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
One of the queens of the 1980s “Quite Storm” music radio format, romantic R&B balladier Anita Baker still makes like a laidback tempest when she lays into a lyric. But the opportunity for fans to experience the singer of “Sweet Love,” “Caught Up in the Rapture,” “Giving You the Best That I Got” and a slew of other outspoken odes to adult coupling is drawing to a close. The 60-year-old winner of eight Grammy Awards and countless hearts is on her farewell concert tour. May I be blunt? Group hug!
Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $69-$199.
New York City style hip hop dancers will make forthright use of their bodies in sync with Tchaikovsky’s classic score for “The Nutcracker.” The yearly touring Christmastime show has a exceptional guest emcee this year: Pioneering rapper Kurtis Blow, who is also founding minister of the Hip Hop Church in Harlem. Can he get a witness? That may be up to you.
Thursday, 7 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $28-$68.
This zany stage comedy from Kansas City’s patently outspoken Late Night Theatre troupe combines the pop legacy of Prince with a “Game of Thrones”-ish conceit: “Party like its 1499!” Anyone still stuck in Prince’s “1999” can now go back 500 years for their jollies. Sort of “Let’s Go Crazy,” but with flying dragons. Be sure to get your plague vaccination first, though, or you might just end up in “Purple Pain.”
Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 6 p.m.; Missie B’s, 805 W. 39th St, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20.
4. D.L. Hughley
Outspoken stand-up comedian and New York Times bestselling author D.L. Hughley definitely has a message for people in this country: Wake up! The African-American comic and activist’s latest humor-laden yet dead serious tome is “How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice from White People.” Sorry, there’s no protection against irony – save for ignorance. People of all races and persuasions are invited to Hughley’s unblinking live analysis of our current state of race relations and other sensitive subject matters. Will you laugh at his show? Maybe until cry.
Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; Saturday, 7 and 10 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m.; Kansas City Improv Comedy Club, 7260 N.W. 87th St. at Zona Rosa, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$65.
It’s that time again when Kansas City Art Institute students gather to show and sell their works before scattering for semester break. Which means it’s your chance to find that original painting, print or sculpture that bellows, “buy me!” Who says artists don’t speak through their art? In addition, you can help out a KCAI student with a little cash at holiday time. All works of artistic genius must go! And everything else, too, so get there early for the best selection.
Friday, 5-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Kansas City Art Institute, 4415 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
Anything that a 1,000-voice choir sings is apt to get some attention. But the 1,000-voice choir at Parkville Christmas on the River always gets a special response, because the choir is made up of vocal music students from the Park Hill School District. The 25th annual outdoor event overlooking the Missouri River in historic downtown Parkville includes additional musical entertainment, hayrides, a visit from Santa and evening-ending fireworks.
Friday, 6 to 10 pm.; Main Street, Parkville, Mo.; admission: free.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.