Celebrate the spirit of the season in Downtown KC

Celebration at the Station returns to Union Station on Sunday evening for a spectacular celebration of music and fireworks outside of Union Station.

The annual Celebration at the Station is the theme of a celebratory week ahead Downtown from Monday to Sunday, May 21-27 – including:

Celebration at the Station – The Kansas City Symphony’s 16th annual patriotic concert event – set to begin at 8 p.m. Sunday – is the largest FREE Memorial Day weekend festival in the Midwest! From a moving Symphony concert to the city’s grandest fireworks display, nothing celebrates our military and veterans quite like Bank of America Celebration at the Station. Make it an all-day family affair with pre-concert musical acts, food trucks, Lee Jeans Family Zone, the Honeywell Veterans Place with services for veterans, plus activities inside Union Station and the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The event site opens at 3 p.m., and the concert begins at 8 p.m. Sunday (rain or shine).

Crossroads KC will be dancing to the beat of two shows this week, including:

  • Free Fridays concert will feature Elton Dan with Doves and Dreams beginning at 7 p.m. Friday; and
  • Day Lit, Vol. 1 featuring Donell Jones, Case, Levell and Asa Barnes starting at 8 p.m. Sunday

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – a whopping 15 shows this week, including the M80’s with The Instamatics at 8:30 p.m. Friday; Found A Job (Talking Heads tribute) at 10 p.m. Saturday; and American Aquarium with Cory Branan at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Midland will be smokin’ with back-to-back show this weekend, including Slander with Eptic + Whipped Cream at 8 p.m. Friday and Banda Los Recoditos at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Power & Light District gets its early summer groove on this week with two blow-out events, including:

  • Pitch Taste of Kansas City – Attention foodies!! Witness six of KC’s most talented chefs as they battle for the Gold Fork! Sample KC’s best restaurants & try some of the best mixed drinks & micro brewed beers our city has to offer beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday in the KC Live! Block.
  • Tiki Party – The perfect time of year to hang loose, and let out a big howl, has finally arrived! Come chill at Howl at the Moon’s Tiki Party on Sunday, featuring favorite tropical drinks and the sunniest crowd of the year.

Legendary singer/songwriter James Taylor and his All-Star Band are coming to Sprint Center on Tuesday for one intimate and memorable night.

Sprint Center will be sizzling this week with two all-time favorites, including James Taylor & His All-Star Band at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and Poison with Cheap Trick and Pop Evil at 7 p.m. Friday.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings laughs at its new joint at 831 Walnut. Comedian Sean Brennan will headline the 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Friday and Saturday. And, Sundays feature an Open Mic beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with one concert this week, featuring Wolf Parade with special guests Japandroids and Andrian Teacher & The Subs beginning at 8 p.m. Monday.

‘The Lion King’ is showing now through Sunday at the Music Hall.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature three productions this week, including:

  • The Lion King – winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 1998 – runs through Sunday at the Music Hall. Click here for ticket information.
  • Skylight – One of playwright David Hare’s finer works, Skylight has won both the Olivier Award for best play and a Tony Award for Best Revival. This performance by Kansas City Actors Theatre will run through June 10 at City Stage at Union Station.
  • Welcome to Fear City – In this electrifying and original story, a South Bronx boy searches for his poetic voice and wrestles with his identity. His neighborhood fights to survive following the 1977 blackout that rattled New York City and jump-started the hip-hop revolution. Presented by the KC Rep as part of the Origin KC: New Works Festival, Fear City runs through Sunday at the Copaken Stage.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

Art in the Loop 2018 summer music series to begin on May 30

Art in the Loop will launch its 2018 summer music series beginning next Wednesday, May 30. A wide array of diverse, local musicians will play their eclectic sounds around Downtown Kansas City throughout the summer.

West Terrace Park:

Spend your lunch break enjoying music in a relaxing outdoor setting. The following musicians will play in the park, located at 8th and Pennsylvania from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesdays, unless otherwise noted:

KC Streetcar:

What’s better than riding the KC Streetcar? How about listening to local musicians play some sweet jams on the way to your destination? Local musicians will play interesting and diverse music on the streetcar and at various stops along the way. Find the music from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, unless otherwise noted. Specific locations will be announced.

Kansas City Public Library Central Library:

The library is not generally where you find noise, but Kansas City’s Downtown library, located at 14 W. 10th St., is so cool they are encouraging live music to be performed in their stacks. During Art Starts at the Library on First Fridays (5:30-7:30 p.m.) you can listen to interesting and worldly music while simultaneously discovering a new book!

For more information about the project, the artists and performance schedule visit www.artintheloop.com, www.facebook.com/artintheloop, or twitter.com/ArtintheLoop.

