FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Old Shawnee Days
11501 West 57th Street
A local favorite, Old Shawnee Days has activities and entertainment for the entire family during this annual summer event. These include live music, a carnival, games, crafts, food, a pie and baking contest, and a parade. See the website for more information.
A Day in the Park
10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, June 4
In conjunction with National Trails Day and the annual free-fishing weekend, visit Shawnee Mission, Heritage or Kill Creek park for a day of celebrating the community's trails, parks and recreational spaces. Enjoy games, special activities, free beach admission, and free pedal-boat and canoe rentals. Call 913-831-3355 or see the website for more details.
8640 North Dixson Avenue
Celebrate all things Italian with delicious Italian food, a beer garden, a chef cook-off, live music and dancers, and vendors. See zonarosa.com for a complete schedule and more information.
Show Me Pride Week
May 30–June 5
Named by The Advocate in 2008 as one of the top Pride festivals in the nation, Show Me Pride aims to educate and celebrate diversity. A week of events ends with the 33rd annual Pride Festival Saturday, June 4–Sunday, June 5. See gaypridekc.com for a schedule and more details.
KC Scottish Highland Games & Celtic Festival
E.H. Young Park
Interstate 635 and Highway 69, in Riverside
"Come be a Scot, even if you're not," the event flier says, and enjoy world-class bagpiping, Highland dancing and athletic competitions, as well as authentic Scottish food, Celtic music and children's games. See kcscottishgames.org for tickets, directions and more details.
Sunday, June 12
The Country Club Plaza
The 24th annual Dog-N-Jog is for people and pooches and raises funds for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. The two-mile run, one-mile run and one-mile walk begin at the intersection of Central and Ward Parkway, with hosts Gary Lezak of KSHB Channel 41 and his weather dog, Stormy; KFKF's Debbie Erikson; and Q104's TJ McEntire. Don't miss out on exercise, pet caricatures, a costume contest, prizes and more. Register for $25 in advance or for $35 at 7 a.m. on race day. See hsgkc.org or call 913-596-1000, ext. 115.
West 18th Street Fashion Show
Saturday, June 11
West 18th Street in the Crossroads District
"Summer in Spain," the show's 11th annual incarnation, features the collections of a select group of local and national designers. Hosts include many West 18th Street merchants, including Birdies Panties and Swim Boutique. The event begins at 8 p.m. on West 18th Street between Wyandotte and Baltimore. General admission is free, but a guaranteed seat costs $35. A VIP ticket costs $100 and provides front-row seating, a swag bag and a pre-show party at Cocoon Gallery at the Arts Incubator. For designer profiles and more information, see westeighteenthstreet.com.
Kansas City Chalk & Walk Festival
Crown Center Square
For one weekend, empty squares of sidewalk at Crown Center Square (2450 Grand) are transformed into works of art. In addition to street painters, the free event features street performers, entertainment and hands-on activities. See kcchalkandwalk.org for more information.
Dragon Boat Festival
10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, June 25
The Country Club Plaza
The seventh annual Dragon Boat Festival on the Country Club Plaza is an entertaining cultural experience that also raises money to support literacy in Kansas City, Missouri's sister city, Xi'an, China. Colorful dragon boats race along Brush Creek, and the day includes live music, art activities and food.
Children's TLC Duck Derby
11 a.m. Sunday, June 26
Brush Creek on the Country Club Plaza
Thousands of rubber ducks — 15,000 or more — race along Brush Creek to raise money for the Children's Therapeutic Learning Center. Joe Lauria from Fox 4 emcees the event, which includes the Kids Zone with inflatables, face and hair painting and games. The Radio Disney Road Crew provides music, and local restaurants sell food. See childrenstlc.org for more information and details on adopting a duck.
1–11 p.m. July 2–3
Berkley Riverfront Park
Kansas City's Fourth of July celebration on the Missouri River packs Berkley Riverfront Park with food, merchants and musical entertainment. Three stages of live music and entertainment feature blues, rock, alternative, ragtime, jazz, Radio Disney's Rockin' Road Crew, country (including Sony Music newcomer Bradley Gaskin and his single "Mr. Bartender") and Tom Mancuso (as seen on Animal Planet) with the "Sit Means Sit" dog-training session. The festival also includes a carnival (opening July 1), the second annual canoe and kayak race, an LED display on the Christopher Bond Bridge, a short sneak-peek fireworks show on July 2, and a full fireworks display on July 3. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. See kcriverfest.com for a full schedule and more information.
Party in the Park
9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, July 9
July is National Parks and Recreation Month, so celebrate at the third annual Party in the Park at Swope Park, located off Meyer Boulevard and Swope Parkway. Enjoy free or low-cost family activities all day, including an all-you-can-eat breakfast by Chris Cakes, food vendors, free concerts, free pool admission, arts and crafts, and an inflatable fun zone. See the website for a complete list of events and more information.
Platte County Fair
Platte County Fairgrounds
400 First Street, in Platte City
In its 148th year, the Platte County Fair is considered the oldest continually operating fair west of the Mississippi River. Events and activities include a petting zoo, carnival, demolition derby, live music, talent show, Texas hold 'em poker tournament and more. See plattecountyfair.com for tickets, a schedule of events and more information.
Wyandotte County Fair
13700 Polfer Road, in Kansas City, Kansas
Since 1863, the Wyandotte County Fair has worked its way up to become the largest county fair in Kansas and Missouri, with concessions, petting zoos, 4-H exhibits, clothing, arts and crafts, livestock, crops, a carnival and musical entertainment. See the website for a schedule and more information.
