Sara Gruen for “At the Water’s Edge”
Thursday at Unity Temple on the Plaza
One of the biggest literary blockbusters of recent years, the 2006 novel “Water for Elephants” topped sales charts and was made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon. Plans are underway to adapt Sara Gruen’s award-winning work into a Broadway musical. “At the Water’s Edge,” the native Canadian’s latest novel, tells the story of a trek taken by wealthy Philadelphians to photograph the Loch Ness monster in World War II. In a recent interview with NPR, Gruen confessed that she hoped to catch a glimpse of the fabled creature on her initial visit to the Scottish highlands when she was 12. Gruen is likely to share similar anecdotes during Thursday’s presentation.
7 p.m. Thursday, April 9. Unity Temple on the Plaza. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $28 plus tax, includes an autographed hardcover copy of “At the Water’s Edge.”
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Rave of Thrones
Thursday at the Granada
A seemingly unlikely collision of pop culture phenomena will transpire at the Granada on Thursday. People obsessed with a television fantasy series and supporters of the electronic dance music scene will come together as the actor who plays Hodor on “Game of Thrones” will entertain dancers in a DJ set at the Rave of Thrones. In addition to portraying the kindhearted protector of the Stark clan on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Kristian Nairn is an accomplished DJ who favors party-minded house music. Although organizers of the event suggest that “medieval-times-themed party Renaissance costumes are encouraged,” attendees are more likely to wear “Game of Thrones”-themed gear.
8 p.m. Thursday, April 9. The Granada. 785-842-1390. thegranada.com. $18 in advance.
Time Out for Women
Friday and Saturday at the Overland Park Convention Center
By providing an experience that “uplifts, inspires, entertains and makes space for women to seek their spiritual gifts,” Time Out for Women events are akin to faith-based TED conferences. Speakers at the two-day gathering at the Overland Park Convention Center include Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes, the authors of “Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons”; Brigham Young University professor Richard Holzapfel; former Wall Street analyst Whitney Johnson; and Meg Johnson, a paralyzed woman who will give a motivational lecture titled “Letting the Savior Be Your Pilot.” Christian rock artist Calee Reed is among the performers.
6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Saturday, April 11. Overland Park Convention Center. 801-517-3228. tofw.com. $79 for both days or $69 for Saturday only.
Screenland at the Symphony: “Singin’ in the Rain”
Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Helzberg Hall
Unlike once-popular screen musicals that no longer resonate with modern audiences, “Singin’ in the Rain” remains delightfully compelling more than 60 years after its initial release. The acting is engaging, and the dancing is phenomenal, but a wonderful slate of songs are what makes the movie truly timeless. Under the direction of Aram Demirjian, the Kansas City Symphony will augment screenings of the film at Helzberg Hall this weekend. The orchestral enhancement is likely to make Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds sound better than ever on memorable selections including “Make ’Em Laugh,” “You Are My Lucky Star” and “Good Morning.”
8 p.m. Friday, April 10, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 11, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Helzberg Hall. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. $25-$85.
Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival
Saturday at the Field House at Kansas City Kansas Community College
A compact parallel to the more expansive Ethnic Enrichment Festival held across the state line in Swope Park, the Wyandotte County Ethnic Festival is an indoor event on the campus of Kansas City Kansas Community College. The theme of the 10th annual edition of the festival is “A Human Family Reunion.” An impressive array of cultures will be represented on Saturday afternoon. Musical entertainment includes performances by a Latin jazz band and a Balkan ensemble. The dance styles of India and Peru will be exhibited. Dining options include the cuisines of Colombia and West Africa as well as American soul food.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 11. The Field House at Kansas City Kansas Community College. 913-334-1100. freewebs.com/wycoethnicfestival. Free.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake
Saturday at Sporting Park
Following a match at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC last month, members of Sporting KC playfully re-enacted the notorious 1983 Pine Tar Bat incident in which George Brett vociferously responded to the unfavorable ruling of an umpire. Given the rapid increase in the popularity of soccer in Kansas City, it’s not inconceivable that members of the Royals may someday re-create a memorable moment in the history of Sporting KC. Sporting KC fans hope that the club’s 1-0 win over the new Major League Soccer franchise in New York — its first victory of the season — marks a positive turning point in the current campaign that will carry over to Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11. Sporting Park. 888-452-4625. sportingkc.com. $20=$275.
Downtown Dog Day
Saturday in downtown Overland Park
Downtown Overland Park may be one of the most underappreciated districts in the greater Kansas City area. The quaint downtown offers respite from the congestion of Metcalf Avenue a few blocks to the east and the commercial sprawl that extends for miles to the south. Downtown Dog Day allows participants to admire the area on foot in the company of their canine companions. The benefit for the animal welfare agency the Great Plains SPCA, the event includes a walk, a costume contest for dogs and a reading by author Angela Cervantes. Onsite vendors will offer goods and services, including dog portraits, dog apparel and dog treats.
