This Week's Day-By-Day Picks 

Thursday, August 14

You think you know what cacophony sounds like -- until you attend an event where young laymen and laywomen (ages four and up) can learn to sing opera. We think this library-hosted Night at the Opera sounds wonderfully fun in an experimental-noise-band, performance-art kind of way. The event unfolds as follows: Kids enjoy opera singers and their lavish costumes, apply makeup and -- here's the kicker -- take on the personas of woodland creatures. Singing songs with Lyric Opera professionals, they perform in a distilled version of Hansel and Gretel. This we may have to hide amid bookshelves to see. Registration is required. For information, call the North Oak Branch of the Midcontinent Public Library (8700 North Oak Trafficway) at 816-436-4385. Activities begin at 7 p.m. (Hint to library and opera people: Adults should do this, too! It would be funny!)

Friday, August 15

Tonight at 19th Street and Locust, MoMo opens a new show with works by master of beautiful decay Anne Austin Pearce. What might beckon us there besides the work itself? And besides the fun of going to art openings in general? The title of the show, which is simply Head. And we speak from experience when we say it should be good. For information, call 816-474-4814.

Saturday, August 16

Today at Union Station (30 West Pershing Road), world-famous bug chef David George Gordon cooks up supposedly delectable bug dishes from his Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, which offers 33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes and their kin. If entomophagy -- that is, the eating of insects -- grosses you out, maybe this isn't the starting place for you. Perhaps a better introduction to the habit of consuming six legs in one gulp is the critter-filled lollipop, a treat we recently discovered. We hope they're called arthropops. But for the bold and adventurous, today's festivities should be both fun and informative. Gordon is accompanied by local artist Jessa Huebing, who paints giant bug portraits. Way to personalize the food, guys. What next, hamburger and barbecue joints with fiberglass cows right outside? Oh. For information, call 816-460-2020.

Later, shrouded by night, you might consider taking off for a party called Breakin' Time 2: Time 2 Pick Up the Pieces. You have to contact party planners the day of the event to find out where it is. All we can tell you is, there will be LOTS of DJs (techno, house and the like), on-site camping, a bonfire, a "magical bead truck" and drum circles galore. Please use contextual clues to fully visualize the scene before heading out, because we imagine this is not for everyone. But hey -- it's rare to get outdoor electronic music. For a lineup, check out http://crushindo.iwarp.com/index.html. The number to call for the location, which will be somewhere near St. Joseph, is 816-475-4215. And remember not to call until the day of the party. No planning ahead is permitted.

Sunday, August 17

Today through next Sunday, Worlds of Fun recognizes public-safety personnel in celebration of Public Safety Days. Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and military types will be admitted for free all week. Which inspires us to say two things. First, if you're going to put us on something that drops us hundreds of feet and turns us upside down, we sure as hell hope that every day is public safety day. And for another thing, DO NOT GET HIGH BEFORE GOING TO WORLDS OF FUN THIS WEEK. Thank you. For information, call 816-454-4545.

Monday, August 18

It waves no flags and beats no drums. It just pulls the pin on a grenade and throws it -- Catch! This was the tag line for the 1967 war movie Beach Red, showing today at the Main Branch of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library (625 Minnesota) for the World War Free film series. Event promoters call this movie a precursor to recent war-trauma films like Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line. The film, which follows anxious soldiers through the brush of a Japanese island, should keep you on the edge of your seat. An original 16-millimeter print will be projected, and because the movie is not available on video, people who are interested in seeing it should not be lazy or opt to work late instead. Actually, very few of the remaining movies in the series are available on video, so it may be worth calling the library at 913-551-3280 for a complete schedule. (Take note, in particular, of the September 3 screening of Buck Privates, an Abbott and Costello film with music by the always-great Andrews Sisters.) Beach Red begins tonight at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, August 19

Everybody likes the slide guitar. And now that it's no longer a nation of criminals but rather the land of men who age in a pleasantly leathery manner and speak in accents that circle around like boomerangs, everybody also likes Australia. So there's nothing not to like about Australian slide-guitar master Dave Hole (whose performances Rolling Stone calls both "jubilant" and "hellbent," covering both ends of the Christian afterlife-metaphor spectrum). Hole performs tonight at 8:30 at the Grand Emporium, 3832 Main. For ticket information, call 816-931-3330.

Wednesday, August 20

Today, you ought to be a consumer. It's hard to avoid anyway, and if you go to one of more than ninety participating grocery stores in the state of Missouri (including Schnucks, Dierbergs, Summer Fresh, Woods and C&R Supermarkets), you might be able to fill out a form to win a one-night, two-person stay at a rural Missouri bed and breakfast. Getting something for free -- now that's a reason to shop. Forms must be turned in to the Missouri Department of Agriculture by September 30. Besides, when's the last time you stayed at a bed and breakfast? For information, call 1-800-MO-BRAND (that's 1-800-MOB-RAND, or 1-800-662-7263).

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