Lefsetz: The Death of Rock As We Knew It

It’s no longer the sound of the street…

The initial burst came with the Beatles and the British Invasion, a new sound everybody went wild for.

Then came the late ’60s free-form FM era, everything from the Doors‘ “The End” to Cream’s “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” to Jimi Hendrix‘s “Purple Haze.”

Sure, some of these tracks crossed over to AM, were single hits, but this was the era, after Sgt. Pepper, when you wanted to make an album length STATEMENT!

In the early ’70s, it was about experimentation and musicianship. Ergo, the prog rock bands. Even Queen. We admired those with chops.

Then came the codification and consolidation of FM radio by Lee Abrams and suddenly all the action was on FM and bands being banged on that format went nuclear. Stadium shows were de rigueur. There was so much money involved that it could not be overlooked, ergo, corporate rock, music made to make money.

Which punk was a reaction to.

But punk got press and little sales and then were both rock and punk, trampled by disco, which ironically survives, even though it’s something different, and is still triumphant.

Then disco records were blown up in Comiskey Park and the music business tanked and then was resuscitated by MTV and the CD.

MTV gave a second wind to rock.

Especially to the oldsters.

But then young acts like Culture Club and Duran Duran got traction, and shortly thereafter so did Michael Jackson and Wham!

Rock reacted the same way it did a decade before, with hair bands. Spandex-clad wankers singing safe ballads that were supposed to titillate women. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: 16th Adventure in Marvel Cinematic Universe Unleashed!

Young Spider-Man to Tony Stark: “What do you want me to do?”

Tony Stark to Spidey: “I think you’ve done enough.”

It’s been three years since the last installment but this reboot is going for an entirely different feel and time frame with Tom Holland taking over from Andrew Garfield.

It also marks the first time an actual teenager has been cast as Peter Parker.

In SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING the story takes us back to the character’s roots with Tony Stark / Ironman (Robert Downey, Jr.) as mentor to teen Spidey.

And Michael Keaton is here doing his usual GOOD—but this time at being BAD as the Adrian Toomes / Vulture who faces off with the web slinging wonder.

Holland’s Spider-Man you may recall was introduced to us in last year’s Marvel extravaganza CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.

In support of the film’s starring cast are Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Marisa Tomei playing Peter’s aunt May Parker with Tyne Daly as Anne Marle Hoag heading the Department of Damage Control.

Bottom line THIS Spider-Man is fresh and plays much lighter which is a welcome change for the character AND the franchise. Continue reading

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Hearne: American Royal Rubber Rib Rack Poor Sub for Substance

Talk about fiddling while Rome burns…

I uttered a few words recently over the not yet cold, dead body of the American Royal and its arguably only remaining prized possession, the World Series of Barbecue.

The latest:

In lieu of doing something halfway meaningful to help keep KC’s biggest meat meet alive and kicking, the marketing brains behind the Royal stuck up a giant billboard with a 50 foot long, 8 foot tall three dimensional rack of fake ribs to promote this year’s Labor Day cookout.

Here’s the deal.

Not only is the freakish-looking monstrosity borderline grotesque, in no way does it do anything to encourage somebody to trudge out to the Kansas Speedway in KCK in sweltering heat to watch a bunch of yahoos send up meat flavored smoke signals. Continue reading

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Hearne: End of an Era @ Metcalf South

We live in lightning fast times…

That goes without saying. Yet sometimes Cowtowners have to shake their heads about things that  – amazingly – have nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump.

Go figure.

For example the mighty Sears department store chain going down down ugly.

How ugly?

When one of the company’s most profitable and iconic stores ever – the Sears at Metcalf South – in Overland Park takes a bullet, you know the end is near.

How near?

With more than 1,100 remaining Sears outlets, it may not happen overnight, but under the current circumstances, the bigger they are the harder they fall. And depending on how many of the remaining Sears are the mini sized “hometown” stores it’s not as if the company is anything approaching the powerhouse it once was.

Far from it.

Having gone from around 4,000 stores to 1,500 the last handful of years, the handwriting looks to be on the wall for what’s left of the Sears/K Mart empire.

Still it’s hard not to breath a sigh when reminiscing back to the 1980s when Sears still had its automotive center on the vaunted Country Club Plaza where the Court of the Penguins now stands.

I can’t tell you how many lawn mowers, weed whackers, washers & dryers and kitchen appliances I purchased there over the years. Not to mention – embarrassingly – that I purchased record albums as a boy at the Plaza Sears.

