Friday, November 12
Art criticism is well-represented on our perennial to-read list, right there between Thus Spake Zarathustra and Moby Dick, the first fifty pages of which, we won't lie, we'll never get past. However, whereas we'll get no assistance with either the übermensch or Captain Ahab, a few local theater professionals may help us play catch-up with our Kandinsky and de Kooning. At tonight's Reading Aloud at 6 and 7:30 in Gallery 207 of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak, 816-451-1278), local thespians Louis Colaianni, Sidonie Garrett and Barry Kyle read the letters, essays and other writings of 20th-century artists and critics to highlight the museum's current exhibit, Realism and Abstraction. The event is free, but perhaps if we tuck a few twenties in their pants, they'll act out the steamier scenes we've always heard about but never read in Tropic of Cancer.
Saturday, November 13
Ryan Adams has proven himself the singer-songwriter equivalent of a sociopathic ex-boyfriend, and Chris Carraba's hyper-sentimental yowling is about as sexy as the cries of a dying musk ox, so the lasses with the horn-rimmed glasses are no doubt looking for a new over-earnest, strapping young solo hunk to sweep them off their nondancing feet. Brian Deer, a tall, blond, honey-voiced tunesmith from Chicago, may be their man. "People can be emotionally rocked to the point that it's detrimental to their health," Deer says on his Web site. "It affects your physical well-being, and in a way it can be as painful as playing with guns." Now there's a man well-acquainted with passion and heartache, if not with firearms. Anyway, Deer is sure to sweeten the bitterest cup of dark roast when he plays the Westport Coffee House (4010 Pennsylvania) from 9 to midnight. Call 816-756-3221 for more information.
Sunday, November 14
New Letters on the Air, the FM companion to the University of Missouri-Kansas City's New Letters magazine, has been around since 1977. Assistant producer Dennis Conrow tells us that makes it public radio's longest-running literary program. Such esteemed guests as Howard Nemerov, Allen Ginsberg and Gwendolyn Brooks have graced the series, which continues to spotlight some of the most interesting writers around -- including poet Tim Seibles. A fan of pop culture (which makes us a fan of him), he uses widespread movements and trends to figure out what the fuck's going on with our civilization. On today's show, Seibles reads from his 1999 Hammerlock, which explores racism in America. New Letters on the Air airs every Sunday at 5 p.m. on KCUR 89.3. Call 816-235-1159 or see www.newletters.org for more information.
Monday, November 15
New York's spring fashion runways were all about sweetness and light -- simple makeup, feminine dresses and a resounding sense of, well, prettiness. But it's no fun to lack edge for an entire season, so to balance things out, we're taking inspiration from the film-noir goddesses -- we've always preferred our leading ladies as manipulative femmes fatales anyway. To engage in research, we're attending the Central Library's Black Monday film series. Tonight's installment, the 1953 Pickup on South Street, screens at 6:30 p.m. at 14 West Tenth Street. Call 816-701-3400.
Tuesday, November 16
Every woman we know (and some of those we don't, such as Oprah) espouses the wisdom in the self-help manual du jour He's Just Not That Into You. And for a while, we agreed. It's liberating to make out with someone at 3 in the morning, drunkenly slur your phone number as he fumbles with his, um, phone, and accept zero responsibility when you never hear from him again. After all, it isn't your fault; he's just not that into you. But at this point, we're feeling a little less like a feminist and more like a slut. And we've decided to blame our relationship failures on something new. It's become quite obvious that the reason we haven't met our match has nothing to do with the losers we meet at the bar -- it's because the energy in our apartment is way out of kilter. We're in desperate need of feng shui. So we know tonight's Feng Shui for the Western World presentation at 7 at the Antioch Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library (6060 North Chestnut in Gladstone, 816-454-1306) is totally gonna change our life.
Wednesday, November 17
Everyone's heard of religious freedom, but freedom from religion? After last week's election, the notion of living in a secular society seems wishful thinking. Still, the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, has been working since 1978 to promote the constitutional separation of church and state. Tonight at 7 at the Kansas Union's Woodruff Auditorium at the University of Kansas (1301 Jayhawk Boulevard in Lawrence, 785-864-7469), the foundation's PR man, Dan Barker, presents a lecture in support of his book Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist. A former praise musician, minister, missionary and member of several different Christian denominations, Barker lost his faith the DIY way -- by performing those most dangerous of activities in which obedient Christians should never engage: reading and thinking. The lecture is presented by KU's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, on the Web at www.kusoma.org.