Lyric Opera’s La Boheme

IMG_20140321_155333IMG_20140321_160002In the fall of 1957, a young conductor, Russell Patterson proposed to transplant the European opera theatre to a more or less typical American setting. A number of local opera buffs welcomed the idea, but there were many qualms. Friends told them it could not be done. The Company has been proving the friends wrong ever since . Today Lyric Opera brings high quality live operatic perfomances to the people of the Kansas City area and five state region. Repertoire choices encompass original language performancrs of standard repertory as well as contemporary and American operas.

IMG_20140321_155544IMG_20140321_155635The Company seeks to mount productions that enrich the community it serves, as well as reflect the highest artistic standards of the profession. The Lyric Opera offers innovative programs designed to further music and arts education both in schools and in the community. The education staff works directly with teachers, parents, and young people in a collaborative effort to create award winning programs such as Opera Heroines and Opera Heroes.

IMG_20140321_160247IMG_20140321_160330During the March 7th First Friday Lyric Opera’s La Boheme preview event took place. French inspired cuisine, entertainment, and live performances by Lyric Opera apprentices brought Paris to life in Kansas City. La Boheme is an opera in four acts composed by Giancomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosi based on Scenes de la vie de Boheme by Henri Murger.

IMG_20140321_160407IMG_20140321_160450La Boheme follows the adventures of a quartet of irrepressible and impoverished young Parisians. When the seamstress Mimi and the poet Rodolfo fall in love, the fragile nature of life and love follow the course of the changing seasons. Like the parallel relationship of Rodolfo’s roommate Marcello and Musetta, Mimi and Rodolfo’s love is not without conflict. At the end of the opera, however, they are united tragically as Mimi returns to the garret and dies there, surrounded by her friends. Giancomo Puccini’s tenderly beautiful music plays in counterpoint to the comic antics of the bohemians, creating an unforgettable and enduring masterpiece. Musical devices emphasize the libretto, which consists of common language turned poetic.

IMG_20140321_160613IMG_20140321_160648Also, in 1957 Illica’s widow died and his papers were given to the Parma Museum. Among them was the full libretto to La Boheme. It was discovered that the librettists had prepared an act which Puccini decided not to use in his composition. The “missing act” is located in the timeline between the Cafe Mormos scene and act 3 and describes an open-air party at Musetta’s dwelling. Her protector has refused to pay further rent out of jealous feelings and Musetta’s furniture is moved into the courtyard to be auctioned off the following morning. The four Bohemians find this an excuse for a party and arrange wine and an orchestra. Musetta gives Mimi a beautiful gown to wear and introduces her to a Viscount. The pair dances a quadrille in the courtyard, which moves Rodolfo to jealousy. This explains his remarks to Marcello in act 3. As dawn approaches, furniture dealers gradually remove pieces for the morning auction.

 

Sources of information:

www.kcopera.org

www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255/boheme

Kona Grill Happy Hour

Meeting up with the girls for a birthday celebration lunch at Kona Grill sounded like a great idea. Knowing I would partake of their happy hour made it even better. If you’ve never eaten at the Kona Grill happy hour just know that it’s considered one of the best in the city. The food is always delicious and customer service is amazing. I’ve been to a few where it seemed like I should have made a reservation just to get a seat at the bar and they were crowded like a Taylor Swift concert. Not at all the case with Kona Grill.

