InPlay Theatre Company poses a hypothetical question: What would happen if Zora Neale Hurston and other artists, intellectuals, and activists got together to throw a party for Langston Hughes? The answer lies in local actress Jacqee Gafford's original script, Harlem Knights. The play, set in the renaissance of black intellectual life in 1927 Harlem, is about hopes for the future in a society where African-Americans get little respect. It's a serious subject, but Gafford's play is full of humor and positive approaches to obstacles, both those that have been overcome and those that are still to come. Harlem Knights takes place at Just Off Broadway Theatre at 31st & Broadway, today through Saturday at 8 p.m., as well as July 27 to 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 816-235-2700.
Wichita-based Christian/pop rock group Waterdeep has spent the past four years touring the college circuit with the likes of seasoned soldier of the cross Michael W. Smith. And although Waterdeep has made a national name for itself, its grassroots are still here in Kansas City, where the band first planted its seed. The second annual Everyone's Festival (conceived and hosted by Waterdeep) begins today and continues through tomorrow in the fenced-in field just southeast of St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 40th & Main. Other performers include Ginny Owens, Sarah Masen, Andrew Patterson, The Pool Boys, and many more. The festival will also feature speakers from area and national churches and Christian organizations. Gates will open at 2 p.m. today and 11:30 a.m. Saturday, with the music ending each night at midnight. And for those who just don't want to leave, the on-site camping area is $5 per person. Weekend passes for the festival are $30. For more information, call 316-265-0394 or visit www.everyonesfestival.com.
When the first instant camera, the SX70 Polaroid, came out in 1972, it was considered so revolutionary that Popular Photography magazine gave it a 12-page spread. As a limited edition, the SX70 offered the ability only to focus the lens and adjust the exposure, making it difficult for a photographer to capture an image. But Deborah Tudor and Kevin Garrison know how to capture those Polaroid moments and find the challenge of working with instant cameras stimulating. The SX70 Polaroid Show opens today at Stamper Photographic Gallery with an artist's reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Gallery hours are Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and by appointment. The Stamper is located at 1521 Grand. For more information, call 816-471-1122.
The John Brown Theatre company needs gas money. Its members are headed to New York City for the New York International Fringe Festival, where more than 200 of the best emerging theater companies and performing artists from around the world have been chosen to participate in this 12-day celebration on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. You can help the local fringe group get there by attending the final presentation of the show they'll be performing at the festival, FrankenClown, tonight at 8 at the Alanz Theatre, 624 E. 63rd Street. FrankenClown is -- you guessed it -- a different look at Mary Shelley's classic novel, Frankenstein: two hours of improvisational clown interpretation. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 816-444-2288 or 913-226-9563.
Venus Williams kicked her sister's ass at Wimbledon just days before she went on to beat Lindsay Davenport, becoming the first African-American woman to win the title since Althea Gibson in 1958. The 20-year-old star isn't shy about her abilities, either. When The Guardian newspaper in London asked Williams at what point she knew she was going to win at Wimbledon, she answered, "When I bought my dress" -- the day before she left for England. Kansas Citians have a chance to see the beaded queen of tennis today at Kemper Arena with the Kansas City Explorers as they go up against St. Louis. Matches start tonight at 7:05. For more information, call 913-362-9944.
Attention Monday shoppers, Town Center Plaza, just off I-435 in Leawood, wants its consumers to enjoy themselves as they keep the wheels of capitalism turning. Today and July 31, the Townies are sponsoring Free Music Mondays, where shoppers can enjoy the sounds of local performers as they set their stage in front of Restoration Hardware. (Tonight enjoy big-band swing with the Kerry Strayer Orchestra.) The Hereford House will sell food and beverages during the concert, and various merchants have donated giveaways for attentive audience members. It's the only free thing you'll get at Town Center Plaza, so be there from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 913-498-1111.
Your 15 minutes of fame may have arrived. In fact, 15 minutes is all you get to try out for BET's Comic View 2000 series. It happens tonight at 7 at 6902 Restaurant & Lounge, 6902 Prospect. All comedians are welcome, and there is only one requirement -- no profanity. BET will pay $1,000 to each comedian chosen. It's a chance to join the ranks of other comedians who have appeared on Comic View, such as Sommore, Mo'Nique, Rickey Smiley, and D.L. Hughley. Auditions continue at the restaurant Wednesday and Thursday, 7 p.m. For more information, call 816-743-0433.
Mayhem, a notorious Norwegian black-metal band, is far from your average Ozzfest outfit. Marilyn Manson might rip apart Bibles on stage, but Mayhem founder Euronymous led "The Black Circle," an anti-Christian organization that burned churches and desecrated graves. Euronymous was later stabbed to death by a member of a rival band, the second tragedy to befall the initial incarnation of Mayhem (vocalist Dead committed suicide in 1991). Lawrence's churches need not hire off-duty firefighters to stand guard when Mayhem descends on The Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire), but ears might start burning if those who attend aren't prepared for some of the most extreme sounds in existence. Hate Eternal and Exhumed open the frightful festivities beginning around 10 p.m. For more information, call 785-851-LIVE. FrankenClownPolaroid moment