Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let My Freak Flag Fly




Keith asked if I would be up for a First Fridays night to which I answered incredulously, "Are you kidding me? OF COURSE I would be." First Fridays is the Giant SuperAwesome Art Appreciation Night Kansas City hosts the first Friday of every month. New gallery shows abound and the people-watching is pristine. There's something to see and experience on every corner of the Crossroads Art District and it's one of my favorite KC activities. I should also say that few things pump me up more than diving headfirst into and losing myself in the downtown art orbit. I warned Keith, "I need to get down there and let my freak flag fly for a bit." That atmosphere completely electrifies me. Keith, not so much. The K-man was not feeling well but he rallied despite the traffic, crowds and heat. God bless him, because the night proved a be a true tonic for me....the creativity and energy on display was utterly soul-nourishing.

..And, oh, what a mad brilliant night to plunge into this diverse maelstrom. The Arts district had galleries with nearly 70 new shows and installations. The crowds were out in force and the restaurant patios were hopping with lookie-loos. There was a fascinating and colorful show hosted by a sight-impaired youth. Another show featured everything from Mexican wrestling masks to haunting sculptures. One artist's work brought creatures to life that would be featured easily in a Guillermo Del Toro film. My favorite was a topical video installation of an "oil leak" of slowly rotating heads of pop culture. Most of the galleries offered hors d'oeuvres and wine and live music permeated through most of the shows.




It's not exaggerating at all when I say something is happening everywhere you turn. Street musicians played on every corner, belly dancers writhed here, roller derby gals raced by there. One parking lot featured aerialists from Quixotic, KC's premiere Cirque ensemble. Another had a Capoeira demo, a riveting Afro-Brazilian martial-arts/dance. Fire-eaters here, breakdancers there. Even the Back to the Future(one of Keith's fave flicks)DeLorean made an appearance.












Then the truly twisted twist to the evening arrived in the form of a slowly shuffling parade of Zombies right through the middle of the crowd...yes, Zombies. The bloody bunch actually does this as a fundraiser that donates food and money to a charity that supports residents dealing with hunger and/or homelessness. This year's march supported the Central Avenue Center of Hope. In order for each Zombie to walk, they must bring at least five food items and/or a donation. A Zombie Walk for Hunger...classic. Pictured is the Zombie Queen herself leading her army through the Crossroads. The West 18th block party also collected food items for the Salvation Army.











We moved a few blocks to the Power and Light district for the opening night of Gay Pride. We parked while watching two extraordinarily tall drag queens pour themselves and their ginormous headgear out of a cab and head into the Living Room which is the centerpiece of the district. The capacity crowd was lively, loud and colorful....it was like a crazy outdoor rave. We took our old, tired behinds to Chipotle for a quick bite(chicken and black bean bowl) and headed for home. If this night had gotten any more diverse, aliens would have had to park their UFO smack in the middle of Midtown.







What an incredible night in KC. As we crossed the bridge heading back to the Northland, lightning was dancing in the sky as if to give us one more brilliant show. Perfect.

6 comments:

Kristy said...

OK....1)How FANTASTIC!!! 2) Where are the closeups of the drag queens?? You know I take my fashion tips from my "girls" and I need to know what they are wearing this year. 3) Thunder and lightening are abounding here too. Come home and sit on my front porch like you used too. Bring your friends. No one will be disappointed in the display. Gotta love a WV thunderstorm by the river. LOVE YOU!!!!

The Foodie Wannabe said...

We were looking for a parking spot when I sighted the first queens and couldn't get a good angle. Too far away from the girls on stage to get a decent pic. You could look back at my Outfest post from 2009 for a couple of pics of Spencer Brown and the girls for tips....

Kristy said...

I just LOVED this post. With all it's pics. And I love the moniker "Power and Light District." I need to live somewhere where they have a Power and Light district. Here the Power and Light district means you have an oveloaded transformer belonging to Allegheny Power in your backyard and you see the light when it gets hit by lightening and explodes in a shower of sparks. This, of course is followed by immediate darkness. These pictures make me very happy.

Anonymous said...

Hey man..... Absolutely loved this post and the pics are fabulous! Sounds like an "electrifying" evening!

The Foodie Wannabe said...

Thank you for the kudos, Kristy and Anonymous person...I did not exaggerate the awesomeness of that evening or it's effect on me. It was electrifying indeed!

Lisa Mandina said...

Sounds like a fun time. I haven't been to a First Friday in over a year. I need to get down there again.

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