So you're going to Neon, the '80s-themed dance party at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire Street in Lawrence), but you don't have any decent Reagan-era gear. An easy fix is to yuppify yourself. It's kind of a cop-out, but it gets the job done. Head down to the thrift store and get an Izod shirt, pleated pants and some penny loafers or dock shoes. If that doesn't work, a no-brainer would be the Miami Vice route -- no socks and lots of pastels. If all else fails, just wear all black with spikes and tell people that you're a Dagger from the gang of skateboarding hell-raisers in 1986's Thrashin'. Dressing up for the dance party is not required, but you might meet the perfect Sean Penn for your Madonna. DJs Cruz and Konsept spin '80s-era R&B, hip-hop, pop, hair-rock, electro and electro-clash. The party starts at 10 p.m., and ladies get in free before 11. For details, call 785-842-5483.
Friday, January 16, 2003
Observing firsthand the "revitalization" of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is like watching continental drift -- it's slow as hell, but it is happening. Get a sneak peek at what distant tomorrows may hold at Fantasies and Revivals: Kansas City's Urban Future. The exhibit features architectural and urban design proposals for development downtown. Artists and architects involved in the exhibit include Nate Fors, J.M. Rees, Alex MacLean, Derek Porter Studio, Ben Radatz and the University of Kansas urban-design studios of Brad Satterwhite, Rene Diaz and Mark Shapiro. The opening reception starts at 5 p.m. at the Paragraph Gallery, 25 East 12th Street. For details, call 816-471-5937.
Saturday, January 17, 2003
Birds are amazing. About a year ago, we would never have said so. Birds, to us, looked mean. Little flying dinosaurs. But after seeing Winged Migration, that all changed. Contrary to our expectations, it wasn't just some nature flick for stoners. We watched it surrounded by old people, one of whom was so moved that, at a crucial moment in the film, she whispered just loudly enough for those sitting near her to hear, "Fly!" The movie follows flocks of different kinds of birds on their journeys to winter homes and back. Each bird feels like a character, with its own set of struggles, its own skills and its own personality traits. So you really do give a shit when an avalanche starts and every bird sleeping on the mountain flies off without missing a beat, narrowly escaping death. Of course, our praise for Winged Migration is just our excuse for suggesting that you attend Eagle Day at the Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Environmental Library, 4051 West Drive in Kansas City, Kansas. You, too, will feel differently about birds once you view them from a more intimate perspective, one species at a time. Eagle presentations are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. For information, call 913-299-2384.
Sunday, January 18, 2003
As long as Hollywood is making dumb movies, we have a suggestion: Remake The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in a modern setting. Tom could be a skateboard punk, and instead of whitewashing a fence, he'd have to paint over a big graffiti mural he threw up next to the highway. If the movie bombs, the soundtrack (which could feature remixes of Rush's over-the-top "Tom Sawyer" by the likes of P. Diddy or the Neptunes) might recoup a few bucks. On second thought, that might be taking it a bit far. St. Louis' Seem-To-Be Players simply add folksy music, creative sets and rustic costumes to The Tales of Tom Sawyer at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire Street in Lawrence). The show starts at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range from $6 to $8. For details, call 785-843-2787.
Monday, January 19, 2003
A brown-bag lunch honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at the Kansas City Art Institute (4402 Oak Street) begins at 11:30 a.m. today. It might be a good idea to arrive fashionably late, though. Though the featured video -- Eyes on the Prize -- is one of the must-see documentary series of the twentieth century, there's a good chance you've seen it ... in school. Not wanting to experience high school flashbacks, maybe you'd be more interested in what follows the video: a 12:15 p.m. reading of excerpts from King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail." For information, call 816-802-3458.
Tuesday, January 20, 2003
We'd like to think that we would do anything to defend free speech in the arts. It would be really cool if our last words were "The only way you'll get this copy of Charlotte's Web is if you pry it from our cold, dead fingers." But would we really take a bullet for a book? Azar Nafisi probably came pretty close. When she was a professor at the University of Tehran, Nafisi held weekly book-club meetings with other Iranian women in her home. The thing was, they were reading forbidden works from Western literature. After Nafisi left Iran in 1997, she recorded her story in Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which recounts stories from the revolution, her book club, the student takeover of the university and a bizarre trial in which she stood as the sole defender of The Great Gatsby. Who would've thought that radical Islamists and flappers don't mix? Nafisi discusses her book and answers questions at 7 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street. Complimentary tickets are available at Rainy Day Books in Fairway. For details, call 913-677-2665.
Wednesday, January 21, 2003
We love budding filmmakers. The lower the budget, the better. Explosions and fancy animation are nice and all, but isn't it better to see what a couple of average kids can do with a camera and a little creativity? The En Fuego Film Festival started five years ago as a one-day event at Lawrence's Free State High School and has grown into a weeklong festival showcasing filmmakers from across northeast Kansas who range in age from five to eighteen. Categories for their short films include comedy, drama documentary, music video, commercial and even movie trailer. Tonight the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire Street) hosts the first of three nights of film showcases, focusing on the high school-aged filmmakers. The screenings begin at 6 p.m. For details, call 785-843-2787.