Category Archives: The Arts

Treehuggers Checkmate Hunters In Bizarre, Awesome Act Of Melodrama

perhapshowjasongotthedeersheadFor some time we’ve been following the little flap over deer-eradication in Shawnee Mission Park, where the ungulates have outgrown their suburban constraints and are bothering pretty much everyone. Both sides have been a little careless with their rhetoric, with the pro-death crowd hiring a squad of weekend warrior mercenaries, and the pro-deer crowd erecting billboards to persuade passersby that Bambi should live. But that was all child’s play — because a man named Jason Miller has trumped anything and everything with one act of perplexing, amazing, gutsy defiance. He took it to a Lord of the Flies level, and now we say: game, set, match.

Yes, it’s the severed head of a deer.

Jason Miller, an animal rights activist, got the deer head from a meat processor and brought it to Shawnee Mission Park today.

He wanted to graphically demonstate what is about to happen to 75 percent of a herd of deer in Shawnee Mission Park that is estimated to be about 700.

Oh, sweet lord. Who goes to a meat processor and asks for a deer’s head? And who places said head in a basket and leaves it for officials? Insanity, thy name is Jason Miller. But it gets so much better.

Miller referred to the deer head as Victoria and said that if the “planned slaughter” goes forward, “I (Victoria) will be the future face of Shawnee Mission Park, which would in turn come to be known as Death Park.”

Um. You f’ing named it? You… you do realize it’s just a severed head, right? And not an actual living creature? We do like the part about “Death Park,” though. Kind of catchy, and it would probably clear out the jogging trails a bit. The bottom line here, though, is a) environmentalists know no dramatic bounds, and b) Jason Miller’s mind works in odd ways.

Your move, park officials.

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Filed under Animals, City Government, Oddities, Science, The Arts

Looking for a laugh? Page through this forum discussion on Mom2Mom about the ethics of banning books. Sample quote: As far as banning the books, it depends what you mean by banning. Do I think they should be burned? No. Trenchant!

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Filed under Media, Technology, The Arts

In Which The Star Politely Requests That We Stop Stealing Its Stuff

nojoewedidntstealthisoneHow do you know when you’ve reached a certain level of notoriety? When you’re called a thief by the powers that be at the city’s paper of record, of course. And now, alas and at last, we’ve joined the rarefied ranks of those accused of purloining photos from the Star. We received a very polite but stern email from one Joe Ledford, Assistant Managing Editor for photography, in which he firmly says “Hey. We took those. Stop stealing them.” Fair enough.

To whom it may concern,

The Kanas City Star photo department is requesting that you immediately discontinue using The Kansas City Star copyright photos from your web site. Posted on your web site today was an image of  “stretch” and another image from the Renaissance Festival.

Thank you for your cooperation

Despite the mangled grammar — misspelling “Kansas,” using “copyright” instead of “copyrighted,” using “from” instead of “on” — we get the general message. However, when I replied to ask if Joe would like us to take down the photos in question, I got zilch. Nada. Cold shoulder. So, Joe, since you have obviously read this site in the past, I’ll ask you this way: you want us to take down these photos or what? We don’t want to get sued. Comment or email, if you please.

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Filed under Crime, Media, The Arts

Mayor: ‘Sure He’s Unqualified, But Look How Cool He Is!’

starreplacementimagethanksalotbastardsThe Tax Increment Financing Commission, whether you agree with the underlying principles or not, performs some awfully influential work in Kansas City. And it’s probably essential, in keeping with that spirit, to stock the board with stodgy local stuffed-shirts who will maintain the status quo and keep your tax money harnessed behind safe developments. Or at least that was the plan, until super-fly Mayor Mark Funkhouser came along and decided to rattle the cage by appointing “Stretch” — whose real appellation is the decidedly unhip “Jeff Rumaner” — a local artist and pot-stirrer, to the board. Cue the offended powers-that-be:

His nomination has raised concern among others, too, including City Councilwoman Jan Marcason. She visited Stretch a week ago at his studio at 1701 Troost Ave. and came away with doubts about his commitment to the city’s minority hiring practices.

Marcason said she had to explain to him that the terms MBE and WBE meant “minority business enterprise” and “ women’s business enterprise” and that the city set goals for each in awarding public contracts…

Councilman Ed Ford calls her report “alarming.”

Well, look at you, Jan Marcason, with your fancy initializations (not acronyms, as the story later insists) and in-the-know lingo! What, you think the hip artist is going to know what development terms mean, given that he’s a business owner in a thriving… urban… area… oh, I see. He should know what they mean. Luckily, “Stretch” is here to respond with a calm, reasoned rebuttal.

“When people tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, like Jan Marcason, it really kind of pissed me off,” Stretch said.

Great. Anyone else get the feeling that at this point Mayor Funkquitiro is just doing things for shock value? Instead of picking the best choice for the board, he probably thought “Ah, here’s a pick that will put a thumb in the eye of the Volunteer Ordinance Brigade. And with those tattoos, he just has to be a cool guy!”

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Filed under City Government, Funkhouser, Politics, The Arts

Kind of a cool story from milquetoast Star movie critic Robert Butler about a local cinema connection.