Johnson County Fair
Johnson County Fair Grounds
136 East Washington, in Gardner
"Kick Up Your Heels" at this year's Johnson County Fair, which celebrates Kansas' 150th birthday with a carnival, contests and dog shows. Fair events also include live music, a parade, and all sorts of animals. See jocokansasfair.com for a full schedule.
Lawrence Busker Festival
Massachusetts Street in Lawrence
Anywhere along Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence, at any given time, you could find musicians, artists, magicians, fire-eaters, belly dancers, and all types of performance artists during the Lawrence Busker Festival. Some of the performers teach classes on Saturday morning at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire, 785-843-2787) for $5 per child. The festival this year benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County. For a schedule of events, see lawrencebuskerfest.com.
Osage to Memorial Drive, between Truman and Walnut streets, in Independence
Celebrate Independence, Missouri's role as the starting point of the westbound Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails at the annual Santa-Cali-Gon Days, with carnival rides, concerts and lots of food vendors. More than 400 craftspeople in large vendor tents rank Santa-Cali-Gon as a top vendor show. The festival begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 1, with the carnival, and opens fully on September 2. See santacaligon.com for a complete schedule and more information.
Kansas City Irish Fest
Crown Center Square
More than 30 bands entertain over Labor Day weekend at the Kansas City Irish Festival, which also features Irish dance, contests, workshops on Irish heritage — speaking Gaelic, playing an instrument, researching genealogy — comedians, a kids' stage, and merchandise and food vendors. Kansas City's largest outdoor Mass takes place Sunday morning. See kcirishfest.com for more information.
Kansas City Renaissance Festival
September 3–October 16
The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame
630 North 126 Street, in Bonner Springs
The entertainment and activities — for adults, children and even pets — are positively medieval. With seven different themed weekends, as many as 20 entertainment venues, more than 100 artisan booths, jousting, and food and drink fit for the Round Table, the adventures seem endless. See kcrenfest.com for more information.
Missouri State Fair
This year's theme is "It's A Show-Me Thing!" and it shows off the best of traditional fair entertainment, including a barbecue contest, farm toy show, bluegrass festival, pie contest, a carnival and, of course, more. Much more. See mostatefair.com for a full schedule and more information.
Don't Cry for Katie Karel
When asked for a memory of summer, Katie Karel recalls long days of working in cornfields around her hometown of Seward, Nebraska (population 6,000). Every summer in high school, she and her friends made pocket money pollinating, roguing and detasseling corn in the hot sun for a seed company. "It's what there was to do if you wanted to buy that shirt at the store," she says.
Her plans this summer sound a little less backbreaking. Karel is serving up snow-cone concoctions at the new Tropical Sno stand in Martin City, which was just opened by fellow musical-theater actor Seth Golay and his boyfriend, Jason Kralicek, the Unicorn's managing director. She also hopes to do a lot of fishing and hiking and to generally be outside with her new husband, Sean. (They've been married six months.) "He bought me a pink rod that lights up when you reel in," she says. Last summer she caught one fish in the Blue River, which runs behind their house, so it shouldn't be too hard to reach her goal of beating that record.
For other entertainment, Karel looks forward to seeing The Who's Tommy at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre and the movie Thor at the drive-in. She's also a big fan of the ACBs and the Vi Tran Band and catches them around town as often as she can. But mostly, she'll be hard at work, preparing for the title role in Musical Theater Heritage's Evita in August. Although she's been a standout around town, particularly in the Coterie's Lucky Duck last summer and Musical Theater Heritage's 1776, this is her first professional starring role. Since January, she has been listening in her car to every Evita recording and strengthening her voice with lessons from local musical-theater star Lauren Braton, as well as researching Eva Peron's life and Argentina's history, politics and social structure. She's "learning español," she says, "and pursuing men of high political standing."
When it comes to drama, she craves what she calls "the antihero roles." (She played a wicked stepsister in Lucky Duck and the Southern gadfly Rutledge in 1776, who almost takes down the constitutional proceedings by pointing out the hypocrisy of the Northerners' anti-slavery stance.) Her dream role? "Fanny Brice," she answers. So she's a perfect fit for the role of the scheming, alluring, contradictory Evita.
Eva Peron probably didn't suffer in cornfields, like Karel did, as a teenager. Karel says that despite the "sun beatings, 12-hour days and exposure to dangerous chemicals," she still loves corn. She insists that the best way to eat it is "on the cob, marinated, wrapped in tinfoil, and thrown on the grill." She adds: "If you wanna get really crazy, throw some onions in the foil." Try it. And don't cry for Katie when you cut up those onions.
By Grace Suh
Friday–Sunday, June 10–26
The Barn Players
6219 Martway, in Mission
Two men in the 1970s, talk-show host David Frost and former President Richard Nixon, try to recover their reputations at the end of their careers by seeking redemption through a very public, televised confrontation. Peter Morgan's celebrated drama stars Bill Pelletier and Rick Williamson.
