For stress reduction today, try Yoganetics. We like Yoganetics because Mr. Rogers -- who died in February -- liked Yoganetics. This gentler, smoother yoga could satisfy your need for meditation and exercise while allowing you to pay homage to the man who would have been your neighbor wherever you'd gone. If you wear a jacket to class, feel free to take it off and hang it up, replacing it with a cardigan. Today's classes at Unity Church of Overland Park (10300 Antioch) are from 10 to 11 a.m. and from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. For information, call 913-649-1750.
Friday, June 6, 2003
Artist Willie Little grew up in North Carolina in the '60s and '70s, hanging around the family grocery store -- a respectable business by day, a juke joint by night. As Little explains, "The juke joint was more than a liquor house. It was a meeting place where black folks unbottled their joys and pains, served them with a fifty-cent shot of gin and shared how to make the bitter twist of life easier to swallow, if not sweeter to the taste." Little's full-scale Juke Joint installation opens tonight in the American Jazz Museum's Changing Gallery, bringing to life some of the characters he met using materials like peat moss, paper clay, papier-mâché, sweet-gum balls and cockleburs. Juke Joint's reincarnated patrons include Miss Beola (whose laugh sounded "like a downshifting of an old car's transmission"), Sally Chauncey (the nappy-haired woman who got drunk and "went on herself" in the vinyl seat of Little's father's '65 Chevy) and Pee Wee (the drunken hitchhiker who turned up dead on the side of the road). The opening reception lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 1616 East 18th Street, with a talk by Little at 6 p.m. For information, call 816-474-8463.
Tonight also kicks off the High Prairie Jamboree at Doolittle Farms (28013 West 167th Street in Leavenworth). An advance weekend camping pass to the outdoor "bluegrass and good time" festival costs $40. For that price, you get to spend today and tomorrow listening to acts like High on the Hog, the Wilders, Slipstream and the Rural Grit All-Stars, all headlined by Peter Rowan -- and you get to sleep over. But for $50 a night you can get a cabin -- and one of the cabins is surrounded by frogs. This cabin is in high demand because the frogs serenade vacationers with ribbets at night (just so you know that sleeping in an amphibian habitat is an option). A pass to hear the music without staying over is also available for $5. For information, call 913-722-6971.
Saturday, June 7, 2003
For a weekend art viewing, we recommend the Fahrenheit's Rapt exhibit, with works by talented local sculptor Rachel Frank and snazzy New York City painter Jay Gould Stuckey. The two discuss their work today at 2 p.m. at 1717 West 9th Street. For information, call 816-474-5477.
Sunday, June 8, 2003
Being reasonable is patently unfun. Reason is all compromise and balance. Fun is all delusion and excess. That's why the Community of Reason just sounds -- well, it's no poker club. The group sponsors lectures and debates and essay contests, with topics ranging from evolution to ... mostly evolution. And yet, sitting through a lecture might not sound like a grand time. Today's field trip to the Kansas City Zoo (6800 Zoo Drive) followed by lunch at Flossie's Soul Food Restaurant (6706 Cleveland), near the zoo's entrance, might be an enjoyable first foray into the world of the officially reasonable. This may also be the only context in which group members will make continual mention of the word soul. The group meets at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Hogan College Preparatory Academy (1221 Meyer Boulevard). For information, call 816-561-1866.
Lest Democrats let their political muscles get out of shape between now and the next election, we'd like to share a friendly reminder that Barney Frank -- the gay Congressman who has inspired political commentators to state that they find his wit alluring in a nonsexual way -- is speaking today at the Downtown Marriott (200 West 12th Street) from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $50 each and can be purchased at the door or by using the order form at www.fourfreedoms.org.
Monday, June 9, 2003
Every year, the National Pony Express Association carries mail on its Re-Ride from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. It's a round-the-clock, ten-day event involving more than 550 riders and horses, and the third leg starts at the Sac & Fox Casino on Highway 75 in northeast Kansas at 1 a.m. today. (Don't get mixed up: That's late last night and stupidly early this morning.) Have a few beers at the casino on Sunday night, then watch the Pony Express hand off personal letters. For more information, see www.xphomestation.com.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Anyone who's even joking about going to the 100th Birthday Celebration for Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Milwaukee this August would be a fool not to stop by our own local Harley pilgrimage site, the Harley-Davidson Final Assembly Plant (11401 North Congress) -- which happens to be the only Harley plant west of the Mississippi. The plant's open for free 90-minute tours from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, call 877-883-1450.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Students struggling through Dante's Inferno might be interested to know that a suspenseful mystery novel incorporating details from the classical tome has recently been published. We wouldn't recommend skipping The Inferno -- dire punishments would likely result from such sloth -- but if you're tempted to do so, just read The Dante Club. It will surely scare you into intellectual honesty. Matthew Pearl, a Harvard graduate who now teaches Italian at his alma mater, writes of Dante scholars who face censorship from the snooty elite in nineteenth-century Boston. Meanwhile, a rash of murders mirroring the punishments imposed in The Inferno infects the city. Naysayers and Dantephobes, we must tell you that when People magazine calls a book based on a classic the "Page-Turner of the Week," it has to be good. Pearl discusses The Dante Club at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). For information, call Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126.