Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “UglyDolls”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at STX Entertainment to give (5) readers and three guests the chance to be among the first to see the new film “UglyDolls.”

The film will be shown on Wednesday, May 1st at the Cinemark Theatre in Merriam, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 pm

All you have to do is click HERE. The first (5) people to do so will receive a family four-pack of passes to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve giveaway. Once the allotted passes have been claimed the giveway has ended.

Good Luck!

“UglyDolls” opens nationwide on Friday, May 3rd.

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Long Shot”

Media MIkes has teamed up with their friends at Lionsgate Films to give (35) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film, “Long Shot,” starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron.

The screening will be held on Monday, April 29th at the Cinemark Theatre in Merriam, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 pm

All you have to do is click HERE. The first (35) readers to do so will receive a pass for two to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve giveaway. Once the allotted passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended. Good luck!

“Long Shot” opens nationwide on Friday, May 3rd.

Prog-rock Pioneers Crack the Sky To Play New York City for the First Time in over 20 Years, April 20 at the Loft at City Winery

NEW ALBUM LIVING IN REVERSE AND CAREER RETROSPECTIVE CRACKOLOGY WERE RELEASED AUGUST 24, 2018

LIVING IN REVERSE CRACKED THE CHARTS WITH THEIR HIGHEST CHARTING DEBUT IN 40 YEARS

L to R: Bobby Hird, Dave DeMarco, Joey D’Amico, John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski, Glenn Workman
Photo Credit: Rei Perri

Prog-rock pioneers Crack The Sky, whoRolling Stone Magazine calls “…the Best U.S. Prog Band You’ve Never Heard,” return to New York for the first time in over 20 years to play a special show at The Loft At City Winery Saturday April 20, 2019.  “For the last 20 years, our New York-area fans have had to travel south to come see us, so we are all very excited to finally bring the party to them,” said the band.  “We couldn’t be more thrilled to play for them and return to New York City after all of these years. It’s long overdue!”

On January 1, 1976 Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone magazine called the debut album by Crack The Sky “…one of year’s most impressive debuts.”  Now, some 40 years later, the band cracked the charts with their highest charting debut in 40 years with their new studio album Living In Reverse.  It charted at #7 Heatseekers, #31 Independent Current Albums, and #40 Top Current Albums.  The band also released Crackology, a collection of 12 career favorites.  Both came out on August 24, 2018 on Loud & Proud Records.

Living In Reverse showcases 12 new genre-defying Crack tracks that Vintage Guitar calls “…heavy Beatlesque pop” including “Talk Talk” – the lyric video was included in the recent Rolling Stone feature, “RainingRain” which Billboard Magazine premiered, and Living In Reverse” which Relix premiered.   The retrospective Crackology chronicles a dozen of the best re-recorded gems as culled from the band’s rich and storied 40-year catalog. Goldmine Magazine said, “…on both albums, Crack the Sky surges with the vitality and energy of a young band, bringing so much ‘crack’ to the older songs that Crackology sounds just as fresh as Living in Reverse.”  Vintage Guitar said “…Crack The Sky is rockin’ better than ever.”

Tickets for their April 20 New York show are on sale now through The Loft At City Winery here.

Crack The Sky is
John Palumbo – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keys
Rick Witkowski – Guitars & Vocals
Joey D’Amico – Drums & Vocals
Bobby Hird – Guitars & Vocals
Glenn Workman – Keyboards & Vocals
Dave DeMarco – Bass & Vocals

Website

Facebook

20th Annual Planet Comicon Kansas City a Rousing Success!

PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER
The legendary William Shatner

I had just begun my position as Director of Marketing for Dickinson Theatres in early 1999 when I received a phone call from a gentleman named Chris Jackson, who explained to me that he had an idea for a local convention that would continue to grow into something amazing. Wanting to be involved, I sent Chris a lot of promotion posters (I’m thinking THE MATRIX, THE MUMMY, and STAR WARS: EPISODE I were included) to give away. Chris even arranged for one of the guests, actor Kenny Baker – he played R2D2 in the various STAR WARS films, to sign some posters for me to use as a giveaway. And so it began.

This past weekend, Chris’ vision, PLANET COMICON KANSAS CITY, celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary with another convention that cements PCKC as not only the best convention in the Midwest, but one of the best in the country.

“The Exorcist” star Linda Blair

The guest list was a virtual honor role of some of the biggest celebrities in film and television. Such icons as Linda Blair, William Shatner and Henry Winkler made appearances (this was Winkler’s first visit to Kansas /City since early
2010, when he graciously became the first ever interview for Media Mikes).

