TODAY Kansas City - Spring 2023

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KANSAS CIT Y

A PUBLICATION OF THE SOAVE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP | SPRING 2023 • VOLUME 7 • ISSUE 1
ARISTOCRAT MOTORS MERRIAM•TOPEKA•LEE'S SUMMIT | MERCEDES-BENZ OF KANSAS CITY

Electric, essential, quintessential

The Mercedes-Benz EQE is futuristic, forward and fresh, but you know its core values. Ever-refined luxury. Ever-advancing innovation. And a never-ending devotion to your well-being. Perhaps no electric sedan feels so new, yet so natural. Progressive power electrifies a tradition of never standing still. With innovation in confidence, comfort, and how you connect to the road and to the world, the EQE keeps you at the forefront.

9400 West 65th St | Merriam, KS | 913.677.3300 | aristocratmotors.com 13851 Madison Avenue | Kansas City, MO | 816.943.7000 | mbofkc.com Members of the Soave Automotive Group

An Invitation to Join Us.

I am excited about the many events that we have planned for this spring and summer.

Cycling events will be happening at our Lee’s Summit store and at Aristocrat. The practice ride for Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation’s Tour de Lakes ride will take place May 6 at Aristocrat Motors Pre-Owned of Lee’s Summit. That ride will be followed up at Aristocrat in Merriam for the Sunflower to Roses practice ride on July 8. Our dealerships are also a sponsor of both main events: Tour de Lakes on June 24 and Sunflowers to Roses on August 6.

Aristocrat of Lee’s Summit will be the host of the inaugural Spring All-English Car Show on May 13. This new event for the metro area will feature great British cars from the past and present. The public is invited for a wonderful and informative Saturday stroll through automotive history.

The biggest dealership event will be the celebration of Porsche’s 75th anniversary as a car company. The festivities will be held on June 10 and will feature an impressive display of Porsche cars, food trucks, and maybe a little music to set the tone of the day. Open to the public, it should be a very exciting day of the cars that honor the very innovative and world-renowned car manufacturer.

Then, in September, we will close out the summer with the Treads and Threads Gala for Kansas University Medical Center. It’s a fantastic event featuring great restaurants, music, and cars. Porsche Kansas City is proud to once again be the automotive “track” sponsor.

I am looking forward to getting the outdoor season underway, and I hope to see you at the events we have planned for this spring and summer.

PRESIDENT’S LETTER by MARION BATTAGLIA
2 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023
"The biggest dealership event will be the celebration of Porsche’s 75th anniversary as a car company. The festivities will be held on June 10 and will feature an impressive display of Porsche cars, food trucks, and maybe a little music to set the tone of the day."
CENTER, LEVEL 3 •
MON – SAT: 10 AM – 6 PM • SUN: NOON – 5 PM
CROWN
816.274.3222

Looking Forward.

I learned the hard way that you can’t see where you are going always walking backward. It applies to getting your steps in, but it also applies to cities and planning. And growing.

Our lead article is, in a roundabout way, my favorite sport, baseball. Sorry, Formula One. I have been in and out of minor league and major league stadiums my whole life. My attitude took an about-face when, after being a season ticket holder at Kauffman Stadium, I visited Baltimore and walked to Camden Yards, in downtown Baltimore.

It reinforced what I saw in cities with minor league parks: they were a centerpiece of the city; there was pride in what they said about the city; and they fed the city’s ego and its belief in itself.

As I stated, I was a season ticket holder for many years, and I remember the opening of Royals Stadium. I have a very unique soft spot for it. My children and I spent many a night (82 per year) bonding and discovering while watching the Royals. My partner of over 25 years’ father was instrumental in the final design. However. . .

The heart of our city is downtown, from the new WMLS Stadium, T-Mobile Arena, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Copaken Theater, The Music Hall, and a vibrant growing residential sector and a visitor infrastructure.

Bringing the baseball stadium into our downtown area will add another opportunity for us to showcase a very valuable asset, major league baseball, and give rise to all of the support entities that will be lifted by the stadium.

I only ask you to read the article, maybe look up a couple of the examples the author mentions and imagine 82 nights of excitement in our downtown area. Summer evenings with drinks, dinner, and a stroll to the ballpark, idyllic, yes, but you have to look forward to see it.

I hope you enjoy this issue. It has a bit of a new “forward” look to it. The content is about our region and some of the amazing people we share it with. Enjoy!

SOAVE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP

MARION BATTAGLIA President

KEVIN KILLILEA Vice President

ANGIE LEWITZKE Controller

CHUCK DAVIS Service and Parts Director

ROBERT HELLWEG Marketing Director

SCOTT SWENSON General Manager Factory Relations

LARRY MILLER Inventory Director

LINDSEY BENEFIELD Internet Manager

FERNANDO RICCI Finance & Insurance Director

MATT ROSENBLOOM Director of Sales Operations

DAVID HUGHES General Manager Aristocrat Lee's Summit

KRIS NIELSEN General Manager Aristocrat Motors Topeka

NEW VEHICLE SALES MANAGERS

DAVID ANDREWS Aristocrat Mercedes-Benz

KIRK WILLMS Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City

CHUCK OBRIEN Porsche Kansas City

JAY CHEATHAM Alfa Romeo and Maserati

JOE SIRNA Jaguar-Land Rover

RILEY HARMON Aristocrat Motors Topeka

PRE-OWNED MANAGERS

JK CORNELIUS Aristocrat Motors

ROSS STRADA Mercedes-Benz Kansas City

MIKE REID Mercedes-Benz Kansas City

DAVID FISER Aristocrat Lee's Summit

SERVICE MANAGERS

CHARLES FRIEDMAN Aristocrat Mercedes-Benz |

Maserati | Alfa Romeo

RODNEY PARKER Porsche Kansas City

KEVIN SMELL Jaguar-Land Rover of Merriam

ISAAC NICHOLS Aristocrat Motors Topeka

JOHN DOOLITTLE Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City

PARTS MANAGERS

BILL WELLS Aristocrat Motors

DAVID BARNES Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City

JOE LAWHEAD Jaguar-Land Rover of Merriam

KIP NASH Aristocrat Motors Topeka

ROBERT HELLWEG Editor | 913.677.7414

KATHRYN CREEL Creative Director

MARCI LINN Copyeditor

ALLYSON ELLIS Sales Director | 913.634.3838

AMANI SKALACKI Fashion Director

ALISON BARNES MARTIN Fashion Photographer

TODAY KANSAS CITY is a quarterly publication by Soave Automotive Group – home of Aristocrat Motors, MercedesBenz of Kansas City, BMW of Topeka, and VW of Topeka. Address: 9400 W 65th St, Merriam, KS 66203, 913.677.3300, aristocratmotors.com. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the publisher.

EDITOR'S LETTER by ROBERT HELLWEG 4 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023

“Every home has a story... It’s our job to tell that story in the most captivating way possible.” –Trent

My mission has always been to elevate the selling experience and deliver exceptional results for my clients. It’s my job as your Realtor to make sure every detail is taken care of seamlessly & professionally we think of the details so you don’t have to!

Here are a few things we do for every listing:

• Complementary whole-home staging

• Free deep-cleaning before listing

• Custom marketing plan

Extraordinary imagery/videography

• Elegant print materials/digital media campaigns

It would be an honor to speak with you and tell you more about how we’ve been awarded the #1 Small Team in KS by REAL TRENDS 2021–2022.

