Sometimes, performance art seems inaccessible. Taking this into consideration, Dwight Frizzell is hesitant when he labels Scientific Americans as a "performance art ensemble." Frizzell, a musician and instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute, understands the stigma. But he seems confident that the upcoming performance should be accessible and maybe even a pleasurable experience.
The troupe consists of eight KCAI students under Frizzell's direction. Their last performance with the NewEar ensemble was basically a concert with homemade instruments. The show Monday at the Westport Coffee House (4010 Pennsylvania) goes all the way, pairing the artists with projected images and a stage full of props.
Quiet on the Set (one of three acts, so to speak) is a video project from the KCAI's photo and new media departments, featuring images from Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. Katie Mullen's Midnight at Vine combines video projection, dancers and live music from BCR (Frizzell's band). The final piece, created and performed by all of the members, combines Edwin Porter's The Great Train Robbery with supplementary video and live action. The show, which runs just over an hour, begins at 7 p.m. and again at 9. Tickets are $10 at the door ($5 with a student ID). For more information, call 816-756-3222.-- Sarah Steele
On the Rise
Suzan-Lori Parks is hot.
Failure doesn't seem possible for Suzan-Lori Parks. Her Broadway debut was the Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog, she wrote her first original screenplay for Spike Lee (Girl 6) and she's now at work on a musical for Disney. She's writing an adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel Paradise for Oprah Winfrey's production company, Harpo Films, and is working on the musical Hoopz for Disney. Her debut novel, Getting Mother's Body, is a national best seller. Set in tiny Lincoln, Texas, in 1963, the novel follows poor, black, jilted Billy Beede, who needs money to pay for an abortion. She steals a truck and enlists a gang of relatives on a riotous expedition (and excavation) to dig up her dead mother -- and the jewels rumored to have been buried with her. Parks discusses the book, answers audience questions and autographs copies at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). Call 816-561-4466 for more information. -- Annie Fischer
24-Hour Party People
Comic-book artists do it all night.
Rome wasn't built in a day, but that might have been different had Superman been the foreman supervising a crew of Justice League laborers. They aren't endowed with any superpowers, but members of the Comic Creators' Network burn the midnight oil this weekend during their 24-Hour Comic Book Party. The idea is for CCN members to combine creative forces to churn out as many finished comic books in one day as possible.
At Swillhound Studios (206 East 16th Street), the clock starts at noon Saturday and ticks until the little hand makes two laps. Anyone is welcome to attend. CCN membership ($25) is recommended but not required. For details, call 816-471-2322. b>-- Michael Vennard
Black and White
The Spencer Museum of Art's Documenting Discrimination: Marion Palfi Photographs opened last Saturday in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. At 12:15 p.m. Thursday, curatorial intern Sean Barker leads a tour providing a brief, focused discussion of Palfi's work. The Spencer is at 1301 Mississippi Street in Lawrence; call 785-864-4710 for more information. -- Fischer