No mas.

Continue reading

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New Jack City: ‘Mamma Mia’ – Here We Come Again—the Frothier the Better


Now that the MAMMA MIA! national ‘Farewell Tour’ made its “final” stop at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, it’s time for me to reflect…

For me, it all started in 200o when the popular play made its US tour before hitting Broadway where it remained on stage for 14 years.

Since then the musical comedy/love story based on the music of ABBA has set box office records around the globe.

And if memory serves me correctly the play has been on stage in Kansas City half a dozen times.

Six years after its Broadway debut, Universal Studios turned the play into one of the most successful big screen musicals EVER.

With Meryl Streep in the lead MAMMA MIA! racked in $144 million in ticket sales domestically.

But the international market for the film REALLY went wild producing another $466 million.

All in that’s $610 million!

By comparison GREASE did $395 million. LES MISERABLE produced $442 million. CHICAGO took in $307 million and LA LA LAND ended up with $444 million.

Oops, almost forgot. Disney’s 2017 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST beat them all with $1.23 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

Fast forward to today and the news that executive producers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have finally green-lighted a MAMMA MIA! sequel to their 2008 hit movie. Continue reading

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Hearne: Star Goes Tabloid in Attempt to Label KC ‘Murder Capital’

Yellow Journalism, anybody?

The age-old practice of cherry picking statistics to try and make an exaggerated point is alive and well at 18th and Grand in the newsroom of the Kansas City Star.

Or as the Urban Dictionary puts it, “argument by selective observation.”

However it’s one thing for Kansas City’s newspaper of record to run over-sensationalized, under-reported news stories into the ground. Stories like the Verruckt water slide decapitation of an 11 year-old boy at Schlitterbahn WaterPark and the ridiculously foolhardy, accidental death of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura.

Clearly, the nucleus of both stories were newsworthy…up to a point.

That said, the Star was among the last to meekly report the awful truth that the Chicago Tribune and other media shouted in headlines such as, “Boy was decapitated on waterslide at Kansas park, source says.”

Nor did the newspaper probe beyond an embarrassingly minimally mention of the fact that Ventura’s blood test results at the time of his wee hours car wreck in the Dominican Republic in January were being bogusly withheld from the media. Especially given that what was known about the deceased pitcher’s final hours appeared to point in the direction of him being wasted and driving on a needlessly dangerous road after a day and night of partying.

Time out…

Do you think if it had been one of Donald Trump‘s kids or subordinates, the Star would have taken a pass on digging for the drug test results? Continue reading

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Glazer: Power to the…Royals?

Wow, it actually happened…

Royals GM Dayton Moore did it; the Royals are a power team!

Yep, six players are in double figures with home runs. That’s a first for a KC team. In fact, two players may break 30 home runs for the year, Sal Perez and Mike Moustakas.

The Mighty Moose likely will hit for plus 40…unreal.

A team that has never hit for power is now doing just that.

And with the power hitting comes wins.

The Royals are hot.

In fact baseball’s worst team in April is now in second place over .500 – crazy.

The Royals for the first time ever are a dangerous home run hitting bunch. Damn.  Continue reading

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(Re) Born on the 4th of July

A funny thing happened on the way to the end of June…

Not so funny, actually.

An accidental misstep caused the KC Confidential publishing device of choice – my MacBook Pro – to take a dirt nap. One that ensued for like 10 days while no less than three computer repair businesses sorted out the fix.

Lame? Of course, but life goes on…

Continue reading

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Hearne: American Royal & BBQ Continue Downward Slide

 Another year, another snoozer American Royal

When it comes to over-the-hill events and washed up personalities, the old ways die hard here in the Cowtown. Case in point, Kansas City’s once vaunted, annual livestock, rodeo, horse show, society ball and barbecue contest, the American Royal.

Since 1899 when the livestock event was first conceived, to 1980 when its first barbecue contest achieved liftoff, the eight week long event has passed for what amounts to KC’s fall pageant.

However changing times and tastes – combined with the loss in 1999 of its core participating attendee group the Future Farmers of America – have rendered the event all but toothless.

With, arguably anyway, the exception of the American Royal World Series of Barbecue.

Unfortunately, owing to a dearth of quality live entertainment and a geographic move from the event’s historic home in the West Bottoms to the soulless Kansas Speedway in KCK, this year’s BBQ blowout could well be a bust.

For locals, anyway.