Exceptional Service,
NETWORK Recent ACTIVITY “REALM is an invitation-only collaboration of the industry’s top agents that provides us a powerful network,Proprietary Technology resource to better serve our clients and provide national exposure.” realm-global.com/about *Active as of November 4, 2022 | Trent Gallagher is a licensed real estate agent affiliated with Compass Realty Group, a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. Photos may be virtually staged or digitally enhanced and may not reflect actual property conditions. Compass Realty Group offices 913.382.6711 816.280.2773. Trent Gallagher Founding Partner REALM® Global Member trent.gallagher@compass.com 913.439.7846
POWERFUL
Warmest Regards, Trent Gallagher 5701 W 148th Place Lionsgate Enclaves | $1,220,000 16921 S. Oakmount Overland Park, 66221 Century Farms | $1,200,000 5724 Longleaf Drive Lawrence, KS 66049 Lawrence | $575,000
6 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023 Features SPRING 2023 8 ARCHITECTURE Stadiums, Ballparks, and Arenas: A Catalyst for Urban Renewal.
48 NONPROFIT The Golden Scoop.
56 ROAD TRIPS Keep Hunger and Thirst at Bay in the City by the Bay.
14 FOOD Mediterranean Comfort in the City Market.
by Tom Waggoner
by Matt Lancaster
by Patrick Mulvihill
by Emily & Stewart Lane
SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 7 27 FASHION Neutral with a Side of Pastel.
40 INTERIOR DESIGN
68 KC ORIGINALS What If Puppets? by Anne Kniggendorf 63 HEALTH Assess Your Resilience. by Dr. Linda Moore 77 INTERVIEW Music, Dance, Art, Drama, and the Occasional Sword Fight.
20 AUTOMOTIVE Maserati’s Newest SUV Paves the Road for the Future.
photos by Alison Barnes Martin styling by Amani Skalacki
By George. by Patricia O'Dell
by Joel Nichols
by Tom Strongman

Stadiums, Ballparks, and Arenas: A forCatalyst Urban Renewal

In cities across the nation, sports facilities play a central role in energizing a district and creating a vibrant destination beyond game days. The nature of the facility type – which draws traffic year-round through sporting and community events – means that, with the right site and a pedestrian-centric design, stadiums, ballparks, and arenas can create catalytic development.

Look no further than cities like Columbus, Los Angeles, and right here in Kansas City to see how sports-anchored mixed-use districts and developments can transform a downtown. But when did this trend begin? And what’s the recipe for success?

AN EXPANSIVE HISTORY

In AD 80, when the Roman Colosseum first opened its doors to spectators, the notion of an amphitheater in the heart of a city was unheard of. Prior, most entertainment spaces and amphitheaters were built outside of city centers. The Colosseum signified an important cultural shift.

However, as with most things, change takes time. Some of the most iconic downtown sports experiences – including Fenway Park and Wrigley Field – were designed more than 80 years before the next iconic downtown ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, came to be in 1992. In the interim, we saw stadiums and ballparks increasingly relocate to suburban locations, creating transportation challenges and, at times, detracting from downtowns.

In each exemplary case, site selection was critical to success. In addition, each of the facilities mentioned was designed to be pedestrian-friendly and reflective of the place, enticing fans and the passerby while complementing the scale and fabric of the city.

8 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023 ARCHITECTURE
words by TOM WAGGONER
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RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

Many of the most successful downtown stadiums, ballparks, and arenas have been complemented with thoughtful mixed-use development that includes office, residential, retail and restaurants. It isn’t enough to abide by the old mantra “if you build it, they will come.” Today’s developers, sports teams, and designers often lock arms, committing to sensitively design and develop facilities in a way that positively impacts the community.

Power & Light District has been an excellent example. Even without an anchor tenant for T-Mobile Center, a 2018 New York Times

article noted the project was a primary reason the downtown streetcar line came to fruition. In addition, the district has helped increase downtown population by more than 20,000 and increase city tax revenue. Nationwide Arena District in Columbus and Downtown Commons in Sacramento have similar success stories.

In each of these cases, there are commonalities that are worth examining. Principles of successful urban sports facilities include:

Location, Location, Location – Site selection is critical to success and should consider accessibility, property size, proximity to public transit, and other established infrastructure.

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Visual and Physical Connections to the City – Thoughtful connections – either by design or organically – to the city itself from the venue help create iconic moments for fans and visitors. In addition, physical connections to the city – whether via pedestrian bridges or public plazas – can help make the building feel more integrated in the community.

Thoughtful Mixed-Use Development – As we’ve seen in Kansas City, mixed-use development can elevate a venue, help

attract major events, and energize a downtown beyond games. When traveling or simply enjoying the city you call home, it’s impossible to deny that stadiums and significant infrastructure, like airports, museums, and theaters, play a role in shaping a city and its identity. Next time you’re visiting a new entertainment venue, take a moment to think about the ways the space connects to and embodies the city and the impact that has on your own experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author of Designed in Kansas City: How Kansas City Became the Sports Architecture Capital of the World, Tom Waggoner, AIA, is a sports architect, entrepreneur, and consultant. Over the course of his 40-year-career, he has led stadium, arena, and athletic facility projects across the nation as part of sports architecture practices based in Kansas City. More information on Tom’s book can be found at designedinkansascity.com.

12 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023
Curate your luxury appliance suite at Roth Living. 601 West 47th Street, Kansas City, MO 64112 | rsvpkcy@rothliving.com | 816.556.3322 | www.rothliving.com EXPERIENCE Design. Performance.

Mediterranean Comfort in the City Market.

Emily Lane: There is nothing quite like spring in Kansas City. The farmers’ markets are bustling with new life from their long winter hiatus, patio umbrellas bloom open, and warm air scented with flowers and grasses permeate neighborhoods. It’s a time for growth and new adventures, and that is what Enzo Bistro & Wine Bar is all about.

Stewart Lane: Situated next to the gates of City Market is the newest creation of Laura and Grant Norris. Enzo is sleeker and more contemporary in its design than Ragazza, her sister restaurant, but the feelings of hospitality and neighborhood charm are unchanged. From hostess to server and bartenders, we felt like old friends who have stopped by their house for dinner. I even saw the bar lead, Missy Koonce, pass her eyeglasses off to a patron that needed a little reading help.

EL: The French Restoration cocktail features a blend of Tom’s Town bourbon, Cointreau, and brandy with a torched orange. It’s light, refreshing, and accompanied by plenty of bar options for whatever beverage suits your desires. We sat and chatted with Laura at the bar and heard more about the genesis of Enzo. It was her pandemic project and how she kept her staff working. They built out the kitchen, the décor, and fully prepped the space while Ragazza was closed. It’s deeply personal, and you can feel it.

SL: Greek and Mediterranean influences guide the menu at Enzo, and, so, we had to start with the Greek salad. Large oblique cuts of hot-house cucumber with torn chunks of salty feta mixed with kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, and thinly shaved red onion dressed with herbs, lemon, and olive oil made for a beautiful presentation and vibrant flavors. I loved the large cuts of cucumber; each bite had a bright and refreshing crunch with the perfect amount of dressing. Mixing with the salty feta and olives, sharp red onion, and sweet tomatoes, this dish should not be missed. We followed with the Arancini: risotto balls stuffed with a pork and beef ragu with creamy mozzarella and red sauce, then deep fried. To say these are popular would be an understatement. I think every table we saw had an order of these, and they routinely sell out before service has ended. Crispy, creamy, and hearty, there is no better snack to pair with a glass of wine or beer.

EL: Cioppino, with its roots in Northern Italy and made famous in San Francisco, shines brightly in Kansas City at Enzo: a rich and spicy tomato broth, emboldened

SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 15 FOOD
|
COURTNEY WIEBE
words by EMILY & STEWART LANE
photos by

with white wine, onions, and fennel, and finished with a menagerie of seafood including jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, and flaky cod. This fisherman’s stew is served with grilled house-made ciabatta for dipping, which we couldn’t get enough of. I always love reminders of the amazing seafood dishes you can find right here in the Midwest, and this cioppino tops the list.

