How I Really Feel about Being a Single Mother on Mother’s Day and Every Other Day of the Year
This post about my Mother’s Day in 2017 is clearly long overdue. But you know how the saying goes … Better late than never. Here is how I really feel about being a single mother on Mother’s Day.
*Sidenote: This post features the opinions of a woman who, at this point in life, only has five years of experience with raising one girl. Just in case you feel that makes a difference in what I’m going to write.
This past Mother’s Day was my first one as an official single mother. I didn’t wake up to breakfast in bed or a bouquet of flowers. That’s because my daughter isn’t old enough to cook by herself and I no longer have a husband to make those things happen. Yet it was fabulous, none the less. I had a wonderful opportunity to simply relax and enjoy quality one on one time with my daughter. It was awesome! We did absolutely nothing except lounge around the house all day.
But what about your Mother’s Day brunch!? Well since you asked… “Brunch” consisted of a delicious mix of “Let’s see what we can come up with from the fridge”. The truth is this was my favorite Mother’s Day so far. There were no expectations, no agenda for the day, no pressure. I loved it!
Society has placed a grossly false stereotype on single motherhood. (More specifically, single black motherhood). We aren’t all surviving on welfare with six kids in the projects while our baby daddy is locked up. That is just a plain wrong viewpoint to put on all single black mothers. I know that is true for a small percentage but it’s not my story.
God has truly blessed me to have a mindset of gratitude. Although it isn’t easy to maintain especially when I see so much of what could be considered greener grass. When I first became single I was envious of the friends whose marriages and families were still holding together. At times I felt that there was something wrong with me for not sticking it out. And of course I worried about the effects of Lily growing up with divorced parents. I mean, come on, Christians don’t get divorced!!!
Fast forward to now when I’m in a place where I have come to terms with my marriage ending. Yes, there was something wrong with me; with Terry; with our friends; with the world. That something is sin. I could have stayed but I didn’t. We were two sinful people who wouldn’t step out of the comfort of our selfishness to allow God to orchestrate the structure of our marriage.
So here I am, a single mother.
Let’s go back to God blessing me with a mindset of gratitude. I love my life! I love that God moves through and all around me everyday to constantly show me all that I have to be grateful for. The most important being my daughter. I know it sounds unbelievable but being a mother (and a single mother) is fun. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I love my child.
Not that raising Lily is a slice of cherry pie a la mode. Motherhood requires much of me on a daily basis. Loving my child means I actively stay present in her life. It means that I allow her the space to grow as an individual with a strong personality, feelings, and opinions. It means that I guide and discipline her with compassion and understanding.
Discipline usually isn’t associated with compassion but that’s what it is. To let a child live in an environment where they don’t receive proper structure and direction is reckless. Children need to be taught how to function as upstanding citizens in the world. At times these lessons are not easy to teach. Occasionally I find myself irritated or upset because Lily behaved in such a way that warranted correction when I really just wanted her to “be good” so she wouldn’t get in trouble. In reality what I’m saying is Lily’s undesirable behavior is an inconvenience to my wishes for her to always be pleasant and obedient.
Unrealistic standards for anyone! Much more so for a five year old. She’s an imperfect person. Inevitably she will not follow my directions. She will break something when I told her not to touch it. She will throw a fit because I said she couldn’t watch tv. She will have to be told repeatedly to pick up her toys. And I will have to deal with each situation accordingly. That is my job as a parent. I would be doing Lily a grave disservice to overlook or ignore times when she needed correction because I just didn’t want to deal with doling out consequences. Being a good parent isn’t about I want it’s about what Lily needs.
Also, speaking of “discipline” that leads me to another stereotype for Black America.
Black people do love their children. We hug and kiss them, play with them, read to them, help them with their homework, take care of them. We don’t spend all day giving them spankings, whoopings, beatings or whatever you call it.
Ok… Back on topic… For me being a single mother means accepting, with joy, the responsibility of stewardship over my daughter’s life as she, God willing, grows into adulthood. How dare I not cherish every moment that God blesses me to have with her! Now pause to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re single or married, black or white, male or female, to make that lifestyle choice.
Choices. Isn’t that what it breaks down to? You as a person have the choice to live however you want. Just keep in mind there are rewards or consequences for everything. I choose to love my life. My single mother life.
Thank you so much for reading! If you liked this, there’s a whole lot more where it came from! Subscribe to the blog and stay connected to My City Adventures.
The Ultimate 2017 Guide to Having a Fabulous and Completely Free Summer in Kansas City
Whether you’re traveling to Kansas City on a budget or are simply looking for activities that won’t break the bank, you will love my Guide to Summer in KC! Some of the event listings are sponsored which means I received compensation for sharing them with you.
I love that I live in a city where I don’t have to spend a fortune on fun things to do. No matter the time of year, Kansas City has wallet friendly activities and events. But there’s just something magical about the summer! Warmer days, gorgeous nights, and for my family it is birthday season. Yep, we were all born in July or August. Except for my oddball sister who has a January birthday…
Summer is when most people start reaching deep into their piggy banks to splurge on vacations. Not me! Actually that’s a lie. God willing, I’ll be going on a few road trips this summer. More on that later. Even so, I take on this season with an extra challenge. How many free things to do can I find over the next three months? This year I’m sharing that list with you! You’ll be surprised at some of my finds.
The Ultimate Guide to Free Summer Events & Activities in Kansas City
Plaza Live! Courtyard Concerts – May through September
Live music from the best local and regional acts kicks off at the Country Club Plaza on May 4th. Plaza Live! features concerts in beautiful Plaza courtyards every Thursday 5 to 8 pm, Friday 4 to 7 pm, Saturday 2 to 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 3 pm. Concerts are held in Mermaid Courtyard near Michael Kors, Penguin Courtyard near J. Crew, and Valencia Courtyard near Banana Republic from May through the end of September.
Off the Wall Film Series – May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8
This year the Kansas City Public Library’s annual rooftop summer film series highlights quirky characters fighting the status quo. Bring blankets and folding chairs to the Rooftop Terrace of the Central Library for an evening of downtown KC skyline cinema. Enjoy popcorn courtesy of Friends of the Library and locally brewed ales and lagers from Kansas City Bier Company. Doors open at 8 pm, screenings start at 8:45 pm.
Hot Country Nights – June through mid August
Hot Country Nights presented by Q104 is a country concert series happening at the Kansas City Live Block every Thursday evening, all summer long! The party starts every week at 7 pm. Shows are open to all ages but anyone under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Must be over 21 to enter after 9 pm.
Dragon Boat Festival – June 10
The 13th annual Kansas City International Dragon Boat Festival brings the traditions of ancient China to Brush Creek on the Country Club Plaza on June 10th. Enjoy this event featuring 14 college and community boat racing teams, authentic musical and martial arts performances, children’s activities and the Bochi and Kona Ice food trucks. The eyes of the dragon are opened at 9:45 am when the races begin.
Juneteenth KC – June 10, June 17
Juneteenth is the annual commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The celebration kicks off in Kansas City with a parade down the historic 18th and Vine District on June 10th from 11 am to 1:30 pm. For the first year ever the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art joins JuneteenthKC in commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States. Activities at the museum include visual and literary arts, music, entertainment, and education on June 10th from 10 am to 4 pm. The Juneteenth Festival takes place at 18th and Vine on June 17th from noon to 8 pm. The festival features cultural activities, a kids zones, crafts, local music, and dance.
