Ty's fly, but Doug's a thug.

Doug's Life 

Ty's fly, but Doug's a thug.

TUE 11/30
When the Learning Channel launched its Trading Spaces, the home-design-show genre was still in the dull clutches of bangs-and-ponytail-sporting power-tool schoolmarms and their troglodyte-carpenter henchmen. With episodes containing 48-hour extreme makeovers on shoestring budgets, in which TV-savvy designers came into the lives of bland American couples and led them on design rampages in their neighbors' homes, Trading Spaces subtly spread sex and violence all over the screen, kicking home-improvement TV out of its infomercial-like stone age. And from the start, Doug Wilson was the show's Designosaurus Rex. We loved watching the stereotype-shattering, often bitchy Wilson bend mild-mannered homeowners to his will, turning them into the unrepentant destroyers of their neighbors' most sacred totems. And maybe, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, we'll get to watch him go off on the ecclesiastical décor at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street) when he promotes Doug's Rooms, his new book, which is chock-full of designs that are sometimes eye-splitting but, like the man himself, never boring. Call 913-384-3126. --Jason Harper

Coffee Kingpin

WED 12/1
The coffee we brew for our colleagues at work seems only to get worse, and what we produce at home with the French press always turns out extra bitter and jittery-strong, with teeth-staining grinds lurking in the last few sips. Oh, coffee gods, we bow down before you and ask, "Why? Why is it so damned hard to brew a decent cup of joe?" The answer, as the Roasterie's "Bean Baron" Danny O'Neill might have told us, is that brewing coffee is a nuanced near-art form. The beans must be ground to the right consistency, the water has to be the correct temperature, and the beans need to be properly stored. From 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, the Culinary Center of Kansas City (7917 Foster in Overland Park) presents Spilling the Beans, a coffee tutorial and tasting with O'Neill. Space is limited; call 913-341-4455 to reserve a $45 slot. -- Michael Vennard

Fashion forward

FRI 11/26
Higher Ground Entertainment, known for its style-mandated parties, bags the bird and goes straight for the sweets Friday night with Chocolate Rain, it's sixth annual Thanksgiving holiday jam, at the Clarion Hotel (9103 East 39th Street). The swanky shindig runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., followed by an after-party and open bar until 6 a.m. for the VIPs (a status available by purchase, apparently). As usual, no athletic wear is allowed, though this time around, jeans are permitted -- if you rock 'em right. Admission is $10 before 10:30 p.m. and $15 after; the social upgrade goes for $25. See www.hgekc.com. -- Annie Fischer

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