Rehab work on Buck O’Neil Bridge to begin Saturday

Rehabilitation work on the Buck O’Neil Bridge is scheduled to begin on Saturday! And, the southbound lanes of Route 169 across the Buck O’Neil/Broadway Bridge will be CLOSED to all traffic through Dec. 1, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation

Suggested detours include:

  • Southbound traffic on Route 169 and I-29 will be directed to Southbound I-35 and across the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
  • Traffic entering onto Southbound Route 69 south of I-29 will be directed to Southbound Route 9 and across The Heart of America Bridge.
  • A single lane of Route 169 will remain open south of Route 9 to allow access to the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.  All traffic using this lane will be forced off of Southbound Route 169 at the Richards Road exit.

The northbound lanes of Route 169 will remain open across the bridge through the entire length of the project.

The Buck O’Neil Bridge is more than 60 years old and sees on average of about 40,000 vehicles each work day. Crews will be working to repair cables, railing and expansion joints on the structure.  The overall project should be completed by December 2018.

For more details, go to http://www.modot.org/kansascity/major_projects/Buck_ONeil_bridge.htm

For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, visit the website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.

From Bluegrass to Margaritaville, Downtown has it all this week

Bluegrass in the Bottoms returns to Knuckleheads Outdoors this weekend in the East Bottoms.

From Bluegrass in the Bottoms to Jimmy Buffett in Margaritaville; from Peter Pan in Neverland to The Lion King at Music Hall the week ahead looks like poster for Downtown cool from Monday to Sunday, May 14-20 – including:

Bluegrass in the Bottoms returns to the East Bottoms on Friday and Saturday nights with some of the hottest names in bluegrass music lighting up Knuckleheads Outdoors. Featured artists include Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, Keller Williams, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival and many more acts.

Crossroads KC gets the party started this weekend with Bronco and special guests 5to OLEA and DJ Skandaloso beginning at 8 p.m. Friday at Grinders.

Folly Theater will feature pianist Yefim Bronfmanwho has been described by The New York Times “…as a pianist with comprehensive skills who can seemingly play anything…”, in a Friends of Chamber Music performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Jimmy Buffett will set sail for Margaritaville on Saturday when he brings his Son of a Son of a Sailor tour to the Sprint Center.

Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band will transform Downtown KC into Margaritaville for one-night-only during  his Son of a Son of a Sailor Tour at 8 p.m. Saturday at Sprint Center.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will be in the spotlight this week with nine performances, including:

  • Here Comes the Sun – A sold-out happy hour concert by the Kansas City Symphony. Cash bars open at 5 p.m. with a one-hour casual concert in Helzberg Hall beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Kansas City Ballet performs Peter Pan on Wednesday through Sunday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. See the Peter Pan listing below for more information.
  • United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Choir, Orchestra and Handbells will present an inspirational concert featuring sacred music, including Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, and patriotic favorites at 8 p.m. Friday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Kansas City Symphony Chorus will present a special afternoon performance of Duruflé’s Requiem, a soaring Gregorian chant-themed masterpiece, and other favorites at 3 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall. .

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features nine rockin’ shows this week, including Southern Culture on the Skids at 8 p.m. Wednesday; Walter Salas-Humara, Bob Walkenhorst and Howard Iceberg in the Gospel Lounge at 8 p.m. Thursday; and Bluegrass in the Bottoms beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday (see above for more on this special show.)

The Midland will be smokin’ hot with three shows this week, including Belanova & Moenia at 8 p.m. Thursday; MJ Live!, a Michael Jackson tribute concert, at 8 p.m. Saturday; and Magic Men Live at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Peter Pan – The Kansas City Ballet presents this classic adventure with six performances this week. Peter Pan makes its delightful Kansas City premiere with world premiere choreography by Artistic Director Devon Carney and a soaring score by Carmon DeLeone, performed live by the Kansas City SymphonyPeter continues his flight through Downtown will six performances this week, including the finale at 2 p.m. Sunday in Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center.

Power & Light District gets its early summer groove on this week with two blow-out events, including:

  • Downtown Hoedown featuring Randy Houser at 8 p.m. Thursday in the KC Live! Block;
  • Kansas City Parrot Fest – As a warm-up to the Jimmy Buffett concert on Saturday night at Sprint Center, the KC Live! Block will host Parrots, Pirates & Partying – a full day of live music, patio-hopping and lawn games beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Boat Drunks, Rick Lamb & The Phin Addicts and Glen Mock & The Tropical Dreamers perform live starting at 1 p.m. This all-day festival is free to attend.

