As a newcomer here, I’m just going to remind you of some of the things you might not even notice any more that we who are new arrivals find thrilling.
Driving in KC
First, the traffic: There isn’t any. My first day en route to work I thought it might be a holiday I didn’t know about. Then, parking: I kind of want to go places just so I can park, woohoo, without driving around endlessly first, and then either resorting to a $22 parking garage, if I can even locate one with room for non-monthly parkers, or else an illegal spot on the street that will without any doubt result in yet another ticket.
Last Sunday was Salute to the Negro Leagues Day at the Royals game, and after we left the stadium and just drove right away — how does that even work? — we still had time to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and yes, parked right in front. Same a couple nights before, when after seeing Jason Isbell at the Uptown, we strolled right across the street, retrieved our car from the free parking, and after a wait of maybe a minute, during which I heard no honking and saw no attempts to cut off other drivers, home we went. This is not going to get old any time soon.
I had not been inside before the just-for-fun “Bond and Beyond: 50 Years of 007” pops program, and I think some of the musicians might have worried that there was something wrong with that woman sitting on the front row grinning the whole time, over the venue and the ticket prices as well as the show. You do know what you have in this place, right?
At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the new Bloch collection of 29 impressionist paintings is stunning, a coup for the city. At the most recent Art Tasting With Julián, where I plan to be a regular, museum director Julián Zugazagoitia and Henry and Marion Bloch’s son Tom discussed the decision to keep the collection here. To which all I can say is, thank you.
A certified Sondheim nut, I’m someone who, when we lived in New York before kids, spent an absurd portion of my paycheck on tickets to shows of all kinds, often a couple of times a week. Our friend Robert Trussell, the retired Star theater critic who now writes for KC Studio, had always spoken so highly of the level of work being done here, but honestly, I still had no idea. And I’m not grading on a curve when I say that the two excellent things I’ve seen so far, “Eclipsed” at the Unicorn and “A Raisin in the Sun” at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, I could easily have seen in New York.
While it’s just not true that the East Coast isn’t friendly — New Yorkers will talk to anybody, too, even though it might be to complain — I never really did get over my Midwestern appreciation for the simple ritual exchange of greetings. Who cares about that? Apparently, I do. A lot.
Earlier this month, my 21-year-old son visited from D.C. for Middle of the Map Fest and kept pointing out the various “sick” aspects of life here. (As in wow, not as in twisted.) If I were you, he said, I would be glad not everybody knows about it. Oops.
Melinda Henneberger is a Star opinion page writer. 816-234-4872, @MelindaKCMO