Week of October 14, 2004

Night & Day Events 

Week of October 14, 2004

Thursday, October 14
To some people, bluegrass is a form of music made by the relentless abuse of small, twangy, stringed instruments, and it conjures images of George Clooney and John Turturro running through a swamp. But to 1970 Southwest High School graduate Stephanie Ledgin, bluegrass is a way of life. For the past three decades, while Kansas City dreamed of jazz's long-gone glory days, Ledgin has been keeping America's other original art form alive, editing bluegrass journals, managing international artists, DJing in New York and organizing festivals. At 7 p.m. at the Town Center Plaza Barnes & Noble (4751 West 117th Street in Leawood), Ledgin discusses her recent book Homegrown Music: Discovering Bluegrass, which is sure to become the genre enthusiast's bible. Backing her up is area bluegrass -- sorry, bluerock -- band Spontaneous Combustion. Call 913-491-4399 for more information.

Friday, October 15
With ten new studios on the top floor, the creative community at the Hobbs Building (1427 West Ninth Street) now numbers 35 -- a virtual buffet of artists. Twenty-five of them open their doors to the public from 7 to 10 tonight, providing a bit of that voyeuristic vibe that resonates with most (all) of us. Call Erin Arnold at 816-842-2377 for more information.

Saturday, October 16
Far from being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, the mild-mannered artists who bring to life our favorite caped crusaders must actually work for a living. The ACTOR (A Commitment To Our Roots) fund is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping down-and-out comic-book artists (those who have been in the business for at least ten years, anyway). Starting at noon today at Pulp Fiction in Lee's Summit (298 Southwest Blue Parkway), ACTOR and local artists from the Comic Creator's Network host a 24-hour comic-book marathon. Each artist who participates creates a 24-page comic book, accepting per-page pledges to help keep the heroes behind the heroes from having to hang up their red capes. Call 816-554-7333 for more information.

Sunday, October 17
Casting directors for the 16th season of MTV's The Real World are at Tizer's (4050 Pennsylvania) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Fame seekers ages 18 to 24 looking to be the next incorrigible inmate on MTV's constantly regressing reality show should bring a recent picture of themselves (not to be returned) and a photo ID and be prepared to demonstrate superhuman irascibility and boorishness. Call 818-989-8287.

Monday, October 18
While Rainy Day Books keeps its out-of-town-author conveyor belt oiled and humming, Prospero's Books owner Will Leathem works hard to make Kansas City a launchpad for local writers. Since founding Unholy Day Press in 2003, Leathem has published and vigorously promoted five books by KC scribes. At 7 tonight at Prospero's (1800 West 39th Street, 816-531-9673), Leathem releases UDP's latest offering, Terra, a book of his own poems. Bob Walkenhorst provides music for the occasion, and George Detsio of the legendary bistro George's Cheese and Sausage Shop comes out of retirement to cater the event. So it's definitely worth stopping by, even if Leathem and his fellow poets can be a bit shrill at times -- particularly when they're promoting themselves with high claims of changing the world through countercultural effrontery. But we suppose that if one's goal is to awaken the mass-media-and-consumerism-numbed American mind to its full creative potential, well, one must occasionally holler to be heard.

Tuesday, October 19
To hell with the low-carb craze. Not even a spine-chilling midnight encounter with the ghost of Dr. Atkins himself, warning us to turn away from bread or be damned, could convince us that a freshly baked loaf, soft and steaming on the inside, its crust dusted with flour, is not the very food of the gods. In fact, we'd be willing to argue that it's not the overabundance but the absence of oven-fresh bread in people's lives that causes many of the world's problems. The folks at Vermont-based King Arthur Flour would certainly agree; they've been touting the power of bread for more than 200 years. Their traveling baking expert, Paula Gray, holds free breadmaking classes from noon to 2 p.m. (sweet dough) and 7 to 9 p.m. (artisan bread) at the Overland Park West Holiday Inn and Suites (8787 Reeder Road). Call 802-649-3881.

Tuesday, October 19
Milk has made a remarkably superficial transition through the years. It was previously marketed as a requirement for a healthy diet -- "does a body good," remember? Then there was the theory that if we drank it, we might become famous, our celebrity marked by a white mustache. But this latest trick is just too much. Now they're saying milk makes you skinny. Check the facts during Dairy Day at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame (630 Hall of Fame Drive, Bonner Springs; 913-721-1075). It's almost unbelievable what they have in store for lucky visitors, who can learn about the characteristics and anatomy of dairy cattle, then view demonstrations and milk a replica cow. We hope the combination of milk and all that excitement doesn't give us that gross, hot-foam feeling in our chest.

Wednesday, October 20
Perhaps because we grew up watching soap operas instead of, say, Sesame Street, we learned from a young age that masquerade balls are highly glamorous and exciting. Mysterious strangers are even more romantic when their faces are partly concealed, hiding any unattractive flaws. And we mean that in the least shallow way possible. The International Interior Design Association knows this -- it's hosting its eighth annual masquerade from 5 to 10 tonight at the Belger Arts Center (2100 Walnut). Blank cardboard masks distributed to KC designers and architects to embellish will be auctioned for the IIDA's scholarship fund. What started out as a handful of masks and about fifty supporters has grown to a fete worthy of Days of Our Lives. Tickets are $23 at the door; call Carrie Condry at 913-338-2300 for more information.

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