyatt Regency Skywalks disaster. Too young to remember? Look it up. It’s a filthy, dark mark in Kansas City history that many "suits" would like the Cowtown to forget.

Shoddy, cheap work lead to a massacre.

My parents lost friends at that Tea Dance while the band played Duke Ellington‘s "Satin Doll" on a hot July evening. It impacted my family & haunted me with nightmares for years .

Why did Q104 ban the Rainmakers song?

They didn’t want to offend a big corporation is what my memory whispers. That big corporation didn’t like that song and its ad agency probably didn’t like it much either. So the ad agency let that be known and that it represented lots of other corporations and lots of other ad dollars.

So it rippled through our frequency.

Give the people what they want? Not hardly!

Mercury Record’s Bill Rusch (one of the people most responsible for ME) fought hard for those Rainmaker boys, but that song was a political hot potato. It tested through the roof with our audiences but still didn’t get significant air time. And it was also at a critical moment in the band’s build to the top.

That song was the first track kicking off the Rainmakers big label debut but it set a tone many powerful Kansas City suits found not to their liking.

They let it be known they didn’t want  these makers of rain (and music) to hit. 

Now here’s a "what if moment." 

What if KC had ACTUALLY backed these local heroes? Jersey backed its Boss. Indy backed it’s Cougar.

It was Kansas City’s big chance and we blew it!

Even now when you watch the Rainmakers live in concert (as I did last year for a 25th anniversary concert at the quirky, wonderful Knuckleheads), you ask yourself " How did the world miss out on this?"

Listen to that song now or "Wages of Sin" or "Another Guitar" and tell me those aren’t hit records!

When I interviewed author Stephen King years ago all he wanted to talk about was The Rainmakers once he found that KC was the origin of my spawning. Music lovers that hear the band fall in love with it. I just wish that more lucky souls had been exposed to them.

Every true Kansas City human coming of age in the Mid-1980’s still has The Rainmakers playing somewhere in the far recesses of their minds.

"Big Fat Blonde" was prophecy. I mean, take a look around.

" No Romance " has the brilliant line: "You’ll see lines not Valentines written all over my face" that echoed through my last Sweetest Day. Ugh.

"Government Cheese" is in my head when I see welfare dollars exchanged for booze or cash for crack. YOUR tax dollars at work . "Decline and fall"….Sure feels like 2012 America to me.

The Worlds end? "Reckoning Day" LIVE it’s just kick ass, old-fashioned rock at first listen. Repeated listens reveal so much more. " I cannot tell a Kennedy from a John Wilkes Booth."

Umph!

"To the Hum" is simply beautiful music. Beautiful? Rainmakers? Yes. Enya would even dig on that track.

"Go Down Swinging" off their latest cd is autobiographical . That’s EXACTLY what they are doing right now.

Is lead singer Bob Walkenhorst bitter? Hard to tell .

He’s always seemed that way to me even going back to the early 1980’s. He’s a surly fellow with an attitude that certainly hasn’t helped the band. He’s also a brilliant lyricist and the lead singer of the best band to ever come out of Missouri, so I have no other choice but to forgive and love him.

I remember hearing about a push from some at their label wanting them to go from Steve, Bob, & Rich (the bands original name) to "The Missouri Mules." They fought and stayed with the  Rainmakers name. Although , as I scour the Internet for band memorabilia sifting through a mess of Burt Lancaster as "The Rainmaker" movie paraphernalia the other name would have been fine. The other name might actually call up the mule mascot I bought for my alma mater CMSU (now known as UCM) a few years ago.

No other band has captured all that is Missouri – its hopes, fears, dreams, isolation, yearning, anger, and divine confusion. A KC soul sounds like them when it cries out to Christ.

The Rainmakers will play Knuckleheads Saloon at 10 pm Saturday and Mancow will be in attendence.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 20 Comments

Starbeams: Gentlemen, Start Your Pinholes, White Flight & Birth of an Egg

Our first solar eclipse this year is late Sunday afternoon. It’s also one of the few times I can look at something through a pinhole in public without getting arrested!

*******

Minorities have now surpassed whites in U.S. births. Does this mean Johnson County residents will call the police if they see me in the neighborhood?

*******

A lady from Kansas City North gave birth Wednesday to the first child in our area born from a frozen egg.  Ironically, he was born sunny side up.  We’re not sure who came first.

 

Kelly Urich hosts the morning show on The Point 99.7 FM

Posted in Starbeams | Tagged | Comments Off

Whinery: Marilyn Manson Disappoints at Uptown

Don’t know what it is with rock stars who don’t play their hits…

I saw Marilyn Manson last night for probably the 10th time- but only the second show since the late 1990’s. I’d seen him several times on the “Dead to the World” tour –in support of the seminal recording  “Anti -Christ Superstar

Which coincided with the 1996 Presidential Campaign – the second term of Bill Clinton, a “laydown” (sorry sexual metaphors are intrinsically linked to the man) – over the Great Senator from Kansas- Robert J. Dole. Back when America wasn’t perpetually involved in major wars.

I love Bill Clinton as a person, and besides the unjust war on Serbia – he was one of the better “Republican” Presidents we’ve ever had! No one can say the Economy didn’t boom under “Daddy Bill’s” bi- partisanmanship. You know, when there was such a thing. Back when our politicians used to try and get along for the greater good, or whatever loose definition there was.

And Marilyn Manson channeled the silent unrest of those times.

There’s a sub-section of American society that is antiwar & that’s where I always stand!

Any time Humans go to War is a failure. A failure to compromise and try and understand another’s viewpoint- to the point of physical violence is a total failure. And the conflicts of the 90’s laid the foundation for the disastrous wars we are fighting today. And Marilyn’s music spoke to those fed up with the interpersonal strife that humans can”t seem to overcome.

Last night’s Manson show was visibly and acoustically wonderful.

But it left the crowd hanging. Imagine seeing the Rolling Stones and not hearing “Satisfaction or Jumping Jack Flash.” That’s a bloody blasphemy and that’s what happened with Marilyn. The show was no more than 90 minutes. A few years back I saw a 60 year-old man named Bruce Springsteen – with over 20 years of age on Manson – rock Sprint for 3 hours and 20 minutes without a break.

Real Rock Stars play their catalo, the more egocentric play what they want to play.

That’s ONE OF THE REASONS why I bought Van Halen tickets instead of Madonna‘s. Looking over the Van Halen tour’s setlists, they play 24 songs over their entire discography. Whereas Marilyn virtually ignored his first two albums- except for a cheesy Eurythmics cover.

Madonna- or she who birthed Gaga- is also notorious for not playing her hits. There’s a place for the new stuff, but if you are  gonna charge “Big Money”  for a ticket, Give the People What They Want!

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 2 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Battleship’ Turns Naval Exercise into Oceanic Transformers

The Hasbro toy empire has done well for itself…

To date they’ve brought, among others, TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE to the big screen and both franchises were hugely successful.
 
So why quit now?
 
Hasbro’s latest transformation is the overly-long board game, alien invasion spectacle BATTLESHIP.
Think of it as a ‘Transformers’ of sorts on the high seas.
 
"Let’s see if we can buy the world another day!"
 
