In the daytime, business types wander over to the Westport Coffee House from nearby offices; in the evening, the crowd takes an alternative turn. But on weekends, a distinctly young crew often emerges. The venue (at 4010 Pennsylvania) is an ideal place for the kind of show Tripp Kirby wanted to piece together. Kirby, singer and guitarist for the local rock trio Shotgun Jenny, hoped to arrange a performance that would spotlight bands of varied styles who, he says, "don't get very much recognition." But most of all, he wanted the show to be accessible to minors. Because Kirby himself is only a year past the coveted "legal" age, he has much love for teenyboppers.
"There's a huge lack of all-ages places around here," he says. He hesitates, presumably hoping to avoid pigeonholing his band, but then comes clean. "The kind of people we attract tend to be, um, they tend to be a younger crowd." That could be because Shotgun drummer Dave Royer is just sixteen. Or it could be because teenagers have no reason not to love an alternative-punk-rock song called "California Is Nice."
On Friday, Shotgun Jenny joins Fatal Candy Machine, Jeremy's Box and A*Failed. Old man alert: Jeremy's Box drummer Scott Bubb, the eldest of the show's featured musicians, just turned 26. No matter your age, Kirby promises, "it's just going to be a good rock show."
The show starts at 7 p.m., and admission costs $5. For more information, call 816-756-3222.-- Sarah Smarsh
Thy Pen, Thy Dagger
Victoria Houston isn't crazy just because she writes murder mysteries that unfold by a place called Loon Lake. Lots of people like to invent stories about murder -- Angela Lansbury, for example. Still, some authors with murderous streaks might like to understand where their fictional but nonetheless gruesome tales are coming from. At 1 p.m. Saturday, the I Love a Mystery bookstore sponsors a panel discussion called The Killers Inside Us: Why and How We Write Mysteries with Victoria Houston (who wrote Dead Angler, Dead Creek, Dead Water and Dead Frenzy) and Lawrence and Suella Walsh (authors of Creating Mystery Fiction That Sells). The panel takes place at Antioch Library, 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Merriam. For information, call 913-432-2583.-- Gina Kaufmann
We're sad that, after June 21, the days again will grow shorter, dwindling to the sun's sorriest showing in late December. But people can take advantage of the longest day of the year at Here Comes the Sun, a summer solstice celebration at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak Street). From noon to 4 p.m., the grounds come alive with outdoor performances, art activities, giant-puppet workshops and garden walks, as well as a parade at 3:30 on the north side of the building. It's all inspired by the new sculpture at the museum entrance, Walter De Maria's "One Sun/34 Moons." For more information, call 816-561-4000.-- Smarsh
For a city, we have an awful lot of parks and open spaces. It just so happens that's no accident. In an exhibit called City in a Park: The Plan That Shaped Kansas City, the Kansas City Museum (3218 Gladstone Boulevard) lets visitors in on what it took to create such a green town, focusing on Swope Park, Penn Valley Park, the Paseo and Ward Parkway. With highlights including photographs, vintage swimwear that ladies were likely to have worn to the pools, a program from the first show at Starlight Theatre, and an 1890s high-wheel bicycle, the city's former inhabitants come to life along with the city's own history. For information, call 816-483-8300.-- Kaufmann