While the proportionally challenged population of our fast-food nation struggles with its self-image, the rest of us are guiltlessly looking forward to the upcoming visit by dessert expert and cookbook author Sherry Yard.The executive pastry chef for the über-chic Spago Hollywood has created gorgeous dessert dishes for famous fatties to gorge themselves on at the Grammys, the Emmys and the Academy Awards. With this kind of behind-the-scenes ingestion, it's no wonder liposuction is par for the course in Tinseltown. You'd have to hire a personal trainer, too, after a few nights of complimentary deep-fried beignets and mascarpone-filled cannolis. For $50, guests can pick up an autographed copy of Yard's cookbook, The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts, as well as sample her desserts at the 1:30 p.m. reception in the Fairmont Hotel, 401 Ward Parkway. A drawing will send a few lucky guests home with even more sweet stuff prepared using Yard's recipes. For reservations, call 913-384-3126.-- Michael Vennard
Writing on the Wall
The Writers Place (3607 Pennsylvania, 816-753-1090) stipulates that artwork in its gallery must relate to the written word, so who better to exhibit than a calligraphy artist? The pieces in Crossing Lines: Carl E. Kurtz, Woodblocks & Drawings (through December 31) resemble elegant graffiti more than traditional calligraphy. Kurtz stretches his handwriting into long, graceful conglomerations of choppy and looping lines, scratching them onto birch or scribbling them with graphite pencil on watercolor paper. Although his writing is illegible, Kurtz carefully chooses the passages he copies, drawing from the "cursing psalms" of the Old Testament and Yeats' "The Second Coming."-- Theresa Bembnister
If they build it, we will come.
Looking at photographs of architect Marlon Blackwell's buildings is a little like looking at old video footage of the other Marlon -- Marlon Brando -- in his early years. In both scenarios, viewers are left to silently wonder: How is such a well-built structure possible?Blackwell -- whose decidedly tall creations seem always to exist among trees -- is one of eight architects and architectural firms represented in From the Ground Up: The Art of Architecture, opening at Rockhurst University's Greenlease Gallery (1100 Rockhurst Road) this week. Participants show work that captures an original idea, the design process and the end result, affording viewers the unique opportunity to observe the evolution of a building. A handful of the architects -- notably representatives from the forward-thinking El Dorado Inc. -- are homegrown. Friday's reception begins at 7 p.m.; call 816-501-4607 for details.-- Gina Kaufmann