Global upheaval and incessant war rhetoric got you feeling stressed? It's so hard to be Zen when world leaders start stroking their big, red missile-launch buttons. Surely it's not too much to ask that the UN invite Hussein, Bin Laden and all applicable axes of evil to a Buddhist retreat in Geneva. How could anyone -- even George Bush, poster child for Western thought gone haywire -- wreak havoc after cultivating mindfulness and practicing forgiveness? Lama Surya Das, who wrote the best-selling Awakening the Buddha Within, tonight applies his philosophy to current political crises. In his talk, The Joy of Discovering Your Authentic Self, this eminent Tibetan Buddhist from New York suggests ways to employ ancient wisdom during unstable times. The discussion, which costs $25 to $35, begins at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street. For information, call 816-561-1627.
Friday, March 21, 2003
Jazz singers Ida McBeth and Sharon Thompson were commanding attention onstage long before VH1 redefined diva as a concert-cum-catfight. The Tina Turner-Elton John spat at Divas Live 1999 was cool and all, but McBeth and Thompson can captivate an audience without unsheathing any claws. The local favorites, who let their vocal cords (not their publicists) speak out, perform tonight at Divas' Night Out at the Blue Room (18th and Vine). The show runs from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and costs $15. Don't forget: No lighting up at this venue, which is part of the American Jazz Museum. Smokers will need to take it outside. For information, call 816-474-2929.
A couple of Italian restaurants offer lasagna with extra cheesiness tonight, as Joey and Maria's Comedy Italian Wedding ropes diners into its song-and-dance numbers (between trips to the buffet). All of the characters have names inspired by Italian dishes (the "ceremony" is overseen by, um, Pastor Fazool), and audience members can eat all the wedding cake they want. The big, fat Italian wedding starts at 7:30 p.m. at Garozzo Ristorante (1547 Northeast Rice Road, Lee's Summit) and Papa Frank's (2 East Second Street, Parkville). Tickets cost $39.50. For information, call 816-861-5639.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
Thousands of dance fans will be at Municipal Auditorium (301 West 13th Street) tonight for the second Show-Me Showdown, a step-show competition for fraternities and sororities across the country. The HITS group from the Black Entertainment Television network serves as master of ceremonies as teams stomp around for large wads of cash. The show runs from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and costs $19.50 to $25. For tickets, call 816-842-1748.
Sunday, March 23, 2003
It's Oscar night! Time for formal gowns and an anti-war statement by Susan Sarandon. At Kansas City's Oscar Night America, dressed-up locals walk a red carpet to watch the awards on the giant screen at the Midland Theatre (1228 Main). The broadcast starts at 7 p.m., but doors open at 6 p.m. for drinks, a silent auction and a predict-the-winners contest for plane tickets. With any luck, Larry Moore will add to the Hollywood ambience by seizing the stage with an awkward political diatribe. Tickets cost $40 in advance and $50 the day of the event; proceeds benefit local children's charities. Call 816-220-2068.
All this time we thought the Jewish "King" was King David. Turns out it's Elvis. Or if not Elvis, then at the very least Schmelvis, the impersonator the chosen people choose. Singing controversial tunes such as "They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore," Schmelvis traveled around the country with filmmaker Evan Beloff, shakin' things up with his mission to unearth the King's Jewish roots. (According to The Wall Street Journal, Elvis' great-grandmother was Jewish.) Lest people think the Semitic folks are merely trying to claim areas of prowess for which they are not generally known, the short film that follows today's screening of Schmelvis is called "The Worst Jewish Football Team in the World." Schmelvis begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Glenwood Arts, 9575 Metcalf in Overland Park. For information or advance tickets, call 913-642-4404.
Monday, March 24, 2003
Anyone still reeling from last night's homage to the Hollywood studio machine can catch a breath of fresh filmmaking at the Kansas City Jewish Film Festival. The Optimists, a 2000 documentary about how Christians and Muslims helped save 50,000 Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust, shows tonight at 7:40 at the Rio Theatre (7204 West 80th Street in Overland Park). Directed by Jack Comforty, the film sheds light on the heroism displayed by the Bulgarian people, even when their government was collaborating with the Nazis. For information, call 913-383-8500.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Folk singer Robert Blake (not on trial for murder), who drifts around with his swing-country-blues brand of Americana, is from small-town Washington. But he showed Kansas City some love when he adorned the back of his latest CD, A Crowd of Drunken Lovers, with a black-and-white photograph of our own Recycled Sounds. Blake played at the record store in 1997, the same year he started Same Room Records, which is devoted to recording "people making music in the same room at the same time" rather than mixing tracks to perfection. Blake performs with fellow guitarist Chris Canipe and dobro man Mike Grigoni at 8 p.m. at Davey's Uptown (3402 Main); tickets cost $5. For information, call 816-753-1909.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Spring is upon us, folks. It's time for weddings and baby making. Even the decidedly nonengaged can partake in the spirit of it all at the Johnson County Bridal Fair, where fancy-schmancy hors d'oeuvres and drinks are served while models parade down a runway in great, poofy dresses. Besides the food, the door prizes and the pretty frocks, this is a place for prime people watching (for many brides to be, this may be the site of inaugural altercations with future mothers-in-law). The fair runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arcadian (8447 West 95th Street, Overland Park), and admission costs $5. For information, call 913-381-6666.