Sol y Flor – A collaboration between the Mexican marimba quartet Sol de Chiapas and Mireya Ramos, leader of the Latin Grammy-winning mariachi group, Flor de Toloache will light up Downtown for two performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at MTH Theater at Crown Center.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with four concerts this week, including Jimmy Eat World with The Hotelier at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; The Struts featuring The Glorious Sons at 8:30 p.m. Thursday; Joey Bada$$ with Buddy, Boogie, Chuck Strangers at 8 p.m. Friday; and Satyricon with Goatwhore featuring Bleed the Victim and Night Creation at 8 p.m. Saturday.

‘The Lion King’ is showing now through May 27 at the Music Hall.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature two productions this week, including:

  • Jack and the Bean Magico! The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s rich and fertile land. This special production runs through Sunday at The Coterie in Crown Center.
  • The Lion King – winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 1998 – returns to Kansas City beginning Wednesday at the Music Hall. The Theater League production will include 23 shows and will run until May 27. Click here for ticket information.
  • Welcome to Fear City – In this electrifying and original story, a South Bronx boy searches for his poetic voice and wrestles with his identity. His neighborhood fights to survive following the 1977 blackout that rattled New York City and jump-started the hip-hop revolution. Presented by the KC Rep as part of the Origin KC: New Works Festival, Fear City runs through next Sunday, May 27 at the Copaken Stage.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

U.S. Poet Laureate to speak at Central Library on Friday

The U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in 2012, will visit Downtown Kansas City on Friday evening to present a free program at the Central Library.

An Evening with Tracy K. Smith will begin at 6 p.m. Friday. There’s a certain poetry to Tracy K. Smith talking about poetry. Click here to RSVP.

“I feel like a poem draws us, draws me, into a quieter space, a decibel level that sits below the register of the media that we live with,” she said shortly after being named the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States a little less than a year ago.

On the heels of the release of her latest book, Wade in the Water, Smith visits the Kansas City Public Library to discuss her life and poetry and read from her works. Director of the creative writing program at Princeton University, she also is the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light, and three previous books of poetry including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars.

O’Neil Bridge to begin short-term repairs on May 19

The Buck O’Neil Bridge will be partly closed for about six months for repairs. (Image from Missouri Department of Transportation)

By Kevin Collison, CityScene KC

Southbound traffic on the Buck O’Neill Bridge, a major link connecting the Northland and Downtown, is scheduled to shut down on Saturday, May 19 for a $7 million repair project.

Repair work to the former Broadway Bridge, which carries 44,000 vehicles daily on Route 169, is expected to be completed by Dec. 1. Northbound traffic will not be affected during construction.

The short-term repair project to the 62-year-old bridge will buy time for planning and building a replacement that would open in 2023, officials said at a recent press conference at the Mid-America Regional Council offices.

“This has been a tremendous partnership with the MIssouri Department of Transportation,” said City Manager Troy Schulte. “This is the first step in a multi-step process to build a brand, new bridge. This is a good day in Kansas City.”

The $7 million cost of the O’Neil Bridge repairs will be split evenly between the city and state. It will include repairs to expansion joints, cable replacements and a partial scour remediation.

During the repair project, one lane of Route 169 southbound will continue to allow access to the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport from the north, but no farther.

Suggested detours:

  • Southbound traffic on Route 169 and I-29 will be directed to Southbound I-35 and across the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
  • Traffic entering onto Southbound Route 69 south of I-29 will be directed to Southbound Route 9 and across The Heart of America Bridge.

The planned $200 million replacement bridge could directly connect U.S. 169 to I-35.

The project budget also includes $2 million for an environmental study that will lay the groundwork for what’s expected to be the construction of a $200 million replacement bridge.

Key capital funding for that larger project was recently approved by city voters in April.

The city is expected to pick up $40 million of the cost with another $60 million provided by regional federal transportation funding. MoDOT will contribute $100 million for the project.

Susan Barry, MoDOT assistant district engineer, said the environmental study would take about 1 1⁄2 years to complete. Following that, a decision will be made on a new bridge which would probably be completed in 2023.

The new bridge is expected directly connect U.S. 169 traffic with Interstate 35, eliminating the current awkward situation in the River Market where traffic must exit first on to Broadway a short distance before making the connection.

Barry said a new bridge would be designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. It also would complement proposed improvements to the North Loop freeway that are being considered in the Beyond the Loop study.

Schulte also said the city will continue to seek additional federal funding for the bridge replacement project to help reduce the local cost. The old bridge will be demolished when its replacement is completed.

This article appeared originally on the KCUR public radio website.

Don’t miss any Downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.

KC Streetcar tops 4 million passenger trips in 2 years

 

The KC Streetcar celebrated its second birthday on Sunday by simply doing its job.

Two years earlier, the Downtown KC Streetcar service opened to much fanfare after five years of planning, designing and construction. With four vehicles and 2.2 miles of route, the KC Streetcar completed 4,037,499 trips since opening day in 2016.

