Happy In Bag

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Walking With the Ghosts

Aside from my strong desire for UMKC’s men’s basketball team to humiliate Missouri tonight, I don’t really care about the Kangaroos. Yet I plan to attend several of their home games this season for a reason unrelated to sports.

I’m in love with Municipal Auditorium.

Built in 1936, the building has housed political conventions and basketball Final Fours. It’s been marred by a few contemporary additions, but Municipal maintains most of its original artful flair

I didn’t give the arena a second thought when I was a kid attending events in downtown Kansas City. I just recall the thrill of the circus and the brutality of boxing matches. (Anyone remember Tony Chiaverini?). I’ve seen dozens of musical acts ranging from Genesis to James Brown, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer to Prince perform there. None managed to coax decent sound out of the space.

Still, it gives me shivers. I’m not going to claim that Municipal Auditorium is literally filled with ghosts. But I will say that its weight of time and history are very heavy.

I don’t pretend to know anything about the needs of modern sports franchises, the demands of today's conventions or the whims of concert promoters. Still, I was puzzled by the disregard the old building received in the debates leading to the groundbreaking on the new Sprint facility. Sure, Municipal’s corridors are a little tight on the rare occasion when attendance passes 5,000. And the concessions can be spotty. At least the new seats are plush. I hope it turns out to be a good thing for Kansas City. But when premiere events currently held at Municipal don’t attract much of a crowd, I don’t know how they’ll fare better in a bigger space.

Until then, you’ll find me sitting among the old spirits of Municipal Auditorium.


  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger Tony said…

    Excellent post my good man!!! Actually, I do remember Tony C., I used to watch him train with Dad when I was a kid.

  • At 3:29 PM, Blogger FletcherDodge said…

    I suspect the new arena won't try to attract the same events that the auditorium targets. Municipal is a great building, but an old one. I think the new Sprint Center will be a fantastic addition to downtown.


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