Starlight Theatre — Broadway Shows
June 6–August 21
4600 Starlight Road
This summer, Starlight Theatre is producing three of its shows: The King and I (June 6–12), starring Lou Diamond Phillips; Cinderella (July 25–31), starring Kara Lindsay (who played Sally Bowles in the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's Cabaret), with support from Melinda MacDonald and Seth Golay; and, most spectacularly, Xanadu (August 15–21), the Tony-nominated spoof-on-roller-skates staging of the legendarily bad 1980 cult movie that starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly (here, Kip Niven is in the Gene Kelly role). Starlight also hosts the touring companies of 9 to 5 (June 21–26), Guys and Dolls (July 12–17), and Mamma Mia! (August 2–7).
Theatre in the Park
June 10–July 31
Shawnee Mission Park
7710 Renner Road, in Shawnee
Way on the other side of town from the Starlight's Swope Park, the homegrown Theatre in the Park (one of the country's largest community theaters) is tucked into the 1,250 acres that make up Shawnee Mission Park, the metro area's other gigantic, half-wild municipal playground. With picnicking and blanket sitting, and Frisbee on the sidelines — plus low admission prices ($8 for adults, $6 for kids aged 4–10 and free for those under 3) — Theatre in the Park is a casual, democratic scene. Bring your own blanket or lawn chair, or reserve a chair for $20. The season is packed with crowd-pleasers, and all shows are suitable for the entire family: The Sound of Music (June 10–12 and June 16–19); Les Misérables — School Edition (June 24–26 and June 30–July 3); Elton John & Tim Rice's Aida (July 8–10 and July 14–17); and Seussical (July 22–24 and July 28–31).
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival: Macbeth
June 14–July 3 (except June 20 and 27)
Oak Street and Brush Creek Boulevard
It was touch-and-go there for a while, whether the festival was to be or not to be. But a successful last-minute fundraising drive means the show will go on. This year's production — Kansas City's 19th season of free summer Shakespeare — features John Rensenhouse as Macbeth and Kim Martin-Cotten as his bloodthirsty Lady. (She recently appeared with Al Pacino in Merchant of Venice on Broadway.) The cast also includes David Fritts, Mark Robbins and Cinnamon Schultz. Theatergoers can take their own blankets or chairs or rent chairs for $5 each. Reserved seating is available for $25.
June 21–August 7
The Coterie Theatre
Crown Center, Level One
The Coterie's summer show is a new version of the award-winning Broadway musical The Wiz, the multicultural take on the land of Oz, which the Coterie has adapted for kids. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids under 18.
KC Fringe Festival
The KC Fringe is like one of those parties where people throw stuff into the pool to see what floats. Cheap costs and low stakes allow both amateurs and pros to cast off constraints and just make theater — and that includes film, dance, music and spoken word. The results can be messy, uncensored and fun. On its seventh outing, Fringe comes out stronger than ever, with 82 artists performing in 20 venues over 10 days. Highlights: a new adaptation of Woyzeck by the Kansas City Rep's associate artistic director, Kyle Hatley; The Rocky & Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show Parody by Egads Theatre's Steve Eubanks; and The Mask of the Broken Heart by Stephanie Roberts, the Charlotte Street Foundation generative arts fellow and the genius behind last year's amazing King Stag at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Find a full schedule, as well as ticketing info, at the festival website.
July 22–August 7
The Barn Players
6219 Martway, in Mission
The Barn Players take on Scott McPherson's acclaimed dark comedy about life, death and family.
Disney's The Aristocats
A Barn Junior production of the Barn Players
6219 Martway, in Mission
A musical staging of the beloved 1970 Disney animated feature, The Aristocats. An aristocratic but impoverished cat family struggles to return to Paris. What could be better?
Thursday–Sunday, August 11–28
Musical Theater Heritage
Off Center Theatre, Crown Center
MTH's staging of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical gets rid of the scenery and blocking and turns Evita into a pure sing-through rock opera. It stars Katie Karel, Tim Scott and Christopher Sanders. Tickets cost $17–$29.
Harold Pinter Plays
August 16–September 11
Kansas City Actors Theatre
H&R Block City Stage
30 West Pershing Road
Pinter's piercing wit and coldblooded menace will chill down the late-summer heat mighty quick. Kansas City Actors Theatre produces two plays in repertory, alternating The Birthday Party with a night of three one-acts (The Lover, The Collection and Night).
The Kickballer's Guide to Summer
Breaking news! No longer do hideously striped Zubaz indicate to the world that you've given up any semblance of dignity and self-respect. In fact, the obnoxious, elastic-banded relics of fashion's darkest decade are a mark of Kansas Citians enjoying the hell out of summer.
Local kickball squad Team Awesome, of the Midwestern Unconventional Sports Association, dons the seizure-inducing shorts before taking the softball field each week during the summer at Penn Valley Park. But even though the red-and-white garments might attract eyeballs on the field, they're not attracting wins this season.
"Our defense, let's say, has never really shut anybody down," outfielder and third baseman Kevin Adams says. "There have been so many losses; they all run together."
Adams and Team Awesome's first baseman Craig Stanke say their team isn't really all about taking their sport seriously. Well, sure, why would you, when your opponents have named their teams Alcoballics, Kick in a Box, and Nice Snatch? Adams describes Team Awesome's philosophy this way: "The games don't start until 6:30, but our tailgate starts at 5:30."
In the field, beverages in koozies are practically part of the uniform. That, Stanke says, makes getting runners out kind of tricky. Is he willing to drop a can?
"Absolutely not!" he says. "I'll just try to bat it [the ball] down at the person ... because you can physically tag them out. It works surprisingly good most of the time."
