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8 Grab Bag Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Julia Haile
Julia Haile performs during Kansas City's April First Friday this weekend.

With a tip of the pop-culture cap to “Forest Gump”: Life is like a grab bag. You never know what you’re going to get, until you pull something out.

Take this weekend, including several diverse First Friday events in the Crossroads Arts District that … whoa, hold on. I can’t just tell you right up front. Then there’s no surprise.

So reach in and grab away!

1. ‘Frida Style’

Take part in the musical, theatrical and culinary kickoff to “Frida Kahlo’s Garden,” the traveling exhibit opening this weekend at Powell Gardens. “Frida Style” celebrates the life and art of Kahlo (1907-1954) with music from folk and rock singer Maria Cuevas (a.k.a. Maria the Mexican); a performance by KC playwright and actress Vanessa Severo (who later this month will star in her one-woman show, “Frida: A Self Portrait” at Kansas City Repertory Theatre); painting activities aided by KC artist Vania Soto; and a brief tour of the exhibit that includes photos of Kahlo and reproductions of her paintings. The tour will be led by KC chef Renee Kelly, who’ll talk about the influence of food on Kahlo’s art, including the chef’s “Frida Style” appetizer menu. Ooh, can I have some more flan?

Saturday, 6-10 p.m.; Powell Gardens, 1609 NW US Highway 50, Kingsville, Mo.; tickets: $50.

2. First Friday with Johnny Cash

The traveling exhibit, “1968: A Folsom Redemption,” consists of photos and memories compiled by two reporters who attended country music icon Johnny Cash’s historic 1968 concerts for inmates of California’s Folsom State Prison. Cash’s performances were incredibly moving, with the Man in Black giving of himself to hardened men looking for even a little bit of hope. But the focus of the exhibit is actually on images and recollections from behind the scenes. Need a boost by way of the human power of caring? Here you go.   

Friday, 6-8 p.m.; Mid-America Arts Alliance, 2018 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

3. Finest Folk First Friday

Kansas City soul and jazz singer Julia Haile will give two listening-room-style concerts for folks taking a break from the usual First Friday art gallery fun. If you’ve already caught the talented Haile, either as a solo act or fronting the local neo-soul group Hi-Flux, well, you know what to do. And be sure to bring a friend or two.

Friday, performances at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., Folk Alliance International, 601 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez Suite #100, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

4. First Friday ‘Broken Panels’

This year’s Planet Comicon is history, clearing the way for 10 local comic book creators, including Josh Cotter and Hector Casanova, to show their artwork and mingle with both devoted and fresh admirers. Participating artists include Josh Cotter (“Nod Away,” “Skyscrapers of the Midwest,” “Send Help”) and Hector Casanova (“Screamland”). Will they be sketching for fans? You won’t know until you ask! Nicely.

Friday, 5 p.m.; Lifted Spirits distillery, 1734 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

5. 2019 Street Car Take Over

Hundreds (thousands?) of cars, trucks and motorcycles will be on gleaming display with their beaming owners at this year’s Street Car Take Over, which for the first time will occupy the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot. In addition, there’ll be live bands, DJs, food trucks and loads of motor-vehicle-related vendors. If that doesn’t gear you up, then consider that’s it’s also a benefit for local community organizations Taking It to the Streets and Warriors for Freedom.

Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (rain day Sunday); Arrowhead Stadium parking lot, 1 Arrowhead Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $10.

6. ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

If something can go wrong, it will and then some in “The Play That Goes Wrong,” leading to belly laughs for those inclined to bust a gut. But the hit Broadway show about a self-aware community theater troupe’s catastrophically awful performance of a detective mystery who-dunnit is so absurdly effective, only the sourest soul could resist being entertained. Don’t be that gal or guy!

Thursday and Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $61.50-$101.50.

7. ‘Odd Jobs’

This themed “show and telling” offering puts more-or-less regular people onstage to share stories stemming from the job-related personal objects that they bring with them. The super-accessible show will be hosted by Late Night Theatre alum David Wayne Reed, who, with any luck, will also bring along something from his way-out acting gigs – LNT’s Ron Magee, perhaps? C’mon, Ron, make it happen.

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; the Brick, 1727 McGee St., Kansas City, Mo.; $15.

8. Serve KC Volunteer Fair

Connect with more than 40 local non-profit organizations searching for helpers at the Serve KC Volunteer Fair. Can’t decide which worthy group to assist? One more time: Reach in and grab!

Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach 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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