Mr. Shatner had been at PCKC in the past,but you wouldn’t know it from the legion of fans that lined up to greet him. Other celebrity guests included Oscar-nominee Chris Sarandon, PRINCESS BRIDE co-stars Cary Elwes and Wallace Shawn, “Super-men” Dean Cain and Tom Welling as well as well as WWE Wrestling Hall of Famer Mick Foley.

Chris Sarandon

Graphic art fans were also treated to a bevy of comic and graphic novel artists, and an amazing array of fans dressed as their favorite characters.

Members of the “Spiderverse” took the streetcar to the show
Mr. Henry Winkler

The vendor selection, as in the past, was varied, with tables offering pretty much everything for everyone.

This “League of Their Own” fan was there to see Lori Petty
COSPLAY was the theme of the day

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. I can’t wait to see what Chris Jackson has in store for the next 20 years!

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “The Hummingbird Project”

Meida Mikes has teamed up their friends at The Orchard to give (30) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “The Hummingbird Project.”

The film, which stars Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard, will be screened on Wednesday, March 27th at the AMC Studio 28 Theatre in Olathe, Kansas. The screening will begin at 7:00 pm

All you have to do is let us know in the comments below what film you are most looking forward to this summer. (30) random comments will be selected and they will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. The contest ends at 8:00 pm Monday, March 25th. Winners will be notified by email. Good luck!

Kansas City Theater Review: “Anastasia”

REVIEW by DAN LYBARGER

ANASTASIA Music Hall, Kansas City, MO March 12, 2019

If The Lion King and Aladdin work as stage plays because they remind audiences the joy they experienced watching the original animated movies, the makers of Anastasia succeed because the original 1997 cartoon, while enjoyable, isn’t a classic.

Don Bluth and Gary Goldman’s animated film has some gorgeous 2D animation, but their reworking of the legend of Anna Anderson, who falsely claimed to be Russian Tsar Nicholas II’s youngest daughter had a problematic story.

For example, the chief villain was an undead version of Rasputin (voiced by Christopher Lloyd), who had difficulty keeping his rotting body in one piece. Despite the G-rating the film had, it disturbed some of the children and even adults who watched it.

For those with stronger memories, the cartoon also incorporated some ideas from Anatole Litvak’s 1956 movie, with served as a powerful comeback for Ingrid Bergman, after her affair with Roberto Rossellini almost ended her career.


The new musical adaptation, which debuted on March 12 at the Music Hall in Kansas City, keeps some of the characters from the original tale but reworks the plot extensively. Thanks to playwright Terrence McNally (Love! Valor! Compassion!Master Class), Rasputin is gone, and a more credible antagonist has taken his place. This time around, the Bolsheviks are eager to stamp out rumors that the Grand Duchess Anastasia survived the chaotic mass execution that took place in 1918.

Nearly a decade later, a Party operative named Gleb (Jason Michael Evans) is trying to remove all traces of the royal family, but a pair of con artists named Dmitry (Stephen Brower) and Vlad (Edward Staudenmayer) are hoping to capitalize on whatever is left of the dynasty.

With the Soviet economy unable to deliver the prosperity the Revolution promised, the two hope that if they can find a suitable impostor to pose as Anastasia, they can collect a finder’s fee that will set them up for life in Paris. While streetwalkers of Leningrad can’t pass themselves as royalty the way Vlad can, a street sweeper named Anya (Lila Coogan) might.

She’s in Leningrad after having been discharged from a hospital in Odessa. She’s got no memory of her life before the Revolution, so it’s easier for Dmitry and Vlad to teach her how mingle at what’s left of the Russian court in Paris, and the amnesia conveniently explains why she hasn’t bothered to claim what’s left of the Romanov fortune.

Now, all the three of them must do is escape the draconian Leningrad authorities and convince the bereaved and highly skeptical Dowager Empress (Joy Franz) that Anya is the Grand Duchess.

Neither is a simple task.

The chief selling point of Bluth and Goldman’s cartoon was its gorgeous visuals, and the current production features several delicious bits of eye candy.

Thanks to sliding panels and rear projection, Anastasia leaps from the Tsar’s palace to an intimidating Bolshevik office to a moving train to the elegant streets of 1920s Paris. While Anastasia might have been enjoyable with the cast simply wailing and hoofing, the lightning fast scene changes and bits of action, keep the play moving briskly.

The play gains momentum in the second act as Vlad uses his old contact Countess Lily (Tari Kelly) to help him set up a meeting with the Dowager Empress. Now that the long exposition is over, the story becomes more engaging. It doesn’t hurt that Coogan can play both a princess and a waif with equal finesse and belts out Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Aherns’ songs effortlessly.

She may be small, but she can easily dominate the stage.

The cast handle Flaherty’s demanding score well, although it’s hard to imagine any of the tunes catching on outside of the play, although “Once Upon a December” is certainly haunting, especially with images of ghosts projected behind the actors.

