a summer to remember

If you have not been keeping up, there have been several months of photographs restored since we last spoke.  This backstory column needed to be on hold for a little while.  Summer took over, is still pretty much ruling that domain, along with a few too many events to keep up with, and starting a couple of new publications.

With all of that going on, now seemed as good as time as any to pause and reflect a little on that restored for the summer of 2003, through August.

We left off discussing April 2003.  The number of events covered literally exploded from that point on, for the remainder of the summer, and beyond. There were quite a few new interesting events, and some very memorable raves and/or rave-like affairs in and around Kansas City and the Midwest. Represent was one such event.

The event was very likely the biggest legal and legitimate rave to happen in Kansas City.  All others before, during the same time, or even after, paled in comparison with this massive, and there has been no equal since.  It definitely raised the bar.

There were some other good parties though; several of which were out in some random places near Lawrence, St Joseph, and even all the way out in Manhattan.  Along with events in Springfield and St Louis, road trips enabled a more expanded view of the scene in and around Kansas City.

XO Club brought in a couple of major headliners.  Christopher Lawrence turned the place inside out with a spectacular event and at the end of summer Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins made an appearance, turning out an equally massive crowd.  Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub was really beginning to ramp up though, and give XO a run for its money.

Other coverage throughout the summer highlighted several Hip Hop events at Kabal, including the Twin Cities Top 100, Donald Glaude making a special appearance at the Beach Club, and I witnessed a little Miami influence infiltrating things at a pool party on the roof of the Fairmont Hotel on The Plaza at a little upscale affair called Martini Gras.

The Pitch invited me down to check out their annual showcase, which turned out to be quite a bit of fun.  The only drawback was that there were too many bands playing all at the same time in different locations.  I did have a lot of fun bouncing from club to bar to club to bar; listening to some of the finest musicians Kansas City had to offer though.

In addition to visiting many of the new and ongoing weekly events, the spotlight continued to turn towards several other cultural and non-music related events, donating time and photography, as well as promotional support at times.

Polski Day celebrated Polish heritage once again in the Strawberry Hill section of Kansas City. Returning there this year for a peek, it has definitely dwindled significantly since the days of Frank’s Place.  It remains a fun, and a family themed event with live Polka music, but much smaller.  It likely ebbs and flows though, as it has been going on for quite a long time now.

The first Celebration at the Station event at the newly remodeled Union Station in Kansas City provided a chill night of fireworks, with accompaniment from the Kansas City Symphony.  I have not been since, but see photos all the time, and am glad the tradition continued.

Miss Hawaiian Tropic also captured my attention for 6 weeks of the summer, down at the Beach Club.  It also attracted the attention of quite a few new readers, as traffic on the site exploded with folks ogling all the contestants.

Somebody from the modeling agency BabeXtreme asked me out to the Rumble on the River Pre-Party. It was a great opportunity to ride out and take photos of yet more models and motorcycles in Lees Summit.

One of the librarians at the Lucile H Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library invited Joe from u:Move, Phil from The Guild, and myself the opportunity to do a presentation for local youth, speaking on various aspects of the local music industry.  It was quite a bit of fun talking, and there were lots of questions.

I also had the opportunity to show off some of my artwork at a very special First Friday art showing, Urban Artifacts.  Held at the Zone and Momo galleries of the Crossroads Arts District, the event featured several other artists and musicians as well.  The turnout was fantastic, attracting folks from all over the area, and I even sold a couple of pieces.

Finally, and extremely significant to the growing success of the site, new contributors came on board. My good friend Rachel was the first, by simply covering an event I could not make it out to, but really wanted to.  The lovely Kourtney followed up shortly thereafter with a several different events, and would continue for quite a while, having a lot of fun just photographing events.  Aaron jumped in shortly thereafter too, with a couple of different events that fell off my radar, and DJ Two Heavy offered up some photos of a birthday bash for DJ Bill Pile, and an opportunity to collaborate on a little Labor Day event with him.

The ongoing contributions these folks made to the site remain invaluable.  They offered a different perspective, and a fresh face here and there.  Even though most eventually moved on to other things, I am forever grateful to their contributions.

I am sure missed mentioning one event or another..  Yes, there were house parties, and lot of different one-offs events, and we continued coverage of the alternative lifestyle monthly Submission event. The story archive has it all.  I understand it is still a bit awkward for mobile, but I am working on that, along with all those other years of photos.

Until next time… keep the fire burning!


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