Friday, June 10, 2011

From First Fridays to Freeky Fridays

Freeky Friday

So the KC Explorer's last post described our adventures at First Fridays, a monthly event at the Crossroads Arts District in KC.  Shamelessly using coincidental alliteration, we are now smoothly transitioning from First Fridays to Freeky Fridays.  This is something a bit different from out typical exploration-style of blogging, but we believe--in it's own way--today's post fits with our goal of discovering the identity behind Kansas City.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A First Friday of Art, Fire, and Zombies

"So until next time, remember: Cardio, seat belts, and this has nothing to do with anything, but a little sunscreen never hurt anybody." -- Columbus from Zombieland
The KC Explorer is BACK!  We apologize for being MIA as of late.  The main reason for the lack of explorations has been in the form of a particularly troublesome, yet lovable, fur-covered distraction.  But now that homeostasis has returned, the Kansas City Explorer is again stepping out into the world to discover what gives Kansas City its identity.  We re-began our journeys this past Friday in the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District in one of the most popular downtown monthly events in the City: First Fridays.

The Crossroads Arts District is a historic neighborhood near downtown centered at around 19th and Baltimore.  The area is known for its art galleries, local restaurants, and live music venues.  On the first Friday of each month, the art galleries host "open houses" on new arts shows and when the weather is nice, live bands scatter the streets as pedestrians stroll through the art galleries and enjoy some live music.  These "First Fridays" are usually a great night out to enjoy nice weather, good music, local art, and maybe a spirit or two. 

The KC Explorer started out the night at a closed off section dubbed the "No Coast KC Street Fair."  With live music, small art booths, food vendors, drinks, and street performers, the Street Fair was a great place to get the overall feel of First Fridays all in one place. 

First stop, a little refreshment:

Tallgrass Ale, a brew from the Little Apple, and some strawberry lemonade seemed like a great way to wet our whistle.  Nearby, a few painters are deep in creating impromptu street art. 

Pretty cool stuff.  The guy in the middle was mixing use of brush work and spray paint to craft an awesomely creepy looking skeleton, which turned out--as we'll see later--to be prophetic of our adventures that evening.

As we strolled through the galleries, we also got to hear a local rock band, appropriately named the "Doubleshots," blast out a few numbers.  As a group they weren't bad; they were not exactly the focal point of the street but they did add a nice atmosphere... and the bass guitar chick had some serious game.

There were a bunch of traditional art galleries too, one accompanied by a juggling act!

Pretty cool right?  But then, much to our surprise, a group of street performed took casual juggling to a whole new level. 


Pictures are nice, but only video can do live fire juggling real justice.

After taking in some art, music, a few drinks, and fire juggling, we left the Street Fair area and explored other areas of the First Friday Crossroads District scene.  It was a great atmosphere, the crowds were energetic but not too rowdy, and the music and art was really interesting.  

Strolling by an art gallery, we see a teen girl band covering Sublime... not bad... then, suddenly, as we are crossing the street something odd in the horizon... muddled hairstyles; displaced, hungry expressions; growls and snarls; blood-covered clothing; a sense of panic and terror... what are those foul creatures heading right for us??!?!?


 Zombies have invaded First Fridays!  Luckily, the KC Explorer has been trained in zombie survival, and by quickly executing Rule 1 of surviving in Zombieland, we are able to escape.

 All in all, a great Friday evening spent in the Arts District.  If you're in the mood for some drinks, live music, art, and some authentic urban energy, First Fridays should be on your summer calendar.  However, you may want to pack a fire extinguisher and a shotgun.  As we learned exploring First Friday, they may be useful if you run across flaming nun-chucks and the flesh-eating, undead.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Plaza: Groupon, Group-off

In the past few weeks, the Kansas City Explorer has looked into the Country Club Plaza; we've explored the architecture, causal dinning, shopping and night life.  However, the Plaza is also well know for being a great place to grab a fancy dinner for a special occasion.  What better place for the KC Explorer's third post about the Plaza than a exploration into Plaza III, one of the City's best know steakhouses.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Plaza: Burgers, Brews and Ball games

"Anybody who doesn't think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy." -- Calvin Trillin
If you tuned in last time, you might remember that the KC Explorer is currently conducting a three part series on the Country Club Plaza.  Our first post focused on the history, architecture and overall feel of the Plaza.  Next time, we'll look into doing a little fine dining on a budget.  But today the Kansas City Explorer looks into a few of the local places that make the Plaza a great causal eating and night-life destination. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Plaza: "Nichols' Folly"

"Raised by Hercules, Julius Caesar fortified me, with high walls and towers, I was conquered for the king of heaven by Garcí Pérez de Vargas."
Spoiler alert: That quote is not about Kansas City.  Instead it is a popular verse--blending both mythology and history--used to describe Seville, Spain one of Kansas City's sister cities.   It may or may not be well known around town, but Kansas City has 13 "sister cities" (a sister city, we learned, is a formal relationship with municipalities in other countries aimed at fostering long term, local diplomacy).  This relationship with Seville is visually apparent in the topic of the Kansas City Explorer's three part blog on one of the most popular areas in KC: The Country Club Plaza.  Today we'll look at ...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wine About it

Alright fellow Explorers, last we left off, we had discovered one of the defining characteristics of the City by going to the genesis of Kansas City barbecue.  But a city isn't always defined by what makes it famous.  Sometimes a city is defined by that little known sandwich place around the corner, the boutique shopping neighborhood only visited by locals, or the small but vibrant city park squeezed between two high-rises...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Battle of the BBQ: Arthur Bryant's

If you asked someone who had never ventured to Kansas City to name one thing about the metropolitan area, odds are they would mention barbecue.  So it seems like a fitting place to begin a blog about discovering the City's identity...