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Arts & Life

10 Things Not To Miss In Kansas City In 2015

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At the end of every year, we all say it: Things will be better next year.

Even if you had a super 2014 – and I hope you did – there’s something in human nature that encourages us to look ahead with bright eyes. And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s some pretty wonderful stuff coming up that could help make 2015 a year to remember in the shiniest of ways.

So here’s a sampling of things not to miss in the months ahead. Still, it’s just a start (especially since the list only goes through June). Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section. We’re nothing if not inclusive here.

1. Piece-by-Piece: Building a Collection, Jan. 30-April 26, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Last year, ARTnews named Christy and William C. Gautreaux of Kansas City among the top 200 art collectors in the world. This year, the Kemper Museum will display 31 objects culled from the couple’s fascinating collection, with artistic themes ranging from race and politics to landscape and geography. Thanks for getting it out of the living room.

2. Elvis Live: The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Event, Feb. 12, Midland Theatre

The King is dead. Long live the King’s tribute artists in this hip-swiveling extravaganza featuring finalists from the global Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest sponsored by Elvis Presley Enterprises. Elvis may be an industry, but we’ll always love him tender.

3. 2015 Folk Alliance Music Fair, Feb. 19-22, Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center

Let the hootenanny come out in you at this event offering up more than 75 folk music artists performing over three nights. Noteworthy pickers and grinners from across the country and around town include country singer Hal Ketchum and such proven local performers as Bob Walkenhorst, Kasey Rausch, Betse Ellis and Victor & Penny. Let it twang.

4. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Feb. 21, Yardley Hall, Johnson County Community College

South Africa’s renowned male choral group sealed its international renown when it unforgettably joined Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland. If that’s all you know about Ladysmith Black Mambazo, you’re in for a treat. May the group’s amazing blend of harmony, rhythm and movement take you to a special place.

5. The Book of Mormon, Feb. 24-March 8, Music Hall, Municipal Auditorium

Famous Mormons run the gamut from Mitt Romney to Marie Osmond – at least I think that’s a gamut. Regardless, it tookTrey Parker and Matt Stone – the outrageous comedy minds behind TV’s masterful South Park – to co-create with musician Robert Lopez a famous Broadway musical about Mormons that’s both brutally hilarious and ultimately touching. Talk about slap and tickle.

6. Fleetwood Mac, March 28, Sprint Center

Call me picky, but it’s not really the mega-hit 1970s rock group Fleetwood Mac without singer/songwriter Christine McVie, who’s come out of retirement to join her old band mates on a big, fat world tour that would appear to be a quality nostalgia fest. Fans are already vibrating in anticipation of again hearing McVie warmly sing such Mac standards as You Make Loving Fun, Say You Love Me and Songbird.

7. Planet Comicon, March 13-15, Bartle Hall, Kansas City Convention Center

Kansas City’s largest pop culture and comic book convention returns to downtown Kansas City with a stellar list of scheduled media guests, including Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Walking Dead) and John Barrowman and Eve Myles (Doctor Who, Torchwood). Old-school fans can also see Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers, Silver Spoons). A personal plea to attendees: Even if you’re mainly interested in meeting cast members of your favorite fantasy flicks and TV shows, try picking up a far-flung funny book, too, because comics are a tap root of this brand of entertainment.

8. The Who with Joan Jett, May 5, Sprint Center

I admit to being torn on this gig. Anyone who watched Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey perform as the Who during the 2010 Super Bowl half-time show would have been justified to exclaim: “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It wasn’t pretty. But this may be the last chance to catch Daltrey and Townsend together live onstage before, well, the live part goes away. Here’s hoping for a killer effort and a couple of nips for each from the Fountain of Youth. Anyway, Joan Jett still rocks.

9. Nitro Circus Live, May 20, Sprint Center

For the first time in Kansas City, 40 Nitro Circus performers (a.k.a. action sports athletes) will do their crazy-freestyle motocross, BMX and skate tricks for a crowd of daredevil lovers. There will also be a passel of stunts done on such ungainly items as tricycles, snow skis and even bath tubs. Cross your fingers that no one will take a spill and everyone will have washed behind their ears.

10. Boulevardia, June 19-21, 12th Street Bridge Historic District in the West Bottoms

Beer. Food. Bands. Who says I can’t be succinct?

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