Team Awesome players juggled the ball and their refreshments all the way to the league finals in spring 2010. The team they beat to get to the championship game, Hit It and Forget It, didn't take kindly to being bounced by athletes who treat kickball as a social outing rather than a competitive release.
"We broke their pride," Stanke boasts.
But summer for the members of Team Awesome doesn't revolve entirely around kickball, and they're glad that Kansas City offers abundant outdoor activities.
"As many country clubs as there are in town, there are many good public golf courses, too," Adams says. He names Swope Memorial Golf Course the best in terms of proximity, cost and difficulty.
Stanke says he enjoys adventure racing in the summer. He calls June's Dirty Duo — a muddy mess of a bike-and-run race for two-person teams at Kansas Speedway — an expedition worth attempting.
They agree that by August, when the city becomes a miserable steam bath, their attitudes become more carnal than competitive.
Then again, Adams says, the heat and humidity are a "small price to be paid to see scantily clad women." He smiles. "It's all worth it."
Let summer begin.
By Ben Palosaari
The Kansas City Tribe vs. Iowa Xplosion
5 p.m. Saturday, June 4
Center High School
Forget about the NFL and its players acting like children, divvying up $9 billion worth of Halloween candy. The all-female Kansas City Tribe has your football fix this summer, and the team takes no mercy on its competitors in the Women's Football Alliance. The Tribe crushed the Xplosion 82-0 earlier this season, so the Iowans deserve credit for even showing up. See kctribe.com for more information.
Royals vs. Minnesota Twins:
Willie Wilson Bobblehead Day
6:10 p.m. Saturday, June 4
One Royal Way
Normally a bobblehead day would just be an excuse to remember Royals stars of yore while watching a team that finds creative ways to lose. And the spring-headed rendering of legendary outfielder Willie Wilson would, by itself, be worth the trip to the stadium. But this year, with the Royals playing surprisingly good ball, there's room for hope to accompany nostalgia at the K. See kansascity.royals.mlb .com for tickets and more information.
Street League Skateboarding
If you don't know what the hell Street League Skateboarding is, then you're definitely not alone. In its second season, Street League is like X Games meets the PGA. Twenty-four of the nation's best boarders skate their way through a four-stop tour that culminates in a championship showdown, with the winner taking home $200,000. Kansas City is Stop 2. Watch preliminary qualifiers on Saturday, followed by "last-chance qualifiers" and finals on Sunday. See streetleague.com for times and more details.
CONCACAF Gold Cup Matches
Tuesday, June 14
6 p.m., Canada vs. Panama
8 p.m., United States vs. Guadeloupe
LiveStrong Sporting Park
One Sporting Way, in Kansas City, Kansas
Although FIFA broke local soccer fans' hearts by announcing that the World Cup would not return to the United States in 2022, the national team makes a Kansas City appearance for the Gold Cup tournament of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). The United States, which last won the cup in 2007, is likely to be one of the stronger teams this year. See concacaf.com for tickets.
2011 Heartland Naturists Sun Run
10 a.m. Sunday, July 10
Location disclosed after registration.
If you're looking to try a different kind of summer sporting activity — of the naked kind — consider the Sun Run. Held at a secret location in or near McLouth, Kansas, the 5k "clothing optional" walk/run bills itself as a way to "celebrate wholesome family nudism/naturism." Leave your camera at home and take a drum of sunblock and food for the post-run potluck. See cirrus.kcsky.net/SunRun2011.html for information and to register.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Newcastle United
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20
LiveStrong Sporting Park
One Sporting Way, in Kansas City, Kansas
England's storied soccer clubs aren't shying away from Kansas City after Sporting beat Manchester United at Arrowhead last year. Newcastle United Football Club squares off against Sporting a little more than a month after its new LiveStrong Sporting Park digs open. The friendly match won't mean anything in the standings, but beating English Premier League teams in successive summers would be a hell of an accomplishment. See sportingkc.com for tickets.
Kansas City Command vs. Tulsa Talons
7 p.m. Saturday, July 23
The Arena Football League's Kansas City Brigade vanished after the 2008 season, only to re-emerge this year as the Command. And, well, it hasn't been a pretty season. But we're used to non-playoff teams in Kansas City. If you've never experienced the offensive tinderbox that is indoor football, watch the Command wrap up the regular season against the Tulsa Talons. See kccommand.com for the full schedule and tickets.
T-Bones vs. Lincoln Saltdogs:
Frank White Night
7:05 p.m. Friday, August 12
1800 Village West Parkway, in Kansas City, Kansas
Former Royals second baseman Frank White is enshrined in the team Hall of Fame, but the T-Bones don't think that's good enough. All season long, the team is collecting signatures for a petition to get White into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the club has declared August 12 Frank White Day. White throws out the first pitch when the T-Bones play the Lincoln Saltdogs, and each T-Bones player wears White's No. 20. See tbonesbaseball.com for tickets and more information.
Kansas City Roller Warriors All Stars vs. St. Louis
7 p.m. Saturday, August 13
301 West 13th Street
After Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore made a roller-derby movie a couple of years back, it seemed that the sport would fade out of popularity once the novelty wore off. But apparently not. The Kansas City Roller Warriors — and the 2,000 fans they attract to each event — prove that roller derby is still violent-chic. This bout pits the Roller Warriors' best against their cross-state rivals. See kcrollerwarriors.com.
