Best of KC 2022: A space to recognize Black filmmaking
This month, we published The Pitch’s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some of our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2022. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout November.
Kansas City’s cultural contributions to the world at large are vast. We’re the home of the country’s best barbecue, the starting point of Negro League Baseball’s Golden Age, and the birthplace of musical greats like Charlie Parker and Big Joe Turner. But one of the less-often discussed points is our region’s historical connection to cinema—particularly cinema’s rich relationship to Black culture. Shawn Edwards is helping to change that.
Edwards is the director of the Black Movie Hall of Fame, which celebrates Black contributions to the medium nationwide. The Hall lives in the renovated Boone Theater—itself a landmark of film, performing arts, and Black culture—in the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District.
In its heyday, the building sat alongside the Eblon, Lincoln, and Gem theaters as part of the vibrant jazz-age culture that defined Kansas City from the 1920s through the ‘40s.
Last fall, the city approved Vine Street Collaborative’s plan to develop the Boone Theater.
Edwards says that, with the renovated Boone’s functionality as a theater, the project serves as a puzzle piece, offering a service that’s currently absent in the district.
What was the best venue this year? Music or mixed? Does the continued success post-pandemic of Lemonade Park mean anything? Oh, there’s that new punk venue that opened a few months ago in a warehouse that KCUR featured.