Sprint Family Fun Days – May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14
Bring your kids downtown for the Sprint Family Fun Series the second Saturday of each month, May – October. Enjoy a new theme filled with family fun and entertainment every time. Be a part of all the fun on social media by using #FamilyFunKC. Event is held on 14th Street and Walnut Street in the Kansas City Power & Light District from 10 am to 3 pm.
City Market Busker Festival – June 11
The City Market is known for its buskers (street performers who entertain for tips). They are an important part of the unique atmosphere at the City Market. On June 11th, 9 am to 1 pm, the City Market presents Busker Festival, a celebration of the street-style entertainment that’s fun for all ages. The Busker Festival will showcase uni-cycling, juggling, fire twirling, aerial arts, stilt walkers, dancers, comedy, hula hooping, circus acts, magicians and more. The City Market’s motto is “where the locals go,” and in keeping with that tradition, all performers are local to the area.
Urbana KC – June 11, June 25
This downtown street scene happens on select Sundays in June. A familiar city block is re-imagined without the traffic flow from cars. You can eat and drink under the stars, hear live music, see public art displays and share a uniquely Kansas City summer experience. It all takes place in the heart of the Power & Light District neighborhood from 4 to 8 pm.
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival – June 13 through July 2 (excluding Mondays)
Moral corruption, revenge, madness, murder – Hamlet runs the gamut of dysfunction. This year’s festival focuses on the villainy and abundant human frailty in perhaps the greatest of the Bard’s 38 plays. Activities for each night include an educational prologue to the play and performances from the KC Shakes teen apprentice troupe. The play begins at 7:30 pm. Enjoy your dinner, picnic style, with blankets and lawn chairs or buy food from nearby vendors.
Future Stages Festival – June 25
As an extension of the Kauffman Center’s Spotlight on Youth initiative, Future Stages Festival is a free, community event designed to celebrate the arts in Kansas City. This one-day festival showcases Kansas City’s diversity. It brings together visitors from all over the metro area to enjoy interactive arts activities and performances featuring more than 700 young artists.
Crown Center Weekenders – July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4
Cap off your work week with top local bands and favorite food trucks. Finish the evening with a famous flick under the stars at Crown Center Square. Festivities begin at 6 pm with the movie starting at approximately 9 pm.
Celebrate National Park and Recreation Month and KC Parks 125th anniversary with Kansas City’s Big Picnic. Kansas City Parks and Recreation join with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to host the biggest picnic the region has ever seen! The Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park and Theis Park will be linked to become a giant space for Kansas City to come together for an evening of fun activities from 4 to 8 pm. Pack your own picnic or grab dinner from an on-site food truck.
First Fridays – Monthly recurring event
On the first Friday of every month, the Crossroads and 18th & Vine districts come alive with hundreds of people there to enjoy works from local artists, buskers, street concerts, and more. Arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a variety of local businesses feature regional and national artists as well as live entertainment starting in the early evening.
Third Thursdays – Monthly recurring event
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosts third Thursday programs every month from 6 to 9 pm It’s your not-so-quiet night at the museum where art and local talents meet for a lively night of free entertainment. The night spotlights the wonderful musicians, community organizations and local businesses from the Kansas City area while drawing attention to the artwork, galleries and exhibitions at the museum.
Third Fridays – late Spring through mid Fall
The West 39th Street District takes summer up a notch on 3rd Fridays. Live acoustic musicians stretch all the way down West 39th, boutiques have extended hours, restaurants have special happy hours. It’s a great time to get out and explore the local atmosphere at a leisurely pace. Activities take place from 5:30 to 9:30 pm.
Phew, that’s a long list! I hope my guide gives you some fun ideas for summer. Also I mentioned earlier that I plan on hitting the road soon. And I’m taking my free loving spirit along when I do! Subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss any of my city adventures. Thank you for reading!
Charities that Represent the Things I Am Most Passionate About
I am passionate about three things. Food. Children. Adventures. Here is a list of my favorite charities that represent those three things. This post also has sponsored links. I hope you enjoy reading and will take the time to explore these charities further.
When I say I’m passionate about food, I don’t just mean eating it. Although, that’s where it started! I constantly advocate for people to learn just how easy and inexpensive it is to eat healthy foods. Whenever someone tells me how hard it is to afford quality foods I always recommend two places. The first is their local farmers market. The second is Thrive Market.
Thrive Market is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to members at wholesale prices. At 25-50% off retail, most Thrive members make back their $60 membership fee in savings within their first two orders. Their mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. That’s why, in addition to already affordable health foods and products, Thrive Market’s Spread the Health program donates a membership to low-income families, teachers, veterans, and students for every purchased membership. More than 23 million Americans today still live in “food deserts”—low-income neighborhoods without healthy food. This leads to low-income families resorting to buying food they know isn’t healthy just to make ends meet. The lack of access contributes to a number of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. By donating, you help food-insecure families stock up on wholesome pantry essentials and kick-start their journey to good health. Use my Thrive Market link to enjoy a 30 day free membership trial.
It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I realized just how awesome and amazing a privilege it is to raise a child. Children are capable of being the most intelligent, compassionate human beings. If we as their parents, teachers, and role models don’t hinder them from fulfilling their potential. Unbound and Show Me Shoes Foundation, both based in Kansas City, MO, are two charities that are on a mission to help children and the families that raise them.
Unbound is an international nonprofit bringing people together to challenge poverty in new and innovative ways. They deliver financial assistance to people in 19 countries. Each sponsorship directly benefits an individual and helps pay for education, skills training and livelihood programs. They believe families and communities can overcome the challenges that face them when we all work together. Unbound also creates opportunities right in my hometown of Kansas City, MO. Every week, Operation Breakthrough cares for more than 400 children. More than 20 percent of the children are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless — living in battered women’s or homeless shelters or transitional living programs in Kansas City. Unbound provides funding for mental health care for those kids and family services to help their parents give a better life. Unbound staff members also volunteer weekly by tutoring children at Chalet Manor public housing in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, KS. The Learning Club of KCK serves more than 100 children, focusing on homework help and enrichment activities. Unbound and the Learning Club of KCK share the goal of helping children who live in poverty meet their highest potential through one-on-one relationships.
Show Me Shoes Foundation launched when friends Anneka Maquay and Shiv’on Bullock shared a vision to inspire young girls to follow their dreams and to help build confidence from the “Sole”. Show Me Shoes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a goal to create a movement of confidence through self-love, mentors and sisterhood. Show Me Shoes has served young girls and women in chapters in Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, MO. With the support of volunteers and donations, they are able to make a difference by restoring strength and self-love through the “sole”.
When it comes to adventures the more unique they are the more I like them! I don’t just mean bungee jumping of a cliff or flying off top a getaway on the beach in Bali. Sometimes the most treasured explorations are to be had right where you call home. Social Heart provides a myriad of my kind of adventures all year-long.
Social Heart is a non-profit organization that is 100% volunteer managed. Their purpose is to create a better community by supporting all local charities in the Greater Kansas City area in uniquely impactful ways. Social Heart is helping to improve the city through creatively fun events, promotions, marketing, donations, and volunteer support. A few of their biggest events are the annual Mardi Gras celebration, Laugh Your Ass Off comedy show, and National Volunteer Appreciation Month. They also host monthly happy hours at a variety of local places. The best thing about Social Heart is that all funds raised go directly to the charities.
Thank you so much for reading! What are you most passionate about? What are some of your favorite charities? Leave a comment below.
