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entertainment

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!

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's popular entertainment district looked a little different this weekend. 

Westport officials announced Friday that the promised gun screening checkpoints, which the City Council approved in December, would finally be active over Labor Day weekend, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

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

Daniah Hammoude wearing a red hijab sits in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Young adults head up organization leading the Muslim community in civic learning and action.

Not usually known for being politically involved in the U.S., more Muslims are running for office this cycle than since the 9/11 attacks. Two organizers with the KC Muslim Civic Initiative spoke of what it is doing to empower the area's 30,000 Muslim Americans to become more civically engaged.

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

Netflix

Updated 3:55 p.m., Friday, July 13

Wonder no more: Netflix’s “Queer Eye” is coming to Kansas City, Missouri, and will start shooting Monday.

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!

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!

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’

americanjazzmuseum.com

The Kansas City council voted Thursday afternoon to allow more bars into the city's Historic 18th and Vine district. 

Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents the district, sponsored the proposal, which makes it easier to obtain a liquor license in the historic district.

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

Bigstock

When many black diners go out to eat, it’s not uncommon for them to question if race plays a part in the service they receive.

Turns out, that’s not paranoia.

Zach Brewster is an assistant professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Michigan. He has conducted several national research studies on the experience of dining and restaurant discrimination. In his 2015 survey of approximately 1,000 waiters and waitresses across the country, 53 percent of the participants admitted to not giving black diners their best service.

Kansas City artist Amado Espinoza entered NPR Music's 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. This year's submissions are due by March 25.
Eduardo Osorio / Amado Espinoza

NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest is kind of a big deal. From Tank and the Bangas to Fantastic Negrito, thousands of artists and bands from across the world enter each year for a chance at a featured video behind NPR Music's hallowed desk.

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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