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6 Authentic Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Kansas Citians can join in a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who passed away last week, on Friday.

Get real.

That’s the idea this weekend with enjoyments designed to deliver authentic experiences, from a bona fide pop princess reaching deep down to give her ecstatic fans everything she’s got to genuine opportunities to get down to the undeniable allures of tea time, comic books and the late Queen of Soul.

Really? Hey, don’t ask…just do!

1. Taylor Swift

There’s only one Taylor Swift. And for the celebrated singer/songwriter’s “Reputation” stadium tour, the 28-year-old singer/songwriter with a net worth of $320 million (give or take) is putting it all out there – well, not any of the money, but plenty of the heart-on-her-sleeve smash hits that continue to make an authentic superstar. Country, pop, rock, hip-hop … if Swift hasn’t done it all yet, just give her time. Meanwhile, she’s reportedly sharing one different “surprise song” with fans at every tour stop. Even the suspense is authentic!

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $55-$425.

2. Boy George & Culture Club with the B-52s and Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins

You know how it can be with band reunions. Fans feel blessed if a favorite old group’s original lead singer is still around, and that might be it. But all four original members of early 1980s pop sensation Culture Club (“Do You Really Want To Hurt Me,” “Karma Chameleon,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”) will be together this weekend at Starlight Theatre: Singer Boy George, guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay, bass guitarist Mickey Craig and drummer Jon Moss. Also on the authentic throwback bill: the B-52s (“Rock Lobster,” “Love Shack,” “Roam”) featuring original party-hearty vocalists Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson and original guitarist/keyboardist/drummer Keith Strickland. Toss in Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins (“Hold Me Now”) as the show’s opener and it’s like the ’80s never left. Too bad about MTV, though.

Friday, 7 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $19.75-$145.

3. Midwest Tea Festival

Tea tastings, workshops, lectures and vendors aplenty will reveal everything you wanted to know about tea (but were afraid to ask) at this annual confab intended for the “tea-curious,” as well as longtime true believers for whom life has always been best contemplated over a cup of perfectly brewed tea. Expert speakers include Babette Donaldson, founder of the International Tea Sippers Society, who at 1:15 p.m. Saturday will host a “sip-in” for peace that will include music and meditation. One lump, two or none? It’s all authentic!

Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Ararat Shrine Temple, 5100 Ararat Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$17.

4. Free State Comicon

Here’s an old-fashioned (a.k.a. authentic) comic book show with an emphasis on the comics and their creators. Which is to say there won’t be any pop-culture-friendly movie or TV stars in attendance – unless you happen to be one yourself and decide to show up on a lark. But there will be more than 20 regional dealers of vintage comics and related collectibles and more than 30 local comic creators, including writer/artist Kerry Callen, whose satirical takes on DC and Marvel superheroes have graced two out of the first three issues of the recently relaunched MAD magazine. Great stuff, Kerry!

Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; 2010 Harper St., Douglas County Fair Grounds, Lawrence, Kan.; tickets: $5 (kids 12 and younger free).

5. A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. The timeless music and message of legendary soul singer and civil rights advocate Aretha Franklin, who passed away last week at age 76, will be honored in a concert remembering the woman who demanded respect for all people and performed at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. and the inaugurations of three U.S. Presidents. A bevy of local singers will do their authentic best to memorialize Franklin in song, including Chavonna Adams, Wanda Jae, Rochelle Rochelle, Charlotte Fletcher and Angel Gibson. Give ’em their propers.

Friday, 7 p.m.; Bayou on the Vine, 1601 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

6. Jesse James Demolition Derby
Slam! Crunch! Kapow! OK, Missouri outlaw Jesse James never participated in a demolition derby, because automobiles – not to mention the idea of crashing them into each other on purpose – hadn’t been invented yet. Even so, the Jesse James Demolition Derby is the only authentic demolition derby of the 2018 Jesse James Festival. Accept no imitations!   
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Jesse James Park, 16925 State Route 33, Kearney, Mo.; tickets: $10 (kids 5 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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