We'll admit it: Country music tries our patience like a cheating lover or an empty bottle. Instead of played-out themes and predictable song structures, we'd rather listen to fingernails on the hood of a pickup truck. That said, we're cool with Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics. Dickerson mines his brand of music from the Western swing and honky-tonk veins, but because he borrows from other genres, it's palatable enough for twang-sensitive ears. As evidenced on 2003's In 3-Dimensions! and Mister Entertainment, Dickerson and company saddle up to honky-tonk ("You've Been Honky Tonkin'") as well as rock ("Switchblade Stomp"), and they do it with a sense of humor ("I Love Rock and Bowl"). Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics play the Grand Emporium (3832 Main) tonight at 8:30 with the Silverman. Tickets at the door cost $7. For details, call 816-531-7557.
Friday, April 23
Students at the University of Kansas may want to avoid the Capsules' performance at the Kansas Union (1301 Jayhawk Boulevard in Lawrence) at high noon today. The Capsules' hypnotic lullabies can't possibly be conducive to lecture halls or computer labs. On the other hand, the Tunes at Noon show is sponsored by the university, which knows what's best for its students. Besides, the show's free for everyone, student or not, and the union has many caffeine outlets. For details, call 785-864-7469.
Saturday, April 24
Here's some timely advice for home-renting gardeners to consider: Don't piss off the landlord. Keep those rent checks flowing, lest he or she vengefully uproot the plot of fragrant herbs and flowers. Unfortunately for us, we speak from experience. Maybe it was the tree swing, which allowed our roommates and friends to sail from the roof out over passing traffic, that pissed him off. It could have been the dog, which was not allowed on the lease, that raised his ire. Perhaps it was the rusted station wagon that sat in the yard, covered with colorful spray-painted phrases such as "Mexico or Bust," that compelled him to send a crew of laborers to destroy our would-have-been-lovely garden. We were looking forward to fresh cilantro on our burritos that summer -- alas, the landlord killed that dream. So we recommend clearing things up with the land-owning nobles, er, landlords before stocking up at the Annual Spring Herb and Wildflower Sale at 9 a.m. at the John Wornall House Museum (6115 Wornall). Don't know if basil needs sun or shade? Expert gardeners are on hand to answer any questions. For details, call 816-444-1858.
Sunday, April 25
We're not sure if we really get what newEar is all about. Specifically, why does the contemporary chamber orchestra capitalize the second E in its name but not the N? It just doesn't make sense. On the other hand, we've heard some good things about the group, and our interest has been piqued. Perhaps it's less cryptic in the flesh. NewEar presents Exotica, which it promises will be "strikingly and excitingly unusual," at 5 p.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church (1307 Holmes). A preconcert talk with the composers begins 45 minutes before the concert. Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 in advance and $8 for students with valid ID; call 816-235-6222.
Monday, April 26
We know a guy who is rather fond of seducing friends -- without letting the friends in on the joke. We sort of think he should attend the Lyric Opera's 7:30 p.m. performance of Don Giovanni so that he might become aware of just what happens to his kind. Mozart's 1787 opera tells the titular playboy's story. When the father of one of his conquests attempts to intervene by proposing a duel, the father is killed. His death must be avenged -- of course; it's opera -- but not before the Don attempts to bed every lady in sight. In the end, the unrepentant rake spontaneously bursts into flames and is sucked into the depths of hell forever. Yep ... that sounds about right. The Lyric Theatre is at 1029 Central; single tickets are $10 to $62. Call 816-471-7344.
Tuesday, April 27
Love triangles, though miserable to experience, are delicious to watch. Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida depicts the messy goings-on among Aida, a Nubian princess stolen from her country; Amneris, an Egyptian princess; and Radames, the soldier they both love. Amneris and Radames are betrothed, but -- here comes the shocking part -- Radames has fallen in love with Aida. And guess what! He doesn't even know she's a princess. He thinks she's a mere slave girl. Will he honor his commitment to Amneris or follow his heart? Might they all be engulfed by those same tricky flames that got the Don (see Monday)? The drama begins at 8 p.m. at the Music Hall (301 West 13th Street). Tickets cost $42.50 to $51.50; call 816-513-5000.
Wednesday, April 28
If owls are so wise, why don't they chew their food properly? Consider Mr. Owl, who could get only three licks into a Tootsie Pop before chomping into it. Wise, maybe; patient, not. Owls don't really eat, or lick, Tootsie Pops, but they do eat their prey in a hurry. They don't have teeth, so they tear their meals apart and swallow the gristly chunks whole. Nice! Once they're finished digesting the meaty bits of their favorite small birds and mammals, the owls hack up the indigestible bones and feathers in a nice little pellet -- which people like Jane Hammerslough collect and dissect. Hell, she actually wrote a book called Owl Puke: Book & Owl Pellet, perhaps the first book in the world to come packaged with actual bird vomit. Hammerslough brings the barf to Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street) at 3:45 p.m. There, she discusses owls and their prey, demonstrates how to pick through the vomit, and answers audience questions. For details, call 913-384-3126.