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T HE WRITER S P L ACE Find your writing tribe at The Writers Place. Open to the public at: 3607 Pennsylvania KCMO (816) 753-1090 Thursday, April 5, 7 - 9 PM The Writers Place Reading Series - Simone Muench, Eric Goodman, Cyrus Console Friday, April 6 9 a.m. – Noon Workshop - The Things They Cherish - Eric Goodman, Instructor $45 nonmembers/$30 members Friday, April 6, 7 - 9 PM TWP Reading - Matthew Porubsky, Eric McHenry, Mary Stone Dockery Monday, April 9, 8:00 PM Blue Monday Poetry Open Mic at the Uptown Arts Bar - Hosted by Sharon Eiker Stay informed about our events. Location: Uptown Arts Bar, 3611 Broadway, Kansas City, MO Friday, April 13, 8:00 PM Facebook: Like our page! Riverfront Reading: Larry Racunas and Billy Brame Saturday, April 14, 10:00 AM Twitter: Follow @kcwritersplace Workshop: How to Break Writer's Block with Marcia Kelley. $30 nonmembers/ $20 members Saturday, April 14, 10:00 AM Sunday, April 15, 2:00 PM Workshop: Creative Nonfiction with Diane Glancy (Session 1 of 4) Sunday Salon : Discussion of the Work of Sylvia Plath $160 nonmembers / $120 members Tuesday, April 17, 7:00 PM Saturday, April 14, 2:00 PM Poetry Reading at the Johnson County Library: Caryn Workshop: Precision and the Poet with Trish Reeves (Session 1 of 4) Miriam-Goldberg $160 nonmembers/$120 members

Editor Scott Wilson Managing Editor Justin Kendall Music Editor David Hudnall Staff Writers Charles Ferruzza, Ben Palosaari Editorial Operations Manager Deborah Hirsch Proofreader Brent Shepherd Calendar Editor Berry Anderson Clubs Editor Abbie Stutzer Food Blogger, Web Editor Jonathan Bender Contributing Writers Tracy Abeln, Danny Alexander, Theresa Bembnister, Aaron Carnes, Kyle Eustice, April Fleming, Micah Gutweiler, Ian Hrabe, Megan Metzger, Chris Parker, Nadia Pflaum, Nancy Hull Rigdon, Dan Savage, Brent Shepherd, Nick Spacek, Abbie Stutzer, Crystal K. Wiebe Editorial Intern Micah Gutweiler

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THE TEC H I SSU E Tech entrepreneurs are making KC an IT destination — and Google Fiber isn't even here yet. BY J U S T I N K E N DA L L

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Hometown: I spent most of my childhood in

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Current neighborhood: West Plaza Who or what is your sidekick? Bruno, my giant

What TV show do you make sure you watch?

What career would you choose in an alternate reality? Chef! I love to cook, and I worked in

What movie do you watch at least once a year?

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a few restaurants growing up. But I couldn’t “stand the heat.”

What was the last local restaurant you patronized? Actually, as I answer this, I am

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Where do you drink? Zoo bar! Or Manifesto, if I feel like “class’n” it up. We are lucky to have the kind of creativity from the mixologists at Manifesto. Favorite place to spend your paycheck: eBay Where do you like to take out-of-town guests? Oklahoma Joe’s for barbecue, Ponak’s for margaritas, and McCormick & Schmick’s for a chocolate-bag dessert.

Finish this sentence: “Kansas City got it right when it …” Renovated and reopened

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B R O O K E VA N D E V E R

What is KCnext? KCnext—the Technology Council of Greater Kansas City is a nonprofit organization that serves as the regional advocate for the tech industry, supporting more than 75 technology-company members in the Greater Kansas City Area. KCnext is committed to growing the existing base of technology firms, recruiting and attracting technology companies, aggregating and promoting regional IT assets, and providing peer interaction and industry news.

Union Station. It’s also amazing how Power & Light, Kauff man Center for the Performing Arts, and the organic emergence of the Crossroads District have really changed our city for the better.

“Kansas City screwed up when it …” Decided to be so humble in regard to all the creative and innovative people, things and companies that are located here.

“Kansas City needs …” Mountains! I love to see mountains but hate the commute. “People might be surprised to know that …” My first job out of college, I lived out of a suitcase for two years. Oddly enough, I still haven’t been to Maine.

take(s) up a lot of space in my iTunes:

Jack Johnson. Who knows — I could still be a surfer someday, right?

60 Minutes

Saving Private Ryan — no relation.

What local tradition do you take part in every year? American Royal. And the Westport St. Patty’s festivities.

Celebrity you’d like to ride the Mamba with at Worlds of Fun: This is tough. I would have

to find someone who isn’t afraid of heights, doesn’t get motion sickness, and would scream so loud that they would entertain all of us on the way down … Taylor Swift.

Favorite person or thing to follow on Twitter:

@KCnext, of course. I also follow Silicon Prairie News, @SiliconPrairie, to stay on top of all the regional tech news.

Person or thing you find really irritating at this moment: Wi-Fi. Even though KC is better

than most cities, there still isn’t enough to go around. It either disappears when you need it or turns its back and locks you out.

Last book you read: I am currently reading The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton.

Favorite day trip: Manhattan, Kansas. Go, Cats! What is your most embarrassing dating moment? Be careful if you sit outside on the patio.

You never know what “presents” can fall on your shoulder.

Describe a recent triumph: The KCnext team

recruited 20 new member companies in the first quarter of 2012. We hosted 100 professionals at our first educational briefing in March and more than 400 attendees at our networking event at Livestrong Sporting Park. It’s going to be a great year! Ryan Weber became president of KCnext on January 24.

PLOG

A LITTLE INN AND OUT

Can Janet Byers swing an

BY

adult B&B in Parkville?

N A NC Y HULL RIGDON

he restored two-story home sits atop a steep hill, giving way to a postcard-worthy view of the charming downtown shops and stately university buildings below. But lately the serene spot has triggered not calm but shock, curiosity and, sometimes, delight. Jaws first fell open in March. That’s when the website for the new Parkville bed-andbreakfast became the talk of this town of 6,000. Photos of naughty nurses, vibrating paddles and candy panties dominated. The bedroom treats, the site said, were for sale in the gift shop of the Romantic Getaway Today Inn. The inn’s owner, Janet Byers, says it wasn’t long before city officials were telling her that in order to sell the items pictured on her site, she would need an adult-business license — something no Parkville business holds. She toned things down, but the Romantic Getaway Today Inn, which Byers markets as an adult playground, is still far from your traditional B&B. The property, called the Porch Swing Inn in its last incarnation (a B&B that operated for about a decade), features a sex swing, an enormous beanbag known as a sex ship, a sex stool with what’s called a “love mask,” video cameras, racy board games, DVDs, books and much more. The timing of events suggests that the city made an extra effort to restrain Byers’ new business. The first week of March, around the time that the inn’s website hit, the Board of Aldermen added six months to an existing moratorium LO G licensing busiMOLREINPE AT against nesses that sell sexually G ON O M/PL explicit material — the P IT C H .C O adult-business license that the city told Byers she would need. Pure coincidence, according to Assistant City Administrator Sean Ackerson. Simply a proactive measure, he says. But the city had received several community complaints about “the nature of the business,” Ackerson says. Ackerson says he has worked with Byers to make sure her business complies with city rules, and he has supportive words for the inn. “There has been much to-do about this. And that’s too bad,” he says. The adventurous sexual appetite that Byers wants to celebrate in Parkville isn’t the only thing causing a stir. Just offering her guests wine has provoked more problems at City Hall. “Alcohol can lead to things. Emotions rise, tempers flare. There can be arguments, fights, stabbings, shootings and fatalities,” Virginia Ground, who owns property within a block of the inn, cautioned the Parkville Board of Aldermen in early April, when Byers sought a liquor license in the residential area steps from downtown. “And we don’t want it happening here. Property values zoom downward. Good people leave. Within a few years, our beloved Parkville could be a slum area.” With Park University across the street from the inn and Parkville Presbyterian Church

ANGELA C. BOND

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with her, in Lee’s Summit, so she’s not one to keep sex contraptions around the house. But down the block, city officials said they and when seeking a niche business approach, her Byers would have to get out the measuring mind turned to bedroom heat. Last week, Byers experienced another stick. City ordinance forbids liquor licenses website snafu. The day after a few local news within 300 feet of schools and churches. As she outlets featured the inn, the business’s website had with the city’s adult-business law, Byers crashed. The site recorded 4,000 hits in one stopped pursuing the issue. Get Rhonda Weimer started on the gossip day, compared with the previous 40 per day. In the scramble to get her site back up, she had that swirls around the inn, and she’ll go off on the naysayers. Weimer and her partner, Ellen to cancel an interview with a Topeka radio station. The Web traffic brought results. Byers Underkoffler, owned the Porch Swing Inn. The booked 20 reservations in 48 hours. couple still holds title to the property under a On an early April Saturday, Byers — whose lease-to-own agreement with Byers. previous business ventures include a travel “Is this really the first time people have agency and a childcare center — gives The Pitch realized that people go to a bed-and-breakfast to have sex?” Weimer says. She can’t help a tour. “I do not like most bed-and-breakfasts,” she confesses at the start. but wonder whether the With an ornery cackle, she issue goes deeper. Byers, adds, “I like to have fun.” who lives in Lee’s Summit, "Is this really the first Down the main hallis black — a rare occurrence time people have way, past the traditional in the predominantly white B&B decorations — a nParkville. realized that people tiques, flowery wallpaper, “I think the couplesgo to a bed-anddoilies — sits a bookshelf. playground theme caught people’s attention,” says breakfast to have sex?" Monopoly waits next to something ca lled “The Weimer, who still lives in Bedroom Game.” There’s Parkville. “And then, once a DVD of Finding Nemo. their attention was raised, I And there’s a DVD called Ultimate Sexual think they were unaware of their hidden bias Massage. Within view are skimpy bikinis and how it came into play. The Parkville comand lingerie for sale — “sexy little robes,” munity has embraced me and my partner and Byers calls them. diversity in the past. But I was shocked and Each of the four suites includes what saddened at how some have reacted this time.” Byers calls a “secret closet with a romantic Byers says she doesn’t believe that the extra” (the swings and such). User manuresistance stems from racial discrimination. She gets it — people want to preserve their als, in which couples are pictured using quaint little town, she says. She simply wants the extras, are in the rooms. Byers says she to turn up the romance and provide some purchased all the toys from online homehealth-care supply store Allegro Medical. relationship therapy. (She had the cloth toys reupholstered in “Sex and money, that’s why people break vinyl. “So they wipe down well,” she says.) up,” Byers, 47, says. “I was married for 11 years. All the extras are listed on the inn’s website, I know how hard it is to keep your sex life alive.” Her three sons from the marriage live at home but she doesn’t point them out unless asked.

Parkville is for lovers.

Byers knocks on the door where a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary is staying. They open their suite, and Byers ushers The Pitch inside the room and into the bathroom. She shuts the door, opens a closet, and pulls out a small gliding chair and a bench. She whispers the products’ names — IntimateRider and RiderMate — before the man on the other side of the door says, “You don’t have to whisper. We already found it.” His wife lets out a knowing giggle. Another suite features the sex stool and something called a wedge liberator. With Byers’ two youngest sons, aged 8 and 9, accompanying this part of the tour, the wedge room is a quick stop. The suite with the beanbag sex ship (officially named the Zeppelin Lounger) has a whirlpool tub and mirrors on the ceiling above the bed. (It’s this extra-decadent-seeming space that has given various local media outlets the sweats.) The couple staying here are sitting on the front porch — one of the few times the room hasn’t had a couple in it since the inn opened. The suite has been so popular that Byers and her boyfriend of five years haven’t tried it out themselves. The last of the four suites, which is vacant, has a classic canopy bed. But unlike the usual B&B canopy bed, this one has been retrofitted to allow the canopy to support a sex swing. “No one can figure out the right way to work it,” Byers says of the swing, through a hearty laugh. “My boyfriend and I and my friends who have stayed here have exchanged funny stories about getting stuck.” For at least one couple, the inn has succeeded in Byers’ mission to keep the spark burning. With a giddy voice, Byers says, “My boyfriend is always asking, ‘When do I get to come to the inn again?’ ”

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_The_Tech_Issue:_hAPPy_days______________________________________

Hi, Fiber GOOGLE’S BIG GIG IS STILL A GUESSING GAME — ONE WITH ROOM FOR MANY WINNERS. BY JUSTIN KENDALL | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILLIAM LOUNSBURY

G

oogle Fiber, with its promise of ultrahigh-speed fiber-optic Internet access, is the area’s most talked-about technological advancement. It isn’t the most interesting thing going on in the metro’s tech community, though. That’s the point of this week’s cover story. But we’ll get to that in a minute. We know that you want to hear about Google Fiber first. Which is why, when we started planning this issue, we called Google Fiber first. And here’s what Google said: Chillax, dudes, it’s coming. All right, Google didn’t really say that. But four full months into 2012 — by which time Google said Fiber would go live in KCK and KCMO — nearly everything about the service remains shrouded in mystery. Where are the crews working to string cable? Who’s doing the job? Who comes online first? What are the customers’ costs? Answers have been few and sporadic. A company blog dedicated to the massive project has been updated just three times this year, and one of those posts was an April Fools’ Day joke. Even the folks running Give Us a Gig — an ad hoc group of local businesspeople dedicated to collating efforts among neighborhoods to take full advantage of Google Fiber’s mind-blowing speed — are on the outside looking in. That group’s Aaron Deacon tells The Pitch that, besides the important matters of dates and price, there are other conversations about what it means to get gigabyte-speed Internet. “The success of this project,” Deacon says of Google Fiber, “really depends on people adopting it — getting connected in ways we haven’t been before and doing so at a higher speed. We don’t need to sell Google, but we kind of do. We need to sell the idea of connectivity.” In an interview with The Pitch, Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said she was unable to confi rm when Fiber was rolling out, what neighborhoods would have it first, or how much those users would pay. She did not say whether Google will make KC a test market for its long-gestating pay-TV ser2