As a lifelong obsessive over the fall of the Romanovs, I often have to remind myself to let movies and plays about them play on their own terms. Anna Anderson, who was the best-known impostor to pretend to be the ill-fated Grand Duchess, had some believers, but DNA tests in the 1990s proved she had no claim on the lost throne. Her dark and twisted odyssey would make a great movie or play, but it wouldn’t make much of a family musical.

That said, the story of an amnesiac princess is inherently engrossing because we all wonder if there is something more to our lives than our memories let on.

There is no mystery to whether any royalty emerged from the massacre alive, but there is a deep well of stories about the end of the dynasty. It’s seemingly inexhaustible.

Kansas City – Win Passes to Attend An Evening With Richard Dreyfuss

Long time readers know how much the Mikes love the movie JAWS. Well now we want to share that love with our Kansas City area fans by giving them the opportunity to an amazing evening “Jawing” with Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss.

“Jaws”
Richard Dreyfuss with his Oscar – named Best Actor of 1977 for “The Goodbye Girl”

The event, which will be moderated by Media Mike’s own Mike Smith, will be held on Thursday, April 4th at the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College. After the event, stay and enjoy a screening of the greatest film ever made (ok, I’m biased), JAWS.

Our friends at J & S Promotions has given us passes for (5) lucky readers and a guest to attend the event. All you have to do is let us know below your favorite Richard Dreyfuss film. Five random comments will be chosen and will receive a pass for (2) to attend the event. This giveaway will end on Sunday, March 31st at 6:00 p.m. Winners will be notified by email.

To purchase tickets to the event – including a Platinum VIP Package which puts you in the green room with Mr. Dreyfuss, click HERE. Good Luck!

“American Graffiti”

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “US”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Universal to give (5) lucky readers and a guest the opportunity to be one of the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, “Us.”

The screening will be held on Tuesday, March 19th at the Cinemark 20 & XD Theatre in Merriam, Kansas and will start at 7:00 p.m.

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A PASS FOR YOU AND A GUEST TO THE ADVANCE SCREENING IN KANSAS CITY ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COMMENT BELOW WITH THE TITLE OF YOUR FAVORITE HORROR FILM. (5) RANDOM ENTRIES WILL BE SELECTED. THE GIVEAWAY RUNS UNTIL 6:00 p.m. ON SUNDAY, MARCH 17th. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO CLAIM THEIR PASSES.

NO PURCHASE REQUIRED. 

US has been rated R (Restricted – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) for violence/terror, and language.  

Stage Review: “The Book of Mormon” – Kansas City

Review by Phillip Smith

“The Book of Mormon”  Music Hall – Kansas City, Missouri – December 27, 2018

Making it’s third trip through Kansas City, the question has to be “Does ‘The Book of Mormon’ hold up?  Thank you, Heavenly Father, because the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Winner of nine Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Musical, “Book of Mormon” is the brain-child of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who conceived the production with “Avenue Q” composer Robert Lopez.

The show tells the story of two young missionaries, Elder’s Price (Kevin Clay) and Cunningham (Jacob Ben-Shmuel) , who are sent to Uganda to introduce Jesus Christ to the natives.  Of course, things don’t go the way they should, with results that can only be expected from the team that gave us “South Park” and “Team America.”

The production was well staged and the cast enthusiastic.  As was the audience, who erupted into applause when it was noted that “the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri,” which is also where Kansas City is located.  

Almost a decade after it premiered, “The Book of Mormon” continues to be one of the best musicals running, and easily one of the best musicals of this century.  

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Second Act”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at STX Entertainment to give (35) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Second Act” before it opens in Kansas City.

The film will be shown on Tuesday, December 18th at the B&B Overland Park Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (35) to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (35) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.

Good luck!

Kansas City Concert Review – Brian Wilson

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER

 Brian Wilson

Muriel Kauffman Theater – Kansas City, MO

November 13, 2018

Brian Wilson

At 76, Brian Wilson could still make a crowded auditorium happy, even if he didn’t appear to be doing anything at all.

Having co-written and arranged dozens of hits for The Beach Boys and on his own, Wilson can get away with outsourcing songs he originated to other vocalists. He sat behind a baby grand piano as if he were an audience member instead of the star of the show.

Criticizing Wilson for being odd is like chastising the Beatles for being English. It’s essential to his greatness, even if it can be disconcerting to watch. The distinctive harmonies in the songs he recorded with the Beach Boys are the result of defying convention. The fact that Wilson is deaf in one ear only makes his accomplishments seem even more formidable.

It’s also worth noting that many Beach Boy songs like “California Girls” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” sound better in live performances now than they would have when the band and the session players from the Wrecking Crew recorded them over 50 years ago. The amplification to do those songs justice wasn’t around back then, and Wilson’s current band consistently performed them with both fidelity and spirit.

