Happy In Bag

Saturday, June 28, 2008

James DeRigne

Kansas City doesn't have enough oddballs. Misfits and nonconformists who might shine in other cities are often shunned or mocked by many locals. It's less of a problem in today's era of instant global communication; it wasn't always that way. I first ran into James DeRigne in the Reagan era. I was delighted to discover the eccentric man and his odd little record shop. He died June 3.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Three Colors Have I

Have you seen the guy with his left arm hanging out of his car window? The freak keeps time on the side of his jalopy no matter how steamy it gets. That's me! Consequently, I have three skin tones. There's my blindingly white natural shade, a pinkish farmer's tan and the deep bronze of my left forearm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Tomatoes and beets aren't the most valuable commodities available at the Downtown Overland Park Farmers Market. The Wednesday and Saturday morning sale offers visitors a chance to slow down. After selecting produce from area growers (I feel for their disgruntled teenaged progeny who seem desperate to escape the farm), many people choose to relax in a shaded courtyard. Eddie Delahunt and a couple friends performed on a recent Saturday morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Way Wrong

I'd forgotten about rage. Annoyance, impatience and frustration are not unfamiliar territory, but an incident yesterday reminded me of the power of rage. Over an hour dealing with an ISP's unresponsive robots, surly humans and an Indian call center left me blowing gauges. I was truly afraid of what I might do. A friend happened to call me at the very moment I was prepared to make a regrettable decision. It took him only two minutes to resolve my technical problems. I'm fine now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Have You Heard? I Have I Music Blog

In addition to studiously pondering my belly button at Happy In Bag, I also have a music site. While a lot of my "real" writing appears at the Star's music blog, I consider all sorts of local, national and international sounds at There Stands the Glass. Feel free to enter a ticket giveaway contest for next Tuesday's Ingrid Michaelson show at the Beaumont Club. She's the bee's knees.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wedding Reception

Among the many things that cease to matter as I get older is the sexual orientation of other people. I was utterly indifferent to the consequences of recent social legislation in California. That changed yesterday when new issues of East Bay Express showed up in my mailbox. Oakland's weekly alternative newspaper is overflowing with advertising for the gay wedding industry. One beneficiary of this boom is my former boss and longtime friend Hal Brody. Best known in Kansas City as the former owner of the Pitch and Penny Lane Records, Hal has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Sleeves

I want to take this guy to the Power & Light District tonight. Say Anything is performing in the new complex's free concert series. Sometimes I park near Crosstown Station, where tonight's $5 cover charge provides access to a bill of obscure rock bands. Power & Light's shock-and-awe strategy must be devastating for local music clubs.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jazz Vs. Hip Hop: A KC Encounter

I regret not heading downtown every First Friday. The monthly arts event is invariably exciting and surprising. My most recent experience involved flagging down an ambulance for a guy having a seizure, sweating bullets in an art gallery basement and realizing that one of the things I love most is no longer particularly relevant. I explain the latter insight here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Knock On Wood

My refusal to pay for parking has put me in dicey situations previously, but last night was particularly perilous. I was initially grateful for the strobe-style lighting effect provided by a brilliant lightning storm. Five minutes into a hike through Swope Park I realized my predicament. My pockets full of electronic devices, keys and coins, I was standing in the middle of a vast, tree-less field. I guess God isn't done with me yet.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Chouteau Society

How is it that even after traipsing around Westport for a quarter of a century I only noticed this historical marker yesterday? The sign is guarded by foliage and a wrought iron fence near the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and Westport Road. Dense text refers to Louis XIV, "an immense pow-wow" and "beaver for hats." I guess I don't know Chez les Canses as well as I thought.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


A guy in front of me in a long line at Rockfest had the word "Hatred" tattooed to the back of his neck. His tipsy female companion told me he received the marking while in prison. It's true that many of the 50,000 people who attended last Saturday's festival are a bit rough around the edges. Yet with only a few exceptions, Rockfest crowds are remarkably friendly and docile. I missed this incident, but I caught the conclusion of an alleged tasing. Witnesses applauded as police carried the collared man away.

Monday, June 09, 2008

1,600 Tiny White People

I enjoyed visiting with the gracious volunteers at JE Dunn's open house during First Friday. They were displaying this exact one-tenth scale model of the concert hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It's really cool. I was told that the model is filled with nitrogen when it's used to test the the acoustics of the structure under construction a couple blocks away.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sunshine Superman

I'm hardly what you'd call a "people person." Even so, I love being in the middle of a crowd. Today's post-storm sunshine has me giddy with anticipation. This is the best weekend of the year to get outside. The biggest events are Wakarusa near Lawrence and Rockfest at Liberty Memorial. Too manic? Too expensive? Free events include Topeka's Hawk Fest, Gladstone's BluesFest, Old Shawnee Days, the Plaza's concert series, First Friday parties in the Crossroads district and Olathe's Americana Jubilee.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ed Fenner

Ed Fenner loved jazz. He spent the last few years of his life promoting the music in Kansas City. He died May 18. A memorial service in his honor was held Monday night at the Gem Theater. I posted a few notes about the tribute at Plastic Sax. Fenner's energetic, single-minded devotion to jazz may prove to be irreplaceable.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Naan Shall Enter

A couple commenters disparaged the citizens of Olathe in a recent Happy In Bag post. They may not realize that the element they claim to find so distasteful is just one part of the area's demographic mix. As a constant wanderer thoughout "the Metro" (as television news people put it), I know that commonly-held perceptions about southern Johnson County aren't entirely accurate. The dal, naan and exquisite pastries available at ethnic groceries sprinkled throughout the area are delicious, and their presence makes a mockery of broad stereotypes.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Call me old-fashioned. Say I'm a prude. Just don't curse at me- please. I'm not proud of the fact that I regularly unleash vulgar language. Still, I realize that when it's skillfully employed, profanity can be both artful and amusing. Even so, that base words are now commonly accepted makes me think that the era of utter Idiocracy is upon us. I shudder as I type these words for the first time at Happy In Bag, but examples of this coarse discourse include "ass," "butt" and "crap." A certain newspaper even printed the word "butt" on its front page yesterday. I spotted this label on a box of equipment at the Power & Light District last week.