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vice — as reports of an enormous satelliteantenna farm in Iowa suggest to industry analysts. (Such a subscription-based service would challenge an already competitive market, but Google might come out on top if it pledged not to use telemarketers. Stop calling us about adding home phone service, Time Warner.) Wandres would, of course, confi rm that Google’s network is going to be really, really fast (so fast, Hollywood is fearful that the Midwest is about to become the next South Korea of video piracy, according to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek story). And she admits that Google TV might be — maybe, someday, we’ll see — on the table. After all, she knows that we know about the video franchise licenses Google applied for — and received — in Kansas and Missouri. “We could possibly offer a video offering along with our gigabyte Internet service,” Wandres said. “But the truth is, we haven’t made any announcements about this yet in terms of product offerings, and we haven’t solidified whether or not we will actually be offering video. It was just a legal step that we had to do if we even wanted to keep the option open.” Sigh. “ We haven’t f ully a nnounced what our product offerings will be for Google Fiber, and we hope to do that in the midsummer range,” Wandres added. “Once we do that, we’ll be able to know whether we’re offering a video service initially, or whether it’s coming down the line or not at all.” When exactly will Google make these announcements? “We’re aiming to have

some options announced by June,” Wandres said. “That’s our goal.” Fine. Next question. The last bit of real Google Fiber news in Kansas City — that more than 100 miles of fiber cable had been hung — came with a drawing of a “Google Fiber Hut,” from which wires had been strung to utility poles and then to homes and businesses in something called “Gigabyte symmetric fiber connectivity.” A hut? “Essentially, they’re equipment aggregation points,” Wandres explained. “So we’ll take the larger fiber connection, and we’ll kind of fi lter them through the fiber huts, and that gives us a place where we can split up the fiber connections for different neighborhoods and different areas of Kansas City so that we’re not running completely off one backbone to every house. It lets us take that backbone and split it up in different huts across the city.” So, like, if you see an aluminum outbuilding that mysteriously lacks a riding mower, it’s Google’s? “It looks like your standard backyard shed. It’s nothing special,” Wandres said. “We haven’t marked them at all, and we’re not announcing where they are. They’re just kind of around the city.” What about apartment dwellers, all the people who have been lured downtown in the past decade? Are they at a disadvantage compared with homeowners? “Not that I know of,” Wandres said. Either way, according to Wandres, most KC homes are already fiber-ready. It’s just a matter of getting each structure connected.

"We don't know what you can use it [Google Fiber] for right now. Back when we had dial-up Internet, we couldn't imagine what it would be like to stream videos over Netflix or watch HD videos on YouTube."

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“The nice thing about fiber to the home is, you can take the connection and pretty much wire it into any home, and it will work the same across the board,” Wandres said. “With the fiber-to-the-home connections, you’ll get the gigabyte speeds with the right connections — an Ethernet connection. If you use Wi-Fi, the speeds will be a little bit slower because that’s the way Wi-Fi works. ... But you’ll still be able to use that network on multiple computers or devices throughout your home.” Hang on: We really aren’t going to need new gear in order to, say, stream Hulu at NASA velocity? No. Maybe. When? Wandres: “We don’t know what you can use it [Google Fiber] for right now. Back when we had dial-up Internet, we couldn’t imagine what it would be like to stream videos over Netfl ix or watch HD videos on YouTube. One of the things that we hope with Google Fiber is that people will be able to use a gigabyte to develop the applications of the future and enjoy them in the home. It’s kind of hard to project what would be useful to people with a gigabyte in the home. For now, computers and electronic devices, like tablets and phones, [and] Internet-ready TVs will be immediately useful with Google Fiber. And in the future, we’re not sure.” (We asked Wandres what her home tech rig looks like; she didn’t want to say on the record, but it didn’t sound like anything the rest of us couldn’t get.) And then our time was up, and Wandres was gone, and we felt … about the same. Which means we felt really good. Because Kansas City’s tech community was starting to boom even before Google Fiber chose this as its kickoff site, and now that growth looks exponential. This week’s Pitch is the first of a new, periodic series dedicated to the metro’s entrepreneurs, innovators and young professionals whose designs, apps and business models are at the heart of KC’s future. Read on. continued on page 8

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_The_Tech_Issue:_hAPPy_days______________________

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I

n 1973, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath slipped his long, muscular legs into a sleek pair of pantyhose and exposed them to TV viewers. “I don’t wear pantyhose,” Broadway Joe assured America in the commercial for Hanes Beautymist pantyhose. “But if Beautymist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.” Endorsements have come a long way since Namath’s leggy close-up. And a new generation of athletes needs to look for help no further than Lincoln, Nebraska-based startup Hurrdat Social Media, which is helping players back products with a simple click of the “Send” button on Twitter. “[We’re] nerdy jocks,” says Austin Brown, Hurrdat’s Kansas City-based chief marketing officer. (Hurrdat employs 13 full time and a gaggle of interns.) Brown explains how Hurrdat works: “We work with the companies, we write the tweets, and we send it to the athletes. And we say, ‘Hey, does this look like a brand you’d endorse? Here’s the message. Here’s the time [the tweet needs to be sent]. Confirm yes or no.’ ” Hurrdat’s staff does all the work, writing the copy in each athlete’s voice. “We understand that athletes and individuals have a voice,” says Brown, who commutes every week from Kansas City to Lincoln. “If we sent the same copy across a bunch of different athletes, it wouldn’t be organic.” Hurrdat’s first endorser was, of course, a former Nebraska Cornhusker, Prince Amukamara. In January 2011, Hurrdat founders Blake Lawrence and Adi Kunalic — themselves former Cornhuskers football players — saw an opportunity. A Juice Stop in Lincoln had named

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a smoothie the “Prince” in honor of the Cornhuskers cornerback. Amukamara was preparing for the NFL Draft. Lawrence and Kunalic took over Amukamara’s Twitter handle and encouraged the player’s followers to order the eponymous drink. “We had about 50 people walk through [the restaurant] in the first half-hour and ask for the Prince,” Brown says. That, he says, was the company's lightbulb moment. Amukamara and his smoothie became the Hurrdat prototype. The New York Giants drafted Amukamara with the 19th pick in the first round of the draft, and Hurrdat’s Athlete Engagement Platform was born. Since then, the Athlete Engagement Platform has grown to include more than 120 players in every major sport. The biggest name on Hurrdat’s roster: Kris Humphries, the pro basketball player made famous by his doomed 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian. If nothing else, it appears that Humphries — named the most-hated player in the NBA by fans — learned from the Kardashian clan’s ability to market products. With more than 910,000 Twitter followers, Humphries is a high-value asset to Hurrdat. Because it’s easy to be a Hurrdat athlete, the company's reputation is spreading in locker rooms. “It really started to gain traction with the athletes because they realized, ‘Hey, I don’t have to go anywhere, and I don’t have to really sign anything,’ ” Brown says. “Because that’s usually what’s asked of them.” The pay for each tweet varies, based on the athlete’s level of influence. Brown says advertisers have shelled out between $50 and $2,000 for tweets.

Kansas City sports-drink maker iXL began working with Hurrdat in 2011. iXL requested that Sporting KC players Matt Besler, Jon Kempin and Kevin Ellis endorse its drinks. The sponsorship-hungry soccer players were eager to sign up. “I had all three on by the end of the day,” Brown says. Mark Davis, iXL founder, says he selected the Sporting trio due to their local ties. “The thing we liked about the guys that we selected was that they not only play for Sporting Kansas City but they live here, too, in the offseason,” Davis says. “It���s important for us to have a connection to the local market.” Besler, for his part, sent these tweets about iXL: “Replenishing my body right now with iXL, fi nally a sports drink that tastes great in every flavor #ad #iXLdou” and “Has anyone checked out the iXL sports drink yet? Has a ton of potassium for all you athletes our there!” Davis says iXL wanted something that separated it from sports-drink giants Gatorade and Powerade. “It’s very competitive, and we need to be unique and we need to differentiate, and that’s what these guys brought to the table for us: a way to connect with our target audience in a unique way,” he says. With only seven employees, iXL is small. But Davis says Hurrdat has helped his company grow. “Our business is up 401 percent over last year, and Hurrdat’s been with us all the way,” Davis says. “We would defi nitely like to attribute a lot of our growth to the innovative platform.” pitch.com

MONTH

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upert Murdoch’s media empire couldn’t compete with Kansas City app designer RareWire. In the 2012 Appy Awards (yes, it’s a thing), RareWire’s app for The Atlantic magazine went head-to-head against Murdoch’s much-hyped The Daily for the Best iPad Publishing award. And the 14-employee company, headquartered in Kansas City’s Crossroads District, came away victorious over The Daily, in which Murdoch reportedly invested $30 million. “We beat them,” says RareWire president and co-founder Kirk Hasenzahl, as he gestures to the award, a two-tone slab of glass that sits in the company’s conference room, perched in a stylish 12th-floor office at 1627 Main, with a gorgeous view of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “We were very proud of that.” The Atlantic app, which also won an award for Best Business Media app, was the result of a bold challenge that Hasenzahl issued by e-mail to the magazine in the fall of 2010. “I said, ‘If you send me your content, I’ll show it to you as an app on the iPad within 24 hours,’” Hasenzahl says. “Needless to say, we won that deal.” As the popularity of tablets and smartphones grow, native apps (the kind that you download from the iTunes store) are becoming almost as necessary as websites. “The problem is, they’re hard to build,” Hasenzahl says. “Typically, you have to hire a programmer to write code and build that.” Hiring developers for both Android and Apple iOS can be expensive and time-consuming. “The headache typically involved today is, if I want to go make a custom app, I have to hire a team of iOS developers to go build it for Apple.

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Then I have to hire a completely separate team to build the same app for a different operating system to make it run on Android,” he says. RareWire hopes to make it easy for clients to build apps across multiple platforms with app-software language called “Wire,” which was created by the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Matt Angell. “It’s very easy to learn and typically requires the skill set of a front-end Web developer, not necessarily someone who is a programmer and knows Objective-C or JavaScript or things like that,” Hasenzahl says, comparing Wire with popular programming languages. “The whole [Atlantic app] thing is 4,000 lines of code,” Hasenzahl says. “If you tried to go build that in Objective-C, it might be 100,000 lines of code. That’s kind of the secret sauce of our RareWire engine.” While RareWire continues to build apps for clients (the company is working on one for news website Global Post), it plans to make Wire available to clients who want to build their own apps. “The promised land for us is the ability to do a true native app, without having to be a programmer,” Hasenzahl says. “And the third part of it is to build it once but have it be a crossplatform app. If we can achieve our goals, by later this summer you’ll be able to build an app once on RareWire’s Wire language and publish it to Android, Apple and even eventually Windows Mobile 8.” After only a year and a half in business, RareWire appears to be headed for the promised land — and in a couple of months, clients could be creating one of their own. continued on page 10

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Sports lab

Sporting Innovations' Katie McCaffrey (left) and Sasha Victorine

SPORTING INNOVATIONS TESTS NEW GAME-DAY EXPERIENCES ON SPORTING KC FANS. BY BEN PALOSAARI

S

asha Victorine calls Livestrong Sporting Park “a living lab.” And whether they know it, Sporting Kansas City’s smartphone-clutching, blue-clad fans are the experiment's guinea pigs. Victorine should know. The former midfielder for the Kansas City Wizards, Sporting KC’s previous incarnation, is the director of business development and operations for Sporting Innovations, a venture launched by the soccer club last October to expand the game-day experience for fans with technology and social media. Starting a sports-focused tech company was a natural progression for Sporting KC, whose ownership group includes Cerner founders Cliff Illig and Neal Patterson. “They see the value in continuing to push technology. The other part is that they’re also sports fans,” Victorine says. “They realized that there were holes in the sports environment that technology could fill.” Sporting KC’s tech-centric operating style has been lauded since Livestrong opened last summer. Fast Company magazine ranked

Sporting the fifth-most innovative sports company in the country — one spot ahead of ESPN. A tech company being born from a Major League Soccer team was inevitable, Victorine says. Pro soccer wasn’t always broadcast on TV, so franchises had to find other ways of exposing the masses to the sport. “It’s a natural evolution of Major League Soccer,” Victorine says. Spor ting Innovations’ experiments were simple but noticeable during Sporting matches at Livestrong last season. Highdensity wireless Internet made Web browsing and social-media use easy and fast. Fans who sent messages to the team’s Twitter handle, @sportingkc, saw their tweets appear on video boards around the arena. That novelty proved popular; tweets to the team increased by 20 percent. Later this year, Sporting Innovations’ experiments will get more complex. In the coming months, Sporting Innovations plans to offer streaming video to the mobile devices of fans at Livestrong, Victorine says. But why would anybody want to watch video when the

game is being played right before their eyes? To see what’s happening off the field. “We think there’s content that is behind the scenes, under the stadium, that — as a fan — you never have access to,” Victorine says. And Sporting Innovations will give you access. Sporting Innovations also plans to bring the play-by-play announcers to mobile devices — no transistor radio and headphones needed. “At halftime, if you want to see what’s going on with the broadcast or a pre-game show, you can tie into those things,” Victorine says. “The other great thing this will let you do is watch camera angles from the other side of the stadium. If I’m sitting on one side of the stadium and the action is happening on the other side, I can get a camera feed from the other side that gives me a close-up of the goal.” Streaming video could also turn every fan into an unofficial referee on instant replays (which aren’t used in MLS matches) on goals and the all-too-common botched offside calls. “Say a goal happened; you can actually rewind,” Victorine says. “Or an offsides happened, and you didn’t think it was offsides; you can go back and take a look at it.”