10 Amazing Companies that Created Unique Sightseeing Tours in Kansas City
Maybe it’s that I love history. Learning about where things got started has always interested me. Lucky for me, where I live, there is plenty to learn and explore. Here are 10 amazing companies that created unique sightseeing tours in Kansas City.
1. American Jazz Museum Tour
Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through visual arts, interactive exhibitions, films, and performing arts. Public programming for all ages enliven the history and music at the center of the American Jazz Museum. The engaging Museum tours bring Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington to life. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for 65+, $6 for children 5-12. Discounts are available for groups of 25 or more. Tours are perfect for family reunions, corporate outings, networking events, and more. Call 816-474-8463 for scheduling.
2. Boulevard Brewing Company Tour
Founded in 1989, Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to become the largest specialty craft beer brewer in the Midwest. The brewery offers two options for tours of its factory. Enjoy free public one hour walking tours of the brewery, which close with samples in their Tasting Room. The entire day’s tickets become available at 10 am each day, and are on a first-come, first-served basis from the Tours & Rec Center Welcome Desk. Public tours are open to ages 6 and older and offered at regular intervals from 10 am to 4 pm. Thirsty for more? Then the Smokestack Tour & Tasting is for you. Join Boulevard for a two-hour experience including the tour plus guided food and beer pairings. Smokestack tours are available Sunday through Friday for guests 21 and older. Tickets are $25 per person and released online the first Monday of each month for the following month’s tours.
3. Chocology Tour
Chips Chocolate Factory, in Crown Center, makes more than 200 chocolate confections by hand including over 40 flavors of Kansas City fudge. Their Chocology tours are a unique experience where you learn the history of chocolate, where is it grown, how is it harvested, and how is it made. You’ll also watch the resident candy makers transform fresh ingredients into a loaf of smooth, creamy fudge. Scheduled group visits are between 10:30 am and 5 pm, excluding Tuesday and Sunday. The cost for the visit is $5.00 per person and includes a bag filled with yummy Chips Chocolate Factory goodies. Tours need a minimum of 10 people. Each visit lasts about 45 minutes. To schedule your group visit, call 816-421-0012.
4. The Gangster Tour
Kansas City was a favorite spot of the “old timers.” The Gangster Tour puts you hot on the trail of this city’s most notorious Goodfellas. But don’t make the guides twist your arm. Grab your chopper, hop on the bus, and you’ll spend 90 minutes immersed in a melodramatic look at mob homes and hangouts, turf wars and infamous crimes like the Union Station massacre. Tours are held every Saturday year round for $29 per person. Sorry kiddos, adults only. Dinner and a tour is also available for groups of 15 + at $69 per person. For reservations or ticket information call 816-471-1234.
5. Harley-Davidson Assembly Tour
Harley-Davidson has built a legacy of fulfilling dreams of personal freedom. Step into the process of that legacy with tours of the Vehicle and Powertrain Operations Factory. Two tour options feature a series of displays that guide you through the various manufacturing and assembly processes. Classic Factory Tour are free and offer people and small groups an intimate view of Harley-Davidson’s assembly line and fabrication areas. The Steel Toe Tour goes behind-the-scenes through areas previously unseen by the public. Tickets are $38 per person. This is the only Harley-Davidson factory tour where you will see a Harley-Davidson powertrain and vehicle assembled and brought to life. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed on the tours. Visit website for more information, including tour times.
6. Historic Kansas City Tour
Historic Kansas City is the only greater Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of the area’s heritage, neighborhoods and historic built environment. The Historic Kansas City Foundation offers a variety of walking tours featuring the diverse architecture and history of neighborhoods across Kansas City. Trained volunteers lead tours that last between 1 and 1.5 hours. Tour pricing is $10 per person. Members of Historic Kansas receive a 50% discount. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-931-8448, at least one week in advance, to schedule a tour date.
7. Kansas City Ballet Tour
The Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity is home to the Kansas City Ballet. Located at 500 W. Pershing in downtown Kansas City, the facility houses the professional company, Kansas City Ballet School, Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater, and Kansas City Ballet’s artistic and administrative staff. Kansas City Ballet invites you and your group to come see the company at work. Call to arrange a tour of the studios for groups of 10 or more people. The presentation includes information about productions in progress and you can take a peek at their professional dancers in rehearsal. You’ll also be able to see costumes in the making in their costume shop. For more information about tours, please contact 816.216.5583
8. Kansas City Fun Tours
A Kansas City Fun Tour is the best first thing to do in Kansas City. Get acquainted with popular sites, local favorites and hidden treasures that the city has to offer during their fully narrated 75 minute, 15 mile guided tour. Take the tour in style aboard an authentic trolley. Some of the things you’ll experience are art museums, fountains and statues, where to go for the best nightlife and live music, and great restaurants to enjoy cuisine from around the world. Scheduled tours are daily at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for children 12 and younger, $18 for 60+ and military, and $20 for adults. For scheduling book tickets online or call 816-500-5417.
9. The Roasterie Factory Café Tour
The Roasterie Factory Café goes to great lengths to bring you the best coffee in the world. Enjoy tours of the factory that gives you an up close look at their cupping, roasting and blending processes. You’ll learn about the history of the company, get a behind the scenes look at the factory, and experience a manual coffee brewing demonstration along with a Q&A. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for the 45 minutes long tours. The best day for a Roasterie Factory tour is Thursday. Public Cuppings (coffee tastings) are held on the first and third Thursday of the month. On these days, from 5 pm to 6 pm, you can sample a myriad of coffees from all over the world. One hour private tours are best for groups of 15 or more. Here’s a link to my last visit to the Roasterie Factory.
10. Taste of Kansas City Food Tours
Taste of Kansas City Food Tours started in 2012, becoming Kansas City’s first food and culinary tour company dedicated to helping visitors and Kansas City residents enjoy the best Kansas City food and cultural experience off-the-beaten-path. In addition to tasting deliciously crafted foods, participants will learn about the history, culture, and neighborhood entertainment offerings of the Crossroads Arts District. Whether through the Crossroads, Prohibition, Sunday Brunch, or on the KC Streetcar Line, any of the four Taste of Kansas City Tours are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Ticket pricing starts at $54 per person. Visit website for more tour information and schedule.
Which tour your favorite? Leave a comment. Thank you so much for reading!
The KC Foodie Club Takes on Kansas City Restaurants, One Forkful at a Time
What happens when you put some of Kansas City’s most passionate foodies together? The KC Foodie Club. That’s what! We are a group of locals who come together at restaurant tables across the city in pursuit of all things delicious.
Most appropriately, the foundation for the KC Foodie Club was set during the mother of all Kansas City culinary events. Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017. This year we did much more than good while dining out. The kick-off party for KCRW 2017 gave us KC Foodies a chance to actually meet face to face. Most of whom I personally had only been familiar with on Instagram. After the event, we were all pretty much thinking the same thing. “These people are kind of cool. They love food just as much as I do. Why don’t we hang out more often?” Okay, maybe not those exact thoughts. But it didn’t take long for the ball to get rolling on a small group to make plans for the first KC Foodie Club meet-up. You know the saying? Birds of a feather flock together. Well, we eat together. Mmmmm, speaking of birds…
Succotash, at 26th & Holmes, was the setting of our first club meeting. This quirky eatery, known for its brunch, proved a cool backdrop to our crowd. Once the rosemary-caramel lattes and sunrise smoothies were flowing, we made formal introductions, chilled, and talked shop. Oh, and of course we took plenty of Instagram-worthy photos. The best thing about dining with other foodies is that they appreciate what goes into a good a meal. Not just the ingredients and preparation but also the presentation. Plus I can’t even begin to describe how good it felt to eat with people who honor Foodie Rule No. 1. Do not touch or eat anything until a photo has been taken!
