Saturday, August 22, 2015

36th annual ethnic enrichment festival

After spending the afternoon watching the Blue Angels perform for the Kansas City Aviation Expo, we headed out to Swope Park to taste the cuisine offered at the 36th annual Ethnic Enrichment Festival.   We had not been since the 25th and were quite anxious to see how much the annual affair had grown, and what new things there were to see.

The situation had expanded quite significantly since our last visit, which became very apparent as we approached the gates on 63rd Street.  Traffic was backed up for about a half mile, but we progressed quickly.  It was still at the pavilion near Starlight Theater, and we easily maneuvered our way to a parking spot on the lawn surrounding the festivities.

The festival was no longer free, but who could complain about that.  It was somewhat expected after all that time.  Three dollars is not too bad for a day of music and dance performances from just about nearly every ethnic group in the world.  Additionally, food tents surrounded the pavilion offering a variety of treats for every pallet, at a reasonable price.  The food tents only covered a small portion of the area on our last visit, but now encircled the pavilion, and then some.  It was a welcome sight, but a little disappointing at the same time.

We might have missed it, since we were only there for a couple of hours, but there seemed to be a general lack of display of ethnic custom that had been readily apparent on my last visit.  Open-air discussions about culture, customs, and identity could be found anywhere.  It was lacking on this round, replaced by trinket tents.  It would be good to see a return to more of that.

A world of flavors were available for the sampling though.  We started with a sampling of German food, and then over to the beer tent to wash it down.  After that, we grabbed a sweet treat from the Norwegian tent, as well as sampling a little Kenyan goat and rice mixture.  Every tent had patrons, but some were simply impossible, due to the length of the line.  It is funny how folks can get Asian food anywhere in our City and will still wish for nothing more than a little fried rice.   Had they been serving true Asian cuisine, I doubt there would have been quite as many visitors.

The performances were not very accessible, and the logistics of the situation tends to force people away, rather than bring them together. Situated on top of a small rise, the pavilion is a fantastic spot for dance and music performances, when the crowd is small, as had been the case years ago.  So many people attempt to crowd into the covered space, that it is impossible to stand away from the masses and enjoy the performances.  Twenty yards or so away, and one could barely hear the music.  Viewing the performance was out of the question, more often than not.  The organizers really should consider a small valley that is only a hundred yards away next year.   It would be much better suited to this scenario, and act as more of a theater. It would most certainly demand more attention of the patrons, enabling everyone to enjoy all of the performances.

We did enjoy our brief time at this truly unique Kansas City experience though.  A friend of a friend from Boston that went along with indicated he wished that they did something like this in his town.  Apparently, they have a variety of ethnic festivals, but none that try to bring everyone together like this.  That is the whole point too, to bring all ethnic groups together, share a little food, fun, and celebrate the things we hold in common.

blue angels at kc aviation expo

It was downtown to the rooftops again for a look at the performance of the United States Navy Blue Angels, during the Kansas City Aviation Expo.

It is always good to have a friend with the right view, when something like this is going on; lacking that, all it takes is a little resourcefulness and an understanding of Google Maps. There are several good spots to view, without burning twenty dollars to get a ground level view of the situation.

We arrived later in the afternoon than originally intended, but apparently had not missed a thing; that is, excepting an earlier performance by the Blue Angels.  I was surprised to hear that.

Usually there are all sorts of things flying about at these events.  It did make me a bit curious as to what exactly the Expo was all about; still, not curious enough to park 5 miles away, ride a bus with a bunch of other sweaty tourists, compete with those same masses for a good spot, and make an equally competitive return trip.

The view from the rooftops was fantastic though, and worth the twenty dollars we did not pay.  Indeed, I would have gladly paid the money to our friend for that experience.

We enjoyed our own refreshments, were not accosted by security needing to assure we were not terrorists, and those other terrorists with strollers were utterly absent.  It was a good day indeed.  The Blue Angles put on a great show, and passed amazing closely on a few occasions.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

wheels up tour kc

The girls were out for yet another event last Saturday, featuring Lady Antebellum as part of the Wheels Up Tour.  Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt joined the party, during this fall half of a tour that began on May 1 in Lubbock, TX.   The first half kicked off in Oslo, Norway with a few other stops in the rest of Europe and Australia in this yearlong tour.

“The magic of being with fans from all over the country is really why we’re ultimately all here,” said Lady A’s Charles Kelley. “Being able to play off each other on that stage is honestly where we have the most fun, and I have a feeling the crowd will already be on their feet when we get out there after starting the night with Hunter and Sam!"

The trio’s “warranted leap to stardom” (Dallas Morning News) and undeniable chemistry has continuously commanded the attention of critics who continue to praise their “effortless harmonies and raw emotion” (The Washington Post) and “top-notch, high energy” performances (The Boston Herald). ~ photos & video by sherri

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photos & video by sherri

Saturday, August 15, 2015

under the sun tour kc

After a full and fun day in the sun, you would think there would not be much energy left over for a show.

However, if you leave immediately after you get home, you have no time to think about the comfort of the sofa.  A little disappointed that we had almost certainly already missed Uncle Cracker and Sugar Ray, that is exactly what we did, and arrived just before Better Than Ezra took the stage.  The Power & Light District was full, but we were still able to take up our usual post behind the soundboard.

It had been a hot day, but there was a good breeze moving through the venue, keeping things relatively cool.  The band came on just a few minutes after our arrival, and immediately launched into one of their big hits, and then another, before jumping off on a wild tangent, performing several cover songs.

Time catches up with us all eventually, and we forget more than we learned; but surely, not your own tunes.  The crowd did not seem to know how to handle this change, at first.  As is customary in Kansas City, everyone just went along with it though, and they were soon rewarded with a stage full of dancing girls.  The distraction had the desired effect, and most of us completely forgot that Better Than Ezra was not really living up to their name.

The band eventually passed into another of their recognizable tunes, and maybe even perhaps one more, and then they were done.  I did not know many of their songs in the first place.  They were just another of the one-hit-wonder sort, to me.  They did play very well, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  There was no encore though, and nobody really even tried.  It was probably for the best.  Having played everything that anyone would have recognized, they would have had to return to cover songs.

Friday, August 07, 2015

trombone shorty kc

A great night of music, straight out of New Orleans, descended on Kansas City at the free KC Live! show at the Kansas City Power & Light District.  The show featured some of the finest brass band music and talent, playing an array of traditional rhythms mixed with current themes.

New Breed Brass Band came on just a bit after I arrived, and wound the crowd up.  Folks were already getting the grove on, when Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue took over and cranked out some of the hottest tunes this side of Big Easy.

I only had my phone along to this one, after the fiasco last week.  It was too hot to be walking back to the car again, and I was more interested in participating in the experience.  I did take a couple of shots, and of course there is a little collage of video clips on the YouTube.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

crossroads special sauce

While the girls were out and about at the latest super-pop country music spectacular at Arrowhead, we headed for the Crossroads again.  G Love & Special Sauce were the feature, along with Pink Royal and local artists, Captiva.  It promised to be an even better show than the previous week.  It is too bad the night was one tragedy after another.

The adventure started with a walk down to Grinders for food, and then found out I could not bring in my camera.  That remains one of the most ignorant rules for shows anymore.  I could not bring my camera in, but I could bring my phone in, which has a camera.  Indeed, just about every phone in that venue had a built in camera with which other folks were using to take photos and shoot hours of video.  I obliged myself, as well; although my phone camera is not quite the resolution of some of the other phones out that evening.  The whole thing goes right along with "no re-entry," which would come back to haunt me later in the evening.

We walked 10 blocks back to the car to get rid of the camera (but not my phone), and drove back just in time for the end of the Pink Royal set.  I really did not care for them so much.  Maybe it was just the few songs we heard out of them, but the singer seemed a little whiny.  The band seemed to have their act together though, and the music was pretty good.

It was between acts, that I hit the wall; you know, the one where you simply cannot remember if you locked your car or not.  The gatekeepers insisted that there would be no re-entry.  They did not care if I had forgotten to lock a rather expensive camera up or not, or that it would take me 2.3 minutes outside the gate to put my mind at ease.  No Re-Entry!  Ridiculous!

What purpose does it serve?  We were all set to leave the show for good, when we happened on a bit of luck.  We made the trip to the car, which was unlocked, ensured the camera was still in place, thereby locking said vehicle.  My appreciation goes out to those that helped accomplish this feat.  It does leave me wondering if that is the goal of the promoter? Do you really want people to leave and not come back?  There are some things worth that price.

I really like this venue though, having only been there a couple of times.  It is the perfect spot for an outdoor show.  G Love & Special Sauce turned out to be an awesome show too.  I had not heard of them more than just a month or so earlier, and was really impressed.  The light show was not quite what it had been at the show the week before, but the musicianship and lyricism made it up for it, and then some.  The phone on the camera takes crappy photos most of the time, I did take some video shots and spliced them all together on the YouTube below.

big burn it down revival

Another girl’s night out dropped in on Arrowhead Stadium for the Kenny Chesney “The Big Revival Tour” and the Jason Aldeen “Burn it Down Tour” with Special Guests Brantley Gilbert with his #1 hit “Bottom Up”, Old Dominion and Cole Swindell, with his #1 hits “Chillin’ It” and “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight.”

Chesney, a 4-time Country Music Association and 4-time consecutive Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, has had 26 #1s, 13 #1 Albums and sold in excess of 30 albums. Heralded as “The People’s Superstar” by The Los Angeles Times, his summer concerts are legend: indeed, many people plan their vacations around his tour schedule.

Jason Aldean, whose Old Boots, New Dirt became his second #1 Billboard Top 200 Album chart debut, is known for high intensity shows, his sense of true grit and songs that capture the way his fans genuinely live. Country's most downloaded male artist and three-time Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year has extended his wildly successful Burn It Down Tour into 2015, including the dozen stadium shows with Kenny Chesney.

The show turned out to be a record-breaking concert for Arrowhead Stadium with 57,368 fans in attendance.  This was the most the venue has seen since the 1994 Pink Floyd show.  A solid 7- hour show that kept fans on their feet with their boots tapping. ~ photos & video by sherri

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photos & video by sherri


The site is changing again, and there will be a brief intermission, while I collect myself.  I am modifying the site towards a tighter integration with the blog side of things.  The event photos will continue to be stored as before, and restoration of the same will continue; however, leveraging the new Google Photos display. To accommodate this change, event photos will be re-posted similar to the manner in which they were originally, oh so long ago.  If you look at some of the recent posts, you will get the idea.  Another example of the concept can be found in that part of the restoration that has already bee moved to this format (2001 and 2013 through 2015).  Hopefully, this and the use of tags will help everyone find what they are looking for.

August and September 2002 have been restored, and I will get back to writing about that soon.  I got a little ahead of myself and posted September before I posted August, and had to backtrack.   This factor is probably the impetus for the previously described modification to the site. Over the next couple of months, I am going to play catch-up with that idea, and you should start seeing back-dated posts appear soon under 2002, with full descriptions of the events, a little commentary, links back to the photos, and any video I might have discovered along the way.  As mentioned, this has already been done for 2001 and 2013 through 2015.  This will definitely enable better tracking of the restoration, and provide more space to put thoughts about each individual event, rather than one long post every month.  Once I am caught up to where I left off with September 2002, the restoration should progress more quickly.

The restoration is turning out to be quite the task though.  The second review of the photos involves standardizing all of the associated meta-data; this includes ensuring data/time consistency, photographer name, camera model information, event name, and geo-tagging.   If you didn't already know, the restored photos now contain the coordinates of the location of the event; at least, for those that I can remember.  Some of them just have generic locations.  When you pull up a photo, click the info button to get a glimpse of the where the event took place.  This location also now appears in the associated post.

So, what does the future hold?  The site will remain.  That much was promised and will continue...

We continue to post new events too!  The site has turned the corner and is now devoted to any type of event.  It kind of always was, but electronica held center stage for so long, it still consumes most of the old content.  We would like to find others interested in contributing.  If you or anyone you know is interested in providing their take on events attended, leave a comment and we will get back to you.

Otherwise, you can find ~phocas~ just about everywhere else.  We post video on the YouTube, sound bites to SoundCloud, and any mixes we stumble across, to MixCloud.  Outside of that, we will likely be backing away from social media.  The site was here first, and was popular enough without all that nonsense.  You either care to check back with us, or you don't.  Consequently, we will continue to maintain a presence on Google+FacebookMySpace, and Pintrest, but will probably not bother announcing anything anywhere but on this site, and maybe Twitter (@phocasdotnet); the later seems to be the best avenue for announcements.