SL: Simplicity done well was exemplified in our next dish, the herb-roasted chicken over goat cheese and kale risotto with a dark and succulent pan jus. There is nothing more satisfying, or more difficult to execute in a restaurant setting, than a perfectly cooked, tender and juicy roast chicken. The chicken was succulent, and the risotto was creamy with knobs of tangy goat cheese and tender kale surrounded by a dark and unctuous pan sauce. I will be coming back for this one.

4050 INDIAN CREEK PKWY | OVERLAND PARK, KS 66207 | 913-313-1207 EYESTYLEOPTICS.COM

EL: According to Enzo (and our four-year-old daughter) donuts aren’t just for breakfast! Here, they are the perfect way to end a night out. The fluffy, powdered-sugar-dusted donuts are served on a pool of house-made tart and sweet lemon curd, and we devoured every bite. With its welcoming atmosphere, top-notch staff, and satiating menu, we know you’ll find so much to love about Enzo Bistro & Wine Bar.

Enzo Bistro & Wine Bar is located at the corner of 5th and Walnut at the Gates of City Market in Kansas City. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended. More information can be found at enzokcmo.com.

SL: The Spanish Octopus was a must try for me. Octopus can be very difficult to work with, but in the right hands, incredible flavors can be created. The Blu Hwy chefs did not disappoint. Crispy outside skin with tender, juicy meat laid on a bed of mashed English peas, crunchy sweet hazelnuts, spicy Fresno chilies, and a simple lemon vinaigrette were crafted with knowledgeable hands. The English peas were the perfect textural and flavor complement to the bold octopus, chilies, and tart vinaigrette.

EL: So whatever plans your summer holds, we hope you add a visit to Blu Hwy to your list, and take a journey through their menu without leaving the city limits.

Blu Hwy, located in the South Plaza area at 5070 Main Street in Kansas City, is open Monday through Friday for lunch, happy hour, and dinner, and Saturday and Sunday for brunch, happy hour, and dinner. More information and reservations can be found at BluHwy.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Emily and Stewart Lane are Kansas City natives who have an affection for hospitality. Stewart, a former executive chef, makes his career in business development and loves to cook for friends and family; Emily is a communications strategist with an arts background. Along with their daughters, Evie and Catharine, they live a life filled with food, culture, and creativity.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Emily and Stewart Lane are Kansas City natives who have an affection for hospitality. Stewart, a former executive chef, makes his career with SMG and loves to cook for friends and family, and Emily is a marketing communications manager with an arts background. Along with their daughters, Evie and Catharine, they live a life filled with food, culture, and creativity.

18 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023
20 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SUMMER 2022
Warm woods, worn leather, and textured fabrics span the bar, dining room, and outdoor patio at Blu Hwy.
The only home that matters is yours. • Over 18 years of real estate sales experience in both residential and land • Consistent top negotiator and top listing price • Top 112 Kansas City Realtors out of 13,000 per Top Producer Magazine sold business January through August, 2022 • Licensed in both Kansas and Missouri Success in the Business The Jodie Brethour Group is a team of real estate agents affiliated with Compass Realty Group a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Jodie Brethour REALTOR® M: 913.908.3922 | O: 913.382.6711 jodie.brethour@compass.com

MASERATI GRECALE Maserati’s Newest SUV Paves the Road for the Future.

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AUTOMOTIVE words and photos by TOM STRONGMAN
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Last year’s introduction of Maserati’s MC20 sports car marked the reinvention of this storied Italian brand and now comes its newest SUV, the Grecale, a vehicle whose design marries sportiness with elegance and challenges similar vehicles in its segment. The name Grecale means a north-easterly Mediterranean wind, and true to the name, the vehicle is a breath of fresh air for this historic Italian brand. Maserati says this new SUV is the forerunner of an entire family of cars whose identity and innovation have a genetic link to the MC20. Utility vehicles continue to gain popularity because they offer an upright seating position, cargo flexibility, and all-weather versatility. Grecale slots into Maserati’s lineup beneath the Levante SUV, whose name also comes from a Mediterranean wind. The Grecale’s 114inch wheelbase is comparable to competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, and the Porsche Macan, although the cabin seems to be slightly larger. The trunk is deep, there is a cargo box under the flat floor, and the rear seat folds down for additional cargo space.

There are three models: GT, Modena, and Trofeo. Prices begin at $63,400 for the GT and $72,900 for the Modena. Pricing for the Trofeo, that arrives later in the year, will start at $102,500. I drove a Modena with the Premium Plus package of ventilated front seats, 14way power seats, heated rear seats, trizone climate control, heated steering wheel, and premium Sonus faber sound system. Its sticker price was $82,197.

The GT and Modena share a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter, mild hybrid four-cylinder. The GT has 296 horsepower and the Modena has 325. The Trofeo, when it gets here, will have a 3.0-liter V-6 with 523 horsepower. Allwheel drive and an eight-speed transmission are standard on all models. An all-electric Grecale named Folgore will be forthcoming, as well.

For all but the most serious enthusiasts, the four-cylinder is more than adequate. It zips to 60 miles per hour in

5.3 or 5.0 seconds, depending on the model, and both have top track speeds of 149 mph. Acceleration is brisk and accompanied by a throaty, but not overly loud, exhaust. This is an Italian car, remember, and sound is an important part of the car’s personality. Select Sport setting with the dial on the steering wheel and the Grecale tingles with anticipation, anxious to show off its energetic personality at a moment’s notice.

The four-cylinder’s mild hybrid system consists of a 48-volt battery and Belt-Starter Generator (BSG), e-Booster, and a DC/AC converter. The BSG functions as an alternator to charge the 48-volt battery and that, in turn, powers the e-Booster fitted to the engine. The beauty of this system is both improved performance and fuel economy. An electric compressor adds lowspeed boost before the turbocharger can spin up additional horsepower.

The Start/Stop button is located on the steering like a race car, as is the knob for selecting one of the three drive modes. Comfort is the default mode, intended for everyday use with a softer ride, easier steering, and a shift program meant for maximum efficiency. GT bumps up the throttle sensitivity for slightly more vigorous acceleration, and Sport is the most fun of all, because it not only opens the exhaust valves for maximum sound and performance but also lowers the suspension by roughly half and inch. Steering input is sharper and gear changes are snappier, as well.

The Grecale’s Italian heritage is obvious once you step inside. The choice of materials is both stylish and upscale. The car I drove had a red interior that might sound gaudy but was, in fact, quite appealing. Attention to detail, such as the laser-cut metal grilles for the new Sonus faber sound system’s speakers, or the chrome-plated finish of the central air vents, and digital smart watch atop the dash reflect modern design with classic style. The top level of the Sonus faber system contains 21 speakers and 3D sound.

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fine-tune the aerodynamics and arrive at a chassis that has a curb weight of just over 3,300 pounds.

The carbon-fiber chassis makes use of underbody aerodynamics that help keep the top of the car sleek and sensual with rounded contours that echo classic design. The nose contains a grille that is recognizably Maserati complete with the Trident emblem.

car, with functionality and visibility paramount.” The central tunnel is clad with carbon fiber and only carries the switches that are necessary.

