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6 Alternative Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Tony Alter

Eschew the same ole same ole this weekend by embracing an alternative. You can begin by saying “eschew” with me. Ooh, that was different.

Try something novel, such as exploring the fascinating artistic world of tattoo culture, viewing female Hamlets in existential action or appreciating this month’s full moon in a whole new way.

You don’t have to reinvent your leisure-time wheel. Just steer it in a new direction. The unusually rewarding is right around the corner.

1. Kansas City Real Deal Tattoo Convention

Tattoos have come a long way since “Mother” first appeared on a burly sailor’s bicep. Elaborately designed tats are now considered works of art painstakingly created for customers with an edgy appetite for indelibly expressing themselves. The gifted assemblage of local, national and international skin artists setting up shop at the eighth annual Kansas City Real Deal Tattoo Convention will happily share information and ply their trades — including decorative body piercings — for all who are fearlessly hip enough to enter. Mothers welcome. Friday through Sunday, 7 p.m.; Uptown Shoppes, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $21.55-$24.80.

2. Women Playing Hamlet

You don’t usually see a woman playing the Prince of Denmark. Uh, actually, that would be never. So when a young actress takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it feels like the greatest challenge of her career. Holy Olivier! Will she soliloquize “to be or not to be” with the best of male thespians who’ve scaled the part before her or wind up like the grubby skull of poor Yorick – or is it Yolanda? Billed as a “comedy about a tragedy,” Women Playing Hamlet is directed by Cynthia Levin and features an all-female cast, including Katie Karel, Kathleen Warfel, Cathy Barnett and Meredith Wolfe. To thine own estrogen be true. Preview Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.; Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25, $35.

3. Full Moon Walk

When was the last time you and yours took a leisurely nature walk under a glorious full moon? That’s what I thought. Good news: A flashlight and a sense of wonder are all that friends and families need to enjoy the Overland Park Arboretum’s Full Moon Walk. And there’s a neat theme: The Native American name for the March full moon is “Full Worm Moon,” and related activities will include a worm composting demonstration and worm science experiments. Kits can also be purchased for roasting s’mores over a fire pit — protein-laden worms optional. Friday, 7-10 p.m.; Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W. 179th St., Overland Park, Kan.; admission: $3; $1 for ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and younger.

4. West Bottoms Antique Shops

Most Kansas City area residents know about First Fridays held every month in the Crossroads Arts District. But an increasing number of aesthetic difference-seekers also venture beneath the historic 12th Street Bridge each first weekend of the month to check out a nifty handful of offbeat antique shops. The out-of-the-way community of reclamation stores and repurposed service shops includes Bella Patina, Circa KC, Foundation Architectural Reclamation, Hickory Dickory, the Red Shed, Sit On It Chair Gallery and Stuffology. Find something funky! Friday, Saturday and Sunday; West Bottoms, Kansas City, Mo.

5. Elvis Costello

Granted, he hasn’t been “This Year’s Model” for quite some time. But Elvis Costello is one of the great rock singer/songwriters, whose fantastic knack for combining clever wordplay and catchy melodies continues unabated. Costello’s solo show in Kansas City is expected to represent the highlights of a critically hailed career that goes back to 1977, beginning with “Alison,” “Watching the Detectives” and “(The Angles Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes,” all from his first head-snapping album, My Aim Is True. While the absence of a backup band may be seen as throwing his fans a curve, and might be disappointing in advance to some, it’s probably the only reason that seats remain to this local show by a true living legend. Thursday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $55-$140.

6. Helmet

Alternative metal band Helmet has been making influential noise for more than a quarter of a century, which is a long time to be unconventional. Founding member Page Hamilton remains at the helm of Helmet’s self-professed “thinking man’s metal,” which the group’s official bio explains is imbued with fragments of jazz and blues to go with its jagged sonic fury. Helmet’s current tour features a beginning-to-end performance of its classic Betty album in honor of the record’s 20th anniversary. The band’s Kansas City performance may be technically sold out, but even fans without tickets should be able to hear the calculated carnage from the parking lot. Now there’s an alternative for you. Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Record Bar, 1020 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo.

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."
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