Friday, July 18, 2008

Wichita, KA

There's something odd about playing on a christmas tree farm on the fourth of July, but here we were. I'd never been to Wichita, and were it not for my have-guitar-will-travel lifestyle, I'm not sure it would ever have been on my radar.

We had three days in one place - for a touring band, that's like an oasis in a desert, so I took the opportunity to walk and explore, situated as we were right on the river.
After a night in a comfortable bed , and with a little time to wash the airport off, I headed downstairs, out on to the river and turned right. It was as good a plan as any. The Arkansas River is flanked by well kept pathways with ample room for walking, jogging and biking, and seems to support plenty local wildlife.

About a half mile down, at the confluence of the Big Arkansas and the Little Arkansas rivers, stands The Keeper of the Plains , a weathered steel sculpture of a Native American warrior paying homage to the morning, his horn raised to the rising sun. The Sculpture was give to the city by it's creator, Blackbear Boisin, and has become a symbol of the city and a reminder of the roots of this prairie cowtown.

For a guy who grew up on cowboy movies and TV shows, this town evoked some boyish excitement, exposed as i was to pictures and photos of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and their peers gazing down from shop windows eager to remind the casual passer-by of the local history, and occasionally , the remnants of those gunslingin' days of yore made themselves very clear :

Breakfast at the Beacon, a downtown Diner with plenty down-home character and walls covered with oodles of paintings of light houses. Yes; light houses. In Kansas. The omelets were handsome, and did the trick.

The Beacon is in the OLd Town area - what was once clearly an industrial area, with a train station and factory buildings has now been transformed into a restaurant that was once a train station and bars and shops that were once factory buildings, the whole area having a very hip and cool ambience, with something for everyone I'm sure:

On the way back to the hotel, Douglas Street boasts a number of life-size, and extremely lifelike bronze sculptures by Georgia Gerber, ranging in size from a frog, to a busy diner bar. Eye-catching , and worthy of a click or two....

The band try to sell a few CDs

The gig site itself, the afore-mentioned Christmas tree farm, was resplendent in it's summer glory, not to mention an innovative music venue; a converted barn (affectionately known as "Barnegie Hall") the inside designed for chamber music , with the performance being fed to a big screen for those outside in the garden.

The Garden

All in all, Wichita served up more than I expected, and the friendly folk we met made it clear that we were welcome back anytime. I might just take 'em up on that.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Hiya Unky Patsy,

How funny today at work i googled your name....and you came up first, how famous are you!!!! Got home and your card and prezzie was waiting for me...(thanx very much by the way, really love burts bees smells edible, had the urge but dad stopped me don't worry). I love your pictures...what an amazing life you so envious. Boring old england with a poxy ressicon, great!Thanks for the offer to come might regret it...ha. Speak to you soon, i will drop you an email. Thanx again.

Jane xxx