Two 12.3-inch touchscreens, one for the instrument cluster and one for navigation and various displays, dominate the instrument panel. A smaller, 8.8-inch screen set below the center screen contains controls for almost all vehicle functions such as climate, lights, defrost, and the like. Gear selection is done by large flat buttons in between the two center console screens, and while buttons are increasingly becoming standard for shifting, it takes a bit of adjusting to the lack of a shift lever on the console or steering column. After a few minutes behind the wheel, the buttons become second nature. The same can be said for using the center screen to turn on the headlights, seat heaters, and adjusting cabin airflow.

Upward-opening “butterfly” doors pivot forward to so the driver and passenger can get into the cabin with a minimum of interference. The cabin is understated, and driver focused. The interior shapes are simple, with few sharp corners and the upholstery and interior materials are black to prevent reflections on the steep sloping windscreen. Plus, black lends a feeling of understated elegance. There are two LCD screens in the instrument panel, one in front of the driver for gauges and one in the center above the console. Maserati emphasizes that “everything is laid out just like the cockpit of a racing

The benefit of not having a central shift lever means the console

Maserati and Sabelt collaborated on the design and creation of the MC20 seats. A composite structural shell, equipped with power adjustments and lumbar system, represents the essence of the MC20 project: sportiveness at a high quality and performance level.

between the seats has large storage compartments, cupholders, and a mobile phone charging area.

The MC20’s Sonus faber audio embodies the translation of its name, “handmade sound” that illustrates how both brands desire to pair innovative technologies and skillful craftsmanship.

Committing the MC20 to production is a bold statement from Maserati about how it sees itself, both today and in the future when an all-electric version will be available. That forward vision is necessary for a company that has such a long and storied history.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be configured for up to five user profiles. Each person can build a profile with their personal details, including music preferences and vehicle operation functions. The system also links other vehicle settings to the driver’s profile, such as temperature and seat/mirror positioning. Voice control of on-board functions prevents driver distraction. The navigation system displays real-time traffic information as well as map updates.

The Grecale points the way to Maserati’s future product line and is evidence that Mediterranean breezes will continue to bring good fortune.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR / PHOTOGRAPHER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR / PHOTOGRAPHER

Tom Strongman has a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri and was formerly the director of photography and then the automotive editor of The Kansas City Star. Tom, a member of the Missouri Press Association Photojournalism Hall of Fame, has written about and photographed cars for more than three decades.

Tom Strongman has a degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri and was formerly the director of photography and then the automotive editor of The Kansas City Star. Tom, a member of the Missouri Press Association Photojournalism Hall of Fame, has written about and photographed cars for more than three decades.

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porschekansascity.com 913-677-3300 Merriam, KS 66203 9400 West 65th Street Porsche Kansas City

Neutral with a Side of Pastel.

attire HALLS (as noted)

attire ALYSA RENE(as noted)

jewelry MAZZARESE

glasses EYE STYLE

creative director KATHRYN CREEL

makeup CARO BENITEZ, Caro Benitez Makeup Studio

hair color, cut and styling LANCE DAVIS, The Comb Company

makeup assistant ALLIE JASMINSKI

styling assistant MADDIE FREYRE

photography assistant BLAKE BOWERS

model AMANDA of I & I Agency, LLC

photos ALISON BARNES MARTIN | fashion director AMANI SKALACKI
FASHION
attire HALLS
attire HALLS
attire ALYSA RENE
attire HALLS
attire HALLS
attire HALLS
attire HALLS
attire ALYSA RENE
attire ALYSA RENE
attire HALLS

Since the 2017 inception of Today Kansas City, a professional, beautiful fashion section has been at the core of this publication. At the heart of this section is a group of incredibly talented people who serve at the forefront of style, design, and composition, as well as hair and makeup artistry. In this issue, as we turn seven years old, it is my honor to showcase this group of professionals, who, in my eyes, are the best Kansas City has to offer.

Amani Skalacki

FASHION DIRECTOR

Amani is a fashion, prop, and set stylist extraordinaire. She is a pivotal member to the fashion team, and her talents have graced our covers since 2017. Find her on instagram @amani.styleKC

Kathryn Creel

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Kathryn has been with Today Kansas City since designing the flagship issue in 2017. She brings the team's talents to life "on the page" with her creative direction and beautiful layouts.

Alison

Barnes Martin PHOTOGRAPHER

Alison joined the team in 2022 and the expertise she brings to Today Kansas City is fresh, technically insightful and cutting edge. Find her on Instagram @alibarmar or alibarmar.com

Caro Benitez, Caro Benitez Studio MAKEUP ARTIST

Caro's artistry not only lights up our models, but she brings her glowing personality to every shoot. Find her on instagram @carobenitez or at carobenitezmakeupstudio.com

Lance Davis, The Comb Company HAIRSTYLIST

Lance's natural talent for hairstyling and grooming is as illuminating as his natural locks of gold. Find him on instagram @goldilox1239 or at thecombcompany.com

MEET THE FASHION TEAM SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 37

Value, style, versatility and power wonderfully together

When good things come together, that’s Tiguan, Atlas and Taos. Within sophisticated and thoughtful designs, you get sharp all-around SUVs that’s just about as wonderful as utility gets. Designed to fit your life, the Volkswagen SUVs are confidently stylish and impressively versatile. With modern looks, solid build, and cargo capacity they all have a lot of good things under one roof.

Come to Volkswagen of Topeka and experience the SUV lineup for yourself.

Vokswagen of Topeka 3030 S. Kansas Avenue | Topeka, Kansas | 785.266.8480 | VWTOPEKA.COM

By George.

One of Kansas City’s best designers believes firmly in the highest level of design for reaching clientele.

George Terbovich lives on a quiet street in a white house that is big enough but not grand in size. His shop and interior design studio are nearby, and those buildings are also white, big enough but not grand in size. But while George, his house, and his shop do not shout, they exude a quiet confidence. They have presence. None are overly boisterous or loud, but they vibrate with a low and steady energy that engages with originality, creativity, and design integrity. Knowing him and his world is a bit like having the secret knock that allows you in, to watch and listen as creativity flows.

George began his career in design at the former Hall’s on the Plaza as director and buyer for the gallery of folk art, literally before the flood. But his design sensibility was formed long before at his grandparents’ house in Lexington, Missouri.

“My mother said I was mischievous at birth,” he says. “But what I was, was curious. I was up every morning before dawn because I really wanted to get on with it. By the time I could ride a bicycle, I was gone – exploring anywhere.”

On these explorations, which often resulted in bringing home a new pet for which his mother was less enthusiastic than he, he remembers being very aware of his surroundings.

“Both the natural environment and the design environment,” he says. “I learned a lot from my mother’s home, which was lovely and comfortable, but my creativity emanates from my childhood and my grandmother’s house.”

He says the house was playpen for him, his brother, and his sister.

“It had a great balustrade that we slid down. The walls of my sister’s room were white with red stars. It may sound horrible, but it was just wonderful.”

In college he studied abroad in Spain and worked for a short time at the United States Embassy. His original plan was to go into the foreign service. While studying political science in college, he started working in the retail division at Hall’s department store part time. His role eventually expanded.

“The job afforded me a lot of opportunities. The department was an offshoot of Mr. [Donald] Hall’s personal efforts to support the People to People pavilion at the World’s Fair in Flushing, New York. He hired Carl Fox, who was a well-known ethnographic curator at the Brooklyn Museum, to select pieces for the pavilion. It was largely children’s art from around the world.”

Terbovich’s role with the organization expanded, and he began working on the design for Crown Center Real Estate.

“We were shopping in New York with dealers who carried kilims, East Indian fabrics, Polish rugs, and weavings, that were gaining popularity on the East Coast.”

In 1984, close friends asked Terbovich to help with their design of a rural Johnson County residence that they had purchased.