That’s because a scheduling conflict at the speedway necessitated it migrating from the cool climes of October to a sweltering summer Labor Day weekend.

“We moved it this year to Labor Day because of other events at the Speedway,” an American Royal spokesman explains, adding that in future years the plan is for the event to return to October.

As for the “incredible live music” the American Royal’s website promises for this year’s BBQ, “We have not picked anybody yet,” the spokesman says. “But more than likely it’s going to be somebody local and more than likely different (musical) genres.”

Translation: Forget about the heavy hitter mainstream headliners of American Royals past.

Think local bar bands.

Continue reading

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Glazer: Ladies & Gentleman, Meet the ‘New’ Babe Ruth

Baseball’s had its share of big stars the last several years, the it guys of the game…

The Yankees had Derek Jeter, before that the Royals George Brett, Oakland Mark McGwire. Yet there really hasn’t been a true monster star since slugger Reggie Jackson.

Remember the “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie” chant when he hit three homers in a single World Series game?

Jackson was as close as it came to being a modern day Micky Mantle – the power hitter the nation watched and admired most when I was a kid.

I always felt that the power hitting stars of the game were the ones who made baseball America’s game.

Today, not so much.

Since the steroid era nobody’s grabbed our hearts like newest Yankee, Aaron Judge.

The 25 year old rookie is fast becoming the next guy you might see on a candy bar or cereal box. He looks to be THE MAN and not just in New York but in baseball.

Judge is not only going to be rookie of the year but maybe MVP.

Heck, Judge could be a triple crown winner in his first full season with the Yankees.

He’s already hit 22 home runs and is batting .335 with 49 RBI’s.

Those numbers at season’s end might get a rookie of the year award as they stand, but if it continues Judge may be the first mega star since Reggie Jackson.

Don’t get me wrong there have been some great ballplayers at the plate since Reggie – our own Carlos Beltran being one – but NOT LIKE THIS KID. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: We Just Don’t Care

We’re operating like it’s the 20th Century in a 21st Century world…

The media industrial complex believes if it just beats us over the head hard enough, keeps putting faces in front of us, that we will pay attention and care. But that don’t play in an on-demand world where we have access to whatever we want, whenever we want it.

Used to be choice was limited.

Then we were liberated by the Internet.

Started in 1995 and has been going down this path for 20 years, intensifying with the adoption of broadband. We’ve all dug deep into our niches and we don’t care if you’re famous for something or famous for nothing. Unless you’re in our vertical, we’re not paying attention, but you keep thinking we are.

Beyonce is not that big.

Neither is Jimmy Fallon. Or Stephen Colbert. Or any of the late night hosts.

We keep hearing about their ratings wars but almost no one is watching, just a few million in a nation of 300 million.

It’s affecting everything, from the Oscars to the VMAs. Unless they’re going to kill somebody on stage, we can’t get excited enough to watch, unless it’s a really cold night during the winter and there’s nothing else to do.


Kelly Oxford recently tweeted: “Cancelled cable 2 mths ago, 2 kids haven’t noticed, 1 just realized this week. As a kid I would have noticed within 1hr and died. New gen.”

Now you’re asking…WHO’S KELLY OXFORD?

The Twitter queen of the comedians. She’s gotten tons of hype. She’s got 779k followers. She’s got books, she’s all over the media…THE ONE YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO!

And I’m not watching ESPN, never ever.

That’s the story of the 21st Century, the decimation of institutions that we were forced into buying that we really didn’t care that much about if we cared at all.

Kinda like all the channels propped up by cable payments that are gonna disappear. Kinda like malls… You mean you want me to waste an hour searching for inventory you don’t have? BUT ISN’T SHOPPING FUN? NO!!

Sure, there are women who love to shop – men too – but most people don’t.

And given a better, easier solution, they’ve stopped.

Sure, Amazon is an efficient operation, but it delivers what we want; convenience, selection and the elimination of wasted time, and we all hate wasted time. We just don’t have enough of it!

However the major media outlets keep parading people like we care. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘The Book Of Henry’—Refreshing Summer Discovery.

Despite of what you may suspect, I don’t ONLY review big budget, major studio movies…

Case in point, the new drama-thriller, THE BOOK OF HENRY, that opens this weekend in limited runs.

How to describe it?

For starters it’s a so-called “small” film dealing with the human spirit.

It’s very well cast but not much can be told of the plot without ruining the entire premise of the picture.