Living It Up With Deadman Flats
Best heard in the summer sun or around a campfire, deep in the Flint Hills, is the music of Lawrence-based Deadman Flats. The group's record label, Mudstomp, promotes earthiness, simplicity, freedom and, above all, the kind of exuberant energy that encourages people to, well, stomp.
All hailing from the Sunflower State, the men of Deadman Flats prefer prairie pastimes over pool lounging when summer rolls around. "As a Kansan, summer means fishing, camping, shooting, backpacking, cookouts and bonfires," says upright-bass player Hank Osterhout.
The thrashabilly foursome keeps it simple. For guitarist Alex Law, it's the time for "superb bass fishing." For mandolin player Matt Stambaugh and Osterhout, summer means "epic vegetable gardening." Banjo man Pat Watt spends much of his downtime at a family apple orchard north of Emporia. They all agree that long bike rides, cottonwood trees "snowing" cotton, maple trees dropping helicopters, the return of the monarch butterflies, blue jays and cardinals, and fields of western Kansas sunflowers are the area's quintessential summer pleasures.
"As a band, it means that 'work as usual' becomes 'paid vacation,' Osterhout says. "It's so much better to tour in the summer than it is in the winter. People's dispositions tend to also be a little sunnier in the summer. It's also festival season, which for a band is awesome. You get to play on huge stages in front of larger-than-normal audiences in the beautiful outdoors. It doesn't get any better!"
Alongside fellow Mudstomp bands Mountain Sprout, Whistle Pigs and the Ben Miller Band, Deadman Flats plans to help spread the gospel of the homegrown label on Saturday, June 25, at the Missouri Chainsaw Grassacre at Crossroads KC at Grinders. Possible appearances at other festivals are in the works, including Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee.
"There has been loose talk about playing on the solar-powered stage, but we are still awaiting confirmation," Osterhout says.
Until then, Deadman Flats is just enjoying time in Lawrence. "It is good to see the college kids get the heck out of Dodge and leave the 'less cool' townies to ghost around a bit," Osterhout says.
By Berry Anderson
Gladstone Summertime Bluesfest
Oak Grove Park (76th Street and North Troost)
This blues festival brings in more than 15,000 people for two days of traveling and local acts, including the 2011 International Blues Challenge winner, the Lionel Young Band, and second-place finisher, the Mary Bridget Davies Group. Also appearing: Tab Benoit and local favorite Kelley Hunt. Gates open an hour before showtime, which is 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.
Motley Crue, Poison and
New York Dolls
Tuesday, June 21
Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels, Vince Neil, David Johansen and Nikki Sixx, all in the same building? Yes. Cock rock and protopunk at its finest downtown. The tickets for this one are pricey, so leave the kids at home. Feathered hair and leather pants look better without children in tow, anyway.
Concerts at Starlight
4600 Starlight Road
Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs
Huey Lewis & the News
Earth, Wind & Fire
There are no special packages available for seeing all four of these major acts, which appear in nightly succession. But it just goes to show that the storied Swope Park venue is a huge draw for major talent and one of the best places in town to see a concert. See the website for tickets, showtimes, directions and other music events.
Vans Warped Tour
Wednesday, July 6
Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone
633 North 130th Street, in Bonner Springs
Sweat, punk and neon: These are the three words that permeate the modern Vans Warped Tour. North America's longest-running, biggest package tour has changed a lot since its inception in 1995. A purist punk rocker will find hip-hop, pop and metal on 2011's KC lineup. Doors open at 11 a.m. Buy tickets at ticketmaster.com or vanswarpedtour.com.
The Pitch Music Showcase
Thursday, August 4
The Pitch takes over Westport for its annual local-music blowout featuring more than 25 rock, Americana, DJ, hip-hop and reggae acts on stages spanning six venues, including RecordBar (1020 Westport Road) and the Riot Room (4048 Broadway). See the website later this summer for lineups and locations.
400 Speedway Boulevard (at I-435 and I-70), in Kansas City, Kansas
In only its first year of existence, this camping and music festival possesses a lineup that will cause even the most doubtful to shrug off the heat and see some of the biggest names in rock, pop and hip-hop, including Eminem, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, the Black Keys and Primus. One- and two-day tickets are available.
Saturday, August 13
LiveStrong Sporting Park
One Sporting Way, in Kansas City, Kansas
Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews will be in town for this long-running benefit-concert series to keep family farmers on their land. Additional acts will be announced throughout the summer. See the website for ticket information, directions and updates.
The Pitch Music Awards
Sunday, August 14
3700 Broadway, 816-753-8665
Winners of The Pitch Music Showcase's 18 categories (including electronic, rockabilly, punk, experimental and singer-songwriter) will be crowned at this annual event. Keep reading The Pitch this summer for the ballot, showtimes and acts.
Saturday, August 13
Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone
633 North 130th Street, in Bonner Springs
Tickets for Jimmy Buffett's Sprint Center appearance this past spring sold out faster than you could say, "Caribbean Island Vacation Destination." Fortunately, changes in attitudes and latitudes make it possible to keep a Margaritaville state of mind any time of year. See a collection of tropical tribute bands at this all-ages show.
Kansas City Reggae Uprising Friday
Every Friday through August 26
The shady confines of the Californos patio is the stage for this weekly reggae show- case filled with local and regional bands and DJs. See kcruf.com for a complete lineup.
