At 84th and Wornall, hidden in the most unlikely of strip malls, Inge's Lounge provides a haven for recluses hiding out away from home. The regulars won't bother you unless you bother them (although newcomers should be prepared to catch a few sidelong glances), and the scene is less pretentious than even the hardware stores in Westport. Four nights a week, keyboardist David McCubbin plays standards and customers' requests; he'll play tonight from 8:30 to 12:30. His repertoire is extensive, but customers would be ill-advised to shower him with requests for the newest, hippest songs -- the usual crowd isn't interested in that kind of thing, and territorialism is alive and well here. For more information, call 816-363-8722. For more of an anything-goes kind of lounge with live entertainment,
Although mead is a mysterious wine with obscure origins and continued debates regarding its age (it may have been drunk by ancient Greeks or born before the dawn of recorded history), it seems that mead is simple enough to brew, given a little patience. In fact, most mead drinkers brew their own stuff instead of consuming store-bought honey wine, which tends to be inferior or old (unlike grape wine, this stuff doesn't get better with age, which is why honey wine is rarely used for metaphors on birthday cards). "All you really need is a few pounds of good honey, a glass bottle, a really big pot, yeast and some cheap brewing supplies like gas locks and such," says one mead fiend. Still, there's a lot to be gained by attending this weekend's Mead Crafters Camp at Gaea Retreat Center in Tonganoxie, Kansas. While understanding the basics of mead brewing is simple, the history and ritual surrounding it is complex, and there are embellishments on the recipe that might be worth tasting before deciding which to try at home. In addition to workshops and sampling, there is likely to be an informal brewing competition. For more information (including times and directions) or to register, call 816-333-8308.
Tales of ecological responsibility aren't hard to come by, so maybe the idea of sitting through a children's performance called Whale of a Tale (in which a little beluga whale discovers the fragility of her underwater ecosystem) doesn't sound that exciting. But Stone Lion Puppet Theater's polished presentations use ornate, masterfully rendered puppets to transform the Fine Arts Theatre stage at 5909 Johnson Drive into an unfamiliar underwater world in which a creature called a narwhale lives, along with other fishlike creatures. The show starts at 1 p.m. For more information, call 816-235-6222.
As the summer months persist, people treat air-conditioned spaces like fallout shelters for waiting out the war -- who can blame people when they raise white flags and stay home until September? Sadly, this means that the galleries in the Crossroads District close their doors for the month of August, opting not to open new shows until prospective art strollers come back out. Downtown Neon isn't exactly an exception; as with neighboring galleries, this spunky space at 1919 Wyandotte is holding off on new shows until fall. But because owner Tom Cobain works in a studio attached to the gallery, he's always around and happy to let in curious passersby, even when the gallery technically is closed. Knock loudly -- torches, drills, metal and electrical equipment make some serious noise inside. For more information, call 816-472-1190.
Lately, the coolest things to be are the things that every thirteen-year-old once dreaded being called: four-eyed dorks, computer geeks and, as the name of the punk rock band playing tonight at El Torreon (31st and Gillham) indicates, Lower Class Brats. Awestruck fans have admiringly called them "snotty," and they describe themselves with such words as "perverted" and "scum." They play their music fast and loud, and while their lyrics are often insightful indictments of popular culture, they are also pretty difficult to decipher in the midst of guitars, drums, yelling and general brouhaha. But then, punk rock doesn't rank enunciation all that high in its efforts to gain street cred. The show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, call 816-419-7278.
There is no limit to the ways in which Kansas Citians can get bitten by bugs tonight. However, some approaches are more fun than others. One of the more enjoyable routes to take might be attending the Evening Tour of the Island Garden at Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. Highway 50 in Kingsville, Missouri. Although a sunset spent admiring a swampy water garden is likely to result in a good deal of itching and scratching, it is not often that garden lovers have the chance to see the garden after 6 p.m., which is the usual closing time. The light is better for photographing, and the evening sounds of bugs, though terrifying for some, are relaxing and melodic for others. An after-work trip to see the extensive selection of tropical and exotic plants that have been submerged in water or planted around the water's edge might be in order. The tour begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 816-697-2600.