“It was sited on the highest point in Johnson County. It had an incredible view. You could see all the way downtown. It was in the style of a Spanish hacienda, and I was able to shop and fabricate architectural elements in Mexico.”

INTERIOR DESIGN by PATRICIA O'DELL
SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 41

While he hadn’t designed for other people before, he trusted his experience and his instinct.

“I didn’t have a formal training in design, but I have a built-in radar for proportion. And I can look at a floor plan and see it three dimensionally.”

In addition, Terbovich is well educated and aware of design history and architecture, which are the foundation of where he begins. He’s committed to timeless interiors. It’s likely that if pictures of this first commission existed, they would still hold up today. His talent and experience have allowed him to build a thriving international practice that has weathered several economic downturns. As he moves toward retirement, his longtime associate, Lucy Mayor, has taken the reins at George Terbovich, Inc.

The pair are in agreement that a well-designed home requires the homeowner to put in the time and effort to make it his or her own.

“I’m a firm believer that that everyone has a style,” Terbovich says. “They may not know it and they may need

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“I think I was experimenting on myself, which is better than experimenting with clients,” she says. “But in the last few years, I’ve changed out the rug to something simpler and replaced the pillows with ones that have texture rather than color.”

She says the change has delivered a new sense of calm in the room.

“Maybe, in my case, with raising children and working all day, what I want to come home to is something that’s relaxing, welcoming, and peaceful.”

In addition to the calming effect, Schmidt thinks neutral backgrounds provide a lot of flexibility, as well.

“We have a client whose whole house is neutral, but she has a very colorful art collection and accessories that she changes in different seasons. A neutral background allows her to add personality on a whim without a big commitment. I’d rather the artwork and other textures attract attention rather than the palette of the room itself,” Schmidt says.

While the neutrals of decades past might have led homeowners to forbid red wine in the living room, Schmidt notes that today’s textiles offer wearability even in rooms that withstand a lot of use and traffic.

“When it comes to lighter-colored materials, we use a lot of natural materials like wool, which repels and cleans very well. When my children were young, we had a light-colored wool sofa, and I had it cleaned once and never had an issue. It just repelled stains.”

some help defining it. That’s what designers do. We spend time with the person and listen. Everyone says that they do this, but often the result is a rubber stamp of the designer’s specific style.”

Schmidt also appreciates the evolution of outdoor fabrics that have a soft hand.

“They’re not the plastic-y, scratchy material of the past,” she notes.

Terbovich says he does not follow many steadfast rules, but one is firm.

“You have to remember that you do not live there. A home has to have an emotional core. It should reflect that the person has put in enough time and effort to make it theirs. It sounds simplistic, but it’s not. If you leave your soul – your design soul – outside the door, it will never be yours.”

But surely some clients need coaxing?

“I may coax if I really believe something is right, but it’s a collaboration. It’s important to give the client room to ask questions. Ultimately, they decide.”

Beyond that, Terbovich has only one rule.

If there is any “bling” in Schmidt’s rooms it usually appears in light fixtures or the texture of tile.

“Someone might not think of tile around a fireplace that is neutral and matte as ‘bling,’, but it has a nice, chiseled stone face to it. You may notice the simplicity of a room, but the artwork, light fixtures, accents – such as the pillows – and the objects on the tables add a lot of interest.”

“The one thing – if there is one thing – that motivates me, is a lack of pretense. If you are making choices based on other people – whether it’s for a photoshoot or to impress other people –you can never extract that from the equation. That’s America’s greatest contribution to the world of design – a lack of pretention and a commitment to comfort.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patricia O’Dell started the lifestyle blog “Mrs. Blandings” in 2007. Her curiosity led her to write about designers, artists, business owners, and industry leaders. She’s been published in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Chicago Tribune, Flower magazine, Kansas City Spaces, and The Kansas City Star, as well as archdigest.com and elledecor.com.

Patricia O’Dell started the lifestyle blog “Mrs. Blandings” in 2007. Her curiosity led her to write about designers, artists, business owners, and industry leaders. She’s been published in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Chicago Tribune, Flower magazine, Kansas City Spaces, and The Kansas City Star, as well as archdigest.com and elledecor.com.

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The Golden Scoop.

Overland Park ice cream shop The Golden Scoop opened in April 2021 to a line wrapped all the way around the block. Customers were there not just for the sweet treats but for the company’s mission – providing people with developmental disabilities meaningful work. The concept started as a conversation between Amber Schreiber, Kansas City native and president and CEO of The Golden Scoop, and her sister, Lindsay Krumbholz. Krumbholz had been working as an in-home therapist for individuals with disabilities. The parents and caretakers of these families would ask questions like, “What’s going to happen when we pass? Is my child going to have a meaningful job? How will they be taken care of?”

The two sisters took it upon themselves to address these uncertainties. Krumbholz researched and found a coffee shop on the East Coast and an ice cream store in Dallas, both of which employed people with disabilities. Schreiber worked out the business plan, drawing on her background in project management and business analytics. The two opened The Golden Scoop.

“It was a very emotional time, and we went through a lot of highs and lows,” Schreiber recalls. “We would get up at 3 a.m. and not close the shop until 11 p.m., but it was totally worth it.”

Schreiber and Krumbholz felt a connection to their community. When deciding how to begin their mission, they originally

48 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023 NONPROFIT by MATT LANCASTER

considered franchising, like the Howdy Homemade Ice Cream business they had researched. Eventually, they decided to build something themselves.

“Kansas City is so loyal to local businesses that we thought, We can do this on our own – we can make it happen organically and naturally,” Schreiber explains. “And it is totally worth it for the employees and for the community – coming out of COVID-19, it’s a place for customers to come and get that dose of happiness amidst the negativity and division.” She was surprised to see the wide variety of people coming to the store (“demographics all across the spectrum, where everybody has a sense of belonging

and acceptance,” to hear her tell it), and the business just keeps growing.

Every one of The Golden Scoop’s employees, or super scoopers, lives with a developmental disability. The store started with 21 employees and boasts an 80-percent retention rate, largely because of the supports in place for the scoopers. The six managers of the store hold registered behavior technician certifications, are students or graduates in occupational therapy, or are retired kindergarten teachers with degrees in special education.

“They are amazing,” Schreiber says, “and they are challenging our employees every day to try new things and take risks.”

SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 49

For instance, Ian – an “author of seriously silly literature for children,” according to his title on the website – had an interest in creative writing and web design. With the help of his mentors, he put together The Golden Scoop’s website.

Though the menu started with eight flavors, The Golden Scoop now offers 13 at the time of writing, including dairy-free vanilla, which Schreiber is quick to point out. Each month, one super scooper is selected to designate a flavor of the month, and he or she even helps with the marketing campaign.

The Golden Scoop has been wildly successful in providing delicious local ice cream, supporting individuals with disabilities, and bringing people together. But there are big plans on the horizon. Schreiber identifies several initiatives beginning this year, including sponsorship opportunities, partnerships, and working more with other local businesses and organizations.

For instance, Schreiber’s team is currently talking through a partnership with The University of Kansas Health System about hiring additional super scoopers to make and serve the ice cream within

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their hospitals. “It gets back to integration and collaboration,” Schreiber explains. While she had initially looked at selling The Golden Scoop’s product in retail spaces, she realized that there are a wealth of existing business and facilities to plug in to. “I don’t think there’s any city like Kansas City where people come together.”

The most challenging thing that Schreiber’s organization faces is the number of people with disabilities who need work. “There are roughly 250,000 adults with disabilities just in Kansas City,” she says, “and we have a waiting list of more than 35 people wanting to work.”

