Juan Williams brings National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation to Lawrence today to discuss "The Changing Face of American Justice." On the air, the NPR host has addressed topics ranging from the Elian Gonzales hearings to the recent elections. Now he has taken the show on the road, conducting radio town-hall meetings in front of live audiences to find out firsthand how Americans are dealing with social and cultural changes at the beginning of the 21st century. His next stop is Green Hall at the University of Kansas in Lawrence at 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 785-864-4531.
Dinosaurs, by Edward Mast and Lenore Bensinger, is a play for children in which dinosaurs are secretly still alive, hiding in underground caves. This plot is far-fetched, it's true, but maybe that prevents children from getting overly spooked by the oil company surveyors who disrupt these dinosaurs' lives and exploit their surroundings, all for the sake of a greasy buck. Moms and dads can tell the kids that everything's going to be all right, but when they turn on the evening news after the kids are in bed, talk of California blackouts and proposals to drill for more oil in Alaska might make them question their own comforting words. No, dinosaurs aren't real, but oil companies are. Dinosaurs will be performed at 7 p.m. at Crafton-Preyer Theatre, 421 Murphy Hall in Lawrence. For more information, call 785-864-3982.
For all those kids who have ever tried to spin basketballs on their index fingers and ended up with nothing to show for it but jammed knuckles, the Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town to celebrate their 75th anniversary. It's the chance to relive all those great memories of the Globetrotters' entertaining showmanship and athletic feats with the understanding that these are tricks audience members shouldn't try at home. The 'Trotters play at Kemper Arena, 1800 Genessee, at 1 p.m. For more information, call 816-513-4018.
Chinese New Year passed by fairly unceremoniously in Kansas City on January 24, as residents walked with surprising calm into the ferociously intense year of the snake. But that quiet period is over; Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill, 3906 Bell Street, has been bitten by the snake. The restaurant's Valentine's Party at 6 tonight also will be a celebration of Chinese New Year -- better late than never. This semiformal dinner event includes a five-course Chinese meal prepared by Genghis Khan master chef Tak Lam Wu. For once the thrill of going to the Mongolian Grill isn't the chance to make your own meal but the chance to have a master chef prepare something for you. Meanwhile, a band called Change Agent provides entertainment. Tickets cost $50, and proceeds go to River City Community Church, which hosts art and music events in addition to operating a food pantry. For more information, call 816-931-5546.
In case you missed last week's appearance by guitarist Eric Johnson and his band, Alien Love Child, on Austin City Limits, fear not -- the real thing is in town tonight, performing at the Beaumont Club, 4050 Pennsylvania. Johnson is one musician for whom the phrase "guitar legend" is not merely hyperbole spewed from the mouth of a fawning music critic. His credentials include winning Guitar Player's best overall guitarist award four years in a row before being inducted into the magazine's Gallery of Greats. Now he's touring in support of his latest effort, Live and Beyond, which consists of all-new material performed live -- kind of like tonight's show. For information, call 816-561-2668.
Tonight is the opening night of Stomp (see Music, page 55) at the Music Hall, 13th and Central. According to cofounder/director Luke Cresswell, Stomp performers "make a rhythm out of anything they can get their hands on that makes a sound." Audience members who hang out around the backstage door too long might want to hold on to their handbags, glasses and other valuable belongings extra tight to make sure they don't turn into percussive instruments against the sidewalk. And for anyone who's inclined to invite the performers over for dinner, they have a history with toilet plungers. For more information, call 816-931-3330.
It sounds like a joke, but it's not: Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th Street, is having a Valentine's Day Marriage Marathon. The Reverends Duke Tufty and Karyn Bradley hope to perform as many as 100 weddings and vow renewals to demonstrate the beauty of loving and being loved. However, it's up to the brides to show up with grooms and vice versa, as Unity Temple claims no responsibility for the difficult task of finding that person to love and be loved by for a lifetime -- today's divorce rates notwithstanding. Music and nuptials are provided free of charge; all couples have to do is step right up with a wedding license (fully dressed for the ceremony, of course) and make an appointment by the 12th. Couples who have been preparing for something like this have a chance at getting lucky and winning the title of first married in the marathon. Couples who are held back by arguments or general indifference to the event might want to consider waiting until next year, when they've had more time to get ready. For more information or to make an appointment, call 816-561-4466.