Just don't get it? Look again.

Double Take 

Just don't get it? Look again.

FRI 3/4
Artists can inspire intense reactions with striking color combinations or alluring vocals, but it's the layers beneath these elements that reveal truths about the creators or make provocative statements about the social climate. Challenging texts that don't offer immediate aesthetic inroads require deeper study. To truly appreciate the conceptual writings opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Van Ackeren Gallery (1100 Rockhurst Road, 816-501-4407), connoisseurs might need to make return visits. However, these innovative pieces reward the extra effort with epiphanies that standard fiction seldom delivers. "The expectation that plot takes precedence over all of the writer's concerns limits the fiction form," says Kansas City writer (and former Pitch contributor) Debra Di Blasi, whose work appears in the exhibition and who edited the companion section in the March issue of Review. "Great art ... provides the reader with a new perspective on the world," she says. "If you're initially confused by a work of art, that means it has entered new territory and you need to spend more time with it." -- Andrew Miller

Do What, John?

3/4-3/5
In the 2004 presidential race, John Edwards' stumping on poverty was convincing because it was obvious that if law and politics weren't such profitable professions, the vice presidential nominee would be poorer'n dirt. Now, while Howard Dean is living it up as Democratic National Committee chairman and Hilary Clinton is rumbling inexorably toward 2008 like a blond glacier, Edwards is, well, pretty much fighting to stay in the news. Maybe the cuddliest Southern politician ever will reveal some new plans when he speaks to the Kansas Democratic Party on Friday and Saturday at the 100th anniversary of Washington Days at the Downtown Marriott in Topeka (420 Southeast Sixth Avenue). Only the rich and well-connected are welcome, but schedules are free at www.ksdp.org. -- Jason Harper

Dog Days
Jason Brunson sees de-light.

FRI 3/4
Despite the frothy psychedelic images on his flier, Jason Brunson says his show, Afternoon Delight, has nothing to do with drugs. What about the two yellow-eyed, beret-wearing bulldogs set against a neon-green background under hot-pink lettering? Coulda fooled us. But things are weird in Cincinnati, where Brunson resides. After all, locals there swear by Skyline Chili, an unsettling concoction of spaghetti and watery tomato-meat sauce. Compared with that, Brunson's acrylic-and-enamel images of humans in bear suits and said mongrels seem almost natural. The show, which opens from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore, 816-474-1917), also includes 50 limited-edition 'zines full of stickers and original drawings by Brunson and KC graphic artist Scribe, which gallerygoers can snag for $20 a pop. -- Nadia Pflaum

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