Tag Archives: Hearne Christopher Jr.

Hearne: Missing Local Newspaper TV Writer the Subject of Speculation

These kinds of stories are never easy to tell…

However as working members of the local media there’s little doubt that people such as Kansas City Star television and radio critic Aaron Barnhart live in glass houses. Remember KSHB weather wonk Gary Lezak‘s bout with the Big C several years back?

So it is that Barnhart’s unexplained absence since late last year has been the cause of much wonder and speculation by both readers and co-workers.

With much of the speculation centering unfortunately on Barnhart’s past history with cancer.

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Today: The End of Days for CD Players in Cars & Software in General

As a little kid I faintly remember my parents having had odd-sized 78 RPM vinyl records….

I didn’t understand much about them, other than they played at a rate of 78 revolutions-per-minute on a turntable versus the standard long playing record album of the day that played at 33 RPM. When my older siblings struck teen, I learned about 45 RPM records. They were tiny by comparison, but packed a powerful punch in that they held only the very best songs. No filler.

At some point later in the 1960s do-it-yourself recorded music hit the mainstream marketplace.

They came before my time, but have you ever seen one of those old reel-to-reel tape recorders with giant spools of audio tape? They were pretty cool looking. Kinda like the old bicycles with those giant front tires on them were cool.

But like the gigundo-tired bikes, reel-to-reel tapes were unwieldy

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Hearne: The 2012 Kansas City All Star Game, Too Much of a Good Thing?

In what feels like just a few short years (but is actually closer to a lifetime) Major League Baseball‘s gone from No. 1 on my list to not even on my list….

And I suspect I’m not alone.

If my mother hadn’t given away my baseball card collection, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here now writing this. I’d be jet skiing with Mitt Romney or wind surfing with John Kerry in Nantucket.

I was that into baseball…despite how bad the team here was. I even liked that silly mascot mule.

When the Royals got good – like pretty much everybody else – I hopped on the bandwagon. However the passion was really never the same. And after the team fell out of bed, I completed the process of moving on in life.

Without baseball.

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Hearne: Addams Family Heats Up Starlight with Tepid Fare

I’m not a theater critic, but I’m playing one today…

So let me say up front, the opening night performance of The Addams Family at Starlight Theatre didn’t knock my socks off. Just as the musical didn’t for critics and audiences on Broadway. But hey, it’s a musical, based on a television show, based on a cartoon strip.

And it’s reportedly grossed more than $60 million on Broadway and that ain’t chump change.

Since then it’s been tweaked by writers and producers for the touring edition, However in the final analysis there still just isn’t enough in the way of catchy songs, plot or script writing to overcome the sweltering outdoor heat, even though Starlight has bent over backwards to provide complimentary water, ice and misting stations.

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Hearne: New, Improved Addams Family Hits Starlight; How to Keep Cool

On your marks, get set, swelter…

Tonight’s kickoff of the Addams Family at Starlight Theatre should be a scorcher. As in a tad on the warm side. To that end, Starlight has delivered unto ticketholders some advice on how to beat the heat.

"Every guest is allowed to bring 1 sealed bottle of water into the theatre," Starlight advises. "Complimentary water stations will be placed at our North and East Guest Relations. Water misters will be placed throughout the theatre for guest convenience (and) Starlight has drinking fountains throughout the theatre."

There’s more.

You know it’s really hot when, "Upon request, all concession stands will provide you with a complimentary cup of ice" to theatergoers, Starlight says.

Not that it will be unbearable, adds KSHB weather wonk Gary Lezak.

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Hearne: Food Flipping Japanese Steakhouses Hibachi, Kabuki on Brink

Once upon a time Kansas City was a pretty sleepy city when it came to quality restaurants…

Lots of comfort food joints like Jess & Jim‘s, Stroud’s, Waid’s, Winstead’s, Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Savoy Grill and however many restaurants whose names began with the word "Putsch’s."

No mas…

No longer must locals strap on a coat and tie and head to places like the American Restaurant or Peppercorn Duck Club to enjoy an upscale, eclectic dining experience.

Far from it.

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Hearne: Improved Addams Family @ Starlight Worth Checking Out, Theater Insider Says

Not every show makes it big on Broadway…

Not even a number of the good one. So says Theater League main man Mark Edelman. Something about it being too expensive to "fix" things when a show gets off on the wrong foot. Which doesn’t mean things can’t be fine tuned later before the show hits the road.

Which is exactly what happened in the case with the Addam’s Family musical that opens tonight at Starlight Theatre and plays through Sunday, Edelman says.

"It wasn’t a hit on Broadway but the authors went back and tweaked a few things and the word I got is the tour is better than the show on Broadway was," Edelman says.