Hot Country Nights in the Power & Light District
Every Thursday through August 18
KC Live Stage
14th Street and Walnut
Urban, rural and wannabe cowboys, cowgirls and cowpokes fill downtown for these free evening shows in the KC Live Block, sponsored by Miller Lite and Q104 Country. This summer's lineup includes Reckless Kelly, Sunny Sweeney and Steel Magnolia. These shows are all-ages, but the underage must be accompanied by a guardian.
A Baker's Long Hot Summer
Any baker worth his or her salt knows that summer is a chance to be warmed by the sun instead of a hot oven, and it's a chance to actually see the sun, instead of just knowing it will rise, long after you've begun tending to the aforementioned oven.
For Erin Brown, owner of Dolce Baking Company (6974 Mission, in Prairie Village), summer begins with a trip to the Berry Patch (22509 State Line, in Cleveland, Missouri). While she admits that her picking partner is her 6-year-old stepdaughter, Campbell, she doesn't acknowledge eating any blueberries in the field.
"I can't disclose that information," Brown says, laughing. "But what would you do? Don't you have to make sure they're good as you go?"
Those blueberries are turned into a host of baked goodness at home and in her bakery in Prairie Village. The highlight is the blueberry buckle, a dense coffeecake-style dessert with a streusel topping. Each 9-inch cake is made with a lot of blueberries — 5 cups.
"You look at the bowl, and there's just this tiny bit of batter," Brown says.
The berries, and whatever is fresh at the City Market, also provide inspiration for her fried pies. She makes the half-moon, hand-sized pies for Blanc Burgers + Bottles, where they were recently added to the menu, in such seasonal flavors as strawberry-rhubarb and blackberry with almond.
If she wants to cool down, Brown looks for an iced coffee from the Broadway Café and Roastery, which provides the beans for the coffee served at Dolce. And when it gets really hot later this summer, she plans to call up a new friend. Lindsay Laricks, the owner of Fresher Than Fresh Snow Cones, worked at Dolce over the winter holiday season, and Brown has fallen in love with her pineapple and habañero snow cones.
"I told her I'm happy to come work in the trailer [at 17th Street and Summit on Sundays] and make snow cones whenever she needs help," Brown says. "And I'll pay for whatever I eat."
Brown doesn't crave just sweets. She's got a savory tooth, as well. You might catch her on the patio at Julian (6227 Brookside Plaza) with a manhattan (made with an eight-year-old bourbon) and a plate of pulled pork. She's also a fan of the patio at North (4579 West 119th Street, in Leawood) where she likes to settle in with a plate of scallops and a martini. And she raves about the mushroom ragout on soft polenta (even if it's not a summer dish) that's on the appetizer menu. But her secret love is a new one: Tavern in the Village (3901 Prairie Lane, in Prairie Village).
"They bring you a whole platter of warm doughnuts," Brown says. "I have doughnut shame, but I'm good with it."
Brown is busy finalizing her food wish list for a weeklong trip to Stinson Beach and San Francisco in July. The bay city's Tartine Bakery is a must-stop, she says, and she's still figuring out where she'll get her seafood fix. But her dream vacation, regardless of where she eats, includes the one thing that every baker dreams about: plenty of sleep.
"I'm like every girl," Brown says, "I just like to take naps in the sun."
By Jonathan Bender
Summer is all about first loves: your first Missouri peach, your first Fresher Than Fresh Snow Cones, and your first bite of Green Dirt Farm cheese. Discover new loves with 10 food adventures that are worth circling on the calendar.
Waldo Farmers Market
3–7 p.m. Wednesdays
303 West 79th Street
The new-this-year Waldo Farmers Market sells plants, organic and locally grown food, and personal-care products — including produce from Stony Crest Urban Farm and organic body products from Nutressant — in the parking lot of Habitat ReStore. Fresher Than Fresh Snow Cones is on-site through June, and the market runs through August.
Midwest Wine Tours
Forget Napa. Missouri is where it's at if you're an oenophile. Midwest Wine Tours schedules weekend trips from June through September. A chartered bus takes 10 couples from Kansas City to Hermann, Missouri, and the tour includes stops at five or six wineries, six meals, two nights in a bed-and-breakfast, and a private tour of a vineyard and wine cellar. The tour costs $450 per person. See midwestwinetours.com
Green Dirt Farms
Cheese Appreciation Events
Even though you might like cheese, you haven't truly appreciated it until you've been to one of the monthly Cheese Appreciation Events, held on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month, at Green Dirt Farms. In June, the Weston farm collaborates with Boulevard Brewery for pairings of beer and cheese. In July, tasters compare fresh and soft-ripened cheeses made from three different types of milk. In August, blue cheeses are pitted against one another, again with samples of Boulevard beer. And in September, brie and camembert-style cheeses are sampled along with Malbec wines. The events cost $40 per person. Farm tours also are available by appointment, Wednesday through Friday and on Sunday for $8 per person. See greendirtfarm.com.
Sugar Creek Slavic Festival
11520 East Putnam, Sugar Creek
Slavic immigrants settled Sugar Creek nearly 100 years ago, just so you could stuff yourself with sarma (cabbage rolls), kielbasa (Polish sausage), traditional Croatian dishes, plus povitica and other baked goods, all while listening to Grammy-nominated Alex Meixner shred the accordion. The festival is from 5 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and 3 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $3; children under 12 get in free. See slavicfest.com for more information and a full schedule of events.
