Was Kafka's unfinished novel prophetic?

Trial by Fire 

Was Kafka's unfinished novel prophetic?

WED 8/11
Franz Kafka died before he could finish his novel The Trial, and he reportedly never intended for it to be published. That hasn't deterred various artists from taking a stab at it, including Orson Welles, who filmed it in 1963 with a Psycho-hot Anthony Perkins in the lead. The nightmarish tale centers on Josef K., who awakens one morning to find himself under arrest for no discernible reason. He then must defend himself against charges that are never described to him, navigating an illogical legal system. Comparisons to the Patriot Act come naturally.

"It's relevant to what's going on in America and Europe but wasn't consciously chosen as a statement," says Imago Theatre Company artistic director Jon Aldridge. Imago stages Steven Berkoff's theatrical adaptation at the Westport Coffee House (4010 Pennsylvania) at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The company, whose physical theater style encompasses mime, movement and music, is one of England's top student theater troupes. Call 816-756-3222 for more information. -- Steve Walker

Captain Trips

SAT 8/7
Our summer wouldn't be complete if we didn't spend at least one muggy night in a packed club, surrounded by the aroma of patchouli, kind bud and B.O. The Jerry Garcia Memorial Stomp, which laments the anniversary of the Grateful Dead frontman's death, fills this annual quota of commingling. Starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club (3402 Main), the bill promises plenty of long-winded jamming from Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders and from Riskyshift Phenomenon, the members of which unironically boast about their repertoire of "ass-rockin' hippie music." We're sure to find ourselves among devoted Deadheads looking for a friendly place to cry for their musical hero. Perhaps we'll find solace in the trustafarians who'll be spinning in place and trading magic spaghetti recipes. Hey, if nothing else, the $6 ticket might get us some new connections. Call 816-753-1909 for more information. -- Christopher Sebela

Fun in the Sun

FRI 8/6
No one can hear musicians freak out in space. Luckily, Sun Ra, the late free-jazz explorer, picked our planet to recruit players for his cosmic Arkestra. Among them is percussionist Matthew Brown, who appears Friday at the Brick (1727 McGee) with the cream of KC's crazy crop in a tribute to his old bandleader. Appearing with him in the Celestial Truth Arkestra are bassist Bill McKemy, knob-and-button-man Sterling Holman, and inventor and saxophonist Mark Southerland. Before the 10 p.m. show, these musicians and members of Dirty Force march in procession from Y.J.'s Snack Bar (128 West 18th Street). Call 816-421-1634. -- Michael Vennard

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