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6 Sassy Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Kirby Collins
Flickr — CC

Feelin’ a little sassy?

Let the weekend take you to your effervescent place by way of the area’s biggest annual picnic, a pair of well-matched comedic titans guaranteed to leave you in stitches and ample doses of dance-happy rock and kick-butt country. And that’s even before considering this year’s crop of more than 90 feisty Fringe Festival shows, including the onstage sharing of “bathroom horror” stories.

Too much? Oh, stop pretending and sassify yourself!

1. Kansas City’s Big Picnic

Art, music, games and food trucks galore await the all-ages throng set to get sassy in the sun at Kansas City’s Big Picnic outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Attractions at the annual community get-together include the StoneLion Puppet Theater, enormous floating bubbles courtesy of Grateful Bubbles and a quick-paint contest in which artists will attempt to capture the exuberant scene before them. Show up and be part of an instant masterpiece.

Sunday, 4-8 p.m.; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park and Theis Park, from Oak Street to Rockhill Road on Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard; admission: free.

2. Steve Martin and Martin Short

The hilarious Steve Martin and maybe even funnier Martin Short have been friends since they co-starred with Chevy Chase in the 1986 comedy, “Three Amigos.” In recent years, the two Martins have found further success as a touring comedy team that promotes its shows as “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives.” Nice try at setting the bar low, guys. Of course, trying not to be totally entertained by the bouncy banter of these two comedy colossuses is a futile exercise. Short’s hysterically dismissive celebrity interviewer character, “Jiminy Glick,” is expected to come out to play and Martin will show his banjo chops with Grammy-winning bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers.  

Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45.95-$198.95.

3. Teens on the Fringe

Sassiness will exude during the opening weekend of the 13th annual Kansas City Fringe Festival,

featuring boundary-pushing cabaret, comedy, dance, music, spoken word, theater and variety entertainment at a variety of times and locations. That includes the Teens on the Fringe open-mic night devoted to showcasing and developing adolescent talent. Whether you’re a vivacious teen participant or an encouraging onlooker, the fun starts with two hours of workshops, including those dedicated to hip-hop and stage combat skills. After the open-mic show, stick around for a concert by Kansas City Young Audiences’ Garage Band and a closing improv comedy workshop.

Saturday, 6-11 p.m.; Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

4. ‘The Taming of the Poo’

Whatever the No. 1 event at this year’s Fringe Fest turns out to be, this is definitely the No. 2. Join sassy storyteller Brie Henderson and others onstage as they explore the real-life comedy of absolutely factual poop stories. So you’ve been warned. Brought to you by the same creative force behind “Poops, I Did It Again.” So you’ve been warned again.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4:30 p.m.; City Stage at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10

5. The Romantics, the Smithereens and Bow Wow Wow

Once upon a time, such popular songs as “What I Like About You,” “A Girl Like You” and “I Want Candy” were respectively performed by the Romantics, the Smithereens and Bow Wow Wow as highly accessible rock ’n’ roll. That time returns when all three bands hit town to make you dance like there’s no tomorrow under the evening sky at CrossroadKC. Or maybe just swivel in your lawn chair. Or scooch on your blanket. Anyway, do your sassy best.

Friday, 8 p.m., CrossroadsKC at Grinders, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets; $25-$76.50.

6. Gretchen Wilson

After a few years away to spend time with her family, sassy country gal Gretchen Wilson is back in the spotlight and raring to get the weekend started early in KC. The high-spirited singer of “Here for the Party,” “Politically Uncorrect” and “All Jacked Up” will share songs from her new album, “Ready to Get ROWDY.” Yep, it’s the next step up from sassy. Let Gretchen be your guide!

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Kansas City Live! Block, Kansas City Power & Light District, 13th Street and Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

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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