Brian McTavish | KCUR

Brian McTavish

Contributor, Up to Date

Brian McTavish follows popular culture in the belief that the search for significance can lead anywhere.  Brian explains, "I've written articles and reviews ... reviewed hundreds of concerts, films and plays. And the thing is, these high arts all sprang from the pop culture of their day.  Don't forget: Shakespeare was once Spielberg."

Jeff Schock / Billy Joel

Feel like singing along?

You’ve got plenty of opportunities this weekend with tuneful attractions galore, led by a batch of highly accomplished pop, rock and country artists whose memorable records began successfully spinning decades ago.

Risk the earworm!

1. Billy Joel

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival / Facebook

The family that plays together, stays together — at least while they’re playing.

Why risk any downtime? Keep the clan happy this weekend with family frolicking opportunities that encompass adventuresome superheroes, classic silent screen comedies and annual outdoor festivals where all ages can find a good time.

Billboard

Get real.

That’s the idea this weekend with enjoyments designed to deliver authentic experiences, from a bona fide pop princess reaching deep down to give her ecstatic fans everything she’s got to genuine opportunities to get down to the undeniable allures of tea time, comic books and the late Queen of Soul.

Really? Hey, don’t ask…just do!

Kansas City Irish Fest

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend with live music and festivals offering cultural and family entertainments aimed at putting your workload delightfully on hold.

Peace and love? Check. Carnivals and contests? Check. A community vintage car cruise for the ages? Check.

And no matter where we go or what we do this holiday weekend, let’s be sure to appreciate America’s amazing workforce. Here’s hoping as many as possible can take a well-deserved break.

Savanna Daniels / Kansas City Ballet

Be honest: Are you having even a teensy bit more trouble getting at the truth these days?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. We can blame our country’s clearly divisive politics or simply the cross-talking circus benevolently known as social media. But you can hold only yourself accountable for not taking advantage of weekend attractions that at least come from an honest place.

So why not give it a shot? You might even find some truth out there – I said, might.

1. Luke Bryan

Smashing Pumpkins / Facebook

They come and they go, these things that put smiles on our faces and springs in our steps. And sometimes…they come back.

While I have no idea whatever happened to my childhood snow sled (sniff), this weekend proposes rewarding access to things that went away, but won't stay in the past.

Is it a miracle? Only if it’s my old sled – oh, Rosebud, I missed you!

1. The Smashing Pumpkins

Kansas City Zoo / Facebook

If it feels good?

Then do it to it at joyful happenings encompassing pooches, pachyderms, pancakes and plenty more to help stave off even the slightest thought of Monday morning blahs – oops, sorry to bring up the whole work thing.

Joy to the weekend! While it lasts! OK, so I’m not that sorry.

1. Tails on the Trails Festival & Dog Swim

Pixabay

The “dog days” are here, right? Hot. Sticky. Hotter than sticky.

If you can’t beat the August sauna, join it this weekend – heck, it can’t hurt to try – by doing things dedicated to hot snacks, hot music, hot comedy and other sizzling stuff.

Sweaty already? Good!

1. Heart of America Hot Dog Festival

AL.com

Of course, things change. But to truly transform typically takes a plan.

Leave it to the weekend to deliver a convenient blueprint for transformational occasions rooted in music, comedy, fantasy and the natural realm. All you have to do is show up.

Am I making this sound too easy? Gosh, I hope so. Otherwise, you might miss your makeover!

1. Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters

Chris Isaak / CC BY 2.0

Want to get weird?

Tapping into the offbeat is a snap this weekend with peculiarly appealing events that include bizarre musicals, a campy retro sci-fi spectacle and a crowd of creative local teenagers boldly exploring their artistic selves for public consumption.

Should you brace yourself or just let it all flow over you? Where there’s a weird, there’s a way!

1. Daryl Hall & John Oates

Dave von Fintel / Vimeo

Superstition is absolutely ridiculous. Unless it’s not.