“In two short years, Downtown residents, employees, and visitors have embraced the KC Streetcar and have ridden at record numbers. The transformation of Downtown and the excitement its generated is nothing but remarkable,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of KC Streetcar Authority. “We thank Kansas City and greater Downtown, including our partners with the City of Kansas City and the KC Area Transportation Authority for the amazing support and believe the best is yet to come.”

During the first two years of service, the KC Streetcar traveled 257,840 miles and logged 32,550 vehicle hours. The KC Streetcar team (operations and maintenance) has 30 employees who keep the streetcar running 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In addition to providing free, reliable and efficient public transit, the KC Streetcar also supports local businesses, events and the arts community by supporting programs such as Art in the Loop, National Travel & Tourism Week, Downtown Dazzle, Techweek Kansas City, and more.

The KC Streetcar is not the only thing seeing an increase in numbers.  Downtown Kansas City is also booming. Since the Downtown streetcar project was approved by the voters, there has been more than $2.1 billion dollars invested in the Greater Downtown Kansas City area, with more than $1.1 billion still planned.  This includes residential, commercial, retail and hotel developments.  Other Downtown growth facts include:

  • 25,078 residents
  • 16,630 residential units (this includes multi-family and single-family homes)
  • 90,595 employees
  • 2,221 hotel rooms

“The KC Streetcar has continued to make a positive impact in the City Market,” said Deb Churchill, City Market property manager. “Our tenants saw an increase in sales the first year of service and the momentum has continued. The Streetcar has proven to be instrumental in creating a connectivity with Downtown and the Crossroads that we had been lacking for years.”

The KC Streetcar has made a difference for visitors, employees, businesses and residents.

“I work in the Crossroads Arts District and live in Columbus Park. Every day I walk from home to the City Market streetcar stop and take the streetcar to the Kauffman Center stop.  Having the streetcar has allowed my family to support public transit and become a one-car family,” said AJ Harbison, downtown resident.

Since streetcar service began, there has been at least 20 new businesses open along or near the Main Street route.

“We opened a year ago in the City Market and the KC Streetcar has been instrumental for our business,” said Robin Luther, owner of Hawthorne 109. “The streetcar connects our boutique to people who live and work Downtown with the convenience of having a stop at 5th & Main.”

As response to the demand in ridership, the KC Streetcar Authority ordered two more streetcar vehicles for the Downtown route.  Those vehicles should arrive in 2019.  Additionally, the KC Streetcar Authority, along with the City of Kansas City, the KC Area Transportation Authority and Port KC, are planning for future streetcar extensions north towards Berkley Riverfront as well as south to UMKC.

More information on both of those projects can be found on the KC Streetcar website.

‘Peter Pan’ lifts the A&E scene into the stars this week

The Kansas City Ballet production of the classic ‘Peter Pan’ opens this week at the Kauffman Center.

From Tiffany Haddish to ‘Peter Pan’, from the Downtown Open to the Plein Air KC artists’ competition, from ‘The Lion King’ to Jason Aldean, and from Bill Shapiro to Alan Cumming …  this promises to be an eclectic and inspiring week ahead – Monday to Sunday, May 7-13 – in the Downtown arts & entertainment scene, including:

Alan Cumming will present his ‘Legal Immigrant’ cabaret show at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Kauffman Center.

Alan Cumming – The Tony and Olivier award winner has been described by Time magazine as one of the most fun people in show business and by The New York Times as a “bawdy, counter-cultural spite.” He will perform his latest cabaret show Legal Immigrant, featuring songs and stories of the Scottish-born performer’s life and loves in his adopted U.S. homeland, where he’s been a citizen since 2008. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Art of Comicsan Andrews McMeel Universal retrospective of the creators and characters who shaped popular culture – is now on display through May 25 at The Box Gallery in the Commerce Arcade, 1000 Walnut. The free exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury to Calvin and Hobbes to the new frontier that of web comics.

Downtown Open is back and better than ever! Grab your friends & your glory as you ride the streetcar down Main Street, chipping off Kansas City’s landmarks & putting inside bars for this one of a kind Urban Golf Tournament! While you’ll find many of the amenities you’ve come to expect from a typical golf course, this will be anything but. Teeing off from rooftops, pitching from sidewalks and putting on street corners. No golf carts necessary as every hole is a short walk from the KC Streetcar stops. The fun begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. To register or for more information, visit kc-crew.com.

Family Fun Series kicks off a new season from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Power & Light District. The CAPES & CROWNS festival features character meet-and-greets, a Castle Moon Bounce, Super Hero Bounce House, a trackless train and more! Kids can meet and have their photos taken with their favorite super hero or princess! Admission to the event is FREE. Fees apply for premium activities.

