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Arts & Life

6 Pretend Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Marilyn Maye
Kansas native Marilyn Maye remains seemingly ageless, even as she celebrates being '90 at Last.'

To be human is to pretend.

If you don’t pretend enough, life can seem boring. But pretend too much and you might get hauled away for fraud – which definitely isn’t dull, but what a hassle.

So try pretending just the right amount at weekend events that will let you make-believe without the risk of mayhem. Well, not much. Uh, let’s pretend I didn’t say that.

1. Marilyn Maye with Kansas City Jazz Orchestra

After seeming ageless for ages, Kansas City’s “super singer” (that’s what Johnny Carson called her) will celebrate being “90 at Last” with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. In the 1950s, Marilyn Maye gained a loyal local following at the Colony Steakhouse and was brought to national attention by TV personality Steve Allen. In 1966, her snappy version of “Cabaret” was a hit and she was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards. Maye would eventually appear on Carson’s “Tonight Show” a record 76 times for a vocalist. In recent years, she’s held court from coast to coast as an elder expert of sensational saloon singing.

That all seems real enough – but when Maye takes to the stage, actual time and place have a tendency to vanish. Her well-honed way of reaching the shared soul of an audience takes over with songs of love, loss and reclamation that are welcoming, wise and spellbinding. Let your mind go. Maye’s incomparable talent will do the rest.

Sunday, 7 p.m.; the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $32-$80.

2. Ron Campbell

Return to the 1960s with Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” film animator and Saturday-morning “Beatles” TV cartoon series director Ron Campbell. If the Fab Four aren’t your thing – aw, come on! – Campbell also worked on “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons” and “Scooby Doo,” among other fantasy-focused animated entertainments. Campbell will spend the weekend in Leawood to meet fans, share stories about his career and exhibit his imaginative work. Despite the presence of, “All You Need is Love,” in “Yellow Submarine,” a bit of currency will be required to take home any of Campbell’s art. Good luck with that pretend wallet!

Friday, 4-6 p.m.; Saturday, noon-6 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m.; Leawood Fine Art, 11709A Roe Ave., Leawood, Kan.; admission: free.

3. Little River Band

Content will be king at the Little River Band’s show. It sure won’t be the band’s original members, none of whom are still in the pop group that formed in 1975 in Melbourne, Australia. But thanks to the glossy proficiency of the musicians who will appear on stage, fans can happily imagine that its 1977-1980 all over again with spot-on renditions of such LRB hits as “Reminiscing,” “Lonesome Loser,” “Cool Change” and “Lady.” Opening the show is familiar folk-rock duo Brewer & Shipley, whose pot-friendly 1970s anthem, “One Toke Over the Line,” included the phrase, “Sweet Jesus,” which still might not help to explain why the song was contemporaneously performed as an irony-free spiritual by Gail and Dale on the conservative “Lawrence Welk Show.” Think of the potential pretending that went into that.   

Friday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$99.

4. Liverpool: A Tribute to the Beatles

I won’t pretend to be embarrassed for working in another Beatles-oriented event, but there will be plenty of wonderful pretending going on when longtime KC Beatles tribute band Liverpool dons the mop tops and vintage guitars to do its John, Paul, George and Ringo thing again at Ameristar Casino. Despite the locale, this act is never a gamble.

8 p.m. Saturday, Ameristar Casino, 3200 Ameristar Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10, $15.

5. Onesie Bar Crawl

Billing itself as the “World’s Most Comfortable Bar Crawl,” the Onesie Bar Crawl comes to downtown Kansas City for those who want to pretend to be babies. Of course, that will take less pretending for some than for others. The concept encourages beer and liquor drinkers to wear the zipped-up uni-suit or “onesie” of their choice, while crawling (on all fours?) between different bars. Included in the participant package is a free LED pacifier. OK, now it’s weird.

Saturday, 4-10 p.m.; signup 4-6 p.m. at No Other Pub, 1370 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25.

6. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals

Our 9-1 Chiefs need to pretend that they’re not playing the 2-6 Cardinals, but a much better team on Sunday. Otherwise, the Chiefs might take victory for granted. But it’s really difficult to imagine that the Chiefs can actually lose this game – ack! See what I mean? Hut! Hut! Hut! Pretend!

Noon, Sunday; Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Dr., Kansas

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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