Who are the members of the KC Foodie Club?
We all agree on our excitement about delicious food, It’s what brought us together. However, our backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse. Nursing, Advertising, Preschool Education, Marketing, etc. But it works. Food has a funny way of being a common denominator. Below is a list including each member and their Instagram page. (Instagram being where most of the magic happens!)
What does this mean for restaurants in Kansas City? It means we are 20 hungry foodies with a reservation at your place! So be ready!!! Just joking! A little.
Okay, here’s what it really means. The KC Foodie Club is made up of unique individuals who share the common desire of exploring the best of Kansas City cuisine. And we want to share our discoveries with EVERYONE we know! From social media photos and posts to good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. We love exposing people to all the delicious restaurants in Kansas City. If you own a restaurant or sell food products in Kansas City, there all lots of ways you can connect with the KC Foodie Club. Publicity for restaurant openings. New menu tastings. Honest and unbiased restaurant and product reviews. Press for special events. If you have something different in mind for a collaboration, just let us know. Contact us at email@example.com. The creative possibilities are endless!
Look for us everywhere with the hashtag #kcfoodieclub. In the meantime we’ll be happily feasting on Kansas City’s most yummy dishes! Thank you for reading.
Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City
Kansas City has developed a huge culture for three things. Sports. Food. Art. We are faithfully passionate about our Royals, Chiefs, Sportings, Tigers, and Jayhawks. This city has an insatiable appetite for deliciously authentic culinary masterpieces. We support the visionaries who creatively bring the depth of their imaginations to life in architecture, installations, music, literature, dance, and theater. Which leads me to the subject of this story. Five surprisingly free ways to become a connoisseur of the arts in Kansas City.
Kansas City is widely recognized for its arts. It also works tirelessly to maintain accessibility of the arts in Kansas City for all who live and visit here. From opera and ballet to poetry slams and street festivals. And of course, a myriad of classes and arts based curriculums. What I love best is that you don’t need to be rich to enjoy them. Here is a list of just a few ways I enjoy arts in Kansas City for free.
Five Surprisingly Free Ways to Become a Connoisseur of the Arts in Kansas City
1. Quixotic Fusion
Quixotic Fusion is an innovative performing arts group which integrates technology with live music, contemporary dance, and cirque nouveau arts. They perform across the United States and at two annual events which I try to never miss.
The first is WaterFire. This annual event in October combines a spectacular multi sensory experience of live vocals, dance and acrobatics with the installation of braziers in Brush Creek. Last year included performances by Quixotic, StoneLion Puppet Theatre, and Kansas City Drum Tribe. The second is Union Station’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony in November. This event marks the beginning of Kansas City’s holiday season. A full day of festivities include family friendly activities, a Holiday Maker Village, and stage performances from local musicians and performers including Quixotic.
2. Lyric Opera
Located in the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads community, Lyric Opera creates transformational opera experiences through performances, outreach, and education initiatives. They also aim to develop talent, repertoire, programs and productions that bring the best of Lyric Opera of Kansas City to the world. The Lyric Opera also hosts occasional free First Friday previews of their upcoming operas. Preview nights feature select music and songs from their operas, themed food and drinks, and opportunities to meet and greet with Lyric Opera singers.
3. First Fridays
Speaking of First Fridays, the Crossroads Art District is at the center of arts in Kansas City. It’s home to hundreds of eclectic restaurants, shops, and galleries. On the First Friday of every month, the Crossroads comes alive with hundreds of people there to view works from local artists, buskers, street concerts, and more. Arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a variety of local businesses feature regional and national artists as well as live entertainment starting in the early evening.
4. Kansas City Public Library
The Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) system champions itself as a doorway to knowledge for all people in the community. That standard of excellence is met through more than just books. Each month the Library is host to a plethora of diverse events and programs designed to educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of Kansas City residents. Events such as local jazz legend Brother John performing a one man show about the history of Native Americans in Missouri. Programs like the Kansas City Symphony children’s outreach which exposes and teaches kids about musical instruments. The Central Library, located in downtown Kansas City, also features an art gallery of ever-changing installations. There are 10 branches in the KCPL system throughout Kansas City and an outreach services program serving a constituency of over 250,000. The Library also serves as a resource for the 1.7 million residents of greater metropolitan area.
5. Intentionally Exploring the City
You may wonder what do I mean by intentionally exploring? I mean that deliberately getting out of the car or in my case off the bus and forcing myself to just wander the streets takes me to a place where the worries of life fade away and time becomes abstract. I can devour each singular moment of whatever I’m experiencing. My senses of what I see, hear, taste, smell, and touch all become sharply branded imprintings in my heart and mind. Day by day I can get away with merely going through the motions of city life. But walking explorations are a fierce reminder of why I am so emotionally tied to where I live.
The arts in Kansas City are highlighted remarkably well when exploring local neighborhoods and districts. Each neighborhood in Kansas City is a distinct area full of harmonious mixtures of nature, urban life, and architecture. Buildings. Trees. Animals. Fountains. Gardens. Sculptures. Graffiti walls. No matter where you go, these are represented in Kansas City’s most walkable neighborhoods. City Market/Riverfront; Downtown Kansas City; the Westside; KC Crossroads Art District; the West Bottoms; 18th and Vine Jazz District; the Crown Center District; Midtown; Westport; West 39th Street; the Country Club Plaza.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to use this as a guide to enjoying arts in Kansas City for yourself. Also if you absolutely loved it subscribe to more of our city adventures.
Why the City Market is the Ultimate Kansas City Hotspot
To celebrate the summer, I’m writing about the City Market, my favorite summertime spot in Kansas City. Psst, there’s a bonus giveaway at the end!
It’s August in Kansas City. For me and other moms and dads that means getting ready for the kids to go back to school. However, most of the city seems to also think that means the end of summer. It was barely the end of July before I started seeing stories about the last days of summer. Well, the rest of Kansas City may act like we’ll be stuck in three feet blizzards in the next couple of weeks, but not me. For me, summer is still in full swing!
The Definition of Summer
How do I define summer in Kansas City? The days are long and scorching hot. Nights are for sitting on the front porch eating picnic dinners with Lily. There are festivals, concerts, movie nights under the stars. And my favorite, weekends at the City Market.
The City Market is open seven days a week, all year long, but it becomes almost magical during the summer. There’s just something about the thousands of people who visit each weekend that seem to make it come alive. I can spend hours just watching the crowds go by on leisurely Saturday afternoons. It has been said that once you taste your first bite of a ripe peach you won’t forget it. Well, that is the truth. Mine was at the City Market in July of 2014.
History of the City Market
The City Market has a rich history dating back to 1857 when it began as a site for market commerce, horse trading, political rallies, revival, medicine shows and circuses. It has been approximately in the same location since its inception when the City of Kansas City granted a lease to Jacob and Fred Scheibel for $50 per year. From this beginning, the City Market and its surrounding area became the focal point for people making their way westward. By 1878, activity in the area began attracting legends including Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill Cody and Jesse James.