Sporting Innovations is expanding beyond Livestrong. The only project that Victorine acknowledges outside KC is with Texas A&M’s football program, which is looking at remodeling Kyle Field or building a new stadium. (A&M is contracting with Kansas City company Populous to help make the decision.) Victorine won’t identify the other organizations that Sporting Innovations is working with, but he says the company has had discussions with teams in every league in the country. So it’s a good time to be one of the smartphone-clutching, blue-clad guinea pigs in Sporting Innovations’ lab. “A lot of the things that we’re doing is stuff that fans don’t necessarily see right now,” Victorine says. “But later on this year, they’ll come to Livestrong and have opportunities that no other stadium in the world has. As a Sporting fan, you’ll be the first people to have a chance to look at the new technologies that come through sports. They’ll come right through that building.”

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Paid Advertisement through the KU Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Congratulations! Assistant Professor Albert Romkes

Voted the 2012 Most Outstanding Faculty Member for KU’s Mechanical Engineering Department We,

the Students and Alumni of KU’s Mechanical Engineering Department, wish to acknowledge Professor Albert Romkes’ superior skills as a Researcher and Teacher and congratulate him on winning this most well deserved award. With 18 major publications, $670,000 in sponsored research, multiple invited international lectures and the unanimous support of his School’s Promotion and Tenure committee, his Research record is truly remarkable. Our independent research shows that it far exceeds norms across the university in several ways and eclipses a number of faculty members in his own department who have just recently been granted tenure. We are impressed by his work on new materials for reducing jet fuel consumption. This is currently at the heart of a $387 million dollar effort being patented and proposed by KU to the US Air Force and is being actively pursued by multiple aircraft manufacturers. As the only computational mechanician in the US who has ever analyzed such materials, he is truly an asset to the University, State and Nation. In addition to a stellar research record, Professor Romkes’ teaching style and methods are among the best in the university as evidenced by his 5 major teaching awards and extremely high evaluations. Accordingly, we hereby applaud Professor Romkes’ outstanding dedication to his Students and the multiple missions of the University of Kansas over the past seven years. We have checked the public vitae of all faculty members who have recently been tenured across the University and found that his record is superior to at least nine out of ten of them in terms of sheer numbers, accolades from students and colleagues and internationally recognized magnitude and quality of his work. Because Professor Romkes has so clearly demonstrated first-order scholarship and a high level of proficiency in research and teaching, we sincerely wish that the Chancellor would reverse her decision not to grant him tenure as it gives the unmistakable appearance that Professor Romkes is being judged by the gender of his partner rather than the content of his character. Just saying that “KU doesn’t discriminate” cannot outweigh the facts of this grossly unjust case. We ask the Chancellor and Regents to take note that if this decision is not reversed, She, the Administration as a whole and the individuals

populating KU’s current Governance structure will most likely be remembered as one of the most intolerant, capricious and prejudicial in the history of the University of Kansas. Further, it will irreparably damage KU as a whole by painting the university and the School of Engineering in particular as markedly hostile to gay students and faculty. To have not a single openly gay professor in a faculty of more than 100 individuals is the unmistakable fingerprint of institutionalized prejudice itself. This also runs the risk of rippling far into the future, even long after this Chancellor and Provost have moved on. If the Chancellor’s decision does stick, the Chancellor and Regents should take note that this callous treatment of a stellar researcher and teacher and flippant dismissal of the opinions of the SoE students, faculty and alumni will very adversely affect donations to the Alumni Association as we will encourage multiple generations to withhold their support unless the situation is corrected. We will not forget it and we will tell everybody what has been done. We ask the Chancellor and Regents to remember from which department multi-million dollar donor and former Chrysler CEO Robert Eaton graduated. Given what we’ve seen, the Robert Eatons of our generation will most likely keep their checkbooks in their pockets rather than fund the next Eaton Hall. So in short, if this decision stands, it will: 1) cost the University hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct and immediate lost income as Prof. Romkes’ considerable contracts will go away, 2) jeopardize many tens of millions of dollars in lost research income by crippling our ability to do critical research supporting the largest and most important manufacturing industry of the state, 3) cost jobs for the State and the US by seeding this critical technology and intellectual property elsewhere, 4) alienate a generation of students from at least one Department and many from the school and 5) --worst of all-- cover the University with the indelible stench of intolerance. So as this Administration decides whether or not to seriously damage KU, the State and the Nation by supporting an unsupportable miscarriage of due process, we will ask you to join us in wishing Professor Romkes a fond farewell, hearty congratulations and sincere apologies for being so unjustly mistreated on Sunday 6 May, 4:00pm at the picnic area of Potters Lake on the KU Campus.

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WEEK OF MAY 3-9

20 PAG E

FRIDAY

5.4 a F i el d p. u pop

ART Cara and Cabezas shows a little skin.

22 PAG E

Black Widow and the Avengers assemble.

25 PAG E

CAFÉ Sama Zama gets adventurous in Westport.

T H U R S D AY | 5 . 3 | PIXILATED PARTY PEOPLE

Team Bear Club has crafted a fresh, weekly event with its three-month-old Goomba Rave, filling the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-5483) with almost 250 sweaty bodies every Thursday. Expect an E R MO eclectic mix of funky tracks and gritty party anthems from DJ G Train AT E N I ONL .COM and Tyga Style, who PITCH occasionally lure guest DJs. “Our residents are solid, and it’s always a mixed bag,” says organizer Phil Canty. Tonight, celebrate International Corona Day at the Rave’s Cinco de Mayo party. Arrive kempt at 9 p.m., and leave as a hot mess at 2 a.m. Cover costs $5 for those between the ages of 18 and 20, and $3 for 21 and older. — ABBIE STUTZER

EVENTS

FIRST-FRIDAY HIT LIST

“Let Me Bring Light to the Situation,” an installation by Ashley Lugo

Belger Arts Center (2100 Walnut, 816-474-3250). In collaboration with Red Star Studios, a tribute to Arizona artist Don Reitz and his career of 50-plus years opens tonight. At 82, Reitz has been thinking about time — it’s a great gift, he says in an online artist’s statement, and he chooses not to waste it “worrying about the RULES, yesterday’s idea, or about laborious, extraneous techniques” before they are needed. The exhibition presents more than 90 works, wood-fired vessels, sculptures and prints that Reitz made after a near-fatal auto accident in the 1980s. These works are inspired by Reitz’s recovery and his correspondence at the time with a 5-year-old niece who was in treatment for cancer. Kansas City Art Institute (4415 Warwick). At the other end of the age spectrum is the 2012 graduating class. Today marks the first day of the popular end-of-semester weekend sale on campus.

It’s also a First Friday of tough choices with one-time-only presentations of thesis work all over the Crossroads: • Berg Event Space (1525 Grand) — Matthew Wilson is showing Adrift. • Outpost Worldwide (1919 Baltimore) — Chris Durr and Marshall Fife show their digital filmmaking projects. • 8183 Studio (1735 Oak) — Jordan Haiduk shows photographs documenting the beleaguered KCMO School District. • Pop-up space (1737 Walnut) — Maegan Stracy and Ben Harle present Label, featuring vinyl handbags and ceramic tea bowls. • Pop-up space (229 Southwest Boulevard) Ashley Lugo, Roberto Lugo and Alora Wilson exhibit fiber and ceramics. • Senior exhibitions at City Arts Project, Blue Djinn, the Late Show, Undergrads Underground, and Front/Space also are well worth visits, tonight or throughout the month. — TRACY ABELN

F R I D AY | 5 . 4 |

S AT U R D AY | 5 . 5 |

FAIRING IS CARING

On the excitement scale, health fairs don’t often surpass firetrucks and yoga demonstrations, but the annual Our Nations Energies: Health and Wellness Powwow promises singing and dancing, arts and crafts, and a healthy-cooking contest. “If you say health fair, you don’t always get people there. So we made it fun,” says Angel Cully, community outreach coordinator of the Center for American Indian Community Health. From 7 to 9 tonight and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, get health screenings (cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, vision, lungs) and medical referrals, all for free, at Johnson County Community College (12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, 913-469-8500). See caich.org for more information. — NANCY HULL RIGDON continued on page 17

BRINGING IT TOGETHER

F

ounder and artistic director Erin Novak Lustig of Seamless Dance Theatre uses her choreography to give back to the community. The performance of Rise benefits Project Access, a dance program for kids with special needs. See it at 8 p.m. at the Gem Theater (1615 East 18th Street, 816-474-6262). Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for kids. See seamlessdance.com. — B.A.

ART CREDIT HERE

FILM

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S AT U R D AY | 5 . 5 | CINCO DE JOCO

Don’t let the address fool you. The Cinco de Mayo fiesta that’s poppin’ off at Mestizo (5270 West 116th Place, Leawood, 913-752-9025) promises mucho live entertainment to accompany your guacamole and tequila. Be careful of the outdoor caja china (wooden box with a roasting pig inside). Menus and ticket prices vary, depending on when you show up. Doors open at 9 a.m. Live más! (This party is sponsored by The Pitch.)See mestizoleawood.com for details. — BERRY ANDERSON

I’LL HAVE ANOTHER

The Kentucky Derby lasts just just two minutes, but the Crossroads Derby Pub Crawl lasts three whole hours, beginning at 2 p.m. This year’s participating bars include the Cashew (2000 Grand, 816-221-5858), Grünauer (101 West 22nd Street, 816-283-3234), Willie’s (1501 Grand, 816-527-0122) and Snow & Co. (1815 Wyandotte, 816-214-8921). Leave your horse at home — transportation is provided via shortbus and, uh, tricycle. Tickets cost $10; buy them at crossroadspubcrawl.com. — BERRY ANDERSON

AY TUESD

5 .8

ome to Boys c Jersey Hall. ic s u the M

STO LAT

The Polish Hill neighborhood, the two blocks around All Saints Parish (811 Vermont, Kansas City, Kansas, 913-371-1837), is the site of one of the metro’s biggest Eurocentric ethnic celebrations. Polski Day — the annual event (this year’s is the 28th) that brings everyone together for golambki (cabbage rolls), sauerkraut, pierogi, povitica and, of course, polka — goes down today beginning at noon with a parade starting out around South 20th Street and Central Avenue and ending at the church (at the corner of Vermont and Mill). Wear red and bring money for beer and sausages. Festivities run through 7 p.m., and admission is free. See polskiday.com for more information. — BERRY ANDERSON

Westport Presbyterian Church (201 Westport Road), tours last about three hours and include era-appropriate food and beverage samples from Kelly’s Westport Inn, the Savoy Grill, the Majestic and the Mutual Musicians Foundation. Advance ticketing is recommended; call 816-931-8448 or see historickansascity.org. — CHARLES FERRUZZA

YOU NEED THE EGGS

Film Church at Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1912) offers a few things — biscuits and gravy, bloody marys — that actually top sleeping in on a Sunday, RAIL BITES including today’s screening of Woody PRO-POT The History Channel has spoiled us for Allen’s Annie Hall. “To see this picture in learning about the past. Who wants to do People all over the globe are marching in this great, old theater, as opposed to on a it without a comfortable chair and snacks? favor of marijuana legalization today. Join the television, is the difference between the With that in mind, the Historic Kansas masses at noon at the J.C. Nichols Fountain paintings in the museum and the postcards City Foundation offers up 21-and-older (47th Street and J.C. Nichols Parkway) prior in the gift shop,” Liberty Hall manager to embarking on a walk around the Plaza, trolley tours of iconic KC bars, Maggie Allen explains. Doors open and then at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway, restaurants and music at 11 a.m., and Allen — 816-442-8179) from 4 to 9 p.m. for a free show venues, from 11 a.m. Maggie, not Woody — and afterparty with Harmony “Mindzeye” to 4 p.m. today. gives a brief sermon Lovellution, Miss Conception, Odd-O-Matic, Leaving from before the film starts Modern Arsonists, and StoneDeph. Y DA R TU SA at 11:30. “Sort of like For more information, Robert Osborne on see kcnorml.org. Turner Classic — BERRY ANDERSON Movies, only slightly Boom! Klaaang! Pow! more acerbic,” she Free! says. Costs run MEANWHILE … FREE COMICS! $6–$16, dependThere may be no better place to spend Free Comic ing on age and Book Day than Clint’s Comics (3941 Main, 816-561-2848). whether Opened in 1967, it can lay claim to being one of the oldest comic-book you want stores in the country. “If you look in Marvel Books from 1970, you see ads food or for Clint’s Comics,” owner Jim Cavanaugh says. “We don’t do Magic: the booze. See Gathering or gaming here. We do comics, and we’re proud of it.” This year is libertyhall.net for more information. the store’s 45th anniversary, so it’s going big — look for free comics, 10- to 45— NICK SPACEK percent discounts, food, an acoustic performance by Bent Left, and local big-name artists on hand to sketch and sign books. On the bill: DC and Marvel artists Steve Lightle and Rick Stasi, and The Phantom artM O N D AY | 5 .7 | ist Terry Beatty. For details, see clintscomics.com. — APRIL FLEMING CAKING OUT LOUD Pulitzer Prize-winning op-ed columnist and movie-adaptation magnet Anna Quindlen had a self-help best-seller with 2000’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life. There’s more heft and maybe a bit less happiness in her latest, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. (Among its topics is the leaving behind of things: alcohol, the Catholic Church, youth.) Quindlen appears tonight at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). Admission comes with

S U N D AY | 5 . 6 |

5.5

Cake when you buy the book ($26) from Rainy Day Books (order from rainydaybooks. com or call 913-384-3126). Quindlen’s conversation with Rainy Day Books’ Vivien Jennings starts at 7 p.m. — SCOTT WILSON

T U E S D AY | 5 . 8 | WALK LIKE A MAN

Chronicling the rise and fall of 1960s pop band the Four Seasons, the Tony-Awardwinning jukebox musical Jersey Boys runs through May 20 at the Music Hall (301 West 13th Street, 816-513-5000). Tonight’s show is at 7:30. Tickets cost $30–$105. Buy them at jerseyboysinfo.com. — B.A.

