Earlier this month the city of Galveston, Texas, commemorated the 100-year anniversary of a hurricane known only as The Great Storm (the weather service didn't name hurricanes in 1900). It killed an estimated 6,000 people (one-sixth of the city's population) and destroyed virtually all of Galveston, which at that time was a thriving seaport second only to New York. Erik Larson, a contributing editor of Newsweek, chronicled the monster gale's devastation in Isaac's Storm. The compelling story features an arrogant U.S. Weather Bureau that believed Galveston to be out of harm's way and shows how society's foolish belief that science could save it from nature led to the worst natural disaster in American history. Larson's book recently came out in paperback; he makes a tour stop today at Prairie Village, Kansas' Village Church, 6641 Village Road. Admission is free; complimentary tickets are available at Rainy Day Books, 2706 W. 53rd St. For information, call 913-384-3126.
In a salute to all those women who bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, the Kansas City council and the Missouri Senate and House have deemed today American Business Women's Day. To celebrate, the American Business Women's Association is hosting a special luncheon from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Fairmont Hotel, 401 Ward Parkway. The program involves a panel discussion on that age-old topic of how successful working women balance both their personal and career needs. Panelists sharing their stories include two television news directors, a medical professional, a public television executive, and the executive director of the 18th & Vine Authority. It's $29 to eat and greet; for reservations, contact Renee Street at 816-361-6621 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No, the People's Republic of Lawrence isn't completely rejecting the American economic system. It is, however, distributing REAL (Real Economic Alternatives in Lawrence) Dollars. The town's new local currency works like federal notes but is intended for use specifically in Lawrence as a means of increasing support of local businesses; the Lawrence Trade Organization's REAL Dollars Kick-Off is today at Buford M. Watson park, 6th and Kentucky. Representatives from the LTO will be at the festival exchanging new $3 William S. Burroughs bills for federal notes all day, and LTO members will sell their wares for the new currency. Live entertainment includes various "roving oddities," 250 marching bands from all over the state, and music from the likes of Fear & Whiskey, The Talia Morales Jazz Combo, and Starbrow Configuration. For details call 785-841-8796 or log on to lto.lawrence.ks.us.
El Torreon has endured plenty of hard-skanking and frenzied slampits, but is the venerable all-ages venue ready for some Insane Clown Posse-loving Juggalos? Kansas City will find out Saturday night, when Faygo-spraying, serial-killer-rhyme-saying Insane Clown Posse protégé band Twiztid arrives to inflict its spirited renditions of "Diemuthafuckadie," "Meat Cleaver," and "Rock the Dead." Expect a few shocking sights when Jamie Madrox and the Monoxide Child dip into their sick bag of tricks for the amusement of the face-painted faithful. For more information, call 816-419-7278.
While 230 artists invade the Country Club Plaza for this weekend's annual Plaza Art Fair, PeaceWorks, a local group that advocates the use of nonmilitary solutions to world problems, is moving its UnPlaza Art Fair from Brookside to a more high-profile location on the lawn of the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church at 4501 Walnut. More than 30 artists will display their works of pottery, sculpture, painting, jewelry, mixed media, and other creative forms Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and today (1 to 6 p.m.). For details, call 816-561-1181.
Kansas City's last remaining 19th century performance space, the Folly Theater, is 100 years old today. After an extensive renovation that included a lobby expansion, restroom additions, decorative paint treatment highlighting the theater's ornate plasterwork, and new red chenille upholstery and matching curtains, it's time for a birthday celebration. There's no need for gala guests to bring gifts, but tickets cost $125 and include parking, hors d'oeuvres, a dessert and champagne reception, and a performance by actor/dancer/singer and all-around entertainer Gregory Hines. Call the Folly box office at 816-474-4444 for reservations.
When a young nun is charged with the murder of her infant, a former Catholic psychiatrist must determine whether she is mentally competent to stand trial. What unfolds is a tale full of shocking twists and turns that examines the relationship between psychiatry and religion. Minds Eye Theatre explores that fine line between faith and fanaticism with Agnes of God at the Westport Coffee House Theater, 4010 Pennsylvania. The performances run through October 1; for tickets, call 816-471-2915.
Sometimes it's hard to cope no matter how old -- or young -- you are. Theatre for Young America's Toughest Kid in the World dramatizes the adventures of TK, a modern youngster dealing with issues of anger and conflict by learning how to solve his problems without violence. Full of music and humor, the play is an entertaining lesson in how to hang in there. The play runs through September 29; call 913-831-2131 for details.
Dennis Oppenheim has graced Grand Arts, 1819 Grand Boulevard, with the first gallery exhibition of his newest work, Marriage Tree -- which consists of larger-than-life wedding-cake figurines morphed into one another, creating a treelike form -- as well as a new series of sculptures involving camping tents and spinning musical instruments. Kansas Citians also can experience Oppenheim's whimsy at the Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art, where Grand Arts has sited another new work, called Performance Piece -- a sculpture of a twisted chimney with trumpets protruding from its sides. The Grand Arts show runs through October 14. Call 816-421-6887 for information.