During the 1920s life around the City Market was thriving. At this time it stood near City Hall, the Gillis Opera House, the Jackson County Courthouse, two newspapers and a number of other businesses. After City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse moved to their present locations, the City Market benefitted from extensive renovation with a massive public works project in the 1930s. New buildings were constructed through the job creation initiatives of the Roosevelt Administration. The Market’s west building built during this reconstruction currently stands today.
The Dawn of a New Era
In the 1960s the City Market was predominantly a produce-only destination. As the City Market and the surrounding River Quay area (as it was once known) entered the 1970s, it became a popular district with bars, restaurants, and other businesses. The late ’80s and ’90s marked a $14.5 million publicly and privately funded period of investment to re-energize the area. Structures were modernized in 1986 and rehabbed in 1990, resulting in over 100,000 square feet of restaurants, food-related shops, retail and museum exhibit space. With the addition of the Arabia Steamboat Museum, the City Market took a major step forward leading the way toward downtown redevelopment.
Since 2000 the City Market has received national acclaim and numerous awards. In 2002, the Market received a Great Markets/Great Cities Award of Distinction from the Project for Public Spaces, an internationally known advocate for farmers’ markets. In 2007, the City Market celebrated its landmark 150th anniversary season. With a record attendance of more than 700,000 visitors, it was listed as Kansas City’s 6th Top Area Attraction in the Kansas City Business Journal. In 2008, a Farmers’ Market of the Year award was given by the Missouri Farmers’ Market Association and AgriMissouri. The City Market continues to be a hub of activity and an enduring community landmark. The farmer’s market is open on Wednesdays 4-7 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 7 am – 3 pm.
A City Market Education
Did you enjoy the history lesson? Do you feel smarter? Good! The City Market is so much more than a place to buy locally grown produce. Although, that is amazing! As a mother, I’m always looking for opportunities for Lily to learn outside of the classroom. The City Market has an abundance of them. She learns about botany and horticulture at Dutch Flowers. The Arabia Steamboat Museum is a great way to explore historical artifacts from the pre-Civil War era of the 1800s. Buskers in the City Market provide plenty of exposure to musical education.
Good Times all Year Long
The City Market celebrates Valentine’s Day with the annual free Tie the Knot private wedding ceremonies in February. 12 couples are invited to take part in this unique and romantic way to unite in marriage or renew their vows. Live acoustic music, twinkle lights, sparkling hearts, a red carpet, and an elevated ceremony platform set a lovely scene in the square heated glass pavilion as each couple says “I do’ or “I still do”.
The Busker Festival dazzles with freaky fun and free entertainment in June. The event showcases uni-cycling, juggling, fire twirling, aerial arts, stilt walkers, dancers, comedy, hula hooping, circus acts, magicians and more. The City Market’s motto is “where the locals go,” and in keeping with that tradition, all performers are local to the area.
The City Market presents the annual Grub Crawl in September. It’s like a pub crawl only tastier. Grub Crawl Passport holders will experience a culinary adventure in the historic market. Each stop on the Grub Crawl walking tour offers samples or small plate from participating restaurants. Between bites, Grub Crawlers can enjoy live music from local performers stationed along the route.
The City Market is all about creating a fun, fresh healthy community through good-for-you foods and positive lifestyle choices. Through a partnership with Sundown Naturals, the City Market focuses on balanced wellness with proper supplements, nutrition, and exercise. Every Saturday at 10 am, certified instructors from The YMCA of Greater Kansas City provide a rotation of classes including Cardio Kickboxing, Zumba, Bootcamp, and Body Combat. KC Yoga Center brings Yoga in the Park starting at 10 am on Sundays. Come with your own mat or blanket for this mind and body boosting workout. These 60 minute classes are free and for all ages and levels of fitness through the first week of October. Get your body moving then keep up the momentum and head to the farmer’s market to find what you need for healthy and delicious meals.
With the sights, sounds, and flavors of fall comes the October Harvest Celebration. You’ll find plenty of autumn produce including apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, and more. Children will receive vouchers to redeem for free produce from Farmers’ Market vendors. There are also fun giveaways. Festivities for the Harvest Celebration include a pumpkin patch, hay rides, arts and crafts, pumpkin themed games, and music.
Enjoy the joyous Christmas season with Whoville Holidays on Saturdays in December. Bring your camera to get a picture with the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who in the warmth of their Whoville home. Little Whos will enjoy the Whoville activity area where they can make Whoville themed tree ornaments, a Grinch mask and more! Whoville Holidays is free with your “Help a Who” donation of three canned goods for Harvesters or a new unpackaged toy for the Salvation Army.
Back to the Food
What I like most about buying from local farmers at the City Market is knowing that I’m getting the freshest produce possible. Plus, I save so much money compared to shopping at a grocery store. The range of what’s available may surprise you. City Market farmers provide a huge variety of produce every week. Eggs, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, meats, and breads. Not to mention the culturally diverse mix of shops and restaurants as well. Dining at the City Market is like a mini instant passport to whichever country I want to visit on any given day. If I’m in the mood for Indian food than Tikka House is there to satisfy my taste buds. When I want a taste of Brazil, I can literally have one at Taste of Brazil. If I crave something Italian, I just head to Carollo’s Grocery & Deli. In addition, several of the restaurants carry imported goods from their countries.
The City Market is also home to many small pop up shop businesses selling everything from hand crafted jewelry to homemade soaps. From caricature portraits to fashions for men, women, and kids. From home and garden decor to trendy hairstylists. Now, here is your chance to get to know them better. As a celebration of the ultimate Kansas City hotspot, I’m hosting a giveaway featuring products from City Market shop owners and farmers. Valued at over $250, this giveaway will introduce you to goods sold in City Market and the people behind them. Stay tuned for stories about each participating business. To enter, subscribe to Kiara Loves KC then follow the link below.
Thank you for reading and I hope you’re having a fabulous summer!
The Roasterie Cafe Factory Tour
This post will kill two birds with one stone…as the saying goes. As you may know I’m on a challenge to dine at all 44 Kansas City Original Restaurants before the end of the year. My afternoon at The Roasterie makes number two. Secondly, this is the first in a new series called Take a Tour of Kansas City. In the series, I’ll share our experiences of tours you can take in Kansas City. Now on to The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour.
The Roasterie goes to great lengths to bring its customers the best coffee. Complimentary tours give coffee lovers a chance to learn about their cupping, roasting and blending processes.
Our tour date fell on a Sunday at 12:30 pm. The Roasterie accepts walk ins for tours or you can reserve a tour spot at the website. The tour usually takes about one hour. However, ours with tour guide Gage lasted 15 or so minutes longer. Which was actually great. We got a huge amount of information and Gage talked fast. I appreciated the extra time.
The Roasterie Cafe Factory Tour Facts
Don’t worry. I won’t spoil the tour experience for you. These facts are just a small (very small) amount of what I learned during the tour. Think of this as a sneak preview or movie trailer.
On November 22, 1978, The Roasterie’s Bean Baron, Danny O’Neill picked his first coffee beans while living as a foreign exchange student in Costa Rica. Almost four decades later, his love for coffee, the people who grow it, and the countries where it grows remains at the heart of The Roasterie’s success. One of their key goals is to support the world’s small, specialty farmers and their communities. That passion is the driving force behind their mission: find the best beans on the planet and roast them the best way known to man.
The Roasterie is a specialty coffee-roasting company that delivers premium coffees to espresso bars, coffeehouses, fine restaurants, high-end grocers, offices, retail accounts, and coffee lovers in Kansas City and around the world.
All of their coffees are air-roasted, which helps highlight the origin flavor while unlocking the best of the bean.
