Friday, July 2
Organizers of Crown Center's six-week Free Friday Night Flicks (2450 Grand) series encouraged moviegoers to "bring blankets or lawn chairs, sit under the stars and enjoy some of the greatest movies of all time," which got us really excited. But when we discovered that by "greatest movies of all time," they meant "hugely unrealistic blockbusters starring Will Smith," we were a little ... um ... less excited. But still -- free! Gets us every time! And in the weeks to come, they'll screen classics such as Casablanca and Rear Window. The first movie in the series, Independence Day, starts at 9:15 tonight on a huge screen set up near the Crown Center Pavilion. For more information, call 816-274-8444 or see www.crowncenter.com.
Saturday, July 3
As if to remind people that Spider-Man was spinning webs in a comic book before he matured into a movie franchise, publishers and stores around the country are banding together like the Justice League to sponsor Free Comic Book Day 2004. Pretty much every comics store in the metro (convenience stores with spinner racks not included) will hand out stacks of special editions of more than thirty titles today. The following comic book outlets host local artists such as Rudy Garcia, Steve Daniels and Travis Fox, who'll sign their work and hand out freebies: A to Z Comics (1300 West 40 Highway, 816-224-0505), Elite Comics (11828 Quivira Road in Overland Park, 913-345-9910) and Pop Culture Comics (9337 West 87th Street in Overland Park, 913-341-0040). For a list of other participating stores, see www.freecomicbookday.com.
Sunday, July 4
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark pioneered a path to the Pacific Ocean so that, 200 years later, they could be duly celebrated in everything from books and documentaries to bug-spray ads. This weekend, the Midwest goes apeshit for Lewis and Clark. The bulk of A Journey Fourth's events are taking place in Atchison, Kansas, but there's plenty to do down by the river at Berkley Park (Lydia Avenue at East Front Street). We're talking about a noon cannon salute. A whiskey toast to the nation at 9 p.m. A "multivoiced reading" of the Declaration of Independence. And, strangely, the "Lewis and Clark Laser Show" at 9:40 p.m. We're sure the great explorers would swell with pride at the notion of a custom-designed light show in their honor. Call 800-858-1749 for more details on these free events.
Monday, July 5
In an exciting confluence of underground activity, Jilly's on Broadway (1744 Broadway, 816-221-4977) brings together local beat makers, rhyme sayers and independent filmmakers for a special First Monday happening tonight. And from now on, Jilly's and the Consolidated Beat Institute present Think Tank Mondays, inviting all beat producers, MCs and DJs to bring their beat machines, rhythm files and rhymes to the bar for an open session. Tonight the Institute has invited the Independent Film Coalition to bring its movies. The music starts around 4:30 p.m., and the local films roll after dark, with the beats creeping in again between films.
Tuesday, July 6
Any true fashionista knows you can pull off any outfit if you're stylishly accessorized. Wear black every day of your life, if you like -- but for the love of god, at least pair it with a fabulous bag and shoes. Unfortunate souls who need help understanding these basic concepts can learn from the past what worked ... and what failed miserably. The exhibit 150 Years of Fashion Accessories opens today at the Watkins Community Museum of History (1047 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence). The show highlights men's and women's accessories, including hats, scarves, belts and gloves. And if some lovely 1920s cloche turns up missing, we swear it wasn't us. Well, OK, it was -- but we were just borrowing it. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 785-841-4109 or see www.watkinsmuseum.org.
Wednesday, July 7
OK, so we wouldn't normally want to attend a meeting of a club to which we don't belong. Even if everyone is supernice and they have great refreshments, we still might feel a little out of place. But tonight the Independent Filmmakers Coalition extends an open invitation to its weekly 7:30 p.m. gathering at the Westport Coffee House (4010 Pennsylvania). They're going to be talking about the second annual Every Picture Tells a Story competition, in which filmmakers find a piece of art, film it and reveal the story behind it. Especially encouraged to attend tonight's meeting are artists with samples of their work. Last year's event produced 27 short films -- and apparently some interesting alliances between filmmakers and artists. This is where we get involved. Seeing as how we are, sadly, neither auteur nor artiste, we're crashing the party to find the attractive attendees. We'll figure out which side they're on -- we're very sneaky -- and pretend to be the piece they've been missing in their quest for cinematic brilliance. For more information, call 816-753-7243.