What we’ve got here is the extraordinarily touching drama of an 11 year-old boy genius named Henry who pretty well takes care of his single mom, a waitress and his younger brother.

Henry is pretty well on top of everything and everybody—even the finances of his self-doubting mother.

And then there’s the family next door… Continue reading

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Hearne: Dollar Store Dominance Decimates Dignity

Don’t let your lying eyes fool ya… 

Seems like everywhere you turn in Johnson County and other snooty, upscale urban enclaves, that strip malls and trendy retailers are sprouting up willy nilly. They can’t build ’em fast enough.

The flip side of that equation: brick and mortar retailers nationwide are dropping like flies – dying off so fast the obituaries are being written prior to their actual dirt naps taking place.

Go figure.

Seriously, does anyone out there really expect to be hitting the blue light specials at K-Mart in 2019? Or even 2018?

Same for Sears that sold of its vaunted Craftsman tool line this past year, ostensibly to keep what’s left of the ship of state afloat.

Department stores like Macy’s and Dillards have been hanging on for dear life for decades. Every time I go in one I feel like I’ve crossed over into a time warp back to the 1970s or ’80s.

Now even trendy retailers like Target have begun to hemorrhage red ink.

“Target shows progress, but turnaround still has a way to go,” reads a recent CNBC headline.

JC Penney?

The venerable retailer can’t close its stores fast enough.

Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Effects-Laden ‘MUMMY’ Disappoints

Hey, here is a clever idea!

Take most of your classic monster characters and breath new life into them by targeting them to today’s millennial moviegoers.

Which is exactly what Universal Pictures has up its sleeve.

It’s called Universal’s universe of (their) monsters for modern audiences.

And they’ve got plenty of them.

From Dracula, Frankenstein and The Invisible Man—all Universal monster classics— foreshadowing possible 21st century resurrections.

Or as I like to think of them: Popcorn thrillers with classic roots.

Kicking off the renewed franchise Universal Studios pays homage to its original 1932 thriller THE MUMMY which starred Boris Karloff. Continue reading

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Glazer: Time for Chiefs Fans to Take a Knee

The Chiefs sent backup QB Chase Daniels to the Eagles..

So now we have no real veteran back up quarterback if Alex Smith goes down. Yes, we have our No. 1 draft pick Patrick Mahomes, who has of course no experience in the NFL.

And we all want to see what he can do, but if KC is a contender you want someone who can step in and win.

So why not Colin Kaepernick?.

Kaepernick was once the darling and future of then Super Bowl team San Francisco. The dude who took Alex Smith’s job.

Then Kaepernick became a distraction when he didn’t stand for the national anthem two seasons back. I don’t agree with what he did, but it was his right to protest if he so desired.

In any case, that’s over now.

Is that any worse than Tyreek Hill‘s checkered past?

In the NFL does it really matter?

Kaepernick played well last year on a bad San Fran team with 16 touchdowns, only 4 INT’S, 2,241 yards in the air, 468 yards on the ground and 2 TD’s.

He had a 90.7 quarterback rating.

That’s very good with a team that didn’t lend him much help.

He certainly didn’t have the weapons KC had.

Now the Jets and the Seahawks have passed him over for lesser backups (or starters in the Jets case).

Look, this guy was once considered an elite young quarterback. Continue reading

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Sutherland: Thought Police @ The Door (Or At least The Downtown Marriott)

Occasionally you’ll read something so powerful and timely it helps you understand things you only partially grasped before…

I previously mentioned an essay by a retired Boston University professor,Angelo Codevilla. In the Fall 2016 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, he had an article called, “The Rise of Political Correctness.”

Until I went to the 18th Annual National White Privilege Conference (April 27 -30 at the Downtown Marriott) I had no idea how pervasive this ideology was.

The Conference billed itself as the usual left-wing celebration of multiculturalism.

An April 26 Kansas City Star editorial endorsing the conference made it seem that we could all benefit from it but the unfortunate fact was that those who most needed to attend were the least likely to be there.

This was a naïve view of what the conference was about.

It was not about persuasion. It was about coercion.

It was not about diversity as much as it was about the evils caused by the white race, capitalism and Christianity – in other words Western Civilization!

In a follow up opinion piece, Star writer Joe Robinson, claimed its purpose was not to “attack, demean, or degrade” any of the foregoing but simply to view them from a balanced perspective historically.

The Star’s coverage of the conference in the days leading up to the actual event stressed that while it would be “difficult,” the resulting “conversation on race” was long overdue and everyone who attended would learn from it and come away with new understanding, especially whites.

