Food writer and host Ted Allen said, “Cooking for people is an enormously significant expression of generosity and soulfulness, and entertaining is a way to be both generous and creative. You’re sharing your life with people.” For the management and staff at Californos, the concept of expressive entertainment and the joy of food is married. The generosity comes in reaching into the art community.
Aaron Barksdale-Burns and his family have been supporting the arts for more than 25 years. Adding support to the Sweet Adelines is recent, but growing. “We fell into support of the Sweet Adelines because I met Carol Schumacher at a Burns & McDonnell event at Californos. We are big into the vocal music scene and before meeting here, I had no idea that there was such a talented group of ladies, competing and performing barbershop music as they do,” he says. “I was very impressed and thought, maybe some of these people don’t know about Californos yet. We aim to set a table for the Sweet Adelines in hopes that a feast will ensue!”
Word of mouth is such an important part of doing business and has allowed the company to stay at the forefront of what is happening in Kansas City for more than 25 years. “Long ago, Californos pinpointed ‘the Arts’ as a key medium for generating this word of mouth, due to the large audiences and financial support that they attract. The talent that these groups bring to the table is amazing and we want to be associated with it! It sets the pace for our own creative juices to flow!”
Californos has been involved with many groups, including close relationships with Westport Ballet and Civic Opera Theatre of Kansas City, both of which are no longer in operation. “We realize that it takes a lot of effort and interested parties for these groups to be able to sustain their work and we want to be a part of their efforts and success. That will, in turn, affect our success and we have a lot of fun along the way,” he says.
Currently, major partners include the UMKC Theatre, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Kansas City Actors Theatre, Fine Arts Chorale, City In Motion, plus others such as the Unicorn, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Starlight, and Kansas City Ballet. “Plus we host a monthly Opera Supper at Californos and a weekly open mic night, which attract some very talented local musicians. We are excited to meet new people through the Sweet Adelines, and that is the main reason we support what they are doing. The connections and the music can only grow stronger.”