Buildings and Food

More marvels of KC:

We had hoped to go to a larger museum that features the work of the weird regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, but it was closed both days that we were there. A small modern art museum and the most unique museum I ever seen, based on a single sunken ship were, however, open, as was Oklahoma Joe’s barbeque. One of our Q-philes had tipped me off to Oklahoma Joe’s, which is in a strip[ mall and might easily be passed by. it would be a mistake. Oklahoma Joe’s meat is sublime, cheap, and amazingly good; I would have to say it is the best barbeque I havae eaten and one that I would like to learn to make myself. I ended up with brisket and pulled pork (the pork was the best pulled pork I have ever eaten) and a good part of one of Jennifer’s ribs. I suspect that each Kansas city place has one outstanding specialty, and I would go back to Jack Stack for the burnt brisket ends, but overall you can’t beat Oklahoma Joe’s. Bourdain though so too; he put it on his celestial list of fifteen places you must eat before you die, which also includes the French Laundry and El Bulli.

The small museum The Kemper, had some interesting pieces, well displayed in a large space and with the unusual virtue of being a small enough collection so as not to induce museum fatigue. It had some pieces that did nothing for me, a boring Warhol (redundancy), an interesting exhibit of art that owed to cartography, some a bit didactic and some like scientific diagrams , mysterious without their texts; a fascinating blown glass structure like a enormous translucent sea creature, and the shop where I found wonderful earrings for Libby, after passing on ones that were made to resemble Sushi. I did get to see a good Benton, of an old cowboy that reminded me of our late rancher Fred Martin, which was hung beside what I think of as a very atypical David Hockney; it somewhat resembled his recent tilted landscapes (themselves in part a homage to some of the stranger mid-western painters). But this one was not a pastoral scene; it resembled jagged volcanic peaks at sunset. Neither fields nor swimming pools were evident.

Outside stood a creepy, brilliant giant spider which when the rain lifted I insisted on posing beneath like another hapless character out of Lovecraft or Stross.

5 thoughts on “Buildings and Food”

  1. The best Benton's are at the capitol in Jefferson City. His mural of the social history of Missouri in the Senate lounge are breathtaking in person.
    I am glad you enjoyed Joe's. Last time I was there I had come from visiting the Liberty Memorial! I'm guessing you didn't eat at the original which is in a gas station/C-store. Adds to the atmosphere. Never have eaten at Jackstack. Seems to upscale for my taste. The best burnt ends are at Gates and Sons. Best I can tell burnt ends originated in KC.

    Matthew in Missouri

  2. Steve,
    If you are ever in KC again go by Tom Bentons house in the Valentine District, now a state park, pricey to tour but worth it-you will most likely be the only one visiting. The house is as if Benton just stepped out. Some of his "synchronistic" painting in the kitchen, and on the stair landing, an improvised hideout of sorts, big old box tv, and a bookcase, John Graves GOODBYE TO A RIVER on the shelf. I paged through it looking for Bentons notes. Used to take an order of Oklahoma Joes to go and head for the Grand Central Hotel in Cottonwood Falls and the Flint Hills – Randy Davis

  3. Gas station to the left of a strip mall? Check! And I thought it better than the fancier place! Missed the Bentons though.

    Randy– long time! Where are you at these days?

    If either of you need my email it is "ebodio at gilanet dot com".

  4. On second thought maybe I would go to Gates first, one not too far from the Benton house. Still in Austin and in Florida, will write about this seperately. Philippe Garnier came for a spell partly to hit the Ransome Center and about the same time you were there. Steve take a look at my old friend Sean Sextons book of poems BLOOD WRITING, endorsed by Les Murray and Drum Hadley. Like you he was in a steady correspondence with Ted Hughes back when..I prefer his painting to the poetry but…Randy Davis

  5. Seems I am missing everybody in space and time! Have ordered Blood Writing.

    And though I am far more a "Hughesian" the only major Brit poet I ever had contact with in the old days was Philip Larkin, when I was an editor at ELR!


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