Funk & Yael’s Excellent Anthropological Adventure

Well, it appears that last night’s P&L District bowling brawl interfered with an evening man date between Mayor Funkhouser and KC Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah.

Out of the blue, KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser called Saturday morning, wondering whether I wanted to visit the Power & Light District at 1:30 Sunday morning.

With all the recent hubbub about dress codes and jazzy DJs, Funk wanted to do some recreational reconnaissance in the district to have an excuse to wear his new Affliction t-shirt get some on-the-ground impressions of what really goes on when the sun goes down in Cowtown. Here’s an image of the duo as they prepared for their observational odyessy; note that they adopted the proper attire needed to blend in:

Funk&Yael_poppedcollars copy

Indeed, it takes true leadership to wear a pink shirt. Read on for more of this budding bromance…

Funkhouser wanted to see firsthand what the crowds were like, from their dress to their diversity to their general behavior. He said his daughter had visited the district the previous night and come away talking about the diversity of the crowd.

So after paying the $2 charge to park in a city-owned garage in the district, the mayor and I spent approximately 70 minutes there. Most of the time we wandered around the “Kansas City Live” living room area, where people congregate while on their bar hopping tours of the district’s drinking establishments. We also visited at least five of the bars.

Among the sights on the twosome’s tour:

  • Asians.
  • Casual to semi-formal denim.
  • Risqué dancing.
  • Inebriated groupies.

We’re going to be honest: the image of this mayor making his way through crowds of popped-collared scenesters and orange-tint tanned scenestresses hopped up on hops n’ barley during the Saturday night witching hour is actually pretty outstanding. And to throw “Hell” Yael into the mix as his wingman? Bonus. “You know, ladies, my friend Mark here may be able to do something about those potholes in front of your apartment. Can I buy you another round of Mojitos?”

We do give the mayor points for making an effort (albeit a bit late in the local discussion) to actually see for himself what typical weekend district debauchery looks like, instead of relying on secondhand reports and hearsay. Most of the city leaders would not recognize the same slice of downtown during that magical moment when Saturday has become Sunday and the undulating, amoebaic KC Live crowd pumps its fists and sings “Don’t Stop Believin'” in a single, alcohol-soaked voice. At least now the mayor’s rhetoric is more likely to be a posteriori instead of a priori.

The mayor at one point commented to Yael that the mix of booze and sexed-up youth boiling in the corporate cauldron could likely lead to violence — which, sadly, turned out to be a prescient observation. As Yael wrote in his follow-up piece:

On my visit with the mayor, I saw two men angrily shouting with and at a police officer inside the entrance to Lucky Strike around 2:15 a.m. But I don’t know whether that was connected to the stabbing incidents a few minutes later.

Despite ending on the sour note of that bit of unfortunate piece of business, it sounds as if Yael & Funk had a grand ol’ night on the town. As the crowds began to dwindle and the P&LD establishments began to close their doors in the early morning hours, Funk & Yael decided they were hungry and agreed a trip to Chubby’s on Broadway to obtain omelettes and chocolate milkshakes was the Best Idea Ever.

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Filed under City Government, Funkhouser, In the News, Media, Power & Light District, Social Life

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