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6 International Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

American Jazz Museum
Kansas City's Historic 18th and Vine district.

Go beyond your borders.

You can do it this weekend with entertaining events whose practitioners and boosters are either from or inspire thoughts of different lands. Here's the smart play for anyone who in any way wonders what's over that seemingly faraway hill: Don't stand still. Make the crossing. Be somewhere else.

Naturally, it's only the weekend, so you won't be able to stay that long. Just don't be surprised if you want to!

1. Denny Laine

England's rock 'n' roll takeover of America began in 1964 with the Beatles, but soon included lots of bands whose British accents couldn't veil their love of U.S. rhythm and blues and the reinterpreted rock music they were joyously bringing back to this side of the Atlantic. An original member of one of those British Invasion bands, the Moody Blues, was singer/guitarist Denny Laine, who went on to be a founding member of former Beatle Paul McCartney's group Wings (1971-1981), which performed a glorious show in May 1976 at Kemper Arena that included Laine singing the Moodies' first hit, "Go Now." The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will surely deliver it again when he gigs in KC with his touring band the Cryers. And he’ll likely do a Wings tune or two. “Band on the Run,” anyone? The Volker Brothers open.

Thursday, 8 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $39.50-$89.50.

2. Comida KC ~ Sabor, Unidad y Pasion

The food – or comida – of Latin America and Spain will be celebrated for its unity, passion and flavor at this high-toned taste-bud occasion offering dishes by 18 local chefs of repute and visiting culinary potentates from Chicago and Ecuador. Thirsty, too? Then you'll be interested in top-notch tequila tastings and an eyebrow-raising variety of Hispanic-inspired concoctions created by eight inventive members of the Bartenders Guild of Kansas City. Also: the KC Latin Jazz All-Stars will perform. Long after you get your fill, proceeds from the event will benefit the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and the Greater Kansas Hispanic Collaborative.

Thursday, 6-11 p.m.; Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $175.

3. Vance Joy

Here's an Australian singer/songwriter who didn't waste any time becoming an international attraction. Soon after the 2014 release of Vance Joy's debut album, "Dream Your Life Away," he was touring the globe as Taylor Swift's opening act. Then his chill singalong, "Riptide," gave him a hit song in a slew of countries from Switzerland to Israel. Vance's brand new second album, "Nation of Two," quickly became a streaming bestseller with such invitingly romantic cuts as "Saturday Sun," about falling in love during a trip to California and wanting to go back to keep the good vibrations flowing. Vance, you traveling man, you.

Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49.50, $54.50.

4. Of Montreal

Been to Montreal, Canada? Indie rocker Kevin Barnes has, most notably by naming his band after the girlfriend from Montreal he broke up with more than 20 years ago. She’s long gone, but Of Montreal continues to explore wide-ranging musical possibilities. Over the years, Barnes has traveled from shiny pop and synth ventures to funk, progressive rock, roots rock and punk rock. Lately, he’s fixated on revisiting the freedom of 1980s-like dance club remixes with a vaguely psychedelic overlay. In the intriguing process, he’s also expressed his cross-dressing alter-ego. No boundaries here!      

Friday, 8:30 p.m.; recordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20.

5. ‘The Big Picture: A Transformative Gift from the Hall Family Foundation’

A significant sampling of 800 historic and contemporary photographs purchased last year with a $10 million grant from the Hall Family Foundation goes on display this weekend at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. “The Big Picture” exhibit will contain many international images from the acquired collection, which includes an 1826 print by French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (credited as the inventor of photography) and an extraordinary pre-WWII portfolio of photos by Jewish photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, who left Germany for America in 1935 – thank heavens.

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

6. International Jazz Day 2018: ‘Swing, Bebop and Beyond’

The weekend wraps on Sunday, right? Not if Monday is International Jazz Day! Take part of your Monday or the whole swinging thing to groove along with “Swing, Bebop and Beyond,” presented by The American Jazz Museum and the Mutual Musicians Foundation. The 12-hour-plus slate of activities in the historic 18th and Vine district will encompass street music, walking tours, lectures, storytelling, late-night jams and a screening of the 1979 documentary, “The Last of the Blue Devils,” about the history of world-famous Kansas City jazz, at 7:30 p.m. at the Gem Theater. Dig it, daddy-o.

Monday, 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. or later; various locations in the 18th and Vine district, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free (jazz brunch $5). 

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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