Kelley Hunt will perform in the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Cyprus Avenue on Friday at the Folly Theater.

Folly Theater will celebrate the season this weekend with two special performances, including:

  • Tribute to Bill ShapiroAfter 40 years on the air, KCUR will be celebrate its final Cyprus Avenue LIVE! show with a special finale, featuring Kelley Hunt and her 9 piece ensemble. All the fun gets under way at 8 p.m. Friday.
  • Central Standard returns to the C. Stephen Metzler Hall for their spring A Cappella Concert, featuring Signature, at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features nine rockin’ shows this week, including two performances by The Mavericks / Seth Walker at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and a very special solo evening in the Garage with Raul Malo at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tiffany Haddish, who will perform before a sold-out Midland audience on Saturday night, is currently featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people on the planet.

The Midland will be smokin’ with three performances this week, including Disney Junior Dance Party at 6 p.m. Wednesday; Brian Culberson at 8 p.m. Friday; and comedienne and actress Tiffany Haddish pays a long-awaited visit to Kansas City in a sold-out show at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Peter Pan – The Kansas City Ballet presents this classic adventure over nine performances beginning Friday. Peter Pan makes its delightful Kansas City premiere with world premiere choreography by Artistic Director Devon Carney and a soaring score by Carmon DeLeone, performed live by the Kansas City SymphonyPeter begins his flight with three performances this week at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center.

The 5th Annual Plein Air KC artists competition continues this week with two outdoor Quick Paint events, plus the annual awards ceremony on Saturday.

Plein Air KC – One of Kansas City’s freshest artistic events continues in and around Union Hill this week. Plein Air is from the French term “open (in full) air”, so all paintings must be created outdoors. Plein Air KC will stage two more “Quick Paint” competitions this week, in which artists will have two hours to paint in a limited area, plus the annual awards ceremony on Saturday:

Rockin’ for Dreams – The Dream Factory of Kansas City will be rockin’ from 6-10 p.m. Friday in the KC Live! Block  with Poison Overdose, Revelation, Elton Dan & The Rocket Band, and KC/DC. Watch as they battle for the coveted trophy – all for a good cause!

Jason Aldean will use his concert at the Sprint Center this Thursday to kick off his national tour of 35 cities.

Sprint Center presents country superstar Jason Aldean this week, as he kicks off his national High Noon Neon Tour at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Special guests will include Luke Combs and Lauren Alaina.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings laughs at its new joint at 831 Walnut. Comedian Dennis Chanay will headline the 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Friday and Saturday.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with three performances this week, including Bishop Briggs with Matt Maeson at 8 p.m. Thursday; The Breeders with The Funs at 8 p.m. Friday; and Helmet with special guests Prong at 8 p.m. Sunday.

‘The Lion King’ returns to Downtown KC on Wednesday for 23 performances at the Music Hall.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature two productions this week, including:

  • Jack and the Bean Magico! The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s rich and fertile land. This special production runs through May 20 at The Coterie in Crown Center.
  • The Lion King – winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 1998 – returns to Kansas City beginning Wednesday at the Music Hall. The Theater League production will include 23 shows and will run until May 27. Click here for ticket information.
  • Welcome to Fear City – In this electrifying and original story, a South Bronx boy searches for his poetic voice and wrestles with his identity. His neighborhood fights to survive following the 1977 blackout that rattled New York City and jump-started the hip-hop revolution. Presented by the KC Rep as part of the Origin KC: New Works Festival, Fear City runs through May 27 at the Copaken Stage.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

Vote today for reStart – national competition for $65K grant

Ninety seconds of your time will make all the difference to Kansas City’s homeless youth, veterans and families.

reStart has been selected as a finalist – one of eight organizations nationally – for the coveted Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award. This year’s winner will be awarded $65,000 to commemorate Opus’ rich history and tradition that began 65 years ago. For their impactful work, the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.

reStart, of course, is a juggernaut in Downtown Kansas City. Its mission is to provide housing and services to homeless youth, families, men, and women to end homelessness in Downtown and the larger community.

But reStart needs our help to win the $65K grant – it currently ranks 4th in the balloting. Visit the Opus Foundation website, watch the reStart video, and then click the “vote” button under the reStart name:

http://bit.ly/2qUnTNV

You can vote once on each of your devices — phone, laptop, tablet, home computer, work computer — plus all of your family’s and friends’ devices, as well! Voting continues until 3 p.m. Friday (CDT), so don’t delay!

And, please share this message on your social media channels and with your friends, so we can reach as many people as possible. Thank you for helping us make an impact in our community!

Nourish KC celebrates serving Millionth Meal to homeless

Mayor Sly James congratulates the kitchen staff at NourishKC.

