Friday, May 7
The People's Republic of Klezmerica, an acoustic klezmer septet from Columbia, fuses Jewish and hillbilly culture, which results in an interesting new take on old Yiddish standards and klezmer dance numbers. Today, we recommend a road trip to the Ragtag Cinemacafé (23 North 10th Street in Columbia), where the PRK will provide a soundtrack to the 1928 silent film Pass the Gravy. Aside from the combo's performance, the movie (starring Max Davidson) should be something to behold. Slapstick abounds in the story of a neighborly feud, an engagement party and a stolen rooster. The film screens at 8 p.m. For details, call 573-443-4359.
Saturday, May 8
A friend of ours recently referred to bluegrass music as "hippie speed metal." We were simply blown away by his hilarious definition of the genre. Bluegrassers and thrashers need not be offended by the comparison. Bear with us as we belabor our friend's point. Both genres share driving tempos. Both put serious emphasis on fast fingers. Both have hordes of dedicated fans. Naysaying metalheads should check out the second night of Mandofest 2004 at Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence), where scores of madolinists -- including duo John Reischman and John Miller, Kory Willis and the Midday Ramblers, the Uptown Mandolin Quartet, Joe Pickett, Scott Tichenor and many others -- will shred their wee fretboards. Technical prowess on a massive scale comes in the form of the Mandofest Orchestra. The performance starts at 7 p.m.; tickets cost a measly $10. Call 785-749-1912 for information.
Sunday, May 9
Lucky for our moms, we have something real special planned for today. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Worlds of Fun (Interstate 435, Exit 54) lets mothers in free when they bring anyone who'll pay for a regular, single-day admission ($36.95). We're going to buy Mom a fancy new pair of denim shorts just for the occasion! And don't worry, Dad ... come June 20, we'll have worlds of fun all over again. Call 816-454-4545 for more information.
Monday, May 10
James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader (among other credits) is in town tonight to talk about, of all things, himself. We'd pay just about anything to hear Jones prank-call people in his Vader voice or to see him rehash his Thulsa Doom role from Conan the Barbarian. Jones has been in more than a hundred movies in forty years, but all we wanna hear about are his villain roles and, more specifically, what it was like working with the Governator. Chances are, though, he'll be talking about all his honors, like his Tony and his NAACP Award; or his more serious roles, like the one in Cry, the Beloved Country; or his stage career. Jones' appearance is part of the 2004 Gala fund-raiser for the Missouri Repertory Theatre (4949 Cherry). Tickets cost $125. The show starts at 7 p.m. For reservations and details, call 816-235-5420.
Tuesday, May 11
We can't say we've ever been to an exhibit of blown-glass artwork, unless Seventh Heaven's paraphernalia room counts. And this one, appropriately enough, is titled Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned. The artist, Licha Ochoa Nicholson, sounds like our kind of girl. Originally from Kansas City, she now resides in Washington state, where she creates blown, slumped, fused and molded glassworks that have made their way into national galleries and art magazines. This is the first solo show for Nicholson, who has often exhibited at the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery (919 West 17th Street), which supports emerging and established Latino artists, arts and cultures. There's an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 7, but if crowds aren't your thing, check out the gallery on a quiet Tuesday, when it's open from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-221-2349.
Wednesday May, 12
Sometimes the day that tickets go on sale can be just as exciting as the day of the show itself. Remember when tickets for the Beck and Flaming Lips show went on sale a couple of years ago? Oh, man, did everybody go apeshit or what? Well, everybody except people who had already maxed out their credit cards. That shouldn't be a problem today, though, when reserved seats for former President Bill Clinton's delivery of the inaugural Robert J. Dole Lecture go up for grabs. Notice we said reserved seats and not tickets. That's right: It's free! Bob Dole himself invited Clinton to give the address. We're happy to hear that the two former rivals are on friendly terms. The lecture is at 2:15 p.m. Friday, May 21, at the University of Kansas' Lied Center (1600 Stewart Drive in Lawrence). The free tickets are available starting at 11 a.m. today at the Lied Center box office or by calling 785-864-2787. (There's a two-ticket-a-person limit.)