Brian McTavish | KCUR

Brian McTavish

Contributor, Up to Date

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."

MoDOT Photos / Flickr - CC

“Ooh!” “Ahh!” Repeat.

Once again, it’s time to practice that familiar vocal exercise at dozens of local fireworks displays honoring the Founding Fathers’ adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Once again, blankets, lawn chairs and a sense of history-meets-destiny will accompany the patriotic proceedings, with powdered wigs entirely optional yet fancifully encouraged.

Andrew Birgensmith / Kansas City Symphony

Whether money’s tight or you have more moolah than you need, why pay more for your go-and-do than you have to?

KC PrideFest

It’s time to lose that jacket and explore some of the cool outdoor activities that May has to offer.

The alfresco action ranges from art browsing to Maypole fun to a “Star Wars” lightsaber battle royal – and that’s only this weekend.

If May were any cooler, you might have to find that jacket!

2019 Brookside Art Annual

We Love Katya

Need a laugh?

Schedule your appointment with levity, courtesy of a slew of stand-up comics and other comedy attractions scheduled to thump funny bones in the coming weeks and months in Kansas City.

Unless maybe you don’t need a laugh. Ha – that’s a good one!

Takuya Matsuyama / Wikimedia Commons

It won’t be long until summer is here and families take to the vacation trail.

But wait! There are still plenty of swings to take at spring, including this weekend’s batch of activities and entertainments with something to offer all ages.

There’s music, sports, animals – maybe even a thrill ride to trigger a technicolor yawn. Consider it your rite of spring!

Julia Haile / Twitter

With a tip of the pop-culture cap to “Forest Gump”: Life is like a grab bag. You never know what you’re going to get, until you pull something out.

Take this weekend, including several diverse First Friday events in the Crossroads Arts District that … whoa, hold on. I can’t just tell you right up front. Then there’s no surprise.

So reach in and grab away!

1. ‘Frida Style’

Jeff Roberts / O'Neill Marketing

Ready to meet the commander of the Starship Enterprise? Scream like a maniac for a Sweet Sixteen college basketball team? Participate in a preserved dead animal parade?

Take it easy, there’s plenty of time to tackle all of that and more in what’s shaping up to be a big weekend for spectacular stuff to do.

What, not up for the taxidermy cavalcade? How unspectacular of you!

1. Planet Comicon

Run and Shoot Freelance Collective

Not to knock cold and miserable – everything has its fans – but the differential between soul-sucking winter and inspiring spring is ridiculous. From godforsaken “brr” to giddy “ahh,” right?

Fortunately, all it takes is a warm gust of wind and a bit of hope to turn it all around, including this weekend’s cache of fresh springtime events and activities designed to more than mitigate the “meh.”

Inspired? Then spring into action! Yes, even you winter people.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A fan is a fan is a … fanatic.

Which is to say that niceties won’t be necessary this weekend for those obviously obsessed with such things as St. Patrick’s Day, Japanese pop culture and the eye-opening promise of that oh-so-perfect cup of coffee – or rather endless cups.

No half measures here, my friends. Time to go full-on fanatical!

1. Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Night of the Living Dead Live!

Can you expect the unexpected?

For sure, if you take heed of the following weekend to-do tips – one and all containing a surprise of one sort or another, from unexpected March gore (ick!) to a “silent disco” (huh?).

But I’m giving it away. Best to read on and discover the unforeseen for yourself.

1. ‘Night of the Living Dead’

U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson

Whether you’re young or old, you can’t help it. So own it. Share it.

With that in mind, this weekend offers a spectrum of events that can be relished by many different ages actually mixing together. Imagine that.

But you won’t have to make believe once you’re having fun next to someone who could be seven or 70. Oh, the shared humanity!

1. Youth Symphony of Kansas City

Libby Zanders

Tell ho-hum to take a hike. Say so long to the snow shovel.

Then throw yourself at weekend happenings both extraordinary and fortunately snow-free encompassing amazingly catchy pop, unusual standup comedy and the St. Patrick’s Day season’s super-lively kickoff hooley.

Whatever happens, it won’t be the same ol’ same ol’. Plus no sore back!

1. Shy Boys

Linh Do / Flickr

Instead of keeping folks at arm’s length, try meeting them at the elbows this weekend.

Which is to say, let’s mingle. It might mean yee-hawing, speed-dating, cosplaying, beer-drinking or sharing a spontaneous laugh, perhaps even at your own expense.

If you find yourself giving more than receiving, there’s nothing wrong with making someone else happy. Keep mingling and you may be next!

1. Blake Shelton


Have a heart?

Show it this weekend with wonderful ways to whole-heartedly open up to music, dance and even organized cuddling – yes, it’s a thing.

If you’re sweetheart-less this Valentine season, you can still enjoy these sweet excitements and exultations. And if you have a special someone? Try not to brag!

Masonite Burn / Flickr - CC

Whether you don’t give a bleep about the Super Bowl or regard America’s King Kong of sporting events as essential viewing, this weekend isn’t only about the big game.

It can also be about building dreams with young hands, laughing at hilariously insightful stand-up comedy and rooting on your favorite tough cookies on wheels. Get the pigskin-free drift?

That said … go Rams!

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Spring is on the way. Some bands never die. Civilization endures.