We first get introduced to the key players in this sci-fi ‘actioner’ during an international summit of Navy vessels in Hawaii. There’s even that first touch of romance between Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker who just happens to be the Admiral’s (Liam Neeson) daughter.
 
Then it happens. An alien invasion of fire balling propellants smashing into the ocean—then rising to the surface as a squadron of superior alien spaceships. Upon which what at first was a competitive get together of competing naval hardware combines its forces to battle the enemy’s deadly razor balls.
 
"Let’s take these bastards to somewhere they don’t want to go!"
 
But to no avail as one by one the ships are blown up in spectacular fashion.

Now there’s just one vessel left,  the permanently docked U.S.S. Missouri which acts as a living museum. Hell, let’s get the old over-the-hill sailor gang to start her up and move her out and blow those damned invaders to kingdom come!
 
That’s pretty well the story.

But wow, what fireworks! Non-stop blow’em up good explosions. You’d swear this was a Michael Bay film, but it’s not. Peter Berg from FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and HANCOCK did the directorial honors.
 
BATTLESHIP is pure summer popcorn, action fare with a script and dialogue that’ll have you (unintentionally) chuckling throughout, but made bearable by the well-staged pyrotechnics.
 
"We’re going to die. We’re all going to die—just not today!"
 
None of the key players seem to take themselves too seriously here. And that includes Kitsch, Neeson, Decker, Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna.
 
Finally, if you can sit for almost 10 minutes of end-credits you’ll be rewarded with a transition scene foreshadowing a possible sequel. But frankly that end stinger isn’t worth your time of suffering through a seemingly endless lists of names.
 
The disaster flick scores 2-1/2 out of 5 ‘E.T. Phone Home’-like fingers and some day could make for a great ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000′ roaster.
 

JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. on NewsRadio KMBZ Am & Fm and anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND.

Posted in Jack_Poessiger | Tagged | 2 Comments

Donnelly: Taj Mahal @ Knuckleheads, May 16, 2012

Taj Mahal celebrated his 70th birthday onstage Wednesday at Knuckleheads in front of an enthusiastic crowd that packed the patio and upper decks, and filled about half of the inside area.

Even KC mayor Sly James and his crew found their way into the Bottoms to catch the show, drink some beer, and eat a bunch of fried food. Now there’s a platform I can really get behind.

As Taj took the stage he was presented with a huge guitar-shaped cake and serenaded with a spirited rendition of happy birthday.  The storied bluesman seemed to appreciate the gesture, but didn’t say much and quickly launched into the opener, an instrumental jam that displayed his trademark tremolo-soaked, syncopated guitar picking. 

He’s still got it, I thought to myself, even at 70.   

My thought was definitely affirmed during the second song, as Taj unleashed his expressive vocals that never waned even on the long sustained notes.  His two piece backing band settled in nicely behind him, creating a balanced sound that was clear from pretty much everywhere in the venue.   

Indeed, Taj’s voice sounded as strong as ever throughout the show.  He went from gruff growl, to smooth baritone, to a weird little croak in the back of his throat with what seemed like no effort.  He even hit a few falsettos in there right on cue.  

But the big daddy voice is just but one part of his persona.  Throughout the night it was clear that Taj’s age hasn’t lessened his fixation on the fairer sex, on their big legs and butts, and on the unabashed dirty talk.  In one aside during his third song he mentioned putting “WD-40 on your bed springs.” 

And he even demonstrated his motor-boating technique several times for the mostly older (50s and 60s), mostly white crowd.  He made crazy horndog faces and winked at the ladies, who seemed to blush a bit, but also seemed to relish in the naughtiness. 

“You know what keeps you young?” he asked before launching into one of his classics, Corinna.  “Hanging around young ideas.  Be adventurous in your intimacy!”  

But it wasn’t all pillow talk.  The big man showed his versatility as he switched over to the keys for Blues With a Feelin’, a slower tune that fell a little flat and signaled a mass bathroom break.  And he picked up the banjo for a tune or two as well.    

All as he mesmerized the crowd with that sloppy, plucking, perfect guitar style on some of his fans’ favorites like Fishin’ Blues, Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes, and Queen Bee.  Of particular note was a short, sweet, mellow instrumental that Taj called Waiting for my Papa to Come Home.  All night long, the backing band of Bill Rich on bass and Kester Smith on the drums was solid, but nothing more.  

Not that they need to be when you’ve got such a huge personality like Taj onstage to soak up the spotlight and lead the party home.

"Are you guys having fun?" he bellowed towards the end of the show.  The audience screamed.  "Well, let’s have some more fun!"

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 2 Comments

Mermaid: Pistol Packing Mama Hits the Bullet Hole for Thrills & Chills

I guess my curiosity with guns started when I saw a hot pink Sig Sauer Mosquito. 22 online…

It was a lot meaner than a new pair of shoes but still toted some major bling! I’ve wanted a gun ever since.
This week I got my wish when my boyfriend, David, took me to the Bullet Hole after some extreme begging on my part. We both have family heirloom guns and I thought it would be great to learn how to shoot them. It’s always been on my bucket list and I think in the back of my mind I now wanted to have the personal protection in my home. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the experience or not, but I was pretty excited to try it out…
 
 
Walking in to the Bullet Hole, it was a serious yet friendly atmosphere.

We showed them our guns and they checked them to make sure they were in good working order. Corey, an expert Bullet Hole guide, seemed impressed with my Belgium Browning 9mm. He said he’d never seen one quite like it.

Naturally I was pleased that my gun was getting some respect.

Now if I could just somehow shoot it, maybe I’d gain some as well. It was loud and as I glanced through the glass I could see several well-dressed men shooting who rather obviously appeared to be on their lunch break from work.

I was the only woman in the whole place but I was OK with that because it made it a little more intriguing that I was taking this challenge on. Maybe the women only come on Wednesday – which is Ladies Day at the range.

Corey had us fill out some forms and show our driver’s licenses. He showed us what ammunition we needed and we picked out some targets we liked. After some light instruction on the operation of the guns, we were ready. They gave us eye and ear protection and off we went.

David and I sat down in the observation area and watched for a brief time which was great because my heart was pounding and I needed a minute to take it all in. He’d been there before but this was my first time. I was excited but trying to remember everything I’d been taught so far and was trying to concentrate.

It’s very loud and even though you expect the gunfire, it’s a little unnerving at first.

After watching for awhile we went in to our assigned stall. We hooked our targets up and positioned them about halfway down the lane. You can put them as close or as far as you choose. We then opened our cases and took the guns out and put the ammo in the clips. I decided to start out with the smaller gun- a. 22 German Walther.

David fired first, then it was my turn. After getting my hands right, I fired my first shot. The gun had a little kick to it but was fairly easy to shoot. I forgot the part about the shells falling and hitting the ground around you and sometimes falingl on you.

Now I understood why David looked at me like I was crazy when I said I was going to wear a sundress to the range.

When a hot shell landed down the front of my t-shirt I instantly understood why you have to wear protective clothing.

It’s a little difficult seeing exactly where you shot the target but you can tell when you hit it. Only after you pull the targets back in you can really check out where you hit it. In a short time, I was very comfortable with the gun so we decided to move on to the 9mm.

The ammunition was twice as big and a lot more difficult to load in the clip. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated by this gun. I fired it and it had a lot more kickback than the .22. I fired a clip or two and when I hit the bullseye a few times I was secretly feeling proud of myself and wanted to perfect my aim even more. This was really fun and I could tell I’d be back soon.