Kona Grill

 

Kona Grill
444 Ward Parkway Kansas City, MO 64112
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 3-7 pm, Saturday 1-5 pm
Reverse Happy Hour: Monday-Saturday 10 pm-12 am
Select appetizers, flat breads, and sushi rolls are priced half off the lunch menu.
Atlantic Roll – $3.50 
baked salmon, spicy aioli, cucumber, tempura flakes, eel sauce
California Roll – $3.38 
crab mix, cucumber, avocado, motoyaki sauce
Avocado Egg Rolls – $5.13
 avocado, fried wonton wrappers, asian coleslaw, honey-cilantro dipping sauce

Kona Grill

Just don’t bring your child with you like I did. Seating arrangements were somewhat challenged when I got to our table, with Lily in tow. No high chairs were in sight. No problem, I thought. She’s old enough to sit in a regular chair. Although, her sitting on a high bar stool did make me nervous. I know what you’re thinking. Why would I bring my daughter to a happy hour? Before you judge too harshly know that since it was Terry’s day off I offered to take Lily with me so he could relax. Besides that I didn’t consider that we’d be in the bar area just that I was having lunch with friends. Our very sweet server, Jessica, saw Lily and got a high chair for her. Little things like that usually make a big difference in how I view a restaurant.

Looking for more restaurants in Kansas City where you can take your kids that don’t have a playground? Check out my list of Unexpectedly Kid Friendly Restaurants in Kansas City.

March Challenge


During the month of March I challenged myself to find at least one free event everyday. I posted all of them on  KiaraLovesKC’s Facebook page. Any time I see the word “free” used in the description of something happening in Kansas City it grabs my attention. And those who are reading this may be surprised to know that I see that word a lot. Most of the entertainment I enjoy in the city is free or extremely cheap. (Remember, my favorite theater shows movies for under $5.)

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My main concern was finding events that would appeal to a wide range of people. I’m a bookworm so I’m at the library sometimes twice a week. But, of course, listening to an author peddling their latest book isn’t for everyone. Fortunately I have a list of go-to-sources  that made searching for things to do quite easy: IfamilyKC, The Kansas City Star, Visit KC, The Pitch magazine, KC Parent magazine, Ink Magazine, Kansas City on the Cheap, and The Kansas City Public Library.

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  •  IfamilyKC can be picked up at different locations around town. I make sure to get a copy from the KCPL plaza branch, in the kids area. It’s filled with deals for fun places. Signing up for the newsletter emails gets you in on IfamilyKC Kids Events at places like Gymboree, Martial Arts Institute, and Summit Lanes.
  • Ink Magazine’s website has a full calendar that provides lots of details about what’s going on in the city.
  • The Pitch Magazine has a great music section that lists musicians and where they’ll be playing any day of the week. The website posts chances to win free stuff like concert tickets, movie passes, and Pitch hosted special events.

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  • kansascityonthecheap.com sends emails on free stuff, coupon deals, giveaways, and has great info on things in Kansas City that are always free.
  • KC Parent Magazine has an extensive calendar of daily events, monthly info highlighting special events, plus a Thursday-Sunday weekend guide.
  • Kansas City Public Library programs include themed movie series, family fun nights, education for personal finances, children’s story times, and guest speakers discussing topics like the economy, community development, and politics.

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March 1 – 75 Years of Oz exhibit, visit with Glinda the Good Witch, watched fudge makers at Chips Chocolate Factory
March 5 – Visited City Hall
March 7 – Lyric Opera’s 1st Friday preview of La Boheme and dinner at Deco Street Eats food truck
March 8 – Niece Olivia’s 3rd birthday party at Fun Run Indoor Play Center
March 11 – Author Kevin Cook discussed his book  about Kitty Genovese at the KCPL central branch
March 13 – Miller Lite Fan Fest and Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Street Festival
March 15 – Brookside St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade
March 17 – Kansas City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 18 – Kansas City Zoo free day
March 20 – Author Eric Mann presented progressive ideas on how to impact communities, cities, and society as a whole at the KCPL plaza branch

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Over the past 31 days of this March challenge I found so many great events that represent just how eclectic Kansas City is. Tours of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, local artists performing in the 18th & Vine Jazz district, parades, cooking classes, cultural festivals, gallery exhibits, kids workshops at Home Depot, comedy showcases, and karaoke. ALL FOR FREE! Proof that Kansas City has steadily grown into a city that has a myriad of possibilities for accessible enjoyment for everyone who lives here.

