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6 Whole-Hearted Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Cuddle Party KC.

Have a heart?

Show it this weekend with wonderful ways to whole-heartedly open up to music, dance and even organized cuddling – yes, it’s a thing.

If you’re sweetheart-less this Valentine season, you can still enjoy these sweet excitements and exultations. And if you have a special someone? Try not to brag!

1. Kelly Clarkson

By her own hit-song admission, Kelly Clarkson is a “Whole Lotta Woman,” who couldn’t hold back her open-hearted approach to song even if she knew how. Sing it, Kelly: “I’m a strong, fat-assed chick with classic confidence!” Talk about an elevator pitch. But Clarkson hardly needs a new gig. “American Idol’s” very first big-voiced winner in 2002 and current coach on “The Voice” continues to mega-successfully serenade her multitude of fans with an imposing display of styles. One-trick ponies can pick up pointers from the ever-versatile Clarkson, whose award-winning repertoire runs from pure pop to rousing rock to cool country to sizzling soul. Call her a generalist, if you must, but with her dynamo talent, who’s complaining? Other than the one-trick ponies, that is.

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $26-$299.

2. ‘Big Bands Are Better’

Here’s an original local revue extolling the big band era. The show features a swingin’ band, four vocalists and narration explaining the rise and fall of America’s most commercial musical genre of the 20th century – until rock ’n’ roll and all it spawned came along. Oh, darn you, Elvis. Yet the glorious past is present and will entertainingly emanate from the bandstand courtesy of such jazz-influenced masterpieces as “Moonlight Serenade,” “Stardust,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Sing, Sing, Sing” and “In the Mood.” There’s only one thing to do: Let the beautiful music fill your open heart.  

Thursday, 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Musical Theater Heritage Theater at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $29-$58.

3. Cuddle Party KC

This isn’t your father’s group hug. Cuddle Party KC is a whole-hearted communication and connection workshop aiming to treat “skin hunger” in adults who feel like they’re not sharing enough platonic human touch. Organizers say that cuddling is empowering – I’ll buy that – and cuddle coaches (a.k.a. cuddlists) will be there to instruct and answer all questions.

In one way, the cuddle party is a fun social event with lots of conversation and the chance to make new friends. In another way, it’s a serious attempt to teach how to safely ask for and receive touch. Helping consenting adults feel more connected in a healthy way is a fine thing. But I can’t help but wonder if all of the time spent transfixed by our smartphones and other screen-centric devices might be contributing to a growing sense of physical separateness among the populace. What do you think of that? Hey, hands off my theory!

Saturday, 5-8:30 p.m. (doors close at 5 p.m.); WellSpring School of Allied Health, 9140 Ward Parkway, Suite 100, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25.

4. Songs of Freedom: A Black History Month Tribute Concert

Singer Misha Roberts and singer-harpist Calvin Arsenia will be featured in a community-wide musical celebration of the heritage and strength of black people in America. There will be songs from the civil rights movement, as well as benchmark spirituals and familiar classics tied to the black experience. Biographical notes: Roberts was just 11 when she opened for blues great Bobby Blue Bland and today is a staple of the downtown blues and jazz scene. Arsenia is a classically trained vocalist and regularly performs abroad, so catch him at home while you can.

Sunday, 7 p.m.; Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $30, ages 12 and younger $10.

5. Harlem Globetrotters

The world’s greatest basketball wizards will again work their enthusiastic magic on the court and in the stands when they make their annual visit to KC. Astounding slam dunks, ridiculous long-range jump shots, and crazy trick plays will abound, but here’s the heart of the matter: The Globetrotters are about far more than spectacular displays of an over-the-top round ball because their true mission is to spread an international message of love and understanding. But if you can get one of the players to show you how to spin a basketball on your index finger, so much the better!

Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$132.

6. Twisters Jr. Dance Day

Kids and young adults ages 5 to 18 will be taught dances by the KC Twisters dance team on Saturday and then use what they’ve learned to perform during half-time of Sunday’s Kansas City Tornadoes basketball game. Every high-stepping participant gets a souvenir t-shirt to take home, along with the awareness that they’ve shared something from the bottom of their wide-open hearts – and may they always stay that way.

Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Hy-Vee Arena, 1800 Genessee St., Kansas City, Mo.; required online registration: $25.

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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