If Shakespeare's Henry V had been set in the United States circa 1986, we think old Hal might have been a lot like Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink. In that version, the smart, popular, cool kid, unfortunately capable of the odd moral slip-up, redeems himself in time for prom (or the war with France) and becomes a hero. He gets the girl, and we're left humming the Psychedelic Furs for three days. But Pretty in Pink is on TBS eighteen times a day, and frankly, we're a little burned out. So instead we're checking out Blane McDonough's alter-ego in the University of Missouri-Kansas City's production of the original play. The director is Barry Kyle, UMKC's new professor of theater arts, whose humble background includes stints at the Royal Shakespeare Company and London's Globe Theatre. Tonight's show starts at 7 at UMKC's Spencer Theatre (4949 Cherry Street). Call 816-235-6222 for tickets or other show times.
Friday, April 9
Regardless of how old we are, we will always feel a certain affinity for Wonderland's Alice, from her big, floppy bow down to her shiny Mary Janes. And we take comfort in the fact that others in Kansas City are similarly enchanted with their childhood objects of affection. Take, for example, the Kemper Museum (4420 Warwick, 816-753-5784), where Amy Cutler's eponymous exhibition opens at 5:30 p.m. Cutler, whose work is part of the 2004 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, paints scenes that resemble storybook illustrations, though they're not meant to be literal translations of children's stories. Similarly, The Fairytale Project, the new show at the Fahrenheit Gallery (1717 West 9th Street, 816-304-5477), consists of work based on or inspired by the tales of those ultracreepy Brothers Grimm. Opening at 7 tonight, the group show focuses on fiction and folklore in a contemporary context. Unless someone shows up in a wolf costume, it should be a night of fantasy and fun.
Saturday, April 10
Back in the day, one of our friends ruled the schoolyard with breakdance moves that no other kid could match. Decades before You Got Served hit theaters, this guy was feeding the taste of defeat to his fellow students. It's all a blur of windmills and crazy pop-and-lock moves, but we're pretty sure this guy used to bring his own piece of cardboard to school to bust out on at recess. Then it all came crashing down one day when a new kid with new moves transferred to our school. That fateful day, the first recess was a tense one. The king of the yard employed his usual moves, only to be met with a mind-blowing array of fresh maneuvers. As if being beaten by the new kid wasn't enough, the deposed breakdance king received a literal slap across the face as the finale. To this day, our friend has never worn parachute pants again. Fortunately for the art of breaking, not all B-boys embarrass their competition into retirement. Proof of breakdancing's resilience is evident today at the Granada (1020 Massachusetts in Lawrence), where crews converge from all over the country to compete in the fourth Bulldog B-Boy Battle. The crews will be competing for more than $2,000 in cash prizes, so you know it's gonna be heated. Admission is $15, and the battle starts at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 11
It's Easter Sunday, and we recommend doing something appropriately sinful. What would Jesus do? He sure seemed to get a kick out of multiplying loaves of bread, so how about multiplying casino chips? For your sacrilegious pleasure, we recommend the Show Me Shootout, a no-limit Texas hold-'em poker tournament at the Ameristar Casino (3200 North Ameristar Drive, 816-414-7000). Today's tournament is a qualifying round for the December 12 finals. Registration ends half an hour before each round (opening rounds start at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.), and it only costs $165 to enter.
Monday, April 12
This Carlos Fuentes character is a big deal. Word has it that his much-anticipated appearance, which starts at 7 p.m., caused such a buzz that the venue had to be changed from UMKC's Pierson Auditorium to Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street), where the capacity is 1,200 -- twice that of Pierson. Fuentes is best-known for his award-winning novels, including the New York Times best seller The Old Gringo, which was made into a movie starring Jane Fonda and Gregory Peck. He's also an essayist, literary historian and the author of numerous screenplays, dramas and short stories. Plus, we saw his picture, and he's a handsome devil. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required (Central Ticket Office, 816-235-6222).
Tuesday, April 13
Kansas City has some beautiful neighborhoods that can't be fully appreciated from the inside of a car. To really take it all in, you have to get out and walk. That's the idea behind the Historic Kansas City Foundation's Heritage Hikes, which start today and reconvene the next two Tuesdays. Covering territory in three storied 'hoods -- the Scarritt Point Historic District (aka the Northeast), downtown and Hyde Park -- each hike highlights the architecture and history of that part of town. For $25, hike participants get a detailed brochure and three guided tours. The first hike meets at 9 a.m. in front of the Kansas City Museum, 3218 Gladstone Boulevard. For details, call 816-931-8448. Chances are you'll not only like the neighborhoods but also see some nice property for sale or rent.
Wednesday, April 14
Back in 1838, Rebecca Hawkins, a battered wife and mother of eight, hired her neighbor, Henry Garster, to murder her husband. Garster paid for the crime with his life 1839 -- his was the first legal hanging in Jackson County. What happened to Rebecca? Come to the Truman Memorial Building (416 West Maple, Independence) from noon to 1 p.m. today to find out. Local historian and writer Bill Bundschu discusses his new book and shares the true story of Williamson Hawkins' untimely demise in his free lecture "Abuse and Murder on the Frontier." Call 816-252-7454 for more information.