Lunchtime is recess for grown-ups, a much-needed break from the daily grind. But how much fun is an hour spent picking up fast food, standing in line at the company cafeteria or mowing down leftovers in a cramped cubicle?
Downtown workers have another option. Every Wednesday, the Grand Avenue Temple (205 East 9th Street) presents brown-bag concerts from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m., allowing folks a chance to get away from work and back within the lunch hour.
Most performances have featured the church's historic Ernest Skinner organ -- the only such organ in the world that hasn't been altered from the legendary Skinner's designs (though it has undergone some restorative work). But the Reverend Dan Bonner says the purpose of the series is to appeal to varied musical interests, so he's trying to diversify the mix of performers. The church also has hosted choral ensembles, gospel groups and jazz musicians, and Bonner hopes to throw in some R&B and country-western performances.
A lunchtime concert tradition at the church lasted from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Since the church resurrected the series last September, Bonner says that "a lot of people who have been longtime workers downtown say they're glad to see it back."
As the name suggests, audiences can brown-bag it. The church also serves free hot meals (donations are accepted), ranging from sausage and cabbage to soup to hot roast-beef sandwiches. For more information, call 816-842-3484. --Andrew Humphrey
FRI 5/2-SAT 5/3
Everybody has a dream car. What's yours? A silver 1969 Chevy Camaro for the Steve McQueen in you? A red 1955 Pacemaker motorcycle for your inner beatnik? Maybe a rockabilly-friendly, light-blue 1957 Chevy Bel Air. All of them are parked at the Spring K.C. Dream Classic car auction (7 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday). Slick, shiny vehicles from all eras abound, starting with a green 1930 Ford Model A. The Business Technology Center and Exhibit Hall (1775 Universal Avenue near I-435 and Front Street) hosts the event, which is open to those who want to watch the fast-action auctioneer or simply peruse the cars and dream. Admission costs $7; kids age twelve and younger get in free. For information, call 1-815-568-8888. -- Sarah Smarsh
This month, it's hard to discern a common thread among the First Friday art openings. Show themes are wildly varied. The Dolphin Gallery (1901 Baltimore) hopes to boost spirits with colorful paintings. The Jan Weiner Gallery at Lula Mac (110 Southwest Boulevard) displays material surfaces -- wicker, weaving and elegant porcelain vessels. The Opie Gallery at Leedy-Voulkos (2012 Baltimore) tackles fantasy construction -- look for a Pop Art Bogie and Bergman. Meander a few blocks to 1010 Baltimore for the 10/10 Gallery's grand opening, which involves angels and other winged objects. All openings start by 6 p.m. and last at least a few hours. For more information, call 816-221-1777. -- Sarah Smarsh
Everyone Loves A Party
The Polski Day Parade pays homage to Polish culture -- specifically Polish Constitution Day, May 3, 1791. "It's a really big day," says Mary Piekarski-Garcia, owner of Frank's Place, the tavern (at 801 Central Street in Kansas City, Kansas) where people can sample traditional Polish fare and hear polka music by the Brian McCarty Band. "This is Polish Hill, where all the Polish people migrated to," Piekarski-Garcia says. She's also made an effort to include Hispanic residents of the once predominantly Polish neighborhood by handing out bilingual promotional fliers. The parade begins at 1 p.m. at 24th and Park Drive and concludes at St. Joseph's/St. Benedict's Hall, 811 Vermont Street. -- Joanna Miller