9 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 11. Downtown Overland Park. 913-642-2222. downtownop.org. $10 to participate in the walk or $20 to participate in the walk and receive a T-shirt.
Saturday at the Midland theater
At the beginning of Mike Birbiglia’s comedy special “Sleepwalk With Me,” the comedian explains how he “developed this habit for telling uncomfortable stories.” He’s true to his word. He jokes about cringe-worthy topics such as unpleasant medical procedures. Although he has made frequent television appearances, Birbiglia is best known for his contributions to the radio program “This American Life.” In a 2013 segment titled “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” Birbiglia recounts his heartbreaking involvement in a teenage love triangle. Saturday’s appearance is part of Birbiglia’s “Thank God for Jokes” tour.
9 p.m. Saturday, April 11. Midland theater. 816-283-9900. midlandkc.com. $32.
Kegs ’n’ Eggs Kansas City
Saturday at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds in Bonner Springs
People with a particular mindset feel that there’s one important ingredient missing in traditional Easter egg hunts: beer. Kegs ’n’ Eggs makes up for that oversight. Every ticket holder to “Kansas City’s only adult Easter egg hunt” will receive a beer. Additional samples of five craft beers are $5 while people who purchase VIP passes may drink as much as they please. Offerings from breweries including Boulevard, Flying Monkey, KC Bier, Tallgrass and Torn Label are among the selections. The libations are likely to enhance the hunt. Organizers promise that some eggs will contain cash while most eggs will hold tickets “to be redeemed for prizes.”
1 p.m. Saturday, April 11. Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds. 913-721-2110. kcrenfest.com. $20 in advance and $25 on April 11. VIP packages are available.
Spencer Museum of Art, “Closing for Renovation Party”
Sunday at the Spencer Museum of Art
The closing of a respected cultural institution — even a temporary shuttering — is usually viewed as a sad occasion. Administrators of the Spencer Museum of Art are transforming the start of extensive renovations into a celebratory affair. Refreshments and entertainment will be offered at a closing party on Sunday afternoon. The museum’s galleries will be shuttered after April 12 as work begins on projects including a remodeling of the lobby and the installation of new flooring and ceilings in galleries. The closing party will be preceded by a pop-up exhibition on the front lawn of the museum that “will explore the ‘Ups and Downs’ of the creative process.”
3-5 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Spencer Museum of Art. 785-864-4710. spencerart.ku.edu. Free.
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Sunday at Yardley Hall
Combining the absurdist sensibility of the Monty Python comedy troupe with the goofy demeanors of an ensemble of teenage musicians, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain offers refreshingly unpretentious entertainment. A documentary about the novel octet includes footage captured at a 2013 appearance at Yardley Hall. With a repertoire that includes renditions of compositions by the Talking Heads, Ennio Morricone, R. Kelly, the Clash and Lady Gaga, the group knows how to please audiences. Fans are encouraged to bring their instruments to Sunday’s concert to participate in a “preshow ukulele jam.”
7 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445. jccc.edu/theseries. $30-$40.
Joseph Calleja, tenor
Tuesday at the Folly Theater
The marketing gurus working on behalf of operatic vocalists have a long history of attaching memorable sobriquets to stars. Maria Callas was known as La Divina. Some fans refer to the Prairie Village native Joyce DiDonato at J-Diddy. Joseph Calleja’s nickname — the Maltese Tenor — may be the best of the bunch. Born in the Republic of Malta in 1978, the tenor has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages and has collaborated with many superstars. Calleja is also an outstanding interpreter of show tunes. Tuesday’s recital will feature more formal fare by the likes of Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14. Folly Theater. 816-415-5025. hjseries.org. $15-$60.
Malcolm Gladwell for “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” and Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest Forum
Wednesday at Helzberg Hall; Ink’s Middle of the Map Forum: Thursday and Friday at The Kansas City Star’s Press Pavilion
Malcolm Gladwell isn’t merely the biggest name slated to appear at Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest Forum. The celebrity author of bestsellers including “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” is one of the world’s most popular theoreticians. He’s expected to focus on his 2013 work “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” at Wednesday’s presentation. Other speakers at Ink’s Middle of the Map Forum include skateboard star Sean Malto, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Frank Byrne, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony. “Craving Kansas City,” a summit of top area chefs, in among the panel discussions.
A Conversation with Malcolm Gladwell: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15. Helzberg Hall. 816-994-7200. middleofthemapfest.com. $24.
Ink’s Middle of the Map Forum: Thursday, April 16, and Friday, April 17. The Kansas City Star’s Press Pavilion. middleofthemapfest.com. $35.