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6 Zesty Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Duncan Kinney
Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne is just one of the blood pumping, rousing acts playing this weekend in town.

It’s that time of the week when your inclination to feel invigorated may have wound down a tad. Don’t worry, I won’t tell the boss.

That said – and I may have already said too much – this weekend offers some fine reasons to revive yourself, including refreshing food and rousing music.

Perk up and get your zest on!

1. American Royal World Series of Barbecue

The Royal’s didn’t make it back to the World Series this year, darn it, but all of us (at least the meat-eaters) can sooth our disappointment by taking in the 2016 American Royal World Series of Barbecue. The “largest barbecue competition in the world” contains competing teams from eight countries, and there’s a lot more to do – including a Thursday night poker tournament, a Saturday night concert by country crooner Tyler Farr and the Cowtown Family Fun Fest for kids all weekend long. However you choose to enjoy yourself, my advice is more sauce.

Friday, noon-10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-8:45 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4:30 p.m.; Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City, Kan.; tickets: $23-$95.

2. Bret Michaels – ‘The Party Starts Now Tour’

The former front man for glam-rock band Poison keeps on rocking, albeit as sort of a sideways country singer. But when it’s time to truly zest-out, the cowboy-hatted Michaels delivers, whether extolling the virtues of “Girls On Bars,” inviting that special someone to “Talk Dirty To Me” or letting go with his old group’s signature smash, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,” which, to be honest, always did sound a little country to me. Whether you go “ha!” or “Yee-haw!” is entirely up to you.

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Star Pavilion, Ameristar Casino, 3200 N. Ameristar Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40-$55.

3. Elle King

We’ve all got to start somewhere and Elle King began as a child actress in the raunchy 1999 comedy, “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” alongside her father and the film’s star Rob Schneider. So that explains that. As a musician, King has found her own frothy fun as a blues rocker who knows how to go pop, as demonstrated by her Grammy-nominated 2014 hit, “Ex’s & Oh’s.” She’s also shown plenty of attitude in her soundtrack contributions to VH1’s “Mob Wives Chicago” (“Playing for Keeps”) and this year’s “Ghostbusters” big-screen reboot (“Good Girls”). Just how zesty is she? The woman plays the banjo. Fresh!

Friday, 8 p.m. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $28.

4. Tech N9ne

Kansas City’s most famous rap export is first and foremost a hometown hero. So expect fans to be in force when the rapid-fire rhymes furiously fly from the lips of Tech N9ne at his “Fright Edition” Halloween eve show in downtown KC. Joining the mighty main attraction on stage will be Krizz Kaliko, JL, Stevie Stone and other lively talents from Tech’s locally based and internationally known record label, Strange Music. Not to hurt the brand, but if everybody’s having such a bracing good time, can it be that strange?

Sunday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $33 ($38 day of show).

5. 'James and the Giant Peach, Jr.'

Roald Dahl’s cherished children’s book, James and the Giant Peach, comes to life in this zesty family musical staged by Christian Youth Theatre. You will believe that a valiant boy can sail a humongous piece of fruit across the sea. And even if you don’t, a chorus of singing insects offers up some pretty snappy tunes.

Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Bell Cultural Events Center, MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2010 E. College Way, Olathe, Kan.; tickets: $9, $11 ($13 day of show).

​6. Screenland at the Symphony: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

Known as the “Man of a Thousand Faces,” silent-screen star and make-up master Lon Chaney remains most remembered for the grotesque visage that shocked movie audiences in 1929’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” Experience this classic horror film, as it was experienced then, with zesty live solo organ accompaniment. Is it Halloween yet?

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25.

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

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."
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