Despite the so-called newness of so-called reality TV, the dichotomy between the real and the suspect has always been a filmmaker's prerogative. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's (4525 Oak) winter Electromediascope program toys with that concept in a three-week Friday-night film series called Real to Reel. Of the films available for preview, it's Quirine Racke and Helena Muskens' The Tower (part of the February 6 program) that's most compelling. Using a split screen, the filmmakers interview three generations of Londoners who share, among other things, a palpable loathing of one of their elders, a wizened crone who dabbled in the art world in her own day. The younger Flatzes are unconventionally good-looking deep thinkers, though they're also amazingly undisciplined. In a short fifteen minutes, the directors paint an extraordinary portrait of a family by artfully dredging up past recriminations.
Other titles during the series include this week's edited-in-the-camera Chigger Country (January 30), by George Kuchar, and Cecilia Dougherty's Gone (February 13), a fictionalized re-creation of an episode of the 1970s PBS series An American Family. Call 816-561-4000 for information.-- Steve Walker
Humanature (4140 Pennsylvania, 816-931-3993) is a truly dynamic hair salon. It turns into an entertainment venue the first Saturday of every month, with DJ Discotrash spinning lounge records fit for schmoozing. And stylists occasionally teach classes on the basics of doing hair -- helpful for those of us who must have even the simple concept known as "round brushing" explained to us. (Round brushing is brushing your hair with a brush that is round, we just discovered.) More important, it's the site of a fund-raiser for stylist Nikki Kessler, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Kessler doesn't have health insurance, so stylists at Humanature and elsewhere -- including Medusa and Salon Beyond -- are cutting hair for donations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. How often can you get your hair done for a good cause?-- Gina Kaufmann
Faking Us Out
Alias, the Urban Culture Project show now at the Bank, includes work by local artists using fake names, their true identities never to be revealed. Participating in the show is like being in the underground-art CIA. If you've been around the block a few times -- and we mean that in an artistic sense -- you'll probably be able to figure out a few true identities anyhow. But regardless, these fake artists' statements are a hell of a lot more entertaining than most real ones. The Bank, at 11th Street and Baltimore, is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.-- Gina Kaufmann