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Filed under The Arts

C.W. Gusewelle Finally Gets Cable TV, Watches Something Other Than Birds

theproblemwithcablenewsperhapscdubStar columnist, purple prose aficionado, and nature enthusiast C.W. Gusewelle is plumb tuckered out. You see, he’s grown weary of simply staring out his window and writing about what he sees. And there certainly aren’t any more ducks to rescue, alas. Besides, he really needs a hobby before he’s reduced to writing about misshapen trees or someth — oh, right. Well, it’s a good thing that C-dub finally figured out how to work those consarned rabbit ears, because now he can watch cable news! And do you care to guess how he feels about it? Hint: it rhymes with “shmurshmudgeonly.”

It used to be that individuals of varying political persuasions sat around a table and engaged in the examination of some matter about which they held competing views.

Yes, sometimes the debate was heated, but the rules of civility prevailed. Each participant was allowed to present his or her case and, when challenged, was afforded a chance for rebuttal.

Today, what used to be a contest of ideas is more often than not a screaming match.

Especially annoying is the now-popular split-screen format, in which the host is seen at his studio desk, while the two antagonists, speaking from other locations, appear in separate boxes at the side.

The subject is put forward, and one of the participants is invited to go first. He or she has hardly more than begun, however, when the opponent interrupts with a pre-rehearsed rebuttal.

The host attempts to restore order, but now both guests ignore him — shouting at one another, their arguments lost in the racket, faces contorted, their unintelligible rants coming finally to resemble the wild barking of dogs.

It is in that moment that I thank merciful Providence for the mute button on the TV remote.

Yes, it is annoying. The problem, C-dub, is that it’s been that way since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine — so where’s the all-too-crucial timeliness element of your column? We realize you’ve earned a certain amount of journalistic street cred by writing wistfully for all these years about the halcyon days of your youth, when you frolicked amongst the apple trees or something, but you’ve got to give us something worthwhile to read. Everyone knows cable news is a screaming match. It’s beyond cultural saturation — like a comedian making a joke about men not asking for directions. Understand? It’s not new, and it’s not worthy of discussion or column space. Never thought we’d say this, but maybe you should stick with nature columns.

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Filed under Entertainment, Media, Technology, The Arts

The Tragedy Of Lisa Cordes, In Which The Local Shakespeare Festival Is Torn Asunder By Much Drama And Calamity

patronofthefestivalinquestionDramatis Personae:
Lisa Cordes, local Shakespeare leader and newly shunned civic presence
Steve Chick, festival board president and fiscal tyrant of great renown
Marilyn Strauss, festival founder and unwitting reporting source
Sidonie Garrett, artistic director and unwilling third party
Cominius and Menenius, local courtiers

Act I
[Scene 1. Offices of local Shakespeare festival. Steve Chick and Marilyn Strauss discuss finances.]

Steve Chick: Is’t a verdict, then?

Marilyn Strauss: Before we proceed with finality, my liege, pray let us consider the ill effects of such a course.

Steve Chick: Enough, peon! The gods vested power in I. Speak not maliciously, but speak the truth. Verily we cannot sustain our ducat distribution. Lisa Cordes will be no more, nor her position of executive director.

Marilyn Strauss: Your reasoning is sound, forsooth, but take we no account of ruth? The helms o’ th’ state dictate compassion.

Steve Chick: Off with you. She that will give you good words will flatter, and you know not the vast gulf o’er which I must meet fiscal goals. Lisa Cordes is gone, and that must not affright you. Be gone from me. Courtiers!

[Exeunt Marilyn Strauss, enter Cominius and Menenius.]

Steve Chick: Bring Lisa Cordes and Sid Garrett to me. I shall make worthy she whose offense subdues her. I shall break the heart of generosity, and make bold power look pale.

Cominius: Aye, my lord.

[Exeunt Cominius and Menenius, enter Lisa Cordes and Sid Garrett.]

Steve Chick: Ladies. Know ye all too well the perils and Mephistophelean constraints of the Great Recession. Even Shylock hoards his funds. Now we too must please Jupiter with such actions. Lisa Cordes, you are hereby relieved of executive director duties and exiled outside the walls of this city.

Sid Garrett: Lord, I beseech you give me leave from the proceedings.

Steve Chick: Nay! You shall remain. Your tenure as artistic director goes on.

Lisa Cordes: Lord, if I may. I have served the gods and thee with dedication. Is there nothing I can do please thy ego and regain my stature? Under my watch, the festival has seen the blessings of Jupiter grow in ways unimaginable. To cast me aside with nary a thought to my future is to create pride as big as thou art. Pray let me mak’st a final attempt to please your lordship.

Steve Chick: Spoken well, patriot, but verily spoken too late. The gods have ordained this. You come not in the shame of others, but shrouded in your own. I am lord o’ th’ field, and you my servant. You depart for Denmark tonight.

[Exeunt omnes save Lisa Cordes.]

Lisa Cordes: Who would bear the whips and scorns of Steve Chick? The recession does not make paupers of us all, and thus the native hue of dismissal is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of new opportunities. Enterprises of great pith and drama await. With this regard I turn away from Steve Chick and the festival, and lose the name of executive director.

[With deepest apologies to Shakespeare.]

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