World of Wheels
By BILL BROWNLEE
Special to The Star
Many people are perfectly content driving standard-issue cars. Others dream about sitting behind the wheels of something more distinctive. This weeks World of Wheels event will fuel the automotive fantasies of thousands of attendees. Many will come to gawk at hot rods, muscle cars, lowriders and motorcycles. Others will focus on the motocross stunt exhibitions. Gene Winfield, a pioneer of auto customization, will give several demonstrations. Celebrities at the show range from champion NASCAR drivers Richard and Kyle Petty to Laura Marano, who plays Ally Dawson on the Disney Channels Austin & Ally.
Cupids Undie Run
Exhibitionists have a prime opportunity to flaunt their predilections in the Power & Light District on Saturday. Established in Washington, D.C., in 2010, Cupids Undie Run has since spread from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia. The Kansas City debut of the event will begin at McFaddens at noon. The noncompetitive outdoor undie run takes place at 2 p.m. Pantless participants will then celebrate their good deeds at McFaddens until 4 p.m. Their efforts to put the hilarity in charity will raise funds for the Childrens Tumor Foundation.
Noon. Saturday. McFaddens in the Power & Light District. CupidsUndieRun.com. $50.
Ventriloquist Jeff Dunhams off-color and politically incorrect humor has made him one of the most successful comedians of the new millennium. His frequent television appearances with characters including Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Jose Jalapeno resonate with audiences in part because his interactions with the puppets provide Dunham with clever ways to update the classic routines associated with the likes of Abbott and Costello.
Cultural Interactions: Chinese Arts and Chinese Identities
Napoleon Bonapartes characterization of China as a sleeping giant that would eventually shake the world has been realized. Gaining a deeper appreciation of the nation that already plays a central role in the new century is essential for observers hoping to fully understand world events. The three-day conference at Johnson County Community College will allow participants to gain essential insights into Chinas cultural history. Memory and Identity Politics in Contemporary China: Perspectives From Literature and Film and The Visual and Auditory Cultures of China: 1960s-1980s are among the topics on the programs compelling agenda.
Kansas City audiences are accustomed to hearing visiting artists perform Over the Rainbow. While well-intentioned, their predictable efforts usually are tiresome. Sam Harris is the exception. He channeled his inner Judy Garland during a spectacular reading of the standard at Helzberg Hall last year. The dynamic entertainers new show is based on Ham: Slices of a Life. Harris book is about the events that shaped his tumultuous life before and after he won Star Search in 1983.
Venice Baroque Orchestra with Andrea Marcon, conductor, and Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor
Of the countless events on Valentines Day around the globe, very few can match the sublime sophistication of the collaboration between the Venice Baroque Orchestra and Philippe Jaroussky. Witnessing a countertenor for the first time can be shocking, but Jarousskys singing in the upper registers is so transcendent that any vestiges of disbelief quickly transform to awe. The Venice Baroque Orchestra, one of the worlds elite period instrument classical ensembles, will accompany Jaroussky on compositions by George Frederic Handel and Nicola Porpora. A pre-concert dinner also is available for hungry romantics.
Not every man is capable of giving his partner exactly what he or she desires. Attaining a perfectly sculpted body, for instance, is formidable. Thats why even the most envious folk shouldnt take offense if their partners treat themselves to a post-Valentines Day gift of the Chippendales at the VooDoo Lounge at Harrahs Casino on Saturday. Dancers in the good-natured strip show will reveal their six-pack abs and defined pecs for an appreciative audience. Once considered shockingly audacious, Chippendales has become an almost respectable component of the American cultural landscape.
Right Between the Ears
Millions of listeners are amused by the homespun comedy of A Prairie Home Companion. Many area aficionados of public radio take similar delight in the locally produced comedy show Right Between the Ears. The program airs weekly on Kansas Public Radio. The award-winning comedy troupe will present its saucy mix of topical takeoffs and peculiar put-ons at Liberty Hall during Saturdays live broadcast. The 2014 Winter Olympics, Barack Obama, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and even Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor will be spoofed.
Heartland Wine Experience: A Casual Wine Tasting Featuring Missouri Wines
Ill be standing on the corner of 12th Street and Vine with my Kansas City baby and a bottle of Kansas City wine. The song that people around the world associate with this town, Kansas City, is a bit outdated. But wares of several Missouri vineyards are still available and will be sampled Saturday at Powell Gardens. Light snacks and the scenic setting will enhance the appreciation of the products of Arcadian Moon Vineyards & Winery, Jowler Creek Vineyard & Winery, Odessa Country Winery, Riverwood Winery and Tipple Hill Winery.
Update: According to the Powell Gardens website, the event is sold out.
The large contract Nicola Benedetti signed with the Deutsche Grammophon label in 2004 when she was 17 led to accusations that the violinist was the classical Britney. Her accomplished playing has since refuted the implication. One of todays most appealing crossover classical artists, Nicola Benedetti is just as capable of elevating syrupy pieces from film scores as she is interpreting challenging compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven. The native Scots captivating way with melody will be displayed Saturday at the Folly Theater during her appearance in the Harriman-Jewell Series.
Many music lovers consider Najee one of the leading lights of smooth jazz. His sprightly touch on material that straddles R&B and jazz has made him one of the genres best-selling artists. The appeal of the saxophonists sultry sound is reflected by the two platinum and four gold albums the New York native has released in his decades-long career. In Kansas City, much of the jazz community thinks of Najee as a longtime friend of the late saxophonist, composer and educator Ahmad Alaadeen. Najee is expected to perform a bit of Alaadeens music during his appearance in the American Jazz Museums Jammin at the Gem series.
Folk Alliance conference
Folk Alliance Internationals relocation from Memphis to Kansas City in 2013 wasnt merely a boon for area music lovers. The economic benefits of the organizations move will be realized at the organizations annual convention when as many as 2,000 fans, musicians and music industry insiders converge on the Westin and Sheraton hotels at at Crown Center. While the primary focus of the event is business-related, the public will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in music. Dozens of showcases with national artists like Sarah Jarosz and locally based musicians including Danny Cox will take place nightly.