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6 Adventurous Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

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Choices for being adventurous this weekend include beholding cosmic swashbuckling, singing along with pop idols in their spicy prime and getting totally soaked on a colossal downtown slip-and-slide.

Your mission: Don’t pick just one. Because where’s the adventure in that?

1. ‘Star Wars’ Marathon

Special-edition versions of the three original “Star Wars” films – “A New Hope” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983) – will be screened back to back to back for true believers. Sorry, no reentry. Or as Yoda would say: “Leave and return, you may not.” But why would a true believer in the first and (so far) best “Star Wars” trilogy want to escape the escapism, anyway? Especially with all of those toy lightsabers being waved around in the theater. The adventure continues.

Saturday, 4 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $30-$65.

2. Johnson County Fair

Back on Earth: Farm animals, a carnival, a parade, a rodeo, a tractor pull, a demolition derby and perhaps the greatest adventure of all – funnel cakes – help make the Johnson County Fair the perennial family attraction it’s been for so many years. Kids with enough pluck can also try to stay on top of a bucking sheep or do their best keeping their hands on a greased pig. If you’re wondering, the serial ingestion of funnel cakes presents a similar challenge. All I ask is, please try not to cut in line.

Daily through Saturday; Johnson County Fairgrounds, 136 E. Washington St., Gardner, Kan.; admission: free (ticketed events extra).

3. Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas

Former Disney Channel actors Demi Lovato, who spoke at last week’s Democratic National Convention, and Nick Jonas, formerly of the Jonas Brothers, have teamed up for a summer concert tour that qualifies as an adventure for the throngs of mostly teenage girls in attendance. The suggestive dance moves and sexy lyrics performed by the two young pop idols may call for a little parental guidance. Exhibit A: Lovato’s steamy new single, “Body Say.” Oh, well, they’ve got to grow up sometime.

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27.95-$87.95.

4. ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic

It’s a triumph of marketing – and, of course, talent – that “Weird Al” Yankovic has dominated the comedy music genre for the better part of 40 years. As the best-selling pop-song parodist in recording history, His Weirdness has made an adventure out of repurposing hit melodies for his own idiosyncratically amusing ends, from 1979’s “My Bologna” (a food-centric satire of the Knack’s “My Sharona”) to “Tacky” (a bad-fashion sendup of Pharrell’s “Happy”). Yankovic is on his “Mandatory Fun” tour – so listen up and laugh!

Sunday 8 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $36.95-$66.95

5. Psychedelic Furs with the Church

In the late 1970s and early ’80s, England’s the Psychedelic Furs took rock fans looking for a way forward on a post-punk/new-wave quest highlighted by such irresistibly cool songs as “Pretty in Pink” and “Love My Way.” Still led by alluringly hoarse vocalist Richard Butler, the Furs’ appeal these days has taken on more than a hint of nostalgia. Needless to say – so let me say it – trying to recapture lost youth is always an adventure.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Crossroads KC at Grinders, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $26-$76.50.

6. Slide the City

Want to get soaked on a 1,000-foot-long slip-and-slide in the heart of the city? Whether taking a single run or traveling the length of more than three football fields over and over all day long, each daring participants receives an inflatable tube, a mouth guard and a drawstring bag. What’s the mouth guard for? It’s not an adventure for nothing. 

Saturday, noon-7 p.m.; Crown Center area, 2400 Pershing Road; tickets: $18-$60.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. Send him an email at brianmctavish@gmail.com

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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