W E D N E S D AY | 5 . 9 | TESOROS DE MEXICO

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Consulate of Mexico (1617 Baltimore, 816-556-0800) team up to display Treasures of Mexico in Kansas City, 30 works from muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, prints by Antonio Pujol and photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravo and more, on display through July 8. Hours are 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Monday through Friday. — B.A.

E-mail submissions to Filter editor Berry Anderson at calendar@pitch.com. Search our complete listings guide online at pitch.com.

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back the next day. That must have been one ittle Shop of Horrors is a crowd-pleaser, a heck of a good economy.) Lyrical references to musical designed to rekindle the pleasures that time include toasters, washers and dryof B movies. The Kansas City Repertory Theers, and 12-inch TVs as the latest technological atre production, now on the Copaken Stage, offers pleasures enough to ensure that it’s a hit, devices. It’s a neighborhood, back in the day, where people seem stuck for the rest of their with its phantasmagoric set and staging, amuslives in an area encompassing a few city blocks. ing book, and head-bouncing — if mostly unThis Shop, though, is a contemporary mulmemorable — pop-rock songs (book and lyrics tisensory experience, like watching a 24-hour by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken). TV news channel with type scrolling at the B movies exert a strong pull on us, some becoming cult classics. Like The Rocky Horror top and bottom of a split-image screen. The Rep’s colorful set is made up of tiered levels, Picture Show, the 1975 horror-movie parody with a balcony on each side. (Scene designer (based on a stage show), which keeps coming to mind for some reason. Both it and Little Meghan Raham has also created wonderful period clothing, including Shop of Horrors, originally some sparkly nightclub a Roger Corman-directed dresses for the three-woman 1960 film of the same title, Little Shop of Horrors chorus of Eboni Fondren, take place in a similar time Through May 20 at Kansas City Repertory Colleen Grate and Jennie frame — late 1950s or early Theatre, Copaken Stage, Greenberry.) Directed by 1960s — and are sendups of 13th Street and Walnut, Kyle Hatley, the action is horror movies, but they don’t 816-235-2700, kcrep.org all-cylinders on all levels, a have much more than that in total eye feast, with music. common. But driving home But all is not feel-good. after seeing the Rep show, I was musing over “Let’s Do the Time Warp The underlying themes of abuse and sadism are dark, not light. It’s exaggerated and camp, Again,” not “Somewhere That’s Green,” one of course — this is a black comedy — but given of the songs in Little Shop that stayed with me. current sensibilities, there’s only so much Maybe it’s the time-warp thing. laughter to be had. Little Shop of Horrors, a comedy primarily Seymour Krelborn (Joseph Medeiros) is about the extremes we go to for love and selfpreservation, takes place in the early days of the nerdy, clumsy, loser employee at the unprofitable and run-down florist shop, owned rock and roll. Menken’s foot-tapping throwand run by Mr. Mushnik (Gary Neal Johnson), back melodies — accompanied here by a live, who has raised the orphaned Seymour since very competent four-piece band (music direche was a boy. Mushnik still treats him as an tion by Anthony T. Edwards) — are the show’s employee, not a son — until it suits him (as building blocks. The Skid Row florist shop where the story sung and danced by both actors in “Mushnik is set uses a typewriter, not a computer, and and Son”). Seymour is in love with the unattainable but nice Audrey (Ashley Blanchet), takes orders on a land line. (In “Call Back in the bombshell blonde who has the hots for the the Morning,” phones ring off the hook, but leather-clad, motorcycle-riding, gum-chewing it’s closing time, so customers are asked to call

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The girl trouble for Seymour (Medeiros) starts with Audrey II. dentist Orin (Nick Cordero, who also appears in some quick walk-on parts). He's a bully, of course, and beats her, but she still longs to settle down in suburban, domestic bliss (in “Somewhere That’s Green”). Seymour spends a lot of his time in the shop’s backroom, experimenting with plants. He’s been playing around with the exotic Audrey II (named for, can you guess), which hasn’t been doing well. Nothing he does helps it, until he pricks his finger on some roses. Audrey II, it turns out, feeds on human blood and thrives after this discovery, bringing fame and attention to Seymour and better business for the shop. All at a price, of course. Puppeteer Nick Uthoff brings to life the ever-larger Audrey II (designed and engineered by Grace Hudson), which gets its booming voice from supporting actor Michael James Leslie. The other talented actor-singers in this comic-book story add dimension, humor and animation to their cartoonlike characters through strong performances — none want for talent — and story-developing tunes. The retina-stimulating lighting (by Jason Lyons) supports the musical performances and the special effects. Little Shop of Horrors, first produced 30 years ago, has been revived in recent years. But I wonder why no one has given it a more modern spin. Even in the Rep’s visually arousing and technically assured version, the material feels more dated than retro. It’s an enjoyable couple of hours, an entertaining night out. It just doesn’t hold up as the cult classic it wants to be.

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ART

BODIES OF WORK

Sex-ed comes to the

BY

Cara and Cabezas.

THE RE S A BE MBNI S T E R

T

its and ass bombard us constantly. That’s how straight white guys sell things to other straight white guys. Most of these ubiquitous images are so absurdly overstuffed and overheated that they're just not sexy. There’s skin in Now Knowing, and there’s sex — not the act but the awareness of it. The point isn’t nude flesh but naked identity. Kansas City has rarely been shown such an ambitious and frank artistic examination of sexuality, gender and the body. Nearly everything in Cara and Cabezas Contemporary’s important exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photos and works on paper demands not just notice but also thought. With the Heartland Men’s Chorus’ When I Knew (its recent concert devoted to the subject of coming out) as inspiration, co-curators C.J. Schrat and Cara Megan Lewis sum up Now Knowing’s theme as “early sexuality and the discovery of sexual orientation.” But coming-of-age narratives are just starting points. The works on display depict a fascinating range MORE of intra- and interpersonal relationships, sexual and otherwise, as well as repT A INE ONL .COM resentations of bodies PITCH (male, female and in between), sexual orientations and gender identifications. One arresting example of Schrat and Lewis’ commingling: the pieces by Claire Bryant, Ryan Pechnick and KC Crow-Maddux hanging next to one another. In Bryant’s photo “The Struggle,” a nude woman holds a knife while drinking milk from a cup, mixing symbols of nurturing and power. Pechnick’s “Emergence,” a double photograph, shows a nude man floating in a pool, obscured by water in one image, his torso and genitals in clear view in the other. Crow-Maddux’s magnetic, corporeal “Empire” feels both organic and synthetic. In his print, two navels and a trail of body hair leading to a mole fill the outline of the Empire State Building. Also affecting is David Wojnarowicz’s “Untitled,” reproduced here as a stack of identical

ART

postcards meant to be taken home by viewers. Bryant's “The Struggle” (detail) (The artist made news when the National Portrait Gallery removed his video “A Fire in My Montano based “Two Spirit Native Pride and Joy” on her relationship with her gay son. In Belly” from an exhibition in 2010. Museums the drawing, a beaming mother embraces her around the country rushed to display his work little boy, who wears a pink blouse with puffy after that.) For “Untitled [One day this kid …],” sleeves and a headband with a single feather. Wojnarowicz surrounds a grade-school portrait Montano, who is Navaho and Comanche, of himself with text foretelling his possible writes in her artist statement: fate as a gay man: “One day “I believe having a gay son is this kid will feel something Now Knowing a blessing just as my Native stir in his heart and throat 6–9 p.m. Friday, May 4, ancestors did.” and mouth … One day politiand noon–5 p.m. Saturday, M a ly nda E sh le m a n’s cians will enact legislation May 5, at Cara and Cabezas “What Was Concealed” subagainst this kid … He will be Contemporary, 1714 Holmes, 816-332-6239 tly weighs in on the naturesubject to loss of home, civil versus-nurture argument in rights, jobs and all conceivthe development of gender able freedoms …” The artist traits. The artist asked her daughter what she died of AIDS-related causes in 1992, two years thought she might be like if she were a boy, and after completing this work. the conversation resulted in a photograph of Like “Untitled,” many of the works use personal experience to make a larger point. Geri the young girl sitting on a chair nude, shoulders

back and legs spread wide as she stares into the camera. Without that background information, it’s impossible to tell if the person in the blackand-white image is a boy or a girl. Eshleman has strategically placed a planter — holding a looping vine — to conceal the telltale area. Samantha Persons’ “I Changed for a Boi, Fran 12” considers girlhood in a drastically different way. To suggest the kind of collage a preteen girl might make, Persons uses a Teen Beat poster of Selena Gomez as a background for Disney, Lisa Frank and Hello Kitty stickers, and marker doodles and glitter. Persons elevates girl culture by appropriating, for a gallery space, the style of preteen-girl handiwork, using materials produced by corporations to sell to preteen girls. Her inquiry into the role such materials play in a girl’s burgeoning sexuality is obvious enough, but it’s difficult not to wonder if the change in the title refers to the transgender artist’s own transition from man to woman. For his “Aeon” series, Parker Tilghman uses media images of gay youths who committed suicide. After covering his computer with black fabric, he pressed sheet film against the screen to record each image. The result, installed in a separate room in the back of the gallery, is somber and unsettling. Many of the veiled faces are photos that news outlets took from social-media sites; the young men are memorialized here using the images they chose to represent themselves to the world. The shared fate of the young men in Tilghman’s work eerily recalls the words on Wojnarowicz’s postcard: “One day this kid will begin to experience all this activity in his environment and that activity and information will compel him to commit suicide or submit to danger in hopes of being murdered or submit to silence and invisibility.” In the 20-plus years that have passed since Wojnarowicz made “Untitled,” American society has become more accepting of a spectrum of sexualities and genders. But Tilghman’s work reminds us that there’s still a need for exhibitions like Now Knowing.

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FILM

HERO SANDWICH

The Avengers: an exhausting

BY

first half before the fun starts

J A S O N S H AW H A N

or better and worse, The Avengers is less a movie than the world’s biggest collector’s issue. Since 2008’s Iron Man, audiences have dutifully stuck around to see the postor mid-credits bonus scenes, showing the beginnings of the saga to come. Each clip gathered new players and parceled out story teasers. Your ticket to each installment in this Avengers initiative — from Iron Man II to Captain America to Thor — ensured that the next film would be made. Now that the proofs of purchase have been collected and cashed in, the hotly awaited payoff is The Avengers, the summer’s first big-ticket action movie — and, for a tedious opening hour, a curious disappointment. There’s no question that writer-director Joss Whedon has managed to make an insanely expensive summer tent pole into something a bit weirder than expected. At its best — mostly in the second half, when the chemistry E R O M among the teammates begins to work — the movie brings the Marvel uniT A INE ONL .COM verse to life with some of H C PIT the character complexity, sharp-witted dialogue and concern for the genre’s mythic underpinnings that mark Whedon’s best work, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer through this spring’s The Cabin in the Woods. To get there, however, the movie slogs through a first half full of the alpha-male bullshit and contrived conflict that Whedon’s past projects either jettison or satirize. The Avengers’ closest antecedent isn’t a superhero movie so much as those 1970s and early 1980s Agatha Christie adaptations, such as Murder on the Orient Express. These mysteries came overstuffed with recognizable faces, and their workman tone gave every performer

FILM

ZADE ROSENTHAL

F

his or her proper due. Picture a Death on the Nile in which everyone is a Bette Davis — an icon clamoring for its own space, story and star billing — and you get an idea of the logjam that is The Avengers’ exposition. To wit: Though last year’s Thor indicated that Asgardian trickster Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was hiding out in the subconscious of executive scientist Stellan Skarsgård, we find that he has instead teamed up with an alien armada, called the Chitauri, to wreck the Earth so he can re-establish his kingdom. The means to this end is the Tesseract (big ups to Madeleine L’Engle), an Asgardian artifact that can turn a good man bad, make things explode, and open interdimensional gateways for the alien menace. The stage is set for the heroes to swoop, dash, stomp and charge in to the rescue. Alas, the assembled Avengers waste most of the angst-y first half squabbling through various manufactured confrontations on the battlefield and in their laboratory. It’s as if one

CO-ED FRENZY

Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson: Marvel's street team. of those Fake Hulk tweets were delivering story notes from the sidelines: “More fight. Want more fight.” So you get more fight. Somewhere, someone must really have wanted to know if Thor’s hammer could shatter Captain America’s vibranium shield. One reason The Avengers takes so long to find its footing is that it must reconcile the earlier movies’ jumble of looks, styles and tones. Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, with its Maxfield Parrish-meets-Led Zeppelin approach to cosmic warfare, has more in common with the goofy psychedelic pizazz of the 1980 Flash Gordon than with the techno-Dean Martin charms of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man films — let alone the straight-faced jingoism of Joe Johnston’s delightful, retro-futurist Captain America. Accordingly, apart from Jeremy Renner’s underused Hawkeye, Chris Hemsworth and Chris

Damsels in Distress: Whit Stillman finally answers the SOS calls for another fizzy, brainy gem.

