In The Loop: September 4, 2022
Your connection to Downtown Kansas City
The Loop: A labor of love
One of the things I love about publishing The Loop is how often I stumble upon things that absolutely make my jaw drop. I had heard of Houdini’s performances in Kansas City, and knew he had tried out at least one new trick here—but I didn’t know until just a few minutes before writing this that there is video of him performing Downtown in 1923! (Check out the Almanac story below.)
Harry Houdini at 10th and Main, 99 years ago in Kansas City, Missouri, and it’s all on film!
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Now, on to The Loop….
Houdini unveils a new act of peril
This Thursday in 1915, the world-famous Harry Houdini performed—for the first time ever—his suspended straitjacket escape right here in Downtown Kansas City. The magician, who was in town for a paid performance at the Orpheum Theater earlier in the week, performed his new trick—escaping from a straitjacket while hanging upside-down in mid-air—for free, in front of a reported 5,000 spectators outside the Kansas City Post newspaper office at 10th and Main. On that Wednesday in 1915, the straitjacket was supplied and fitted to Houdini by two detectives from the Kansas City police department.
Afterward, as the Post recounted, “[The crowd] saw him twist and turn at the end of the swaying rope, bend his body almost double and then with the ease of a man snapping a thread he slipped the arms of the straitjacket over his head and in twenty seconds was free.”
Eight years later, Houdini’s suspended straitjacket escape was filmed in Kansas City, again in front of the Kansas City Post building.
Melissa Etheridge re-opens the “new” Midland Theater
This Friday marks the date in 2008 when the Midland Theater reopened after a multimillion-dollar upgrade as “The Midland by AMC.” The theater, which for years housed the NCAA’s headquarters in it upper-floor offices, celebrated its facelift with a concert by Leavenworth, Kan., native Melissa Etheridge. Other performers rounding out that September were Puddle of Mudd, Cheap Trick and Journey, Jerry Seinfeld, Vince Gill, and Jim Gaffigan with Rich Brooks.
The Midland opened as the Loew's Midland Theatre in 1927 and claims to be the first theater in the United States to have air conditioning. Today, the theater’s official name is “Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland” (but everybody just calls it “The Midland,” right?)
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.
South Loop project takes another step
Lumi Neon Museum unveils Katz Drugstore replica sign
The caption from the Lumi Museum’s Instagram post: “We never found an original, so we decided to build one. This beauty is 10 feet tall and the Kat will rotate 365 degrees. LUMI did a “sneak peek” last Friday to let the Kat out of the bag at Fossil Forge in Lee Summit. This awesome sign will eventually have a permanent home at Pennway Point in Kanas City, Missouri, near Union Station. We appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship Dave Eames & Ben Wine put into this labor of love. Thanks to the generosity of Fred and Jami Pryor. Additional thanks to Element Ten. #firstname.lastname@example.org”
More about the Katz sign, the Lumi Museum, and its future home here:
Pennway Point / 3D Development
Envisioning the future via boat
Free Westside concert today
The Mattie Rhodes Center has organized a free concert on the Westside, featuring Ram Herrera and Las Estrellas Band. The show begins at 5 p.m. at Jarboe Park, 17th & Jarboe.
Jarboe Park. The Loop
Black Restaurant Week
Black Restaurant Week started its second annual campaign in the Midwest Region on Friday, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 11. Discover restaurants, food trucks, sweets, and more.
Pictured above, from the Library of Congress collection, are three of the many Quality Hill homes lost because the owner at the time let them decay beyond repair—or they mysteriously burned. When I was in high school, I saw these three homes and took my own photos of them (below), but had forgotten exactly where I had been (12th and Pennsylvania) until I found the photo above online. The smallest home, to the left and next to the Cordova Hotel, was built in 1872 and was on the National Register of Historic Places. Library of Congress
My photos from the same street in the 1980s.
The same spot today. The Cordova Hotel is now an apartment building. Where the three homes stood is now driveway access for the Summit on Quality Hill Apartments.
Artful City: One weekly selection with a Downtown connection
Jimmie Arroyo, Drowning, 6 x 9 charcoal drawing. Hilliard Gallery, 1820 McGee
Quick Clip: The city in motion—just a few seconds at a time
Across from the Roasterie Factory Cafe (the one with the airplane) at 1204 W. 27th Street, coffee fans can memorialize their favorite coffee pots and coffee memories at the "Coffee Pot Forest." Visitors may add their own coffee pots with cable ties provided at the site, write an optional message on their pot, and then take and post a selfie with #theroasterie. Thanks for the tip about this Downtown gem from Dalene Bradford via Roy Inman. The Loop
Downtown Lens: A single image depicting the urban aesthetic
The Power & Light building and a rooftop oasis with trees appear through an alleyway in the Crossroads district. The Loop
Who are all these people?
Answering the question “Who are all these people and where are they going?”, The Loop brings you a list of some of the biggest events happening Downtown each week. Please give a friendly Downtown-Kansas City welcome to audiences and attendees of….
KPRS Hot 103 Jamz presents the 18th Annual White Linen Party at KC Live! Block
MONDAY the 5th
WEDNESDAY the 7th
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ in concert with the Kansas City Symphony at Kauffman Center through Sept 11
THURSDAY the 8th
FRIDAY the 9th
SATURDAY the 10th
Michael Bublé at T-Mobile Center
Celebrate Ameri'kana Music and Arts Festival featuring Making Movies at GrindersKC
Dirt Road Addiction at KC Live! Block
For a more exhaustive list of everything happening Downtown, go to the VisitKC events page and use the “regions” function to search for Downtown, Westside/Southwest Blvd, West Bottoms, River Market, Power & Light, Crown Center, Crossroads, 18th & Vine—or anywhere you want to go in the KC Metro
Until next week—enjoy the city!
Got a tip or question about Downtown KC?
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Kevin Worley, Co-Publisher/Editorial
Joe Nichols, Co-Publisher/Business
107 W. Ninth Street, Suite 210
Kansas City, MO 64105
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