The Roasterie has five categories of coffee: Organic, Decaffeinated, Italian, French, and Vienna. The beans are processed in separate machines to make sure none are contaminated by another.
The Roasterie imports only 100 percent Arabica Specialty Grade coffees from thirty-one different coffee-producing countries.
Nine of The Roasterie’s coffees have received a ranking of 90 or higher on CoffeeReview.com, the premier international coffee-buying guide.
It’s best to arrive 15 minutes before The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour is supposed to start. We didn’t though, due to an impromptu walk through the Crossroads District. By the time I quit stopping every three seconds to take a photo we arrived with five minutes to spare. Unfortunately, Lily and I were both hungry and could have used the time go sit down and eat. Speaking of eating…
Lunch at The Roasterie Cafe
The Roasterie serves an assortment of baked goods and pastries from local eateries. When we got there (almost late) I hurriedly got two cranberry scones. As the tour’s introductory video played we gobbled them down. The scones were moist and slightly dense, almost cake-like. With each crumbly bite I got a sweetly tart juice cranberry. The taste of them was so fresh as though they had came right out of the oven.
After The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour was over I ordered a breakfast sandwich with bacon, eggs, and gruyère cheese, a lemon and thyme fruit bar, and a cup of hibiscus-ginger-orange tea.
I have had a few pleasant experiences with coffee but I’m still a tea lover first. So, yes I did go to The Roasterie and order tea. The Roasterie offers teas from Harney & Sons, a company known for producing top quality teas with heavenly aromas and exquisite flavors. Lily fell asleep before the tea was ready which meant more for me [insert smiley face emoticon]!
The sandwich from Baked in Kansas City, came on an English muffin with fluffy scrambled eggs. The bacon wasn’t crisp like I prefer but I ate it without complaint. I only tasted a small amount of seasoning. I expected the overpowering flavors of salty bacon and buttery eggs. Instead the naturally heartiness came through nicely. Baked in Kansas City is a patisserie that offers French pasteries and handmade breads, and a restaurant with a fresh and creative brunch. They also feature a full bar with cocktails, wine, and beer.
Lily loves lemons so I got the lemon bar for her. *Such a shame that she was too sleepy to eat it. (Sarcasm.) It almost tasted like I had bitten into a lemon with the first bite. That first burst of tartness exploded in my mouth. Little flecks of thyme added a savoriness to the intensely bright citrus flavor. The lemon and thyme bar came from The French Bee Bakery, a charming locally owned bakery and café. They specialize in sweets, treats, and cakes, as well as boxed lunches for corporate catering in the Kansas City metro area.
The Roasterie Cafe Factory tour is available seven days a week. Tour times are Sunday at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm; Monday – Friday at 10 am and 12:30 pm; Saturday at 8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Thanks for reading and share this with the coffee lovers in your life!
The Rabbit Hole hails itself as a visionary center for the children’s book chartered to create new and extraordinary experiences around literature. After my first visit I have to say it is all that and more! The hope of revitalizing a love of reading in Kansas City’s children is at the heart of the world’s first immersive children’s literary art gallery.
Indeed, while exploring the gallery, Lily wandered off by herself, which resulted in a mini search party to find her. So if the goal is to get kids excited about reading, mission accomplished. As my daughter literally got lost in the pages of a book…art gallery.
The Rabbit Hole celebrated its grand opening with Jon Agee’s beloved classic, The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau. The story is set in 19th century Paris where an unknown artist enters the Palace’s Grand Contest of Art and sets off a chain of bizarre and mysterious events. Volunteers guided visitors through the beautifully illustrated art installation while reading the book.
Jon Agee made a special appearance for the grand opening where he held talks about the process of creating Felix Clousseau. The second phase of the gallery displayed his art from the story and a mock-up of the gallery installation. He also shared how he became connected to The Rabbit Hole.
“The exhibit was a unique experience – a first. It’s not everyday an author gets to wander through a 3D version of his story.
Felix Clousseau was my fourth book, published in 1988. The idea came from a pretty generic doodle of a painter, out in nature, painting a landscape. I didn’t see where I could take it, as a story, so I drew him painting a goofy-looking duck, and imagined what the reaction would be. People would laugh, or make fun of it. And then, I asked myself one of the important questions in storytelling: “What if…?” What if the duck quacked? I drew the “quack!” and imagined the crowds reaction: amazement! respect! – and the eventual result: fame for the painter. This was a good start, but I had to take it a little further. The conceit of Felix Clousseau is that his lifelike paintings don’t only make noises. They come to life – and cause mayhem! – but people don’t realize this, until it’s too late.
The book took almost three years to complete. The pictures were originally more cartoony and animated. Eventually I arrived at an approach that was more faithful to what 19th century Paris looked like. This involved research at the library, looking at the clothes people wore, the architecture, patterns, colors, and other details.
Pete [Cowdin] and Deb [Pettid] – the force behind The Rabbit Hole – have been friends ever since I met them, almost twenty-five years ago, when I visited their store, The Reading Reptile, to sign books. Over the years I’ve been part of many wonderful events there. Anybody who has visited The Reading Reptile knows that it was always much more than a bookstore. There were performances, puppet shows, art classes, musical events, movies, book festivals, and many beloved children’s authors came to visit. But eventually – and this was no surprise – Pete and Deb’s aspirations simply outgrew the bookstore.
Walking through a three-dimensional installation of Felix Clousseau was fantastic. I can only imagine what it must be like for a child – to feel the story from the inside out. And this is just one example of what will be going on at The Rabbit Hole. No wonder everybody is excited about it.”
Located in the temporary space of 400 East 17th Street in Downtown Kansas City, this prototype serves as a demonstration of the larger vision to create a national literary center for the children here in Kansas City.
The Rabbit Hole is committed to creating an experience where children and adults can crawl, walk, and climb through an evolving array of immersive storybook worlds and ever-changing galleries dedicated to the very best of children’s literature. On top of the interactive art, the Rabbit Hole will feature visiting authors and illustrators who discuss their works, and displays of classic and contemporary original book art. In the future guests can enjoy a show in the theater, visit the printing press and bindery, and create their own stories in a writing lab. A library and bookstore will house literature for children to buy or checkout. There will also be opportunities to work on special projects with resident authors and illustrators.
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The Rabbit Hole promises an immersive laboratory of creativity, education, discovery, and play — dedicated to literacy and the literary arts through the advancement, preservation and celebration of the children’s book.
Attention all Kiara Loves KC readers! I have some exciting news for you. I would like to introduce the newest Kiara Loves KC affiliate, Thrive Market! Read on to learn all about Thrive Market’s all-natural and organic online food market and health store, plus get a free 30 day trial membership!
Thrive Market is the first socially conscious online store offering the world’s best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices. They carry over 2,500 of the highest quality food, supplements, home, personal care, and beauty products from over 400 of the best brands on the market, all delivered straight to your door at 25-50% off retail prices. Thrive is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to their members at wholesale prices and to sponsor free Thrive memberships for low-income American families. Their mission is to make health living easy, affordable, and accessible for every American family.
The people behind Thrive Market believe that the ability to live a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t depend on income level, geography, or any other arbitrary barrier. Whether you’re a corporate executive or an elementary school teacher, whether you live on the upper west-side of Manhattan or in a small town with no local health food store, they think you and your family should have access to healthy, wholesome, and non-toxic products at or below the price of their processed, artificial, and often toxic alternatives. That hasn’t been the case for a long time in this country and they wanted to do something about it.
