Although the play Bobbers, opening tonight at the Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central, is being put on by Big Itch Productions, it's still kind of insulting to bring hygiene products and itch-relief powders and lotions to cast members. It's just a name, after all, and nobody likes to be thought of as the type who itches, which is why proper decorum dictates that scratching take place privately. Not that this drama with comedic overtones is either proper or bashful. In fact, Big Itch Productions describes the subject matter of the play as "a DJ, abuse, self-centeredness, big butts and acceptance." Considering that proper decorum also dictates that big butts remain private if not concealed by slimming pants and/or control tops, maybe we ought to retract our advice to leave the anti-itch powder at home. This play contains adult material. Performers start scratching at 8 p.m.; tickets to watch cost $12. For more information, call 816-561-9862.
It's Bloomsday, the day James Joyce set Leopold Bloom on his somewhat debauched odyssey around Dublin in the epic novel Ulysses. Yes, people celebrate this kind of holiday. Why? Because some books deserve special treatment. The literary world is, alas, not democratic, and as fate (and authorial ability) would have it, all books are not created equal. A marathon reading of Ulysses begins at Bloomsday Books, 301 E. 55th Street, at 9 a.m. and continues nonstop until Leopold's wife, Molly -- who spends the whole last chapter of the book thinking one long, scattered, unpunctuated thought while lying beside her husband in bed -- utters her final "... and yes I said Yes I will yes ..." at around noon tomorrow. Although interpretation of Ulysses is hard to grasp, the beauty of the language and the pleasure that can be derived from hearing it is not. Even if finding the logic that ties one passage to another takes work, each phrase has the music to play itself between listeners' ears, and readers practically experience the scenes the characters encounter because of Joyce's uncommonly sensory strings of words. For bibliophiles who have been intimidated by the reputation that Ulysses has for being a dense and difficult work, it's worth remembering that Joyce was actually rewriting Homer's Odyssey for common people's enjoyment by likening Ulysses' experiences to their own. This Bloomsday celebration could be a good way to enjoy Joyce's common epic on its most basic level. And for once, those who would rather read till the crack of dawn instead of dancing and drinking their weekends away can stay out all night like the rest of them. For more information, call 816-523-6712.
Today there is a potluck party at 7 p.m. at The Kelvin Gallery (formerly The Fahrenheit, which makes us wonder when the name will change again -- to The Celsius), 1317 Union, at TIME. This could be a great way to either spend Father's Day a little differently or go about your Sunday as though it were not Father's Day at all. The details of the celebration are not specified; they are, rather, filled with mystery and intrigue. Even the event fliers reduce all description to carefully sketched hieroglyphics depicting a cooking pot next to a horseshoe to spell out "pot-luck" with the following advisory below: "Don't show up if you don't want to have a good time." For more information, call 816-721-5121.
The Halfway to Hollywood Film Festival includes more than fifty films that are being shown at three theaters in the Kansas City area. It's impossible to tell you about all of them, but we do want to acknowledge that some very exciting events are part of this festival; calling 913-262-0701 or going to halfway2hollywood.com for a schedule might not be a bad idea. That said, one of today's installments, part of the sci-fi series called the 19(51) FilmFest, which includes only science fiction movies from the year 1951, is the story of four men and a woman who happen to land on Mars while engaging in a little innocent outer-space travel, only to discover that the pesky Martians are planning to attack Earth. Although the movie comes to something of a resolution, it seems that in the world of movies, the Martians finally do a pretty decent job of it by the time the 1990s roll around with Tim Burton's stellar B-movie Mars Attacks. We can't say they didn't try to warn us in 1951. Unfortunately, we didn't listen, which is why Burton put us through seeing Sarah Jessica Parker's head on a yippy dog's body about 45 years later. The cinematically prophetic movie starts at the Englewood, 10917 E. Winner Road in Independence, at 7 p.m. For more information, call 816-252-2463.
It's the second day of a children's camp, cosponsored by Gorilla Theatre and Theatre of the Imagination, called the Harry Potter Drama Camp. It may be too late at this point to prevent the knee-jerk reaction of dismissing this information based on the fact that many of us are sick and tired of hearing praise of Harry Potter, as though he starred in the first good children's book ever. But this camp is actually pretty innovative, preparing children to perform a spoof of the series in late July. The camp meets at the Kansas City Academy, 7933 Main, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 816-561-ARTS.
Panda bears are cute. We don't get to see them much around here, but the Sprint IMAX Theatre, 6800 Zoo Drive, is more than making up for it by presenting China: The Panda Adventure on such a big screen that Kansas City viewers will see more panda than they ever thought possible in one sitting. This is the true story of a woman who followed her husband's dream to bring a Chinese panda to the United States so Americans could discover its gentle nature after her husband was killed in the wilderness. Tickets cost $6. For more information and show times, call 816-513-IMAX.