Camping Out in Kansas City

HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN
March came in like a lion, starting at the end of February. First up, the exalted 79th Annual Academy Awards which were telecast on Feb. 25. I found myself buzzing around town, first stopping at the Oscar Night America benefit for Variety the Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City held at the Barrywoods Theater in the Northland. (Camp was a proud sponsor of this event.) These folks literally rolled out the red carpet complete with red carpet interviews. Ron Mcgee was to be doing the interviews and I sorely missed his wry sense of humor as the replacement fell a little short. I felt just a bit underdressed as many of the men came in tuxedos and ladies came in ball gowns. The appetizers were absolutely to die for, and I found out later that Phoenix Catering was responsible. My hat is off to those guys for a magnificent job. I had barely time to scarf down my third plate of food when it was time to make an appearance at my good friends Paul and Bobby’s Oscar and Assorted Costume Party held at their fabulous home overlooking downtown Kansas City. Paul chose me to answer the first Oscar Trivia Question, which I failed miserably, I might add! Imagine how I felt as an official card-carrying homosexual to have missed a movie trivia question! Before the third acceptance speech, and the next three rounds of appetizer plates, I decided to hit some of the bars for their festivities. I must say that I was a little disappointed in the bar offerings and ended up sitting alone in Missie B’s perched in front of one of the myriad TV monitors scattered throughout the place for the announcement of Best Picture. Oh well, I should have stayed at the party!
March 3 marked the advent of the first annual AIDS Walk Golf Tournament. Of course, yours truly was drafted to be a part of Team GE, a group of crack low handicappers (no, I don’t mean handicapped by crack!). Here is a picture of my team preparing for the tournament. This fundraiser’s concept was hatched by the fun-loving group at Miller High Life Sales headed by John K. and John P. There were seven participating bars, each one providing a miniature golf hole to be played by each of the over 95 participating teams. There were shuttle buses to get the teams from one bar to the next and ample time for libations at each establishment. There were some challenging golf holes but Flo’s was one of the easier ones. Bar Natasha gets my vote as the most challenging hole, and it cost me two drinks just to get up the nerve to finish. This first ever fundraising effort for AIDS Walk garnered more than $13,000 and brought together more than 380 diverse folks from all over the area. My thanks to Michael L. and Josh S. and their wonderful committee members for throwing one hell of a fun event. Kisses and hugs!
March 10 marked the beginning of festivities surrounding St. Patrick’s Day. My friends and I decided to experience the Brookside Parade for the first time with Sharps Bar and Grill as our staging area. I was pleasantly surprised to find room to maneuver from my bar stool to the sidewalk and back quite easily. So therefore it was quite easy to consume way too many Bloody Marys while watching dignitaries, bands and floats making their way down 63rd Street. The weather was crisp, but fine for a parade and as the next picture will attest, my friends and I ran into the Valentine area’s answer to St.Patrick, Uncle Sam and Santa Claus all rolled into one, Bob M. It was there that I received a personal invite to Bob M. and Mike J’s St Patrick’s Dinner held the following night and as usual the food was absolutely to die for. I especially loved the corned beef and cabbage casserole. These guys really know how to put on a “feed bag”! Sadly, I had to miss Kansas City’s big parade as my editor decided to call a meeting at 1 p.m. that afternoon. Oh well, I guess he is not Irish! I did, however manage to catch some of the festivities at Missie B’s after the parade. As you can tell by this next picture, everybody was either wearing green or looking green! I opted to make my way home before the inevitable roadblocks were put in place and none too soon, as I understand there was a roadblock set up directly across the street from Missie B’s on the trafficway.
Just a quick mention of a wonderful experience for me and my friend Sharon that took place the week of March 11, culminating on Sunday, March 18th. The TV show Extreme Makeover was filmed in the Northland near my home, and we were able to witness the arrival of the family as they first saw their new 5,000-square-foot home. What a thrill it was to be among the crowd shouting “move that bus” and then seeing the expressions on the faces of the 12 family members as they saw that wonderful new home. Incidentally, Ty Pennington ain’t too shabby to look at either! Sharon and I both agreed that experience was well worth the three-block uphill trek. For those who might be interested in seeing the show, I believe it will air on Sunday evening, May 13.
One final event to relate to you and then I will retire my keyboard for this time, and that was the tribute thrown on behalf of Mayor Kay Barnes by the LGBT community at Bar Natasha on March 22. What a wonderful send off for a mayor who has done so much for our community since she took office. As you can see by the following pictures and others found in the photo section of Camp, a great time was had by all, including the mayor, shown here with JD and Missie Koontz, owners of Bar Natasha. The Heartaches from the Heartland Men’s Chorus performed and, of course, the beautiful and talented Ron Megee and Missy Koonce acted as MCs for the evening. The evening was capped off by a presentation to the mayor of a replica birthday cake commemorating her coming birthday celebration on March 30. The birthday cake was created to simulate the rainbow cake that she served up on the now-famous Gay Pride cover from last year. To top it off, the AIDS Walk gang sold coffee mugs at the door with that same cover picture. I think that if you go to the AIDS Walk Web site (www.aidswalkkansascity.org.), you can still order a mug for $15, truly a collector’s item.
FUTURE HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN
There will be two more preliminary benefits for AIDS Walk before the big day on April 28. The first is the Mosaic Project to be held in conjunction with First Friday on April 6th in the Crossroads District. It will be a display of over 1,000 glazed ceramic tiles created by local youth, artists and volunteers. The event takes place starting at 5 p.m. in the Art Lobby of the Chair Building at 2020 Baltimore Ave. The second event is the annual Union Hill House Parties, on April 13, which gives us a chance to drool over beautiful homes and wonderful décor while sloshing down wonderful drinks and unique appetizers. Hopefully you are saving some money for the Good Samaritan Project’s annual Corks and Canvas art, food and wine auction event on April 27 at Boulevard Brewing Company, 2501 Southwest Blvd, in the evening.
My good friends Donald and Ray, who write the Gay Travel Column for Camp, brought to my attention a wonderful new bar that has just opened its doors in Topeka, Kan., 5th Street Pub. The bar is on Kansas Avenue, the main drag of downtown Topeka, in a downstairs setting. I talked with the new owner, Patrick, who by the way, Don and Ray found to be quite attractive, and he told me that the bar will be celebrating its grand opening in the first week of April There will be all sorts of special drinks including the “Tommy Hilfiger.” The week will be topped off on April 8 with a beer bust and special guest appearances by local talent throughout the night. I am looking forward to making a trek up that way in the near future just to see if Don and Ray are correct regarding Patrick’s good looks.
Thanks for hanging in there for what must have seemed an endless dissertation on my meanderings through March. For those many readers (I know there were at least two) who asked why my column did not appear in the last issue of Camp, it was because I thought there would not be enough to put in writing for every other week in a column. I guess I underestimated my own profuseness! So from now on, I will write for every issue even if I have to make up some stuff! See you in two weeks.

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