Tag Archives: first fridays

First Fridays, May 2010: Yoga flash mobs, snowcones and toys!

So, admittedly, we’re now closer to June First Fridays than we are to May. Perhaps it’s because May’s festivities in the Crossroads were so epic that I’ve just now recovered enough to blog. Or, more likely, life deadlines have interfered with my blogging agenda.

But here we are, in the midst of a gloomy weather spell that has many comparing Kansas City to Seattle. Conditions should improve tomorrow, so here’s hoping. Reflect back with me, if you will, to the first Friday in May, a clear but unseasonably chilly night. After an enjoyable meal (and a pitcher of margaritas) at Manny’s with R. and his co-workers, I left the group immersed in conversation and Boulevard Pilsner while I went outside to catch Kansas City’s first yoga flash mob.

Thanks to a Facebook event invitation that caught my eye in the Newsfeed, I knew the yoga flash mob was set to occur, so I came armed with my digital camera, Flip camcorder and iPhone. As soothing music filled the air, the flash mob began, with more yoga fans joining every few minutes to repeat a series of sun salutations.

As I dodged and weaved to snap photos and take video, I was amazed at how many photographers and passers-by collected along the small triangular park. Enough people spilled off the sidewalk as to block the right turn lane on Central St., but the drivers didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they were all trying to hard to see what was going on that I was shocked a pile-up didn’t occur!

The impromptu gathering emanated such an aura of peacefulness and calm that I soon became transfixed while watching. As I looked around at the participants and audience, I was overwhelmed with my own sense of contentment that this is what First Fridays is all about–an eclectic display of energy that’s as much fun to watch as it is to join. I look forward to more yoga flash mobs in the coming months, but as the crowd dispersed, my mind turned to one thing: snow cones.

It’s blasphemous, I know, but up until now, I had never sampled one of Lindsay Laricks’ icy confections. When I read that her snow cone season kicked off during First Fridays, I made a beeline for her easily recognizable trailer, joining a sizable line of others in search of snow cone nirvana. After much internal debate, and a recommendation from Lindsay, I opted for the blackberry lavender, which was insanely delicious. R., ever the citrus fan, chose lime mint, and loved it. I also snagged a bright red “Daredevil” T-shirt, which I have since worn proudly throughout Kansas City.

Next up? Another must-see event, and this time it was an actual art show. What’s that, you say? An art exhibit during First Fridays? How novel! R. and I walked a couple blocks to Third Eye Event Space, where we followed the thumping bass beats to the Hustle 2 group show, a phenomenal gathering of local artists that included Brian “Bullets” Holton, Nathan Fox, D. Ross “Scribe,” Jeremy Madl, Phil “Sike Style” Shafer and Zachary Trover.

Although I was excited to see work from all of the artists, I was the most psyched to meet Jeremy Madl and see his Mad Toy Design exhibit. I had written a profile about Jeremy a few weeks back, and couldn’t wait to see his creations in person. I’m not really a toy collector, but I couldn’t resist one of Jeremy’s custom-designed headphonies, who I’ve named “Beats.”

All in all, it was a fantastic First Fridays. Sadly, I won’t be in attendance in June, as I’ll be headed to my hometown of Columbia to cover the annual Art in the Park festival. I’ll be back in July and in desperate search of more snow cones–me and the heat don’t mesh so well!

Reasons I love Kansas City, #3: Art

Hilliard Gallery, 2009.

I’ve always had a peripheral interest in art, but it wasn’t until I moved to Kansas City that I truly began to explore and appreciate a local arts community. The natural starting point for any arts amateur is First Fridays, a monthly gallery crawl in downtown’s Crossroads Arts District complete with street performances, artist receptions and some of the best people-watching in town. Kansas City’s museums are also some of my favorite ways in which to spend a leisurely Saturday, whether within the hushed, palatial hallways of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or exploring the lively, thought-provoking works found at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Bowl by Robert Handley. Displayed at Hilliard Gallery.

Once I began writing about Kansas City, the arts community took on an even greater importance. Reporting on artist profiles, gallery openings, collecting art and local fashion gave me a chance to meet some of Kansas City’s talented artists and artisans, and I know there are a multitude of others who work tirelessly on their craft, collectively uniting to help increase the prominence and recognition of Kansas City’s arts.

Rob Schamberger's "In The Mood" exhibit, Rm 222. Photo by Dana Hill.

More recently, I’ve made more of a personal investment in the local arts thanks to my fiance, Rob Schamberger, who’s had two gallery shows and currently features a collection of vintage album recreations at Midtown’s The Rhythm Lounge. Living with a creator has given me a heightened appreciation of how much time and talent artists funnel into each piece, and it’s made me even more aware of how much art can be found in Kansas City. Galleries, museums, festivals, art walks–the opportunities to become a participant in local arts are nearly endless, and if you haven’t already taken advantage of these events, I urge you to do so as soon as possible!

Bon Bon Atelier

The best part about Kansas City art? It’s everywhere. You don’t necessarily have to go into a gallery or museum to see handcrafted work from a local artisan. Several local boutiques, including Bon Bon Atelier, offer goods created by local artists. Murals are common sights, especially in the downtown and Midtown areas. Public art is becoming a vital component of urban renewal, resulting in outdoor sculptures, ornate bridges and other fixtures that are as functional as they are eye-catching. Empty downtown storefronts are being transformed into accessible gallery spaces visible from the streets. Kansas City’s art is as diverse and varied as its artists, an ever-evolving masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on the entire metropolitan area.