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6 First-Time Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Chris Murphy
The famous haunted houses in Kansas City's Westbottoms open this weekend.

There’s a first time for everything, right? Like your first kiss. Or your first job. Or your first kiss on the job – hold it now!

What things can you experience for the first time this weekend? There are some brand new events, familiar entertainers in fresh contexts and popular attractions that you may have overlooked or even avoided for some silly reason.

So here’s your chance to get out there and have a first. Kissing optional – but with permission!

1. Madminton

“Mad skill meets good will” is the tag line for this first annual badminton tournament taking place, suitably enough, just across the street from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s signature shuttlecocks sculptures. Close to 180 two-person teams are expected to compete – many in quirky costumes – with live bands, cold beer and picnic food vendors contributing to the lawn-party atmosphere. The entry fees for participants will benefit Giving the Basics, which provides local families with hygiene products and other essential items.

Sunday, 2-7 p.m.; Frank A. Theis Park, Oak and 47th streets, Kansas City, Mo.; entry fee: $60 team, $30 individual.

2. Library in the Park

The Kansas City, Kansas Public Library’s first outdoor festival will feature musicians, dancers and activities for all ages, from craft-making and story time to book recommendations and demos of the library’s digital collections. Families can board a mobile library, sign up for library cards and check out materials. Those hungry for information should also bring their conventional appetites to help judge a competition between four KCK taco-makers. All taco judges will be eligible to win a tablet computer. Viva knowledge!

Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Big Eleven Lake, Kansas City, Kan.; admission: free.

3. The Edge of Hell and the Beast

Are you dreadfully afraid of ghastly beings bounding out of the shadows to make you scream and scream again? Then there’s a good chance you’ve managed to avoid Kansas City’s two most notorious haunted houses located in the West Bottoms. But do you really want to leave this world before getting up the nerve to explore the Edge of Hell and the Beast? Both emporiums of mock-evil are back for blood-curdling business this Halloween season – and you don’t have to be a total chicken about it this year. Tip: Bring along brave friends to put between you and the maniac in the gore-encrusted hockey mask swinging a machete in one hand and a chainsaw in the other. Good cluck, I mean, luck.

Friday and Saturday, doors open 7:30 p.m.; The Edge of Hell, 1300 W. 12th St.; The Beast, 1401 W. 13th St.; Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27 (VIP and combo tickets available).

4. Jay Leno

Maybe you’ve seen former Tonight Show host Jay Leno countless times on TV. Maybe you’ve even seen him perform his stand-up act in-person. But it will be a first when Leno launches his punchlines in the classy confines of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Will the Kauffman’s outstanding acoustics make the laughs sound better? I’m sure Leno wouldn’t mind that. Regardless, his expert common-denominator appeal should allow the elegant environment to feel accessible to the average comedy fan.

Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49-$149.

5. Art Westport

People who’ve strolled the annual art fair in Westport, whether once or twice or a dozen times, all say the same thing: I never saw that before. And at Art Westport, that can be in almost any medium: metal, painting, sculpture, fiber, jewelry, photography, drawing, mixed media, print making, ceramics, wood, glass, digital art and more. If you’ve never been to Art Westport, then you’ve really got your that hunting cut out for you this weekend.

Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Westport Road and Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

6. Karrin Allyson

Four-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist and Kansas City favorite Karrin Allyson has fans around the world. But she’s never treated them to an album of her favorite songs by Broadway legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein – until now. Selections from Allyson’s new disc, Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein, will help to fuel her Thursday gig at Broadway Kansas City (to be recorded for KCUR’s 12th Street Jump program), followed by two shows Friday at the Blue Room. As Rogers and Hammerstein would say, it’s “Something Wonderful.”

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Broadway Kansas City, 3601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20; Friday, 8:30 and 10 p.m.; Blue Room, 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40 (both shows), $25 (one show). 

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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