Be honest: Are you having even a teensy bit more trouble getting at the truth these days?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. We can blame our country’s clearly divisive politics or simply the cross-talking circus benevolently known as social media. But you can hold only yourself accountable for not taking advantage of weekend attractions that at least come from an honest place.
So why not give it a shot? You might even find some truth out there – I said, might.
1. Luke Bryan
Currently wowing arena crowds in straightforward style, country music star (and “American Idol” judge) Luke Bryan is all about opening up and helping his fans do the same. As in the bottom-line title track to his latest hit album, “What Makes You Country,” where the Georgia-born singer/songwriter asks: “Does it run in your blood? Did it come from your daddy and mama? Were you converted by an Alabama song on the radio that feels so right?” Not quite. For this country music-loving city boy, it was more likely Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.” Or maybe Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man.” Or was it “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs? “Tell me what got you,” Bryan honestly implores, “I just gotta know.” I’m still thinking!
Sunday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $36-$279.
2. KC Dance Day
Expose your inner dancer – if you don’t think you have one, think again – with a free dance lesson at the eighth annual KC Dance Day. You can also experience free dance performances and a free open rehearsal by the Kansas City Ballet. Honestly, the only thing that will cost you is the eat-in lunch for six bucks. Pirouetting while eating is optional, but advance registration is required.
Saturday, 9-6 p.m.; Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, 500 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free (advance registration required).
3. Bill Maher
Say what you will about comic Bill Maher, but the longtime host of HBO’s comedy and politics talk show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” will probably beat you to it. Love him or hate him – there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room in between – Maher isn’t afraid to stick out his chin or take a swing at yours while going after big laughs. Whether you call him a liberal or something a bit more colorful, Maher calls it like he sees it. And a lot of folks call that funny.
Sunday, 8 p.m., Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$99
4. David Cross
It’s good that audiences are sitting down when stand-up comic David Cross performs, because he gives them plenty of wild ideas to honestly ponder. More than anything, Cross is a cunning conversationalist, whose honest dialogue with audiences deftly points out the hypocrisies of modern life with hilarious results. It’s familiar territory for one of Comedy Central’s Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time. He’s also co-originator of the legendary sketch comedy TV series, “Mr. Show,” but is perhaps best known for playing ridiculously untalented actor (and would-be Blue Man) Dr. Tobias Fünke on one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, “Arrested Development.”
Saturday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40.
Brilliantly honest or honestly brilliant? Either is the honest truth about legendary jazz saxophonist, Charlie Parker, who sprang from Kansas City to help transform traditional jazz into experimental bebop in the 1940s and ’50s. Enjoy this concert dedicated to Parker’s amazing instrumental legacy and featuring Kansas City jazzters Ronald McFadden and Bobby Watson along with three-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Tivon Pennicott.
Saturday, 8 p.m; Gem Theatre, 1615 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$55.
The transparently honest emotions produced by the unforgettable alto of singer Karen Carpenter and some mighty swell songs took the Carpenters to the top of the pop heap at the turn of the 1970s. So many years later, such tunes as “Close to You,” “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” are as moving as ever. Check out “Top of the World,” a local Carpenters tribute, featuring the talents of Samantha Agron, Val Fagan and Brad Zimmerman. Ah, but will they do the Carpenters' very weird hit, “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft?” I honestly don’t know!
Thursday and Friday, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m.; Chestnut Fine Arts Center, 234 N. Chestnut St. Olathe, Ks.; tickets $27-$30.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.