I went to Kansas City for their small film festival, with a five day stay providing a respite from constant travels, and the chance to look around a bit. As with other cities in the American mid-west there is the combination of a nearly brutal simplicity, of boxy buildings from the late 1800’s to the present, laid out in the customary grid, but counter-balanced with residential areas of handsome houses, and the occasional nod to a kind of showy opulence – in KC this would include the now restored, though not to its original use, train station. And as in most of the cities I’ve been to of late, the centers are now marred with a disjointed mix of glassy contemporary skyscrapers, seemingly competing for some prize for worst amalgam of modernist/post-modernist design cliches. The only virtue of these eye-sores is that they were built with modern day financially rooted intent, and will likely be torn down in 50 years or less, while their older companions, built to last, may survive them. We can hope.
The architecture of these cities and towns seems duly reflective of the inhabitants: a somewhat blunt and direct and practical people, who, with a small minority dissenting, vote Republican as if it were a religious duty. What’s the matter with next door Kansas is the same thing that’s the matter with Missouri.
From Kansas City I flew on to Minneapolis and a few stops in small-town Minnesota – Northfield and St Cloud – before returning to the city.
Minneapolis-St. Paul coming up next.