So you might as well cover your keister this entire Friday the 13th weekend with totally luck-centric events that will leave you feeling fortunate no matter what the calendar says.

Drake LeLane / Flickr — CC

Optimism breeds optimism.

Which means that this weekend ought to be a doozy in the positivity department, thanks to a preponderance of entertainments offering reasons to feel exquisitely giddy with ever more ebullient urges.

Too rosy? You won’t get ahead if you don’t look up!

PoolSafely / Flickr — CC

Summer’s here and the time is right for … fun.

Bet you saw that coming. Yet here we are in the midst of the summer solstice, and I wonder: Have you truly gotten your summer on? If so, good for you and don’t forget the sunscreen. If not, it’s handy I’m here to give a nudge toward weekend music, theater and recreation embodying the season.

Summer-fun things won’t wait. Get ’em while they’re hot!

1. Lucinda Williams, Steve Earl and Dwight Yoakam

Boulevardia

We’re all special, right? But some of us are extra special. There I said it.

And the weekend is going to back me up with events driven by special people – both living and dead – whose cultural contributions qualify as outright genius or at least border on brilliance.

Stick with the smarties. Not only will they put a smile on your face, but they’ll give you something to aspire to. Genius!

1. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Juuso Haarala / The Air Guitar World Championships

History is important. Just ask – it’ll tell you.

This weekend’s lesson is chatty indeed with historic entertainments recounting a remarkable range of art and culture – from ethnic festivities steeped in ancient ways to an iconic progressive rock band celebrating its half-century mark to totally pretend guitarists vying to become a part of real history.

Got that? Remember, history is watching – and ready to dish!

1. Cinema KC Legacy Series: ‘Kansas City’

Wikimedia Commons

As much as it goes against my desire for neverending spontaneity, even a party needs a plan.

So here’s your blueprint for a festive weekend offering special exposure to everything from celebrities to meatballs – yes, there’s a difference. Usually.

Regardless, whether you're brushing up against a famous personality or a food item, it couldn't hurt to keep a napkin or two handy. 

1. Big Slick Celebrity Weekend

We’re all fans of the weekend, but this weekend is a fan’s dream.

Devotees of disparate diversions will have their ways with roots music, tattoos, science fiction, cult comedy, classic rock and more. Is it possible that any one person out there could be into it all?

Ooh. Call me a fan of that!

1. Westport Roots Festival

Urban Matter

We've all woken up from wonderful dreams that defy clear recollection. Darn it!

Avoid the frustration by dreaming with your eyes open this weekend, with the help of events steeped in promises of perfect love, escapist nirvana and eternal childhood, among other dreamy imaginings.

The good news: You'll remember everything. The bad: They're still only dreams. Darn it!

Vicki Burton / Flickr — CC

The weekend is a canvas. How to paint it with colorful aplomb?

You can take a traditional approach by attending an art festival or be more daring by transforming your body into a mass of multi-colored frivolity literally on the move. Or you might seek out colorful opinions or behaviors, whether from a political comedian or at a motorcycle party.  

The hue is up to you – unless a big biker named Knuckles happens to offer a strong suggestion. Then I’d go with that.

BagoGames / Flickr — CC

Where did the time go? Seriously, I'd like to know. Be a pal and get back to me on that.

In the meantime, the weekend is offering up a host of entertaining activities recalling the past, from a send-up of a vintage hit TV sitcom to a cocktail party pegged to "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." Also in the yesteryear mix – old-fashioned sheep shearing. Baa-bet you didn't see that coming. 

American Jazz Museum

Go beyond your borders.

You can do it this weekend with entertaining events whose practitioners and boosters are either from or inspire thoughts of different lands. Here's the smart play for anyone who in any way wonders what's over that seemingly faraway hill: Don't stand still. Make the crossing. Be somewhere else.

