E. Lynn Harris is cool because in his 1996 release of And This Too Shall Pass, the main character was an NFL quarterback who was gay. This man is progressive. In his newest work, Abide with Me, Harris returns with that progressive flair. Magazines across the country rave about his compelling ability to combine the themes of love, friendship, and family. Harris isn't afraid to write about bisexuality, AIDS, and racism; you name an issue others might consider "uncomfortable" and he writes about it. Harris will be in town today (via Rainy Day Books and the Kansas City Public Library) at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St., at 7:30 p.m. Harris will discuss and autograph Abide With Me. For more information, call 913-677-BOOK.
From 1993 to 1995 Bang Gallery had 12 showings. Then it quietly closed its doors. Now it hopes to return with a Big Bang, reopening tonight with City Birds and Subterranean Flying Dreams by Perrin Blackman. Blackman's exhibit is one of collages of found objects, layers of tempera and chalk pastel, watercolor, pencil, coffee, and smudge sticks -- all of which the artist uses to create pieces that reflect Kansas City's coffee shops and city streets. Locals will see something they recognize in this exhibit, which will be on display through June 16. The opening reception begins at 7 tonight and will continue until 10. Bang Gallery is temporarily located at 1318 W. 39th St. For more information, call 816-561-6445.27 Saturday
A memorial service might not sound like the most fun way to spend your morning, but, alas, that is the spirit of Memorial Day. The Union Hill Cemetery Historical Society is holding a public old-fashioned Memorial Day service today at 11:30 a.m. The service will include a processional march to the grave of Nathaniel Gwynne, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. After the service, visit the Sexton's cottage to do some genealogical research. The cottage will be open until 3 p.m. The Union Cemetery is located at 227 E. 28th Terr. For more information, call 816-472-4990.
Dance until you can't dance no more: Worlds of Fun is hosting its 20th Annual Dance Festival today and tomorrow . More than 700 dancers from all over the Midwest will participate in a dance-off for dandy prizes. Dancers will perform an array of styles including tap, jazz, ballet, and, yes, even clogging. Worlds of Fun is located at 4545 Worlds of Fun Avenue. For more information on this toe-tapping clog-off, call 816-454-4545.
The Troost Community Market understands that people like to show off their pets, so today is the day for all dog, cat, and rat owners to attend the Pet Day Celebration with their animals. The day features pet washing, stupid pet tricks, and a pet parade. Judges will be on hand to give out awards. The Troost Community Market is located on the northeast corner of Linwood and Troost in the covered parking lot of Best Deal and is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through Sept. 30. For more information, call 816-931-8800.
The Shuttlecocks on the lawn of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art make you feel as Jack might have when he climbed the bean stalk and entered a giant's world. Created by internationally known artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen as a gift to the museum in July 1994, the Shuttlecocks were the first commissioned artwork for the outdoor sculpture park that has become a Kansas City landmark. Other parts of the Nelson's Sculpture Park include works by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Henry Moore, Sol Lewitt, George Segal, Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder, Joel Shapiro, and Isamu Noguchi. Today through June 3, the Nelson is giving KC free admission to the museum as part of the KC 150 Family ArtsFest, which is in conjunction with Kansas City's sesquicentennial. Today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., take an acoustically guided tour of the sculpture park. Just ask the person at the Information Desk where to pick up your Acoustiguides, and you'll learn about all of the sculptures in the park. For more information, call 816-561-4000.
It's the final night of the annual Westport Block Party, which takes place in the parking lot between McCoy's and The Hurricane. This year's lineup provides, yet again, a variety of music in hopes of pleasing all those out to have a festive Memorial Day weekend. Festivities start on Friday night with a performance by Boogie Chyld. Saturday brings performances by Skirt, Moaning Lisa, Deathray, and The 9's. Then on Sunday, the Block Party will have its first ever 18 and over show, starting at 6 p.m. with Johnny Q. Public, Pomeroy, and Outhouse. But today is the ultimate rock show, with The Seastrings, Bar 7, and those monsters of '80s rock, L.A. Guns. Tickets for the Block Party are $5 per day and can be purchase in advance through Ticketmaster or at The Hurricane. Tickets for the L.A. Guns show are $12. For more information, call 816-756-0288.
Art exhibits are popping up everywhere -- in bank lobbies, church foyers, nursing homes, and libraries. Not one to miss out on a cultural opportunity, the Kansas City, Kan., Public Library wants to culturize its readers with library art. Today is the last day you can view the artwork of area artists Jerri Ogden and Cindy Alkire. Ogden, a Kansas City, Kan., artist, has a variety of works on display. Alkire's exhibit, Impressions in Clay, has been shown throughout the metropolitan area. Support these local artists by visiting their work at the West Wyandotte Library, located at 1737 N. 82nd St. in Kansas City, Kan. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 913-596-5800.
Quality Hill Playhouse is all about helping Kansas City "discover the magic" of musical theater. And with 153 seats and only seven rows in the house, it's bound to be a close-up of that magical musical experience they wish to provide. Today at 8 p.m., you can celebrate hump day with a Quality Hill treat. Four's Company is an intimate cabaret revue highlighting such American standards as "Puttin' on the Ritz," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," and "When I Fall in Love," to name a few. These standard American tunes will be sung by, as you may have guessed from the title, four professional voices: Alison Sneegas Borberg, Angelo Cilia, Karen Errington, and Matt Sopha with pianist/emcee J. Kent Barnhart. Quality Hill Playhouse is located at 303 W. 10th St. Tickets are $19. For more information, call 816-421-1700.