The Thrive Market catalog is curated to include the top products from hundreds of the leading natural products brands across categories like cooking ingredients, healthy snacks, nutritional supplements, natural home goods, and bath & beauty. What you won’t find: 115 different varieties of almond butter stretching down an aisle as far as the eye can see. What you will find: over 2,500 of the most popular natural products from the very best brands – brands that exude the values of health, sustainability, and premium quality.
They’ve meticulously merchandised the catalog to enure exceptional coverage across dozens of key dietary preferences and values. From Paleo and gluten-free to vegan and raw to non-GMO and certified organic, they’ve got you covered. Just as importantly, they’ve painstakingly tagged every product in their catalog along 90+ such filters so that you can easily customize your shopping experience to your preferences and values with a click of the mouse.
Like Costco, Netflix, and NPR, Thrive Market is a membership community. By paying the equivalent of just $5/month ($59.95 annually), your membership fee makes it possible for Thrive Market’s curators to search high and low for the best healthy products, buy them directly from suppliers, and combine their buying power to bring them to the Thrive community at 25-50% below retail prices. This allows them to sustain the mission to make healthy living universally accessible.
Thrive Market offers a free 30-day trial for every new member. The idea is to give you a chance to experience Thrive savings first-hand before you commit to an annual membership. Your free trial starts with your first Thrive purchase and will last a full month with full membership benefits. If at any point during that time, you decide you don’t want to be a Thrive member, you can cancel and they’ll never charge your card for a membership.
Thrive Market wants their community to enjoy shopping and saving with for years to come. That’s why your annual membership is guaranteed to pay for itself in savings. All you have to do is shop and save. If you don’t make your membership fee back in savings by the end of the year, they’ll automatically give you the difference in Thrive Market credit after you renew. For example, if your membership fee was $60, and you only saved $40 in the year, they will automatically add a $20 Thrive credit to your account after you renew.
“Our target is everyday American families,” says Nick Green, Thrive’s co-founder and co-CEO, a duty he shares with serial entrepreneur Gunnar Lovelace. By “everyday”, he means middle-class Americans—mostly moms—who are shopping for the entire family, and “want to buy healthy choices on a budget.” (From Civil Eats article, “Can Thrive Market be a Kinder, Gentler Amazon for Organic Food?”
The team behind Thrive Market is a group of serial social entrepreneurs, technologists, and natural products industry veterans brought together by two shared realizations: (1) that living healthy in America is too hard for too many people, and (2) that it shouldn’t be that way. Before Thrive ever launched, they spent more than a year developing the right business model, enrolling hundreds of brand and charity partners, and bringing an incredible group of health experts, entrepreneurs, and advisers together to tackle the ambitious goal of making healthy living truly accessible to every American. The result is ThriveMarket.com.
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art created an instant travel adventure with the Passport to India Festival. Events for the day long celebration of India included Indian art, culture, music, dance, fashion and food.
India, officially the Republic of India,is the seventh largest country in the world. The country is also the second most populous with over 1.2 billion people. India is a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to the Indian Ocean coastline. In the north, Mughal Empire landmarks include Delhi’s Red Fort complex, massive Jama Masjid mosque and Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum. Pilgrims bathe in the Ganges in Varanasi, and Rishikesh is a yoga center and base for Himalayan trekking.
Passport to India Festival Travel Itinerary
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Local artists showcased traditional henna designs using markers.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Travellers learned how to tie a sari from community volunteers then tried on Indian fashions for photo opportunities.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Museum staff and members of the Jain community held conversations about the Jain Shrine in South & Southeast Asian Art Gallery 203.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Professor Alison Miller from the Kansas City Art Institute hosted talks on the study of selected South Asian Buddhist Art objects in South & Southeast Asian Art Gallery 227.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Travellers learned to write their names in Hindi, one of the 18 recognized languages of India and the country’s official language.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Indian art activities were available for travellers of all ages.
10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Volunteers demonstrated the Indian folk art form of Rangoli. Traditionally, elaborate designs decorated floors were often used as entrance ways for Hindu deities.
11:00 to 11:40 am, 2:00 to 2:40 pm, and 3:30 to 4:10 pm – Local studios interpreted Ramayana, the ancient Sanskrit epic with classical dances.
11:00 am to 4:00 pm – Rozelle Court Restaurant featured delicious meals inspired by the flavors of India.
11:00 am to 12:00 pm and 12:30 to 1:30 pm – Small groups of young dancers performed Indian favorites in the Noguchi Court.
11:00 to 4:00 pm – Travellers were able to buy Indian specialties such as samosas, Hyderbadi Chicken Biryani, lentil cutlets, chai tea, and coconut-cardamom cookies.
11:00 am to 4:00 pm – The special Mughal album facsimile and a selection of resources from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art collection was on display.
11:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm – Community dancers performed dances of India in Kirkwood Hall.
11:30 am to 12:30 pm, 1:00 to 2:00 pm, and 3:00 to 4:00 pm – The India Association of Kansas City presented an eclectic mix of live music.
12:00 to 12:15 pm, 1:00 to 1:15 pm, and 2:00 to 2:15 pm – Local musicians performed live with the backdrop of the Hindu temple in South & Southeast Asian Art Gallery 228.
12:30 to 1:10 pm – Kathleen Garland, Kimberly Masteller, and Jeanne McCray Beals discussed the conservation process of the Jain Shrine.
1:00 pm to 1:30 pm & 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm – Museum and community volunteers modeled traditional and contemporary Indian fashions.
2:00 to 2:30 pm – Yoga demonstrations gave children a chance to practice a few standing and seated poses.
2:30 to 4:00 pm – Artist Cherie Sampson presented a film on the symbolism in traditional Indian dance.
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The Nelson Atkins Museum of Artserves as a vital partner in the educational, social and cultural life of Kansas City. The use of their collections and programs, such as the Passport to India Festival, builds an environment where people can gather, share and contemplate the greatest creations of humankind.
Annie Get Your Gun is a musical with lyrics and music by Irving Berlin and a book by Dorothy Fields and her brother Herbert Fields. The story is a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley (1860–1926). The Musical Theater Heritage production was directed by Sarah Crawford and conducted by Jeremy Watson. George Harter hosted a pre-show talk on the history behind the musical.
Annie Oakley (born Phoebe Ann Mosey) was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Her talent first came to light when the then 15-year-old won a shooting match with traveling show marksman Frank E. Butler (whom she married). The couple joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show a few years later. Oakley became a renowned international star, performing before royalty and heads of state.
If Shelby Floyd’s Annie Oakley had a slogan, it would be, Annie Oakley, the best, most sugary candy-coated, sharpshooter in the West. Indeed, Floyd played Oakley with such a huge amount of sweetness I can feel the cavities starting to form. At different points, her over the top happy-go-lucky portrayal was downright annoying. Especially because Oakley is supposed to be this female rock star of a gun slinger. Sweet? Not so much. But before the line of being too much was crossed came her voice and comedic timing. Indeed Floyd reminded me of what I love about musicals. (I feel sorry for you if you just think they are merely weird movies where people randomly start singing.) The choreographed art of acting, song, and dance blended so well together is what caused me to began seriously considering a career in the arts when I was in high school. To be exact, I wanted to be a cinematographer.