What I didn’t expect was that you don’t want to overdo it.

The kickback can really wear your back out so I was relieved when it was David’s turn and I could relax a bit. An hour of shooting is a pretty good start.
 
This is a great sport that women really overlook because they think guns are for men or maybe they feel intimidated by going to a range. I have to say it was really exhilirating and I’ve decided to make it a new hobby.

A membership at the Bullet Hole for a year is only 20 dollars and the ammunition prices aren’t bad either.

The guy’s at the Bullet Hole are really nice and will guide you through the process. The Bullet Hole has been open since 1967. My mother and father shot guns there in the 70’s so it has a lot of nostalgia for me. It was first owned by the Hodgon Co. then was sold to Richard Stovall. The Hodgon Powder Co. resides beside it to this day.

Now a few facts…
 
One in four women own a firearm today and in a Gallup survey 43% of women have at least one in their home with 23% saying it’s theirs. Half of American men own a firearm, the poll showed. With the conceal and carry law enacted in Missouri in 2003 and then in Kansas in 2006 more and more men and women are taking classes.

It must be growing popular in Kansas City because a new state -of-the-art facility – Centerfire Shooting Sports- will open its doors in October. I spoke with Jean Basore, the owner, and she said there’s a real need in the market today for women with classes and a women-friendly and youth-friendly environment to learn in.

Programs such as conceal and carry, personal protection in the home, refuse to be a victim, and basic pistol shooting are going to be offered as well as a Ladies Night. And they’ll have 16 fully heated and air-conditioned indoor shooting lanes. They’ll also have a gun shop, a lounge area, and a refreshment center.
 
I can truly say this was a positive safe experience and one I’ll continue to enjoy.

Will I feel comfortable shooting a real person if they were intruding my home?

Maybe – maybe not.

Still it’s nice to know I’ll be prepared if a bad situation arises.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 15 Comments

Hearne: RockFest 2012; So Many Boobies, So Few Beads

About last weekend’s RockFest at Liberty Memorial

The one where an estimated 55,000 head-bangers bellied up to 15 bands for nearly a dozen hours of drunken and disorderly debauchery. A politcally correct, freelance concert review in the Star glossed over the depravity by referring to "the antics of uninhibited women" and musicians who "actively encouraged…lewd behavior."

Leaving to reader’s imaginations the question, how lewd was it?

"It was a great people watching crowd," says Westporter Bill Nigro, who worked the event. "Because you saw everybody from the beautiful people to the not-so-beautiful people. There were some stunning women there and there were some other ones that weren’t."

Diplomatically said – but let’s take it a step farther – how stunning?

"There was quite a bit of flashing," Nigro says. "I’ve never seen so many flashes. Ever."

More than in Westport on St. Patrick’s Day even?

"Uh, yeah," Nigro deadpans.  "At least 20 times more, easily, Twenty times more flashing than Westport gets on St. Patrick’s Day."

Even at the back of the bus where Nigro was trapped working?

"It was happening everywhere, not just down by the music," he says. "I mean, there were guys walking around with beads and girls were flashing them to get more beads."

Nigro’s boob count?

"I was there over 12 hours, from 8 a.m. until about 9 in the evening," he says. "And I had to have seen over 100, I guess."

Meaning 50 women or 100 pair? The latter, Nigro notes.

Forgive me for asking but, the percentage of flashing hotties to flashing notties?

"It was pretty much half and half," Nigro says. "One half USDA Choice prime boobs."

And the other half: "Oh, I’d just say large and cuddily."

In fact, Nigro set a personal record for most bare boobs beheld.

"That’s probably because it was his first RockFest, because that’s pretty normal at RockFest," says former Entercom honcho Bob Zuroweste, who’s lorded over his share of the headbanger happenings. "That’s probably why there’s 40,000 guys there and just 10,000 women – it’s part of the show."

Nigro’s advice for red-blooded dudes planning to attend next year’s RockFest?

"Bring some beads, you won’t be sorry."

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 13 Comments

Hearne: Best Buy Victim of Times, Sex Scandal, ‘Psychological Marketing’

What goes around comes around…

Last year Jack Poessiger and I were talking to the head of one of Kansas City’s biggest commercial real estate firms about a fancy-schmancy new retail development he was working on. One for which he’d procured Best Buy as an anchor tenant. Isn’t that a little risky, I asked. Nah, he assured me, Best Buy was blue chip. A few days later I sent him a couple links to business stories suggesting otherwise.

Now check out this graph from an Associated Press story earlier this week about an unrelated sex scandal that has cost Best Buy both its CEO and founder.

"The latest revelations are part of a scandal that couldn’t have come at a worse time for the 46-year-old retailer. The company, which has more than 1,400 U.S. locations, is struggling to regain its footing as it faces increased competition from online retailers and discounters. Customers have all but abandoned buying at so-called ‘big box’ stores like Best Buy."

"All but abandoned" Sound familiar? It should.

"What have I been telling you for the past year," says Kiefs Audio Video owner John Kiefer.

Meaning Best Buy’s days are numbered?

"Well, are they over? No, they’re not over, but the truth of it is people don’t get discounts at box stores unless they’re shopping for commodities like toilet paper," Kiefer says. "Electronics are another matter, and anything that has a model number on it could be a stock unit, a B stock unit (refurbished), gray market or counterfeit. We don’t even buy using model numbers anymore – we haven’t for 20 years. We buy by the SKU number."

Speaking of 20 years, two decades back big box stores were all the rage.

Remember CompUSA? Technically the company’s still around, but try finding one within 500 miles. Or how about Circuit City, Tweeter, Sound Advice, Ultimate Electronics – or Silo, for crying out loud.

"Big box stores are a dime a dozen," Kiefer muses.

Could Best Buy be the next Circuit City?

"I think it’s very possible," Kiefer says. "Because for 20 years they’ve never given discounts on anything good – anything of true value."

Not to mention the days of CDs and DVDs as loss leaders to build traffic are mostly in the rearview mirror.

Here’s the deal.

"They advertise big discounts but, but basically what they’re doing is ‘psychological discounting,’ " Kiefer says. "I talked to Sam Walton years ago and he told me, ‘I will never discount more than one percent of the items in my store.’ So out of 60,000 items, he would only discount 600 items. I asked him how he could get away with so little discounting and he said, ‘If you discount the items people shop for every day and move ‘em around the store, you train people to think they’re in a discount store.’ You train people to think they’re gonna outsmart the store. Isn’t that why people go to Las Vegas? Because they think they’re going to win?"

All of that said, how long can Best Buy keep the game going?

"I think they’re on their demise right now," Kiefer says. "But there are an awful lot of people that still think, ‘Well, I got a good deal on a TV five years ago."

Columnist insert: I’ll still drop by the odd Best Buy when traveling to maybe see if it has a certain CD I want to listen to on the road, or to pick up the odd new release or maybe get a phone or computer part. Even just to see what the stores are featuring and/or what kind of people are still shopping there. And what I’ve noticed increasingly in recent years is that I see fewer and fewer customers in the stores.