By Kevin Collison, CityScene KC

Eight years after opening in new space at Eighth and The Paseo, NourishKC celebrated serving its millionth meal to the homeless people of Downtown.

Mayor Sly James recognized their charitable work at an event last week, but also used the occasion to call out the broader issue of homelessness and growing economic disparity in the United States.

“I don’t want to celebrate the one millionth meal, there’s nothing to celebrate about serving a million meals to people who need food,” he said. “I want to celebrate you’re doing it.

“I think a better milestone will be when you serve your last meal. We’ve become too calloused in this country to those who are without. Those who are without are multiplying faster than those who have.”

The kitchen and dining room are on the lower level of the Downtown Community Services Center owned and operated by the Downtown Council. The upstairs is occupied by ReStart, an organization that provides housing services, healthcare and counseling to homeless people.

Two local TV stations also aired stories about the Millionth Meal. Take a look at KSHB TV-41 and FOX 4

Sean O’Byrne, vice president of the Downtown Council, said providing social services is part of the broader mission of the organization of Downtown property owners. The organization raised $1.3 million in 2008 to open the center.

“You can’t talk about economic development or a resurgence of Downtown until you address the issue of homelessness in a dignified manner,” O’Byrne said. “Our goal is, when you come for a meal you can come upstairs and talk to somebody about housing, see a doctor or talk to a counselor.”

NourishKC traces its roots to 1983 when it opened as a soup kitchen operated by what was then Episcopal Community Services in the basement of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral at 415 W. 13th St. The operation relocated to 750 Paseo Blvd. in 2010. Last year, Episcopal Family Services was renamed NourishKC.

The NourishKC facility is designed to resemble a comfortable bistro rather than an institutional soup kitchen. It also offers culinary training to help people find lasting jobs.

“Our mission is to build a food secure region,” said spokeswoman Victoria Cherrie.

Meals are served Mondays through Fridays from 7 to 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. An average of 150,000 people are served each month. And, the program is working to expand its funding base.

“In the past, we were largely funded by foundation grants,” Cherrie said. “We’re trying to build a platform of donors.”

Before his formal remarks, James enjoyed a tour of the NourishKC kitchen where he joked with several of the staff and praised their work.

“A lot of people don’t get the need for this,” he said “I’m glad you get it. You’re making sure people have food. People in need do strange things, sometimes bad things. To the extent you show they’re cared for…God bless you, that’s cool stuff.”

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Arts, Opera, Jazz, UMKC Finale, First Friday – Welcome to Downtown KC

‘The Barber of Seville’ will light up Downtown with three more side-splitting performances by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City this week at the Kauffman Center.

From The Barber of Seville to Audra McDonald; from First Friday festivities to the opening of Plein Air KC; from the International Jazz Day to the launch of Art in the Loop 2018; from the UMKC Finale to the KC Burlesque Festival ….  this promises to be an inspired first week of May – Monday to Sunday, April 30-May 6 – in the Downtown arts & entertainment scene, including:

Art in the Loop: KC Plays – The new season for Art in the Loop, a curated outdoor exhibition of 15 temporary works of art and performances in the greater Downtown area, will be launched at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Central Library. The kickoff event will feature a number of participating artists, dancers, musicians, and poets who take turns discussing their contributions. RSVP here.

The Art of Comicsan Andrews McMeel Universal retrospective of the creators and characters who shaped popular culture – is now on display through May 25 at The Box Gallery in the Commerce Arcade, 1000 Walnut. The free exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury to Calvin and Hobbes to the new frontier that of web comics.

The Barber of Seville – The Lyric Opera of Kansas City presents one of the funniest comedies of all time and, yes, it’s an opera. Check your powdered wigs at the door and stop by Seville for a Barber of a different color. The final three performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

Crossroads KC makes its seasonable return to the Kansas City outdoor concert scene this week with the debut of a new Free Fridays performance of the MGDs with DJ Diehard beginning at 7 p.m. Friday at the Grinders stage.

Kansas City Burlesque Festival returns for its 8th annual variety shows and competition at two Downtown locations on Friday and Saturday. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. Friday with Spectaculary Burlesque, followed by the Late Night Strut at the Opera House in the River Market. Next up, will be the Burlesque & Variety Extravaganza and the Classic Performer Competition beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater.

