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.
1. John Prine
Legendary troubadour John Prine will share songs from his latest album, “The Tree of Forgiveness,” including “Knockin’ on Your Screen Door,” about a homeless man who matter-of-factly yet powerfully explains: “I'm thinking it's your business, but you don't got to answer / I'm knocking on your screen door in the summertime.” Would you answer? Why or why not? The 72-year-old singer-songwriter’s heralded capacity to see within himself and help others do the same will also be displayed in such decades-old classics as “Hello in There,” “Sam Stone,” “Dear Abby,” “Souvenirs” and “Angel from Montgomery,” along with the ever-singalong-friendly “Illegal Smile,” in which the narrator is “just trying to have me some fun,” albeit with a bit of horticultural help. One way or another, the inner light beckons.
Friday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $62.50-$102.50.
Busting out of the garage and onto the stage at Knuckleheads Saloon comes this psychedelic 1960s and ’70s garage rock festival starring Black Oak Arkansas, led by historical southern rock wild man Jim “Dandy” Mangrum. All together now: “Jim Dandy to the rescue! Go, Jim Dandy!” The raucous local support bill is led by the Joey Skidmore Band with the Red Headed League and the Garage Kings. Go Jim Dandy! You knew I had at least one more in me.
Saturday, 7 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20.
Here’s the stage magic tour that dares to have its “Sleeves Up, Pants Down.” Indeed, Australian conjurers Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler eventually let (most) of it all hang out. And they pull off a variety of crowd-pleasing illusions, not the least of which is making an R-rated magic show work with such a happy-go-lucky attitude. Take this as a caution or an invitation: There will be audience participation. So what not to wear, just in case you wind up onstage? That, Down Under magic fans, will be up to you.
Friday, 7 and 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 and 8 p.m.; Cohen Community Stage House at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $37-$97.
The sci-fi superhero comedy “Rex Dexter of Mars” was a highlight of this summer’s Kansas City Fringe Festival. Performed like an oldtime radio show, “Rex” had audiences laughing out loud at his way-out misadventures. Now comes the even more revealing cosmic sequel, in which Rex has accidentally blown-up the Earth and must go back in time to save it. But our interstellar hero travels back too far to the evening of October 30, 1938, when Orson Wells’ “War of the Worlds” radio drama is being broadcast to millions across America, including many listeners who mistake it for a real Martian invasion. Where’s Rex from again? Uh-oh. Evil Nazis, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Wells himself manage to get into the act. What happens after that? I smell a trilogy!
Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Musical Theatre Heritage Theatre at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $19.
Exploring possibilities beyond tangible realities is the mission of the KC Metaphysical Fall Fair, where true believers and the merely curious alike can mingle among psychics, mediums, palm readers, astrologers and even an “animal communicator,” who supposedly can sense what Fido is really thinking other than “Is there food?” Products for sale include crystals and other so-called metaphysical tools to at least get a good glimpse of the unseen. But can you un-see it? Darn, that’s what I thought.
Friday, 3 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Abdallah Shriners, 5300 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $8, free for ages 10 and younger.
John Steinbeck’s Depression-era tale of two ill-fated drifters bonded by an unlikely but unshakable friendship is in its final weekend at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. The theatrical adaptation, like Steinbeck’s 1938 novella, reveals depths of despair and reasons to go on living in tough times. There will be tears.
Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Kansas City Repertory Theatre, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49-$63.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.