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he cinematic poet laureate of young, urbane pretension, Whit Stillman has been threatening to make a “normal” movie for well over a decade now. He’s been linked to various adaptations, period pieces and studio films since 1998’s The Last Days of Disco. So it’s nice to finally have him back with Damsels in Distress, a comedy about young women in college that sings with all the clipped, faux-literate idealism of Stillman’s earlier films. Here, Greta Gerwig plays Violet, the den leader of a group of beautiful, prim college students at (fictional — oh, dear God, how fictional) Seven Oaks University who have made it their mission in life to save fellow students from suicide. Their methods for doing so involve dancing and doughnuts and fragrant soaps. Their methods for saving themselves involve dating boys who are clearly not their equals. This being a Stillman movie, theory and practice never quite jell. These women find

themselves drawn precisely to the kind of selfindulgent men who will break their hearts, just as surely as the fragrant soaps they send to one of the more problematic dorms on campus wind up getting turned into Frisbees. Violet

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Evans suffer the most as the movie splits the difference and settles on Tony Stark’s snark. But that proves to be The Avengers’ saving grace. Robert Downey Jr., who leavens every scene he’s in, relieves the ponderousness weighing down the fi lm’s fi rst hour. Whenever his Stark ducks in with a masterful quip or a sharp elbow to the subtext, you feel like you can breathe again. The happiest surprise is Mark Ruffalo, a newcomer to the franchise as the touchy Bruce Banner and his lovable green id (who gets Whedon’s best lines). He brings nerdy charm and energy, along with enough big-screen charisma to wipe everyone but Downey pretty much off the radar. Here’s hoping that he gets a Hulk fi lm with the artistic daring of Ang Lee’s vastly underrated 2003 version. Whedon knows how to incorporate an expansive palette of characters into a cohesive whole. This time, though, they’re not his characters. He has a remarkable gift for resourceful and tough female characters, for example, but here he has only a couple to work with. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow gets a killer scene with Hiddleston’s Loki that hints at a weirder, more emotionally spiky film lurking within. And yet the movie pulls off moments of sheer magic. One long take during the climactic battle covers several different planes of action involving all the principal characters; it has the kind of iconic majesty that defines entire summer blockbuster seasons. That said, if the 3-D post-conversion is merely inessential, the digital IMAX experience is ludicrous, a lie on a giant screen meant for actual 70 mm film projection. IMAX is supposed to mean 70 mm film — or, at the very least, a 70 mm blowup. What studios and exhibitors are peddling with this lackluster process is the opposite of super and heroic. ■

From left: Carrie MacLemore, Greta Gerwig and Megalyn Echikunwoke assess their risks. herself reels after a breakup with an apelike member of the opposite sex (Ryan Metcalf), pitch.com

B Y BIL GE E BIR I

while her protégé, Lily (Analeigh Tipton), pingpongs between a handsome player type (Adam Brody) and a creepy Frenchman (Hugo Becker). But inner torment rarely breaks the film’s placid surfaces. Stillman expresses emotional turmoil not via narrative indulgence but by odd, subtle breaks in routine — the difference between a woman leaving a man’s house in the morning, say, and that same woman leaving a man’s house in the middle of the night. For all the talk of heartbreak and suicide, Damsels in Distress feels at times like a lighter, fizzier riff on Stillman’s usual aesthetic. There are moments of comedy here way broader than anything he has attempted before. The men seem to be little more than comic relief, and their antics don’t quite feel of a piece with the rest of the goings-on. Still, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Stillman characters break into an impromptu tap routine. When the frivolity fits, there’s magic to it. ■ M O N T H X X–X X , 2 0 0 X

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CAFÉ

TRUE CONCESSIONS

Sama Zama serves serious snacks where a cinema once stood.

BY

CHARLES FERRUZZA

Sama Zama • 425 Westport Road, 816-756-3600 • Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Monday. • Price: $$–$$$

here aren’t many restaurants in Kansas City that operate out of former movie theaters. Until recently, in fact, I could name just two (not counting the Marquee Lounge, inside the AMC Mainstreet 6, which is still a cinema). There’s the creperie Chez Elle, located in the former auditorium of the 99-year-old Summit Theatre, and the Fairway Houlihan’s, which was once the original Fine Arts Theatre. Now there’s a third: Sama Zama has opened at 425 Westport Road, which was occupied for two decades by art houses: fi rst the Bijou, then the original Tivoli Theater. (The popular sushi restaurant Matsu took over the storefront when the Tivoli moved inside Manor Square, in 1999.) Jerry Harrington, owner of Tivoli Cinemas, has eaten at Sama Zama a few times since it opened in January. “I can be eating right where the projection booth used to be,” he says, “deE R O M pending on which table I’m sitting at.” The four-month-old T A INE ONL .COM restaurant is a projection H C PIT of a different kind, the culmination of restaurateur Erika Koike’s dream of creating Kansas City’s first izakaya: a Japanese-style casual drinking establishment that serves more substantial — and stylish — food than a traditional lounge might. Think Asian tapas. Koike introduced her first izakaya in 2007, when she opened the tiny One Bite Japanese Grill in Overland Park. Last year, when the lease came up, Yokohama-born Koike decided to move her business into the space left vacant by Matsu. “There are more adventurous and openminded diners there,” she says. “The people coming here ask for the more unusual things on the menu. They’re not afraid to try new things.” Koike wasn’t afraid to try something new herself. Even after branding the One Bite name for five years in the suburbs, she opted to call her new midtown venue Sama Zama. “That’s the Japanese word for variety,” she says. “I thought it translated the concept better.” The menu stakes a claim on variety, with an ambitious array of options. There’s not a wide range of flavors, though, which is part of the idea. Japanese dishes aren’t renowned for their intensity of spice (leaving aside wasabi, of course, and the powdered blend of chili, ginger and sesame called shichimi), and Koike’s focus is on ingredients. The jalapeño-teriyaki grilled beef, for example, lacks the fiery punch promised by its name (an omen of things not to come elsewhere on the menu) but doesn’t want for texture or depth. (The calamari is also memorably tender.) No one leaves Sama Zama in a cloud of garlic and ginger, and that’s fine with me. More vexing is the kitchen’s narrow tech-

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noodles, is thoroughly satisfying. (The vegetarian choices here are generally good: plump nique. Nearly half of the items on the lengthy fried dumplings stuffed with finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, cabbage, list of starters are deep-fried or pan-fried, making for some repetitive eating if you’re chives and brown rice; supple stalks of garlicky sautéed asparagus; thick ropes of udon sharing a tableful of snacks. (And at some of these prices, you should plan to share, even noodles draped over sautéed onions, carrots when — as with the doll-sized steak skewers and broccoli.) Okonomi yaki is another dish best split — passing food around gets a little awkward.) One exception to all that oil would be among friends. It’s a daunting item to tackle as a steaming bowl of tonkotsu ramen. I say an individual meal, and it gets cold quickly. It’s “would be” because I can’t yet say for sure; it not cheap, either, but if money is on your mind, the trick is to go to Sama was sold out on each of my Zama on Sunday nights. The visits to the restaurant. What Sama Zama grilled dishes then are halfI do know: Koike promises Vegetable dumplings ..........$6 price — including succulent that her ramen is nothing like Deep-fried calamari ............$8 spare ribs and petite skewthe bargain-basement preSeaweed salad .....................$6 Modon mushroom ers of that jalapeño-teriyaki fab blocks of salt familiar to okonomi yaki .....................$14 steak (which, at the regular college kids and landlocked Omu raisu .............................. $7 price, are about three bucks Midwesterners who haven’t Jalapeño-teriyaki a bite). On that evening, it’s yet sampled New York’s 21stgrilled steak .......................$9 possible to cobble together a century ramen revival. “Our Cheesecake-filled modestly priced and distincramen noodles are imported spring rolls..........................$6 tive meal. directly from a noodle manuIn the spirit of a storefront facturer in Japan,” she says. “They’re shipped to us fresh-frozen. The tex- where you used to be able to mix buttery popcorn, syrupy soda and factory-made candy, ture is very different.” it’s easy at Sama Zama to satisfy cravings in Denied ramen, I went instead with Koike’s completely the wrong order. Meat might lead other calling card: the thick, savory pancake to a salad — in my case, one night, that meant called okonomi yaki. It’s a big seller and a great a cocktail glass tidily packed with strands of starter, and so filling that it’s tempting to skip neon-green seaweed tossed in Koike’s own the second course. The base of the dish is a mayonnaise-based Mogu Mogu sauce and grilled flapjack the thickness of a cigarette dappled with crunchy bits of fried noodles. box, made of wheat flour, shredded cabbage, It’s the best seaweed I can recall having in this scallions and Japanese pickled ginger. The part of the country. meatless modan okonomi yaki, topped with The omu raisu, a paper-thin sheath of fried mushrooms and a frizzy jumble of fried egg

Raspberry maki is the marquee dessert.

egg neatly folded around a filling of fried rice and chicken, is a tasty spin on an omelet, but it suffers from this place’s purposeful lack of kick. The menu insists that it’s “tomatoenhanced.” Koike says that means a dash of tomato sauce. I’d have preferred even a little Heinz ketchup. Terminally bland is a duo of rice balls wrapped around a center of seasoned cha-shu pork; the plate I tried needed a hell of a lot more pork to make it interesting. No matter how much you think you like sticky rice, something this plain triggers memories of the prisoners’ food in The Bridge on the River Kwai. Come dessert time on one of my visits, I wanted nothing more than a fried spring roll stuffed with Koike’s seaweed salad. That was too out of order for my tablemates (whose movie was this, anyway?), who preferred the traditional green-tea ice cream. The servers at Sama Zama get a lot more excited about another dessert, the multicultural creation called “age raspberry maki.” It’s where New York Jewish delicatessen meets Tokyo spring roll: a dollop of creamy cheesecake tucked into an envelope of tissue-thin pastry wrapper, deep-fried and served on a plate adorned with squiggles of raspberry puree. It doesn’t appeal to me (though I have friends who swear by it). Then again, it’s the kind of novelty that would be right at home in today’s more upscale movie theaters. Even in Westport, the snacks have taken over.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant The Pitch should review? E-mail charles.ferruzza@pitch.com

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320 SOUTHWEST BLVD. KCMO, 64108 • 816-471-2900 • WWW.NICAS320.COM 26

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he West Bottoms has always been the color of beef. Dan Clothier wants to change that. The fresh flowers dotting the picnic tables in front of his restaurant and the bright-yellow awning adorning the façade are among the visible updates to the gritty neighborhood that once held Kansas City’s stockyards. Clothier also is adding a few shades of pork to the old cattle grounds. His nine-month-old Franks (1623 Genessee) sells hot dogs — porkand-beef hot dogs. “We all remember that perfect hot dog from our youth,” he says. But turning that idyllic childhood meal into the simplest lunch an adult can get in this part of the city requires some sophisticated butchery. For Clothier, 67, that means a pork-and-beef mixture tailored to each hot dog, footlong wiener and “über dög” (a 10-inch bat that weighs 6 ounces) on the menu. “There’s a lot going on in that simple $2 hot dog,” he says. Enough that Franks could have fed the hungriest industrial workers of another era. He steers new customers toward the Chicago dog, topped with yellow mustard, onion, neon relish, tomato, dill pickles, a heavy sprinkling of celery salt, and the obligatory sport peppers. “Everybody knows that you throw in a few sport peppers,” Clothier says. “But usually you get a few bites with nothing and then it blows up in your mouth. I cut them and stretch them through the length of the dog. I want you to get all the flavors in every bite.” All that’s missing is the traditional Vienna Beef dog — an absence no one seems to notice or care about. “I’ll put up our pork-and-beef hot dogs against any all-beef hot dogs in the world,” Clothier says. Many of the toppings are his own recipes: a meat chili (also available by the bowl and in a frito pie); a special sauce made with a base of tomato and mayonnaise; and frijoles rancheros (pinto beans with jalapeño and onion). Clothier’s name is familiar to many meat lovers because of City Tavern, the restaurant he ran (and occasionally cooked in) for seven years in the former freight house in the Crossroads until it closed in April 2010. Dave Matthews, 60, the former oyster man at City Tavern, mans the grill at Franks, which opened last August. “I was a navy cook for 12 years,” Matthews says. He gestures his tongs at the walls of the enclosed patio that houses the restaurant’s two half-barrel grills and says, “This feels like a galley kitchen.” Besides grilling on an aircraft carrier stationed outside Beirut, the 40-year kitchen veteran takes credit for opening the first espresso bar in Branson, Missouri, and he once helped staff a dining train routed out of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. But this is the first place where he has actually left his mark. The painting above the cash register, of a dachshund stealing sausage links from another dog, is Matthews’ handiwork.