Naturally, it's only the weekend, so you won't be able to stay that long. Just don't be surprised if you want to!

1. Denny Laine

Oh, sweet obsession.

Whatever it might be, many of us have a thing that preoccupies us, perhaps even prying us away from so-called reality. But what good is “reality” when it slaps you around or ignores your needs? That’s where a consuming collection, an ardent activity or some other ultra-fastidious expression of an inner ethos can assuage the soul – at least until the people in the white coats come to, well, you know.

This weekend, enjoy an obsession. It doesn’t even have to be yours – yet. Fortunately for newbies, fixation loves company.

Paul Carless / Flickr — CC

People deserve to have more than their parking validated.

So be a validating force at weekend events focusing on folks whose contributions to the world continue to have meaning. Some are still with us. Some aren’t. Beyond their achievements, all deserve affirmation of their inherent worth – as do you, too, friend.

And if your corner of the world has free validated parking? It’s a great place to start!

1. Kansas City Ballet: ‘The Man in Black’

Kaylin Idora Photography / Flickr — CC

To rock or not to rock?

That is not the question this weekend, thanks to rocking bands, rocking comedy acts and rocking mixed martial arts action.

So are you ready to rock? Those paying attention will recognize the previous sentence as yet another unnecessary query. Never ask – just rock!

1. North Mississippi Allstars

Minda Haas Kuhlmann / Wikimedia Commons

I like to tell people, “be bold.” I also like to tell them, “Eating too many chips is bad for you,” right before I grab their bag of chips and help myself.

Sometimes they don’t fully appreciate the teaching moment and I have to make a hasty exit, preferably without the bag on my head. But what I have to say about being bold especially goes this weekend, with abundant opportunities for both kids and grown-ups to delve into the more daring aspects of their personalities.

Yes, grab the bag! Just try not to be left holding it. Or wearing it.

Grand Parc / Flickr — CC

No one can have a fab time all the time.

But this weekend you can damn the torpedoes of reality and go full speed ahead toward a range of fabulous happenings, from cheering the ultimate dream concert to discovering hidden treats left by the Easter Bunny.

Will your head explode from too much fabulousness? It’s unlikely … but what a way to go!

1. Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles

Dick Daniels

Even the harshest souls have a tender side. And the tenderest? Those folks ought to feel right at home at weekend events that, in one way or another, address the gentle promise that exists in everyone.

But whatever your emotional comfort zone – be it petting puppies in your head 24-7 (nice) or screwing up the courage to simply take the first step in scaling Sensitivity Mountain (indeed, it can be a steep climb) – it’s all right, because we’re all in a different place.

And if you should find yourself at the top of that most kind peak? Plant your flag, friend! Tenderly.

Minerals, crystals and gems aplenty at the Kansas City Gem and Mineral Show this weekend in Kansas City.
Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

What is truly free? Lunch? Hardly. Love? In theory.

Certainly, a great deal of advice is free, if you don’t count the price to be paid for following the lousy kind.

Here’s my gratis guidance: Do something more or less free this weekend – because you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun. You can look it up. Starting right here!

Bernard Spragg / Flickr — CC

A last chance can pass you by before you even knew you had a chance.

So as a public service — that's right, folks, I'm not only in this for the glory — allow me to share a weekend's worth of soon-to-be-here-and-gone attractions involving music, comedy, fast cars, fleeting celebrities and the tantalizing yet imperfect dream of eternal youth.

Look away if you dare. Going ... going ... grab on!

1. ‘Broadway's Next H!T Musical’

Fairfax Library Foundation / Flickr — CC

Is your first time the best time? I thought that might get your attention – at least at first.

Now it’s up to the weekend to deliver on a flurry of firsts as realized by stellar basketballers, accomplished musicians, an earnest explorer of the spirit world and curious kids interacting with encouraging canines.

If it’s the last thing you do, be part of the debut crew!

1. Harlem Globetrotters

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