Friday, October 22
A self-storage facility in Topeka seems like an odd choice for a site-specific installation exhibit. But that didn't deter Hesse McGraw (director of the Paragraph Gallery) and Elwood LLC (the public-art collaborative of James Woodfill and El Dorado Inc.) from curating Moving In Moving Out, which houses works by Woodfill and fellow Kansas City-based artists Marcie Miller Gross, Jordan Nickel, Miles Neidinger and Mike Sinclair. McGraw tells us it's turned out to be a pretty amazing experience, in terms of the artists' responses to the site, reactions from the neighborhood and the larger issue of progressive development in blighted areas. Plus, he says, "The facility itself has already become a kind of ad hoc neighborhood hangout." The opening is from 6 to 10 tonight. For more information, call 816-444-4414, ext. 1.
Saturday, October 23
The 1992 Guinness Book of World Records named Vanna White the world's most frequent clapper, averaging 720 claps per episode of Wheel of Fortune, 28,000 claps a season and a career total of approximately 616,000 claps over the show's 22-year run. What's even more amazing is that she still looks good doing it in a sleeveless dress. Vanna, we applaud you. And maybe we'll get the chance to have this veritable trained seal of a game-show hostess put her hands together for us when the Wheel of Fortune audition team brings its Wheelmobile for contestant-search events from 1 to 5 p.m. at John Chezik Honda (9200 Northwest Prairie View Road). We'll play a simulated version of the popular game, win prizes and earn a chance to try out for the real deal when Vanna and Pat Sajak come to Kansas City to film the show in April 2005. See www.nbcactionnews.com for information on other area audition times and locations.
Sunday, October 24
There are actually some good things happening in Iraq. The stories told by the members of the American Friends Service Committee, which has sent teams to help Iraqis build nongovernmental organizations to provide for the needs of war-devastated communities, indicate that it's not the number of boots on the ground but the courageous efforts of civilians that hold the best hope for Iraq's future. Unfortunately, escalating violence has forced AFSC humanitarian workers Rick McDowell and Mary Trotochaud to come home after a year in Baghdad. Now they're on a speaking tour; "Challenging the Policy of War: The Human Cost" arrives in Kansas City at 6:30 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street), after a vigil and rally at 4 p.m. at the J.C. Nichols Fountain at 47th and Main. Call 816-931-5256 for details.
Monday, October 25
If you just can't score enough Bush-bashing in Kansas City, head to Columbia for A. Whitney Brown's George W. Bush Farewell Tour. Brown, whose writing and acting credits include Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and Al Franken's Air America radio program, is joined by Barry Crimmins, political satirist and author of Never Shake Hands With a War Criminal, and Warren Thomas, a Los Angeles comedian and writer. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Blue Note (17 North Ninth Street); $5 donations are suggested. Call 573-874-1944.
Tuesday, October 26
When it comes to the appreciation of poetry in American culture, we can't help but be cynical. For example, we'd guess that Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO is probably enjoyed more by the poets than by the viewing audience, who would probably rather watch James Gandolfini drool over Lorraine Bracco for the 12th time than see intelligent young wordsmiths spout truth to dope beats. We hope the American Jazz Museum's Jazz Poetry Jams from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Blue Room (1616 East 18th Street) gets the attention it deserves. Backed by a jazz combo, local poets shout in the spotlight, which also shines on open-mike contests. Jams continue on the third Tuesday of every month, starting in November. Call 816-474-8463 for more information.
Wednesday, October 27
In the days before the credit card, people actually had to live according to their means, which sometimes meant eating saltine crackers with ketchup for dinner instead of charging up a steaming plate of pad Thai, washing it down with a big-ass Sapporo, and consoling ourselves in our abiding poverty with a new pair of trainers. It's a simple enough concept: Buy now, pay later. But the downside is that it allows credit card companies to own us, body and soul. Debtors Anonymous, a 12-step program for people who struggle with compulsive charging and mounting debt, begins tonight at 5:30 at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). It's overwhelming to think about facing this issue, but then again, we don't really want to dye our hair, change our name to Raoul and flee to Buenos Aires. For more information, call Faith Brennan at 816-756-0791.
In keeping with the theme of bringing society's festering ills into the light, renowned speaker and author Jawanza Kunjufu discusses problems facing urban African-American communities today at Harvest Church (4300 North Corrington) at 1 and 7 p.m. Kunjufu, a former United Theological Seminary instructor and educational consultant who has written more than twenty books, addresses poverty, the dilemmas of single parenthood, drug use, crime and other things that make us want to holler. Call 816-455-7777 for more information.