The 11-piece ensemble behind Wilson juggled instruments and skillfully mimicked the harmonies Wilson originally created with his late brothers Dennis and Carl and cousin Mike Love. Fellow Beach Boy founder Al Jardine wound up taking most of the vocal chores that evening and seemed happier with ingratiating himself and the band with the crowd than Wilson did. Then again, Wilson seemed to have had the crowd’s attention by simply uttering “Hello, Kansas City” at the start of the show.

Unlike musicians from the past who might have needed too much chemical help to get on stage, Wilson can at least still read a map.

Rob Bonfiglio

He and the band found a great venue. The Muriel Kauffman Theatre normally hosts classical performances, but Leonard Bernstein praised Wilson’s distinctive compositions as being worthy of the old masters, so they certainly belonged on that stage.

If Wilson seemed only fitfully engaged, the rest of the band were eager to give the songs he had popularized justice. Jardine can still plaintively beg Rhonda to help him forget his ex and can fill in for passages that Carl or Wilson’s cousin and lyricist Mike Love used to sing.

Ben Jones

Wilson’s son-in-law Rob Bonfiglio ably delivers the falsetto portions of the songs that his father-in-law used to sing, and the other instrumentalists in the ensemble change instruments more frequently than most of us change our clothes.

For “Good Vibrations,” the band even incorporated a delightfully eerie Theremin and played acoustic marimbas instead of keyboard samples. Darian Sahanaja, who helped Wilson resurrect long lost Beach Boys album Smile, played keyboards and figured out how to make studio trickery work live.

The set also received a shot of adrenaline when South African singer-guitarist Blondie Chaplin hit the stage halfway through the set. A member of the 1970s incarnation of The Beach Boys, Chaplin tore through “Free Flows,” “Wild Honey” and “Sail On, Sailor,” stopping only to deliver some scorching guitar solos. Chaplin would return to harmonize on later songs, but he left the crowd craving more.

Wilson and Al Jardine

Wilson seemed content to simply let Chaplin, Jardine and Bonfiglio do the heavy lifting. He still managed to deliver moving renditions of “God Only Knows” and his solo tune “Love & Mercy.” If you had written those haunting melodies, maybe you could afford to take it easy during the rest of the set.

Opening band Beat Root Revival offered self-deprecating quips about opening for a titan like Wilson, but delivered a brief energetic set that featured solid covers and some touching originals. Englishman Ben Jones is a remarkably nimble guitarist, while Irish vocalist Andrea Magee provided most of the percussion and found new uses for a pennywhistle in her reinterpretation of Stevie Nicks’ “Dreams.” Her original tune “Forever” may have originated with her parents arguing about a piece of cheese, but it’s catchy and delightful even if you don’t know its origin.

Andrea Magee

Set List (Courtesy of Setlist.fm)

California Girls

Dance, Dance, Dance

I Get Around

Shut Down

Little Deuce Coupe

Little Honda

Surfer Girl

Salt Lake City

Wake the World

Add Some Music to Your Day

California Saga: California

Don’t Worry Baby

Darlin’

Feel Flows

Wild Honey

Sail On, Sailor

Do It Again

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Sloop John B

God Only Knows

Good Vibrations

Encore

All Summer Long

Help Me, Rhonda

Barbara Ann

Surfin’ U.S.A.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Love and Mercy

Win Passes to the Kansas City Advance Screening of “CREED II”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at MGM to give (50) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, “CREED II.”

The film will be shown on Monday, November 19 at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed the giveaway is over.  Good luck!

CREED II

Monday, November 19, 2018 – 7:00 pm

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Passes to the Kansas City Sneak Preview of “Robin Hood”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Summit Entertainment to give (3) lucky readers and a guest the chance to attend the special sneak preview of the upcoming film, “Robin Hood,” starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.

The film will be shown on Monday, November 19th at the AMC Barrywoods Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.  The show begins at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do to enter for a chance to win these passes is let us know below who your favorite big-screen Robin Hood is.  Errol Flynn?  Kevin Costner?  How about Disney’s animated hero?

Three entries will be randomly chosen and the winners notified by email.  

This giveaway ends at 6:00 p.m. Sunday night, November 18th.  Good luck!

Win Tickets to the Kansas City Screening of “Boy Erased”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Focus Features to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the upcoming season, “Boy Erased.”

The film, written and directed by Joel Edgerton, will be screened on Wednesday, November 7 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kansas City.  The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m.

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.  Good luck!

BOY ERASED

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Tickets to the Kansas City Screening of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Fox Searchlight to give (100) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first in Kansas City to see the new film, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

The film, starring Melissa McCarthy, will be shown on Monday, October 29 at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.  The screening will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE  The first (100) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (100) passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  Good Luck!

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME

Monday, October 29, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri