Sunday, January 31, 2016

chinese new year festival 2016

Fifteen days of celebration begin next week with the start of the Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Monkey.  Not the typical drunken debauchery that most in the United States would recognize, it is a celebration of the old and the new, honoring the deities and ancestors, and the hope of a new year.

In honor of this centuries old cultural tradition, the Nelson-Atkins Museum hosted their 8th Annual festival for the Chinese New Year a week in advance.  This free event featured performances, activities, and food celebrating the Chinese culture.

We arrived later than we intended, but still had an opportunity to see much of the offerings, though did not sample any of the food.  We only caught a bit of the Lily Zhang Li Taylor Dance Academy performance, before feeling compelled to move, lest we miss anything.  The little ones did provide quite a bit of amusement though, dancing in brightly colored costumes to traditional music to relatively full house.

Making our way through the museum, we paused for a little while to take in the Chinese Music Ensemble, who played an excellent set on traditional authentic Chinese instruments in the Bloch Building.  We also enjoyed a solo Guzheng performance by Wen-Hau You in the Chinese Temple.  As had been the case with the main performance arena, the turnout for the festival appeared better than had been anticipated.

We missed the acrobatics and Tai Chi demonstration, and probably a lot of other things, due to the turnout.  We were barely able to pass through the area hosting a performance by the The Drum Roller & Chinese School of Greater Kansas City, as they hammered away on massive traditional drums to the delight of hundreds of spectators.

We walked through most of the other activities too, since many were equally crowded.  We did find one small quiet spot briefly, in the Spencer Art Reference Library and enjoyed a few readings.  It was not a bad first experience though, and a chance to get acquainted with this annual tradition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  We definitely will be making a return trip, and scheduling a much earlier arrival.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

fountain city roller derby

The Fountain City Roller Derby launched its 6th season, and we decided to drop in and show a little support for the Royal Pains in their match up against the Deadly Sirens, at the B&D Skate Center in Independence.  I had not been to a Roller Derby since I was a kid, and was intrigued when offered the opportunity to go.  Back in those days, competitions were down at Municipal Auditorium, Memorial Hall or something like that, and very much a “blood sport.”

The focus of this event appeared to be more education and friendly, though still somewhat aggressive, competition.  Taking up a good position on the wall, where the curve breaks into straightway, we watched the girls warm up before things got started. There were a few bruisers, but overall most seemed just your average girl-next-door types. They are all part of a larger community comprised of 120 men and women skaters spread across 4 house, 3 co-ed, 2 zombie league teams and one tournament.

The announcers mentioned something about the group reaching some Championship level in the previous season, but their mics were up a little loud and the whole thing went by me.  They did give the audience a good run-down of the rules and general concept of game play, though.  The players demonstrated the idea, which proved helpful.  There seemed to be no rules in the last Roller Derby I attended.

We had a good vantage point for this contest, but only stayed for the first game.  I am still working with the camera on the Nexus 5x a bit.  The video is generally good, but I am holding out judgement on the photos.  That’s a whole other story, for another blog space though.  We had a great time at the Roller Derby, which rolls regularly on the last Saturday of the month for these folks.  A return visit is very likely.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

chiefs watch party

We dropped in on the Pizza Bar at Power & Light District for the Kansas City Chiefs recent playoff game, as we did for the previous as well.  It was a good spot to hang out in the warmth with a few friends.  A lot of folks had the same idea too. 

We looked in on the “Living Room” a few times. I was a little surprised the crowd wasn't quite what it had been for the Kansas City Royals just a few months prior. It was cold though, and lacking the warmth of the ceiling heaters, not quite as comfortable as your own living room.

This particular Saturday was not too bad though, and quite a full display of red and gold. I snagged a couple of shots along the way, sill experimenting with the new Nexus 5x. I need a means of stabilizing that more, or quit attempting to balance on a narrow slab of concrete.

Aside from the one little video shot, I tried a partial photosphere, stole a shot at a couple of the cheerleaders talking with some folks, and stumbled across the girl in the balloon dress. Otherwise, I was a bit more interested in the game, which turned out poorly. There is always next year…

Thursday, January 14, 2016

ultraviolet pigface sin

Kabal started to really ramp up in February 2003.  I only photographed a couple of shows there during this month, but the attendance at their Playboy Party said it all.  It was quickly becoming a hot little night spot, surprisingly, on word of mouth alone.  That was intent, according to the owners, who were quickly becoming close friends.  It helped that they were not catering to the typical club crown in Kansas City at the time; at the time, primarily, HipHop or Big Room Progressive or Trance.  House music was the primary attraction, and they were just getting started.  They did feature a couple of nights of HipHop though, just not on the weekend.  Later in the month, I dropped in on one of those nights, put on by Action Jackson Entertainment for the Ladies, featuring local HipHop and Spoken Word performances.  Like Kabal, it started off slow at first, gaining more and more credibility with every new attendee.

I made a couple of trips out to Lawrence in February 2003 again.  It was becoming routine to make at least one journey out that way. The first, a fantastic show at a venue that should have probably seen a lot more shows than it did, Abe & Jake’s Landing.  Hypersonic, a relatively new promotion group was kicking off a new regular Thursday night, this one featuring Kid Icarus.  The main room was a great spot, and the adjacent rooms provided a few more unique sounds. 

The second, a special Sunday night at the Granada featuring Sound Tribe Sector 9.  It was the first time that I saw them live, and while they put on a good show, with some great music, the opening act overshadowed their performance.  The Live PA act that Ming & FS brought to the stage blew me away, and from the response of the crowd, I was not only one.  The whole room was grooving, and by the end of their set, begging for more.

A few shows of the Gothic/Industrial sort littered the rest of the month.  Mid-month witnessed an intimate performance by Emergence, who played a fierce set to a small group of folks.  A few days later, I dropped in on the Pigface “Easy Listening” CD Release Party, featuring performances from Voodou and Chris Connelly.  There was a second round of the rave-style gone Industrial at the El Torreon on too, with a very special performance by Necrovox.  Of course, as had become a tradition, I returned to Davey’s at the end of the month for a show from the performance troupe Inferno de L’Impur.

Access to photos from these events is not available through the story archive, which is really the only access point for the photos at this time, and where further detail about these events appears.  I am eventually closing down the off-site archive too, but I am bringing back the “collections” in their larger format.  Stay tuned.