World Turned Upside Down

The twenties turned out to be quite the decade, huh?

We’re only six months in according to the calendar, sure, but it’s already been one of the most eventful periods in recent American history. Our city and country are changing at a pace we haven’t seen in quite some time, casting aside old ways and pushing hard toward the rectification of generations-old wrongs.

Seven weeks ago, as we began reporting the news stories in this month’s issue, we never would have predicted an urgent push to rename J.C. Nichols Fountain or wrest control of the city’s police department from a board appointed by the governor in Jefferson City. A year ago, when we started planning this issue, we never could have imagined a global pandemic leading to beef shortages that caused brisket prices to triple.

So it goes in an era where things only seem to grow more uncertain by the day.

In this month’s issue, you’ll find a beefy cover feature we’ve been working on for the past year, with everything you need to know about picking the perfect steak along with the story behind a Weston ranch run by veterans which has won national fame with its American wagyu. My favorite parts of that package are actually the accoutrements—sidebars, we call them in the biz—including the growing preference for older cows among some elite chefs and a local author who writes childrens’ books that tell the stories of Black cowboys.

Following that, we’re proud to be the first local publication to publish a full profile of Widow Von’Du, a KC drag queen who has been working on her craft on the local scene for a full decade before becoming an overnight star on the just-concluded season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. We’ve also got a fun little yarn about the Loch Ness Monster of Kansas, which allegedly made its home in The Big Sinkhole (yes, that’s its official government name) outside Inman.

But, of course, we know that in times like these many readers are coming to Kansas City magazine looking for reliable, well-reported and measured information on the topic of police brutality. We’ve documented the city’s peaceful and productive Black Lives Matter protests online, and in our news section you’ll find a story that shares some surprising statistics about police-involved killings and analyzes the push to rename the fountain which served as a focal point for many recent demonstrations, named for the father of the city’s redlining scheme. Decisions made a century ago by the fountain’s namesake, J.C. Nichols, still reverberate through our city, contributing to racial inequity and all of its attendant ills.

In times like these, I think it’s important to be mindful of the fact that history has its eyes on us—most of us won’t get a fountain named for us, but the decisions we’re making right now will still be rippling through our society a century from now.

Notable Numbers From This Month’s Issue

1972  The year the traditional carnitas taco came to KC.

2008 The year Widow Von’Du won her first drag competition, Princess of Kansas City.

67% The percentage of people killed by police using firearms.

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