Lunch at BB’s Lawnside BBQ

20140216_133108I have to confess I do not like barbecue. I developed an aversion to it in my early twenties. I blame several bad BBQ experiences. Tough, dry, burnt meats that taste like cigarette smoke covered with sugary sweet ketchup sauces. Totally ruined it for me. Now whenever I even hear that word my reaction is straight out of a Ivan Pavlov textbook. BBQ? Ewww, gross! I know what you’re thinking. Highly unorthodox for someone who was born and raised in Kansas City. My intention is to go on a restaurant quest of sorts this summer to hopefully revive my taste for the sauce. LC’s, Gates, and Oklahoma Joe’s to name a few. But I got a head start with a lunch at BB’s Lawnside BBQ.

BB’S Lawnside BBQ
1205 E 85th St. Kansas City, MO 64131
BBQ Nachos…….$8.25
B.B.’s combo appetizer…….$14.95
Hot Mama’s chicken sandwich…….$8.99
Bar-B-Q Sundae…….$8.25
Skillet Fries…….$2.15

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BBQ Nachos
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Bar-B-Q Sundae

I wasn’t quite ready to commit to a plate of ribs or burnt ends so I played it safe with their BBQ Nachos. Tortilla chips under a mound of hickory smoked pulled pork, pit beans, chili cheese, sour cream, and chives. A choice I don’t regret. The pulled pork was spicy and not too sweet. And tender. That combined with the smoky cheese and chili made it more of a meal than an appetizer. One bite of the Bar-B-Q Sundae Terry ordered hit me with that familiar smoke taste that I hate. Meat, beans, and coleslaw heaped in a jar might be a niche idea but once it was dumped out on the plate it became an unappealing mess. A side of skillet fries were crispy on the outside, well seasoned, and not too salty. Just the way I like them.

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BB’s Combo Appetizer

 

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Hot Mama’s Chicken Sandwich

Following his dreams, Lindsay Shannon opened the restaurant in late 1990. It became a family affair when his wife Jo joined in managing the kitchen, accounting, and employees in 1992. Just about any day is a good day to dine at BB’s. Their calendar is jam packed with musicians coming to play some tunes. Cover charges are less than $10. Lindsay handles the entertainment. With credentials like being a founding member of the Kansas City Blues Society, you can hear his love of blues in the live music. Several special events are held there each year including the Sherwood Center Benefit, The Acoustic Blues Showcase, and the Hope House Benefit
.

The Pitch Sugar Rush

Local eateries came together to see which deserved the crown of best sweets in The Pitch Sugar Rush. Let me say the competition was tough. All the restaurants brought their A-Game but a few just shined brighter than the rest.

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The winner was Accurso’s Italian Restaurant for the second year in a row. Although, I think they had an unfair advantage. Their melon granita with mint and basil. Sometimes I wonder what foods I will taste in heaven and this is on that list.  After a few turns of the room I was desperate for something cool to drink. Except with long lines and impatience I went back to the sweet refreshing dessert for seconds and thirds. Ok, fourths too. Accurso’s also served up a red velvet cheesecake with white chocolate ganache and a Maker’s Mark bourbon cherry and blood orange infused ice cream.

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If there had been a second place, in my opinion, the silver medal would have gone to Manos Chocolates. I really don’t care too much for chocolate or what most make chocolate out to be. Double dark chocolate fudge with triple dark chocolate fudge filling? There is such a thing as too much chocolate. These are for the chocolate loving purists. I can best describe the taste of them as brownie like. They’re not too sugary or too bitter and made with organic vegan ingredients.

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Worthy of an honorable mention for most attractive display is Our Sassy Pantry. The award would be for their Balsamic Blueberry Gin Fizz. The Drunken Pig Truffle Tartlet topped with Bacon Jam was also an unique experience.

I must also take a moment to talk about The Funnelcake Truck.  Thanks to them I had my first deep fried Oreo. It was a drop of iconic guilty pleasure carnival food goodness.