"You’re right, there are," Kiefer says. "And the reason is, the core of Best Buy’s business was audio and video and today if you look at Best Buy, today it’s really a great big Radio Shack. They’ve got a little of everything, but they have very little audio. They still have a lot of TVs, but they don’t have the really good models."

As for ousting of Best Buy’s founder for not reporting the sex scandal with the CEO, "It’s irrelevant," Kiefer says. "His days are over. He did his thing, he convinced the American public that he was a Walmart when he never was. When the reality was he was just a hustler like me and everybody else. But I’ve always tried to be an honest hustler."

Can Best Buy make it by turning its big box success formula upside down and going with small, boutiques selling cell phones and the like?

"They’re not going to do that," Kiefer says. "That is, once again, ‘psychological marketing.’ The fact is, they’re shrinking and they’re going to open a few of those. Will it work? Who knows? I hope it works."

Kiefer’s bottom line on Best Buy:

"If you’re a stock market investor in Best Buy, my suggestion is to sell your stock. I think they’re going to be very lucky to be alive in 10 years. What do you think of K Mart? They’re still around, but in what condition? Radio Shack is still around. I wish ‘em luck, but I looked at my 401K about six months ago and I called my stockbroker and said, ‘Get me out of Best Buy.’ And he said, ‘You don’t want to do that, they’re doing well.’ And I said, ‘That’s why I want to get out.

"Do yourself a favor and remember that word "psychological marketing.’ When you were selling yourself to some girl at some point in your life, what came out of your mouth? All the bullshit you could think of."

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/14/3609385/best-buy-chairman-steps-down-after.html#storylink=cpy
Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 7 Comments

Sounds Good: Taj Mahal@Knuckleheads, Grant Hart@Tap Room, P-Funk@Crossroads, Bad Veins@Replay, CIB & Ghosty@Replay

For those that don’t know, this week is American Craft Beer Week...

Yeah, I know it sounds like it was made up by American craft brewers.  But it does have a few benefits, particularly if you’re in the Larry neck of the woods this Thursday evening.  Free State is teaming up with local milk gurus Iwig’s Dairy at the Farmer’s Market near 19th and Mass.  Word on the street is that these two local favs will be combining their wares to make the famous Oatmeal Stout Ice Cream Floats.

And that’s just ONE of the benefits of American Craft Beer Week!  Trust me, there’s lots more. 

By the way, next week is KC Entertainment Blog Week, so you know what that means.

Some good music this week, check it out…

Wednesday, May 16th
 
Taj Mahal @ Knuckleheads in KC
 
Simply put, Taj is a legend.  He has played a variety of styles over the years, including a form of Hawaiian roots blues (I just made that genre up) that is super mellow and awesome.  But mostly, I guess you would call Taj a southern blues guitar man, and his soulful growl more than equals his finger-picking.  On May 17th Taj turns 70 so this show could turn into a special birthday celebration if the old man can make it past midnight.  I bet he can.  And I bet he literally commands the audience to get up and shake it a little.
 
“The music was designed for people to move, and it’s a bit difficult after a while to have people sitting like they’re watching television,” said Taj.  “Often I don’t allow that. I just play to the goddess of music-and I know she’s dancing.”
 

Thursday, May 17th
 
Grant Hart & Danny Pound @ the Taproom in Lawrence
 
This should be a cool and intimate show in a dark and dank basement.  For those that don’t know, Grant Hart was the drummer for Hüsker Dü, the super-influential alternative/ punk band that many credit with giving birth to the 90s grunge thing.  After that band broke up around 1987, Hart started a new band, Nova Mob.  Now, he’s doing solo stuff.
 
And damn, does he have some stories.  Most of them are hard to follow.  Like this snippet about his brand new album, The Argument which is based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
 
“Growing up—when I was 9, 10, 11—Jesus Christ Superstar was quite popular,” Hart explained to the Village Voice’s Brad Cohan.  “It always took me that they were able to pull a single off of every side of that record without throwing the Bible or God in your face. With the Milton, I have skipped over anything it has where it could be obtained in other sources. My listeners did not need a rewrite of the Old Testament.”    
 
Friday, May 18th
 
George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars @ Crossroads KC
 
OK, we all know that George Clinton is a crazy mutha-funker… I’ll pause quickly right now and slap myself in the mouth for that.  I deserve it.
 
But the guy is simply relentless.  He still plays about 200 shows per year, and recent reviews indicate that he still brings it hard.  Granted, he has a top notch band, always has, always will.  But don’t hold that against the MAN.  Here’s how Chicago at Night’s Jim Ryan described a show in the Windy City from last week:
 
“When it comes to the live show, at this point, George allows his band to do most of the heavy lifting.  That said, for the first and last forty-five minutes of Thursday’s show, George was as energized, animated and vocal as I’ve seen him in the past few years… There was a sexy nurse.  A guy walking on his hands.  George’s son.  George’s granddaughter.  George’s grandson… My favorite song of the night was actually the fifteen minute psychadelic journey the band took me on with the 1970 Funkadelic hit "I Bet You" to open the show.  I don’t even know how the band created some of the sounds that I heard during that performance.”
 
Whaddya think?  I know I’m in.
 
 
Bad Veins @ the Replay in Lawrence
 
These guys are getting some run right now, right before they go out on tour with Two Door Cinema Club and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah later this month.  This keyboard and guitar duo’s live shows features the backing of a reel-to-reel backing track for drums, and a bunch of other weird instruments, as well as, I’m told a rotary telephone.  And they just released  a new album, The Mess We’ve Made, to generally positive reviews.
 
This show looks to me like one of those Jacki Becker specials.  You know, the ones where the band is about to blow up and you probably won’t see these guys in such a tiny venue ever again, but if you do you can brag about it for the next five years or so.  
 

Saturday, May 19th

 
Cowboy Indian Bear & Ghosty @ the Replay in Lawrence
 
CIB returns (triumphantly?) from a short Midwest tour that finally answered the age-old question that everyone wants to know.  Who is the cowboy, who’s the Indian, and I’m pretty sure I know who the bear is actually.
 
Joining in the fun is local indie stalwarts Ghosty, fresh off of releasing a new album a few weeks ago that everyone seems to like a fair amount.
 
I expect this show to be packed, with a musician/artist/tanktop wearer/hipster:hottie ratio at 10:1.  Just so ya know.   

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged | 5 Comments

Starbeams: So Spray Me, Dodge City Showdown & Snakebit @ Walmart

Spray-on seed has been has been added to the grounds at Liberty Memorial as part of a $3.6 million restoration.  This is nothing new as several dudes at the memorial over the years have asked me if I would like some of their spray-on seed.

*******

Dodge City street gang members have been charged recently with alleged racketeering and murder.  The term ‘Dodge City Street Gang’ was immediately trademarked by the History Channel.

*******

Over the weekend a guy was shopping in the garden section of a Walmart in Idaho.  While he was looking for the price of a plant, he removed a large stick that was blocking the price tag…which turned out to be a RATTLESNAKE!! The snake immediately bit him and his hand swelled to the size of a cantaloupe from the venom.  He’s recovering but his hand may be permanently disfigured. 

I don’t get it;  Walmart has 3,000 security cameras and they can’t spot a large rattlesnake…but if I put a toaster in my pants, some cop puts my face in the pavement.

