Week of May 31, 2001

Night & Day Events 

Week of May 31, 2001

31 Thursday
Americans are going nuts for Japanese toys. Angelic Hello Kitty products can be as intimate as toilet paper dispensers, practical as cell phone carriers and catty as friend books that help clique members label all acquaintances correctly. But it's sometimes helpful to remember that Japan is not only the birthplace of all that is cute and cartoonish; it is also a spiritual place, where gardens, temples and shrines stand testament to the fact that although spirituality can't be as easily packaged for foreign sale as Hello Kitty nail polish, it is a major part of Japanese culture. The Spencer Museum, 1301 Mississippi in Lawrence, just added a Japanese Buddhist painting depicting Kannon, who represents compassion, to its collection. The painting is a hanging scroll done in ink, colors and gold leaf on silk. For more information, call 785-864-4710.

1 Friday
Tonight is Kiki's Bon Ton Maison's Crawfish Fiesta in the City Market at Fifth and Walnut. Some people have a seafood prejudice, but just because you got crabs before doesn't mean you should shy away from fun summer night adventures. Besides, chef Kiki Lucente wants to give you crawfish, not crabs. The party starts at 6 p.m.; admission is $5. For more information, call 816-931-9417.

2 Saturday
The 100 block of 18th Street (between Wyandotte and Baltimore) is dotted with shops and hangouts that constitute a grassroots attempt to bring basic neighborhood comforts to downtown Kansas City: coffee, food, more coffee, an art gallery and the obvious: wigs. The creativity that buzzes on that block makes its presence known today at the Crossroads Fashion Show and Sidewalk Bazaar, touted as a day-long celebration of wearable art. This festival of artful self-decoration is a chance for people who like to make an art of their wardrobes to show off the styles they've developed while their peers were running back and forth between the Gap and Banana Republic. The day's events begin at noon, with a sidewalk fair, a children's activity table hosted by Mattie Rhodes Art Center and outdoor grilling by YJ's Snack Bar. A fashion show starts at 7 p.m. Although there's no runway per se, music by Brian Hicks' Grande Enfant Ensemble and the electronic ambience of T.J. Dovebelly should make for a sexy show. For more information, call 816-472-5533.

When Big Jeter performs, it's obvious that band members are in it to have fun. This group has put out speculums while performing at Muddy's on Main Street, dressed in striped pajamas and let wind-up toys run amok at The Pub, sported dalmatian cloaks at the Klammies Showcase and sung Serge Gainsbourg songs in questionable French while wearing berets. Any group that can repeatedly and enthusiastically belt out "Harley David Son-of-a-Bitch!" wins a vote of confidence from an entertainment standpoint. But now, Big Jeter, the band's leader, is out to prove something other than his ability to entertain: He wants to show his fans how manly he can be. At midnight at the Fine Arts Theatre, 5909 Johnson Drive, The Big Jeter A/V Club will view what Big Jeter calls "the manliest and most manly film of 1961." The film will be preceded by the cartoon The Mighty Hercules and a muscular "he-song." For more information, call 913-262-4466.

3 Sunday
During Culture Under Fire, David Ollington made the most of Big Bang Buffet's uncensored night of performance art when, during a one-man ballet dance, he stripped down completely. If that performance were any indication, Resistance, the play that he wrote and stars in tonight at the Westport Coffee House Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania, should be pretty risqué. Although the topic is serious -- the play deals with one man's physical and emotional breakdown at the hands of military interrogators -- the show is being promoted as a homoerotic theatrical work, so maybe what happens to this man in the hands of other men isn't all bad. The show starts at 8 p.m., and admission costs $8. For more information, call 816-756-3222.

4 Monday
Summer is here, and the annual Heart of America Shakespeare Festival soon will be upon us. Ian Wooldridge, who's coming to Kansas City from Britain to direct The Tempest, will speak with Kansas City Shakespeare buffs about the challenges of staging this play, letting audience members in on the thought process behind his directorial decisions, especially in scenes that involve magic. (It was good and well for the bard to write magic into his plays, but how he expected people to bring these magical scenes to life in performance is another matter altogether.) In the meantime, The Tempest is a dark story; rereading it and attending this lecture before deciding to take the kids to the park to see it might not be a bad idea. Wooldridge gives his Director's Briefing at the Plaza Library, 4801 Main, at 7 p.m. For more information, call 816-822-2222.

5 Tuesday
Bayou legend states that looking into the eyes of a white alligator brings good luck. However, according to the first visitors to see the white alligators at the zoo, 6700 Zoo Drive, these so-called Ghosts of the Bayou don't do much and actually look dead, which makes them quite ghastly indeed. Their natural habitat is, of course, nowhere near here -- they're natives of the southeastern United States -- but they can't survive in their natural habitat because of their tendency to get fatal sunburns as well as their inability to hide from predators. So people who stay away from the zoo because it saddens them to see animals in captivity can observe the white alligators free of guilt. For more information, call 816-513-5700.

6 Wednesday
Memento is a movie that makes people think. Especially about where their waitresses have taken their beers on the way to the table. While some critics have reacted to the movie with snide remarks about the gimmick of moving backward in time, there is substance behind the trick, and anyone who doubts that should sit in on the Fine Arts Film Discussion Group, meeting tonight at 7 at Wild Oats Market, 5101 Johnson Drive. Despite the film's rich commentary on self-deception, the ability of discipline to triumph over weaknesses and the subjectivity of memory, a lot of people think that just because the movie happens to look incredible and use an unconventional structure, it's nothing but a smooth veneer. But hey, there's nothing like an angry mob of devil's advocates to change a person's mind. For more information, call 913-262-4466.

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