Members of Rockhurst's Classical and Modern Languages Department welcome interested parties to join them as they dissect the bizarre French film The City of Lost Children as soon as the lights come back on. This dark fairy tale from the makers of Amelie and Delicatessen is well worth the time -- and the $3 admission -- for more adventurous audiences. As part of its Foreign Language Film Series, Rockhurst University screens the movie in the Mabee Theater at Sedgwick Hall (1100 Rockhurst Road) at 7 p.m. Remember, it's in French, with English subtitles. For more information, call 816-501-3477.
Friday, September 19
Tonight is an art opening from 7 to 9 at the Cup and Saucer. Yup, you got it ... Third Fridays. Can we never rest in this town? We're going to have to consider adding weeks to our months if any more galleries open up, or else we may have to hold art openings some day other than Friday, which would, of course, be blasphemous. This month's featured artist is Martin Greenwood, a fellow from "the southwest extremity of England." Greenwood contributed sketches and photographs inspired by his rugged homeland, a region famous for fishing and tin mining. We like his bio because it has British spellings. He didn't receive top honors at Cambridge; he received top honours. The Cup and Saucer is located at 412-B Delaware. For information, call 816-474-7375.
Saturday, September 20
The Kansas City Zoo wants you to buy its poo. We're not shitting. Herbivores have been laboring all summer to make big piles of rich organic manure, and now is the time for gardeners and landscapers to come scoop it up for $30 a square yard (unscreened). Call 816-513-4632 or 816-513-5800 to make an appointment for loading between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Zoo Manoo is not today's only weird animal-related event. There's also the 2003 Sheep and National Lamb-B-Q Contest at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame (630 Hall of Fame Drive in Bonner Springs, 913-721-1075), with "shear entertainment" taking the form of herding-dog demos, guard-llama demos and weaving. Then you've got the Pig Pickin,' Chicken Lickin' Feast from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Bingham-Waggoner Estate (313 West Pacific in Independence, 816-461-3491), which is really just a pig roast. Included on the menu, in addition to many kinds of meat, is a dish the French call grapes, so vegetarians won't totally lose out if they choose to attend. (Grapes are a fruit, and they contain no animal products.) Finally, don't forget the Strutt With Your Mutt benefit for Wayside Waifs. That event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Longview Farms (3361 Longview Road in Lee's Summit, 816-246-6598), and is not only for dogs and their human companions but also for anyone wishing to walk in honor of any birds, fish or gerbils at home.
Sunday, September 21
The challenge for opera lovers, as we see it, is not just sitting far enough from the stage to dodge flying spit. It's the language. So few operas are in English, and translating them just makes a mockery of the whole thing. Most of us don't know Italian, but luckily, the emotion expressed by voices smooths over the lost details, and the plots aren't the main selling points. Listening to Romeo and Juliet in French, though ... it's too much. It reminds us of Canadian film director Guy Maddin, who hates reading reviews of his own work so much that he gives them to his grandmother, who reads them in Icelandic to his aunt, who then translates the translation into English, at which point the reviews have lost their bite. Why listen to Shakespeare in French? We'll tell you why. Because no English-speaking individual ever came up with the bright idea of turning Romeo and Juliet into an opera. The clever fellow who came up with that idea was Charles Gounod, and for that reason, the opera at the Lyric Theater (1029 Central) today at 2 p.m. is not Romeo and Juliet but Romeo et Juliette. Tickets cost $10-$62. For information, call 816-471-7344.
Monday, September 22
Leonard Shlain, author of Sex, Time and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, gives a talk at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). With no clear and compelling explanation for the sudden emergence of big-brained Homo sapiens 150,000 years ago, Shlain argues that female sexuality holds the key to this mystery. According to Shlain, bipedalism, narrow pelvises and enormous fetal heads converged to create a crisis for our species. Mothers faced a grave threat in childbirth. To compensate, Shlain says, women went through a natural-selection process that favored hormonal changes; women lost estrus and its urgency to copulate, but gained veto power over sex. For information, call Rainy Day Books at 913-384-3126.
Tuesday, September 23
Not going to the Yo La Tengo show tonight? We're sorry to hear that, but you do have other options so don't cry, sensitive indie-rock lover. You could go to the Empire Room's Tuesday-night session with Steve Tulipana, who plays music with a similar sonic quality and might even have a few Yo La Tengo records on hand specifically for the likes of you. Or maybe you could hit Broadway Café, where the baristas pipe music that tends to be of a similar vein. Either way, you'll get yours. The Empire Room is located at 334 East 31st Street, 816-561-2640. Broadway Café is located at 4106 Broadway, 816-531-2432.
Wednesday, September 24
Back in the day, if you wanted to play outside, you would just go play outside. Now that we're all grown up and busy, it's not that simple. But this summer, Kate Schurman, founded the Tag Institute, which promotes well-being through weekly freeze-tag sessions at Mill Creek Park (47th Street and JC Nichols Parkway). Weather permitting, the games start at 7 p.m and continue Wednesdays through October. To contact the Tag Institute, call 816-931-8114.