 

Kelly Urich hosts the morning show on The Point 99.7 FM

Posted in Starbeams | Tagged | Comments Off

Jack Goes Confidential: ‘The Dictator’ In Loving Memory Of Kim Jong-Il

What can I say about Sacha Baron Cohen that hasn’t been said a million times before?

You either love him or hate him. He’s the master of unstaged and unscripted ambush, confrontational comedy. And naturally, most of it’s pretty offensive by today’s PC standards.
 
The old DA ALI G SHOW followed by BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHAN and BRUNO certainly are proof of his obsession and his success.
 
But with THE DICTATOR Cohen ventures into uncharted territory.

Namely, scripted comedy using real actors. In this case Ben Kingsley and Anna Faris and a storyline of a tiny nation’s dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.
 
The movie opens in the Dictator’s home land of Wadiya—just minutes from Somalia—then rapidly moves to New York City where he will address the United Nations. But there’s a body double being substituted in a potential coup, forcing the real dictator to be stuck in the Big Apple trying to reclaim his identity.

Along the way connecting with local food co-op manager Zoe—bushy armpit hair and all – played by Anna Faris.
 
The movie’s very first frame on screen proclaims: "In Loving Memory Of Kim Jong-Il"
 
That pretty well sets the tone as Cohen as Admiral General Aladeen sets out to offend just about every race, creed and gender. And even though it’s scripted there’s plenty of improvisational and spontaneous pushing of the envelope to satisfy even the most twisted tastes.
 
Some fans have compared Cohen’s schtick to Andy Kaufman. You definitely see some of that in this movie.
 
As for the pacing?
 
It’s rapid fire punchlines. If one joke doesn’t meet your fancy, don’t worry, there’s another one coming in mere seconds.
 
Going into last week’s screening I figured there was nothing fresh to be had.

Was I ever wrong. I found myself laughing throughout the movie’s relatively short running time of just 84 minutes.
 
And yes, there are at least two major scenes that’ll have moviegoers squirming in their seats. They did me!
 
Sacha Baron Cohen fans won’t be disappointed with THE DICTATOR, as the king of culture shock offers up a cameo laden cinematic romp of offensive proportions.

I’m raising 3 out of 5 tyrannic fingers.
 
Sidebar: Anna Faris told me at CinemaCon that her hairy armpits on the set caused quite the stares in New York. Especially when she took breaks from filming and ventured around the neighborhood and didn’t want to go through the process of taking off the bushels of hair—only having to re-apply them a short time later.
 
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES–Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. on NewsRadio KMBZ Am & Fm and anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411

Posted in Jack_Poessiger | Tagged | 9 Comments

Glazer: Scribe & Hottie Off to Puerto Rico for a Week

As we reach middle age we often find that we have or take very little time for ourselves…

We’re always saving for our futures – but guess what – if you’re over 45, it’s already here! It’s time to enjoy life and your friends. Most of you have all worked hard and maybe raised a couple kids, now it’s your turn.

However, too many of us bought into the big lie.
One of many, actually.

 That when you grow up everything will be swell. You’ll be able to drive and own a car and won’t need your mom or the neighbor to give you a ride. You’ll get married, have a great job and kids and everything will be aces. Oh yeah, and you’ll have great and loyal friends – tons of ‘em!

What we eventually learn is that life is not too fair.

That growing up and getting older is usually accompanied by all sorts of problems and headaches. Even for the chosen few who end up with some real bucks.

Marriage usually doesn’t work out for the long haul. Your kids drive you crazy and cost a fortune. And that great job?  Even for those who spend most of their time in an office making a good living, it gets old, really old. And the job rewards are few in the end.

And too many of us find out just how little anybody cares when we get dumped or forced into retirement.

It’s goodbye Charlie, best of luck old chum. Did you see the Jack Nicholson film "About Schmidt?" For so many people, that’s a very true look at the end game.

Many of you readers are much younger, 25, 30 or maybe even just right at 40.

"That’s not me," you say. Think again – it’s most people – too many of us, in fact. We put off those great adventure plans until it’s too late or doesn’t matter much anymore. When you visit those far off Islands and beaches at 70 or 75, well, life has a way of taking the fun out of the trip. If you get my drift.

Sure, the food’s good and the hotels are very nice and the chicks on the beach are smoking hot. Trouble is at that age, much of the possible enjoyment has just passed us by. We can’t do the things we once did and we don’t look the way we did at 35 or 40.

Look, I am very aware that even those of us who have saved some decent money are not safe these days.

Hell, I have friends  with seven figures saved up but there is no interest on their money so they worry about their futures. In many ways can’t blame them.

But what about TODAY?

I’ve asked all my pals to go on trips to some great places like Rio or Bali or maybe even the French Riviera. And their answer is usually, "Not now, maybe when my kids get outta college." Or, "Well, I’m going to do all that in a few years. There’s just too much going on with work and all."  And of course,  "Man, it’s just too much money for me right now."

Hey, that’s the only one that you can understand. However there are still cheap deals these days.

In the end, none of my KC pals will ever go anywhere major for adventure again.

Sure, there will be the lake, a trip up north to say Chicago. Maybe visit the kids in school or even go to L.A. or San Diego, if they have a relative there to stay with or a reason to be there. But just to go? Nah.

Me, I work hard. I know most of you think it’s all play for me but it’s not.

Sure I go to Vegas and LA often, but it’s both business and pleasure. Fortunately my career takes me to those two places. I’m lucky. Still I have a few places I always thought I’d see when I was younger. I’ve done the Caribbean a few times, even Jamaica. It’s been just for a minute though. So now is my final chance to do these places and have fun, like I would have 10 or 15 years ago. Hey it’s never a perfect time, right.

My pal Steve lives in Puerto Rico, on the other side of San Juan. I’ve been to San Juan, but not the more private sides and beaches. So the guy bugs me to visit him, there’s a five star hotel next to his condo and I figured, "What the hell?"

So I asked my main girl, Jessie, to go.

Barbie and I ended pretty quick on the second round – she’s fun but a headache.

Jessie was thrilled. She’s a great athlete and stays in crazy cool shape, so I’m lucky. We’ll see. Last time I went with a lady for an entire week it was with my ex wife Connie, and she was always wonderful.

And later I’m going to go to Rio, The French and Italian Riviera and visit my pal Warren in Bali. And maybe a few more just for fun jumps. Why not? Life is short and there aren’t that many rewards as we get older.

So I leave tomorrow for Puerto Rico.

I hope it’s a great trip with sun and rest. My advice to all of you is go do whatever it is you want to do before somebody hands you a "gold watch."

I don’t really know exactly what all works in life, but I do know what doesn’t -a quiet life of desperation.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 15 Comments

Glazer: An All Star Game With No All Stars, the Indignity of it All

So how bad is this Royals season thus far?

We have an All Star game here in about a month and we don’t even have a single All Star on the Royals!!! At least not now. Maybe one will pop up in time for the mid season classic, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Before the season we thought we had about three or four.

Eric Hosmer, for sure, maybe Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and possibly even Danny Duffy. It looks like this today: Hosmer is batting under .200 and has all year – there’s even talk of sending him back to the minors. WOW! Mike, I mean Moose, is decent with an average just over .300 and a weak four homers. He’s our best bet as of today. Moose is also an outstanding 3rd baseman. Alex Gordon has been average, batting in the mid .200’s (.258 now) with just 4 home runs and 16 RBI’s – very average.

