For couples who have exhausted wine tastings, coed bowling and evenings of, say, conversation, the Kansas City Art Institute's Tuesday evening classes tackling contemporary art sound like a juicy independent film: educational without being stuffy, entertaining sans embarrassment. The classes, taught by KCAI lecturer Nina Mehta-Young, are held on four consecutive Tuesday nights beginning September 23 and promise to cover the past two decades of neoconceptual art, painting, sculpture, film, video and digital technology. (A "Music and Art" class covering Kandinsky to Cage began September 11 and runs consecutive Thursdays through October 16.) Coupling has always been an important theme in art history -- think Mona Lisa and her smile or David and his genitalia. In mining the last two decades, though, students can expect exposure to Damien Hirst and his pickled farm animals or Feliz Gonzales-Torres and his candies. And if those artists are not covered, students should dare to ask why. Call 816-802-3505 for more information or see www.kcai.edu.-- Steve Walker
A good dinner starts the weekend right.
When preparing for a Friday night on the town, it's important to lay down an absorbent foundation to keep your spirits up (and to soak up all those drinks). We're talking about eating before partying, and nothing says fiesta like a big plate of Mexican food before a long night of cervezas. But wait. Wouldn't those beers go down so much smoother if we could simultaneously make a contribution to a globally worthwhile cause? At the Franklin Center (14th Street and Metropolitan in KCK) you can get the best of both worlds every third Friday, when the Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity sponsors a benefit dinner to educate Kansas Citians about working conditions on the Mexican border. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., chefs Cory and Melinda Lewis serve chicken mole or cheese and onion enchiladas with salad and peach crumble for a measly $7. Stomach full of grub, you'll leave ready for a night of sin. For information, call 816-835-4745. -- Michael Vennard
Sing for Supper
Jazz friends are good friends.
In a perfect world, the cost of every jazz concert would include a barbecue buffet. The world might not be perfect, but it will glimmer with hope Thursday night when the $25 admission to a concert by the UMKC Jazz Friends of the Conservatory includes a Gates Barbecue buffet. It starts at 6 in the Pierson Auditorium at the University Center (5000 Holmes), followed by a jazz concert featuring saxophonist Bobby Watson at 7:30 in the Performing Arts Center (4949 Cherry). Noncarnivores can save some dough by skipping the buffet and catching the performance by itself for $10. For tickets and information, call 816-235-6173.-- Michael Vennard
The Eighth Annual Antique Bottle Collectors and Breweriana Show returns to Kansas City Saturday. In addition to a slew of flasks and soda bottles, visitors can check out a wide array of poison bottles -- a little bit of the old skull and crossbones. (Years of Scooby-Doo taught us, however, to stay away from the collector with that particular obsession.) The event takes place at the American Legion Hall (499 Southwest Highway 7 in Blue Springs) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, call 816-942-6300.-- Gina Kaufmann