See the man behind the voice.
Andrei Codrescu, a longtime contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered, has been a poet, novelist, essayist, professor, journalist, humorist and editor of the literary journal Exquisite Corpse. (If he weren't so damned funny, we'd call him a showoff.) Since moving to the United States from Romania in 1966, Codrescu has made his reputation by traveling the country like an immigrant Mark Twain, commenting on its weirdness and wonder. What's unique is that the work our favorite titles include Hail Babylon! In Search of the American City at the End of the Millennium and The Life and Times of an Involuntary Genius is without boundaries. At one moment it's verse, at another, a lesson in local history. We expect a little of everything even some words on New Orleans, where Codrescu was until recently an adopted son when he reads at Rockhurst University's Mabee Theater (54th Street and Troost) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday as part of the Midwest Poets Series. Admission is $4 ($3 for students and seniors). Colin Torre
Mark Bittman cooks his way around the world.
For a man who writes a weekly cooking column called "The Minimalist," Mark Bittman lives pretty large. The New York Times writer's best-selling How to Cook Everything inspired a PBS television show of the same name yet somehow, he found time to gather more than 1,000 recipes from 44 countries for The Best Recipes in the World. Eat one of Bittman's meals, prepared by the author himself with Jasper Mirabile Jr., chef at Jasper's Restaurant (1201 West 103rd Street, 816-941-6600), on Tuesday. The evening costs $55 and includes an autographed copy of the book (but not alcohol, tax or tip). Reservations are required; dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Rebecca Braverman
Art gets three-dimensional Sunday at the Uptown.
The Body Art Ball asks 15 visual artists to transform 15 performers using all means of paint, feathers and beef jerky (kidding). Add a runway, audience-based first-place awards and copious amounts of Tuaca the sweet Italian liqueur and you've got yourself one helluva show. The party is geared primarily to the service industry, but it's open to the public; it starts at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Uptown Theater (3700 Broadway, 816-753-7643). Annie Fischer