This was absurd on its face.

Because far from being “long overdue,” we ‘ve had nothing less than an ongoing conversation on race for the past 50 years in this country. (This week is the 50th anniversary of the release of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”) What else would liberals rather talk about than white racism? Continue reading

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Glazer: All Bets Are Off After Chiefs Cut Maclin

The Chiefs picked up one of coach Andy Reid‘s favorite receivers two years back…

And former MU standout Jeremy Maclin had a good first season in KC with over 1,000 yards in pass receptions. However he had a strange season last year with odd injuries and some off-field personal reasons to miss games and only two touchdowns.

Maclin was to be KC’s best wide receiver since Otis Taylor – never happened.

At times Maclin looked great and the real deal, but last year seemed to seal his fate – he was a no show.

Instead girlfriend batterer Tyreek Hill seemed to become the Chiefs offense.

Hill had a Pro Bowl season and without him, no playoffs. He’s KC’s new super star.

Yet Hill’s kinda small to be a No. 1 wide out and many see him as more of a gadget player.

Me, I think he’s the real deal, but KC needs another bigger, dependable wide out to help draw traffic away from Hill and do damage.

And right now without a healthy Maclin, we don’t have that player! Yet. Maybe one of the new draft picks? Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | 15 Comments

Jack Goes Confidential: Gal Gadot OWNS ‘Wonder Woman’

DC Comics’ WONDER WOMAN has been around since the early 1940’s—way before Lynda Carter brought the character to television in 1975…

That series aired through 1979.

And Gal Gadot first exposed the character to the big screen in last year’s (so-so) BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

Later this year WW will be part of DC’s eagerly awaited JUSTICE LEAGUE adventure opening November 17.

Until then there is Warner Brothers’ big scale production of WONDER WOMAN hitting theaters this weekend.

And I’m here to tell you that initial audience reactions—including those of our KC screening group earlier this week—have been overwhelmingly positive!

This movie has heart, humanity and great action sequences. And best of all you DON’T have to be a fan to enjoy it. Continue reading

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Hearne: Time to Pull the Plug on Bad Baseball, Bad Investments in KCK

Time to call a spade a spade…

Not only is the Kansas City T-Bones baseball team a really lame joke, it’s a failed business operation that’s been bleeding Wyandotte County taxpayers the get go.

First a correction for a common mistake that Steve Vockrodt made in his story in Tuesday’s Kansas City Star calling the T-Bones as a “minor league team.”

The Bones have no claim to being in the minor leagues.

To be a Minor League Baseball team you have to be affiliated with Major League Baseball – no two ways about it.

Minor league baseball teams range from Triple A at the highest level down to the Rookie Leagues.

The T-Bones are an Independent League team, which is below the lowest of the low in the minor leagues. Accordingly the quality of play is way below that of the lowest minor league teams.

As I wrote two years ago, the odds of a T-Bones player making it in the majors is dwarfed by the odds of them landing a gig sacking groceries or riding a trash truck.

The campy novelty of the T-Bones honeymoon didn’t last long.

Seven years in the T-Bones original league folded and the team was forced to join the fledgling American Association.

In 2013 KCK had to kick in $174,000 so the Bones could pay the mortgage on the team’s ballpark. After which in order to pull the T-Bones chestnuts out of the fire, the county stepped in and purchased the ballpark to ensure the team’s “long-term tourism success.” Continue reading

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Glazer: Royals Stuck in Last / Fire Sale, Anyone?

More of less is more…

As May comes to an end the Royals are still in last place with the league’s worst record. Funny, last year’s team ended May in 1st place…although it didn’t last.

Some players are starting to hit better but that’s just not enough.

For example Eric Hosmer is batting .300 but with only five homers thus far. Brandon Moss has nine homers and is showing signs of being a good pick up. Sal Perez has 11 homers and the Moose has 13. Both Moose and Perez have a good shot at breaking the 30 homer mark this season.

However the Royals’ problems include poor relief pitching and allowing too many home runs and walks. And KC’s once scary bullpen has gone flat.

The Royals best starter is Danny Duffy.

Unfortunately, he’s injured and may be out for one to two months. Yikes.

Without Duffy our starting rotation is in trouble.

Frankly it seemed like it was already in trouble.

These just aren’t the same Royals that went to two World Series.  Continue reading

Posted in Craig_Glazer | 13 Comments