The Golden Scoop’s leadership is hopeful. Through capital contributions, sponsorship, partnering with existing resources, businesses, facilities, and schools (not to mention Lindsay and Amber’s combined experience), Schreiber believes “these opportunities are going to allow us to scale and employ more people with disabilities.”

Schreiber, her team, and her crew of super scoopers have learned a lot and enjoyed much success over the past two years. But, as she says, “we have a lot of work to do.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Though originally from a small town outside of Kansas City, Kansas, Matt Lancaster lives in Lawrence with his wife, son, dog, and cats, where he works as a program director for the University of Kansas School of Business.

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Keep Hunger and Thirst at Bay in the City by the Bay.

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San Francisco, long considered the cultural and financial center of Northern California, is so much more than the tech hub it’s painted to be in the media. Yes, you’re much more likely to witness riders stepping into an autonomous vehicle in SF – and the majority of people you’ll meet will likely work in a job that didn’t exist a decade ago – but at its heart, the city is teeming with unbelievable views, unforgettable eats, and an unmistakable energy that’ll make you consider booking that late flight home.

The entire city and its 815,000 inhabitants occupy a seven-milewide, seven-mile-tall peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, known colloquially as “The Bay.” This comparatively small scale (Kansas City, MO, for instance, is seven times larger than San Francisco by land area) makes SF the second most densely populated city in the country. Lucky for you, that means it’s feasible to see much of the city in a single visit – but doing so requires a bit of advance planning.

Getting your bearings before you touch down is always beneficial for uninitiated visitors. San Francisco has plenty of walkable neighborhoods, but it’s also home to two of the steepest streets found anywhere, including Bradford Street in Bernal Heights (which boasts a whopping 41-percent grade) and the famed zigzagging Lombard Street in The Presidio, known as “the crookedest

street in the world,” featuring eight hairpin turns in a single block. Suffice it to say that, unless you plan ahead, your calves might be feeling it the next morning.

In keeping with this “know before you go” mentality, we’re going to start north and work our way south outlining four neighborhoods and districts you should put on your list before heading to the City by the Bay.

MARINA DISTRICT AND THE PRESIDIO

A visit to San Francisco isn’t complete without getting up close and personal with arguably the most recognizable bridge in the world: the Golden Gate Bridge. Start your trip in the Marina District – Union Street and Chestnut Street both boast a number of excellent options for brunch (try Rose’s Cafe or The Brixton), shopping or a quick coffee, or head south from the Marina to Fillmore Street for a wide range of upscale dining (check out Noosh or Troya for some memorable Mediterranian eats) and boutique shopping. Don’t forget to stop into Jane’s on Fillmore for housemade baked goods and a cup of fair-trade coffee.

Once you’ve filled your cup and your stomach, head up the hill to Broadway Street in Pacific Heights for some impressively walkable and gawkable neighborhoods. Known locally as

SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 57

“Billionaire’s Row,” the three-block stretch between Divisadero and Lyon Street is home to some of the most impressive (and expensive) residential real estate in the country.

From there, continue your walk through Presidio Heights or Cow Hollow, or take the Lyon Street Steps down 332 steps into The Presidio, a 1,500-acre former military post turned park, which is home to several beaches, a golf course, the century-old Palace of Fine Arts, and large concrete fortifications leftover from as early as 1891. The history of this remarkable corner of San Francisco is significantly older than that, even: Spanish settlers began fortifying the foothold as early as 1776. From there, you can complete your walk back to The Marina – past the yacht harbor and onto the sprawling lawn at the park at Fort Mason toward the bridge for some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge that SF has to offer.

NORTH BEACH AND CHINATOWN

A short walk south of the Marina and the nearby, more tourist-laden Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach is the historic heart of San Francisco’s Italian population, with an eclectic mix of white tablecloth eateries, wine bars, trendy cafes, and bohemian bars. In North Beach, you’ll find old-school Italian restaurants like Fior d’Italia, which, having served patrons since 1886, is considered to be the oldest Italian restaurant in the United States.

Much like New York City, San Francisco’s Chinatown is located immediately to the south of its “Little Italy,” and makes for one of the most memorable walks in the city. China Live has an extensive menu and an electric atmosphere. Located in a back alley, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory makes for a fun pitstop (be sure to write your own fortunes!). And there are too many dim sum and dumpling spots to name here, but suffice it to say that if you leave Chinatown hungry, you’re doing it wrong. But if you’re still looking for some grub in the neighborhood, take a short walk from Chinatown to Del Popolo, which has been firing up some of the best Neapolitan-style pizzas for over a decade.

HAIGHT-ASHBURY AND GOLDEN GATE PARK

For many, San Francisco is perhaps best known for its role in the counterculture movement of the 1960s and subsequent “hippie” communities in the 1970s. The neighborhood most widely credited with this reputation is the Haight-Ashbury district in Central San Francisco. Here, you’ll find a lively, grungy, and eclectic hodgepodge of vintage clothing stores, dive bars, and record shops. You’ll also find some of the most colorful and well-preserved Victorian architecture in this neighborhood, and a well-rounded assortment of sandwich shops (check out Bite Me Sandwiches), vegan eateries (try VeganBurg SF), and authentic global restaurants (choose from Parada 22 or Hippie Thai Street Food) to curb your appetite.

Immediately to the west of Haight-Ashbury lies Golden Gate Park, a three-mile-long, more than 1,000-acre park stretching from the University of San Francisco campus to the Pacific Ocean. Often compared to New York’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park is

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home to a Japanese Tea Garden, the famed de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, a disc golf course, an 11-acre bison paddock, a polo field, a golf course, and two giant Dutch windmills facing out to the Pacific. A walk or a drive west through this incredible urban park will culminate at Ocean Beach, where daytime hikers make the pilgrimage north to the Lands End Lookout and nighttime beachgoers gather around firepits illuminating the 3.5-mile long stretch of sand.

For visitors with a car at their disposal, a short drive south down the coast will take you to Fort Funston, yet another former harbor defense and artillery battery turned park. Fort Funston is perched hundreds of feet above the water, making it a well-known launch spot for San Francisco’s hang-gliding community – a fun spectator sport from up on the cliffs or below on the beach.

THE MISSION DISTRICT

Moving south of San Francisco’s financial district and Market Street, the Mission District has long served as the center of the city’s Mexican-American community. Known for its vibrant food scene, beautiful parks, historical architecture, and progressive art community, The Mission is considered to be the oldest neighborhood in SF. And in a city well-known for its “microclimates” – an anomaly where different neighborhoods will have vastly different weather caused by ocean air, thick tendrils of fog, and man-made wind tunnels – The Mission is definitely the place to be for people who enjoy warm weather.

The undisputed gem of The Mission is Delores Park, a foursquare-block, 16-acre park built into a hill with a beautiful view of the San Francisco skyline. Perfect for late afternoon picnics, consider stopping by the nearby Fort Point Valencia location for a six-pack of locally brewed Kölsch and Tartine Bakery for SF’s most sought-after sandwiches and pastries (or Pancho Villa Taqueria for a famed Mission-style burrito). Then climb your final hill of the weekend, crack a cold one, and toast to a trip well-traveled in the City by the Bay.

ABOUT THE WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER

Anna Petrow and Patrick Mulvihill call Kansas City home, but they have been known to find themselves off the beaten path. Born and raised in Kansas City, Anna is a culinary and lifestyle photographer with a knack for letting her camera lens guide her travels. Patrick is a writer, an enthusiastic travel companion, and a proud St. Louis native who uses each new trip as an excuse to eat five meals a day.

60 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023

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Assess Your Resilience.

The way we have each managed and navigated the two, almost three, years of the pandemic is an important way to measure resilience – your ability to “snap back,” often the way media describes it – and you likely know it’s more complex than that.

