Graffiti Marathon, Kansas City Style

A Wright read my post on Kansas City Graffiti from 2012 and requested more information. Despite having accumulated a significant library of photographs of graffiti and wall art, I have failed to document where the graffiti is located.  Just for fun, Terry, Casey and I spent time this weekend driving through Kansas City neighborhoods with a cause — help A Wright identify where to look for Kansas City wall treasures.  As a result, I will over the next few days, help locate some fine Kansas City graffiti.  Today, graffiti in an alley.

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Graffiti extends the length of an easily missed alley East of 18th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte Streets.  It is walking distance of Webster House and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.   It is a wonderful treasure for those who enjoy urban art.  And, seriously, it appears to me that the alley went a transformation over the course of a few days.  There is paint all over the street itself, and my bet is that no one cares.  It must have been a heck of a weekend!

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Looking closely you will see the initials of various artists and their distinctive styles.  I can’t identify them by name, but I recognize many of the artists from other locations across town.

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If you want to add an interesting dining experience you can enjoy upscale dining at Webster House or eat very casually at YJ’s Snack Bar at 128 W. 18th Street.  However different the environments, you won’t regret either experience.

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In my lay opinion, these are talented artists.  My hat is off to all of them.

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Have a great week.  There is more to come.

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Sundays With Terry–It’s All About Local

Sunday breakfast is all about the ritual of exploring Kansas City neighborhoods and finding local restaurants, coffee shops and cafes. There is something truly special about finding one-of-a-kind places to eat. It supports the local economy and gives us the opportunity to really savor the tastes of Kansas City. In recent weeks, we have visited a variety of fascinating coffee shops that are worth a second visit:

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YY’s is within walking distance of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center, but miles apart in attitude. It is a “dive” in the best sense.  The food is good, the maple syrup is real, and the few customers who fit in the confined space  seem to represent a microcosm of Kansas City.

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The Roasterie in Brookside is “Bean Baron” Danny O’Neill’s coffee shop that features his own locally roasted coffees, and a wonderful assortment of rolls, croissants and even desserts.  It is wonderfully suited to the charm of neighborhood near our home.  Danny travels the world in search of great coffee beans and has worked hard to perfect the art of fine coffee.

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Hi Hat focuses on the Pembroke Hill School crowd.  Parents drop by Hi Hat after dropping their kids off at school.  Students visit the coffee shop before and after school.  Too small to have much room inside for customers, except in the coldest weather there are often people gathered on the tiny front porch visiting and enjoying coffees, frozen drinks and muffins or rolls.

We have so many great places to explore here in Kansas City. It’s not only important to support our local businesses, but it’s just so much fun!

Sunday mornings with Terry–In the shade of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Terry and I are pretty independent souls.  Our work lives keep us busy during the day and our clubs, committees and boards take much of our spare time.  But Fridays after work and Sunday mornings are our time.  Virtually every Sunday morning you will find us in the car with our dog, Casey, with a destination in mind, preferably pet friendly.  We combine breakfast with a drive through an area of the Kansas City metropolitan area that remains unexplored or, in this case, under-explored. This morning was no exception.

It is hot here.  But Casey would not understand if we don’t include him in the morning explorations. That significantly limits the restaurants where we can eat to those that are dog friendly.   He knows, really knows, the rhythm of our lives and which day of the week is for the three of us.  Today Terry selected a restaurant on the North edge of the Crossroads District of Kansas City.  I walked just a block to photograph this  view of Kauffman, Webster House and the Bartle Hall pylons. Y & J’s Snack Shop is eclectic to say the least.  Obviously a haunt for both young city dwellers and middle age professionals , I had never noticed it until this morning.  But it was inexpensive, the food was good, and Casey was content.  The staff even provided water for pets. The aesthetics of the so-called “snack bar” were minimalist at best.  Tiny, with a kitchen smaller than my own, the cook served such standards as bacon and egg sandwiches, coffee and a variety of breads.  The decor was not even shabby-chic, it was just shabby.  The door was covered with stickers of various sorts.  The tables and chairs were plastic and metal.  Nothing really matched.  But the environment was casual and accepting.  Obviously, many patrons were regulars and felt right at home.  Even for first timers it was a happy place to spend some time.  We wandered the block or so surrounding Y & J’S, and were surprised by the variety of retail stores, coffee shops, businesses and an urban garden, all sharing adjoining spaces.  I can’t even tell you the address, because street signs were few and far between.  But one business had prominently displaced its address as 1818 something.  It was a true urban experience made more satisfying because we know it is part of the rebirth of our central city.

