Published April 24th, 2020 at 6:00 AM5 minute read
As it stands now, the stay-at-home order remains in effect across Kansas City through mid-May. If you feel like you are missing out on our beloved town, you’re not alone.
Flatland is here to help you through a few more weekends of enforced pandemic isolation. So here’s a selection of (mostly) City of Fountains-influenced works to ease the pain for all of you proud Kansas Citians out there.
“The Delinquents,” 1957 and “Kansas City,” 1996
Kansas City-born director, screenwriter and producer Robert Altman prominently features his home town in two of his landmark films, shot nearly 40 years apart. Filmed with a budget of just $63,000, Altman’s first feature-length film, “The Delinquents,” is about 1950s greaser gang activity. The filmmaker’s 1996 crime film turns back the clock to the city’s 1930s jazz scene, and features an old-school score recorded by modern musicians.
Sixteen years after Walt Disney picked up and moved from Kansas City’s Laugh-O-Gram studio at 1127 East 31st St. to Hollywood in 1924, the animator, writer, entrepreneur and voice actor produced “Fantasia.” Disney’s trippy third feature-length animated film is No. 24 on Box Office Mojo’s list of the highest grossing films of all time at $778,000,000 (adjusted for inflation).
“The Day After,” 1983
Perhaps a fitting film, considering these unprecedented times, “The Day After” drew more than 100 million viewers when it was released on ABC in 1987. The movie follows citizens around Kansas City, Missouri, and Lawrence, Kansas, during a Soviet nuclear attack.
“Gone Girl,” 2014
Based on Kansas City native Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel of the same title, “Gone Girl” is a psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. The film takes place between New York City and “North Carthage” — a fictional Missouri town.
“Me Dorothy… and This Road to Oz,” 2018
Watch as Kansas City PBS goes behind the scenes of the Kansas City Ballet as it prepares to debut “The Wizard of Oz.” The hour-long doc offers a closer look into the life of composers, choreographers, costumes, set designers and dancers leading up to show time.
“Dark Places,” Gillian Flynn
If you enjoyed “Gone Girl,” go back and read “Dark Places.” Flynn’s second novel is about a woman who looks into her brother’s case 25 years after he was accused of murdering their entire family in the fictional small town of Kinnakee, Kansas.
“Mrs. Bridge,” Evan S. Connell
The 1959 fictional novel offers a look into the life of an upper-middle class Kansas City family between the World Wars. Connell claimed the book’s main character is based on his own mother. Connell followed up a decade later with “Mr. Bridge” in 1969. The books were adapted to the big screen as “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” in 1990.
“The Mafia and the Machine,” Frank R. Hayde
If true crime is your thing, dive into Frank Hayde’s 240-page lesson on the Kansas City mob and learn about what went on in our own backyard.
“Stayin’ Alive,” Julie Mulhern
Number 10 in Kansas City author Julie Mulhern’s “The Country Club Murders” series of mystery novels, “Stayin’ Alive” paints the picture of protagonist Ellison Russell’s family drama, which is just the start of her problems in the 270-page paperback.
“Kill or Be Kind,” Samantha Fish
Kansas City native Samantha Fish sure can play the blues guitar. Now a resident of New Orleans, Fish’s sixth studio album “Kill or Be Kind” reached as high as No. 8 on Billboard’s Top U.S. Folk Albums.
“ameri’kana,” Making Movies
According to Rolling Stone, Kansas City’s Making Movies afro-latino meets psychedelic rock sound is “breaking down walls in the United States.” The group was nominated for a Latin Grammy following the release of “ameri’kana” in 2019.
“I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry” EP, Greeting Committee
The Overland Park, Kansas, indie rockers have seen quick success since their debut EP It’s Not All That Bad back in 2015. The band’s third EP, “I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry” dropped last year.
“Cry No More,” Danielle Nicole
While local music lovers wait for something fresh from one of the city’s most talented singer-songwriters, you can’t go wrong with Danielle Nicole’s 2018 record “Cry No More.” The album’s No. 8 track “Save Me” is approaching 1.5 million streams on Spotify.
“The Fab Five” cover some serious ground across the metro in seasons three and four of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” reboot. Kansas Citians will recognize several shots in the show’s b-roll. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself in the background as an extra.
Again, a bit outside of city limits, but nonetheless it’s fun to see where some of us get a weekend or two away in such a bingeable show. If you’re tuning in for the first time, basically Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is under a lot of pressure to make a lot of money really fast on Missouri’s famous waterfront.
Home restoration professional and mother of four Tamara Day hosts HGTV’s hit show that brings large neglected homes back to life in her hometown of Kansas City.
“Switched at Birth“
The show’s five seasons were made mostly in Los Angeles, but establishing shots will be recognizable to any card-carrying lover of Cowtown. The family drama takes place in both Mission Hills, Kansas, and “East” Riverside, Missouri.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art may only have it’s lush green to offer as far as in-person experiences go, but thanks to the internet there’s still art to see. Virtual and audio museum tours and more are available to guests hunkered down at home.
The National World War I Museum and Memorial also offers online learning opportunities along with a few virtual exhibits. While you can’t look out atop Liberty Memorial, digital visitors can still check out the trenches, learn about Armistice Day and more via the city’s top tourist destination according to Yelp.
For “The Rep” the show goes on virtually. Last week, the cast of “Legacy Land” joined a Zoom conference call for an actors forum.
Finally, we are doing our best here at Flatland to highlight the works of local artists throughout the stay-at-home order. Watch as Flatland producer Brad Austin virtually visits the homes of artists of all types for a brief conversation about how they’re getting by.