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6 Pretend Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Aleksi Ollila
Wikimedia Commons
Don't even pretend like you're not intrigued by the prospect of air guitar competitions.

Keeping it real has its limitations.

Pretend your way out of them this weekend by encountering the ardent make-believe of ambitious air guitarists, the living legacy of a legendary animator and the unquenchable pursuit of assorted paraphernalia associated with the most famous fizzy water in the world.

Need more? Wow, you do need a break. Ready… set …pretend!

1. U.S. Air Guitar Contest

Anyone can flail on an imaginary rock guitar when the spirit moves them, typically when no one else is really looking. But relatively few possess the prowess required to play “air guitar” effectively in front of a live audience. Those in the latter category will compete in front of those in the former at this Midwest contest, from which two winners will have the chance to become official U.S. Air Guitar Champion and move on to the 2016 world finals in Finland. Hosting the local spectacle will be Eric “Mean” Melin, the 2013 Air Guitar World Champ himself, who may be able share a few pointers.

Friday, 9 p.m.; the Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, Kan.; tickets: $8.

2. Animator Ron Campbell Live

Fans of animation should have a fab time hobnobbing with renowned animator, director and producer Ron Campbell, whose credits include the 1960s Beatles cartoon TV series and the groundbreaking 1969 movie, “Yellow Submarine,” which featured depictions of John, Paul, George and Ringo in a decidedly psychedelic vein. During his generous three-day visit here, Campbell, who also worked on “The Jetsons” and “Scooby Doo,” will provide samples of his art for fascinating perusal and fiscal purchase. Bring a Scooby snack – or just pretend to!

Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Leawood Fine Art, Camelot Court Shopping Center, 11709A Roe Ave., Leawood, Kan.; admission: free.

3. Mid-America Coca-Cola Collectors Show & Sale

I like having a Coke as much as the next soft-drink enthusiast, but do things actually “go better” with it? Is it truly the “pause that refreshes”? Is it really the “real thing”? Well, if you’re a collector of Coca-Cola advertising and related promotional (aka “propaganda) materials, the answers are yes, yes and yes. Even if you’re not a Coke addict, you can pretend to be one amid a crowd of effervescent aficionados and at least 50 Coca-Cola memorabilia vendors that only a committed Pepsi drinker might be able to resist.

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Holiday Inn & Suites, 8787 Reeder Road, Overland Park, Kan. Admission: free.

4. ‘An Anonymous Art: American Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Gift’

The people in the photos are real enough, but the photographers who snapped them remain unknown, as do their subjects. So let’s pretend: Put yourself in the places of the children or teen sweethearts or other family and friends whose everyday visages were casually captured long ago, yet remain vital to our American story in this absorbing exhibit of vintage snapshots.

Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

5. Bloom Fleet Party

Good cause, ahoy! Pretend to be a sailor (or sailor-ette) by dressing up like one at this themed party to benefit the Kansas City Care Clinic, which provides health care and education to the area’s underserved. Tattoos are more popular than ever, but anyone out there with tats of anchors on both forearms? Besides Popeye? I guess we’ll “sea.”

Saturday, 8 p.m.; the historic Heim building, 507 Montgall Ave., Kansas City, Mo; tickets: $125.

6. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

The greatest pretending is left to the audience of the Coterie Theatre’s popular adaptation of children’s author Maurice Sendak’s signature tome. Ready to don a mask and become a “Wild Thing,” among other things? Interaction is key, including the kind you make with the Coterie box office to grab tickets while they last.

Friday, 7 p.m.; Coterie Theatre at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $11-$15.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at

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."