The most memorable moments came from the easily recognizable “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”, “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun”, and “Anything You Can Do.” It’s been days since I saw Annie Get Your Gun and “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly” is still stuck in my head. Floyd sang that tune with just the right good old Southern twang accent. Her vocal range and acting talent really shined through for the performances of “They Say It’s Wonderful” and “Anything You Can Do”.
Where Floyd was über cutesy, Sam Wright was Mr. Cool. His take on Frank Butler made me think of the handsome man sitting at the bar (or in this case saloon) you meet during a girls night out. You and your friends spend the whole night wondering if he’s single and trying to casually glance at him without being noticed. Except, in Peter Stone’s version of Annie Get Your Gun, Frank Butler is extremely likable. Hard to carry out with some of today’s feminist “I don’t need a man to take care of me” ideals. Although, when the rough and tumble Annie Oakley went all soft and pink after seeing Frank Butler for the first time I did roll my eyes. However, what Wright brought to the character was a sense of belief. A belief that the sophisticated, well-traveled Frank Butler actually did fall in love with the backwards country girl Annie Oakley. Honest, pure, sweet love.
The entire cast made the musical well worth seeing two or three times at least. Andrea Boswell-Burns as Dolly Tate, Philip Hooser as Chief Sitting Bull, and Delilah Pellow all had a few scenes where they stole the show.
Annie Get Your Gun at Musical Theater Heritage is based on the revised book by Peter Stone. The 1999 show revival featured new orchestrations and was structured as a “show-within-a-show”, set as a Big Top traveling circus.
“Frank Butler” is alone on stage and introduces the main characters, singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, which is reprised when “Annie” agrees to join the traveling Wild West show. The production dropped several songs (including “Colonel Buffalo Bill”, “I’m A Bad, Bad Man”, and “I’m an Indian Too”), but included “An Old-Fashioned Wedding”. There were several major dance numbers added, including a ballroom scene.
A sub-plot which had been dropped from the 1966 revival, the romance between Winnie and Tommy, her part-Native-American boyfriend, was also included. In the 1946 production, Winnie was Dolly’s daughter, but the 1966 and 1999 productions she is Dolly’s younger sister. In this version, the last shooting match between Annie and Frank ends in a tie.
Annie Get Your Gun plays at Musical Theater Heritage through April 24, 2016. This play will be an enjoyable experience for the whole family! Whether you’re a history buff, performing arts lover, or just plain enjoy a good show, Annie Get Your Gun has plenty to appeal to a wide range of people. Tickets start at $17. Children 16 and younger can attend for free. Visit Musical Theater Heritage online for more theater and ticket information.
Thanks for reading and share this with your family and friends who appreciate the theater arts or the Wild Wild West!
If you have an upcoming production in the Kansas City area and would like a review or promotion from me, please get in touch via the contact page above.
The 2016 State of the City Address for Kansas City was presented by Mayor Sly James on March 29, 2016 at the Uptown Theater.
Mayor James discussed several key topics that are currently affecting Kansas City during the State of the City Address. Kansas City’s tech boom, the KC Earnings tax, city growth and development, education, the city budget, and crime reduction and prevention were all major themes in the speech. Highlights included organizers and programs in the city that are working to create jobs, reach out to the youth, and doing their part to make positive impacts in their communities. Attendees of the State of the City Address were also treated to a special mini concert at the end of the speech.
Calvin Arseniaset the tone of showing recognition to a new generation of creatives in Kansas City with a moving performance. His whimsically soulful artistic style features the folk harp, guitar, and piano as his main instruments. Arsenia says his musical influences range from Lauryn Hill to Andrea Bocelli.
In 2011, Google Fiber chose both Kansas Cities as the first cities for its new gigabit Fiber.
KC Streetcar construction began in 2013 and, along with it, replacement of 2.2 miles of antiquated water and sewer lines.
A new infrastructure called Smart + Connected City will start with the grand opening of the Streetcar operations on May 6, 2016. This partnership between Cisco, Sprint, and others has qualified Kansas City for a $50 million Department of Transportation Smart City grant.
In 2015, LaunchKC granted half a million dollars to 10 applicants in a business competition. During Techweek, in September, 10 more grants will be awarded.
HUD initiatives like ConnectHome and ConnectEd are bringing high-speed broadband to families in public housing.
KC Earnings Tax
Since 1963, the tax has generated revenue which the city primarily uses for public safety – police, fire, and ambulance services.
City residents and people who work in the city contribute $230 million in taxes to the general fund.
Without funds from the KC Earnings Tax, Mayor James estimates a doubling of sales taxes or tripling of property taxes would be required to compensate for the loss of $230 million. Another speculated possibility would be to lay off more than 200 employees each year for the next 10 years.
$1.53 billion approved for 2016-2017 budget.
The budget will support neighborhoods, demolition of dangerous buildings, and investment in summer youth employment.
Public safety departments make up 75% of the $543 million general fund. 40% of which comes from the KC Earnings Tax.
The remaining 25% covers roads, snow removal, trash pickup, codes enforcement, and municipal court.
Employment and Redevelopment Projects
The city will receive recommendations for the modernization of Kansas City International Airport in the next few weeks. Modernization includes ending long restroom lines inside security, improving baggage handling, de-icing equipment, and fixing the crumbling infrastructure underneath.
The 800 room downtown convention center will bring hundreds of new jobs and increased revenue from visitors.
VisitKC estimates the passing of SJR 39 will put Kansas City at risk of losing billions of dollars in tourism, conventions, and sporting events.
Over $2 billion has been invested in housing, infrastructure, and capital improvements for the east of Troost, south of the river, and north of 63rd Street areas since 2011.
The Paseo Gateway northeast neighborhood received the $30 million Choice Neighborhood Grant.
The Twin Creeks sewer expansion opened up 13,000 acres of land for future development in Kansas City’s Northland.
The $14 million Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy will help thousands of kids develop character and skills in leadership and athletics.
The city is also making a direct, million dollar plus investment in the Linwood Shopping Center.
Through Women’s Empowerment, City employees will be eligible for paid parental leave. The program will join with the Women’s Foundation and the Society of Human Resource Management to conduct When Work Works, aimed at improving work life balance throughout the city.
Through City Year, Americorps works closely with students in Central Middle School and Kauffman School, keeping them on track to graduate.
Literacy Lab has trained literacy tutors in elementary schools and Head Start centers focused solely on growing children’s literacy, confidence, and ability.
Turn the Page KC was recognized by the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading as a Pacesetter program.
The city is also in support of making sure every child in Kansas City lives near a quality schools. (Show Me KC Schools recently hosted an elementary school fair featuring representatives from more than 20 elementary schools in Kansas City.)
Kansas City Teacher Residency trains teachers much like doctors are trained – through a residency model. Residency graduates outperform their peers in student achievement and overall teacher performance.
Kansas City is a new pilot community for LRNG, which connects youth to in school, out of school, employer based, and online learning experiences that align with their interests.
Domestic violence and child abuse were at the root of the increase of homicides in 2015.
KC NoVA, the KCPD, and the city’s prosecution office are working together to support better and more coordinated intelligence to focus on those who cause the majority of violent crimes in Kansas City.
Teens in Transition is a 10 seek summer program at ArtsTech, where at risk youth are given opportunities to work on community art projects. As a result, teens are ready for high school graduation and college.
A push for State level legislation that can coexist with the Second Amendment will continue, starting with an armed offender docket pilot program in the courts.
Mayor James concluded the 2016 State of the City Address by stating the framework of efficiency, employment, education, and enforcement is the platform the city uses to bring people together and sustain the momentum of growth we see today.