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Get "all the flavors in every bite" at Franks. “This is like art,” Matthews says of Franks. “It’s a simple menu, but everything still takes a lot more thought to come together. Everything has a lot of feeling and technique. It doesn’t just come out of the package and onto the grill.” Each hot dog is brined in a mixture of apple cider and brown sugar for 15 minutes. The dogs are then cooked on grates suspended over charcoal. The buns are brushed with a mixture of olive oil and butter before being toasted on a small griddle. (The buttertoasted buns are a nod to Dog-N-Shake, the Wichita institution where Clothier was introduced to chili cheese dogs.) In an attempt to keep things fresh for regular diners, Clothier has added hamburgers — a rare concession to the all-beef crowd — and hand-cut shoestring fries, served with the skins on. (The Idaho russets are fried twice in canola oil, the second time only after an order comes to the register.) Franks also serves eight different bratwursts, including a Berliner curry brat and Buffalo cheddar brat. The handmade sausages come from Siegi’s Sausage Factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma, whose Austrian butcher, Siegi Sumaruk, also makes sausages for Grünauer, the Viennese restaurant now in the former City Tavern space. The day Franks opened, Clothier was expecting to do 20 or 30 lunch orders. He received 300. Near the halfway point of his two-year lease on Genessee Street, Clothier is already in talks to open a second location. He hopes eventually to open a half-dozen locations across the metro. But he knows it won’t happen overnight. “When you’re starting up the perfect hotdog church, it takes a little while to bring in new converts,” Clothier says. For those seeking porcine salvation, the three-hour weekday service starts at 11 a.m. sharp.

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M AY 3 - 9, 2 0 1 2

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MUSIC

PERSONAL JESUS

The Gospel according to Carl Butler

BY

D AV ID HUDN A L L

t’s Wednesday night, half past seven, which means the Retro Lounge — the smallest of the three stages at Knuckleheads Saloon, on the far east end of the building — is transforming into the Gospel Lounge. The crowd that comes for the Gospel Lounge looks about the same as the usual Knuckleheads crowd, but a few clues suggest something is askew: the coffee machine near the door; a sea of hands clutching white Styrofoam cups, the words I was blessed repeating in the chorus of the song on the overhead speakers. Carl Butler, known as “Pastor Carl” in the Gospel Lounge and at his church, the New Song Christian Fellowship, takes the stage in a black Western button-up, with an oxblood Gibson Les Paul slung across his torso. He thanks his Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and then, backed by the four members of his band, slides into a smooth, bluesy, instrumental version of Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.” The Gospel Lounge, which Butler has presided over every Wednesday night for the past three and a half years, has a simple format. Butler performs five or six songs with his regular band, then invites special guests to join him for the second half of the show. In between, he delivers what he calls his E R MO “message.” The message is essentially a five- or 10 -m i nute ser mon T A INE folded inside a circular ONL .COM PITCH groove the band is laying down. When the beat comes back around, Butler closes his eyes, does a bluesman’s wince, wails a few high guitar notes, and then returns to his story. Tonight, the message involves a trip to his guitar shop to buy new strings; it ends with an observation: “The Lord has a plan for your life. You don’t have to be afraid of changing.” Apart from an occasional Christian jam, that’s about as churchy as the Gospel Lounge gets, which is a big part of its appeal. “A lot of the people who come here just aren’t interested in being a part of a church setting,” Butler says. “Either they’ve had a bad experience with the church in the past or they’ve been hurt or they’ve just drifted. I see the Gospel Lounge as an opportunity to connect with those people. I say a lot of the same things I do in church, but it’s only five minutes, and I couch the message inside music and this different atmosphere. And people seem to plug into that. And I especially love it because when I preach here, the crowd actually applauds!” “I had a friend who was dying of cancer and I went with him up to this church up north, and it turned out to be Carl’s church,” says Frank Hicks, owner of Knuckleheads. “I really liked what he was doing: no pressure, no passing the hat around. I’ve been a Christian most of my life, but I’ve never liked it when people try to force it down your throat. Carl is very down-to-earth about it. Even with

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life issues just like everyone else, and many his messages, he talks about faith and church, of them don’t have anyone to discuss those but it’s always something everyday people can use and relate to. It’s never 'You’re going things with. I just saw our church as an opportunity to love on some people who might to hell if you don’t believe.’ ” need it.” Butler was raised a Christian in Kansas The Gospel Lounge functions as a sort of City and started playing music full time as advertisement for the brand of Christianity a teenager in the early 1970s, at long-gone that Butler espouses at his church. “There’ve honky-tonk joints like the Chouteau Inn, Club Royal and the Silver Spur. He lived fast been people who were regulars at the Gospel Lounge, who really enjoyed the messages, and strayed from the church “but came back who asked if there was anywhere I speak lonto my relationship with God as an adult. And ger, and I said, ‘Sure, Sunday afternoon at soon I felt a call to the ministry, which felt foreign to me, to an ordinary guy like me. three,’ ” Butler says. “And they’ve come out But I went to my pastor, and he said, ‘Yeah, to the church and found what they needed I can see that.’... I came into the ministry there, and now they’re regulars at church and not so regular at the Gospel thinking that my style of Lounge.” being and the way that I am Carl Butler's Dan Doran, whose Dan would have to change. But Gospel Lounge Doran Band has been an I think God allowed me to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, occasional special guest at see I could be myself and at Knuckleheads Saloon the Gospel Lounge (other still reach people. A nd acts that have sat in include that’s sort of how it hapT ra mple d Unde r Fo ot, pened that people started Smokin’ Joe Kubek, Ray Bonneville, and the calling me the ‘honky-tonk preacher.’ ” Fabulous Torque’s), has known Butler since After serving as an associate pastor in a the Chouteau Inn days. “I’m not really into different church for a decade, Butler and his wife, Sharon, who also is a pastor, founded organized religion,” he says. “But I believe in God and have a relationship with God. the New Song Christian Fellowship in 2002. When I fi rst started coming to the Gospel “I’d met so many good people playing music Lounge, I was going through a divorce and over the years that were disconnected from taking a stress leave from my job. I found a God but really had no problem with God, and lot of consolation just by showing up there I thought, Honky-tonk folks, that’s my harvest and seeing some old friends. There’s a spirifield,” Butler says. “I understand them and tual message there, but it’s not strict. It’s I know they have divorces and cancer and

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Pastor Carl, in the presence of the Lord (and the Dan Doran Band). very accepting, and I think people are drawn to that.” The music, though, is the main draw of the Gospel Lounge. Butler grew up with a wellbalanced diet of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King, and the variety is evident in the set lists, which are as likely to include Motown covers as blues standards. “Carl is really an amazing player, and he brings a lot of different styles and slants to the performance,” Doran says. “My favorite thing is that he plays a style — I would maybe call it country jazz or something — that’s kind of a lost art, that very few people can play around here anymore. It goes back to the honky-tonk days.” Since the inception of the Gospel Lounge, the room has been renovated and expanded four times (it holds only about 50 comfortably). “It used to be a storage room,” Hicks says. “We tore some walls out and built the stage. We put mirrors in so the audience could see easier. But people were still crowding in, so we tore out another wall. I don’t know how much more we can do to that room.” “It’s slowly become this great little venue. It’s not even something we set out to do. It just happened,” Butler says, his wide, sunken eyes gleaming in wonder at such a blessing.

E-mail david.hudnall@pitch.com or call 816-218-6774 M O N T H X X–X X , 2 0 0 X

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MUSIC | STREETSIDE

OUR CARELESS LIFESTYLE

Keg stands, a van party, Real Estate at the Bottleneck

BY

D AV ID HUDN A L L

Forever 29: Real Estate and its No. 1 fan

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certain amount of eccentricity is vital to the creation of good art, so artists enjoy a wide berth when it comes to things like maturity, manners and general social development. I love me some art and music and books and film, so I am usually willing to overlook the fact that about half the artists I know — in particular, the ones who are more eager to refer to themselves as “artists” than to make actual, you know, art — behave like fucked-up little teenagers a lot of the time. (With social media, this information is more accessible than ever before: A parade of narcissism and quirky affectations marches daily down the news feed.) It’s all the more refreshing, then, when talented artists eschew the obnoxious-artist archetype and come as they are. In a 2009 interview, Real Estate frontman Martin Courtney told The Village Voice that his band’s name comes from his post-college attempt at a career in E R MO real estate — a relatively brave admission for a guy whose band knocks AT E N I ONL .COM around the grit-fetishizPITCH ing Brooklyn loft scene. Courtney sings Cheever-like lyrics about the suburbs. And in a song on last year’s unassuming jangle-pop masterpiece, Days, he imbues the phrase inner tube with a poetic weight I wouldn’t have thought possible. The video for that song, “Easy,” stars hilarious Videogum blogger Gabe Delahaye and includes a subtle homage to a Sopranos episode. Maybe they’re pretentious jerks in real life, but all I ever think when I listen to Real Estate is, These are my people. The band was performing at the Bottleneck in Lawrence last Saturday, and I’d been jazzed about the show for months, but I almost didn’t make it on account of Friday night — my 30th birthday. About that night,

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all I’ll say is that there came a point when I was shaking my ass into somebody else’s ass, air-guitaring the twin-guitar solo at the end of “The Boys Are Back in Town,” and screaming They’re hangin’ down at Dino’s in my terrible Phil Lynott voice. Does that sound lame? Because I can assure you, it was not. A keg of Boulevard Wheat had been provided for the occasion, and the great thing about keg parties is that usually some beer is left in the keg the next day, and because it’ll go flat, you feel a certain responsibility to drink it. On Saturday, after consuming a shameful amount of food at Winstead’s (justified as a “birthday meal”) and then staring at the ceiling and moaning for two consecutive hours, I met up with about nine dudes and started back on that keg. The plan was to ride out to the Real Estate show in Travel Quest, which is a gigantic old luxury van owned by a guy I know named Nato. There are reclining bucket seats, curtains on the windows, lots of fancy cupholders, and a back bench that folds down into a bed. Nato wasn’t even there; he just lets people borrow TQ when they feel like it. “Maybe we should bring the keg in the van?” I suggested. That idea was rejected. “Maybe we should do keg stands?” I then ventured. I get kind of excited around kegs. It’d been many years since my last keg stand, and as I was being hoisted up, I realized that I’d forgotten the procedure. Keg stands are not like riding bikes. Was I supposed to hold the valve and dispense it into my mouth? Or does somebody else do that for me? Who gives a shit, I thought, and crammed the valve into my face and started guzzling. I chugged on that thing until the brink of vomit. OK, so maybe I have my own way of acting like a fucked-up little teenager. Nobody did a count. “You guys are supposed to count it out!” I gasped, upside

down, a pool of slobber and beer draining from my mouth. So I went again, but I was too full by then and only made it to four, and then everybody started clowning on me. “That was the second one I did!” I said, pacing around and belching violently. But nobody was listening. After somebody else tried and failed — perhaps keg stands are best left behind with one’s 20s — we piled into Travel Quest and hit the road. Lawrence’s finest were out Saturday night, and our creepy van did not escape their eye. A police car rolled into the lot behind Love Garden as a mass urination and pot-smoking session was under way in some semi-secluded bushes. Instead, two cops hopped out of their car and asked some wobbly undergrad on New Hampshire Street for his ID “It’s cool; he’s with me,” said the kid’s drunk, also very young-looking friend. “How about let’s see your ID, too, then,” the cop said. Uh-oh. We missed Ghosty but made it in time for Twerps, a Feelies-ish Australian band whose members, along with most of the audience, appeared to be about 15 years younger than me. The floor filled out for Real Estate, which tours as a five-piece — two guitars, a bass, keys/synths and drums. Apart from a few harmonies that were either omitted or fell flat, the band delivered on all the promise of Days — the pretty, reverb-y vocals, the breezy strums, the loose structured jams. We even got a cover of The Kids in the Hall theme song, further confirming my hunch that Real Estate is my kind of people. All those wasted miles/All those aimless drives through green aisles/Our careless lifestyle/It was not so unwise, Courtney sang on “Green Aisles.” Not a bad summary of the last 30 years.

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MUSIC

RADAR

M U S I C F O R E CAST

BY

Other shows worth seeing this week.

D AV ID HUDN A L L

T H U R S D AY, M AY 3 Hed p.e., Mushroomhead, American Head Charge, Corvus and more: The Beaumont Club, 4050 Pennsylvania.

F R I D AY, M AY 4 Civil Twilight, We Are Voices: The Beaumont Club, 4050 Pennsylvania. Hank III: The Granada, 1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence.

S AT U R D AY, M AY 5 Chaotic Goods, the Inwards, the Depth and the Whisper: 9 p.m. RecordBar, 1020 Westport Rd. They Stay Dead, the Dead Girls: Jackpot Music Hall, 943 Massachusetts, Lawrence.

S U N D AY, M AY 6 Liquid Assassin, Freddy Grimes, the Naydivz, KPK: 6 p.m. Sidecar at the Beaumont Club, 4050 Pennsylvania. Walter Trout: 8:30 p.m. Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester.

