Phantoms of KC aims to cure city’s inferiority complex

Brian Noland and Kemet Coleman, who met working on the mayor’s campaign, are hoping to turn around Kansas City’s inferiority complex.

Kemet Coleman and Brian Noland are tired of what they call Kansas City’s inferiority complex that leads the “brain drain” of people their age.

The two men in their “mid to late 20’s” have a scheme to do something about it.

They’ve started a new club called Phantoms of KC. The idea ­– help people of all ages understand the unique and interesting history of Kansas City and start appreciating it more. They think once that happens, people will see all of the great things Kansas City has to offer instead of always seeing the negatives about the town.

Coloeman first tried out the concept four years ago.

“I started to realize there were a lot of unknown things that I hadn’t known about Kansas City, that I thought people should know about.” And he thought, why not pair the history lessons with drinks in a “really social setting.”

The idea worked.

Recently, Coleman was telling Greg Patterson, owner of the Uptown Arts Bar, about the concept, and the idea was reborn.

He enlisted Brian Noland as a partner in the project. The two met while working on Mayor Sly James’ mayoral campaign, where they were inspired by James to celebrate the history of city.

“Kansas City has such an inferiority complex,” Coleman says. “You hear people say, “I need to move someplace to be more successful.” That’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. I’ve made it my goal in life to curb that anti-pride.”

Noland agrees. “Most of my friends from my generation have left the city,” he says.

They hope Phantoms of KC will help turn this trend around. The idea is to offer people glimpses into the unique history of the city, in a  fun atmosphere.

For example, the first official meeting of the “club” will be tonight at the Uptown Arts Bar.

There’ll be a speaker, Dr. Jacob Wagner of UMKC discussing the importance of historic preservation in Kansas City as it relates to memory of cultures and traditions.

And there will music, jazz pianist Eddie Moore and his trio, as well as harpist Celia Albon.

And there will be food and cocktails and camaraderie.

Coleman and Noland hope that by “meeting people where they are” – in nontraditional places where history is usually not discussed – the club meetings will be “fun, fresh, and as nonacademic as possible.”


  • Launch party for the Phantoms of KC Club: Friday, November 22nd at Uptown Arts Bar (3611 Broadway) from 6-8 p.m.
  • Asking for a $5 donation at the door
  • RSVP 
  • Phantoms of KC website 

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