There are countless suggestions defining and assessing resilience, some as simple as “get a grip!” A more thorough way for you to reflect on how you genuinely think and feel you are doing your own self-analysis.

To be both reflective and thorough, consider that resilience has four components.

SPRING 2023 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | 63 HEALTH by DR. LINDA MOORE

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Imagine time away where reflection is the primary objective – with a journal and pen close by for recording thoughts and feelings. Writing with pen on paper creates a valuable connection to the brain. However, if you feel better with a laptop, go for it.

For a simple start, a first step if you’ve never tried meditation, is simple breathing exercises. The most simple, and you might try it now, just as an experiment, is the following exercise: Breathe in to the count of four, hold your breath to the count of seven and release very slowly to the count of eight … release through pursed lips, like preparing to whistle. Repeat this four times. Then do it again. And take a minute to pay attention to how you feel.

You may confirm doing exactly what you are doing is great; and you may reflect on new things, options for going forward, or something right in between. It’s simply finding your own renewed sense of direction. And if you discover all you need is to stare at the water, mountains, or woods and rest somewhere other than the comfort of your home, own it. Meditation can simply affirm we are on the right path. Or, it can open hearts, minds, eyes, to something new, slightly new, or dramatically different. Meditation, retreating, allows whatever to surface.

While aware that many of you have resumed more and more regular activities with work and play, many others have not; and even as I am writing this, I’m conscious that there are, once again, suggestions that we be as cautious with our choices as possible.

Regardless of how you’ve handled your responses to health challenges, your resilience has been challenged. Perhaps one basic question is this: have your reactions been consistent or have you felt significant mood swings? The important aspect of this “resilience check” is permission to identify your feelings, whatever they may be. And I’d include your reactions to these ideas and questions. Some might be annoying!

Meditation techniques range from simple breathing exercises like this to silent repetition of a mantra (a word or phrase) to listening to guided instructions for deep relaxation and resting the mind.

Resilience is essential. It’s necessary. And finding both strengths and challenges is the important aspect of the “evaluation process.” Search for both your weaknesses and your strengths. Identify the behaviors, the conversations, the individuals, the choices that have sustained you and strengthened your resilience, and those that have challenged and even, perhaps, weakened your ability to respond in the ways you might have done so historically.

Meditation also helps with healing. Far too many have experienced tragic loss during this difficult time and both emotional and physical healing is needed. Understanding what you think, feel, want, and need is important to determine what changes are both desirable and possible. The more you reflect, meditate, and write about what you think and feel, the more clarity you’ll achieve. The challenge is to make these two difficult years have a positive outcome when and where possible.

You may feel you have been consistent, engaging in good selfcare and wise decision making; or you may, instead, see a pattern of wide-ranging reactions to both external and internal changes.

To what end? When the mind is allowed to truly quiet down … especially when applied after long term, persistent stress … feelings and thoughts emerge that are truly helpful to each of us as we contemplate where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we want to venture forward today and in the future.

My world consists of examining and helping with the problems people experience; and, consequently, it seems important to acknowledge how difficult, and often painful, life has been for many people. And, thus, the question of resilience.

My personal easy getaway is Timber Creek, a quite elegant retreat center an hour drive from Kansas City. The website, timbercreekretreat.org, has information for options across the country. My wish is for you to take good care of yourself, recognizing the past two years have been a challenge that we are still trying to accurately evaluate.

Look for things you want to change, to improve, or to simply continue and strengthen. Examine in the four areas you assess both successes and failures. Then consider what actions you might take to 1) maintain strengths and 2) build strength/skills in areas you see as challenges. And if it feels even slightly “annoying” to think you have to pay attention to even one more thing, know that’s a pretty typical and normal feeling I encounter these days. Primarily, know you deserve good self-care and to have life on a healthy and RESILIENT track. And, as always, if you need information or resources, let me know.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Linda Moore has been in practice in the Kansas City area for over 25 years and is a published author on personal and family issues.

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Resilience is essential. It’s necessary. And finding both strengths and challenges is the important aspect of the “evaluation process.”
Perhaps one basic question is this: have your reactions been consistent or have you felt significant mood swings?
66 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SUMMER 2022 HEALTH
Look for things you want to change, to improve, or to simply continue and strengthen. Then consider what actions you might take.
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68 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023

What If Puppets?

“Cirque du Wiener Dog” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like “Cirque du Soleil,” but the dog show itself still enchants audiences. Kansas City’s What If Puppets knows how to wow a crowd.

Think you haven’t heard of What If Puppets? You have. But it’s still better known by its founding name: Paul Mesner Puppet Theater. The organization adopted the new name in Summer 2022 while keeping its mission – and aesthetic – pretty much intact, zany wiener dog antics and all.

The continuity was largely due to who took the torch from Mesner when he retired in 2016 after 39 years putting Kansas City on the national puppet map. Mike Horner, creator of the wiener dog circus, had been the lead puppeteer with the company since 2006.

Horner says, “I became artistic director, but we didn’t have an executive director. And I know how to make puppets and put on puppet shows, but I don’t know how to run a business.”

He says he and education director Alex Espy did a little “muddling through,” though business stayed strong. In December 2019, Meghann Henry came on board as the executive artistic director, just in time for the pandemic.

Henry’s area of expertise is theater for young audiences. She spent years at the Coterie Theatre, bringing the arts to the NorthEast Branch of the Kansas City Public Library as a youth services librarian and building a social-emotional learning theater program in Denver called Mirror Image Arts.

“I learned about the needs here for Mesner Puppet Theater and was like, you know, that sounds like a really cool next challenge,” Henry says.

And it was lucky that she had the background she did in light of the upheaval their core audience faced shortly after she took the position. COVID-19 robbed children of the stability of daily in-person interactions with teachers and peers and predictable schedules. So, the What If team asked educators, librarians, and youth social workers to help determine what would benefit young audiences in the current climate.

According to the website, what they found was a “need for learning through play and arts integration strategies to support the social-emotional development of 0-8 year olds coupled with a call for innovative ways for the very young and their parents to access professional arts as a form of family engagement.”

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KC ORIGINALS words by ANNE KNIGGENDORF

As was the case during Mesner’s tenure, What If still has touring shows, executed by Horner and Meredith Wolfe – about 140 per year. He’s touring with his wiener dogs right now.

But the education arm of the puppet biz has grown to 147 classroom sessions monthly, up from 19. School shows are interactive workshops facilitated by a five-person team that focus on helping teachers understand how they can use the arts in the classroom. The team visits the same classrooms for nine months each year.

Henry explains, “It’s a program that supports teacher professional development through the ways we’re working with kids to help them explore their emotions and understand themselves better through puppets.”

The current mission is nearly the same as Mesner’s original mission to inspire young audiences, just slightly more specific: To inspire play and cultivate connections through puppetry.

When the company decided to rebrand, they needed a name reflective of both their goals and their beefed up programming.

Henry says that they knew for sure they wanted to find a name that was inclusive of the multiple and diverse group of voices involved in their creative process. So, no longer the name of a single person.

Similarly, because the company has a national presence, which it will continue to grow, it didn’t want a place-rooted name.

Then one day, Henry and Horner were chatting.

“I was like, everything we do starts with ‘what if,’” Henry recalls.

70 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023
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Makes 1 cocktail

2 oz Mean Mule Agave Gin

1 ½ oz POM 100% pomegranate juice

½ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

¾ oz simple syrup

1 egg white

1 oz soda water

Garnish with rosemary sprig

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botanicals in about 100 combinations before they found a recipe.

