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6 Inspirational Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Saturday, June 25, is the last day of the Liberty Memorial's Taps at the Tower.

It’s said that genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration. Actually, Thomas Edison said that, but doesn’t Mr. Light Bulb already get enough credit?

Regardless, given the continuing high summer temperatures, there may be more than a few geniuses in the making out there.

With plenty of perspiration available, where might one find the elusive inspiration to reach one’s lofty potential? Read on, my fellow near-geniuses – we’re so close!

1. Steely Dan with Steve Winwood

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Steely Dan injected its classic 1970s and ’80s hits with enough jazzy touches to inspire rock and jazz fans alike. The shrewd combination crafted by founding members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in such songs as “Do It Again,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “FM” encouraged listeners to not only move to the music, but also think – with some even daring to chew gum at the same time. I know, crazy, but it’s all about stretching in this life.

Opening for Steely Dan in KC will be Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Winwood (inducted with the band Traffic), who employs a more straightforward approach. Yet when you consider that Winwood enjoyed major hits like “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “I’m a Man” with the Spencer Davis Group while still a teenager, his accomplishments are no less inspiring.

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $80.95.

2. Maker Faire Kansas City

In the making mood? You will be as soon as you enter the inspirational environment of the sixth annual Maker Faire Kansas City, where makers, creators, inventors – call them what you will – will demonstrate and explain their technological and/or aesthetic self-made wares. Whether it’s robots, urban farming, bicycles, artisan foods, woodworking or any number of other fascinating disciplines and products, check ‘em out – and don’t leave without being awed by the giant Tesla coils. Organizers claim that Maker Faire is “The Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth.” Aim high, hit high.  

Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $11-$14 (family discounts and weekend passes available).

3. ‘Sondheimon Sondheim’

This year’s major fundraiser for the Barn Players community theater is keyed to the group’s

performance of this Stephen Sondheim revue festooned with iconic Broadway songs. The show offers eight vocalists performing dozens of ditties by the famed Broadway lyricist and composer in tandem with video interviews with the stimulating man himself. Where else can you hear not one but three versions of “Comedy Tonight” from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”? And so much classic stuff from “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” “Company,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Into the Woods” – the inspiring list goes on.

Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission, Kan.; tickets: $25.

4. Jewish Community Center Youth Triathlon

Young folks can swim, bike and run as individuals or in small teams in this sure-to-inspire triathlon for ages 4 to 17. Ah, to be young and strong. The event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, which is nice, but every kid competitor is also automatically entered in a drawing for a free bike, which may be even nicer.  Important: Participants and their parents are required to be at a pre-event orientation session at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Jewish Community Center’s Social Hall, where all questions will be answered…like what color is the bike?

Sunday, 7:30 a.m. start; Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park, Kan.; registration: $10.

5. Future Stages Festival

Hundreds of local youngsters in more than 25 performing groups will share their developing talents on stages both inside and outside the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Audiences will include many a proud family member or friend, but just about anyone should be inspired by so much talent inhabiting the tender years. Plus interactive arts activities for kids!

Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

6. Taps at the Tower

Whether you come to picnic or simply enjoy a summer’s eve downtown, the Liberty Memorial’s third annual Taps at the Tower provides an opportunity to be inspired by a live rendition at dusk of “Taps,” a.k.a. “The Buglers Cry.” Prepare to be moved.

Thursday through Saturday, 8:30-9 p.m., Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

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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