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Arts & Life

6 Imaginative Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

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Ed Webster
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Without imagination there would be no Picasso, no pyramids, no pantaloons – don’t ask me where I came up with that last example. Oh, that’s right, my imagination.

In any case, folks with enough faith in their minds’ eyes look to have the most fun this Labor Day holiday weekend, with offerings that include professional (as in pretend) wrestling, the ethereal promise of the spirit world and the area’s annual trip back to the 16th-century.

Don’t forget to wear your pantaloons!

1. Pops in the Park

The passing this week of beloved screen comic Gene Wilder will make the Kansas City Symphony’s rendition of “Pure Imagination” all the more memorable during its Pops in the Park concert on Labor Day evening. Wilder sang the anything-is-possible-if-you-can-dream-it tune as the eccentric protagonist of the 1971 family movie classic, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” Bittersweet.

Monday, 7 p.m.; Theatre in the Park at Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kan.; admission: free.

2. Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Although the colorful characters populating this weekend’s opening of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival will do an impressive job of pretending to be in a 600-year-old English shire, it’s up to 21st-century interlopers to filter out any lingering images of modernity – like the multitudes of t-shirted adults pushing strollers containing wide-eyed little kids. Might the wee ones be fooled into thinking that they’ve actually traveled back to the time of shining knights on horseback? That would be more like deceiving than imagining. It’s a start!  

Friday through Monday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs, Kan.; tickets: $12.95-$21.95 (ages 4 and younger free).

3. BravoKC

The sparks of imagination required to conceive and construct the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts formed a creative fire that’s still burning five years after the acclaimed center’s opening. Come and celebrate the Kauffman’s fifth birthday as part of a special First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District. Dubbed BravoKC – hey, we can all bask in this downtown jewel – the event will feature a variety of performers on three indoor stages, along with outdoor games and activities. Bravo, indeed.

Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

4. Chip Coffey

Renowned psychic and medium Chip Coffey from Atlanta has been featured on the A&E, Biography and Lifetime channels, and he returns to the Belvoir Winery in Liberty to engage in spirits both paranormal and fermented. Is the winery haunted? While some visitors may have to use their imaginations, Coffey and others can be counted on to be true believers when he picks audience members for select psychic readings. Boo! Just getting you in the mood.

Friday, 6-10 p.m., Belvoir Winery, 1325 Odd Fellows Road, Liberty, Mo.; tickets: $90.

5. If These Trees Could Talk

The very name of this “post-rock” instrumental band from Akron, Ohio, sets the visionary tone for its mysterious musical output, which is alternately majestic, brooding, weird and wonderful.  The quintet’s 2009 debut album was called “Above the Earth, Below the Sky.” So you fill in the rest.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; the RecordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $12.

6. WWE Raw

Why not close out Labor Day weekend with World Wrestling Entertainment’s latest local tour stop, exploding with extremely large men making a big show of trying to destroy each other? If you can’t think of a reason, then you really need to go and work on that imagination.

Monday, 6:30 p.m.; Sprint Center, 14-7 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$105.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com.

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