Now we get to the best – or is it worst – news.

That being, Danny Duffy, our future HUGE pitching star. The guy, who brings the ball at 100 MPH, or just under. Our brightest and only young pitching star. 610 Sports announced today that Danny needs Tommy John Surgery which means he’ll be out for at least one or two seasons. Meaning, likely he will NEVER BE THE SAME. NEVER. They will give you examples of two or three pitchers who came back, but most don’t!

Duffy complained of pain a couple weeks back. Thank God the Royals didn’t waste that $1,500 dollars on an MRI. Turns out they ruined his arm, their only ace.

Oh yeah, we’ve still got Luke Hochevar. His 7.20 ERA leads all American League Starters as STINKO. Yes, he did win a game Saturday, the guy is 3-3. Maybe he’s our All Star?

The other good news is simple: The Royals are in baseball’s worst division.

Though the Royals have stunk it up and badly with no end in sight. And yes, I am aware that they have won 10 of the last 16. So? They are just 4 1/2 games back.  They have no pitching and mediocre hitting thus far.

So much fun, AN ALL STAR GAME WITH NO ALL STAR.

Not to worry, the American League manager will pick one…Hmmmm…you’re up Billy Butler.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 9 Comments

Hearne: Pitch Congratulates Bogus ‘Best Of’ Buddy, Travel & Leisure Magazine

Will we ever learn?

I mean, really – we’re such suckers. It’s high time Kansas City media quit pandering to inconsequential "best of" promotions promulgated by loser magazines with little to no research credibility. Publications’s like Travel & Leisure, which twice in two months has annointed KC in one of its so-called "surveys."

Contrived surveys that are published with zero information about how they were complied, the number of participants – you know, pretty much whatever one would want or need to know to consider the survey relevant or legit.

Kinda like those Pitch ‘Best Of" issues…

So it’s not really surprising that it was the Pitch which annointed Travel & Leisure‘s latest bit of tripe by "reporting" the results:

That Kansas City is the country’s 8th best burger city.

Hey now, that’s cause for celebration. Only seven other cities in the survey have better burgers.

However instead of calling out Travel & Leisure for being trite – like it should have – the Pitch‘s Jonathan Bender rewards the rag by quoting from the results instead of questioning them. And then dropping in a lame joke line about having a permanent seat at Town Topic.

Good one.

Here’s the Pitch’s quote: "The city’s best gourmet burger option may be at Blanc Burgers Bottles, which offers watercress and truffle butter as toppings. Kids and trainspotters, however, might prefer Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, dating back to the 1950s, where the burgers are delivered by way of miniature train."

Sound like survey results to you? The best gourmet burger "may be" this and kids "might prefer" that. You can’t get much more wishy-washy than that.

You know, Blanc does a nice job but there are a billion gourmet burger joints that have popped up around the country doing similarly well. Like Robert Krause‘s Burger Stand and Dempsy’s in Lawrence. There’s no rocket science to this game – pretty much anybody can and is playing.

FYI, last time I took my kids and their friends to Fritz’s in Crown Center the joint was as dirty as could be and the burgers tasted like – don’t take this the wrong way – dog food.

The point being that zines like Travel & Leisure put these silly, unscientific surveys out for the same reason the Pitch puts out its bloated "best of" issues, to generate publicity. Not to pass on hidden truths. And dignifying the surveys by jerking off the editors behind them does little other than to encourage them to churn out more.

Like last month’s Travel & Leisure "survey" in which we learned in the Kansas City Star that Kansas City is America’s 20th "Best City for Hipsters"

And another thing…

If the Pitch is going to revel in this clap trap, the least it can do is bring a critical eye to the gunfight.

After all, it is Kansas City’s "alternative" weekly of record.

How about pointing out how dumb the survey is by leaving out almost every single burger joint in town that actually matters. Like Winstead’s and the Westport Flea Market. And relative newcomers like Grandstand Burgers.

Come on, guys. What are you trying to do, turn yourselves into INK?

Well, they do sell quite a few more ads.

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 8 Comments

Hearne: KU Students & Fans Celebrate Basketball Coach Bill Self’s Rug

You know what they say about, if it ain’t KU basketball season in Lawrence, it ain’t happening…

And while it’s not like every single thing in Larry revolves around Allen Field House, it does seem that way at times. Take the recent student newspaper Top 20 "KU Bucket List" of stuff the kids want to do before graduating.

No. 10: "See Bill Self without his toupée: ‘That’s something I’ve always been interested in. It looks so real. I think he has the sides still, but not the top.’ — Killian Cull, a sophomore from Overland Park."

KU fans and foes have argued for years about whether the KU basketball coach wears a rug or not.

And while both sides are passionate – some even suggesting he can’t because there’s a bald spot – nobody’s ever really pinned the tail on Self’s donkey and laid down a definitive account as to the rug’s existance.

 

Until now.

Because for what it’s worth, I’m going to give it to you from one of the horse’s mouths and tell you Self does indeed wear a hairpiece.

How do I know for sure?

Because former Kansas City Star director of retail sales and group publishing Steve Curd told me so several years ago. Curd, who later became the publisher of the Independence and Blue Springs Examiner (he left in January), knows because he was an eye witness to Self’s hairlessness when the two attended Oklahoma State University in the early-mid 1980s.

Notice the crop on the online publicity pic of Self from his playing days at OSU?

And while it may seem silly – and let’s face it, it totally is – to dig on someone’s wig, give Self credit for having a nice enough one to divide the speculation so evenly as to have people arguing about it online.

In fact, Self’s toupée even has not one but two Twitter accounts.

"I’m the hairpiece of NCAA Championship winning basketball coach Bill Self, and I have stories to tell," reads one. 

"Bill Self doesn’t wear me. I wear Bill Self. Bill Self’s head (sometimes)," says another.

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 6 Comments

New Jack City: Movies on the Silver Screen Still the Best Bet

No matter how you slice or dice it,  movie theaters continue to be the least expensive out-of-home entertainment…

And for the record the five year U.S. screen count—from 2007 through 2011—has risen from 38,803 to 39,718. That’s an increase of 2.35%.
 
Here are some interesting stats courtesy of the National Association of Theater Owners—N.A.T.O. for short.
 
Since 1981, ticket prices have increased, on average, less than the rate of inflation.
40 years ago the average 1971 ticket price was $1.65. In 2011 dollars that ticket would cost $9.16.
 
In 2011 the average U.S. ticket price was $7.93 including premium pricing on 3-D films, then falling to $7.92 during the first quarter of 2012. And that’s despite the nation’s exhibitors investing hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade to remake the moviegoing experience with stadium seating, digital sound, digital projection and 3-D.
 
So how does today’s average movie ticket pricing compare to other major out-of-home entertainment options?
 
Let’s take a look.
 
* Broadway Theater Shows average: $89.11—Up 4.06%
* NFL football games average:         $77.36—Up 1.16%
* Live concerts average:                    $67.02—Up 10.0%
* Touring Broadway Shows average: $61.37—Down -1.3%
* NHL hockey games average:            $57.10—Up 5.25%
* NBA basketball games average:      $48.48—Up 1.72%
* MLB baseball games average:         $26.91—Up 1.2%
* Movies in theaters average:             $  7.93—Up 0.5%
 
Oh, and the parking at the movies is free. Try doing that at the stadiums or show and concert venues some time.
 