Night views of the Country Club Plaza

The Country Club Plaza is always beautiful.  The seasons of the year and the time of day significantly impact the images that we see.  These photographs were taken late in the evening, just after the sun set, but before it was completely dark.  (These scenes are best viewed with your brightness setting on high.)

From the Fountain of Bacchus Sculpture, located at the Chandler Court at 47th & Wyandotte, is made of 10,000 pounds of cast lead.

The architecture throughout the Plaza is inspired by the architecture of Seville, Spain.

Night view of Broadway Bridge and Brush Creek, on the Country Club Plaza

The Statute of Ruth, representing the Biblical Ruth, is located at 48th & Wyandotte.  It is formed from white Carrara marble.

Good Morning Petaluma

I went for an early morning run the other day, right along the fence line on the east side of Petaluma. With everything going on lately, I find my morning runs to be the most relaxing.

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was coming up, the birds were chirping, and even the cows gave me a “good morning” nod as I passed by. I took this photo from my phone, right along my favorite running trail. It was a beautiful start to a beautiful day.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Men of the Frontier–Kansas City Sculptures

Kansas City’s most famous outdoor sculpture, The Scout, stands high in the hills of Penn Valley Park.  Created by Cyrus E. Dallin, it won a gold medal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.  Purchased by the “Kids of Kansas City” it was dedicated in 1922 as a permanent memorial to local Native American tribes.  I am fortunate to drive by it every work day as I make my way, with thousands of others, along Southwest Trafficway toward downtown Kansas City.  The Scout’s image is on local advertisements, and it inspired the name of an investment fund and a sports team.

Equally magnificent, if not as well-known, is the statute of Massasoit, (Ousamequin) Great Sachem of the Wampanoag, identified as a “friend of pilgrams”, created by Cyrus Dallin and donated to the community by Mr. & Mrs. Miller Nichols.  It stands at 47th & Main, on the East edge of the Country Club Plaza.  Massasoit protected the Pilgram’s from starvation in 1621, shortly after the founding of Plymouth Plantation.  He also negotiated a peace treaty between an affiliation of tribal leaders and the English settlers, which continued throughout his lifetime.  Unfortunately after his death in 1662, peace did not continue.  Four of his five children died in “King Philip’s War” fought from 1675-8 between the English colonists and local Native American tribes.

Robert Macifie Scriver is the sculptor of this powerful image of a cowboy astride a massive bull.  Aptly titled “An Honest Try”, it is inevitable that the bull will win this contest between man and beast.  But it is a wonderful depiction of what we often call the “wild west”.   Easy to miss in a tour of Kansas City art treasures, it is located on Main Street, at the New Board of Trade Building on the South East edge of the Plaza.

A Kansas City Weekend

Jake and I were in Kansas City for a quick visit this weekend. Jake was in the first of three wedding we’ll be attending in KC this year. We barely sat down for a second the whole weekend, but it was great to see family and visit some of our old favorites.

Our first stop on Saturday morning (after a brisk run around Loose Park, of course) was Jake’s personal request: breakfast at Eggtc. It’s definitely one of the best places around, and for us it’s very convenient. Right at the intersection of 51st and Main. I highly recommend it. Plus, the restaurant on the corner has such wonderful phrases painted in the window.

Later in the day, Mum and I drove out South to drop Jake off at the church to get ready with the boys. On our way back, we stopped at one of my personal favorites: Topsy’s. I’ve been going there since I was a little person. They make a delicious cherry limeade.

On Sunday, we were lucky enough to get to see some of the family on our way back to the airport. My cousin Jon and his wife Dana are pregnant, so Mum and I (okay, mostly Mum) put together a little celebration brunch. A short visit, indeed, but always wonderful to see the Mesle clan. My granddad, who turned 97 last October, still joins us in the festivities.

So after a very short weekend, Jake and I headed home to California. We are always sad to leave Kansas City, but it does make it a little easier that we get to come home to sunshine, coastlines, and wine country. It’s a good life.