Including the cast…

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Today: Former Star Sports Scribe Posnanski Questionable Choice to Pen Paterno Bio

Get me rewrite…

To be fair, the jury’s out on how good a job Joe Posnanski will do in penning fallen Penn State coach Joe Paterno‘s biography…

That said, there’s little doubt on why the ebullient former Kansas City Star sports scribe was chosen for the task. Posnanski has carved a career in breathing fervor into even the most mundane sports achievements and personalities.

He’s a great writer, if a bit euphoric and hyperbolic at times – like most of the time. So it comes as little surprise that JoePa would feel comfortable and assured he’d receive kid glove treatment at the hands of JoePo.

And what writer wouldn’t leap at the chance to get their mitts on a reported $750,000 writing fee?

Unfortunately, an anticipated, run of the mill journalistic blowjob turned into an ugly, nasty tell-all courtesy of the Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse scandal.

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Hearne: Layoffs, What Layoffs? Star Sales Staff Pigs Out, Celebrates $uccess

Long time no boots to asses, what gives?

I can’t remember the last time the Kansas City Star unleashed a round of cutbacks and/or layoffs. And that’s saying something. Yeah, they’re still choking out employee furloughs – forced, unpaid vacations. – And while I hate to jinx anyone – after all, I was one of the hundreds that took a bullet a few years back – it does seem quite remarkable.

I mean, the newspaper’s obituary page is chock full of former readers on a daily basis – so it’s not like its readership ranks are growing.

So what’s the deal?

Turns out the worm has temporarily turned at 18th and Grand and ad revenues are up, up, up…


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Today: Don’t Waste Your Money on ‘Ted’ – Rent ‘Ishtar’

Far be it from me to lobby for you guys to become homebodies…

Get out, party, have a good time, go to a concert, movie, comedy club – anything. Why waste away at home if you don’t have to?

There are times however to pull back and not get sucker-punched by Hollywood.

And one such time is staring you in the face in the form of the new Mark Wahlberg movie Ted.

I know, I know, Jack stuck up a bunch of fingers and it’s taking names and kicking butt at the box office. But don’t get fooled, like I did yesterday.

Stick with the laffs you’ll get watching the trailer and quit while you’re ahead.

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Hearne: Pitch Getting Better, Still Struggling with Print Content, Sex Ads

Give it up for The Pitch...

The record store rag I ran and built into an alternative newsweekly was on life support for years before Village Voice (aka New Times) unloaded it last year on some dudes in Nashville named Southcomm.

The betting money being that Southcomm would evolve the aging hippie rag into something fresher, flashier and less formulaic than it had become under its former owners. And that it would go after the upscale advertisers the Star‘s upstart weekly Ink was attracting. Advertisers that wouldn’t advertise in the Pitch at gunpoint.

To do so, the Pitch would need to start dialing more content into its all-important (revenue-producing) print paper, clean up the tacky sex ads in back and start printing on magazine stock instead of newsprint like it does in Nashville.

Well, one out of three ain’t bad – not in baseball anyway.

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Today: Lezak’s ‘LRC’ Predicts Long, Hot Summer & Record High Temps

The heat is on and unfortunately, it’s here to stay…

So says Channel 41 weather wonk Gary Lezak. That according Lezak’s Recurring Cycle (LRC) theory.

"The thing is this," Lezak says. "The weather pattern is the same one that set up last fall, according to my LRC. The one that brought us the lowest amount of snow and the warmest March ever in Kansas City history. And it will continue until a new pattern sets up in September or October."

Lezak’s bottom line:

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Hearne: Is That Former Chief Tony Gonzalez in 2013 Mustang Commercial?

Close but no Tony G

You know what they say, looks can be deceiving. Big time in the case of a Ford Mustang commercial that’s been bumping around YouTube in recent months. And comments section habitue Rick wasn’t the only one to finger former Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez – now with Atlanta – as the dude on the street twice seen ogling a new 2013 Mustang in the spot.

Little wonder.

The chef suit attired guy with the wild ass tattoo on his right forearm is the spitting image of Tony G.

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Hearne: The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth About Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet

Let me say this about that…

Some of you – don’t look at me like that, you know who you are – are under the mistaken impression that because I’ve been critical of the Alamo Drafthouse‘s ridiculously harsh no texting/no talking policy, I’m down on the place.

Totally bogus.

Two-plus-two usually does make four, I’ll grant you that, but despite my liberal views, trust me, I’m neither a text-a-holic nor an in-movie yapper.

Just a realist.

That said, I’m going to share my experience at the Alamo’s bold, new downtown venture, The Mainstreet. Because on Wednesday I accompanied a party of five to the Alamo’s grand, soft opening.

And no, I didn’t get yelled at, kicked out or anything of the kind.

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Today: Roger the Plumber, Others Hanging onto What’s Left of Nextel for Dear Life

Keep it local…

That’s Roger the Plumber’s philosophy on buying local whenever he possible. Starting with the fading fast, push-to-talk Nextel phones he got from Kansas City-based Sprint.