Posted in Jack_Poessiger | Tagged | 3 Comments

Donnelly: Sporting Self Destruct to Drop 3rd in a Row, Vermes Rips Refs

 

Sporting Kansas City played a decent first half Saturday at the Chicago Fire

Bobby Convey notched his first goal of the season with a one-timer that was set up nicely by Roger Espinoza’s cut back cross and KC went to the locker room at the half up on the home side 1-0.

The second half was a completely different story. By the time the final whistle blew, Sporting had conceded a penalty, been shown a red card, and saw one of its alleged leaders attempt a fancy juggle inside his own 6 yard box which resulted in the go ahead Chicago goal.

Yeah, total nightmare.

So after starting the season 7-0, KC now sits at 7-3. Sure, the results have been disappointing, but more troubling has been Sporting’s play of late.

Again the defense got caught napping which allowed a Chicago attacker to get in behind them.  Just like last game, Aurelien Collin made a last gasp sliding tackle that may have been unnecessary due to the poor angle.  And just like last game, the tackle may actually have been clean.  And just like last game, the ref signaled for a penalty.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that when the attacking player feels contact on a breakaway in the box, he’s going to go down.  And the ref is almost certainly going to blow the whistle.  Collin should know these things, yet he continues to make the same mistakes.   

A few minutes after Chicago buried the penalty to tie the game, KC’s Espinoza went airborne and struck Chicago’s Sebastian Grazzini in the face with a fore arm, which resulted in a straight red.  The Sporting bench protested vigorously, and continued to show their displeasure with the call after the game.

"I can’t comment on the penalty kick, but the red card is not a red card," complained KC boss Peter Vermes.  "Two years now here, in a row, we come here and we have two red cards which aren’t red cards, which completely changes the outcome of the game."    

After Roger was sent off things REALLY deteriorated.

KC looked aimless and ineffective as they tried to just hold on for dear life and escape Chicago with at least one point.  Then one of the most careless and baffling plays I’ve seen in quite a while occurred to stab KC in the collective heart. 

Kei Kamara tracked back into his own goal box – a good thing for sure, especially when you’re playing a man down.  A high ball was served into the box and Kei attempted to bring the ball down.  But rather than clearing the ball, Kei swiveled, popped the ball up on his knee and attempted a more difficult clearance. 

You can guess what happened next. 

A Chicago attacker swooped in, stole the ball, and touched it across the goal mouth to an onrushing Dom Oduro.  Oduro slid the ball into KC’s net putting Chicago up 2-1 for good, and leaving Jimmy Nielsen and the rest of the Sporting defensive line shaking their heads. 

"On the second goal, mistake on Kei," said Vermes.  "He should have cleared it and heads up to their player for making a quick play that we could have easily cleared it, and we would have been out of there with no problem.”

I can’t believe Vermes didn’t bench Kei right then and there.  That play was simply unacceptable in my book.

Instead, Vermes directed copious amounts of venom at the ref, who was centering his first MLS game. 

"The referee is there to ref the game, not to be part of the show," said Vermes.  "And today, that’s what he made himself.  He made himself part of the show.  And that’s disappointing, because players, they work hard, they are the ones who are the entertainers on the field, not him, and unfortunately that’s what the game was like today.  He changed the game.” 

While the officiating in MLS is nothing if not wildly inconsistent, those are some harsh and pointed words from Vermes.  But the bottom line is that KC has dropped 3 in a row now, they aren’t scoring goals lately, and they’ve been breaking down defensively. 

KC needs to focus on the things they can control- like defensive shape, like finding some offensive creativity – and get back their winning mentality that was so present early on this season.    

Posted in Sporting_Kansas_City | Tagged | 4 Comments

Glazer: Scribe Wishes His Mom Happy Mother’s Day

Like many of you, I lost my mother a few years back..

We only have one real mom and one real dad, so when they’re gone it hurts. I think of my mother Rita Trantham every day. Yes, she was once Rita Glazer, but my father and mother divorced long ago. Her second husband John, was a great guy, but he too passed away this year.

On mother’s deathbed she said she was proud of me and we had that long last talk.

It was painful, but I’m glad we did. You readers all know the "Glazer Boys" stories, so clearly we had many issues. My mother had far more sad days with us three kids than good ones. No doubt. I wish my mom would have lived to see King of Sting come out, but she died in 2007 when the book was done but not yet printed. She knew it was being published though. My mother also died just short of the opening of Stanford and Sons at the Legends. She did visit the complex and saw it being built before she was bed ridden.

What I most remember about my mom was how well liked she was in Kansas City.

My mother was on about every charity board she could be on. On her 70th birthday she had more than 200 ladies attend her banquet at the Fairmont. I was shocked to see so many of her friends fly in from all over the country and world to be there. She was quite a lady. I said at her funeral that my father and I got way too much attention, my mother was the best of us and deserved it more than we did – much more.

Well Mom, your grandchildren, Jake and Alex Glazer, would have made you smile. Both are A students. Alex is finishing 8th grade and Jake is a Junior at Shawnee Mission East. Both have 4.3 averages and are top notch athletes.

In fact, Jake made the Star sports section all week. He won in boys 6-A tennis the region, district and area. And he was favored to win at state yesterday but lost in the doubles finals to another team they’d  beaten in three other events.

Mom would be so proud of both boys.

Neither Jake nor Alex has ever been in a second of trouble at school or anywhere else.

My brother Jeff, for all his many issues, has been a wonderful dad. He goes to almost all their games and events, as does his former wife Kris. Which proves that even with a broken marriage and some severe issues that children can end up being better than those who raised them.

So Mom, that’s the best present we can give you today.

Jake will be on his way to college after next year, possibly with a nice scholarship and Alex will continue to be an A student and follow in his brother’s footsteps.

I spoke at my mother’s funeral:

"I don’t believe in God or Heaven or Hell, but my mother did," I said. "For her sake, I hope she’s right, because if there is a heaven she deserves to be there. She earned it." 

Happy Mothers Day, Mom. I love you.

Posted in Craig_Glazer | Tagged | 3 Comments

Leftridge: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas (Because Every Other Day is About You)

Look, we’ve all got mom’s, you know? (unless your mother is dead—in which case, I’m very, truly sorry for bringing it up. What happened, anyway? She was so young!) But anyway, moms… gotta love ‘em. Be they biological or a step, in-law or kidnapper, they’ve been there for you your whole life. She was there when you graduated high school and accidentally shit your pants with the compounded nervousness of being on a stage in front of thousands of people. She stuck up for you when you were learning to ride a bicycle and you accidentally crashed it into your douchebag neighbor’s Ferrari and put a scratch in it and that greasy Mexican screamed at you and called you a worthless piece of shit, berating you until you felt like ending your life at the tender age of 5.

Moms: God bless each and every one of them. But the truth is, you haven’t done enough for her. Trust me… you haven’t. But the good news is, you can start this coming Sunday. Selecting an appropriate gift is one way of beginning to build the bridge you burned when you stole $15,000 from her savings account and ran off to Thailand where you met a chick who didn’t turn out to be a chick at all (not that you knew that before you married it in a regrettable opiate haze).

