Charismatic new mayor Quinton Lucas and SNL star Heidi Gardner are reppin’ KC well

Next year will mark 20 years since I walked into my college newspaper office and applied for a job so I could get free tickets to review a Pearl Jam concert. Although I eventually gravitated toward harder-hitting journalism, I’ve never stopped writing about culture, which is why I’ve interviewed my fair share of famous people.

I’ve hung out with Puff Daddy protege Mace at Quiznos, chatted up Beach Boy Brian Wilson and rolled around downtown Brooklyn with likely future Speaker of the House Hakeem Jeffries. Ted Nugent once threatened to physically assault me. Absurdly, I was once involved in a crazy personal feud with Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz. At one point, a friend begged me to distract Public Enemy’s Chuck D for 20 minutes — so I gave the hip-hop legend a tour of our newspaper office, which was even more awkward than it sounds. “Yes Mr. D, this printer is connected to those computers for the copy desk, and they sit at that table with the red pens on it…”

It doesn’t take many of these interviews to develop a good radar for authenticity. Some celebs are warm, humble and thoughtful. Some just play that on TV.

For this issue, I had the great pleasure to interview two of the most interesting people repping Kansas City right now: Saturday Night Live star Heidi Gardner and new mayor Quinton Lucas. And let me tell you, folks, we are blessed to have both of these charismatic, kind and talented people on our team.

I traveled to New York City to chat with Gardner and got to spend a few hours going over her early years in Kansas City and the odd path she took to TV stardom. Three years ago, she was in her mid-30s and working as a hairstylist. Gardner found her way to sketch comedy almost by accident, and then her natural talent took over. You can read the most in-depth profile yet published about Gardner here.

And then there’s Lucas. I don’t think there’s a city in this country that wouldn’t want him as its leader right now. Lucas beat a strong opponent in a landslide, and so far he’s providing fresh ideas and a contagious energy in a city grappling with gun violence. If he ends up being president someday, I certainly won’t be surprised.

I didn’t get to talk to him, but Kansas City also has Patrick Mahomes, arguably the best player in the NFL, leading the Chiefs into battle starting this month. Our tailgate scene is already in mid-season form as you can see in pictures from the preseason game.

It hardly seems fair for Kansas City to have so much going at once.

It’s going to be a busy fall, which is why we’ve dedicated this issue to previewing the events where you want to be, from Lenexa’s quirky little spinach festival to the record release for up-and-coming KC musician Calvin Arsenia.

You’ll find a total of 71 events in this issue, plus in-depth profiles of some of the most captivating arts shows in town this fall.

This is a special time in Kansas City. Make sure you get out there and enjoy it.

Notable Numbers:

23.3 Miles per hour traveled by the fastest scooter on Kansas City streets, per our calculation.

1983 The year KMBC’s Karen Kornacki began covering Kansas City sports.

34 Age at which KC’s own Heidi Gardner joined the cast of Saturday Night Live.

18 Points that new mayor Quinton Lucas beat his opponent by in the June election.

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