My wife, daughter, and I moved to the Kansas City area a few months ago. We’re mostly settled and have started exploring. KC is has an interesting vibe. It’s a lot older and more industrial than Austin. I’ve heard people describe KC as the westernmost Eastern city because of its age and architecture, lots of red brick buildings everywhere; the easternmost Western city because of its expansive grid of streets; and the northernmost Southern city because of its wide, winding boulevards. KC’s an undefined cloud in which everyone sees something different. Or maybe the Midwest is a mix of the rest of the country. For me, KC has a robust art scene; big free museums; beautiful, tree-lined streets; hanging out my wife’s extended family; and huge, cheap houses with basements so I can expand my studio practice.
My dungeon basement painting studio.
The massive population influx to Austin changed it almost completely in the 12.5 years I lived there. The constant condo construction, cranes all over downtown, crowds of new people, and churn in local businesses are exciting but Austin doesn’t have a strong sense of history, the traffic is terribly congested, and real estate is increasingly expensive. We were priced out of our neighborhood and didn’t want to live in Austin’s sprawling suburbs with a grueling commute. I miss breakfast tacos (and my friends and family of course) but I’m looking forward to new opportunities and possibilities here in KC.
Wonder Fair photos by Glade Hensel.
For Father’s Day, we decided to take a trip to Lawrence, which less than an hour west of KC in Kansas. It’s a small college town with a strong hippie vibe, like I imagine Austin was fifty years ago. The downtown has a lot of cool independent stores, including a rad print/zine shop and gallery called Wonder Fair. I dropped some copies of Vortex and Cold Heat Special #10 off there. I’m going to try and get them in some KC shops too.