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6 Life-Changing Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Laura Spencer
KCUR 89.3
The first First Friday of 2019 is this weekend in Kansas City.

Life is change, some days more than others. But it’s never a rerun.

Get into the transformational nature of things this weekend in ways that could deeply affect you or at least cause you to ponder, “What if?” What if there had never been an Elvis? What if you had to solve a murder mystery? What if you came upon a work of art that changed the way you saw yourself and the world?

Keep in mind that too much change all at once can be a mindblower. So pace yourself. Or not!

1. ‘Remembering Elvis’

A John Lennon quote that never loses its clout: “Before Elvis there was nothing.” After Elvis Presley blew up the popular music scene in the mid-1950s with his dynamic voice, good looks and infamously twitching nether region, the rapidly expanding freedom of American youth culture continued to be driven by rock ’n’ roll dreams furthered by the King’s spiritual descendants, from the Beatles in the 1960s to sensations now populating the music charts. The life-changing force of Elvis will be celebrated in “Remembering Elvis,” featuring Elvis tribute artists Ben Johnson, Danny Contreras, Danny Johnson, Matthew Sharp, E Rock and Jeff Bergen, in honor of the Big E’s upcoming 84th birthday on Jan. 8. Please tell me someone’s bringing a cake.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15.

2. KC Weddings Bridal Spectacular

Want to change your life? Get married. Of course, you’ll need a plan for the big day, whether modest or extravagant. More than 100 “wedding vendors” will offer their products and services at the KC Weddings Bridal Spectacular, Kansas City’s largest bridal show. Call it a crash-course in comparative shopping for wedding dresses, tuxes, cakes, caterers, florists, photographers and all the rest of what makes a modern nuptial. And if you aren’t getting hitched and honeymooning anytime soon? See how the other half lives.

Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $15 advance, $20 door.

3. ‘Shear Madness’

The right hairdresser can create a life-changing do. And the wrong one might be involved in murder most yowl in this zany audience-participation mystery that ranks as the longest-running stage comedy in history. Starring Richard Karn of “Home Improvement” TV sitcom fame and featuring such local veteran laugh-getters as Jim Korinke and Ron Megee,” “Shear Madness” takes place in a hair salon downstairs from a murder scene. It lets audience members consider clues, interrogate characters and cast their vote on whodunit. But if the right hairdresser is arrested for doing the wrong thing, can they still somehow take appointments? It’s not like hairdressing talent grows on trees.

Thursday and Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12:15 and 6:30 p.m.; New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster St., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $34-$60.

4. First Friday

The once-a-month evening walk-around of art galleries, studios and other inspiring corners of the Crossroads Arts District is always stimulating. But will this Friday-night installment in the creative nexus of downtown Kansas City arouse a life-changing moment? Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, once you see it, you’ll know. Maybe it will be one of local abstract painter Moku’s “Meditative Explorations” that could well induce a madly colorful insight at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. Or perhaps Belger Crane Art Studio’s “Reinvented” showcase will do more than catch your eye with its diverse works inhabiting the fascinating intersection of art and industrial design. Keep your eyes (and wallet) open!

Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Crossroads Arts District, emanating from intersection of 19th Street and Baltimore Avenue, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

5. ‘Napoleon: Power and Splendor’

Napoleon Bonaparte’s lofty evolution from former general to all-controlling monarch in early 19th-century France is aesthetically and intellectually explored in this grand exhibit recreating the spirit of Napoleon’s Imperial Household, including many glorious period artworks that have never been shown before in the U.S. Was Napoleon’s “look at me” approach to the monarchy trying to compensate for his legendarily short stature? No doubt, that was the sort of question asked only by those who didn’t mind losing their heads. Napoleon – what a guy.

Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo.; exhibition tickets: $10-$18, free for ages 12 and younger.

6. Football Funday

If you’re a nut for the National Football League, but don’t want to ignore your kids on Sunday, Football Funday is a way to enjoy your favorite gridiron contests and have family time at the same time. Talk about a life-changer! While you’re following the game action on 15 big-screen TVs around Paradise Park, the youngsters can be having their own fun and games with bumper cars, mini-golf, laser tag and other adolescent-friendly group endeavors that have nothing to do with the old pigskin. Entry to the grounds is free, but it costs for individual attractions, food and drink, including grown-up thirst-quenchers. Bonus incentive for fans who don’t want to be distracted in the slightest by their adjacently frolicking kids: The Chiefs don’t have a playoff game until next weekend, so how closely do you really need to scrutinize every single second of this weekend’s NFL playoffs? Whoa, honestly? I bow down!

Sunday, noon-6 p.m.; Paradise Park, 1021 N.E. Colburn Road, Lee’s Summit, Mo.; admission: free ($7.99-$34.99 for attractions).

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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