First Friday | KCUR

First Friday

Anne Kniggendorf / KCUR 89.3

Mike McLaughlin has a slightly unusual grievance: He has more blacksmithing equipment than he can actually use. His backyard smithy is 16-by-24 feet and includes two kinds of forge, three anvils and a bunch of hammers and other tools.

But to practice this ancient skill, he notes, "all you really need is a hunk of dirt and a little cover."

Segment 1: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Seg. 1: Llamas | Seg. 2: Food Train | Seg. 3: Crossroads Shooting

Aug 5, 2019

Segment 1: A llama show gains popularity.

What is it about llamas? They're everywhere. And that includes the Douglas County Fair. 

  • Mason Kelso, interim llama superintendent, Douglas County Fair
  • Amber Fraley, freelance writer, Lawrence Magazine

Segment 2: An Austin-based chef travels the country tasting regional cuisine.

Segment 1: Weekend shootings in Kansas City spark concern about public events

This weekend saw multiple fatal shootings in Kansas City, one of them occurred shortly after First Friday in the Crossroads, where thousands of people had congregated. The incident has community members and leaders reconsidering Kansas City's violent crime problem, and how to rein it in. 

Kyle Plamer / KCUR 89.3

Updated 7:45 a.m. Aug. 4: When he was campaigning, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas often spoke of the need to fix the city's persistent problem with violent crime. Now, in the first days of his administration, he's facing the same stark reality that frustrated his predecessor, Sly James. 

"We've got a problem in Kansas City. I've been mayor for two full days, and we've got two homicides," Lucas said Saturday at a hastily called press conference that included Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Segment 1: Monarch Glass Studio becomes a community hub in Kansas City.

The glass scene in Kansas City is on the rise. The owner of Monarch Glass Studio lets us in on the allure of glass, as an artistic material, and tells the story of opening a Kansas City studio to foster a glass community here. 

Segment 2, beginning at 21:30: David Dastmalchian comes back to KC.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When First Fridays started in Kansas City, the whole point was to bring more people to the Crossroads to experience art. But for years now, critics have been saying the festive scene has lost all focus on art.

“Most contemporary artists in Kansas City have a tendency to hate or just throw vitriol at First Friday because they think it’s an annoying touristy trap of everyone from the suburbs,” said Melaney Ann Mitchell, an artist who runs a website called Informalityblog, where art critics write about what’s happening in area galleries.

Cameron Wiley

Painter Melissa McCracken says ugly music does exist, but nothing that looks so bad she has to turn it off. It really only gets as homely as some brown around the edges of a twangy country song. Funk and soul are vibrant. Jazz is sparkly. Radiohead has a lot of layers.

Courtesy Amy Meya

Once again, the traditional art-opening weekend meets the traditional gift-giving season at the following shows and sales, which involve multiple Kansas City artists.

Belger Crane Yard Studios Open House & Holiday Sale
2011 Tracy Ave., Kansas City, Missouri 
More than 30 artists sell handcrafted pottery, jewelry, sculpture and ornaments as part of the Kansas City Clay Guild’s Annual Pottery Tour. Friday, December 2, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday, December 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Courtesy First Friday Film Festival

With the exception of Oscar-nominated shorts and the occasional Pixar release, films under thirty minutes go largely unseen by general audiences in the United States. The presenters of a new First Friday Film Festival hope Kansas City will become an exception to that rule.

Jason Wickersheim / Two West Inc.

If you consider three a crowd, you might want to catch up on your Netflix queue this weekend.

But if you’re ready to sample a bumper crop of community festivals and other organized excuses to party, then it’s time to join the waiting throngs.

What are they waiting for? Well, if you’re watching “Orange is the New Black” or “House of Cards,” we’ll miss you. But not that much!

1. Old Shawnee Days

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Citians' First Friday entertainment options get wider this week with the debut of festivities along 18th and Vine.

Starting on May 6, arts organizations in the historic Jazz District will host live music and storytelling performances, food trucks, art and fashion displays, shopping and even "instructions on the latest dance trends" including "heels, hip hop, break dancing, vogue and pop, and dip and spin" courtesy of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

Kelly Seward / Belger Crane Yard Studios

The traditional art-opening weekend meets the traditional gift-giving season at the following shows and sales, which involve multiple Kansas City artists.

Belger Crane Yard Studios Open House & Holiday Sale
2011 Tracy Ave., Kansas City, Missouri
Artists in their studios sell handcrafted pottery, jewelry, sculpture and ornaments as part of the Kansas City Clay Guild’s Annual Pottery Tour.
Friday, Dec. 4, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.