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!
Are you proud to be an American? Well, let’s hope so. But if you need a tuneful nudge to fully appreciate your democratic freedoms (or just want to sing along with the hopeful choir), there’s the “Red, White and Bluegrass” concert tour. The show stars patriotic country music promulgator Lee Greenwood, super-sincere singer/songwriter of “God Bless the U.S.A.,” and accomplished Grand Ole Opry pickers and grinners Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent. Whatever your politics, get ready for goosebumps.
Sunday, 7 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45.50-$75.50.
Anything is possible if you’re Cinderella, the ultra-optimistic young woman who rises from step-daughter hell to snag her heavenly Prince Charming. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic was created for television in 1957 (and recreated for the tube in 1965 and 1997) and has continued to delight in many musical stage versions, including a Tony Award-winning Broadway run in recent years. What are the chances of a pumpkin being turned into a coach? Mice becoming horses? A glass slipper finding the foot that lost it while fleeing the stroke of midnight? Oh, I think we know.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$120.
Standing for “social justice, making the world a better place and kicking ass,” the People’s Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City utilizes the power of alternative collaborative jazz to make a difference. The sounds can get a little weird – sometimes more than a little – but that’s what happens when so many instrumental optimists get together to publicly share the work of local maverick composers and arrangers. Half the fun will be seeing what Dr. Seuss-like wind instrument Mark Southerland might deem worthy of his embouchure. Hang out, hang in or just hang on – it’s worth it!
Sunday, 7 p.m.; recordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $5.
Dozens of bands on multiple stages vie to take you higher at this annual Downtown Kansas City shindig – so maybe show up with some room left for psychic improvement. The upbeat music will be all over the map, including the teasing ambiguity of Brooklyn-born quartet Grizzly Bear, Friday’s headliner at CrossroadsKC. The band’s latest album, “Painted Ruins,” certainly encapsulates some solemn themes, yet its aural design is intended to “feel as light as possible,” according to Grizzly Bear singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Rossen. If you can’t be a cockeyed optimist, at least be a cryptic one.
Friday and Saturday; Crossroads KC at Grinders, 417 E. 18th St. (and nearby venues), Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10-$200.
It’s vital to think positively when competing in roller derby. It’s bruise or be bruised, so you’re not thinking how you’re going to get it, but how you’re going to give it. After the bout? Ooh, that’s when you really need to be optimistic while applying cold compresses. Trying to lighten things up further are the female furies of Fountain City Roller Derby going at it this weekend in two Harry Potter-themed contests: Shotgun Sheilas (Slytherins) vs. Lovely Lethals (Gryffindors) and Royal Pains (Ravenclaws) vs. Deadly Sirens (Hufflepuffs). Sounds like a magical experience. If only the pain would go poof.
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.; B&D Skating Rink, 13903 E. Noland Ct., Independence, Mo.; tickets: $12 (ages 17 and younger free).
Amateur stand-up comics are unparalleled optimists. No matter how many times they might struggle or outright bomb, they have the willpower to keep delivering jokes. Even so, they’re seemingly massive egos can also be exceedingly fragile. So think a good thought as each takes their turn at this weekly opportunity for audience members to be hilariously amused or abjectly horrified...sometimes by the same material. Now that's funny!
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Stanford’s Comedy Club, 813 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $5-$10.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.