Urban Farms and Gardens Tour and Events
Would-be farmers and seasoned seed jockeys will appreciate the 10 days of events leading up to the Kansas City Urban Farms and Gardens Tour. Author Michael Ableman kicks off pre-tour events when he talks about his book, Grow for the Future, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library (14 West 10th Street). His talk is followed by a week's worth of activities, including workshops on mead brewing, beekeeping and more, before the actual farm tours (38 total) on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26. See urbanfarmstourkc.com for tickets and more information.
KC Hop Fest 2011
Saturday, June 18
Craft-beer makers have finally caught on that Kansas Citians like to drink. Discover several breweries new to the market — Green Flash, Firestone Walker, and Stone Brewing Co. — at the KC Hop Fest. The tasting, 1–5 p.m. in the parking lot east of the Well (7421 Broadway), features more than 50 breweries and 200 beers. A general-admission ticket costs $30 and comes with a 4-ounce commemorative tasting glass. A VIP ticket costs $50 and includes entry at noon and samples of five exclusive beers.
Great Lenexa BBQ Battle
Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park
87th Street and Lackman Road, in Lenexa
If you harbor dreams of being a pit master, the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle is the right place to pick up tips. You can talk to any of the 200 teams, while chowing down on barbecue at the annual event. On Friday night, 5–11 p.m., admission is $5 (free for children under 12). On Saturday (9 a.m.–5 p.m.), admission is free. See ci.lenexa.ks.us/parks/festivals_bbq.html for details.
Missouri Wine Festival
Saturday, July 16
Excelsior Springs turns its water into wine for a day. From noon to 9 p.m., the fifth annual Missouri Wine Festival in downtown Excelsior Springs features live music; Missouri artists and craftspeople; and wine from Missouri wineries, including Chateau Lisa, Indian Creek and Terre Beau. Tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the gate. And if you're parched afterward, the Hall of Waters is open. See visitesprings.com for more festival information.
Douglas County Fair
Tractor pulls and pie-baking contests are summer rituals for a reason. Enjoy both, along with a multitude of other entertainments, at the Douglas County Fair (2110 Harper, Douglas County Fairgrounds, in Lawrence) from Wednesday, August 3, through Saturday, August 6. See dgcountyfair.com for a complete schedule of events.
Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival
Meyer Boulevard and Swope Parkway
Are Swedish or Spanish meatballs the best? Put the debate to rest at the annual Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival, where you can celebrate diversity and enjoy dishes from dozens of countries (including Spain and Sweden) over the course of three days: Friday, August 19 (6–10 p.m.), Saturday, August 20 (noon–10 p.m.), and Sunday, August 21 (noon–6 p.m.). The annual event in Swope Park also includes entertainment. Admission is $3; children 12 and under are admitted free with an adult. See eeckc.org for more information and a festival schedule.
BadSeed Farmers Market
4–9 p.m. Fridays
Through November 18
1909 McGee in the Crossroads
6 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturdays and
8 a.m.–3 p.m. Sundays
Fifth Street and Walnut
Farmers Community Market at Brookside
8 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturdays
Through October 22
Border Star Montessori School
63rd Street and Wornall
Independence Farmers Market
5 a.m.–1 p.m. (or until sellout)
Wednesdays and Saturdays
Northwest corner of Truman and Main, in Independence
KC Organics and Natural Market
8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Saturdays at Minor Park
Just east of Holmes on Red Bridge Road (111th Street)
Lawrence Farmers Market
7–11 a.m. Saturdays through November 19
(parking lot between Eighth and Ninth streets and New Hampshire and Rhode Island)
4–6 p.m. Tuesdays through October
(Vermont between 10th and 11th streets)
4–6 p.m. Thursdays through October (southwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa)
NKC Friday Farmers Market
7 a.m.–1:30 p.m Fridays
Through October 28
Southeast corner of Armour Road and Howell Street
Olathe Farmers Market
8 a.m.–sellout Saturdays through October 22
3 p.m.–sellout Wednesdays through September 28
200 West Santa Fe in downtown Olathe
Parkville Farmers Market
7 a.m.–sellout Saturdays
2–6 p.m. Wednesdays
English Landing Park (First Street and Main) in Parkville
Rosedale Farmers Market
12–3 p.m. Sundays
Through September 25
340 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas (parking lot of Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care)
ReBoots & Remakes & Sequels — Oh, My!
Long hot summer, you say? Dark, air-conditioned theaters, we say. Sure you could pour a pitcher of iced tea over your head or dump a Sheridan's concrete down your shorts, but these cool summer treats last two hours and require minimal cleanup. (All dates subject to change.)
By Brent Shepherd
*Limited release: Consult local listings.
X-Men: First Class We think Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are still suitably badass, but the "origin story" is Hollywood's go-to excuse to cast younger actors in established roles — in this case, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the young Professor X and Magneto, respectively.
*Beginners The opening-night selection of the 12th Annual Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (June 24) stars the timeless, always compelling Christopher Plummer as a septuagenarian who comes out to his son (Ewan McGregor) at the same time he informs him he's dying of cancer.
*Submarine We get a nice Harold and Maude vibe off this British coming-of-age tale of a precocious 15-year-old experiencing first love just as his parents' marriage is unraveling.
Super 8 Boy, J.J. Abrams sure knows how to suck up to the boss. Set in 1979, Cloverfield meets Close Encounters with a nod to co-producer Steven Spielberg's youthful obsession with filmmaking, as a train derailment unleashes an otherworldly force in a small town.
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer You know, for kids. And Heather Graham's agent.