First Friday – KC’s coolest night of the spring – returns this Friday with a sizzling collection arts and cultural experiences throughout Downtown via the:

  • Crossroads Arts District featuring arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a wide variety of local businesses in a celebration of local, regional and national artists and live entertainment from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Crossroads on the Vine showcasing the annual art exhibition of students in the Crossroads Charter Schools from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the American Jazz Museum. The event will include a silent auction and raffle featuring works by parent artists. Student art will be available for purchase for $20.
  • First Fridays on the Vine – Celebrate the second anniversary of First Fridays at 18th & Vine by shopping local artists – including the Crossroads Charter School students (see above) and a diverse array of food trucks, along with a jazzy selection of live entertainment, beginning at 4 p.m.
  • First Friday Warehouse Weekends – one of the finest vintage marketplaces in the country – flourishes every First Friday weekend (Friday through Sunday) in the West Bottoms.

International Jazz Day on Monday, April 30 will be celebrated through the 18th & Vine Jazz District beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing until daybreak on Tuesday.

International Jazz Day – The American Jazz Museum and the Mutual Musicians Foundation are teaming up to present activities in honor of International Jazz Day beginning at 11 a.m. today (Monday) in the 18th & Vine Jazz District. A full day and night of tours, talk and sweet jazz will unfold throughout 18th & Vine before wrapping up with a late-night / early morning jam session featuring James Hathaway at the Foundation. For the complete, schedule visit the Swing, Bop and Beyond website.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will showcase eight breathtaking performances this week, including:

  • UMKC Finale, Conservatory Orchestra and Choirs, directed by Robert Olson and Robert Bode, respectively. The exciting program includes Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, with orchestra and choirs and Conservatory dancers. Stravinsky’s 1930 work was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Finale will unfold at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • National Geographic Live – As commander of the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Terry Virts shot more photographs than any astronaut who came before him. Many of those images were later used in the National Geographic book View From Above and IMAX film A Beautiful Planet, but to hear Virts tell it, no photo can capture the perfect shade of blue from a sunrise viewed from outer space. Virts will share his photographic gems at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
  • The Barber of Seville – one funniest comedies of all time – will be presented by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City this week with performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Kauffman Theatre.
  • Off the Wall: Pop Hits of the 80’s, performed by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and featuring music from Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and more music legends, is on tap for 8 p.m. Friday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Audra McDonald, – one of today’s most highly regarded performers with a record six Tony Awards, two Grammy® Awards, and a long list of other accolades – will be featured in this special one-night-only performance with the Kansas City Symphony at 8 p.m. Saturday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Surround Sound – The Kansas City Civic Orchestra’s season finale is the orchestra’s debut performance at the Kauffman Center. In its 59th consecutive season, KCCO remains dedicated to the mission of bringing high quality, free concerts to the community. This special performance is set for 3 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features nine rockin’ shows this week, including two nights of Merle Jam, featuring the likes of Jason D. Williams, Slim Hanson, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, the Nace Brothers and many more beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Midland will be smokin’ with three performances this week, including:

  • Anthony Jeselnik brings his original brand of comedy to the Big Town for one night only beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday;
  • Whose Live Anyway? The current cast members of the Emmy-nominated TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? present their new improv tour that features 90 minutes of hilarious improvised comedy and song all based on audience suggestions. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • Las Arpias – Following their successful tour in Mexico, the Las Arpias arrives in the U.S. to weave their spell. though a play that begins as a comedy, but evolves into a suspenseful story.  The ladies will get to work at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Plein Air KC – One of Kansas City’s freshest artistic event series gets under way this weekend, as the 5th annual Plein Air KC Competition prepares for a two-month stay in and around Union Hill and Union Station. Plein Air is from the French term “open (in full) air”, so all paintings must be created outdoors. No studio works are permitted in the competition. Plein Air KC will stage three “Quick Paint” competitions in which artists will have two hours to paint in a limited area. A winning piece will be chosen by the judges each evening of the competitions, which begin on Sunday evening in Roanoke Park. Two more competitions are set for next week in Penn Valley and Union Cemetery. For more information, visit the Plein Air KC and make plans to attend the opening night Artists’ Reception and VIP Party.

Martin Lawrence will serve as the ringmaster of a comedy all-star show on Friday at Sprint Center.

Sprint Center welcomes comedian, actor, director and producer Martin Lawrence in his return to the stage as the host of 2018’s hottest comedy event, featuring an amazing lineup of comedic talent, including Bruce Bruce, Jay Pharoah, Adele Givens and Benji Brown. Buckle up for laughs beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings laughs at its new joint at 831 Walnut. Comedian Adam Maxwell will headline the 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Friday and Saturday.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with four back-to-back performances this week, including Jonathan Davis of Korn with Champagne Campaign at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; As The Crow Flies featuring Chris Robinson, Marcus King, Audley Freed, Andy Hess, Adam McDougal, Tony Leone and Once & Future Band at 8 p.m. Wednesday; K.Flay before a sold-out audience with Yes You Are in a sold-out show at 8:30 p.m. Thursday; and Misterwives with Flor and Flint Eastwood at 8 p.m. Friday.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature two productions this week, including:

  • Jack and the Bean Magico! The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s rich and fertile land. This special production runs through May 20 at The Coterie in Crown Center.
  • Welcome to Fear City – In this electrifying and original story, a South Bronx boy searches for his poetic voice and wrestles with his identity. His neighborhood fights to survive following the 1977 blackout that rattled New York City and jump-started the hip-hop revolution. Presented by the KC Rep as part of the Origin KC: New Works Festival, Fear City runs through May 27 at the Copaken Stage.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

‘Barber of Seville’ grooms Downtown for a festive week

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City will open ‘The Barber of Seville’ on Saturday at the Kauffman Center.