That said, Sprint’s announcement that Nextel’s walkie-talkie like phone system will go away next year isn’t exactly helping Roger to keep the faith.

“They’re on the countdown, they’re starting to limit the service," he says. "Until now it’s always been impeccable.”

Making the transition to no Nextel very difficult.

“On May the 30th they eliminated five Nextel towers within five miles of my office in Overland Park,” Roger says. “So now I have to get up from my desk and walk over to my window to talk on the phone.”

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Hearne: Alamo Drafthouse Plans ‘Soft Opening’ for Mainstreet @ 7 PM Wednesday

Shhhhhhhhh…keep this under your hat, but here’s some news you can maybe use…

The Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet is planning a "soft opening" tomorrow at 7 p.m. That according to the Alamo staffers from Austin I chatted with outside the downtown theater last night.

Doors open at 6 p.m., so if you want to be among the first to remember the Alamo here in KC, be there or be square.

The reopening comes one week to the day after AMC‘s final curtain call at its Kansas City, Missouri state-of-the-art, flagship movieplex.

What to expect?

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Hearne: Alamo Announces Ticket Prices, Babies & Booze Policies

Reach for the sky…

If you think movie ticket prices have gone through the roof in recent years, get ready for more of the same. Because Alamo Drafthouse – operator-to-be of the now former AMC Mainstreet – has announced pricing plans for the ritzy downtown cinema.

Alamo will charge $15 a ticket at its three dine-in theaters after 6 p.m. on weekends and $12 before 6 p.m.

While that’s a 25 percent premium to what AMC charges at its Fork & Screens theaters, it matches AMC’s ticket prices at its adults-only, 21 and up Cinema Suites.

For Alamo’s yet-to-be converted to full food and bar service auditoriums, it will charge $12 for adult tickets on weekends after 6 p.m. and $9 before.

Weekday prices for the dine-ins are $12 after six and $9 before with self-serve theaters at $10 and $7.

The Alamo will continue AMC’s policy of 21 and up only the upscale auditoriums upstairs. Presumeably to ensure higher food and liquor grosses from cocktail-buying adults.

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Hearne: Rise & Fall of Daily Deals, Groupon, KC Star ‘Dealsaver’ & Muncharoo Bails

Not since Ponzi Schemes became epidemic in the early ’80s has a business fad risen and fallen so dramatically…

First allow me to say on behalf of Comments Section naysayers, "They told me so."

However when the force to be reckoned with known as Groupon took Kansas City and the nation by storm barely three years back, it was almost magical. As I recall, Groupon had maybe 50,000 people on its email list early on, then grew rapidly to 100,000, then 350,000. And last time I checked, Groupon was thought to have upwards of three-quarters of a million Kansas City subscibers.

In a city of two million, a fourth of whom supposedly do not have broadband, that’s a bunch.

There followed by an onslaught of Groupon wannabes ranging from Lucky Monkey to Muncharoo to the Kansas City Star‘s Dealsaver.

Speaking of Muncharoo – a locally-based Web wheeler dealer with possibly the worst name in the biz – a two week old rumor that it had been bought out by Florida-based CrowdSavings was confirmed last week. The deal reportedly put somewhere around $500,000 in the pocket of founder Eric Vianello who did not return a call on the matter.

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Hearne: Alamo Drafthouse Splashes Down @ AMC Mainstreet

With very little fanfare, Alamo Drafthouse got the keys to AMC’s Mainstreet movie kingdom Thursday…

And to those who may have been anticipating a seamless transition, think again. Rather than rocking it right out of the gate, the Alamo opted to quietly shut things down for a spell. No press releases, no ads in the newspaper, just a brief statement on its new Facebook page:

"Phase one is complete. Old logos are down and the keys are in our hands! We’ll be closed for a few days, but not long at all."

Add to that a blog entry from an Alamoan grousing about the 12 hour drive to KC from Austin for a first-ever visit and plan for staffers to reside here two to three months while taking on the "crazy and daunting task" of converting the Mainstreet and implementing a new food and drink menu.

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Today: Win Free Tickets to See the Scissor Sisters Monday @ Crossroads KC!!!

The heat is on, but…

By the time the Scissor Sisters take the stage Monday it will all seem like a bad dream. Nobody died for lack of air conditioning, nobody’s car overheated, nobody passed out at the pre Fourth of July family kegger and Craig went an entire day without a "typo."

Nonetheless, KC Confidential to the rescue with five pair of free tickets for the Scissor Sisters show, a mix of glam rock, pop with electroclash and nu disco – that’s right, nu-disco.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one. The Scissor Sisters all but burned down the Uptown a few years back and the band’s new CD "Magic Hour" is going strong and "dedicated to get you out and keep you out on the dance floor all night long."

And where better for that to go down than at The Crossroads?

Here’s the deal…

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