Nothing says "Kansas City" like the smell of barbecue wafting over the West Bottoms. This weekend the country's barbecue masters convene at Kemper Arena to compete in the great smoke fest known as the American Royal Barbecue. New features this year include an expanded Barbecue Exposition with more food, beverages, and barbecue paraphernalia and a $25,000 fireworks display tonight. To help alleviate the massive congestion that had cops turning away hungry fans by the carload last year, the festival has partnered with KC-ATA to offer three "party shuttle" routes to the festivities: one from downtown KCK, one from downtown KCMO, and one from Crown Center. For details, call the Royal at 816-221-9800.
People who think the third annual Harley-Davidson Open House at our hometown hog factory is just about the bikes should think again: In addition to tours of the plant, appearances by the Ararat Motor Corps (Shriners on white Harleys whose "wheels turn to help crippled children walk"), and a bike show, there's a royal court and African, Native American, and Brazilian dance demonstrations, with proceeds donated to the MDA. It all starts at 10 a.m. at Harley-Davidson's KC manufacturing facility, 1140 N. Congress Avenue, and culminates tomorrow night in a drawing for an 2000 custom Sportster. For information, call 816-270-8660.
The Kansas City Artists Coalition (KCAC) gives area art enthusiasts a chance to see more than 200 artists in their natural habitat this weekend and next in an Open Studio event. Artists all over the metro open their studios to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow to showcase their work and share their techniques. A comprehensive guide to the event is on sale at Barnes & Noble, Borders Book Stores, the KCAC, the Kemper, the Nelson, and Rainy Day Books. Call the coalition at 816-421-5222 for more information.
Hair, as any stylist will tell you, is an important part of cultural expression all over the world. So as part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's African Style and Fashion Lecture series, Nii Quarcoopome, curator of African art at the Newark Museum, discusses African hairstyles and the fanciful barbershop signs of Ghana during the lecture "The 'Cut' of Stardom: Youth Identities and Hairstyles in Urban Ghana." The lecture takes place at 2 p.m. today at 4524 Oak Street. For information, call the museum at 816-561-4000.
The Westport Presbyterian Church takes a filmic approach to religion and morality with the second in a monthly series featuring Krzysztof Kieslowki's 10-part The Decalogue, an allegory of the 10 commandments that was originally shown on Polish television more than 10 years ago. Beginning tonight at 8 at 201 Westport Road, this month's hourlong dramatic installment, You Shall Not Take the Lord's Name in Vain, is followed by a discussion. Call 816-931-1032 for more information.
Kansas City artist Johnny Naugahyde returns to the art world this week with a window piece at Dolphin Gallery, 1901 Baltimore, titled Almost Haiku. After the gallery's visitors finish enjoying the piece -- which is Naugahyde's largest to date and incorporates five haiku poems -- they're treated to Lisa Grossman's landscapes, which reflect the grasslands, open sky, and expansive prairies of Kansas she envisions: free of such human constructions as electrical power lines and airliner contrails. The shows run through November 11; call 816-842-5877 for additional information.
Ya gotta love a band whose name is a reference to the Fauves, a group of artists that eschew art created within defined structures. Combining punk rock, art rock, and regular rock, these Rhode Island Institute of Design grads known as Les Savy Fav follow that edict skillfully and have just released an EP titled not Rome, but Rome written upside down. In their live show, these crazy kids are full of energy, prompting The Washington Post to comment, "The band falters when it attempts brooding tracks, but at full speed Les Savy Fav's music is a craggy treat." Catch them tonight at The Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-841-LIVE.
Who would have thought Robert Louis Stevenson's dark tale of love and power could become a popular musical? Only on Broadway, where spooky phantoms of the opera and split personalities enjoy belting out love songs, and Jekyll & Hyde is in its third year. The road show continues at the Music Hall through October 15. Tickets are available at the Kansas City Convention Center Box Office and Ticketmaster, or call 816-931-3330.