Of the rarities brought to Kansas City by the Nelson-Atkins Museum this season, even more foreign than the nuggets of gold in Gold of the Nomads: Scythian Treasures From Ancient Ukraine is the free and easy-to-use public transportation provided by the Shuttlecock Express. Regardless of how people might feel about the shuttlecocks themselves, the small buses running in their name offer round-trip transportation between the museum at 4525 Oak and Manor Square in Westport, 4050 Pennsylvania. So what if the shuttles make only two stops? Free, air-conditioned transportation between neighborhoods is nothing to belittle. The shuttles leave every ten to fifteen minutes, which beats the wait at Metro bus stops. It's a Friday, so the museum offers the live jazz of Skip Hawkins from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with dinner available at Rozelle Court. Since the museum's open until 9, it's also a good night to jump the Shuttlecock Express and hit the movies or dinner. For more information, call 816-751-1278.
It's already pretty hot these days, but here's one way to get warm and red-faced that's a guaranteed good time: The Great Stone Hill Grape Stomp at the Stone Hill Winery, 1110 Stone Hill Highway in Hermann, is three minutes straight of dancing atop grapes. If actually stomping sounds like a lot of work, just watching should prove entertaining, since costumed stompers compete to take home prizes for their grape-crushing style. If watching all of those feet touching the grapes makes you worry about the cleanliness of the wine, don't fret: The juice splattering around tonight won't be used for wine because the grapes at the winery aren't ready to be harvested. The stomping starts at 1 p.m. It costs $2 to watch and $3 to stomp. For more information, call 800-909-9463.
Tacking art to a wall isn't exactly protocol for artists who take their work on national exhibition tours. But then, neither is selecting independent record stores as display venues. Myke Adams has painted a series of gritty, colorful images on stretched canvas in response to an album called 1000 Hurts by the Chicago-based punk band Shellac. Adams has worked in Chicago's music industry for a long time, promoting punk bands and even playing in a few, and his painting -- firmly grounded in rhythm and inspired by emotion and lyrics -- reflects his musical impulses. For Adams, the 1000 Hurts album reflects the importance of not compromising, as well as longing and danger. And while he intends for the paintings to tell a story, that story isn't obvious. In fact, a lot of the works are more geometric than figurative, their richly colored line patterns imitating the deep, low drones that punctuate Shellac's pulsating sounds. The Death Over Love show is on display in Lawrence at Kief's record store, 823 Massachussetts; today is the final day to see it, and Adams is around to talk about either the music or the art. In addition, silk-screen designer Steve Walters has made a limited number of prints of Adams' paintings, which are sold exclusively at exhibitions. For more information, call 785-842-1544.
The Missouri State Fair has been known to confound and occasionally amuse families. It's traditionally ripe with sights such as the world's smallest horse (only about twelve inches tall) and a headless woman, who, conveniently, has a black sheet draped over her. This year's lineup includes the "death-defying aerial stunts" of the Flying Wallendas (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today) and shows by the Chain Saw Sculpting Robinsons, a family whose members are known for their ability to skillfully wield their titular sharp tools. Although the name might imply that the sculptures are actually made of chain saws -- possibly a more creative and unusual idea -- it turns out the Robinsons use chain saws to cut nature scenes into logs. Visitors can watch them work at 10 a.m., noon, 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., keeping arms and legs far from the work site of course. The Missouri State Fairgrounds is in Sedalia off of Highway 65 South. For more information and directions, call 800-422-3247.
Early in the gardening season, the community garden plots at 40th and Walnut (sponsored by St. Paul's Episcopal Church) were looking pretty barren. One plot was even a fire pit; the gardener working it had to dig up all the coals before beginning to plant. But a short two months later, the situation has reversed dramatically; the plots can barely contain the ambitiously planted crops, so green bean stalks and flowering vines are extending into walkways between plots, forming foreboding traps for idealistic organic gardeners. The harvest is looking plentiful, and the appetites of gardeners aren't big enough to handle it. Anyone with a green thumb twitching to be used for weeding, caging or watering is welcome to contribute to the effort. Kansas City Community Gardens staff members are on-site beginning at 6 p.m. today. For more information, call 816-931-2850.
The exhibition title for Built, Thrown and Blown sounds like a porn flick -- erotic and almost as racy as Beltway coverage. But unless we come clean and tell you that the display is an exhibition of new work by local consignment artists, we're leading you on. Topeka's Collective Art Gallery is showing the creations of eight artists, none of whom have any lewd tendencies to speak of. The trinkets, useful and decorative alike, were made using glass, clay and other materials (hence the easily misunderstood title). They are on view for observation, but are not to be touched; touching without permission is inappropriate. The gallery, open today from noon to 4, is located at 3121 Southwest Huntoon. For more information, call 785-234-4254.