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6 Summer-Fun Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

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2017 World's Largest Swimming Lesson.

Summer’s here and the time is right for … fun.

Bet you saw that coming. Yet here we are in the midst of the summer solstice, and I wonder: Have you truly gotten your summer on? If so, good for you and don’t forget the sunscreen. If not, it’s handy I’m here to give a nudge toward weekend music, theater and recreation embodying the season.

Summer-fun things won’t wait. Get ’em while they’re hot!

1. Lucinda Williams, Steve Earl and Dwight Yoakam

Could anything be more fun than a summertime dose of LSD? Treat yourself to “The LSD Tour,” starring the stellar Americana triple-bill of Lucinda Williams, Steve Earl and Dwight Yoakam. What did you think I was talking about? Experience the sights and sounds (and colors, oh, the colors) of these stalwart rock-folk-country-blues artists who’ve been getting music fans up on their feet and cheering for decades. Make it a summer evening to remember.

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35-$125.

2. ‘South Pacific’

Of its time and yet timeless, the classic Broadway musical, “South Pacific,” debuted in 1949 with its World War II story about U.S. Navy sailors readying themselves to invade Japanese controlled islands. But these swabs are also preparing to have some island fun before risking their lives. The comic lyrics to “There is Nothin’ Like A Dame” may now seem quaint, but the yearning behind them still rings true. Heart-filled romance and pure entertainment also play out in such standards as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Going To Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.” For all of the frolicking, “South Pacific” also carries a social message about racial prejudice in the indelibly wise song, “Carefully Taught.” Take a bow, Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 p.m.; Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park, 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kan.; tickets: $8, $6 ages 4-10.

3. World’s Largest Swim Lesson

Be part of the biggest swim class on the planet involving people at more than 600 sites in 20 nations all learning how to stay afloat on the same day. Ages 1 and older can join in the 30-minute session devoted to taking drowning out of the summer picture. Yes, it’s fun to stay alive!

Thursday, 6 p.m.; Adventure Oasis Water Park, 2100 Hub Dr., Independence, Mo.; admission: free.

4. Summer Breeze

Soft rock from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s is the musical parlance of Kansas City cover band Summer Breeze, which borrows its mellow moniker from the Seals & Crofts song of the same name. Also called “yacht rock” (fun ahoy!) the smooth tunes will flow in what is being promoted as Summer Breeze’s only concert of the summer. You don't have to wear a skipper's hat, but why wouldn't you want to?

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Kanza Hall, Overland Park, 7300 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $15.

5. Fastball

Both ultra-catchy and decidedly offbeat, Fastball’s irresistible 1998 No. 1 modern rock hit, “The Way,” has to be the most fun song ever about an elderly couple seemingly disappearing into thin air during an impromptu cross-country summer road trip. OK, it’s the only one. Fastball singer/songwriter Tony Scalzo based his Latin-flavored chunk of power-pop wonderfulness on the true story of octogenarian Texans Lela and Raymond Howard, who one morning got in their car and went missing for weeks. The Howards wound up meeting a tragically accidental end, but not in the song, in which the two sweethearts mysteriously live on in perpetual sightseeing bliss. Or as “The Way” calls it: “an exit to eternal summer slacking.” Nice.

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Town Center Plaza, 5000 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kan.; admission: free.

6.The Good, The Bad and The Smelly

Kids and the grownups they bring with them can learn about “not-so-glamorous animals” and see some up close – including live spiders and snakes – at this fun outdoor edutainment event for those who have the summer stomach for it. Sure, such critters can be off-putting, but they perform eco-friendly functions and can help eliminate pests. Skunks will also be on the agenda, but please let them be smelly somewhere else!

Friday, 7 p.m.; Ernie Miller Park and Nature Center Amphitheater, 909 N. 7 Highway, Olathe, Kan.; admission: $3, ages 2 and younger 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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