Friday, August 27
Award-winning radio host Rachel Robson, who received top honors from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for her program Real Alternative Radio from 1997 to 2000, is back on the airwaves. Her new show, Politics with Rachel Robson, seeks to interview every major-party candidate running in the Kansas general election on November 2. The program debuted last Friday with What's the Matter with Kansas? author Thomas Frank and continues tonight from 7 to 8 on KJHK 90.7, the student radio station of the University of Kansas. Listeners can ask questions by calling 785-864-4044 or by posting them on the show's Web site, kjhkpolitics.blogspot.com. For more information, call the station's communication director, Michelle Domb, at 785-864-4745.
Saturday, August 28
We're a little skeptical about just how sexy a landlocked Days Inn Hotel can be. We have no doubt, however, that if anything could make it so, it's Tropicana, Kansas City's new Latin nightclub. Ladies' drink specials set the mood from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and DJ Pana and DJ Alberto steam up the club with danceable salsa and merengue staples as well as some lesser-known styles, including bachata (a Dominican dance similar to merengue) and reggaeton (urban-influenced Puerto Rican music). Right now, the club is open only on weekends. The hotel is located at 6101 East 87th Street; call 816-765-4331 for more information.
Sunday, August 29
The Playwrights Festival of Kansas City started Friday with a 3-day workshop led by Stuart Spencer, an instructor at New York University and Sarah Lawrence College who wrote The Playwright's Guidebook. Tonight at 7, after a small reception, Spencer hosts an open forum at the Just Off Broadway Theater (3051 Central), where attendees will be encouraged to ask any and all playwriting-related questions ... or questions regarding Spencer's personal life, such as "Have you ever had an affair with any of your students?" Tomorrow through Saturday, dramatic readings of plays by KC-based writers are at 7 p.m., followed by open discussions. But don't come looking for laughs; most of the entries this year are dramas. "I don't know that anyone's writing comedies anymore," says Adam Scarano, the festival's director. Scarano and his colleagues accepted about half of the submissions they received, resulting in a festival of six full-length plays (including Jim McElwain's Ring the Bells of Heaven and William Rogers' Broken Strings) and four shorts. For more information, call Scarano at 816-235-6088.
Monday, August 30
The latest pop-culture trend in creepy, costumed lifestyles has evolved from the clown obsession (such as the bizarro hip-hop movement known as krumping) to a proliferation of vampires. And we're not talking about the I'm-16-and-misunderstood Marilyn Manson cronies. The bloodsucking fascination must have started with this summer's Hugh Jackman blockbuster Van Helsing. But it's taken off: A Transylvanian musical is opening soon on Broadway, and Milla Jovovich is generating buzz with her shot-in-China flick Ultraviolet, about a late-21st-century subculture with a vampirelike disease. Kansas City goes for its own glass of blood at auditions for Steven Dietz's Dracula from 7:30 to 10 tonight and tomorrow night at the Alcott Performing Arts Center (180 South 18th Street in Kansas City, Kansas). Those trying out are expected to perform cold readings and possibly some improvisation. For more information, see www.wyandotteplayers.org.
Tuesday, August 31
Mexican-food connoisseurs and Will to Succeed do-gooders alike should check out the Will Shields' Mexican Cook-Off this evening at Canyon Café, 4620 Broadway. Kansas City burrito aficionados submitted recipes (sorry -- the deadline was August 25), which were judged by Canyon Café's executive chefs. Tonight the creators of the best dishes showcase their specialties for various prizes. We aren't sure why a Southwest Boulevard restaurant wasn't chosen to host the competition -- they seem a bit more authentic. Possibly it's because there wouldn't be enough room for all the special guests: the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders! Reservations aren't necessary but are recommended; a silent auction of Chiefs-related items is also scheduled. Proceeds benefit Will to Succeed, a foundation that helps battered women and children. For more information, call Laura Anderson at 816-561-6111.
Wednesday, September 1
Who says skaters are slackers? Blue Bus Boards, a locally owned skateboard company, is trying to help out the area scene by offering "I Love KC" decks (à la "I heart New York") for purchase. As Blue Bus cofounder Chad Doane explains to us, the skate ignorant: "The deck is cold-pressed, seven-ply maple, 31.25 inches by 7.625 inches and white-dipped." A portion of the sales proceeds from the $55 board goes to the construction and maintenance of public skateparks in the greater KC area. Such sentimentalists! For a list of local dealers and to view the decks, see www.bluebusskateboards.com; call Doane for more information at 913-481-4348. This Weeks Day-By-Day Picks