Tonight is the Million Monkey Poetry Reading at the Apehouse, 517 East 18th Street. In addition to the lineup of poets -- both local and national writers are participating -- the country band Lovelorn provides live entertainment. The band is an appropriate one for a poetry reading, even if the culture surrounding country music seems contrary to the stereotypical wine-sipping, beret-wearing poets' scene. Lovelorn's between-song banter is intelligent and cleverly phrased, and songwriters deserve poetic recognition regardless of whether they prefer cowboy hats to berets. Judith Towse-Roberts, Tara Blaine, Kamilah Aisha Moon and Carl McCoy read from their recent writings beginning at 8, and the music follows. The atmosphere, like the venue, is low-key. For more information, call 816-471-2737.
We thought the mystery meat in school cafeterias was scary enough on its own, but The Haunted Schoolhouse at Ward Parkway Shopping Center, 8600 Ward Parkway, puts a witch in charge of the cafeteria line. She replaces the standard harmless lunch lady, who might frighten kids with her neon-yellow gravy, but at least takes offense at the suggestion that it's anything but gravy. The Haunted Schoolhouse is spooky, planners note, but not terrifying, and actors modify the show according to the temperament of their young visitors. The Haunted Schoolhouse is up and running from noon to 9 p.m. and costs $4 a person. For more information, call 816-837-9033.
People in Kansas City have been expressing their views on what to do in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Demonstrators will gather today at J.C. Nichols Fountain at 47th and Main for a peace rally they're calling Not In Our Name, indicating that whatever military retaliation our government takes is not necessarily desired by all the country's inhabitants. (Demonstrators are not the only ones who are tired of people doing things in their name; according to The Onion, God appeared at a recent press conference to clarify his stance against killing people. "Maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," the almighty reportedly said before reiterating "thou shalt not kill.") They'll also be celebrating plurality, using flags from some of the other nations that lost citizens in the attacks -- in addition to American flags. Meeting time is 1 p.m. For more information, call 816-931-5256.
Kansas Citians frequently refer to their homebase as a "cowtown" (as do our neighbors on the coasts, with some added scorn in the pronunciation). If it's an apt description, San Francisco's Swingin' Utters should feel right at home tonight. But even if this five-piece band sported a name without misspelled bovine overtones, its meat-and-potatoes songs would provide a good fit for the area's musical appetite. With Johnny Bonnel's gruff vocals adding beefy heft to the group's short, catchy tunes, the Utters graze on a variety of rock-based styles. For dessert, the group covers "Eddie's Teddy," Meatloaf's ditty from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Regional standouts Kosher and The Roustabouts will milk bursting Utters fans for applause at El Torreon, 3101 Gillham Plaza. For more information, call 816-419-7278.
While sensitive sorts struggle to be appropriate in the wake of the September 11 attacks, heavy metal forges ahead on tours stamped with unapologetically violent names. Less than a week after the Road Rage tour came to town, Memorial Hall hosts "Music As A Weapon," featuring Disturbed, Drowning Pool (whose hit "Bodies" was recently erased from playlists and dumped as a pro-wrestling theme song due to its now unseemly chorus Let the bodies hit the floor), Stereomud, Adema and Systematic. According to a late-August statement from Disturbed's David Draiman, "Music As A Weapon" refers to hard rock's "war" against "sugar-coated, nonsensical boy-girl pop." Perhaps the group has called a truce with Britney and Justin given the current push toward unity, but Disturbed hasn't shelved its reportedly shocking multimedia intro that Draiman describes as "the ultimate statement on how the world deals with people who don't fit in." Provided that the groups can steer their "Weapon" through heightened security, this show, at Memorial Hall, 600 North 7th Street, starts at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 931-3330.
Ever since the gallery openings in early September, people have been talking about the exhibit at the Society of Contemporary Photography, 2012 Baltimore. That's because the light boxes with moving photographs in New York artist Ted Victoria's Is Anyone Home? are aesthetically pleasing, wonderfully fascinating and head-scratchingly confusing. Objects inside the light boxes appear to be moving because of the combined efforts of a camera obscura, mirrors and mechanical devices. The glowing projections tend to be mostly still, with one isolated frame of motion (often a television screen) or object in motion (in the image titled Still Alive, it's a lobster). In "Watching Television on LSD," the back of a couch in the foreground indicates a cozy interior, while the TV in the background plays reels of Fox 4 News -- except the two-dimensional screen depicted appears distorted, as an image on a hologram might. In "Watching Television on LSD II," the main difference is that we seem to have upped the dosage of drugs, since the figures on the screen are now just moving outlines of people, and most of what we see is trippy static. Inspired by the way mass media bombards us with visual stimuli, Victoria says, "You might pass through images that are tragic and horrible, only to find yourself in the next second in the middle of a mindless sitcom. My work has that versatility about it." The show ends next week, and today's hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-471-2115.