Those are just a few of the awesome truths behind awesome weekend events devoted to spreading awesomeness to one and all.

Hey, did I just give myself goosebumps? Double awesome!

1. Royals Fanfest

Harpers470 / Flickr CC 2.0

Want to have fun, but don’t want to leave the house because it’s so cold? Well, that’s no way to have fun.

Surrender this weekend to the wintry weather and its attendant attributes. The heartiest among us will endeavor to linger at special outdoor events (BRRR), while others may merely dart from home to car to indoor entertainment destination (brrr).

One way or the other, kiss off cabin fever and embrace the freezin’ season!

1. AFC Championship: Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots

Affäre /

Call it fierce fascination, powerful preoccupation or utter obsession, but we do what we must to absorb ourselves.

To that engaging end, this weekend’s go-and-do roundup offers assorted activities for people whose passions have a way of winning out. More power to them.

But what if you’re not really into any of what’s shared below? Then I suggest you give it a try, anyway. Because that's what I must do! 


1. KC Restaurant Week

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Life is change, some days more than others. But it’s never a rerun.

Get into the transformational nature of things this weekend in ways that could deeply affect you or at least cause you to ponder, “What if?” What if there had never been an Elvis? What if you had to solve a murder mystery? What if you came upon a work of art that changed the way you saw yourself and the world?

Keep in mind that too much change all at once can be a mindblower. So pace yourself. Or not!

André-Pierre du Plessis

As 2018 draws to its inevitable close, so do the year’s ebbing live entertainments.

Don’t miss out on weekend events involving sports, drama, comedy, music and dance to put a festive capper on your year. Whether it was good, bad or otherwise, there’s still time to have some quality fun near the end of our latest sojourn around the sun.

Can I get an “Auld Lang Syne”? Impressive. Heck, now I’m getting misty.

Senior Airman Tabatha Zarrella / U.S. Air Force

We are taught to control ourselves. To harness primal urges. To keep it together.

Well, not this weekend, gang. Without intending to undermine the familial fabric of society (much), here are some alternative wild things to explore with the kin and kin-friendly this weekend, including wild beasts, wild dreams and wild warfare with would-be hand weapons.

Whack! Ow, what happened to would-be?! Stay wild, weekenders.  

1. ‘Dinosaurs Revealed’

Roy Inman

As everyone should know, it’s better to give than to receive. But what if it’s free? Then is receiving just as cool?

Wow, that got deep in a hurry. Suffice it to say that whichever end you may be on this holiday season – bestowing or getting – this weekend’s sampling of free holiday activities is a win-win during the most wonderful time of the year.

Imagine a world where everyone gives and receives free stuff in kind. Imagine no more!

1. KC Streetcar Holiday Jam

Santa Rampage KC

Funny is where you find it.

But to save time scouting out the stuff that will more than likely put a smile on your face, here’s a batch of comedians, musicians and Santas that could keep you ho-ho-ho-ing all weekend.

That’s right, Santas, as in more than one. Tell the tykes at your own risk!


1. Lewis Black: The Joke’s on US Tour

Hip Hop Nutcracker

How do you feel? Really and truly?

Your tongue might loosen up when coached up by prime examples of outspoken behavior – verbal and otherwise – in the form of frankly fun weekend offerings, including hearty romance, candid comedy and a 1,000-voice choir letting it rip to celebrate the holiday season.

Now how do you feel? See, it’s already working!

1. Anita Baker

Courtesy The Rainmakers

Family comes first at Thanksgiving, including finding things to do with – or without – family members.

Let’s talk turkey: Entertainments and activities that can distract from mom’s tragically burnt stuffing or a visiting relative’s relentless political opinions can be especially helpful during the gathering season, including this weekend’s handy batch of go-and-dos to thankfully share – or not – with those we hold dear.

Anyway, be sure to count your blessings. However you do the math!

Eric Frommer / Flickr — CC 2.0

Cover your eyes if you must, but this weekend portends some pretty revealing stuff, including: Legendary songwriter insights! Exposed garage rock! Pulchritudinous prestidigitation!

Sure, it could get heavy. But at least take a peek.

Marilyn Maye

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

Julio Enriquez / Flickr — CC 2.0

Autumn’s brisk temperatures will have to fall back at this weekend’s hot entertainment choices.

Folks out and about can heat up to searing soul music, scorching guitar licks and sizzling celebrity sightings, among other fiery fun.

Feel the sweat yet? Yeah, you might want to leave that warm coat at home.

William Warby / Flickr — CC 2.0

Halloween isn’t until next Wednesday – have fun, trick-or-treaters – but there’s definitely Halloweeny stuff to do this weekend.

When it’s this close to “boo” day, it’s already prime time for haunted houses and zombie attacks, preferably not aimed at the haunted houses. Although that would be cool.

Airman 1st Class William Tracy / U.S. Air Force

As if you’re not busy enough during the week, here comes your weekend to-do list. Think you’re too pooped to enjoy yourself?

Try thinking of the folks attempting to keep you entertained during your so-called down time. The stubborn fun gets started early, with Thursday night concerts by a legendary rock band striving to move on amid controversy and an ardent practitioner of a singular organ riff that just won’t quit. The doggedness even includes an event that's all about canines having their day.