Choosing a gift can be tricky, though. What kind of mom is she? Is she a nice mom, or a really nice mom? Does she like to sing, or does she like Singer sewing machines?

Mom’s are like snowflakes; no two are alike and an accumulation of them can cause car-accidents. Knowing your mom is the first step in selecting the perfect gift. If you don’t know your mother at all, and shudder at the idea of learning more about her, why don’t you just buy something I suggest? Problem solved.

For the mom who likes to golf:

Buy her some golf tees. They’re cheap, useful and sometimes, you can find tees painted to resemble teeny little penises. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? Your mom hitting the links with a bag full of baby penises? What a hoot!

For the mom who likes sex:

Get your mom a prostitute. (but don’t skimp!!!) The options here are limitless. Does she like greased up black dudes? That can be arranged. Needle-marked, unwed teenaged mothers? Check. Little Chinese boys who have been sold into sex slavery? Sick.

For the mom who likes Don Cheadle:

This one’s easy. Hyperion’s Don Cheadle Collection on Blu-Ray. Featuring 8 of Cheadle’s best known works (Traffic, Boogie Nights… um, that one where he plays that guy… was he a cop? Shit. He was really good in it! You know the one I’m talking about). Anyway, if your mom likes Cheadle, she’ll fucking go nuts for this shit. Each movie has a commentary done by Cheadle himself and the collection comes with an autographed 8 x 10 photo of the Donster.

For the mom who doesn’t like Don Cheadle:

Sex in the City on Blu-Ray. Are you kidding? Who doesn’t fucking love Don Cheadle? Your mom must be a world class idiot.

For the mom who likes the outdoors/wildlife:

The possibilities here are wide open. You can get her some fishing lures. Or bug repellant. Maybe she needs some new waders or some hiking boots. Who knows? The folks over at www.daddybear.com have some great info, I’m sure (I’m not positive, though… I didn’t check it out, but it’s the internet. What could possibly go wrong, you know?)

For the mom who likes to read:

Kindle out of your price range? Get her a library card. She can check out VHS copies of forgotten 80’s classics like ‘Gung Ho’ with the delightful Michael Keaton, in addition to all of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books her feeble mind can handle. The gift that keeps on giving (kind of).

For the mom who likes cars:

Check it: get her a Hot-Wheel of her favorite classic car. Include a card with it that says some bullshit like, ‘If this car were as big as the love for you in my heart, you’d have the real car.’ That’s pretty fucking lame, but sometimes, moms like that.

For the mom who likes food:

Get her a gift certificate to Don’s Tacos in Belton. The tacos there are really cheap, so even though you’re only spending $10 ($20 if you’re a real money-bags) she can take her boyfriend and that asshole’s daughter and only end up spending like, $15-$20 out of her own pocket. Just tell her to stay away from the margaritas! Don mixes them strong and the last thing your mee-maw needs is another DUI!
 

For the mom who likes her family:

Spend some time with her. Maybe you can grill out in the backyard or watch a dance competition on the television. It’s free—which means you won’t be spending any of your hard-earned plasma-selling money—and she’ll appreciate it. (you cheap, sad, son-of-a-bitch)
 

Posted in News_and_Views | Tagged | 7 Comments

Hearne: And Now the ‘Rest of the Story’ on the AMC Entertainment ‘China Crisis’

It’s one thing for the hometown paper to get scooped on a huge story like AMC Entertainment selling out to the Chinese…

Quite another to pull up short on its front page followup. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened earlier this week when the Star rolled out its version of the New York Times scoop on AMC being in talks to sell the company "or a significant stake" to China’s Wanda Group.

How serious is Wanda? Apparently very.

"The Chinese group has reportedly been eyeing an acquisition since president Wang Jianlin said in a speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2011 that his company would ‘shock the world’ with an acquisition to be made within the year," the news organization Want China Times reported yesterday.

Now a little much-needed background and perspective.

Having laid off the business reporter that covered AMC four years back, the Star was forced to play news catchup by drafting into service reporters from its real estate and "human resources" beats. The net result begetting largely a rehash of old news with a couple quotes thrown in from a local AMC business associate rather than an independent third party.

"I was curious about that myself," says one local movie insider. "Why were they asking that guy? It just seemed kind of incestuous."

Also missing in the Star coverage were specifics, perspective and questions regarding the how and why of AMC having "gone private" years ao and subsequently being unable to cash back in via public stock offerings in three attempts. The most recent coming last month and leading up to the potential Chinese sale news.

So let’s take a look, starting with AMC’s going private in 2004.

"Private equity firms are notorious for taking public companies private only to sell shares to the public again down the road," explains B. Simmons of Investing Answers. "Private equity groups generally use leveraged buyouts or buyouts financed by large debt levels to fund their acquisitions, but the result is the same: The shares that are currently public will go away."

Later to return, hopefully generating enormous profits.

It may be worth noting that Bain CapitalMitt Romney‘s old firm that shuttered a more than 100 year-old Kansas City steel mill and laid off more than 700 workers in the early 2000s – is one of AMC’s private equity partners.

In short, the practice of going private, restructuring the company and then taking it public again is often a means of cashing in and/or out on the private equity partners’ investments?

"You’re basically correct," says one close follower of AMC’s business dealings. "They took the company private and they’ve been looking for an exit strategy for the last five years."

When AMC’s owners first tried to cash back out in 2007 via a $500 million stock offering, they were heading into the current recession and the timing couldn’t have been worse. But even then there was more to that story.

"We have a significant amount of debt," AMC’s offering at the time read. "We have had significant financial losses in recent years. Prior to fiscal 2007, we had reported net losses in each of the last nine fiscal years totally approximately $512 million."

So while the Star‘s AMC-friendly business associate largely placed the blame for the company’s triple failure to take the company public again on market conditions, there appears to be far more to the story.

"The problem is all of the money they’ve been trying to rasie goes to the investors and not to invest back into the company," says the AMC watcher. "It’s a legitimate deal, it’s just not particularly appealing to investors."

In a perfect world taking a company public would raise money to position it for growth rather than to merely "retire debt."

A number of other significant details went missing from the local account of AMC’s foray into China.

For example, "The last few years have been extremely difficult for theater operators. Last year, attendance in North America fell to 1.28 billion, a 4 percent decline from 2010 and the lowest total in 16 years," the New York Times story reported. "Ticket revenue for last year totaled $10.2 billion, a 3 percent decrease."

And aside from market conditions "not being right," AMC may have pulled the plug on its IPO to focus on China "to allow the three firms to recoup an investment they made when they bought the company AMC in 2004," the LA Times reports.

The Los Angeles newspaper cited other difficulties facing AMC in another story late last month.

"It’s a tough business,” one of the paper’s sources was quoted, "citing the long-term challenges faced by the exhibition industry, especially from the threat posed by shrinking theatrical windows — the period between when a movie is released in theaters and when it can be viewed in the home."

"The biggest issue (AMC’s) facing is how to navigate the collapsing of theatrical windows," the source told the Times.

So while the movie biz is up sharply this year and headed into what hopes to be a boffo summer, there’s far more to the AMC China story than reported locally. Until now, of course.

Posted in Hearne_Christopher | Tagged | 12 Comments