This Weeks Day-By-Day Picks 

Thursday, April 24, 2003
From a lecture titled "The Motion of Skydivers, Baseballs and Gymnasts," Kansas Citians with a thirst for sports-related knowledge about bodies in motion can find out all they ever wanted to know. Be warned, though: Answers involve words that have the potential to transport people back to high school science class. Gravitational force. Aerodynamic drag. Newton's laws of motion. Eek. The lecture begins at Linda Hall Library (5109 Cherry) at 5:30 p.m. For information, call 816-363-4600.

Friday, April 25, 2003
If we are to believe bumper-sticker lore, then we must believe that mean people suck. And if mean people suck, then all of the people who populate the '90s films by University of Kansas alum Neil LaBute (The Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors) suck. His newest film, which began as a stage production, is called The Shape of Things. Set in a college town, it tells the story of Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), a sexy grad student who meets an undergraduate English major named Adam (Paul Rudd, one of LaBute's KU pals) just as she is about to vandalize a statue in the museum where he works. The Shape of Things may be LaBute's first foray into subtlety, leaving viewers to question whether the characters suck instead of just plain hating them. Tonight, KU hosts a special 7:30 p.m. screening at Liberty Hall (642 Massachusetts in Lawrence). Tickets cost $10, and a cash bar is available. For information, call 785-864-3982.

Saturday, April 26, 2003
In all the years that the Free Speech Coalition has been in existence, this may be the scariest, most freaky year yet. (Hello, Patriot Act!) So we're glad to see that the annual anti-censorship festival known as Culture Under Fire has an especially strong lineup this year. Tonight, a Culture Under Fire show called Gag Reflex includes performance art, spoken word, theater, music, dance and video. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Just Off Broadway Theater (31st and Wyandotte). For information, call 816-561-6445. For other Culture Under Fire events, see the Calendar of Events.

Ugh. We wish we lived in Columbia so that we didn't have to drive to MU for the unbelievable outdoor music festival the school is hosting today. The lineup consists of three bands: Guided By Voices, And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Transam. If the sun is shining, it will all take place on the south steps of Jesse Auditorium. If it rains, the show will move over to the Blue Note (17 North Ninth Street). For information, call 573-882-7820.

Sunday, April 27, 2003
Kansas City has been a hotbed of psychic energy all weekend. People who want to get their auras photographed or buy hand-strung natural-stone jewelry that is "made with love" but "enhanced with meditation" should head to the Psychic Fair at the Business Technology Center (1775 Universal Avenue, 816-880-9474) between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. It's also a special weekend of free access to the National Dream Hotline, sponsored by the School of Metaphysics, so people who woke up in a cold sweat this morning after dreaming that their teeth fell out or that they made out with a coworker (perv!) should call the hotline at 913-236-9292 before midnight. And finally, anyone who recently came home from work to find that the new puppy chewed up every left shoe can find out why the pooch loves (or hates) left shoes by heading to the Talk With Your Animals workshop at Crescent Springs (7913 Santa Fe in Overland Park, 913-341-2044) between noon and 4 p.m. Attendees should bring the animal or a recent photo of the animal; a consultation with the animal communicator costs $20 for fifteen minutes or $35 for a half-hour.

Monday, April 28, 2003
In one of the stories collected in her Take the Cannoli, Sarah Vowell recalls what it was like to be a brooding little arty girl with a gunsmith for a father. Pappy Vowell took Sarah and her twin sister shooting for the first time when they were six. For one twin, this was fun; for the other, it was not. "And, because I believed in the devil," Vowell writes, "I did what my mother told me to do every time I felt an evil presence. I ... whispered, 'Satan, I rebuke thee.' It's not like ... I was traumatized. It's more like I was decided. Guns: Not For Me ... So if I decided that I didn't want my father's little death sticks to kick me to the ground again, that was fine with him. He could go hunting with my sister, who started calling herself "the loneliest twin in history".... A funny tale, but so sad, so divisive. Could they not have compromised with paintball? For families split over interpretations of the Second Amendment, we recommend this activity wherein shooting takes place, but danger does not. It is art, and yet it is sport. Kansas City offers a number of paintball venues, but the one that intrigues us most is Jaegers Paintball Complex, because it's located in a cave. (The address is 9300 Northeast Underground Drive.) Set in one of the city's oldest known limestone mines, Jaegers offers an adventure within an adventure. Today's hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For information, call 816-452-6600.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Today is a good day to celebrate Wendell Castle, and not just because the bastard's lucky enough to have the last name Castle. The Spencer Museum at KU recently purchased one of the sculptor's pieces -- called "Hanging in the Balance" -- and it's neato. It's simple: an upside-down bronze chair resting on a beige pillow. But the pillow? It's made out of wood. Castle also has a wooden music rack included in the traveling exhibit Defining Craft, which comes to the Spencer (1301 Mississippi Street in Lawrence) from New York City's American Craft Museum. From a distance, the music rack looks like a character from an Asian alphabet. For information, call 785-864-4710.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Dylan Mortimer makes prints that look like images out of safety-instruction manuals. Lately, Mortimer has been preoccupied with religion and faith. Last year, he had a show at the Leedy-Voulkos called For Your Own Safety, in which he commented on the role of faith in public life by using images from public signage. A year later, Mortimer is still taking a pragmatic approach to understanding religion in his Museum of Faith Analysis. Faith should involve a certain amount of mystery, Mortimer says, but at the same time, our society favors calendars, maps and anything else that establishes order and clarity. "Everything is to be planned, and even religion is approached as a diagram," he laments. He makes this sentiment literal at the Gallery at Village Shalom (5500 West 123rd Street in Overland Park). For people of any faith who find Mortimer's work confusing, the gallery hosts a panel discussion at 7 p.m. For information, call 913-345-2611.


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