*The Trip A road movie, buddy comedy, mockumentary mash-up in which comedian Steve Coogan tours Northern England's finest restaurants on assignment for The Observer, with best friend Rob Brydon along for the ride.
*Troll Hunter Think The Blair Troll Project, from Norway. Apparently, trolls are exactly as pissed-off as you've always imagined but much, much bigger.
Green Lantern Empowered by a super race of aliens, earthling Ryan Reynolds is puttin' it out there for the ladies in a skintight green bodysuit and doing battle with mad scientist Peter Sarsgaard and his ginormous frontal lobe.
Mr. Popper's Penguins Jim Carrey's desperate need for attention plus penguins equals the feel-good family hit of, well, this weekend, anyway.
The Art of Getting By Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts fulfill this summer's teen-angst quota.
Cars 2 It's Pixar. You know they're gonna knock it out of the park. Hell, we're going just to hear Michael Caine's voice come out of a car.
Bad Teacher Cameron Diaz, foulmouthed molder of impressionable young minds, sets her sights on squeaky-clean new faculty member Justin Timberlake.
A Better Life Demián Bichir stars as a hardworking illegal immigrant struggling to build a brighter future for his young son, who is tempted to join an L.A. street gang.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Michael Bay unleashes yet another bombastic, seizure-inducing clash of the metallic titans. We know that there's not a damn thing we can say to keep you away, so go with God, y'all. And earplugs and Dramamine.
Larry Crowne banks on the chemistry of Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in a decidedly middle-aged romantic comedy co-written and directed by Hanks.
Monte Carlo Recent high school grad Selena Gomez and her BFFs get a major upgrade on their European vacation when she is mistaken for a British heiress.
Zookeeper Zoo animals break their long-observed code of silence to play Cyrano for their smitten zookeeper (Kevin James).
Horrible Bosses Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day plot to kill theirs: Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston, respectively.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Arguably the most successful franchise of all time — at least in terms of not angering its devoted fanbase — concludes with this eighth installment that pits Harry against Voldemort in wizardry's equivalent of Thunderdome.
Winnie the Pooh Counterprogramming for littler tykes not yet ready for intense wand-to-wand combat.
Captain America: The First Avenger Chris Evans, The Fantastic Four's erstwhile Human Torch, takes the lead in this World War II-era franchise start-up about a 98-pound weakling turned real American hero. Has he got a little Captain in him?
Friends With Benefits Another movie about casual sex between friends. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake go where Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher already went in No Strings Attached.
*The Future Miranda July and Hamish Linklater adopt a stray cat, but first they have some issues to work out.
Cowboys & Aliens Iron Man director Jon Favreau brings together James Bond and Indiana Jones in an Old West meets outer-space mash-up that we can only hope is as loopy-fun as its trailer implies.
Crazy Stupid Love Steve Carell seeks the middle ground between The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Dan in Real Life as a newly single man who gets a midlife makeover from lothario Ryan Gosling.
The Smurfs It's The Muppets Take Manhattan except, you know, with Smurfs. And with Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria. And voices.
*The Devil's Double Dominic Cooper (in a dual role) plays the conflicted body double of Uday Hussein, eldest son of Saddam.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Hardest Working Man in Show Business James Franco stars as a scientist in this origin story about how we ended up with those damned, dirty, super-intelligent apes in the first place.
*Snow Flower and the Secret Fan The bonds of friendship are explored through the relationships of two pairs of women in different eras — one in modern-day Shanghai, the other in 19th-century China.
The Change-Up It's Freaky Friday with a hard R rating as married schlub Jason Bateman switches bodies with confirmed bachelor Ryan Reynolds.
30 Minutes or Less Pizza-delivery guy Jesse Eisenberg is forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his body, courtesy of inept kidnappers Danny McBride and Nick Swardson.
The Help Emma Stone, Viola Davis and half the working actresses in Hollywood star in this adaptation of the best-selling novel about a fledgling reporter who airs out the laundry on behalf of the African-American maids in Jackson, Mississippi, circa 1962.
Final Destination 5 This time, it's a bridge collapse. But new rule: No sequel can employ the word "final" in its title unless the producers really, really mean it this time. Can we all just agree on that?
One Day Anne Hathaway tries on an (ill-advised?) accent for this romance about a pair of Brits who reunite every year on the anniversary of their failed first date.
Fright Night Colin Farrell is the suspected vampire-next-door in this remake of the 1985 cult favorite.
Conan the Barbarian The question is not "Had we ever heard of Schwarzenegger before he made the original?" but rather "Will we ever hear of Jason Momoa again after this one?" Oh, well, the CGI sure looks shiny.
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World Jessica Alba stars as the spy turned step-MILF, and Jeremy Piven is the villain in this reboot of Robert Rodriguez's family-friendly espionage franchise.
Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd is the titular idiot, recently out of jail and wreaking havoc on the lives of sisters Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel.
Colombiana Zoe Saldana stars as an elite assassin in a movie in which it looks like the girl from Léon: The Professional grew up to be La Femme Nikita. Which makes sense: All three movies were written by Luc Besson.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark The phrase "produced and co-written by Guillermo Del Toro" is reason enough to consider taking an extra pair of undies to the theater.
Apollo 18 Verite-style cinematography enhances "the untold story" of a doomed, final lunar mission that officially never happened.
The Debt Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson star as Mossad agents investigating the alleged reappearance of a Nazi war criminal whom they were supposed to have brought to justice in the 1960s.