T U E S D AY, M AY 8 The Bunny the Bear: The Riot Room, 4048 Broadway. Go Radio, This Providence, Tyler Carter, She’s a Keeper: 6 p.m. RecordBar, 1020 Westport Rd.

W E D N E S D AY, M AY 9

Clockwise from left: Aretha Franklin, Sister Hazel and Marshall Crenshaw

Spring Dance

Three of Kansas City’s merriest live acts gather on the Grinders stage to celebrate the arrival of T-shirt weather. The night opens with swinging country from the Grisly Hand (7:30 p.m.), then segues into classic R&B and soul covers (plus some new originals) from the Good Foot (9 p.m.), and closes out with Afrobeat grooves courtesy of Hearts of Darkness (11 p.m.). Voler, a group of aerial fabric artists who fly around the stage, perform between sets. Saturday, May 5, at Crossroads KC at Grinders (417 East 18th Street, 816-472-5454)

Sister Hazel

My favorite thing about Sister Hazel is that the band’s superfans — yes, Sister Hazel has them, and more of them than you might think — have a perfect nickname: “Hazelnuts.” I am less enamored of the Gainesville, Florida, act’s music, which I mentally fi le next to Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Freddy Jones Band, Rusted Root, and other bands adored by the earthy private-school girls I hung out with in high school. But its roots pop is harmless enough, and hearing

“All for You” on some 1990s radio hour always takes me back to a warm, innocent place. Friday, May 4, at KC Live in the Power & Light District (14th Street and Grand)

The Rumblejetts

The Rumblejetts — winner of the 2011 Pitch Music Award for “Best Rockabilly Band” — recently posted a delicious new song, “Zombie Girl,” online. It’s a teaser track from the group’s latest release, Motor Honey, that’s being celebrated at this Knuckleheads gig. Live, the Rumblejetts throw together a swaggering mix of uptempo rockabilly and classic Sun Records covers. Wednesday, May 9, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)

Aretha Franklin

Big ups to the Kauffman Center for luring, during its inaugural season, two of the greatest soul singers of all time to Kansas City. Back in December, Mavis Staples treated a Helzberg Hall crowd to an evening of funky gospel jams. This week, another soul heavy — the Queen of

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Soul, you might call her — stops by for a visit, in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Aretha Franklin is now 70 years old, but she can still hold it down in the upper register. Tuesday, May 8, at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway, 816-994-7222)

Marshall Crenshaw

Marshall Crenshaw’s hooky, jazz-tinged pop-rock has earned him cult-icon status, if not fame and fortune. Though he’s bestknown for his 1981 hit “Someday Someway,” a browse through his biography reveals some surprising tidbits: He co-wrote the Gin Blossoms’ “Til I Hear It From You,” penned the theme song to the movie Walk Hard, was a guest star on The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and stepped in for Fred “Sonic” Smith when the MC5 reunited for a 2004 tour. This Knuckleheads performance is an intimate “Living Room Session.” Saturday, May 5, at Knuckleheads Saloon (2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456)

K E Y

............................................ Pick of the Week

.....................................Possible Pompadours

............................................... I Love the '90s

............................................. Locally Sourced

.................................................Living Legend

.......................................................Hazelnuts

................................................... Dance Party

..................................................... Hallejujah!

.....................................................Cult Status

.....................................Record Release Show

................................................. Hippie Chicks

.................................. Dewey Cox Mouthpiece

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Bible of the Devil, Federation of Horsepower, Leeches of Lore: 9 p.m. The Riot Room, 4048 Broadway. Kittie, Blackguard, Bonded by Blood, Sicadis, Sidewise, and more: The Beaumont Club, 4050 Pennsylvania. Them Damned Young Livers, Holly 750, ESE: RecordBar, 1020 Westport Rd., 816-753-5207.

FUTURECAST Aziz Ansari: Thu., May 10, 7 p.m., the Midland Chris Botti: Fri., May 11, the Midland, 1228 Main Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, Jerrod Neimann: Fri., May 11, Sprint Center The Polyphonic Spree: Sat., May 12, the Granada Marilyn Manson, the Pretty Reckless: Wed., May 16, Uptown Theater George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic: Fri., May 18, Crossroads KC at Grinders Daughtry, Safetysuit, Mike Sanchez: Fri., May 18, the Midland Origin, and more: Fri., May 18, 6 p.m., the Granada Spindrift, Strangers Family Band: Sun., May 20, 10 p.m., Replay Lounge Mayer Hawthorne & the County, the Stepkids: Mon., May 21, the Granada Creed: Mon., May 21, Tue., May 22, the Midland Van Halen: Tue., May 22, Sprint Center Xiu Xiu, Dirty Beaches: Tue., May 22, 9 p.m., Jackpot Music Hall Avicii: Thu., May 24, Sprint Center Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Orgone, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars: Thu., May 24, Crossroads KC at Grinders Weir Robinson & Greene Acoustic Trio: Sat., May 26, Crossroads KC at Grinders Snoop Dogg: Sat., May 26, VooDoo Lounge, Harrah’s Casino Best Coast, Jeff the Brotherhood: Sun., May 27, the Granada Heartless Bastards: Tue., May 29, the Granada The Devil Makes Three: Thu., May 31, Crossroads KC at Grinders New Edition: Fri., June 1, Sprint Center KC Music Festival: Fri., June 1, Sat., June 2, Berkley Riverfront Park Buzz Beach Ball: Sat., June 2, 3:30 p.m., Livestrong Sporting Park Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: Sun., June 10, Arrowhead Stadium Destroyer: Sun., June 10, the Granada Girl Talk: Sat., June 16, KC Live Stage at the Power & Light District

M O N T H X X–X X , 2 0 0 X

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Tickets Start at $49

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Sights, Sounds, Imperial Flavor

1531 GRAND, KANSAS CITY, MO (816) 421-0300 - www.czarkc.com

NOW G HIRIN

NIGHTLIFE T H U R S D AY 3 ROCK /P OP/INDIE Replay Lounge: 946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676. Devil Television (CD release), Low Horse, Long Shadows. The Riot Room: 4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179. En Masse, the Coventry, Decimation.

BLUES/FUNK/SOUL

FOOD BY

Jackpot Music Hall: 943 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-8321085. The Good Foot, the Phantastics, Atilla, DJ Mitmo. Knuckleheads Saloon: 2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456. Cassie Taylor, 8 p.m. Mike Kelly’s Westsider: 1515 Westport Rd., 816-931-9417. Lonnie Ray Blues Jam. RecordBar: 1020 Westport Rd., 816-753-5207. The Right Now, New Riddim, 9 p.m.

R O O T S / C O U N T R Y/ B L U E G R A S S

TUESDAY-FRIDAY 11AM-10PM | SATURDAY 4PM-10PM SPECIAL HAPPY HOUR MENU SERVED DAILY

The Granada: 1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390. Quiet Corral, the Delta Saints, She’s a Keeper. Jazzhaus: 926-1/2 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1387. The Bonas Brothers, Crazy Neighbors.

JAZZ The Phoenix Jazz Club: 302 W. Eighth St., 816-221-5299. Damon Parker, 7 p.m. Regnier Center Atrium: 12345 College Blvd., Lenexa, 913-4698500. Matt Hopper Trio.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S Bleachers Bar & Grill: 210 S.W. Greenwich Dr., Lee’s Summit, 816-623-3410. Ladies’ Night. Bulldog: 1715 Main, 816-421-4799. Brodioke, 9 p.m. Buzzard Beach: 4110 Pennsylvania, 816-753-4455. Trivia, Ladies’ Night, 7 p.m. Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater: 7260 N.W. 87th St., 816-759-5233. Chris Porter, 7:30 p.m.

OPEN MIC/JA M SE S SIONS Czar: 1531 Grand, 816-421-0300. Vi Tran & Katy Gilchrist’s Jam Session, 10 p.m. The Hideout: 6948 N. Oak Tfwy., 816-468-0550. Bluegrass Jam.

REGGAE Afrobeat: 9922 Holmes, 816-943-6333. Reggae Rockers, 10 p.m.

F R I D AY 4 ROCK /P OP/INDIE The Bunkhouse: 17965 Hwy. 45, Weston, 816-640-0000. The Cajones. Club 906: 906 W. Liberty Dr., Liberty. Earl Baker Band, 7-9 p.m. FOKL Center: 556 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan., 913-207-9549. Cowboy Indian Bear, Maps for Travelers, the Atlantic, 8:30 p.m. Mike’s Tavern: 5424 Troost, 816-437-9400. School’s Out Party. Replay Lounge: 946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-7497676. The Dull Drums, Up the Academy, the Gleaners, 10 p.m.

BLUES/FUNK/SOUL B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ: 1205 E. 85th St., 816-822-7427. Lonesome Hank & the Heartaches. Czar: 1531 Grand, 816-421-0300. Parts of Speech, Wrong Kata Trio, Shades of Jade, 9 p.m. E R O M The Hideout: 6948 N. Oak Tfwy., 816-468-0550. Josh Vowell & the Rumble. Jazz: 1859 Village West Pkwy., S G IN T LIS Kansas City, Kan., 913-328-0003. E AT N I L Dwayne Mitchell. ON M PITCH.CO Jerry’s Bait Shop: 302 S.W. Main, Lee’s Summit, 816-525-1871. Groove Therapy. RecordBar: 1020 Westport Rd., 816-753-5207. Low Standards, Dr. Wizard, Genessee, Claire Adams, hosted by Vi Tran, 9 p.m.

CLUB

R O O T S / C O U N T R Y/ B L U E G R A S S The Bottleneck: 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-8415483. Deadman Flats, Tragic Prelude. Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club: 3402 Main, 816-753-1909. The Blue Boot Heelers, Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy. Jazzhaus: 926-1/2 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1387. Ashes to Immortality. Knuckleheads Saloon: 2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456. Merle Jam with Chuck Mead, Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders, the Bullhaulers, the Grisly Hand, Sky Smeed, 7:30 p.m.

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DJ The Gusto Lounge: 504 Westport Rd., 816-974-8786. First Friday with Barbaric Merits, FSTZ, 10 p.m. Pizza Bar: 1320 Grand, 816-221-8466. DJ Parle.

HIP-HOP The Foundry: 424 Westport Rd., 816-960-0866. Funky First 2 Fridays with DJ Leo Night Us, 11 p.m.

ACOUSTIC Mike Kelly’s Westsider: 1515 Westport Rd., 816-931-9417. Eddie Delahunt.

JAZZ The Blue Room: 1616 E. 18th St., 816-474-8463. Lisa Henry, 8:30 p.m. Regnier Center Atrium: 12345 College Blvd., Lenexa, 913-4698500. Joe Cartwright Trio.

WORLD Blvd. Nights: 2805 Southwest Blvd., 816-931-6900. Good Fridays: International Party Experience, 10 p.m. Californos: 4124 Pennsylvania, 816-531-7878. Jose Hendrix, 9 p.m. Danny’s Bar and Grill: 13350 College Blvd., Lenexa, 913-3459717. Miguel Mambo Orchestra.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S Missie B’s: 805 W. 39th St., 816-561-0625. The Early Girlie Show, 8 p.m., free; Ab Fab Fridays on the main floor, 10 p.m. Retro Downtown Drinks & Dance: 1518 McGee, 816-4214201. Trivia Riot, 7 p.m. The Uptown Arts Bar: 3611 Broadway. First Friday Story Slam.

R O C K A B I L LY Coda: 1744 Broadway, 816-569-1747. First Friday with Jason Vivone and the Billybats, 9 p.m.

VA R I E T Y Aftershock Bar & Grill: 5240 Merriam Dr., Merriam, 913-3845646. Cover Wars. Clarette Club: 5400 Martway, Mission, 913-384-0986. The 9th Street Incline Band. The Riot Room: 4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179. Recycled Rockstar Spring Invitational.

S AT U R D AY 5 ROCK /P OP/INDIE Czar: 1531 Grand, 816-421-0300. Modern Arsonists, Bloody Knives, Sundiver, Mars Lights. Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club: 3402 Main, 816-753-1909. 2Twenty2, Outlaw Jake and the Chain Gang, Stonebelly, the Cave Girls. Harleys & Horses: 7210 N.E. 43rd St., 816-452-2660. Battle for Freaker’s Ball. The Riot Room: 4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179. Alice Sweet Alice, From the West, the Neverhawks, Suicide Theory, Sarmatian Night, 6 p.m. The Roxy: 7230 W. 75th St., Overland Park, 913-236-6211. Cinco de Mayo with Coldwater, 9 p.m.

BLUES/FUNK/SOUL Jazz: 1823 W. 39th St., 816-531-5556. The Big Three with John Paul Drum.

R O O T S / C O U N T R Y/ B L U E G R A S S The Brick: 1727 McGee, 816-421-1634. Root and Stem, Mime Game, Jared Bond and the Tornadoes, We Make Noise, Jib Jab Jones & the Indigo Circus. Coda: 1744 Broadway, 816-569-1747. Mr. Marco’s V7, the Blessed Broke. Knuckleheads Saloon: 2715 Rochester, 816-483-1456. Merle Jam with Howard and the White Boys, the Nace Brothers, Four Fried Chickens and a Coke, Maria the Mexican, Making Movies, 5 p.m. The Phoenix Jazz Club: 302 W. Eighth St., 816-221-5299. Cadillac Flambe, 9 p.m.