What they landed on does include juniper – for legal purposes – but also white peppercorn, cardamom, lemon zest, coriander, and, mostly strikingly, persimmon.

make persimmon jelly,” Meg says.

Moving forward, the Evanses plan to add another agricultural element to their business: growing their own agave. They’ve purchased 40 acres in Arizona and will plant this coming December, though, Jeff says, it’ll be nearly seven years before they’ll be able to harvest and distill their crop.

“We’re always like, ‘Oh, what if the puppet was created out of these materials?’ Or in Alex’s programs in education, we say to the kids, ‘Guys, what if we were all aliens moving in space? What would our bodies look like?’”

“We had an enormous persimmon tree on our property,” Meg says about her childhood home near Hermann, Missouri.

concerned about entertainment value, is the dogs’ trainer. The dogs put on a magic show and perform some daring acrobatic feats. They even tame a wild beast – a large housecat puppet.

What If Puppets seemed just right.

She says they wanted to bring in elements from their farm and heritage and even experimented with cornhusks and other things that grew all around them.

Meg says the goal is to be a single-estate manufacturer. “Every part of the process of being single estate is important. So, single estate means from dirt to bottle, it is all on us.”

What if we took an old trope and made it new for a touring show, Horner might have asked at the start of his process. Yes, the old circus variety show trope, this time with wiener dogs. Horner, who often acts as a one-man-band and is quite

“Then the big finale is the tightrope of terror, which is the three wiener dogs riding a unicycle down the tightrope, which I then toss up into the air and catch them with one hand,” Horner says. “That’s the big ta-da.”

“Persimmon just really came out with something that we loved and have good memories around. Grandma used to

If it takes off, theirs will be the first large-scale agave farm in the United States, which sounds not only like great bragging rights for Mean Mule, but for Kansas City.

If anyone in Kansas City knows how to produce a big ta-da, it’s What If Puppets.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Kniggendorf is a staff writer/editor at the Kansas City Public Library. She's the author of Secret Kansas City and Kansas City Scavenger, and a freelance writer for various local and national publications. Visit her website: annekniggendorf.com.

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72 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023
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Music, Dance, Art, Drama, and the Occasional Sword Fight.

Six million children! That’s how many kids Kansas City Young Audiences (KCYA) have served in more than 60 years. Since 2009, Martin English has been executive director.

WHAT IS THE MISSION OF KCYA?

I’m passionate about students getting the opportunity to experience a wide array of the arts but also to help teachers integrate the arts into what they do every day. Showing a fourth-grade science teacher how to help students understand the water cycle through movement or weather patterns through dance. Doing that makes the material stickier. Some students really connect with being able to get up, to move, to act it out, to write a scene. Great stuff like that!

For example, one teaching artist worked with second graders who were learning phases of the moon. He took an old Bob Dylan song, and they worked on the lyrics together about the phases of the moon. They learned it and performed it for the first graders and the kindergarteners. I guarantee you that a lot of those students will always remember that song and the phases of the moon.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM TO KEEP ALL OF THIS ALIVE?

About 50 percent of our funding is contributed, and 50 percent is earned through school programs and various classes we teach here in

76 | TODAY KANSAS CITY |SPRING 2023
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our space on Main Street. Pre-pandemic we were reaching over 100-thousand students in around 20 school districts from Topeka to St. Joe to KC to Springfield. We are working our way back to those numbers.

YOU HAD A SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS AN ACTOR BEFORE COMING TO KCYA, AT THE REP AND THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND, AND MANY OTHER VENUES. WERE YOU THE KID PUTTING ON A SHOW IN THE LIVING ROOM?

I enjoyed it from the time I was very small. I did a lot of church musicals and plays growing up. In junior high I wanted to be a lawyer. Then, in high school, I took a drama class, did some scene work, and got a couple plays. That’s when the theater bug bit me.

YOU ALSO SERVED AS ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR FOR THE KANSAS CITY RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL.

It is a totally different animal. There are doctors, lawyers, dentists, out there on site being completely different characters. This is who they are for eight weeks, and you’d never know it. What a great thing!

I also do fight choreography. Every year I do the fights for the Shakespeare Festival. It’s like dance choreography. You learn a whole bunch of basic moves, this cut, that parry. Then, you mix them up, put them together and you’ve created a fight. For me, it’s about getting the actors so well prepared that it’s second nature and they don’t have to think about the fight. They can act.

In college I had this fantasy that I’d be walking home from rehearsal and get to my vehicle when somebody jumps out with a

78 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SPRING 2023
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You started here as the pandemic was really taking hold. That must have presented special challenges right from the start.

There was an opportunity even during the pandemic. It makes me think of the seasons. We need the winter because there are things happening beneath the soil. Things being seeded that will burst when the spring comes. I think that happened with the pandemic. There was a lot of opportunity to grow, to incubate. In fact, we opened up our Jazz Incubator for the musician community, which had a tough time in the pandemic, a space for them to come in, play, learn, and get resources.

switchblade and says, “Give me all your money.” I’d reach into my car, pull out a broadsword, and say, “I see your six inches and raise you thirty-two.”

What role does the American Jazz Museum play in keeping this important music alive?

This is a hybrid institution. We’ve got the museum element for daily visitors to come in and learn about the history; but we also have a working jazz club in the Blue Room, and we’ve got the Gem Theater across the street. We shepherd them into an experience where they can really see and feel the effects of being in a live environment.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SEE A CREATIVE LIGHT GO ON FOR A CHILD WHO MAY NEVER HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY BEFORE?

Twenty-five years ago, I was a teaching artist here. I was getting two girls and a boy that we had chosen at random from the assembly ready to do a scene from “Little House on the Prairie.” I had about 45 seconds to do that. I was putting the bonnets on the girls and the boy kept grabbing my shirt saying, “Hey, Mister!” I said, “Just a second, please.” But he wouldn’t stop. I turned

I’ve always been at the intersection of arts education, of nonprofit business, and of culture. I live in this matrix. It really allows me to work hard and play hard at the same time. I love what I do and, you know, our staff loves what we all do. It’s a work of passion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

It has been a quarter of century since the American Jazz Museum opened its doors. I know you have so much planned starting with the “In The Yard” celebration the weekend before the August 29th birthday of Charlie Parker. Then, in September, a beautiful new exhibit honoring 25 years at 18th and Vine. But, you are always looking forward, to the next 25.

to him and said, “What?” The boy said, “Thank you for picking me.” It was an epiphany. This is the kid who never gets chosen for anything and this was his big moment.

Recently, a couple kids were doing a scene with a teaching artist, and he looked over and saw a teacher in tears. He sidled up and asked if everything was okay. The teacher pointed at the stage and said, “You see that kid right there? He hasn’t said a word all semester.” There he was on stage performing.

It’s important for us to continue to anchor the neighborhood. Our community depends on that. This was a vision that was started 25 years ago but it’s got to grow. It’s got to grow in a way that’s authentic and genuine. I think it’s really a wonderful opportunity.

People need to come here and really understand the roots of this town. What’s in the soil. What’s in the sidewalks. Appreciate the authentic and genuine culture that contributed to much of Kansas City history. Eighteenth and Vine. The American Jazz Museum. It’s the heartbeat of the city.

What we’re doing is so important. Communication. Collaboration. Cooperation. Problem solving. Things that employers are looking for. Our young people may never play the violin or perform on stage, but the skills we’re giving them will help them in whatever they do in life.

Joel Nichols has been interviewing fascinating people from Kansas City and around the nation for 35 years. Today, he does freelance work for a number of area organizations, as well as emcee events in our town. Please, visit Joel Nichols Communications, online.

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76 | TODAY KANSAS CITY | SUMMER 2022 INTERVIEW
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