Friday, November 26
Following its enormous success the past two years, KPRS 103.3 (Hot 103 Jamz) once again hosts the Fall Brawl Sho Nuff Showdown, touted as one of the biggest step shows in the Midwest. Typically a mix of singing, dancing and skits among historically black fraternities and sororities, the battle begins at 7 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium (301 West 13th Street). Tickets, priced from $18 to $28, are available through Ticketmaster at 816-931-3330.
Saturday, November 27
In his atmospheric short story "Araby," James Joyce writes of a hopelessly love-stricken boy who goes to an Eastern bazaar to buy something for the girl he desperately wants to impress. Sadly, the boy arrives too late. The vendors have all packed up, and, as he looks into the deserted market hall, the boy reflects, "I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." Lest we suffer the same existential downfall, we'll arrive in plenty of time to acquire the perfect bounty for our lady at the Bizarre Bazaar (no relation to the recent Bob Berdella quasi-biopic), from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire. There, we'll find the crafts of more than a hundred painters, potters, jewelers, cheesemakers, metalsmiths, milliners and other area artisans, so we might find enough gifts to ensure that we never have to face the self-revulsion that comes with failing to deliver. Call 785-843-2787.
Sunday, November 28
If any political group needs to get more fresh air and exercise, it's anarchists. Their traditional diet of coffee and cigarettes by day, punk rock and more cigarettes by night -- not to mention the persistent, gut-churning angst -- begins to take a toll on the old ticker. We therefore commend the socially and cardiovascularly activistic agitators who take to the bourgeois green of Loose Park every Sunday to participate in radical soccer. We'll meet them today at 6:30 p.m. at the park entrance at 51st Street and Wornall Road to find out whether they can bend it like Bakunin. But judging by the photos at their Web site (the sole source of information on the event, kcdirectaction.net/soccer), we'd say these frisky leftists are naturals at subverting the soccer system by refusing to set bounds or employ a referee, and in exhibiting the true nihilist's disregard for keeping score.
Monday, November 29
No theater company ever lost money putting on A Christmas Carol at the right time of year. (We wish we could say the same for the sanity of the actors and audience, but that's beside the point.) And whereas many local troupes this year boast true-to-the-original-text productions, only one performance can legitimately claim to offer the absolute closest thing to Dickens' own 1866 reading tour of the United States: the American tour by the original Scroogemaker's great-great-grandson, Gerald Dickens. Honestly, we weren't really interested in helping to continue the ironclad longevity of the most overdone story in history, but this unpretentious modern-day Dickens' 75-minute solo enactment of his forebear's greatest hit, which involves only a hat rack, a lamp, a table, a chair and some snappy Victorian duds, may be the end-all of Christmas Carol productions -- until Gerald's son, Cameron, is old enough to take over. Catch the Christmas spirit at 7 tonight at the Riverside branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library (2700 Northwest Vivion Road). Call 816-836-5200.
Tuesday, November 30
We can't decide whether visiting A Very Fifties Christmas, hosted by the 1950s All-Electric House at the Johnson County Museum of History (6305 Lackman Road in Shawnee, 913-631-6709), would be fun or frightening. On one hand, we dig kitsch -- electric curtain openers, moon-glow lighting and claw-footed furniture. On the other hand, the fact that the museum brags about its kitchen as a "modern laboratory, [where] the woman could run the house with 'the flick of a switch,' while she tended to the children who were playing in the adjoining living room or outside on the patio" fucking freaks our shit out. Decide for yourself; guided tours start every half-hour from 1 to 4 p.m. every day except Monday (and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays) through January 2.
Wednesday, December 1
In this era of digital imaging, the Independent Filmmakers Coalition wants you to disregard the attraction of we-can-fix-it-later and return to essential moviemaking skills for the Bentley Film Festival. Pay IFC president Joe Heyen $25, and he'll give you a roll of film to use for a 3-minute Super-8 movie. Film your movie in sequence (you can stop and start, but you can't do more than one take) and turn in the undeveloped film by today; the IFC will process the film, then screen the results for the first time at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 11, at the Fahrenheit Ballroom (1717 West Ninth Street). Call Matthew Stevens at 816-728-8647 for more information. If you just can't stomach the unknown, devote your efforts to the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee, whose deadline for the April festival is also today. All genres -- narrative, experimental, animation, new media and documentary -- are welcome for the juried exhibition, where winners take home more than $15,000 in prizes. Call Fred Andrews at 913-649-0244 for details.