DJ The Eighth Street Taproom: 801 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-6918. Saturday Soulclap with Josh Powers.

HIP-HOP The Riot Room: 4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179. Hip-Hop de Mayo day party, noon.

#9 – The Pitch – 05/03/2012

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JAZZ The Blue Room: 1616 E. 18th St., 816-474-8463. The Jazz Disciples, Clint Ashlock, 8:30 p.m. Take Five Coffee + Bar: 5336 W. 151st St., Overland Park, 913948-5550. Rob Foster and Dudes.

Jazzhaus: 926-1/2 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1387. Karaoke Idol with Tanya McNaughty. RecordBar: 1020 Westport Rd., 816-753-5207. Sonic Spectrum Music Trivia, 7 p.m., $5.

WORLD

T U E S D AY 8 ROCK /P OP/INDIE

The Granada: 1020 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-842-1390. Cinco de Mayo with Son Venezuela. Jazzhaus: 926-1/2 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1387. SUNU, 10 p.m.

Jackpot Music Hall: 943 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-8321085. Animal Lover, Beta Maxx, Battle Royale. Jerry’s Bait Shop: 13412 Santa Fe Trail Dr., Lenexa, 913-8949676. Travelers Guild.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S 77 South: 5041 W. 135th St., Leawood, 913-742-7727. Malaka Fiesta Party. Howl at the Moon: 1334 Grand, 816-471-4695. Cinco de Mayo, 6-8 p.m. Jerry’s Bait Shop: 302 S.W. Main, Lee’s Summit, 816-525-1871. Fashion Rocks, 6 p.m. KC Live Block at the Power & Light District: 14th St. and Grand. Derby Fest, 2-6 p.m.; Cinco de Drinko Free-4-All with Making Movies, 8 p.m. Tengo Sed Cantina: 1323 Walnut, 816-686-7842. Street Party, 11 a.m.

BLUES/FUNK/SOUL B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ: 1205 E. 85th St., 816-822-7427. Trampled Under Foot. Czar: 1531 Grand, 816-421-0300. Dax Riggs, Whiskey Breath, Cherokee Rock Rifle, 7 p.m.

DJ Coda: 1744 Broadway, 816-569-1747. DJ Whatshisname, service industry night, 10 p.m.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S

BLUES/FUNK/SOUL

Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater: 7260 N.W. 87th St., 816-759-5233. Clash of the Comics, 7:30 p.m. Jackpot Music Hall: 943 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-8321085. It’s Karaoke Time! The Roxy: 7230 W. 75th St., Overland Park, 913-236-6211. Karaoke. Smokehouse Bar-B-Que: 6304 N. Oak, Gladstone, 816-4544500. Happy Hour, 4-6 p.m.

OPEN MIC/JA M SE S SIONS Stanford’s Comedy Club: 1867 Village West Pkwy., Kansas City, Kan., 913-400-7500. Open Mic Night.

W E D N E S D AY 9 ROCK /P OP/INDIE The Bottleneck: 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-8415483. Baby Boomers, Vestibule, Red House. Replay Lounge: 946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-7497676. Sedlec Ossuary, Melting Point of Bronze, Dismantle the Virus, 10 p.m.

B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ: 1205 E. 85th St., 816-822-7427. Shinetop Jr. Trouser Mouse: 625 N.W. Mock Ave., Blue Springs, 816-2201222. Levee Town.

JAZZ The Phoenix Jazz Club: 302 W. Eighth St., 816-221-5299. A la Mode. Sullivan’s Steakhouse & Saloon: 4501 W. 119th St., Leawood, 913-345-0800. Candace Evans Duo, 6 p.m.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S Beer Kitchen: 435 Westport Rd., 816-389-4180. Brodioke. Danny’s Bar and Grill: 13350 College Blvd., Lenexa, 913-3459717. Trivia and karaoke with DJ Smooth, 8 p.m. Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater: 7260 N.W. 87th St., 816-759-5233. The Kick Comedy, 7:30 p.m.

OPEN MIC/JA M SE S SIONS Bleachers Bar & Grill: 210 S.W. Greenwich Dr., Lee’s Summit, 816623-3410. Open Blues and Funk Jam with Syncopation, 7 p.m.

SINGER-SONGWRITER Trouser Mouse: 625 N.W. Mock Ave., Blue Springs, 816-2201222. Jason Elmore.

VA R I E T Y The Beaumont Club: 4050 Pennsylvania, 816-561-2560. The Rock and Fashion Show.

S U N D AY 6 ROCK /P OP/INDIE Replay Lounge: 946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676. Leeches of Lore, Major Games, Ask an Adult, 10 p.m.

BLUES/FUNK/SOUL The Riot Room: 4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179. The Alan Evans Trio, Humans, 8 p.m.

R O O T S / C O U N T R Y/ B L U E G R A S S Replay Lounge: 946 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-7676. Midday Ramblers, Sunflower Colonels, 6 p.m. Trouser Mouse: 625 N.W. Mock Ave., Blue Springs, 816-2201222. Brother Bagman.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S The Bottleneck: 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-8415483. Smackdown Trivia and Karaoke. Clarette Club: 5400 Martway, Mission, 913-384-0986. Texas Hold ’em, 7 & 10 p.m. Quasimodo: 12056 W. 135th St., Overland Park, 913-239-9666. Karaoke, 8 p.m. The Riot Room: 4048 Broadway, 816-442-8179. Sunday Solace, 2 p.m., free.

OPEN MIC/JA M SE S SIONS Jazzhaus: 926-1/2 Massachusetts, Lawrence, 785-749-1387. Speakeasy Sunday, 10 p.m., $3. R.G.’s Lounge: 9100 E. 35th St., Independence, 816-358-5777. Jam Night hosted by Dennis Nickell, Scotty Yates, Rick Eidson, and Jan Lamb, 5 p.m.

M O N D AY 7 ROCK /P OP/INDIE RecordBar: 1020 Westport Rd., 816-753-5207. Holmes & Hollows, La Fin Absolute du Monde, 9 p.m.

R O O T S / C O U N T R Y/ B L U E G R A S S Czar: 1531 Grand, 816-421-0300. Sky Smeed, Tyler Gregory, Tinhorn Molly, 6 p.m.

DJ Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club: 3402 Main, 816-753-1909. One Eye Jacks with DJs Ilya & Troy, 10 p.m. The Gusto Lounge: 504 Westport Rd., 816-974-8786. Death Before Dubstep, 10 p.m.

DRUNKEN DISTRACTIONS/ C O M E D Y/ B A R G A M E S The Brick: 1727 McGee, 816-421-1634. Rural Grit Happy Hour, 6 p.m. Hamburger Mary’s: 101 Southwest Blvd., 816-842-1919. Maryoke with Chad Slater, 8 p.m.

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M AY 3 - 9, 2 0 1 2

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M AY 3 - 9, 2 0 1 2

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S AVA G E L O V E

THROWING A CURVE Dear Dan: I am a straight 29-year-old guy, and

I’ve been into ball busting — having my balls kicked and stomped — since I was 14. The fuckedup thing is, I only enjoy getting my balls busted by other guys. I’ve been hit in the balls by girls, and it doesn’t do anything for me. I thought I might be bisexual because I want guys to kick me in the balls, but I don’t get turned on by the idea of sucking cock or getting fucked by a guy. Only ball busting with a guy turns me on. I’ve tried getting busted by girls, watching videos of girls kicking men in the balls, etc., but I never even get hard from it. Sometimes I can see a good-looking guy on the street, and I’ll get hard just thinking about his feet kicking my balls. In fact, while sitting here writing this question to you, I’m hard because you’re a good-looking guy, and I’d love to have you kick my balls. In my current relationship, I’ve snuck out and met with guys I’ve found online to have my balls busted. It feels like I’m leading a double life, but I don’t know what to do. I’ve thought of trying a relationship with a guy, but I don’t know how that would work because I’m really not into having any kind of sex with a guy. Just ball busting. I’ve tried to subdue my urges to get my balls busted, but I can’t. I seem to need to get it every couple of months; otherwise, I get stircrazy. I’m confused and really don’t know what to do about it. I was hoping that you might have some advice or insight to explain why my brain is so messed up about all this and what I can do.

MEET

AL R EMEN!

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M AY 3 - 9, 2 0 1 2

angry e-mails — a risk I run on a weekly basis — I’m gonna quote the late psychologist and sexologist John Money. He was wrong about a lot of things, from gender being socially constructed to “affectional pedophilia” being harmless, but Money was on to something when he wrote about paraphilias, aka kinks. “A wide range of sexuoerotic diversity has its counterpart in the diversity of languages historically manifested in the human species,” Money wrote in his book Lovemaps: Clinical Concepts of Sexual/Erotic Health and Pathology, Paraphilia, and Gender Transposition in Childhood, Adolescence, and Maturity. “[Sexual] diversity may be an inevitable evolutionary trade-off — the price paid for the freeing of the primate brain to develop its uniquely human genesis of syntactical speech and creative intelligence.” So why does having your balls busted by other dudes turn you on when you’re not even remotely interested in other dudes romantically or sexually? No idea. We simply don’t know why a person has this, that or the other kink, and almost everyone has at least one sexual interest that is seen as kinky by those who don’t share it. But it probably has something to do with your big, complex brain and the way it makes big, abstract and sometimes seemingly random connections — the kind of connections that lead to syntactical speech, creative intelligence and crazy-ass kinks.

pitch.com

So take comfort: The fact that you have this kink isn’t proof that there’s something wrong with you. It’s proof that you’re human. Which is not to say that a kink like yours is easily incorporated into a person’s sex life. As one sex researcher I shared your letter with put it, your kink involves an “override” of your usual erotic “target interest,” that is, women. While that kind of override is not unheard of, it’s not something easily explained to a girlfriend. And as your encounters with other men pose no physical risk to your female partners (you’re not exactly gonna catch an STI getting kicked in the nuts), you can certainly justify getting your balls busted on the DL. But secret double lives are stressful, and most people leading them eventually get found out. And when your girlfriend inevitably stumbles over (read: Snoops and fi nds) evidence that you’ve been sneaking around behind her back with other men, you won’t be explaining just your kink to her but your betrayal, too. So is there anything you can do about your kink? “These problems are often highly treatable,” said Dr. Paul Fedoroff, who is a neuropsychiatrist, a forensic psychiatrist, and the director of the Sexual Behaviors Clinic at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. “Typically, a low-dose SSRI works magic.” SSRIs, or “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors,” are a class of drugs that are usually prescribed as antidepressants. SSRIs can crater a person’s libido, as is commonly known, but they can also, according to Fedoroff, help a person overcome an unwanted sexual interest or compulsion. “I had one patient who used to tie his testes with rope and then hit them with a hammer,” Fedoroff said. “He was referred to me by a urologist when he asked for surgical castration. I prescribed an SSRI, and a month later, he told me, ‘That [was] the craziest idea I ever had.’ He had no

BY

D A N S AVA G E

further interest in ‘ball busting’ and said his life would have been different if he had found this medication earlier.” Fedoroff also had some thoughts about why you want to do this with men. “The last time I saw a case like this was about four hours ago,” Fedoroff said. “This was a 50-year-old, highly successful businessman, a lifelong heterosexual who selfdescribed as ‘dominant’ with women, [yet he was] advertising on the Internet to find men he could perform oral sex on.” For some straight men, “being dominated by another man provides more ‘humiliation’ than being dominated by a woman.” Fedoroff isn’t the only doctor out there medicating kinksters. In his absolutely terrific book The Other Side of Desire (which is where I first ran across that John Money quote), journalist Daniel Bergner profi les a foot fetishist so paralyzed by shame that he seeks treatment from a shrink who prescribes him a drug that “cures” him. The drug? The “lust obliterating” Lupron, an antiandrogen that is sometimes used to “chemically castrate” sex offenders. Now, I’m generally a fan of Western medicine — prescription drugs, invasive procedures, hospital-cafeteria Jell-O — but I think taking SSRIs or chemically castrating yourself to suppress an urge to get kicked in the balls six times a year … well, that’s even more extreme than your kink. You would be better advised, in my opinion, to accept both your kink and your contradictions. Yes, your kink will probably shock even women who have a few kinks of their own. But if you present your kink to your girlfriends as just one fun, crazy, weird, hard-to-explain-butendearingly-quirky aspect of your sexual expression, they’re likelier to react to it positively. And if you look for women in the fetish/BDSM scene — where straight men are sometimes known to engage in S/M play with each other — your chances are better of fi nding an open-minded woman who isn’t threatened by your kinks. You might find a woman who wants to watch. Finally, another sex researcher urged me to urge you to bank/freeze some of your sperm in case you wind up busting your balls, like, permanently. Your nuts can take only so much abuse — people have ruptured, and even lost, testicles when ball busting, sack tapping or CBT went too far. (It can even kill you: tinyurl.com/bustedballs.) As it doesn’t take a lot of force to make a guy feel like his balls have been “busted,” ask your ball-busting buddies to pull those punches, kicks and stomps. Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

Have a question for Dan Savage? E-mail him at mail@savagelove.net pitch.com

MONTH

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M AY 3 - 9, 2 0 1 2

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TO PLACE YOUR AD TODAY, CALL 816.218.6721

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3/7/2012 1:13:31 PM

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M AY 3 - 9, 2 0 1 2

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48

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The Pitch: May 3, 2012