At Screenland, campy and classic are rarely mutually exclusive terms. The movie theater serves as a cinematic time machine, transporting spectators through the history of Hitchcock's mysteries and straight into the heyday of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Though it also shows current titles, its schedule is often beholden to audience whims—the Crossroads location hosts new independent films that are uniquely screened at this sole location. This dual devotion to cherished and modern flicks helped Screenland earn the 2012 Readers' Choice award for Best Movie Theater from the Pitch.
Even outside the projection room, nostalgia rules. More than 40 games, from Donkey Kong to Missile Command, test dexterity at the Crossroads location's retro arcade, where guests can purchase passes to play indefinitely or until Frogger finally flags down a cab. Photographs taken by former Kansas City mayor Dick Berkley accompany historical trivia in the adjacent gallery, and celebrity handprints mark the outdoor patio. Greeting cinephiles out front is a marquee salvaged from the Isis Theatre, just as it once greeted a young Walt Disney when he shared his early animations there.
Wedding receptions and corporate meetings alike have taken advantage of the theater's capacity for private functions. At both exclusive and public events, however, a full-service bar supplies guests with libations, cracking open bottles of Boulevard Pale Ale and Tallgrass Velvet Rooster.
The next time you’re at Paul & Jack’s Tavern, sidle up to the bar and ask the local sitting next to you to describe the tavern’s original owners. Following an initial smile, you’re likely to be met with a blank stare. That’s because brothers Paul and Jack founded their eponymous bar and grill all the way back in 1948—a time when North Kansas City still lacked a laid-back tavern where the neighborhood’s diverse crowd could gather for live entertainment and old-fashioned American burgers and chili.
Though the tavern’s popularity has climbed steadily in the six decades since the brothers opened their doors for business, its menu remains a testament to mid-century Americana. The dining room tends to be rowdiest around lunchtime, when crowds descend to sample footlong hot dogs, deli sandwiches, and bowls of chili still made according to a 50-year-old recipe. Later in the evening, after dinners of USDA Choice steaks and deep-fried catfish, guests can head out to the enclosed back patio and throw bouquets of hot wings at the live-music performers they most enjoy.
A dizzying array of nimble jets and graceful gliders beckons awestruck eyes to the heavens while an impressive collection of grounded planes honors those who once defied gravity in their cockpits. Featured performers at this year’s event include the U.S. Airforce A-10 Thunderbolt, which lets out a booming roar in a display of low-altitude maneuverability, sheer power, and lion impressions. Not to be outdone by a mechanized counterpart, the U.S. Army Golden Knights carve out their own rays of spotlight with golden parachutes and graceful routines. At ground level, a static assemblage of vintage and military planes—headlined by a stately NASA F-18 mission-support aircraft—mingles with the crowd and provides nurturing shade with their extensive wingspans.
The nationwide chain of Improv Comedy Clubs hosts comedians en route to the big time, with an impressive roster of past performers including David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Jerry Seinfeld. At the Kansas City club, burgeoning funsters step up to the mic while company-wide head chef JR Grady sizzles award-winning American fare and barkeeps pour signature cocktails. The schedule hosts upcoming performers including veteran comedian Bobby Slayton (January 19–22), whose distinctive gravely voice has drawn off-color laughs in numerous feature films, The Tonight Show, Family Guy, and his pro bono advertisements for shale. Adam Ferrera (March 8–11) courts chuckles with skills sharpened from stints on the FX hit Rescue Me and material that made him a two-time nominee for best male stand-up by the American Comedy Awards.
Quality Hill Playhouse parts its curtains through October 23 for Noël and Gertie, devised by Sheridan Morley and featuring the words and music of Noël Coward. One of six musicals and cabaret revues the theater puts on annually, Noël and Gertie is based on Coward's own diaries and musical compositions and delves into the friendship of two former stage personalities, Noël Coward (Robert Gibby Brand) and Gertrude Lawrence (Melinda MacDonald). The witty and occasionally heartfelt performance celebrates the fun and sophistication of the roaring '20s without the drawback of state-mandated lessons to learn the Charleston. Quality Hill Playhouse's intimate 153-seat theater ensures patrons don't miss a single sight or sound, and the newly renovated lobby bristles with casual elegance. Multiple performances take to the stage each week in order to accommodate busy schedules and revisit important plot points for forgetful goldfish.
Associate conductor Steven Jarvi channels the combined melodious might of the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus, KC Brass, Allegro Children’s Choir, and Rezound Handbell Ensemble through an all-new holiday celebration of sound. Mobs of merry musicians, rumored to include 12 drummers drumming and a possible 11 pipers piping, will feed hungry ossicles symphonic arrangements of Christmas traditions. Families coasting on waves of Yuletide joy will yearn to sing along with timeless carols perfected by years of door-to-door focus testing. To complete each holly-jolly evening, Santa Claus himself will make an appearance to play a 30-minute free jazz solo on his signature fur-fringed soprano saxophone.