Nestled near the corner of Eighth Street and Minnesota Avenue, between Brotherhood Bank and a community theater, a 3,000-square-foot mural
illustrates an entire culture's past and present in radiant colors. Designed and installed by ten local high school students, with direction from artists Joe Faus and Alisha Gambino, the piece recognizes the several-thousand-strong Hmong presence in Kansas City, Kansas. The finished work resembles a form of Hmong embroidery called the story cloth. Area Hmong men and women acted as consultants on the project to ensure accuracy. Lush, verdant patches and scenes of farmers harvesting rice, tomatoes and pumpkins pay homage to the Hmong's agrarian heritage. A guitarist serenades gleeful participants in the New Year's ball-toss game, a teen courtship ritual. Praying hands, a cross and a shaman's drums represent the Hmong's spiritual beliefs. Hmong dress designs inspired the intricate snail, heart and snake shapes found in squares around the mural's border. The magnitude of this vision is striking, but subtle touches appear upon closer inspection, such as the deep-blue fish outlines in the seas. City Vision Ministries, the mural's sponsor, holds its dedication ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at 749 Minnesota Avenue. Traditional Hmong music, dancing and food flesh out the festive atmosphere. For more information, call 913-371-5200. -- Andrew Miller
Elvis walks among us.
Elvis lives! At least that's what Friday's Elvis Parade must suggest to someone waking up from a coma predating August 17, 1977, the day Elvis Aaron Presley left the building for good. Radio station KYYS 102.1 sponsors this annual tribute, now in its 18th year, starting at noon at Barney Allis Plaza (12th Street and Wyandotte Avenue) -- and, yes, you're encouraged to call it Barney Elvis Plaza for the day. Past years' events have included Elvis-impersonator contests, singing Elvises and flying Elvises but, unfortunately, no information on whether Elvi is a suitable plural form of the singular Elvis. Have the sparkly jumpsuit and blue-suede shoes but nowhere to go? Preregister in the parade by calling 913-677-8013. -- Rebecca Braverman