From The Barber of Seville to Kevin Hart; from the SFJazz Collective to Weird Al; and from the UMKC Wind(s) to the Youth Symphony of KC …  this promises to be a thrilling week ahead – Monday to Sunday, April 23-29 – in the Downtown arts & entertainment scene, including:

The Art of Comicsan Andrews McMeel Universal retrospective of the creators and characters who shaped popular culture – is now on display through May 25 at The Box Gallery in the Commerce Arcade, 1000 Walnut. The free exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury to Calvin and Hobbes to the new frontier that is web comics, all through the lens of the company that resulted from that legendary partnership.

The Barber of Seville – The Lyric Opera of Kansas City presents one of the funniest comedies of all time and, yes, it’s an opera. Check your powdered wigs at the door and stop by Seville for a Barber of a different color. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

The SFJazz Collective will pay tribute to Miles Davis on Friday at the Folly Theater.

Folly Theater will be soaring with five performances this week, including:

  • UMKC Wind Symphony, directed by Stephen D. Davis, will perform music by Higdon and Elgar beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
  • UMKC Wind Ensembledirected by Joseph Parisi, will perform music by five composers – including Bozza, Higdon, Milhaud, King-Smith and Wilson – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
  • SFJazz Music Collective, an all-star ensemble comprising eight of the finest performer/composers at work in jazz today, will pay tribute to trumpeter, composer and innovator Miles Davis beginning at 8 p.m. Friday. A JazzTalk program with Bob McWilliams will open the evening at 7 p.m.
  • Julia Bullock, soprano in recital, will perform in a free Discovery Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday. The New York Times heralded Bullock is “poised for a significant career.” The charismatic soprano has been lighting up stages around the world, performing vocal repertoire from Schubert to Broadway.
  • ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic will present his “ridiculously self-indulgent, ill-advised vanity tour” with special guest Emo Philips before a sold-out audience at 8 p.m. Sunday. Who could ask for anything more?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic returns to the Big Town for a sold out show at the Folly Theater on Saturday.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will showcase five performances this week, including:

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 11 rockin’ shows this week, including the Grand Marquis CD release party with Victor and Penny, and Brandon & The Condition at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and Valentine & The Knights – Valentine’s Birthday Bash featuring four bands starting at 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Midland will be smokin’ hot with three shows this week, including Lord Huron with Liz Cooper and The Stampede at 8 p.m. Wednesday; Vance Joy with lovelytheband at 7:30 p.m. Friday; and Maks, Val & Peta live on tour at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Sprint Center welcomes Kevin Hart – of the hottest comedians, entertainers and actors – back to Downtown KC for his Irresponsible Tour at 7 p.m. Friday.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings laughs at its new joint at 831 Walnut. Comedienne Maeret Lemons will headline the 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus late shows on Friday and Saturday.

The Truman will be bouncing the east Crossroads with back-to-back performances this weekend, including Marian Hill with Michl at 8 p.m. Friday, and Franz Ferdinand with Priests at 8 p.m. Saturday.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature four productions this week, including:

  • Belfast Girls – presented by Fishtank Theatre and the Charlotte Street Foundation – tells the powerful Jaki McCarrick story of five young women who seek passage on a ship to Australia to escaping the Irish famine in 1850. Performances continue through Sunday at La Esquina.
  • Jack and the Bean Magico! The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s rich and fertile land. This special production opens Tuesday and runs through May 20 at The Coterie in Crown Center.
  • The Mascot, a satirically comic coming-of-age story about an obsessive father, a starry-eyed son, and the drama that ensues when a father’s pursuit of his unfulfilled aspirations torpedo the dream of his son, runs through Sunday at The Living Room Theatre.
  • Welcome to Fear City – In this electrifying and original story, a South Bronx boy searches for his poetic voice and wrestles with his identity. His neighborhood fights to survive following the 1977 blackout that rattled New York City and jump-started the hip-hop revolution. Presented by the KC Rep as part of the Origin KC: New Works Festival, Fear City opens Saturday and continues through May 27 at the Copaken Stage.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com