Flatfile schools us in the art of Kansas City.

Top Drawer 

Flatfile schools us in the art of Kansas City.

FRI 10/21
The Kansas City Flatfile exhibit at the H&R Block Artspace (16 East 43rd Street, 816-561-5563) speaks to our inner dawdler. Too often when we're looking at art in big galleries, a security guard's vacant stare or a tour group's chattering onslaught makes us nervous and we move on, just as we were beginning to make sense of the art. We have the same flight response in small, local galleries as well. But this show allows us to spend intimate time with the pieces. Hometown contributors — 140 in all, including David Ford, Lynus Young and Jaimie Warren — store their work for perusal in metal cabinets with sliding drawers; there are also video works to screen. Many of the artists are enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute; others are better-known but use this nontraditional means of display to exhibit more experimental work, gallery director Raechell Smith tells us. For those who aren't in the mood to search and discover, Hamza Walker (associate curator of Chicago's Renaissance Society and national adviser to Kansas City's Charlotte Street Foundation) selected his favorites for the gallery's Salon Wall. The show opens from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and runs through December 17. — Ray T. Barker

Consider This
See the man behind the voice.

THU 10/20
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

Everything Counts
Mark Bittman cooks his way around the world.

TUE 10/25
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

Transformers
Art gets three-dimensional Sunday at the Uptown.

SUN 10/23
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

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