The Atlanta-based UniverSoul Circus
claims to be the world's only African-American-owned circus, and its aesthetic is steeped in the black culture. Ringmaster Casual Cal Depree, often sporting a canary-yellow or cherry-red zoot suit, struts into the center ring to a James Brown classic or a Jay-Z anthem as his sidekick, Zeke, trails behind. The aerial artists, creepy contortionists and motorcyclists who seem hellbent on maiming themselves soon follow. All the while, Depree's voluptuous attendants keep the show moving -- "The black culture has always appreciated buxom beauty," the circus leader explains. But as its Web site points out, the circus isn't exclusionary. Soul isn't a color; it's an experience. This might not sound so different from any other circus (flashy director, acrobatics, music), but UniverSoul considers itself special on an individual level. Founded in 1994 by Dupree and Cedric Walker, the circus claims to promote "overt messages of youth empowerment, respect for parents and teachers, and the importance of education." And to think we used to go to the circus for the funnel cakes. The show runs Wednesday through Sunday; admission starts at $10. Call Ticketmaster at 816-931-3330. -- Annie Fischer
Bend It Like Bj&slash;rnson
KC curlers wind up for winter.
Curling might be the perfect sport for unathletic adults. Unlike golf, there are no obnoxious businessmen close by exaggerating about their sex lives. Unlike billiards, there's no karaoke contest blasting in the background. And unlike televised sporting events, it's free of asinine commentary and Toby Keith truck commercials. The sport, in which players slide 42-pound granite stones across ice, is relaxing yet competitive, and afterward the winners have to buy the losers the first round in the "warm-up room" -- i.e., the bar. No wonder it's been around for 400 years. The Kansas City Curling Club has its last open call for new players at Pepsi Ice Midwest (12140 West 135th Street in Overland Park) at 11 a.m. Sunday. Call 816-523-2345. -- Jason Harper